By Lukman Olabiyi, Lagos
Lagos State First Lady Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu on Saturday urged parents and guardians to keep a close tab on activities of their children and wards, advising them to be more security-conscious in view of deteriorating security situation in the country.
Speaking at a special Eid al-Fitr celebration put together by the state government to officially mark the end of Ramadan, held at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, Mrs Sanwo-Olu said it was important for parents, particularly women, to talk to their children and also intensify prayers for the peace and development of Nigeria.
According to her, Lagos, as we all know, is a lovely and loving place to be. We accommodate all the different tribes and ethnic groups. We thank God that this month of Ramadan has been a period where we can look inward, pray more; be more of our brothers’ keepers and take care of one another.
‘At this point in time in Nigeria when everyone is talking about insecurity, it is very paramount that each and every one of us takes security very important. Just a few days ago, I was with the Iyaloja General and I was telling her that as mothers, one of the things we could do is pray more (which I know we have been doing a lot) to support our men that are doing so much out there, and also be very vigilant and talk to the wards under us.
‘The same message goes to so many numerous women out there. In any gathering we find ourselves that we have been able to keep ourselves together in peace and harmony, rendering selfless service to one another, we should remember our country, Nigeria in our prayers more regularly than before because there is a lot that prayer can do; we should not give up; we should belief that we have someone up there that is more powerful.
‘More importantly, too, as parents and guardians, we must keep a close tab on the activities of our children and wards. We all have to be vigilant and “say something when we see something.” You are your first security. It starts with the individual and more than before, we must be thoroughly and extremely observant.’
The First Lady described Ramadan as a period that emphasized on the virtues of love, tolerance, forgiveness, brotherhood, sacrifice, self-denial, piety, and generosity, among others, just as she urged the people to imbibe the lessons of the season.
‘Beyond Ramadan, it is important for us to imbibe and sustain the principles of the holy month which among others include peace, kindness, compassion and happy co-existence. The Holy Prophet held these principles in high esteem and lived His whole life around them.
‘We must allow all these virtues to be reflected in our actions, public conduct and inter-personal relations with everyone around us. This way, we will improve on the cordial relationship that exists among the various ethnic groups and adherents of different religions in our state,’she said.
In his goodwill message, Lagos State Governor Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Folashade Jaji, said the event speaks to the uniqueness, oneness and inclusiveness in the state, and above all love and reverence for God.
He said his administration had always relied on God for guidance and support in all its affairs, adding that he viewed religion as a veritable tool to attain good governance.
‘We have kept the partnership with religious bodies and have continued to improve in our relationship as we identify with those things that unite us as a people. Today, we have come together to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitri as a people, across all divides and to say loudly to all, that religion in this part of the world can only be a source of strength, unity, progress and development for us,’ he said.
The governor urged religious leaders to continue to preach religious tolerance among the congregations, adding: ‘For this has been our main stay in the development and peaceful co-existence of the citizenry of Lagos.’
The event was attended by community leaders as well as Islamic leaders in the state led by the Grand Chief Imam of Lagos State, Sheikh Sulaimon Abu-Nolla, while there were Quranic rendition and musical entertainment by Sauti Arewa, Gawat, Alake Twins and Queen Kafilat Olohungbebe, among others.