As Muslims in Nigeria join their counterparts globally to celebrate Eid-al-Adha, President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated his call on Nigerians to continue to exercise patience and understanding over the inconveniences created by precautionary measures against COVID-19, especially the regulations on places of worship.
His plea came as leaders urged Muslims to use the celebration to pray to Allah to save the country from COVID-19, insecurity and other challenges.
In his Eid-al-Adha message, President Buhari said the outbreak of coronavirus has made it difficult for people to gather in places of worship as they are used to.
Urging worshipers to abide by the guidelines for safety of their lives, and loved ones, he said: “No elected government would intentionally take away its people’s religious freedom by limiting the number of people that will gather in worship centres at the same time.
“The guidelines are dictated by necessity in order to safeguard public health and should, therefore, not be perceived as an infringement on people’s right to worship.
“The coronavirus pandemic has had devastating adverse impacts on our social, economic and spiritual lives. The preventive guidelines we have introduced to contain the spread of this deadly disease have unfortunately limited people’s freedom to gather and worship in large numbers in mosques and churches.
“Every measure that has been introduced to contain this disease may have its unintended consequences on the daily lives of our people, and I therefore, call on Muslims and other faithful to continue to show more understanding with the government as we take correct steps to protect our people through the social distancing.’’
President Buhari, in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, commended the sacrifices of Muslims and Christians in abiding by the COVID-19 guidelines for the good of society
He assured that: “On our own part, we shall continue to provide economic reliefs to the people to minimize the unintended hardships these guidelines have inflicted.”
While wishing Muslims a happy celebration, the President called on worshipers not to forget the symbolic significance of the sacrifices of the Eid-el-Kabir.