FG declares July 30, 31 public holidays, Lagos advocates low-key Eid-el-kabir

Nigeria's Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola

The President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government has declared July 30 and 31 as public holidays to mark this year’s Eid-el-Kabir celebration.

This was coming as the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led Lagos State Government appealed to Muslim faithful in the state to celebrate the forthcoming Eid-el-Kabir on a low-key in order to abide by the existing guidelines on the prevention of novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) spread among residents.

The Federal Government, in a statement on Tuesday by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Georgina Ehuriah, congratulated Muslim faithful and all Nigerians both at home and abroad on the occasion.

Quoting the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, the statement “called on the Muslims to continue to imbibe the spirit of love, peace, kindness and sacrifice, as exemplified by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him) and to also use the period to pray for peace, unity, prosperity and the stability of the country especially as the world is witnessing global health challenges caused by COVID-19 pandemic.”

While reaffirming Buhari administration’s commitment to battling the scourge of COVID-19 pandemic, Aregbesola urged for the cooperation of all Nigerians.

The minister assured that the Federal Government would continue to foster peaceful coexistence, national cohesion and stability in the march towards actualising the nation’s full potentials.

Aregbesola called on the masses to support the government “in its avowed determination to build a peaceful, harmonious and prosperous country, where the rights of every citizen, are protected and guaranteed, as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

He counselled Nigerians to take responsibility against the spread of the COVID-19, urging the citizens to stay safe by observing physical and social distancing, personal and respiratory hygiene, as well as other safety measures issued by relevant authorities.

Meanwhile, Sanwo-Olu through his Commissioner for Home Affairs, Anofiu Elegushi, has admonished Muslims to maintain moderation even as they celebrate the Eid-el-Kabir, warning that the Coronavirus scourge is still very much in an aggressive stage, hence the need to be more cautious in order to consolidate the gains so far achieved by the state government.

Elegushi appealed to Lagosians that the celebration should be done within families as earlier observed during the Eid-el-Fitri celebration three months ago, while the Eid-el-Kabir prayers should be observed at home as mosques and churches are still on lockdown in the state.

While reiterating the Sanwo-Olu administration’s determination to flattening the curve of the ravaging pandemic, the commissioner noted that the religious rites of slaughtering of animals would be carried out through a live broadcast by the Grand Chief Imam of Lagos State, Sheikh Suleiman Abou-Nolla, on, July 31 by 9am on LTV while all other Imams in the state are to follow suit thereafter.

Elegushi reassured all residents of the state that the siege would soon be over as government is leaving no stone unturned in containing the spread of the COVID-19, while anticipating the eventual reopening of businesses in the shortest time possible based on the advice by medical experts.

The commissioner, however, enjoined the general public to continue adherence to the culture of maintaining physical distance, wearing of face masks, constant handwashing with soap and water as well as the regular use of hand sanitiser to further prevent the spread of the virus.

He wished all Muslim faithful a blissful celebration of Eid-el-Kabir and enjoined them to remember Lagos State and Nigeria in their individual prayers to Allah.

Idowu Sowunmi