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Eid-el-Kabir: IGP orders tight security nationwide

By Odita Sunday, Ernest Nzor (Abuja), Gbenga Salau (Lagos), Charles Akpeji (Jalingo), Timothy Agbor (Osogbo), Michael Egbejule (Benin) and Ayodele Afolabi (Ado-Ekiti)
09 July 2022   |   4:32 am
All the police commands in the country have been placed on alert as Nigerian Muslims join their counterparts across the world today to celebrate this year’s Eid-el-Kabir.

UNWILLING RAM: A Muslim faithful dragging home a ram he bought at the Gwarimpa area of Abuja… yesterday. PHOTO: Lucy Ladidi Ateko

• Shun Violent Extremist Ideas, Buhari Tells Muslims
• Govs, Tinubu, Saraki Seek End To Violence, Others
• Taraba Police Deploy 3,500, Osun NSCDC 1,457 Personnel
• NCDC Urges Adherence To COVID-19 Preventive Measures

All the police commands in the country have been placed on alert as Nigerian Muslims join their counterparts across the world today to celebrate this year’s Eid-el-Kabir.

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba who gave the order said no effort would be spared to decimate criminal activities and improve upon security of life and property across the country during the celebration and beyond.
 
In a statement, yesterday, by the national spokesman of the police, CSP Muyiwa Adejobi, the IGP specifically charged commissioners of police and tactical commanders in all the states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and their supervisory assistant inspectors general of police to beef-up security ahead of the Eid-el-Kabir to prevent any untoward situation in their areas of responsibility.
 
“The IGP has directed that supervisory inspectors general and their respective police commissioners should ensure adequate deployment of officers and assets to prevent occurrence of crimes and criminality, as well as build confidence amongst the citizens.
 
“Baba charged officers and men of the police to engage in critical assessment of threat prone areas, thorough stop and search, raid on black spots and other anti-crime strategies capable of sustaining peace and public safety in Nigeria.

 
“The IGP also warned that personnel deployed must be professional and mindful of the fundamental rights of the citizens, and discharge their responsibilities with all sense of decorum and alertness.   
 
“The IGP enjoined Muslim faithful in the country to celebrate and enjoy the beauty of the Eid-el-Kabir while remaining security conscious.
 
“He also urged them to report all suspicious individuals, movements, or activities to the police for prompt intervention even as he admonished them to cooperate with operatives of the police and other security agencies deployed on duty at strategic places for the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations across the country.
Baba wishes all Muslims a happy and peaceable Sallah celebration,” the statement read in part.

In Taraba State, the police command said adequate plan had been made to ensure a hitch-free Sallah celebration.

According to the Commissioner of Police, Abimbola Shokoya, more than 3,500 officers and men have been placed on alert to ensure peaceful celebration across the 16 local councils of the state and the special development areas.

Shokoya, who made this known, yesterday, shortly after the security meeting that was held behind closed door in the office of the Deputy Governor, Haruna Manu, said the security operatives had resolved to work round the clock to prevent bandits from disrupting the celebration. The police, in collaboration with other security outfits, he said, would sustain the relative peace that is currently being enjoyed in Taraba State.

To combat crimes during the celebration, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Osun State Command, has deployed 1,457 personnel at the nooks and crannies of the state. The Commandant, Sunday Agboola said all prayer grounds would be effectively provided with adequate security.

In a statement by the Public Relations Officer of the corps, Atanda Olabisi, the NSCDC chief reiterated the readiness of his command to also ensure security at recreation centres and other public places.

Meanwhile, some eminent Nigerians, including President Muhammadu Buhari, have urged the Muslim faithful and other citizens to work for the unity and progress of the country.

Buhari has called on Nigerians to put the interest of the country above theirs and “use religion as a motivation for the love of our common humanity.”

In his Eid-el Kabir message to Nigerian Muslims and other citizens, President Buhari said: “If we are putting the teachings of our religions into practice, most of the evils afflicting our society would have been solved. Religion shouldn’t just be used as a mere badge of identity, but as a motivator for doing good for our country and humanity.”

To him, “the exploitation of the people by traders and the stealing of public funds by civil servants and other holders of public trust is a reflection of the abandonment of the teachings of our religions.”

“Our society is a bundle of contradictions. People display external religiosity without fear of God; they make life difficult for others; money becomes their god; leaders abandon their oaths of office by taking money meant for the welfare of the people and divert it to their private pockets,” he lamented.

The President congratulated the Muslim Ummah in Nigeria and the world, citing for special mention “the brave men and women in uniform fighting terror on many fronts and their families, as well as others held hostage and kept away from their families by wicked and heartless terrorists.”

He called on all Muslims to reflect on the significance of the sacrifice epitomised by Eid. “We should show love and care to our neighbours and others while celebrating this spiritually important event in our lives.”

President Buhari also advised Muslims to promote the good virtues of Islam through personal examples and practice. He said “Muslims should avoid association with violent extremist ideas that have wrongly given Islam a negative image or poor perception.”

On the current security challenges and costs of living in the country, President Buhari assured Nigerians that “I won’t rest until I bring relief to Nigerians,” adding that “I am quite aware of the difficulties people are facing and working to resolve them.”

In his Sallah message, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, urged the residents and other Nigerians to continue on the path of spirituality and peaceful co-existence. He advised the citizens, especially Muslims, to imbibe the lessons of the sacrifice made by Prophet Ibrahim and work for the unity, peace and progress of the nation.

Governor Sanwo-Olu, who is seeking re-election in next year’s governorship election, also urged Lagos residents to continue to support his administration’s efforts in building a ‘Greater Lagos’ that works for all, reiterating his committment to delivering his campaign promises.

Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki urged the Muslim faithful to imbibe the lesson of sacrifice which the Eid-el-Kabir symbolises.

“Eid-el-Kabir offers us another opportunity to rededicate ourselves to our beneficent Creator, and reinforces the virtues of patience, tolerance and love. These times, demand that in our struggle to build a better nation, we are united and join hands across ethno-religious inclinations to work for our collective progress,” the Edo governor said.

Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Yinka Oyebode, urged the Muslims Ummah to uphold the lessons of love, loyalty and sacrifice which are the foundation of the festival.

The governor noted that the Eid- el-Kabir became a symbolic event following the bountiful reward Prophet Ibrahim received for his demonstrated perseverance and absolute faith in God by holding tenaciously to his faith during the trying period.

Fayemi said this year’s Eid-el-Kabir festival offered another opportunity for sober reflection and spiritual renewal which Allah demands from the faithful. He urged the Muslim faithful and adherents of other faiths in the country to make peaceful coexistence their watchword and work together for a more peaceful, united and prosperous Nigeria.

Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, urged Muslims in the state to share goodies with the less privileged.

He further urged them to be guided by the faith, perseverance and obedience demonstrated by Prophet Ibrahim when he was reminded by God to fulfill his promise of sacrificing his son, if he was blessed with a child.

Abiodun, who noted that the country is currently going through challenges, called on the adherents of Islamic religion to pray for Nigeria, particularly on security and economy.

The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in his Sallah message said: “As we celebrate Eid, let us use this moment to rededicate ourselves to greater adherence to the spiritually-enriching commands of Almighty Allah SWT. We must show the true spirit of Islam in our lives and not just on these special holidays. The holidays are given to us not merely as special moments to celebrate, but as kind reminders to strive as we must to become the people and nation we are meant to be.

“We face stiff challenges as a nation. Most troubling is the spate of violent attacks on innocent Nigerians. We must take a stand against terror and injustice. These evils lie forever outside our faith. Those who perpetuate such inhumanity do so in opposition to Islam and all that it means.

“To be true Muslims is to adhere to the principles of peace, tolerance, justice, and charity. Our faith asks us to stand against those perpetrating evil and visiting untold misery on others. And we must remain forever obedient to the kind and life-affirming principles of our faith.

“Yes, there are those who seek to bring this nation and Islam into disrepute through their destructive and violent actions. They seek to pit brother against brother, neighbour against neighbour, and religion against religion. They want to break the peaceful order of society. But Allah has placed us here to build a better Nigeria by taking care and seeing all of its inhabitants as our brothers and sisters regardless of ethnicity, faith and region. This we shall do. And no amount of evil or terror from whatever quarter shall stop us from fulfilling what Allah has commanded us to do.”

Former Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, in a Sallah message signed by the head of his Media Office, Yusuph Olaniyonu, reminded Muslims of the significance of Eid-el-Kabir which symbolizes obedience to Allah, genuine sacrifice to and faith in their creator as well as the desire for peace. He advised Muslims to always demonstrate these values in their daily activities.

He advised members of the Ummah in Nigeria to use the occasion of the festival to pray for peace, security, unity, and prosperity in the country because the lack of these elements is threatening to disintegrate Nigeria and set her people against each other.

“One cannot but note that this Sallah period has only advertised the endemic poverty, unemployment, and anger in our country as people in millions of homes cannot happily celebrate Sallah due to economic hardship, violence that has displaced them from their homestead, the resultant loss of dear ones due to untoward activities of non-state actors who have waged war against the state, family members who are being held in kidnappers’ den and the ones who suffer from various ailments without the ability to pay for good health care.

“The situation in the country is very dire and is threatening to drive happiness away from the land. Even then, millions of people will troop to the various praying grounds on Sallah day to give glory to Almighty Allah for preserving them and to also make more requests to the ultimate provider. I enjoin those who are fortunate to go to the praying grounds to remember to pray for our country and our fellow citizens who wish to join the prayers but could not make it because of one unfortunate incident or the other beyond their control,” Saraki said.

The National Orientation Agency (NOA) called on the Muslim faithful to dedicate the celebration to praying for the peace, prosperity and stability of Nigeria in the face of its current challenges.

The Director-General, Dr. Garba Abari, in an Eid-el-Kabir message to the Muslim Ummah in Nigeria, urged them to maintain the virtues of peace, love and sacrifice espoused by Prophet Mohammed.

A statement by the Assistant Director of Press, Mr. Paul Odenyi, admonished Muslims to use the Eid-el-Kabir to seek divine intervention for a quick end to the security challenges bedeviling the country.

“It is only with ardent faith in God and love for humanity that the citizens of any nation can peacefully navigate the challenges of nationhood and emerge a stronger, united, more resilient and prosperous people”.

He also advised Nigerians to observe necessary safety precautions for their own security and that of their immediate environment as they go about the Sallah celebration, stressing the importance of maintaining constant alertness at all times.

As the Eid-el-Kabir is being celebrated, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has issued a public health advisory, warning religious organisations, community leaders, and other Nigerians, in general, to take necessary precautions to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In view of the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the country and globally, NCDC cautioned Nigerians to prevent the onset of a full-fledged fifth COVID-19 wave by remaining mindful of the high risk of spread of the disease and adhering to recommended public health safety measures.

In a statement, yesterday, the Director-General, NCDC, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, noted that the virus that causes COVID-19 is more likely to spread in mass gatherings and when people do not adhere to preventive measures such as physical distancing, mask use, and hand hygiene.

Quoting the latest situation report from the World Health Organization (WHO), Adetifa said the number of weekly COVID-19 cases had increased globally for the third consecutive weeks, adding that the country’s national surveillance system had detected a gradual increase in the daily COVID-19 cases recorded in Nigeria.

On how you can protect yourself and those around you, NCDC said: “Visit the nearest government health facility to get vaccinated if you have not been previously vaccinated. If you received your first two vaccine doses up to 6 months ago, please go and get your booster dose. Maintain a physical distance of at least 1.5 metres from others, even if they do not appear to be sick. Avoid crowding (indoors and outdoors) and close contact. Wear a properly fitted facemask when in crowded open and closed places, especially in poorly ventilated settings. Wash hands frequently with soap under running water or clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based sanitiser. Cover your mouth and nose with a bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of used tissues immediately and clean hands regularly. If you develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19, self-isolate until you recover.”