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Eid-el-Kabir: Muslim faithful decry insecurity, hardship

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(Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

• Ram, Food Prices Soar
• Buhari Leaves For Daura, As Lawmakers Call For Prayers

As Muslim faithful in the country prepare to join their brethren all over the world to mark this year’s Eid-el-Kabir, it is different strokes for different people, as the security challenges in the country and economic hardship bites harder.

Thus, many eminent Nigerians have urged the 65,000 Nigerian pilgrims performing this year’s Hajj to use the occasion of today’s Arafat to pray for the country.

This is as President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, departed Abuja for his hometown, Daura, Katsina State to observe the Eid-el-Kabir.

The president, alongside members of his entourage, departed the Presidential Villa for Katsina via the presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, after observing the two Raka’at Friday prayers at the State House Mosque.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, who is presently in Saudi Arabia for the hajj exercise, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, expressed optimism that with prayers, Nigeria can move to the next level under the current administration.

“I want to urge all our pilgrims to pray for the unity of Nigeria. We need the prayers because the government is not relenting as it is striving to make life better for the citizens.

“We also need to pray for the general wellbeing of all Nigerians. Arafat is a special day that Allah answers prayers. I, therefore, call on Nigerian pilgrims to utilise the opportunity.

“The importance of prayers in the life of man cannot be over-emphasised. That is why we have to assist our leaders with prayers,” he said.

The Speaker commended Nigerians currently on pilgrimage in the holy land for their upright conduct so far and abstinence from activities that could bring disrepute to the image of the country.

He also called on Nigerian Muslims at home, who would observe the fasting on the Day of Arafat, to use the opportunity to pray for the country.

Also, Chairman Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures, Rt. Hon Mudashiru Obasa, felicitated with Muslim faithful in the country, describing the occasion as an opportunity to reflect on God’s faithfulness to the country and its citizens.

He urged Nigerians to close ranks and allow the spirit of self-discipline, love and sacrifice be their watchword.

In a Sallah message to Nigerians, the Speaker noted that as the country journeys to greatness, it is currently at a stage when the citizens must jettison ideas that tend to further divide them.

Obasa, who is also the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, urged the citizens to constantly pray for their leaders to succeed in their vision for a more developed country as the need for citizens’ support for the government cannot be understated.

“To show our allegiance to God is to wish our neighbours well and since this is the case, we should use this period and every opportunity given by God to engage in mutual support and love. Individually and collectively, it is imperative that we constantly submit ourselves to the Will of God and pray for his guidance and Divine direction in giving the leaders the right ideas for a greater country since this is one sure way we can overcome our prevailing challenges,” he said.

Obasa promised that the ninth Lagos Assembly would continue to support the two other arms of the state government to deliver the dividends of democracy to the residents.

Meanwhile, findings by The Guardian showed that many Muslim faithful in the country would not celebrate this year’s Sallah the way they would have wanted as a result of the economic realities and insecurity.

Visits to some ram dealer markets in Agege, Iyana Ipaja, Mushin, Ifo, Sango and Ota, among others, showed that prices have shot up by about 30 per cent from last year’s range. Survey revealed that cows that sold for N80,000 last year now go for between N110,000 and N120,000 while those that sold for N50,000 last year now goes for between N70,000 and N80,000. An average size ram that qualifies for Sallah costs between N50,000 and N80,000, while those below N40,000 are smaller sizes and in some cases infants.

Some cattle traders in Lagos and Ogun states said it takes courage to travel far into the North in search for rams that would be traded during the festive season. To them, the prices were overwhelming, even as the risk of travelling such a distance in the face of security challenges left a heart in the mouth.

A Muslim faithful, Hammed Taiwo, bemoaned the high cost of ram in the market, noting that he had to purchase one about 10 days before Salah in order to get it cheaper.

Taiwo noted that even at that, the prices were so high and would definitely discourage many Muslims from the conditional obligatory rite.

“I bought two rams and each cost N50,000. I have two wives and I want the two of them to be happy during the festival, so I am compelled to buy two rams, even at high prices. Last year, I bought them for N40, 000 and it was big enough. But this year, I had to buy according to my financial capacity,” he said.

In Ibadan, Oyo State, traders at two major markets lamented the low patronage of food and household items barely 48 hours to tomorrow’s Eid-el-Kabir celebration.

Some of the traders at the Bodija and Aleshinloye markets said the 2018 celebration witnessed more patronage.

According to Mrs Funmilayo Olusolape, who sells gifts and household items at Aleshinloye market, trading activities are at low ebb as few people visited the market.

Some of the buyers, however, said that prices of some food items like pepper and tomatoes had skyrocketed.

Alhaja Mumunat Akano said she had spent more hours in the market than expected looking for where to get food items at a cheap rate in the market.

“Some of us have to cut our budget to reflect the reality in the market, but we still can’t buy most of the things we need for the forthcoming celebration due to the hike in prices of food items,” she said.

It was observed that a 50kg bag of rice now sells for N14,000, up from N13,800, while a bucket of tomatoes and pepper is sold for between N1,200 and N2,500 depending on the species.

A bag of yam flour goes for N70,000, while the price of a 20- litre keg of vegetable oil remained static at N10,500.

In Abuja, some passengers travelling outside the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) yesterday for the celebration were stranded at various parks due to insufficient vehicles.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that passengers in Jabi, Utako and Mabushi Parks in Abuja, were seen sitting on their bags under the sun.

Although some of the passengers complained that the fares had been increased due to the celebration, they were willing to pay any amount to get to their destinations.

A Kano-bound passenger, Miss Hadiza Abubakar said she arrived the Utako Park around 9 a.m. and for more than three hours she had been waiting without getting a vehicle.

Abubakar, who is a Youth Corps member serving in Abuja, said she planned spending the Sallah break with her family in Kano.

“I used to pay N3,000 to Kano but today I was told that the price is now N5,000 and we the passengers are ready to pay. But as you can see, there is even no vehicle on ground but we are waiting patiently because we have to travel,” he said.


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