Muslims observe quiet celebrations, struggle with safety breaches at Salah
Quiet celebrations and slight breaches of COVID-19 safety protocols shaped the observance of this year’s Eid el-Kabir by Muslims in the Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State.
The Guardian observed that Muslims didn’t gather for Eid prayers at most of the designated praying grounds in the council area as they settled for having the prescribed Nawafil (Eid prayers) with family members.
Describing this year’s celebration, a textile dealer who came to town to celebrate, Shakirah Akande, observed that “it was more of a reunion for me than Sallah, catching up with my aunts, uncles and cousins. There was no congregational prayer in Agbara, but I observed nafilat with my mum and dad at home.”
According to Azeez Bello, the celebration was “a very dull affair compared to previous years where a lot of friends and family members came around, but safety was the motto this time. I had to celebrate with my immediate family and neighbours.”
For Ahmed Usman, this year’s Salah was on a low key. He said: “The pandemic couldn’t let us celebrate it like the past years. Apart from the absence of eid prayers, public fun spots and recreational centres were also shut, taking the shine away from the usual outdoor merriments. Everyone had to pray with their families at home.”
Another faithful, Ibrahim Olajide, said he couldn’t travel home to his village to spend the Salah with his family due to the exorbitant hike in transport fare. He also gathered that many of his friends from his town in Osun State didn’t travel as his village was like a ghost town during Salah due to the COVID-19 transport guidelines.
Commenting on the development, the Chief Imam of Ijako Central Mosque, Alh. Isa Ajisope, stated that adherence to safety guidelines made Muslims stay away from praying grounds. The religious leader urged Muslims to keep obeying safety protocols as advised by the health officials.
At the Sango-Ota Motor Park, commercial bus drivers flouted safety guidelines on maintaining social distancing despite the hike in transport fares. Ibrahim Bolaji decried the cost of the fares, noting that people had moved on from the threats of COVID-19 to wellbeing and socio-economic activities.
“The fares have been hiked and bus drivers don’t want to follow the social distancing guideline. I had to fight this driver to make him comply. A lot of people hung their face masks around their chins and did so to avoid being harassed, not because of COVID-19. I believe people have moved on.”
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