Muslims in the country yesterday joined other faithful across the world to celebrate the Eid-el-Fitri after the mandatory one month Ramadan fast amid tight security to forestall possible breakdown of law and order.
The development is against the backdrop of bombings and attacks on places of worship especially in the northern part of the country.
The Inspector -General of Police, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar had on Friday ordered officers in charge of zonal and state police commands to give adequate protection to worship places and recreation centres during the Sallah celebrations.
Meanwhile, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa'ad Abubakar III, has said that the incessant bomb explosions in the North are acts of enemies of Islam, as he insists that Islam abhors all forms of terrorism.
According to him, it is disheartening that the bombings are only taking place in the region hitherto known for its peace and tranquillity.
The royal father disclosed this yesterday when he was addressing mammoth crowd at his palace as part of Sallah celebration to mark Eid-el- Fitri festival in Sokoto. But the Sultan identified ignorance and misuse of knowledge as factors responsible for the country's problems.
The Spiritual Leader of Muslim Ummah in Nigeria also admonished Muslims to strive hard in seeking Islamic knowledge to attain Allah's pleasure in all their affairs, saying that ignorance and misuse of knowledge had led to all the problems in the country.
The Sultan reiterated the importance of girl -child education, adding that the development would ensure meaningful contribution to the society.
Commenting on the issue of bombings, the Sultan said, "This would no doubt make us suspect the enemies of our religion to be hiding under the cover of Islam and Muslim to commit such abominable acts.
"Without any doubt, the terrorist acts being witnessed in states like Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Kano, Plateau and Kogi is against the teachings of Islam. Islam condemns all forms of terrorism and exploitation, regardless of their magnitude, especially in the holy month".
The Sultan also called on all those involved in the nefarious act to fear Allah and seek to resolve issues through dialogue with their leaders.
He also urged Muslims not to allow themselves to be used by their enemies in achieving their selfish goals.
The royal father said, "We should not allow them to make us commit acts prohibited by our religion, we should continue to render assistance in providing solutions to such problems".
He further called on farmers to make proper utilisation of this year's raining season by working hard to ensure bumper harvest just as he appealed to traders to strive hard to conform to Shari'ah in their transactions.
He urged the Muslims faithful to purify their wealth by paying Zakat as and when due.
On the forthcoming hajj, the royal father also urged all stakeholders to renew their commitment towards the successful conduct of this year's hajj while calling on the intending pilgrims to be good ambassadors of Nigeria by respecting the laws of the holy land.
The Sultan also commended the federal government over its efforts in improving the education of the less- privileged by establishing Almajiri schools nationwide.
He also commended the Sokoto state government for establishing state's university and for providing basic amenities to the populace.
IBB, Abdulsalami seek peaceful co-existence
Former military President General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar have urged Nigerians to live in peace in the spirit of the holy month of Ramadan and continue to work for peace .
Babangida and Abdulsalami spoke yesterday after the Eid prayer at the Minna Praying Ground yesterday.
Babangida said Nigeria is naturally known for peace, saying that there was the need for Nigerians to work for peaceful co-existence while wishing the Muslims faithful happy Sallah.
On his part Abubakar said it was only when all adherence of the major religions in the country maintain peace and tranquillity that the desire development could be achieved.
It's evil, callous to attack places of worship - Etsu Nupe
The Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, has said that it is evil and callous to make places of worship a target for bombing, saying that true adherents of Islam must embrace peace for the growth of the country.
The royal father, who is also the Chairman of the Niger State Traditional Council, stated this in his Sallah message to the people during the Eid -el-Fitr prayers in Bida yesterday.
According to him, all Nigerians must rise up in supplication against the phenomena of bombing places of worship.
He added that it was callous and evil for places of worship to be violently attacked, pointing out that "Both Christianity and Islam abhor violence as such the adherents of the two religions must practice by the teachings."
The Etsu Nupe said it was unfortunate that the recent attacks that left many innocent Nigerians dead were perpetrated by some disgruntled elements who were out to thwart the development efforts of the nation for the consolidation of a true democracy.
The royal father also said that it was only through fervent prayers that the "attitude of such evil doers can be changed" and therefore urged security agents not to relent in their efforts to ensure that peace reign in the country.
Meanwhile, the Acting Niger State Governor, Hon. Musa Ibeto, former Military President Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida , former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, Emir of Minna, Alhaji Umar Farouk Bahago led worshipers to say the Eid prayers amidst tight security mounted by combine team of security agents in Minna yesterday.
In Suleja, there was a ban in the movement of vehicles between 8am and 1pm to forestall breakdown of law and order in the area tagged the 'black spot' of Niger State. But the Eid celebration went peacefully as worshippers trekked to the Eid ground to say their prayers in Suleija.
The Emir of Suleja, Mallam Awal Ibrahim, commended his people for their perseverance during the emergency rule in the area and advised them to remain peaceful .
Ado Bayero sues for cooperation with security agencies
The Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, has urged people of the state to cooperate with security agencies in their efforts to bring back lasting peace in the state.
The emir made this remark yesterday at Kofar Kwaru after attending this year's eid-el Fitr prayer at the Sheikh Ibrahim Nyass Mosque Kofar Mata.
Ado Bayero said the state, like some other parts of the country, is facing some security challenges which require joining hands with the security operatives towards sustenance of peace and maintenance of law and order in the state.
The royal father had earlier attended the eid-el fitr prayer, amidst tight security at the Eid prayer ground as he rode to the prayer ground on a horse cart where he performed the prayers along with members of his entourage, government officials and other Muslim faithful.
Our correspondent reports that Ado Bayero had to perform the prayers while seating on a chair as his state of health did not allow him to endure long standing to perform the prayer while standing.
The emir's state of health has also changed his traditional way of passing through a dedicated route to arrive at the Eid ground as he came to the Eid ground on a horse cart.
LEADERSHIP also reports that the emir's speech had admonished the people to always have the fear of Allah in the conduct of their activities and shun evil practices that could cause harm and confusion into their lives.
Also, a combined team of policemen, soldiers and plain clothed operatives provide a water tight security to thousands of Muslim worshippers who converged at Sheik Ahmad Tijjani mosque for the Eid-el-Fitr prayer.
Our correspondent reports that this year's eid-el-fitr prayer was shifted from the open Eid Prayer ground opposite the mosque due to security and rain.
Horde of Muslim faithful who attended the prayer were only allowed into the premises of the mosque carrying prayer mats as part of security measure taken by security operatives to ensure a hitch free Sallah celebration.
Chief Imam of Kano Central Mosque, Prof. Sani Zaharadeen, led the prayer in which Ado Bayero, Kano State Deputy Governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and a host of other top government officials and traditional attended the event.
Although Kano State Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso was not in attendance at the prayer session, he , however, sent a goodwill message to the people of the state.
In a message signed by his Director of Media Communications , Kwankwaso urged the people of Kano to continue to live in peace and harmony.
Gunmen disrupts Sallah celebration in Kano
Some gunmen yesterday disrupted sallah celebration in Kano as they launched an attack on a checkpoint along Maiduguri by Zaria Road in Kano metropolis.
A police officer was said to have been injured in the process. Unconfirmed report however said two security personnel were killed in the attack launched on the checkpoint by the unknown gunmen shortly after the Eid prayer at the Kundila Mosque.
Eyewitness said shortly after the prayer, some gunmen routed the check point, firing sporadic shots at the security personnel, killing two people, wounding one in the process.
The state's Joint Task Force (JTF) however said that only one of its official was injured, claiming that it had successfully repelled the Sallah day attack by the unknown gunmen.
Spokesman of the JTF in Kano, Lt. Ikedichi Iweha, confirmed that one of the security operatives, a riot policeman was hit by the bullet of the gunmen in his leg, saying that STF had successfully repelled the attack.
He said security men were located at strategic locations where the incident happened and were able to repelled the gunmen in their attempt to surprise the security personnel.
Our correspondent reports that throughout yesterday, some armoured tanks were providing surveillance at different strategic places in the ancient city in a bid to ward off possible incursion.
Some helicopters were also seen hovering around the sky making constant surveillance on the city to check unusual movement of miscreants across the state and repel any attack.
Iweha, who confirmed the attack, said none of the gunmen was arrested or killed, saying security operatives had shot some of them. He said, "Some of them must have escaped into the Kundila Estate neighbourhood with gunshot in their bodies".
He said that the riot policeman who sustained minor injury during the attack was treated at a nearby hospital and had since resume duty.
Bauchi celebrates Sallah amidst tight security
In a related development, Muslim faithful in Bauchi yesterday celebrated Eid-el -Fitr festival with the usual traditional durbar (horse riding) amid tight security.
The event, which was held at the palace of the Emir of Bauchi, Alhaji Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu, paralysed commercial and other activities in the state capital as people abandoned their businesses to witness the colourful ceremony.
LEADERSHIP learnt that although troops comprising armed policemen, soldiers and vigilantes were deployed to the metropolis to forestall any potential breach of peace during the celebration, the Eid prayer was however observed at the Bauchi Central Mosque instead of the usual Eid praying ground located at the Liman Mahmood Street Bauchi .
The development might not be unconnected to the current security situation in the state.
In his sallah message, the Emir of Bauchi, Alhaji Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu, called on the people to use the festive period in praying for peaceful coexistence in the country.
With Prayers, We'll Overcome Nigeria's Problems - Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan has expressed the hope that with unity and peace, what Nigeria passes through as a nation can only be overcome by prayers.
Jonathan stated this yesterday when Vice- President Namadi Sambo and the FCT Minister, Mr. Bala Mohammed led a delegation of Muslim faithful to pay him homage for the Eid-El-Fitr Sallah celebration at his residence at the presidential villa, Abuja.
He said, "What we are passing through as nation can be overcome with prayers. The Vice -President and other government functionaries are committed to the transformation process".
Noting that, to progress, there must be unity and peace in the country, Jonathan said, "For us to progress, we must unite, for us to progress, there must have peace. Today is a great day, it is a moment not just for Muslims but all Nigerians to reflect on the unity of Nigeria".
Jonathan, who wore a milk coloured Babanriga and a cap to match, promised to build on the effort of founding fathers of Nigeria to the enviable level, saying that "this is a forum to tell Nigerians that we are one".
Sambo had earlier thanked the president for all he has been doing to move the country forward, just as he prayed God for good health and wisdom for him to transform Nigeria
Tension over the presence of Boko Haram members in Calabar
But there is a palpable tension in Calabar, Cross River State over the alleged presence of Boko-Haram members in the state. The tension arose over text messages send to people across the state.
The message had it that two of the suspected members of the sect were arrested yesterday at about 11.30am along Nassarawa Road at Eight Miles in Calabar Municipal and were allegedly handed over to the Police.
The text reads in part, "Today in Calabar, capital of Cross River State at about 11.30am, two gang men suspected to be Boko Haram members were caught along Nasarawa road at 8 miles'.
When our correspondent contacted the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. John Umoh, the police PPRO stated that the information was a rumour and advised the people to go about their normal duties. He added that the police was on top of the situation.