Nigeria: Again, FCTA Cancels Eid-Il-Fitr Public Prayer

Abuja authorities enjoin Muslims to hold Eid prayers outdoors within the premises of their neighbourhood Juma'at mosques.

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has declared that there will be no Eid-il-Fitr prayers at the National Eid prayer ground along the Umaru Musa Yar'adua Expressway (Airport Road).

This is contained in a statement by the FCT Minister, Muhammad Bello, on Tuesday in Abuja.

Mr Bello said the directive was part of resolution reached at a meeting between the FCTA and the FCT League of Imams Initiative, led by its Chairman, Tajudeen Adigun.

He explained that the objective of the meeting was to discuss the modalities of holding Eid prayers for the upcoming Eid-il-Fitr celebrations.

Mr Bello said that all worshippers are enjoined to hold Eid prayers outdoors within the premises of their neighbourhood Juma'at mosques.

According to him, indoor worship is to be limited to less than 50 per cent of installed capacity.

Religious authorities are advised to regulate the flow of people entering and exiting places of worship.

"All non-pharmaceutical intervention protocols of facial coverings, physical distancing and hand washing are to be observed.

"All other Eid celebrations and activities should be confined to homes as all public parks, recreation and entertainment centers are to be closed.

On his part, the Chairman of the FCT League of Imams Initiative, Mr Adigun, said "In Islam, you listen to experts, those who are specialists, and those who have actually discussed with us are experts in the field of medical sciences.

"In Islam, you also abide with the commands of leadership".

"Based on this and what we are convinced of, we urge Muslim Ummah to also respect this stand of the Administration by observing our Eid prayers within our localities."

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in 2020, the FCTA cancelled Eid prayers to mark the Eid-el Fitr celebration in the FCT.

This is sequel to the statement by the Jama'atul Nasril Islam (JNI), under the leadership of His Eminence, The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar, regarding the suspension of the Eid Congregational Prayers in towns and cities across the Federation.

The decision, the FCTA said, was in tandem with the guidelines, issued by the then Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, that all places of worship in the FCT and other high-risk States of the Federation should remain closed during the recently extended period of lockdown.

NAN also reports that the federal government on Monday reintroduced the restriction on mass gatherings after a spike in COVID-19 cases recorded in in Brazil, India and Turkey.

The Head of the Secretary of Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, Dr Mukhtar Mohammed, who announced this, said effective Tuesday, May 11, event centres and non-essential public places such as night clubs would remain closed till further notice.

Mr Mohammed said that gatherings of religious groups and weddings, have been reduced to 50 per cent attendance, while official engagements, meetings and conferences should continue to hold virtually.

He said the government had also reintroduced curfew from midnight of Monday to 4 a.m.

The committee directed security personnel to enforce the measures while state governments are to set up a mobile tribunal for the prosecution of violators.

Mr Mohammed said, "the National Response continues to focus on achieving a balance between preserving lives while working on long term epidemic control. Effective from 00:01 hours on Tuesday, this phase four of restriction of movement shall come into effect.

"We shall maintain restrictions on mass gatherings of sidewalk settings, with a maximum of about 50 people in an enclosed space," he said.

(NAN)

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