Muslim faithful across Nigeria yesterday marked this year's Eid-el-Kabir festival without any major untoward incidences.
This is a welcome relief in a country where daily reports of violence and bloodshed are all too common from attacks on citizens and public institutions by terrorists, bandits, rustlers, marauding herdsmen militia and separatist agitators.
In his goodwill messages, former head of state General Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd.) called on bandits to have a rethink and repent even as the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar identified peace as the panacea for growth and development General Abdulsalami, while calling on the bandits and others causing insecurity in Nigeria to lay down their arms and embrace peace, said it was the prayer of every well-meaning Nigerian that "Allah will touch their heart to denounce banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling and all forms of criminal activities."
He congratulated Muslim ummah and Nigerians for witnessing this year's Sallah and advised them to continue to remain peaceful and orderly in their conduct.
On his part, the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar urged Muslims to use the Eid-el-Kabir celebration to pray for the peace and unity of Nigeria.
The Etsu Nupe, who is also chairman, Niger State Council of Traditional Rulers, yesterday at the Eid praying ground in Bida expressed optimism that Nigeria would benefit from the spiritual lessons of Eid-el-Kabir
He said prayers and fear of Allah, peaceful coexistence, mutual respect and love will make Nigerians work together to harness the abundant resources as a progressive nation.
The royal father called on the citizens to build bridges of brotherhood for the nation's unity and appealed to Muslims to emulate Prophet Ibrahim's virtues of sacrifice, obedience and submissiveness to the will of Allah
"Today's celebration is a commemoration of total submissiveness and obedience to the will of Allah, as exemplified by Prophets Ibrahim and Ismail. It is also a lesson on the virtue of keeping our promises to Allah and to our fellow man," Abubakar said.
The monarch, therefore, advised Muslims to shun societal ills and to always endeavour to do good for the betterment of all, and to live in peace with another, irrespective of religious, political, cultural and ethnic affinity.
Also speaking after the two rakat prayers, Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani Bello stressed the need for Nigerians, irrespective of ethnic and religious differences, to pray for the nation's security agencies to be bestowed with the wisdom to overcome current security challenges bedeviling the country.
He appealed to the people to provide security agencies with genuine security information that will help them to combat the challenges, just as he expressed confidence that Niger State and Nigeria will soon overcome the current insecurity, especially those caused by banditry.
The chief Imam of Bida, Sheik Adamu Yakatu, conducted the eid prayers in Bida while at Minna central mosque, Sheik Ibrahim Isa Fari, led the two rakat prayers before the faithful proceeded with slaughtering of their rams.
The Emir of Zazzau, Malam Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli, in his Eid-el-Kabir message delivered at his palace in Zaria, urged scholars to engage in fervent prayers for peace and security in the emirate and the country as a whole.
The Emir said, "Prayer is the only panacea to the current security challenges bedeviling the country.
"I therefore urge Islamic and Christian scholars as well as Imams and Pastors to engage in fervent prayers against kidnapping, banditry and all forms of crimes in society."
While congratulating Muslim ummah on the celebration of Eid-el-Kabir, the emir appealed to government and security agencies to redouble their commitment in ensuring peace and security among Nigerians.
He lauded the efforts of both federal and state governments for their untiring support to security agencies in terms of provision of equipment and logistics towards combating crimes but called for a review of their welfare packages safety.
He warned farmers not to be deterred by insecurity to abandon their farmland, assuring them that measures are being taken to improve security situation in the emirate.
Katsina State Governor Aminu Masari called on leaders to promote peace and unity among various nationalities irrespective of ethnic, religious and political affiliations.
"As leaders, we must emphasize things that would promote peace, unity and mutual coexistence among the people," he said.
The governor stressed that no nation would develop in atmosphere of differences and crises, even as he called for collaborative efforts to confront the security challenges facing the country as government alone cannot do it.
In Kano State, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje urged Muslims to pray for peace, unity and stability in the country.
Ganduje also called on Nigerians to continue to pray against insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and other forms of criminality in the country.
"I also urge Muslims to remain steadfast and imbibe honesty and peaceful coexistence," he said.
The governor advised the residents to abide by all the COVID-19 protocols while celebrating the Eid-el-Kabir. In his sermon, the Chief Imam of Kano, Prof. Sani Zahradeen, urged Muslim faithful to pray for an end to insecurity in the country.
Zahradeen admonished Muslims to use the teachings of the Eid to promote love and brotherhood as well as live in peace with one another.
The chief Imam also advised the people of the state irrespective of their religion to observe all COVID-19 protocols and pray against the spread of the disease.
Yesterday, Muslim faithful in thousands including children in their colourful attire, thronged to the various Eid praying grounds in the metropolis as early as 7am to attend the prayer session.
The Ramat Square Eid ground in Maiduguri was filled to capacity as Muslim faithful trooped out en masse to make their prayers marking the eid-el-kabir celebration.
The prayer session was led by Imam Idiani of Borno , Imam Shettima Mamman Shettima Saleh, who prayed Allah to restore peace in the state and Nigeria in general.
He traced the origin of Eid and lay emphasis on the importance of sacrificing ram as against any other animal on earth and urged faithful to emulate Prophet Muhammed who made sacrifices for peace among brethren.
The Eid prayers was attended by Borno State Governor Babagana Umara Zulum, former governor of the state, Senator Kashim Shettima, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, Senator Abubakar Kyari, the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, members of House of Representatives from Borno, and members of the state executive council, among other dignitaries.
PMB Gives Corps Members N1m, 2 Cows, 20 Bags Of Rice
It was a happy moment yesterday for visiting members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) as President Muhammadu Buhari in Daura, Katsina State, gave them N1million, 20 bags of rice and two cows to celebrate the Eid-el-Kabir feast.
The president used the event to express his deep attachment to the NYSC and highlighted some of its impacts on Nigerians.
The president said the scheme had broaden the horizon of citizens, opened up opportunities and enhanced understanding of cultural differences.
Speaking at his country home to youth corps members serving in Daura, who paid him Eid-el-Kabir homage, the president in a statement issued by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, said he had consistently commended former head of state, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, for the initiative which had created more opportunities for uniting the country.
The president said the NYSC scheme was well thought-out to unite the country through understanding.
President Buhari urged the corps members to make the most out of the opportunity of travelling around the country, especially in understanding different climates, cultures, languages and other people's views on life.
"Every time I meet with former head of state, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, like recently, I still commended him for the NYSC initiative. The NYSC is spectacular in many ways.
"Some of you have come from Port Harcourt, Lagos and Calabar and you can now feel the heat of Daura and how close it is to the desert," he said.
"I feel very strongly about the NYSC and I am wishing you all the very best. I assure you that you will be much better as Nigerians after your experience," he said.
President Buhari gave the corps members two cows from his farm, 20 bags of rice and N1million.
The corps liaison officer, Umaru Babayo, thanked the president for all the efforts and sacrifices to restore peace in the country, and the policies to diversify the economy, with agriculture as the main driver.
Babayo assured the president of prayers for a successful time in office, and God's providence in decision making that will move the country forward.
Meanwhile, President Buhari has commended the gallant pilot of the Nigerian Air Force Alpha Jet, Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo, who successfully ejected from an aircraft that came under "intense ground fire from bandits" in Zamfara State at the weekend.
The president, according to a statement by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, who was briefed on the successful operation by the nation's defence forces to rescue the pilot, said he was pained by news of the air crash.
"I was shocked by the devastating news of the air crash but felt much relieved following the successful ejection by the pilot and his eventual rescue. May the injured pilot recover at the earliest time," he said.
Police rescue 100 Kidnap Victims from Bandits' Den In Zamfara
Meanwhile, it is a joyous sallah for the families 100 kidnapped villagers in Zamfara State as they regained their freedom yesterday.
The Zamfara State Police Command said they rescued about 100 kidnapped victims in the state, saying that most of them were nursing mothers.
Briefing newsmen, the police public relations officer of the command, SP Mohammed Shehu, said all the victims were from Manawa village of Maru Local Government Area of the state.
The police spokesman said they were kidnapped on June 8 this year by bandits and taken to Kabaro village in Maru Local Government Area of the state where they had been until they were rescued by the police operatives.
He said the victims were released unconditionally, adding that "we used carrot approach to rescue them."
"We dialogued with the bandits that had kidnapped them and at the end of the dialogue, they (bandits) agreed to release them without paying ransom.
"The police command in collaboration with the ministry of security did our best to rescue them without paying ransom".
The state police spokesman, who presented 80 rescued victims before the journalists, maintained that the remaining 20 were being treated in the hospital.
"We brought 80 here and the remaining 20 are in hospital for treatment and would be returned to their families as soon as they are medically fit."
"Although we have security problems here and there in the state, I can say that we are achieving a lot in restoring peace in the state".
"We will continue to do our best to ensure that the state becomes peaceful and comfortable".
The Special Adviser to Governor Matawalle on Security Matters, DIG Mamman Tsafe (retd.) explained that the state government would continue to use both soft and tough approaches in dealing with banditry issues.
"The state government would continue to dialogue with the bandits and will also use force in dealing with recalcitrant bandits," he said.
Tolerance, Consistent Prayers, Path To Tackling Nigeria's Security Challenges - Bagudu
Meanwhile, Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu has identified tolerance, love, patriotism and consistent prayers by Nigerians as the possible remedy for the lingering security challenges bedeviling the country.
Bagudu, who is also the chairman of APC Governors' Forum, made the observation in a message to felicitate with the people of the state on the occasion of the Eid-el-Kabir.
The governor stressed the need for citizens of the country to show love, tolerance and respect for each other's religion, tribe, ethnicity, culture and tradition for the nation to progress.
Bagudu, who congratulated Muslims, urged them to rally round the present administration at all levels to gain more dividends of democracy.
According to him, Sallah period is a time for sober reflections, hence the need to sustain its virtues of assistance and extending helping hands to those in need.
"There is no better period than now to exhibit the virtues and sterling qualities of our noble Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in this Holy Month.
"This is a time for all of us to go out to reiterate our belief in Nigeria, as well as engage in acts that can solidify the peace, unity and socio-economic prosperity of the nation.
"All hands must, therefore, be on deck by all peace loving and law-abiding Nigerians, to make the country more secure and restore its lost glory," he admonished.