PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has barred all of government officials and political leaders from visiting him over the weekend to pay him the annual Eid-el-Fitr homage at the presidential villa in a bid to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Sunday, Nigerian Muslims will be celebrating Eid-el-Fitr to mark the end of the month-long Ramadan fasting period. Traditionally, this is a time when government officials, political leaders, community heads, Muslim and Christian religious leaders and traditional monarchs visit the Nigerian president to pay homage to him.
However, given the recent experience of the funeral of Mallam Abba Kyari, President Buhari’s former chief of staff, when hundreds of government officials attended the event with total disregard for health precautions, they have been barred from the presidential villa on Sunday. At Mallam Kyari’s funeral government officials were seen without protective equipment and most of them mingled without any regard for social distancing.
To prevent a repeat of this, President Buhari said he would spend the period at home with his family and asked everyone else to pray at home. He also cited the directive of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, suspending Eid congregational prayers across the country this year.
Mallam Garba Shehu, President Buhari’s spokesman, said: “With the Eid-el-Fitr celebrations around the corner and the month-long Ramadan fast coming to an end, President Muhammadu Buhari will be conducting his Eid prayers with his family at home. This is in observance of the lockdown measures in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, put in place to save lives and protect people from all dangers.
“This is also in line with the directive of the Sultan of Sokoto and president of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III suspending Eid congregational prayers across the country as well as the protocol against mass gathering issued by the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19. Further to this, the president who has traditionally shared the joyous moment with top government officials, political leaders, community heads, Muslim and Christian religious leaders and children, will not be receiving these homage’s in a bid to stop the coronavirus from further spreading.”