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Eid-el-Fitr: Kano, Katsina, Borno Muslims defy crowd restriction order

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MUSLIMS in Kano, Katsina, Borno, Zamfara and Bauchi states on Sunday, shunned a directive of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, which stated that there should be no large gatherings at Eid prayers.

In Kano State, Muslim faithful trooped out as early as 8:30am to observe the  Eid-el-Fitr prayers at the various Eid praying grounds without complying with the physical distancing order.

It was observed at some Eid grounds that while some worshippers wore face masks, others refused to abide by the order.

However, worshippers were asked to wash their hands and use of sanitisers by the people mandated to enforce hygiene rules.

But some worshippers entered the prayer grounds without washing their hands and using sanitisers.

The Eid prayer attended by the Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum, was held at the Ramat Square.

Although efforts were made to maintain social distancing, it was difficult to implement in areas where there were no government officials because of the crowd that thronged the prayer ground.

In Bauchi State, the directive of the PTF and the Sultan was ignored as residents failed to observe social distancing at Eid prayers.

The state Governor, Bala Mohammed, religious and traditional leaders had, at a meeting in Bauchi last week, agreed that religious gatherings should resume in the state.

In Kwara State, Muslims complied with the PTF and the Sultan’s directive, as they held Eid-Fitr prayers in their various homes.

The Muslims including the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, gathered in small groups in their compounds to observe the two rakat prayers.

In Ekiti State, there were no Eid prayers at prayer grounds to mark the end of the Ramaddan fasting.

In Abuja, the President Muhammadu Buhari said he observed the Eid-el-Fitr prayers at his State House residence because of the raging COVID-19 pandemic.

He explained that his decision was in compliance with the measures put in place by the PTF which prohibited mass gatherings.

Buhari was joined at the prayers by family members, including his wife, Aisha, and son, Yusuf.

In a brief interview after the session, Buhari urged Muslims to reflect on the lessons of the period.

He said, “I held Eid prayers at home today with my family, in keeping with the protocol of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 against mass gatherings, as well as the directive of the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, suspending Eid congregational prayers across the country.”

Muslims in the central part of the Federal Capital Territory prayed at home as they completed the mandatory one-month Ramadan fast.

In obedience to the PTF and the Sultan’s directive all prayer grounds in the FCT were under lock on Sunday.

No congregational prayers were also held in mosques visited by our correspondents.

Some open spaces usually converted to praying grounds in Asokoro, Maitama, Wuse II, and Jabi among others were also deserted.

Earlier, Kano, Katsina, Borno and Yobe states, last week relaxed the Federal Government’s lockdown and allowed religious organisations to hold their congregational activities. They gave Muslims the go-ahead to hold prayers at Eid at grounds to mark the end of 30 days fasting.

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