Borno to hold eid prayers as COVID-19 response team okays Zulum’s counsel
…… Over 60s, persons with diseases asked to stay home…
Borno State High-Powered Committee on the prevention and mitigation of Covid-19, ably headed by the Deputy Governor of Borno State, Hon Umar Usman Kadafur, has given approval to citizens to hold Eid El Fitr Prayers to mark the end of Ramadan Fast, but under certain preventive measures.
This was as a result of the directives given by Borno Governor, Prof Babagana Umara Zulum, that the committee consult with the Shehu of Borno and then host a meeting to be attended by the Imam Idaini of Borno and all Imams of Eid prayer grounds in the metropolis to critically discuss the possibility of allowing Eid prayers across the state but under strict preventive measures.
This was contained in a statement released by Hon. Salihú Aliyu Kwaya Bura, Commissioner of Health and Secretary of the High Powered Committee on Borno State Covid-19.
“The Chairman, Borno State High-powered Committee on the prevention and mitigation of Covid-19, His Excellency Alhaji Umar Usman Kadafur, on behalf of the committee and the government of Borno State, under the leadership of His Excellency, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, mni, FNSE, wish to felicitate with the Muslim Ummah and the good people of Borno State during this period of Ramadan fast. The Committee wishes to appreciate the cooperation and commitment of all and sundry towards the fight against the covid-19 pandemic in the state”, it was stated.
Hon. Kadafur further reiterated: “the government acknowledges the fact that some of the measures taken might have inconvenienced a large proportion of the public, but I wish to reiterate that all decisions were taken in good faith, in furtherance of the responsibilities of our government, which is generally compassionate, responsible and responsive. I wish to state further that the committee held wide consultations with the Ulamas and resolved as follows:
The measures to be taken include:
1.That the public may observe the Eid-el-Fitr prayers at the designated Eid grounds between the hours of 8-10 am on that day.
2. In furtherance of measures of infection prevention, the committee has made available hand sanitizers at strategic points for use by the public, and therefore urges the public to take full advantage of such.
3.The committee wishes to reiterate that the public should strongly observe the use of face masks and practice social distancing.
4. The committee further advises that all persons above 60 years of age, those with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes mellitus, asthma or chronic respiratory disease and acute febrile illnesses should please refrain from attending the Eid prayers.
“May Allah SWT accept our ibadat and I wish you happy Sallah celebration.”, The Deputy Governor completed with a prayers.
COVID-19: Borno will Respect Decisions of Imams, Response Team on Sallah- Gov Zulum
Coronavirus is no doubt a dangerous disease and efforts to prevent it must be sustained. In so doing, however, we have to harmonize our obligation in fighting the virus with the needs of those who represent, especially on highly sensitive issues of religion, in which citizens act with motivations that are greater than fears. Borno has, in the last couple of years, been operating under unusual circumstances. We have had instances in which citizens defy the fear of Boko Haram for long treks to Eid grounds even when government restricts vehicular movement. There are instances in which citizens insist on return to same worship places within days of attack by suicide attackers. It is similar to the motivation for survival, which drives citizens all over the country, to defy COVID-19 fears and converge in markets in search of food and other basics. Citizens’ motivations for survival, and religion are divinely strong and can’t be ignored by government.
We will pay attention to the needs of our citizens, but we will do so with the highest sense of responsibility.
Given the circumstance, I am directing members of our dedicated COVID-19 response team, chaired by His Excellency, the Deputy Governor, to consult with His Eminence, the Shehu of Borno, to hold a meeting that should be attended by the Imam Idaini of Borno and Imams of Eid grounds in the metropolis, relevant security agencies and volunteers, to CRITICALLY DISCUSS the possibility or otherwise of allowing Eids to hold under strict conditions that should aim not only to prevent the spread of coronavirus but also of insurgent attacks. Discussions should be made on the use of face masks to be VERY STRICTLY enforced with hand sanitizers administered at restricted entry points. Consideration may also be given on whether it is necessary to, as a matter of one-off situation, create additional prayer grounds or use of some Friday mosques, that would make it easier to have less crowds at every Eid-ground so as to make social distancing more feasible.
Notwithstanding these, I will be more than willing to accept whatever outcome, including a contrary one, that is reached between the response team and the Imams after their meeting.
May Allah bring an end to this pandemic, to boko haram and to many other problems in Nigeria and beyond.
Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum
Governor Borno State