President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to Nigerians for understanding over the restrictions imposed on them in view of the COVID-19.
The President spoke in a goodwill message to Muslims as they celebrate the Eid-el-Kabir, made available by his media aide,Mallam Garbage Shehu , saying the restrictions were not intended by the federal government to inconvenience anybody.
He therefore appealed to Muslims and Christians to be patient over the continued closure of worship centres, explaining that the federal government finds no joy in denying the people of their rights to full worship. The measures ,he said are necessary to curb the spread of the Coronavirus.
“No elected government would intentionally take away its people’s religious freedom by limiting the number of people that will gather in worship centres at the same time.
“These guidelines are dictated by necessity in order to safeguard public health and should, therefore, not be perceived as an infringement on people’s right to worship.”
“Every measure that has been introduced to contain this disease may have its unintended consequences on the daily lives of our people, and I, therefore, call on Muslims and other faiths to continue to show more understanding with the government as we take correct steps to protect our people through the social distancing,” he stated.
The president lamented the adverse effects of the outbreak of COVID-19 on the socio-economic and religious lives of citizens, reiterating that the pandemic has affected freedom of worship.
“The coronavirus has had devastating adverse impacts on our social, economic and spiritual lives. The preventive guidelines we have introduced to contain the spread of this deadly disease have unfortunately limited people’s freedom to gather and worship in large numbers in mosques and churches,” he added.
While noting the sacrifices made by Muslims and Christians as reflected in their decisions to abide by COVID-19 guidelines in the overall interest of the society, Buhari assured them that the federal government “shall continue to provide economic reliefs to the people to minimise the unintended hardships these guidelines have inflicted.’’
Reminding religious adherents that COVID-19 is a scourge ravaging the entire world, he noted that it is not only in Nigeria that churches and mosques are shut, but rather a global trend in the efforts to ensure the observance of social distancing and safeguard public health.
Buhari wished Muslims a happy Eid-el-Kabir celebration and encouraged Muslims to remember the symbolic significance of the sacrifices of Sallah by exhibiting the virtues of prophets of the religion.
Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan; his deputy, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege; Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; and National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, in their Eid-el-Kabir messages also called for peace and tolerance among all religious adherents in Nigeria.