Sunday, June 25, 2017 4:57 pm
The Eid-El-Fitr festivities were celebrated peacefully in most states of the North East, as security was tightened in Borno and Yobe, two states worst hit by the activities of insurgents.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that vehicular movements were restricted in the two states for certain period, to avert any ugly incident, especially during the congregation prayers.
Borno Police Command had announced total ban on vehicular movement during the prayer time, resulting in the closure of most roads in the metropolis.
Security personnel were also deployed to all prayer grounds to screen worshippers thoroughly at the entrance.
Some worshippers interviewed commended the security agents for their efforts in ensuring absolute security at the prayer grounds.
“We thank God for witnessing hitch-free Eid el Fitr prayers in Maiduguri; initially, most of us were skeptical about the possibility of the prayers being conducted without any incident,” Malam Bukar Gana, a worshipper at the Ramat Square ground,Maiduguri, told NAN.
Gana said that the ban on vehicular movement during the prayer period had helped in preventing any security breach.
“Actually we heard rumors that the Boko Haram terrorists were trying to smuggle suicide bombers into town to caused havoc during the prayers,” he said.
Malam Ibrahim Alhassan, another worshipper at the Customs prayer ground, Maiduguri,also lauded the efforts of security agents in ensuring peaceful conduct of the prayers.
“I want to commend the security agents for putting in place, tight security in all areas during the prayers.
“They should work towards ending the Boko Haram insurgency so that we can have long lasting peace in the state,” he said.
NAN reports that the police had deployed 2,000 personnel across the state to ensure adequate security during the celebrations.
In Yobe, the Eid –El-Fitr congregation prayers were also conducted peacefully, just as a 12 hour restriction on vehicular movements was also enforced across the state.
NAN reports that armed security men and vigilante groups were placed at strategic locations to keep vigil on movement of people to the prayer grounds.
In the past, cases of suicide bombing were experienced at prayers grounds in Damaturu, especially during the peak of Boko Haram insurgency.
Some Muslim faithful in Damaturu expressed gratitude to God for the peace enjoyed in the state throughout the one month Fasting period.
Alhaji Usman Muhammad, a resident of Damaturu, said “we have seen tremendous improvement in peace and security across the state.
“During the Fasting period, we had prayed for peace to reign in Nigeria, and for the quick recovery of President Muhammadu Buhari.”
He lauded the Buhari administration for “successfully degrading the Boko Haram insurgents, except for the few reported cases in Borno.
Another resident, Aliyu Musa, said the people of the North East had every reason to celebrate this administration for its commitment to restoring peace and security in the region.
“We welcome the restriction of vehicular movement because, it was done in the interest of our personal safety,” he said.
In his Sallah message, the state governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam, urged the people to use the period to pray for the country and improved health for President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We should also, as good citizens, more than ever before, and be prepared to work and act together in our resolve for the attainment of a happier and more prosperous future for our State and indeed our great country, Nigeria,” he said.
The situation was also the same in Adamawa, another state that had grappled with the menace of Boko Haram insurgents.
NAN reports that no ugly incident was recorded across the state, just as rainfall forced a shift in the venue of the congregation prayers, from open prayer ground, to Yola Central Mosque.
The rainfall also affected the staging of durbah at the palace of the Lamido of Adamawa,usually associated with such celebrations.
Speaking while receiving members of various groups and associations who paid him Sallah homage, Gov. Muhammadu Bindow said that reports reaching him from security agencies indicated that the celebration was hitch-free across the state.
Bindow urged the people to remain law-abiding and continue to support government at all levels.
“I also want to use this opportunity to urge our people to participate actively in the ongoing update of voters register because reports reaching me showed that participation is not encouraging.
In Gombe, celebrations went on peacefully, but it was not business as usual for commercial vehicle operators, who lamented the dearth of passengers.
Speaking with NAN in Gombe, chairman of National Union of Road Transport Workers in the state, Malam Ibrahim Bala, said the situation at the various park in the state was worrisome.
Bala, who attributed the problem to the economic hardship in the country, said the motorists were ready to reduce fares if they would get passengers.
Meanwhile, the Chief Imam of Dutse Central Mosque in Jigawa, Sheikh Sani Birninkudu has advised Muslims to desist from making divisive comments capable of creating hate and disharmony among people.
Birninkudu stated this in a sermon to mark Eid-el Fitr prayers in Dutse on Sunday.
The cleric advised Muslims to fear God, reminding them that they would be held accountable for their deeds in the hereafter.