Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno has directed the state COVID-19 team to meet with Shehu of Borno and Islamic clerics to discuss on possibility of holding the Eid prayers this weekend.
A statement by the governor’s spokesman, Mallam Isa Gusau, on Wednesday, said the team is headed by the deputy governor, Alhaji Umar Kadafur.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Eid-Ul-Fitri prayer, to be observed on Saturday or Sunday if the moon is cited, will mark the end of Ramadan fasting for this year.
According to Gusau, the governor wanted the team to discuss the possibility of allowing the Eid prayers to hold across the state but under strict preventive measures.
“Coronavirus is, no doubt, a dangerous disease and efforts to prevent it must be sustained.
“In so doing, however, we have to harmonise our obligation in fighting the virus.
“Borno has, in the last couple of years, been operating under unusual circumstances.
“We have had instances when citizens defy the fear of Boko Haram for long treks to Eid-grounds, even when vehicular movement is restricted by the government,’’ Zulum was quoted as saying.
He stated that even when insurgents send suicide attackers to worship places, people still insist on going to the mosques.
“It is clear that the spiritual motivation of citizens are strong and can’t be ignored by the government.
“It is the kind of motivation that drives citizens to defy COVID-19 fears and converge in markets in search of food and other basics.’’
Gusau said the government would pay attention to the needs of citizens, but this would be done with the highest sense of responsibility.
“I am directing members of our dedicated COVID-19 response team, chaired by the deputy-governor, to consult with 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.
“Also, relevant security agencies and volunteers will discuss the possibility or otherwise of allowing Eids to hold,’’ Zulum was quoted as saying in the statement.
The governor, however, advised people to adhere strictly to the use of face masks, hand sanitisers to be administered at restricted entry points if the approval is given for the Eid prayer to hold.
The governor said that, notwithstanding the team’s recommendation, he will be willing to accept whatever decision by both the response team and the clerics. (NAN)