President Muhammadu Buhari has again said he would not receive Sallah homage as part of activities marking the end of Ramadan.
He asked that religious, community, and political leaders who usually pay him traditional Sallah homage should be content with modest celebrations at home in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday titled ‘President Buhari to mark Eid in the Villa, plans modest celebration at home.’
It has been the tradition that during major religious festivals, the Vice-President leads the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and other leaders and residents of Abuja to pay homage to the President inside the Presidential Villa.
Buhari sustained the tradition up until last year when a restriction was declared on the number of people that can gather due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the statement on Sunday, Shehu said Buhari would not receive the Sallah homage just like he did last year.
The statement read, “As Muslims in Nigeria join others globally in preparations towards Eid Al-Fitr, a day that is celebrated to mark the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting, President Buhari directs that all celebrations be limited due to the global Coronavirus crisis.
“To this effect, the President, First Family, his personal aides, members of cabinet and Service Chiefs who choose to remain in Abuja will congregate in full compliance with COVID-19 protocols at the forecourt of the Presidential Villa to observe the Eid prayers. Time fixed for the prayer is 9.00am.
“Thereafter, there will be no traditional Sallah homage to the President by religious, community and political leaders. As was the case last year, the President encourages such leaders to be content with modest celebrations at home in view of the pandemic.
“President Buhari specially thanks the Ulama (Islamic Clerics) and all other religious (Muslim, Christian) leaders who continue to pray for the wellbeing of the nation and its people.”
According to the statement, Buhari also seized the opportunity to condole with all who lost family members due to what he described as the “madness” going on in parts of the country.
Shehu quoted him as calling on all local leaders to talk to their youths and warn them against being used to incite and foment violence.
He said, “If we attack institutions guarding us, who will protect us in future emergencies?”