Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has advised Nigerian Muslims, in a powerful Ramadan message, to endeavour to observe all the social distancing guidelines of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
This was communicated in a statement personally signed by him on Friday, April 24.
He said: “This has not been the best of times for us as a people and as a nation. Ditto for the global community.
“A novel coronavirus, Covid19, which originated from Wuhan in China has spread to 210 countries and territories as at April 19 2020.
“Sadly Nigeria has not been spared this scourge. Since our first incident case in February, we have seen the figure rise to 981 with 31 deaths. The good news however is that thanks to our heroic healthcare workers, 197 of the cases have recovered.
“But we’ve had to make sacrifices, and much more is required of us in the days ahead if we must defeat the scourge of this plague. Our social life has been disrupted by lockdown of sections of our country and practice of social distancing.
“In the last three weeks, we have been unable to gather to fulfill our religious obligations to worship the Almighty Allah. The lesser hajj has been suspended.
My dear Muslim Ummah, this is the reality as we commence this year’s Ramadan.
“I urge the Muslim faithful to pray for the country at this difficult moment when the covid19 plague has paralyzed every aspect of our social lives.
“And as you commence the fasting period – one of the mandatory sacrifices required of us – bear in mind this year’s Ramadan comes at an extraordinarily tough moment for the Muslim Ummah because of the severe restrictions the Corona Virus has imposed on us.
“This is a moment of trial because for the first time in our recent history, we have never seen anything like this in terms of limitations on the activities we once performed without hindrance.
“Unlike previous years, the 2020 fasting features such as Iftar meal that Muslims share together everyday and every evening after breaking their fast would be affected because of the lockdown and social distancing policy brought about by the virus outbreak.
“Other activities that may be affected include the Tafsir or the gathering of Muslims to listen to Qur’anic recitation and interpretation by scholars.
“Against this background, I urge Muslims to be steadfast and adjust to the new reality imposed by the Corona Virus disease. These challenges are a test of our faith and resilience in the face of tough times.
“Notwithstanding, it is pertinent upon Muslims to continue to be the good ambassadors of Islam by promoting peace, unity, tolerance, harmony and peaceful coexistence at all times. Above all, it is imperative that we observe all guidelines of NCDC aimed at stemming the spread of the virus, much so as it is the teaching of the Noble Prophet Mohammed (SWT) during plague seasons such as this.
“I supplicate to Allah to answer our prayers and help us overcome this extraordinary challenge soonest, and put our country on the path of renewal and prosperity.”