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Muslims in Kano, Katsina and Borno shun Sultan’s orders, pray at mosques

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Muslim faithfuls in Kano,  Katsina, Borno,  Zamfara and Bauchi states on Sunday shunned a directive of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji  Sa’ad Abubakar, and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, which stated that there should be no large gatherings at Eid prayers.

Our correspondents, who monitored prayer grounds in the states, observed that there were massive gatherings with the majority of the faithful not observing the PTF’s protocols such as social distancing and wearing of face masks.

Recall that states, including Kano, Katsina, Borno and Yobe,  last week relaxed the Federal Government’s lockdown and allowed religious organisations to hold their congregational activities. They gave  Muslims the go-ahead to hold prayers at Eid at grounds to mark the end of 30 days fasting.

But the  Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs,  led by the Sultan,  on Wednesday contradicted the state governments.

In a statement by its Deputy Secretary General, Prof Salisu Shehu,  the NSCIA said massive gatherings at one Eid ground in a big city should be avoided. “Rather the Eid could be performed in area mosques to avoid unmanageable crowds,”  it stated.

On Thursday, Jama’atu Nasril Islam, also led by the Sultan, directed Muslims to observe Sallah prayers at home

In a statement  by its Secretary General, Dr Khalid Abubakar, the JNI said, “Eid-el-Fitr congregation on the outskirts of towns and cities should be temporarily suspended.”

It also directed that “Eid-el-Fitr prayer be observed at home with family members or alone in case there isn’t anyone with him or her, at home.”

At the press briefing of the PTF on Thursday, its Chairman, Mr Boss Mustapha,  advised against large gatherings of people during the Sallah celebration.

In Kano State, Muslim faithful trooped out as early as 8:30am to observe the   Eid-el-Fitr prayers at the various Eid praying grounds without complying with the physical distancing order.

It was observed at some Eid grounds that while some worshippers wore face masks, others refused to abide by the order.

However,  worshippers were asked to wash their hands and use of sanitisers by the people mandated to enforce hygiene rules.

But some worshippers entered the prayer grounds without washing their hands and using sanitisers.

Some of the Eid praying grounds visited included  Umar Bin Khatab Juma’at mosque, the Central Eid prayer ground located at Kofar Mata and Mahaha Eid prayer ground near the Kofar Na’isa, all in Kano metropolis.

Some Muslim leaders in the state commended Ganduje for allowing Muslims to observe the Eid prayer despite the Federal Government’s directive.

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