The Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, has emphasised the need for religious tolerance and harmony in the country.
The Governor, in a message to Nigerian Muslims on the occasion of the Eid-el-Maulud celebration said that the current times call for greater emphasis on religious harmony, tolerance, and peaceful co-existence.
He said: “We are at a time where religious harmony is a necessary ingredient of our daily life. This is because a number of revisionists are trying to hide under the passion that is usually inflamed by religion to cause disharmony and disrupt the peace.
“We must resist such revisionists and tell them in clear terms that ours is a society that values peaceful coexistence, brotherhood, and unity. Like the Motto of our Dear Country, Unity, and Faith, we must continue to remain united even when we practice a different faith.
“On behalf of the government and the good people of Oyo State, let me congratulate all our Muslim brothers and sisters on the turn of another Eid-el-Maulud and reiterate that we all remain faithful to the teachings of the Holy Quran, which emphasis tolerance, respect for one another, humane conduct and love for fellow human beings.
“We can only build a great nation when we are truly our brothers’ keepers and adhere to the teachings of the prophet who emphasise love as a golden virtue among humanity.”
Cross River State Governor,Prof Ben Ayade has urged the Muslim faithfuls to use the period of Prophet Muhammad’s birthday celebration to show love to one another and imbibe the virtues of perseverance and tolerance.
Ayade in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Christian Ita said Muslims should always emulate and promote the virtues of Prophet Muhammed which include honesty, kindness and peaceful co-existence,
While congratulating the Muslim Ummah,the Governor said the birthday of the Holy Prophet should inspire all Muslims to renew their belief in the Almighty Allah and Nigeria,starting from Cross River State.
“We all know that Prophet Muhammed preached and lived for peace as a revered and widely followed Prophet Allah, his quality of honesty and perseverance, should be a lesson for all Muslims to imbibe, especially on his birthday”.
“This year’s Maulud come at the most appropriate time when prayers of Nigerians, particularly the Muslim Ummah is needed to chusion the challenges of Insecurity and Economy in the country.
“In Cross River State, we are using Agriculture and industrialization to strengthen our economy in a bid to reduce youth unemployment and Poverty to ensure social inclusion and economic prosperity for all irrespective of religion or tribe.
“This is our own small effort at emulating the teaching of togetherness as exemplified by Prophet Muhammed ” the statement said.
President Muhammadu Buhari has charged Muslims to follow the ‘Shining Examples’ of Prophet Muhammad as they celebrate his birth.
In his goodwill message, President Buhari asked that Muslims put into practice, the great virtues famously known with Holy Prophet Muhammad and end the indiscriminate killing of innocent people.
“Putting into practice the great virtues for which the Holy Prophet Muhammad is historically famous and revered would have a far greater impact on changing our attitudes and behaviours than the best sermons ever will.
“The indiscriminate killing of innocent people, the kidnapping of female students and forcing them into marriage and conversion is contrary to teachings and personal examples of the Prophet Muhammad.”
He added that the major challenge facing the image of Islam is violent extremism which has been hijacked by a minority who uses religion to cover up their criminal motives.
“Violent extremism is the single biggest challenge facing the image of Islam today which has been hijacked by a minority of misguided elements who are using religion to cover-up their criminal agenda.
“There is an urgent need for increased vigilance by Muslims in order to frustrate and stop the spread of violent ideologies that are causing human havocs and tragedies around the world.
“Extremism is like cancer that needs to be attacked in its early stages before it grows malignantly out of control and harms the society.”
President Buhari also advised Muslims not to allow their children to be lured and recruited by extremists who will ultimately destroy their lives and future.
While wishing the Muslim Ummah a peaceful celebration, the President urged them to use this occasion to renew their resolve in promoting tolerance, love, harmony and peaceful coexistence in the country.
At least 50 people were killed in a suicide attack on a religious celebration in Kabul on Tuesday, officials said, in one of the deadliest assaults to strike Afghanistan this year.
It follows a wave of bloody violence across the war-torn country in recent weeks that has killed hundreds of people as militants step up assaults amid a flurry of diplomatic efforts to end the 17-year conflict.
At least 72 people were wounded in the blast, health ministry spokesman Wahid Majroh said, which targeted religious scholars and leaders inside a wedding hall where hundreds had gathered to mark the Prophet Mohammad’s birthday — one of the holiest days in the Islamic calendar.
Religious studies lecturer Mohammad Hanif said verses of the Koran were being recited when there was a deafening explosion followed by “chaos” inside the packed hall.
“More than 60 or 70 people were martyred,” Hanif, 31, told AFP outside a trauma facility run by Italian NGO Emergency. He escaped unhurt.
“They suffered burns, everyone in the halls was screaming for help.”
A photo posted on WhatsApp purportedly of the function room showed blood-splattered bodies, some with clothes partially ripped off by the force of the blast, overturned chairs and broken glass strewn over the floor.
President Ashraf Ghani declared Wednesday a national day of mourning for the victims of the attack, which he described in a statement as an “unforgivable crime”.
A manager of the multi-storey Uranus Wedding Palace, which also hosts political and religious functions, told AFP the suicide bomber blew himself up in the middle of the gathering of around 1,000 people.
“There are a lot of casualties — I myself have counted 30 casualties,” he told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The aid organisation Emergency said on Twitter 33 wounded and seven dead had been taken to its hospital in Kabul.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, but the Islamic State group has claimed most recent suicide attacks in Kabul, which has become the most dangerous place in the country for civilians.
The Taliban condemned the attack in a WhatsApp message.
It was the bloodiest assault in the Afghan capital since a twin bomb attack on a wrestling club in September that killed at least 26 people, and one of the deadliest in the country this year.
A suicide attack on Afghans protesting the appointment of a local police chief in the eastern province of Nangarhar in September killed at least 68 people and wounded another 165. No group claimed that explosion.
In January an ambulance packed with explosives detonated in a crowded street in the heart of Kabul, killing more than 100 people, mostly civilians. The attack was claimed by the Taliban.
Last month’s parliamentary elections sparked a wave of deadly violence across the country, with hundreds killed or wounded in poll-related attacks.
It is not the first time religious scholars have been targeted by militants in the Islamic country.
In June a suicide bomber struck near a gathering of clerics in Kabul, about an hour after the group had proclaimed such attacks a sin.
The latest attack comes as the Taliban intensifies pressure on Afghan security forces, even as the international community ramps up efforts to convince the group to engage in peace talks.
US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad expressed hopes in Kabul on Sunday that a peace deal to end the war could be struck before the Afghan presidential election, scheduled for April.
His comments underscore an apparent increasing sense of urgency in the White House and among American diplomats for a peace deal to be done quickly.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged citizens to pray for the unity and stability of Nigeria instead of hurling insults on President Muhammadu Buhari while celebrating this yuletide.
The PDP in a statement on Thursday by the party’s spokesperson, Mr Olisa Metuh, charged Nigerians to use this year’s Eid-El-Maulud and Christmas to recommit their individual and collective security as well as economic welfare into the hands of God.
According to the party, “The special prayers have become essential as the nation is now, more than ever before, in dire need of divine intervention, especially as citizens cope with the sudden hardship occasioned by poor management of the nation’s economy in the last seven months.”
PDP said that the two important celebrations, coming at a trying time, offers the people an opportunity to put aside their political, religious and ethnic differences and unite against their prevailing common challenges.
“Nigerians across board have in the last few weeks been recalling the campaign promises made by President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC), particularly their December 24, 2014 Christmas message wherein they promised several reforms and welfare programmes that will, in their own words, ‘begin to positively impact on the citizenry within its (APC) first few months at the helm, to such an extent that Nigerians will have a better Christmas celebration in 2015.
“Whilst we understand the indignation, frustration and disappointments occasioned by the long list of unfulfilled promises and dashed expectations under the current regime (and justifiably so), we urge that Nigerians should not recourse to hauling insults on the President as such would not bring the succour they seek.
“The challenges we face today as a nation should not make us lose our dignity and demureness as a people. They should not make us miss the essence and meanings of Eid-El-Maulud and Christmas and the divine succour they bring, especially the assurance that there is always an end to every negative situation.
“The PDP therefore, calls on all Nigerians to use the occasions to reflect on those things that bind us together as a nation; show love to one another and commit the nation into God’s hands, even as we charge the political class to be conscious of divine accountability in all their dealings,” the statement read.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has commemorated with Muslims on the celebration of the Eid-el-Maulud.
Hon. Dogara called on Muslim faithful to imbibe the spirit of humility, gratitude and charity to one another, as demonstrated by the life and times of the Holy Prophet Mohammed.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Turaki Hassan, the Speaker noted that the virtues of service and exemplary leadership as demonstrated by the Holy Prophet should guide both leaders and the led on the need to give their all in the overall interest of the nation.
“Let me use this occasion to call on us all to reappraise our commitment to the unity and progress of the country as entrenched by our forefathers,” he stated.
“On our part as lawmakers, we shall continue to come up with legislative intervention that will guarantee a virile and united nation.”
While wishing all Muslims a Happy Maulud Celebration, Hon. Dogara urged the Ummah to use the occasion of the Prophet’s birth to reflect on the essential lessons of his life and to pray for the continued well being of the nation.
Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has called on Muslims in the state to offer prayers for greater peace, unity and continuous progress of Nigeria.
This is in the spirit of celebrating the Eid-el-Maulud, which is the birth of Prophet Muhammed.
In a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Habib Aruna, Governor Ambode enjoined Muslims to follow the exemplary leadership of the Holy Prophet Muhammed by promoting peaceful co-existence among the various segments of the society.
Governor Ambode implored Lagosians to shun ethnic, political, religious differences and work towards building a safer and better society.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government has lifted the order restricting vehicular and human movement during the December monthly environmental sanitation exercise expected to come up on Saturday, December 26.
The order is to allow free movement of persons during the end of the year festive seasons.
In a press release, the State Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Babatunde Adejare, urged residents to still observe the monthly exercise and clean up their homes and immediate environment, irrespective of the lifting of the restriction order which is only for the month of December.
The Commissioner also gave the assurance that the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) is fully mobilized and would deploy men and equipment to ensure quick evacuation of waste generated during the festive period.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has urged Nigerians to use the period of this year’s Eid-el-Maulud to collectively reflect on the life and teachings of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and apply same to achieve national rebirth and cohesion.
In a message issued by his spokesman, Malam Imam Imam, Tambuwal said Prophet Muhammad (SAW) promoted the virtues of diligence, hard work, and commitment to set objectives, adding that when imbibed, these virtues can help propel the nation towards rapid growth and development.
He said Nigerians should use this year’s celebration to pray for the country, adding that they should also reflect on the ideals of peace, unity, harmony and selflessness taught by Islam in order to build a stable nation.
“With peace, tolerance and brotherly love, we can build a country of our dream. We should therefore eschew all forms of vices as we continue our march towards unity, development and self sustenance.”
While expressing optimism that the year 2015 will be a positive one for Nigeria, Tambuwal wished all Nigerians a happy and successful Maulud celebration.