LAGOS – The Chief Imam of Lagos, Alhaji Sulaimon Nollah, on Friday urged Muslims in the country to extend the spirits of peace, unity, love and solidarity to non-Muslims before,during and after the Eid-ul-Fitri.
Nollah said this during the Eid-ul-Fitri service which held at the Obalende Praying Ground in Lagos.
According to him, Eid-ul-Fitri marks the culmination of Ramadan.
“It is theglorious month in which Muslims reflect spiritually and show compassion to neighbours and assist the needy.
“We started this fasting with a lot of non-Muslims joining us, while others shared gifts and sent greetings.
“Now that the fasting is over, let us extend the spirits of love and solidarity to non-Muslims especially in this period of tribal and religious tensions in the land.
“This practice has been an age-long tradition of the Lagos people, and one that I encourage us all in the nation to imbibe,” Nollah said.
The imam advised those that participated in the fasting to permanently keep away from those vices and evil things that they stopped during Ramadan.
Nollah urged people to live in peace and harmony with one another and avoid discontentions which could lead to tribal or religious war.
“No matter how well armed or populous a tribe or religious group is; it will not succeed in exterminating the other people or group as war brings only grief and pain,” he said.
The Imam commended the Federal and the Lagos State Governments in their efforts in fulfilling their promises to the electorate.
They had curtailed corruption, but improved security as well as agricultural and infrastructural development, he said.
Nollah, however, appealed to them to support the masses with direct subsidy on common food items such as locally produced rice and other staple foods in the region.
“This will go a long way in directly alleviating the food problems of the masses, ” he said.
The Imam also suggested to the government to use fauth-based organisations as points of reaching out to the poor and vulnerable people in the society.
“Mosques and churches are the first point of call for all troubled minds, therefore, measures should be put in place to ensure that these religious systems are not abused, ” he said.
Nollah also advised parents to be vigilant and to take their primary responsibilities more seriously.
He advised them to pay closer attention to their children and wards, especially ,in this period of increased drug abuse by youths.
“Government and relevant agencies such as NAFDAC should step up efforts to save the lives of our youths from the greed of makers and sellers of destructive drugs, ” the Imam said.
The Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adeniji Kazeem, said that it is good for people to always fast.
He said that fasting would always make one to become humble and experienced the lifestyles of the needy that had nothing to eat.
“The idea of fasting is to encourage caring for the needy by experiencing what it feels like to have nothing to eat.
“A renewal of the spirit-of-giving is what we hope to initiate and encourage among ourselves during this Eid-ul-Fitri,” Kazeem said.
Also, the Lagos State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) ,Alhaji Tunde Balogun, said that fasting was associated with soberness, sacrifice and kindness to mankind.
“Ramadan is the fourth pillar of Islam, so every Muslim is obliged to fast during Ramadan.
“Abstaining from food and those things that easily beset us helps to strengthen our spirit and improve our faith, ” Balogun said.