Muslims mark low-key Eid-el-Fitr in Imo amid biting economy, insecurity


As Muslims across the world observe the annual Eid-el-Fitr celebration, those in Imo State say they have opted for a low-key celebration.

They blamed the development on the deteriorating economic situation and pockets of insecurity in the state.

The Federal Government had declared Friday, April 21, and Monday, April 24 as public holidays to mark this year’s Eid-el-Fitr celebration.

This was made known to the public by the Federal Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

But a cross-section of Muslims interviewed at Ama-Hausa Douglas Road Owerri, Shell Camp mosque Owerri, and Senator Alhaji Umar Maduagwu memorial mosque Oguta Local Government Area said they took solace in being alive even in the face of the hardship.

Imo has been battling insecurity occasioned by the activities of unknown gunmen, making life difficult in many parts of the state.

Some Ama-Hausa Owerri residents said that they were only celebrating Eid-el-Fitr to give thanks to God for preserving their lives.

Quadri Rabiu, a tailor, claimed he had intended to attend the celebration in his village but was unable to pay the cost of getting there.

“My family and I would celebrate in our small way here to give thanks to Allah and pray for brighter days in the future.

“I have sent the little I can afford to my people at home,” he said.

Another local, Abu Aisha, who was en route to his hometown, claimed that making the trip for Eid-el-Fitr each year is a tradition she can’t live without because it gives her the chance to interact with other family members.

For Muslims in the Shell Camp mosque areas of the state, engaging fully in the Zakat Fitri, an essential part of the Ramadan which involves giving to the needy for the Eid-el-Fitri celebration, might be difficult due to the hike in the prices of food items.

A housewife, Mrs. Adeola Raji said she had to drag her husband to the market for him to have firsthand information about the ugly development.

Another Shell Camp resident, Elrufia Yahaya said, “We realised that things are difficult economically. However, we must give God praise for preserving our lives. We must observe it with moderation and hope that next year will be better.”

Abdulrasheed Muhammed, an Oguta mosque resident who also spoke with our correspondent, revealed that he had abandoned the yearly ritual of visiting his homeland in Kaduna State due to the country’s economic difficulties.

He said, “For all of us Muslims, the Eid el-Fitr celebration is a unique time of the year. It is the season to practise compassion and love, which are two of Islam’s tenets. It is a moment when we sit quietly and think while pleading for Allah’s mercy.”

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