Many Nigerian Muslims are marking the Eid-el-Kabir Sallah festivities amidst harder bite of the economy and security concerns.
A cross section of Muslim faithful interviewed across 16 states by Daily Trust correspondents’ lamented that with the worsening economic situation, coupled with the growing insecurity, they opted for a low-key celebration.
Many of the respondents lamented that their plans to celebrate the Sallah has changed in one way or the other due to the economic hardship.
But in his Sallah message on Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari said the government was addressing hardship in the land as he extolled Nigerians for being patient with his administration.
Muslims interviewed across the country said they took solace in being alive even in the face of the hardship, while praying for better days ahead.
Some residents of Minna who spoke to our correspondent said, they celebrate the Sallah just to thank God for keeping them alive. A civil servant, Imran Abdul, said he had planned to travel to his hometown for the celebration but could no longer afford the expenses of travelling home.
“I have sent the little I can afford to my people at home, my family and I would celebrate in our own little way here to give thanks to Allah and pray for better days ahead,” he said.
Another resident, Hajia Lami Isiak who was on her way to her husband’s hometown yesterday, said traveling for Sallah is a yearly ritual that she can’t do without as it affords her opportunity to meet and mingle with other family members.
In Ogun State, some Muslim residents who spoke with our correspondent said they would celebrate Sallah moderately in view of the economic hardship in the country.
Ahmed Ismail, a resident of Iwoye Ketu told Daily Trust that, “We know everything seems to be tough economically. Yet, we have to thank God for sparing our lives. We have to celebrate it moderately and hope for a better one next year.”
Also speaking with our correspondent an Abeokuta resident, Azeez Adelodun, said he had shelved the annual tradition of travelling to his hometown in Oyo State in view of the economic challenges.
A trader in Ilorin, who simply identified herself as Omowumi, said the economic situation in the country had placed people in a serious dilemma.
“I am from Offa and one of the things we look forward to yearly is the big Sallah festival when we travel to reunite with the members of our extended family. But this year, the economic situation has forced us to prioritise”, she added.
On his part, a businessman, Salaudeen Tajudeen who was already on a bus to Ibadan said despite the harsh economic condition in the country, which has made many celebrators to reconsider a lot of things, this year’s Eid-el-Kabir is worth the travel for him.
For Mashood Abdullahi Ore, a lawyer, the festival has to be celebrated “Even though we might not be able to afford the luxury we crave for.”
A civil servant resident in Ibadan, Hammed Adeolu Ishola, said he was not going to travel for the festival due to the insecurity in the country.
Ishola, whose parents reside in Osogbo, Osun State said it was painful that he couldn’t make the trip to celebrate with his parent. Another resident, Alhaji Lekan Yusuf, said he couldn’t buy ram this year because of the cash crunch.
Mrs. Fatima Rasaq, said her family would not be able to travel home because of the bad state of their finances. She bemoaned the high cost of transportation, high cost of goods, foodstuffs and many other things they would require to celebrate with their extended family.
Another resident, Mallam Basiru Abiola, said he would be celebrating Sallah, in a very low key.
“I only have little resources to take care of my family. Last year, we travelled out of the state, but this year we would not be able to do that. The family just finished paying for the school fees this term,” he said.
Bashir Shafa, a civil servant, said though he was a salary earner, he did not plan to celebrate the festival in a big way because of the current economic realities.
“I intend to travel to Nasarawa State to greet my extended relatives but I have changed my mind,” he said.
Abdulkarim Abdullahi, another Jos resident said this year’s Sallah festivity would not be as enjoyable as the previous years because the situation had not been easy for him and his family.
He said, “At first, I have decided not to even cook food for the festivity because there was no way I could get money to buy the basic need of my family. But I later decided to sell my fowl to cook food during the celebration to please my children. My mother is in Kano State. I wanted to travel to Kano to see her but I cannot go anymore because I do not have money.”
A resident of Jekadafari quarters in Gombe metropolis, Muhammad Rabi’u, said because of the economic situation he cannot afford to slaughter any animal for the Sallah.
“The economy has taken its toll on me, as such I cannot afford to buy any animal this year, but I was able to buy two hens, at least we can have good food tomorrow,” he said.
On their part, some civil servants expressed their dilemma over the Sallah despite receiving the July salaries.
“Of course, the state government has paid us our salaries, our fear is if we use the money to buy animals for the sacrifice, where can we get money for our other needs?” Saidu Musa complained.
For Adamu Abubakar, he was able to enter into partnership with six friends to purchase a small cow to sacrifice.
Meanwhile, indigenes of other states residing in Gombe State said despite the difficult `economic situation and prevailing insecurity in the country, they plan to celebrate Sallah in their respective states.
Speaking with Daily Trust at the Gombe Line Terminus, Auwalu Hamisu, an indigene of Bauchi State said every Sallah he celebrates at his hometown with family members.
He said having spent months away from home, it was the time he meets with friends and relatives who also visit home during festivities. However, Muhammad Garba an indigene of Katsina State, who sells meat in Gombe, said he had wanted to travel home but for the banditry around his hometown.
Some Muslim residents of Port Harcourt said the celebration will be observed in a low key manner because of prevailing difficult economic situation in the country.
A Port Harcourt resident, Musa Sani, said many Muslims in the state will find it difficult to celebrate this year’s Sallah because of the present hardship in the country.
Another resident, Salihu Abubakar said, “What every Muslim should do is to thank Allah for keeping us alive to see another eid. Things are really tough and not everybody can afford the cost of ram. We will go and observe the prayers and come back home and felicitate with our fellow Muslims”.
Despite the economic situation of the country and high inflation, which led to an increase in the prices of foodstuffs and rams, many people travelled and others who didn’t leave Lagos planned to celebrate in their respective residences.
An Ikorodu resident, Saheed Adigun, told our correspondent that he has traveled to his hometown in Kwara State since Saturday. He said he had to travel three days before Eid since he could not travel last year due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
Another resident who is an indigene of Osun State, Mr Taofeek Alaran said he could not travel to his hometown due to the security situation in the country.
Our Correspondent observed that in Oshodi, some houses have cows or rams or both tied in many compounds, an act which reflected that despite the economic situation, people would celebrate the day in their own ways.
In Bauchi State, many ordinary people would celebrate the Sallah festivity in a low key because of economic conditions associated with uncertainties in payment of salary due to ongoing verification exercise.
Findings revealed that despite the gesture by some privileged individuals, groups and state government of donating cows, rams and food items to the less privileged in Bauchi metropolis and other major towns, a good number of people would celebrate the festivity in low key.
A newspaper vendor, Babayo Adamu, said the current economic situation has compelled him and his family to celebrate the Sallah in low key.
A civil servant, who doesn’t want to be named, told Daily Trust that although the state government had paid the July salary, the debts he incurred from traders as a result of workers verification has unsettled his plan to celebrate the Sallah the way he wants.
On the contrary, a trader in Bauchi metropolis Alhaji Yusuf Abubakar Umar, said that he would mark the Sallah as usual.
A yam seller at Swali Market, Abdulahi Adamu told Daily Trust that even though he doesn’t have much to do bigger celebration, himself and his family will pray at the mosque, and thereafter return to his house to relax with his family.
According to him, the state of the economy in Nigeria at the moment is the main reason for low celebration.
A watch repairer, who identified himself as Salisu, said the primary thing during the Sallah celebration is to reflect on the mercies of Allah on everybody and pray for the forgiveness of sin.
Salisu Suleiman, a resident of Kawo in Kaduna metropolis said people with the financial means have prepared for the eid kabir but those who are not financially buoyant will only manage.
He explained that with the hike in prices of animals and foodstuffs, the celebration will not be as joyful as those witnessed in previous years.
Similarly, Ustaz Aliyu Suleiman, a resident of Rigasa said he intends to travel to the village to celebrate with his relations.
Malam Ahmad Rufa’i, a resident of Galamawa, said he might be forced to skip the slaughtering of ram this year as a result of the high cost of the animals.
For Rufa’i, a father of eight, catering for his children and other family members, was enough stress on his resources.
Speaking in the same vein, Malama Ummi, a widow, said while expressing gratitude to Allah for witnessing this year’s Sallah celebration, lamented the high cost of living which, she said, has affected the celebration.
A 35-year-old tailor, Abubakar Sunusi Ibrahim, said he has nothing to worry about during this festivals, because the situation did not favour many people to do the normal things they used to do.
For Muhammad Lawan Kurna, his worry is for his children whom he could not slaughter rams for as a result of the situation.
Nura Umar, a street vendor and an indigene of Zamfara State, said he could not travel home for Sallah because he doesn’t have enough money.
Resident in Damaturu, Sule Maina, said the cost of commodities is currently biting harder on people noting that it will not deter him from celebrating with the little he had.
“We are now struggling to have food on our table, so even if I have a plan of travelling during this Sallah period there is nothing I can do because I can’t afford it. For us to celebrate Sallah peacefully and in good health is enough,” he said.
A driver at Damaturu motor park, Adamu Ila, said the rate of passengers coming to the park to travel has drastically reduced compared to last year.
He said last year on the Sallah eve, more than 30 vehicles loaded passengers to various locations in Nigeria, adding that the number has decreased to less than 10 buses.