By; BALA B. BITRUS.
For the first time in many years, activities marking Eid-el-Kabir celebrations in Niger State were not only devoid of their usual pump and pageantry but marked in near gloom, low keyed and quietude; no thanks to the harsh economic downturn and hyper inflation that has soared the cost of living and cost of food stuff in the markets.
Though foodstuffs and animals were in the markets for expectant buyers, the cost of animals such as Cattle, Rams, Goats and Birds such as Chicken, Turkey and other domestic birds such as Guinea Fowls and Ducks were outrageously high beyond the reach of most middle class and average persons.
Many homes therefore marked the Eid-el-Kabir without any splendor since the salary for the month of September was yet to be paid. Almost everyone was in distraught condition. There were therefore general outcry for lack of money from buyers and sellers alike.
Though the State Governor had directed that the sum of 1.4 billion Naira be released to civil servants as bailout to enable workers get a little for the Eid-el-Kabir, feelers from the workers said the amount could not be sourced before close of work on Friday.
For the first time in the history of the state, a sitting Governor was out of the state capital, Minna during the Eid prayers at the Minna Central Mosque for the Eid prayers. Governor Abubakar Sani Bello had earlier joined his kit and kin in his country home, Kontagora for the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations.
In Minna, the state capital, the Eid prayers were held at the Minna Central Mosque with few dignitaries including former Military Head of State, General Abdulsalami A. Abubakar and other notable personalities in attendance for the two raka’at prayer.
In Kontagora, where Governor Abubakar Sani Bello had gone to mark the occasion, he had while speaking shortly after the two raka’at prayers, called on citizens particularly the youths to engage in productive ventures that will add value to their lives and the society at large. The Governor admonished them to shun all negative vices that could destroy their future.
Meanwhile, the Eid-el-Kabir celebration in parts of the state capital were generally peaceful as Muslims defied heavy downpour shortly after 7:40am to congregate at several prayer points for the two raka’at prayers.
At the Minna Central Mosque and the Gidan Kwanu field as well as the prayer field along the School of Midwifery, Tunga, several hundreds of worshippers hurried to complete the prayers on the heels of the rains.
At the Minna Central Mosque, the Eid prayers were led by the Deputy Chief Imam of the Mosque, Alhaji Isa Fari.