Buhari escapes Fanatic Mob at Eid-el-Fitr prayer grounds
Eid-el-Fitr prayer grounds
President Muhammadu Buhari (r), acknowledging cheers during the Eid-el-Fitr celebration at the National Praying Ground, Airport Road in Abuja... yesterday.
*As mammoth crowd overwhelms presidential security *Says, anybody with a knife could do lots of damage *Insists: Only God protectsPresident Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, escaped unhurt by a mammoth crowd of worshipers at the Eid-el-Fitr praying ground along Airport Road in Abuja, where he had gone to mark the end of the Ramadan fasting period.
The worshippers had thronged the place to have a glimpse of him.
Buhari was at the praying ground in the early hours of the day for the closing prayer of the 30-day fasting, in line with the tradition of the Islamic religion worldwide.
The President had braved the crowd to directly acknowledge cheers from the multitude, thereby risking being hurt, when the people overwhelmed all the security mounted to secure him.
Against this backdrop, President Buhari, while thanking members of the Muslim community, led the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Capital Territory, Obinna Chukwu, who were there to pay him Sallah homage at his residence within the Presidential Villa, noted that only God protects.
While speaking at his residence, he recalled his experience at the praying ground, and thanked the Muslim community for the traditional homage and gifts presented to him.
According to him, “I thank you most sincerely for fulfilling the tradition of greetings for whoever occupies this place. I thank you very much for your loyalty to the country, as represented by our institutions and to the system.”
Recounting the ordeal, he said: “Today, during and immediately after the prayers, I think I was bombarded by the youths, who almost overwhelmed the security, and I had to hold tight to my gown to get to my car. I was advised to enter the car from the ADC’s side, but I refused. I went across trying to hold my hand to the wild youths who wanted to see me.
“On an occasion like this, it shows that, after what happened to President Ronald Reagan of the USA, it is only God Almighty that protects leaders, because in a mob like this, anybody with a sharp knife can get access and do a lot of damage.”
He continued: “So, all the policemen that were deployed and soldiers since six o’ clock in the morning before I came out two hours later in the rains, cannot protect you; only God protects. I hope God will continue to protect us.
“Please convey my thanks and happy Sallah to all your families and relatives back. And I congratulate you for the privilege you have, which only you residents of the FCT have the privilege to come and meet me and shake hands with me and take pictures with me. Other Nigerians are envious of you, if you don’t know it.”
Also speaking, the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, recalled that during the course of the past election campaigns, most people had expressed the desire to see a country where all faiths would live together in unity.
He noted that God wants Nigerians to live together in peace and unity, adding that the business of government is to protect lives and properties.
According to him, “our country is one with great potentials, and it’s for us to contribute our quota. I believe that all of us, men and women, that this government is determined to do the right thing and all we need is your cooperation.
“I assure you that we all will enjoy this nation, our children and our children’s children will say of us that we will do the right thing.”
In his introductory remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Obinna Chukwu, noted that, as the tradition demands, he led the FCT delegation to pay homage to, and wish the President well.
“FCT is the centre of excellence, and we promote unity. That is why you have here the Muslim and Christian faithful. Fasting is a period of sombre reflection, to commune with God. We urge Nigerians to be their brothers’ keepers, and pray for peace and unity of the nation.
“Nigeria is a country with great potentials, and we pledged our unalloyed support to your administration,” he told the President.
Others at the event included the Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), John Cardinal Onaiyekan; the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, Service Chiefs, Senator Philip Aduda, and others.