Bid to rally support for ‘ailing’ President Muhammadu Buhari received a major boost yesterday as Imams in about 350 Jumma’at mosques in Maiduguri, Jere, Biu and other parts of Borno State led thousands of worshipers to offer special prayers for the speedy and full recovery of the President.
Saturday Telegraph gathered that the plan to offer the special prayers was at the request of Governor Kashim Shettima in appreciation of President Buhari’s commitment to the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency which had resulted in the liberation of many communities and relative peace being enjoyed by residents across the state.
The prayers occurred on a day former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar also called on Nigerians of all faiths to lift up President Buhari in prayers.
There are 542 Jumma’at mosques in the state but about 350 were estimated to be operating due to present state of populated towns like Bama and many others were Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are yet to return to liberated communities.
The prayers were based on a request conveyed by the Chief Imam, Imam Laisu Ibrahim Ahmed, who communicated with all Imams of functional Jumma’at mosques through their different forums which is a long standing procedure of communication between the Chief Imam and Imams of Jumma’at mosques and other Imams in the state.
The Chief Imam mobilised fellow Imams based on letters addressed to him and the state chairman of the Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bishop William Naga, on the orders of Shettima.
Speaking on the development, the state’s Commissioner for Religious Affairs, Mustapha Fannarambe, who signed the two letters titled: “Request for Intensification of prayers for the complete recovery of Mr. President”, requested the Chief Imam to communicate the request to Imams of all Jumma’at (Friday) mosques, while the CAN did same with pastors for similar prayers in all churches across the state for tomorrow services.
The commissioner, who spoke to journalists in Maiduguri, said he was mandated by Shettima to monitor compliance with the request through interactions with the Chief Imam and CAN chairman.
“Last night (Friday), Shettima directed me to write and sign letters requesting the Chief Imam and the CAN to kindly request Imams of all Jumma’at mosques and leading pastors in all churches across Borno State to lead Muslim and Christian worshipers yesterday (Friday) and coming Sunday, to intensify prayers for the quick and full recovery of our dear President Buhari.
“We believe any good Nigerian living in Borno is already praying for the President this is why we requested for the prayers to be intensified. The governor emphasised that I ensure the Chief Imam and CAN chairman felt in communicating with Imams and Pastors of all Jumma’at mosques and all churches were Sunday services are held. The letters were delivered early today (yesterday) and I have been in touch with both leaders.
“I can assure you that the Chief Imam communicated the request to Imams of all the Jumma’at mosques across Borno State.
All the Imams belong to different forums based on their denominations and areas of residence while the pastors are expected to be reached by the CAN chairman through a very efficient system.
“The prayers started today (yesterday) with Jumma’at mosques and we have monitored some here in Maiduguri and Jere and I was informed there were similar prayers in other Jumma’at Mosques in Biu, Bayo, Shani, Kwaya-Kusar were residents were never internally displaced and places like Gwoza, Konduga, Monguno, Damboa, Dikwa, Askira, Kaga and many other parts of the State where residents have returned after liberation of their communities by the military under President Buhari’s administration.
“Prayers were offered in IDP camps were Jumma’at services take place because all the camps have citizens that include existing Imams of Jumma’at mosques in different parts of the state affected by the insurgency.
From our estimation, not less than 350 Jumma’at mosques are currently functional out of 542 that we have across the state. I actually attended one of the Friday prayers in Maiduguri while Shettima went to Bama with the visiting Minister of Environment.
“To us in Borno State, President Buhari means so much because we know how much we suffered before he became President and we know there is overwhelming difference between now and before and this is why Shettima said we owe the President an obligation to prayer over his health and we owe our gallant military an obligation to pray for the health of their Commander In Chief, this is what Governor Shettima said to me last night and we have acted accordingly.
“We are now awaiting prayers in Churches on Sunday, we are sure it will be done by the garce of God and our President will be healthier than he ever was to conclude his victorious fight against Boko Haram insurgents which is our topmost priority in Borno State.”
Meanwhile, Atiku in a statement issued by his Media Office in Abuja, said each and every one us was a mere mortal, irrespective of how great or highly accomplished we are.