President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday lamented that the coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on people’s spiritual, social and economic lives.

Buhari made the remark while appealing to Muslims to keep their spirits up in spite of the COVID-19 outbreak.

He said COVID-19 “Caught the world off guard, and has put a damper on what would otherwise have been a time of celebration for the Muslim faithful to mark the end of the Ramadan fasting period.”

The president made the remark in his Sallah message to Muslims on the occasion of Eid-el-Fitr, and was contained in a statement signed by his spokesperson, Garba Shehu.

Buhari noted that “for the first time in recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the people’s spiritual, social and economic lives.

“This year’s fasting period was particularly challenging for Muslims because they had to forgo many important aspects of their daily worship, including the routine congregations for prayer and the recitation and interpretation of the Holy Qur’an as well as traveling for the lesser pilgrimage to Makkah.

“It is not easy to give up many of these important duties and activities, but it became imperative to do so in order to control or limit the spread of this deadly disease.

“Let me use this opportunity to commend the sacrifices of both Muslims and Christians for their cooperation in the enforcement of the social distancing guidelines. I am well aware of the inconveniences these tough measures have brought on the lives of Nigerians, including limiting religious activities and gatherings in large numbers.”

Buhari also stated that “this year’s Eid event is an occasion for sober reflection rather than celebration because of the long shadows of gloom that the coronavirus has cast on people’s lives.”

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