Nigeria’s Christian leaders extend hands of fellowship to Muslims on Islamic festival of Eid el-Adha

By Obed Minchakpu |
Muslims observing Eid el-Adah in Lagos, Nigeria.
Muslims observing Eid el-Adah in Lagos, Nigeria. | Youtube Screenshot / africanews

As Muslims across the globe celebrate this year’s Islamic festival of Eid el-Adah, also known as Eid-el-Kabir, on Sunday, 16 June, Nigeria’s Christian and political leaders extended hands of fellowship to Muslims in the country, calling for reconciliation, understanding, and peaceful coexistence.

The Eid el-Adah festival is held across the Muslim world annually in honor of the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) for his willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah (God). Unlike in the Biblical narrative where God tells Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, the Quran speaks about Ishmael. Seeing his readiness to obey, God calls on Abraham to spare his son.

Archbishop Daniel Okoh, the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), said while Christians in the country covet a peaceful religious harmony and coexistence, Muslims should also reciprocate by exhibiting a spirit of religious tolerance, mutual respect and understanding.

“As Muslims all over the world celebrate Eid-el-Kabir, a festival symbolizing sacrifice, obedience, and faith, I urge all Nigerians to embody these values in our daily lives. Let us set aside our differences and heed the call for unity and peace," Okoh said.

“Our nation is in dire need of God’s mercy, peace, and unity. Let us unite in love, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Let us pray for divine intervention in our security, economic, and political struggles.

“May God’s comfort and strength support the displaced, the bereaved, and the traumatized. Let us work together to build a Nigeria where all citizens can thrive, regardless of religion, tribe, or creed. Our diversity is our strength, and together, we can overcome any obstacle.

“Let us embrace peace, love, and forgiveness. May God bless Nigeria and grant us peace, unity, and prosperity,” the Christian leader concluded.

The Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, a Catholic Priest and the Governor of Benue State in Central Nigeria, also urged Muslims to embrace love, sacrifice, tolerance and unity as preached by Muhammad, the Prophet Islam.

The governor said while the “Government strives hard to fulfil its electoral mandate to the people, expressed optimism that the state and country will surely overcome its current challenges.”

From southeastern Nigeria, the Governor of Ebonyi State, Francis Nwifuru, called on Muslims to make effective use of the religious festival to pray for peace, progress, unity and the development of the nation.

“May I on behalf of the Government and people of Ebonyi State wish all our Muslim Brothers and Sisters Barka de Sallah [meaning blessed Eid prayers]. May the blessings of Allah fill your life with happiness and open all the doors of success now and always,” Nwifuru said.

From southwest Nigeria, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, called on Muslims to persevere in building a culture of good interpersonal relations with Christians and the pursuit of sacrifice, and the overall development of all religious adherents in Nigeria.

Obaseki said, “I urge everyone to reflect on the peculiar state of our nation and espouse virtues that would promote peace, unity, good neighbourliness and sacrifice.”