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Peaceful and joyous Eid al-Fitr in Nigeria’s northeast

13 April 2024
Reading time: 6 minutes


Eid al-Fitr celebrations in the northeastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) have been joyous, colourful and – most importantly – peaceful.

On Wednesday, April 10, the faithful in Nigeria’s northeast joined Muslims around the world the world to celebrate Eid.

Eid marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan during which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Ramadan is a time of increased worship and charitable deeds.

Eid al-Fitr means the feast, or festival, of breaking the fast. It is one of two major holidays celebrated by Muslims and is commemorated by large, community-wide prayers in the morning, followed by a feast with family and friends.

Eid takes place the day after the new moon is seen at the end of the month of Ramadan and marks the start of the Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic calendar.

Festivities include family visits, gatherings and, for those who can afford it, new clothes and the exchange of gifts.


Despite the scorching heat, thousands of people gathered for Eid prayers at the Borno Central Eid ground in Ramat Square in Maiduguri, the state capital.

Kashim Shettima, the vice-president of Nigeria, Babagana Umara Zulum, the governor of Borno State, and Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Elkanemi, the Shehu of Borno, were among the dignitaries who attended the two rakat Eid prayers, which were led by Shettima Mamman Saleh, the Imam idaini of Borno.

In his khutba (sermon), the imam enjoined the Muslim ummah (nation) to continue observing the spiritual discipline of Ramadan and to show empathy with those less fortunate.

Kashim Shettima told journalists after the Eid prayers that peace and social harmony needed to be prioritised for nation-building.

Zulum said the Borno State government, with the federal government, was working assiduously to tackle the challenges of the harsh economic climate that were bedevilling the state and the country as a whole.

“I urge all Nigerians to work as brothers and sisters and look to the future with hope.”

He encouraged all Muslims to use the lessons of Ramadan to move forward so that progress, development and resilience would be achieved.

He emphasised the need for Nigerians to prioritise love, peaceful coexistence, tolerance and social harmony.

At the Kolo Gumna Primary School in the Ali Kotoko area of Maiduguri, a large crowd turned out for the Eid prayers.

Fatima Goni Zanna said she was grateful to Almighty Allah for making it possible to celebrate Eid after 30 days of fasting.

“Even in this terribly hot weather we are here to pray for peace and harmony. We ask God to help us survive the challenges we face, such as the high price of food and other commodities, and insecurity. We are struggling but with God’s grace we will endure and get through this challenging time.”

Fatima Mohammed said she was happy to be celebrating Eid.

“I am praying for peace to continue. I am grateful to Almighty Allah.”


Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai El-Kanemi, the Shehu of Borno, hosted a grand durbar procession at his palace.

Thousands of Maiduguri locals joined dignitaries from near and far – including the vice-president and the governor – to witness a colourful procession, skillful horsemanship and traditional dances.

The Shehu said the durbar was a traditional event that originated in the time of the Kanem-Bornu Empire.

“It is an opportunity for the community to come together to strengthen their bond and to showcase their rich and vibrant cultural heritage.

“It is also an opportunity to promote cultural diversity,” he said.

Maiduguri resident Aja Bakura told RNI that he had never seen anything as impressive as the durbar, which he described as “spectacular”.

“It began with a procession, led by the Shehu. Riders wore traditional attire and there was great excitement as the horses galloped down the racecourse, egged on by the cheering crowd.”

Amina Abba Bashir said: “It was truly a sight to behold. The riders showed exceptional skills. It was so exciting; a wonderful and amazing experience that I will never forget.”


Internally displaced persons (IDPs) said they were not able to celebrate Eid in the same way as they did before the insurgency.

Maimuna Zakari, who lives in Madinatu camp, said: “This year’s Eid celebration was not as bad as I expected. We cooked what we had which was maize grit with baobab soup mixed with beans.

“A lot has changed. In the past, when we lived in peaceful communities in our ancestral hometowns, we would often cook rice with chicken or beef and snacks. We shared it with our loved ones and friends and exchanged gifts. Unfortunately, we could not afford a feast this year.”

Modu Ngubdu from Buzu camp said: “We didn’t enjoy this year’s Eid because we did not have anything special to eat. We had some water and went to our Eid prayers. We hoped the government or humanitarian agencies might provide something special to celebrate. But there was nothing, so we just made do with what we had.”


Imam Ali Sadiq, the chief imam of Galtimari town in the Jere Local Government Area of Borno State, led the two rakat prayers at the Eid ground at the school.

He urged the Muslim faithful to continue doing charitable deeds even though the holy month of Ramadan was over.

He encouraged Muslims to seek divine intervention from Almighty Allah to find finding lasting solutions to the issues affecting the country, such as insecurity, the economic hardships and the prohibitive cost of living crisis.


Residents of the Damboa Local Government Area of Borno State observed the two Rakat prayers peacefully.

Members of the military, civilian joint task force (CJTF), hunters and other security operatives took all necessary measures to ensure the safety of those celebrating Eid.

Mohammed Chiroma said he appreciated the effort made by security personnel.

Mustapha Usman said the festivities were peaceful.

“Unlike previous years, we felt safe. The celebrations took place without hindrance or threat from insurgents. We are grateful to Almighty Allah and we thank security operatives who took all measures to protect us and keep us safe.”


Residents of Damaturu in Yobe State celebrated the Eid al-fitr festival peacefully.

Yunusa Abubakar, a resident of Damatura, thanked security personnel for ensuring that “peace prevailed”.

Mohammed Goniri said the Eid festivities were “hitch-free”.

“We thank Allah. The 30 days of Ramadan passed and we were able to celebrate Eid peacefully.”


Residents of Yola in Adamawa State also celebrated the Eid al-fitr festival peacefully.

Thousands of locals, including senior government officials, traditional rulers and district heads, attended a colourful durbar hosted by the Lamido of Adamawa, Muhammadu Barkindo Aliyu Mustapha.

Yola resident Aminu Abubakar said the traditional procession was “most enjoyable”.

“We observed the two rakat prayers in the morning and then we attended the durbar. There was a huge crowd. Everyone seemed to enjoy the celebrations.”

Aliyu Mohammed said he was grateful for a peace.

“This year’s Eid celebration was peaceful. We give thanks to Almighty Allah and security operatives who ensured our safety.”



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