Sallah: Abuja Streets Deserted, Commuters Stranded

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The streets in Abuja were yesterday deserted with little vehicular movement as Muslims celebrated the Eid-el-Fitr.

This was just as commuters were stranded at various bus stops in the city, with no vehicles to convey them to their destinations, following fuel scarcity that has persisted in the capital city since Wednesday.

LEADERSHIP checks in the city revealed that popular streets such as Ahmadu Bello Way, Aminu Kano Crescent and Muhammadu Buhari Way, among others, were devoid of the usual bustle during such festivities.

Some of the residents who spoke with our correspondent attributed the absence of vehicles on the road to the fuel scarcity, while others said Muslims had opted for a low-key celebration because of the prevailing economic situation in the country.

One of them, Hajiya Jamila Ahmed, said she had been standing at Berger Bus Stop for over 30 minutes, waiting for a vehicle to take her to Nyanya but none had shown up.

“I wanted to go and visit some of my relations in Nyanya but I have been standing here since and no vehicle has come. I think it is because of the fuel scarcity that we have been experiencing in the last few days,” she said.

Another resident, a civil servant, Alhaji Musa Awwal, attributed the low key celebration witnessed to the inability of government ministries and agencies to pay their workers salaries as directed by President Goodluck Jonathan.

“Last week, I heard on the news that the president directed that civil servants should be paid their salaries so that they can enjoy the sallah celebration but we were not paid.

“I could not afford to buy all the requirements of my family for the celebration, so I explained to them that we have to manage what we have. I think that is the situation with other families, too. There is no money; the economy is bad,” he added.

At the recreation centres, it was observed that even though there was security presence, turn-out of fun seekers to the centres was low at the time of our checks.

LEADERSHIP caught up with two families celebrating at the Millennium Park. Head of one of the families, Mr. John Ivo said he was out with his Muslim friend and their families to celebrate together.

“I came out to join my friend who is a Muslim to celebrate Sallah and that is the way we should be together in this country. We are aware of the prevailing security situation but we won’t allow it to deter us from spending time with our loved ones outside the house,” he said.

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