Strict security checks at the national Eid praying ground in Abuja yesterday caused many people to miss their prayers.
Security personnel deployed to the venue were seen screening people at the various entrances to the praying ground.
People carrying bags into the ground were turned back by security agents and asked to drop the bags elsewhere before being allowed in.
The aftermath of the search resulted in long queues outside the praying ground, forcing some people to pray outside.
A security personnel, who craved anonymity, told City News that they were acting on a directive not to allow anybody to enter the fenced praying ground with a bag or any suspicious object.
?Considering the security situation in the country, such measures have to be taken to safeguard the lives and properties of people, especially during festivities like Sallah and Christmas. There are many mischievous elements in this country, who like to cause havoc with the slightest opportunity they can get,? he said.
Alhaji Rabiu Abdu, one of the worshipers, expressed mixed reactions towards the arrangement, saying that it is a good thing to provide security at the venue, but noted however that people coming for the prayer, especially women and children, should not be subjected to hardship at the praying ground.
?Women and children should not be subjected to this kind of stress especially during Sallah celebration. They are not used to it; this thing can demoralize them and reduce their happiness. Imagine a young girl being forced to drop her bag, that the bag is a suspicious package at the praying ground,? he said.
While waiting to be screened at the entrance, many were taken unawares when the prayer started.
Most of them rushed down to pray outside, but before they could spread their prayer mats or find convenient places to pray, they saw people coming out of the praying ground.
Most worshippers expressed disappointment at the sound system used during the prayers, as almost all the people outside missed the prayer due to their inability to hear the prayer proceedings inside the fenced praying ground.