Agency Report, Alo Abiola, Edegbe Odemwingie and Bode Gbadebo, George Agba, Midat Joseph, Mohammed Ismail, Muazu Elazeh, Patrick Ochoga, Taiwo Ogunmola Omilani, Taofeek Lawal, Tope Fayehun
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians to imbibe this year’s Ramadan’s key lessons of self-denial and sacrifice if the country must overcome its present challenges of insecurity, corruption and under-development inflicted on it by poor governance.
In his Eid-el-Fitr message to the nation, the president also responded to those accusing him of being slow in governance, saying although he shares their feelings that there is much work to do, things must be done carefully in order not to lose the opportunity provided to fix the country.
Buhari noted that being aware of the high expectations of Nigerians when he assumed office as president, he had been working “with utmost dedication to meticulously plan and tackle the many national challenges” that his party had identified and promised to resolve.
He said, “Although we have come to the end of this year’s month of Ramadan, I believe that a greater acceptance by Nigerians of its key lessons of self-denial and sacrifice will serve our dear country well as we strive to overcome our present challenges, undo the damage done by years of bad governance and accelerate the pace of national development.
“Reviewing our dire circumstances and the many missed opportunities of the past, some commentators and observers have said that this is Nigeria’s last chance to get its act together and finally begin to fulfill its God-given potential for greatness.
“While not going that far, I certainly believe that now, more than ever before, our country needs greater self-denial, sacrifice and patriotism from all of its citizens if we are to quickly recover from our numerous problems and start moving in a positive direction”.
The president said he fully understood and shared the thirst of his long-suffering compatriots for corruption-free government institutions that work efficiently to deliver visible development for the benefit of all citizens.
On the allegation that he was too slow, he said, “I also share the feelings of those who think that we should be moving faster. But I urge them and all Nigerians to trust that my commitment to real and positive change in our nation is as firm as ever.
“There is indeed much work to be done, but we must do it well and carefully to ensure that the great opportunity which we now have is not lost to the “business as usual” group who selfishly or shortsightedly prefer a status quo that panders to their personal or group interests.”
Admitting that the adverse effects of years of rot, corruption, inept and bad governance on the country were immense, Buhari noted, however, that they are “certainly not insurmountable.”
According to him, they can be rectified if all Nigerians “resolve now to place the well-being of our nation above all other considerations and work wholeheartedly with the present administration to achieve greater peace and security across the nation, and reposition our country for faster economic development and progress.
“This current period of our life as a nation offers us a great opportunity to break from the vicious triangle of insecurity, corruption and underdevelopment. We must collectively resolve to seize this opportunity and unite to confront our problems”, he added.
He, however, appealed that for him to succeed, he would need the continued support, understanding and patience of Nigerians.
Wishing Nigerians a happy Sallah celebration, Buhari said, “I greet and felicitate with you all, especially our citizens of the Islamic faith on this auspicious occasion of the 2015 Eid-el-Fitr celebrations.”
PMB Fires NIMASA DG, Akpobolokemi
President Muhammadu Buhari has relieved the director-general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi of his appointment.
A terse statement by his special adviser on media and publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina to this effect noted that Akpobolokemi’s sack was with immediate effect.
Adesina who did not state any reason for his sack added that Akpobolokemi has been directed to hand over all government belongings at his disposal to the most senior officer in the agency pending when a new DG would be appointed.
The statement made available to LEADERSHIP reads: “President Muhammadu Buhari has terminated the appointment of Mr. Patrick Ziakede Akpobolokemi as director-general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
The termination of Mr. Akpobolokemi’s appointment takes immediate effect. He is to hand over the management of NIMASA and all government property in his possession to the most senior officer in the agency who will remain in charge until a new director-general is appointed”.
PMB Dissolves Governing Boards Of FG Parastatals, Agencies, Others
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday dissolved the governing boards of federal government parastatals, agencies and institutions.
Presidential spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, who announced this in a statement, a copy which was obtained by LEADERSHIP Friday, noted that also dissolved are administrative or technical committees set up by the dissolved boards, to the exclusion of federal executive bodies recognised by the 1999 constitution.
He added that pending when new boards are reconstituted, chief executive officers of affected parastatals, agencies and institutions are to channel all issues handled by the boards to the president via permanent secretaries of the supervising ministries.
Boko Haram: Iran Pledges Support To Nigeria
The Republic of Iran has assured President Muhammadu Buhari of its support to Nigeria in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism.
This is even as the Nigerian president has given the assurance that, under his leadership, the country will continue to support the use of nuclear technology for only peaceful purposes and human development.
He said Nigeria, as a country, welcomes the agreement between Iran and the six world powers on its nuclear programme earlier this week.
Buhari, who stated this at a meeting with visiting Iranian Vice President for Executive Affairs, Mohammed Shariatmadari, applauded the agreement, saying that it was a major step toward ensuring peace and stability in the Middle East.
He also received an invitation from the Iranian vice president to attend an upcoming summit of gas exporting countries in Tehran, the Iranian capital.
The president said that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Nigeria was looking forward to the faithful implementation of the terms of the agreement by all concerned parties.
He noted that it was in the interest of developing countries to maximize the use of their natural resources for the improvement of the living conditions of their people.
Reflect On Ramadan Lesson – Sultan Tells Muslims
The Sultan of Sokoto and president-general of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar yesterday urged Muslims to reflect on the inherent lessons embedded in fasting.
The Sultan, in a statement signed by the JNI secretary-general, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, admonished Muslims to reflect on the lessons of faith, sincerity, sacrifice, humility, compassion, giving, piety and commitment.
According to him, “Muslims should always cast their minds back to the good virtues of the month of Ramadan and keep to its teachings throughout their lives.
“Above all, Muslims are reminded to adhere strictly to the tenets of the Glorious Qur’an, for the dignity of the Ummah and humanity, for the redemption of the Ummah always lies in upholding the imperatives of the Qur’an, especially in this painfully trying moment of our nationhood.”
Given the importance of Ramadan in the lives of the Muslims, Sultan urged Muslims to sustain the spirit beyond the month of Ramadan.
“It is no longer news that many parts of the country are witnessing shortage of rainfall, thus the need for more concerted prayers to that effect.
“Most importantly, Muslims are also reminded of Zakatul-Fitr (ordained almsgiving at the end of Ramadan fast) which preferably should be given out to the needy two days before the Eid-el-Fitr day or before the commencement of the Eid i.e. before the Eid prayer commences. This, if done, will assist the downtrodden to celebrate the Sallah happily with the rest of the Muslims.
“We therefore urge Muslim brothers and sisters to continue praying fervently for the peaceful existence of Nigeria, and keep to the pristine teachings of Islam,” the statement read.
Moon Sighted: Sallah Today – Sultan
The Sultan of Sokoto and president-general, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Sa’ad Abubakar III, said yesterday that the new moon of Shawwal was sighted across the country and declared today, Friday, as Sallah.
The Sultan, who spoke in his palace, said Thursday was the 29th Day of Ramadan and Friday July 17 becomes the first day of Shawwal 1436 after hijira and the Day of Eid al-Fitr.
According to a statement which the Sultan personally read, the moon was sighted in more than 10 states of the federation.
The statement read thus, “In line with laid-down Islamic rules and regulations, I have the pleasure to inform you that the new moon of Shawwal had been sighted today, Thursday , the 29th Day of Ramadan 1436, after hijira of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), which is equivalent to 16th July, 2015.
“Reliable reports of moon sighting were received from Muslim leaders and organizations across the country, in states such as Sokoto, Kano, Borno, Kaduna, Niger, Nasarawa, Zamfara, Jigawa, Yobe, Bauchi and Kebbi, which were duly verified and authenticated by the National Moon Sighting Committee.
“Consequent upon this, tomorrow (today) Friday, July 17, 2015 becomes the first day of Shawwal 1436 after hijira and the day of Eid al-Fitr.”
Sultan, therefore, congratulated all Muslim faithful for the successful completion of the Ramadan fast. He prayed that Allah accept their deeds of faith and reward them with paradise.
The Significance Of Sallah
Nigerian Muslims joined their counterparts around the globe to mark the end of Ramadan fasting popularly referred to as Eid al-Fitr in Islamic parlance. Muslims observe the fast during the 10th month of the lunar calendar, Shawwal. Eid al-Fitr or ‘festival of the breaking of the fast’ is celebrated at the end of the Islamic holy month. The fast could be for 29 or 30 days depending on the sighting of the moon by Islamic scholars which is announced to faithful across the world. During Ramadan, Muslims observe fasting from dawn to dusk and the Eid festival is a reward for them. Apart from fasting, Muslims restrain themselves from all kinds of vices including lying, cheating, violence and theft during the holy month. The celebration of Eid also marks the anniversary of the Qur’an being revealed.
The history of the most significant Muslim celebration dates back to 610 AD when Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him), while meditating, had visions of angel Jibril, the messenger of Allah. Over the years, Prophet Mohammed, under the guidance of Jibril, wrote the holy verses of wisdom which later became the code of conduct for followers of Islam and were documented as the holy book of Qur’an. It is believed that the wisdom of the holy Qur’an was revealed to Mohammad during the month of Ramadan and he asked all Muslims to observe the month to express their gratitude to Allah.
After spending a month on rigorous self-cleansing during Ramadan, Muslims around the world break their fast after the crescent moon is sighted after sunset on the last day of the holy month. On the day, Muslim families and friends greet each other with “Eid Mubarak” or “have a Blessed Eid”. While the fasting month is a symbol of sacrifice and purification, the fast-breaking ceremony of Eid aims at promoting love and brotherhood, and the beginning of normal everyday life.
The day begins with an early hour bath (ghusl), after which Muslims put on their best clothes and eat dates before going to the special Eid prayer ceremonies in nearby mosques. Eid al-Fitr, which means ‘breaking the fast’, is incomplete without the special delicacies meant for the special occasion. Muslim families serve the best of Eid meals during their celebratory get-together on that day.
Some interesting facts about Eid al-Fitr are:
It is customary to eat breakfast before the special prayer of Eid, as Prophet Mohammed used to eat something sweet before offering his prayers.
As the crescent moon of Eid appears on different dates in different countries, many Muslim communities celebrate Eid on the day it appears over the sky above Mecca.
The Eid prayer is different from the regular prayer known as Adhaan. The special prayer can be done anytime between the Ishraq (dawn) and Zawal (midday) prayers.
Also, Muslims usually give a special gift of money to charity also known as Zakat-ul-Fitr which is collected and given to Muslims who are poor or in need.
In line with tradition, the federal government has declared Friday, July 17, 2015 and Monday, July 20, 2015 as public holidays to enable Muslims to celebrate the end of the Ramadan fast.
Sallah: Katsina Emirate Cancels Durbar
The Katsina State Emirate Council has cancelled the traditional durbar, popularly known as Hawan Sallah, citing security concerns.
Hawan Sallah is one of the traditional events lined up for the sallah celebration and is often characterised by display of horse riding.
A statement signed by the district head of Rimi, who also doubles as Kauran Katsina, Alhaji Nuhu Abdulkadir, said the Emir, Abdulmumini Kabir Usman, ordered an outright cancellation of the fiesta.
Oshiomhole Congratulates Muslims, Preaches Peace
Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has urged Nigerian Muslims to exhibit the true spirit of peace and love in their daily dealings with men of all faith, saying that Islam, as a religion, of peace abhors violence in whatever guise.
The governor congratulated the Muslim Ummah on the success of this year’s Ramadan and urged them to inculcate the lessons learnt during the Ramadan fast to positively impact on their neighbours and the larger society.
TUC Sues For Peace Among Muslims
Nigeria’s labour centre, the Trade Union Congress, has called on Nigerians, especially Muslims, to make the necessary commitment to the nation by seeing every Nigerian, irrespective of his or her religious orientation, as brother and sister, saying that it is the only way the country can move forward.
In a sallah message by its president, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama, and secretary general, Comrade (Barr.) Musa Lawal, they congratulated Nigerian Muslims and non-Muslims alike on this year’s Eid al-Fitri celebration.
Lagos Speaker Advises Nigerians On Sustainable Peace
The speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, has advised Nigerian Muslims to ensure that they did not neglect the virtues they displayed and enjoy during the month of Ramadan.
He gave the advice in his Eid al-Fitri message to the nation, stating that Muslims all over the country should continue to display the spirit of love sharing and peace which were the major virtues they displayed during the Ramadan period.
Adamawa Civil Servants Get Free Meat
Adamawa civil servants were in jubilation mood as the state government distributed free meat to them to celebrate Sallah festivity.
The workers who expressed happiness said the gesture will bring succour to them as they said the festivity came in austere times.
“The gesture will affect our lives positively as it will make life better for us as the celebration lasts,” a civil servant who pleaded anonymity said.
Sustain The Lessons of Ramadan, Fayose, Mimiko Urge Muslims
Ekiti State governor Ayo Fayose has advised Muslims and non-Muslims in the country not to lose sight of the gains and lessons of the Ramadan fast as they celebrate the Eid al-Fitr.
The governor, who gave the advice in his Sallah message yesterday in Ado-Ekiti, said all that was put into the month-long fast would make no meaning if the lessons learnt were not sustained beyond the period.
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