Tag Archives: Muslim

Despite COVID-19 threat, Muslims celebrate Eid Worldwide.


Muslims around the world began marking a sombre Eidul Fitr Sunday, many under coronavirus lockdown, but lax restrictions offer respite to worshippers in some countries despite fears of skyrocketing infections.

The festival, one of the most important in the Muslim calendar marking the end of the holy month of Ramazan, is traditionally celebrated with mosque prayers, family feasts and shopping for new clothes, gifts and sweet treats.

But this year, the celebration is overshadowed by the fast-spreading respiratory disease, with many countries tightening lockdown restrictions after a partial easing during Ramadan led to a sharp spike in infections.

Further dampening the festive spirit, multiple countries — from Saudi Arabia to Egypt, Turkey and Syria — have banned mass prayer gatherings, a festival highlight, to limit the spread of the disease.

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Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest sites, began a five-day, round-the-clock curfew from Saturday after infections more than quadrupled since the start of Ramadan to around 68,000 –- the highest in the Gulf.

Eid prayers will be held at the two holy mosques in the cities of Makkah and Madinah “without worshippers”, authorities said on Saturday, citing a royal decree.

Makkah’s Grand Mosque has been almost devoid of worshippers since March, with a stunning emptiness enveloping the sacred Kaaba.

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Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, will reopen to worshippers only after Eid, its governing body said.

In Lebanon, the highest Sunni religious authority has announced the reopening of mosques only for Friday prayers. Worshippers, however, will be subject to temperature checks and sanitary controls before they enter.

– Fears of ‘new peak’ –

Meanwhile, Muslims across Asia — from Indonesia to Pakistan, Malaysia and Afghanistan — thronged markets for pre-festival shopping, flouting coronavirus guidelines and sometimes even police attempts to disperse large crowds.

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“For over two months my children were homebound,” said Ishrat Jahan, a mother of four, at a bustling market in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi.

“This feast is for the kids, and if they can’t celebrate it with new garments, there is no point in us working so hard throughout the year.”

In Indonesia –- the world’s most populous Muslim nation — people are turning to smugglers and fake travel documents to get around bans on the annual end-of-Ramadan travel that could send infections soaring. 

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More than 3,500 Tunisians who travelled home just ahead of the holiday will have to spend it away from their families, forced to quarantine for two weeks in hotels after arriving from abroad.

Atef Maherzi, a doctor repatriated Tuesday from Saudi Arabia, said she would be catching up with family over Skype, foregoing her usual role of host.

“Usually, I’m the mistress of the house, but this time, my husband will receive the guests alone.”

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The COVID-19 death tolls across the Middle East and Asia have been lower than in Europe and the United States, but numbers are rising steadily, sparking fears the virus may overwhelm often underfunded healthcare systems.

Iran, which has experienced the Middle East’s deadliest outbreak, has called on its citizens to avoid travel during Eid as it battles to control infection rates.

Iran shut schools and places of worship and banned inter-city travel for the Persian New Year holidays in March, but the restrictions were recently eased.

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Health Minister Saeed Namaki said that the country was focusing hard on avoiding “new peaks of the disease” caused by people “not respecting health regulations”.

The exact date of Eid has yet to be set in the Shiite-majority country, but will likely be Monday, in line with the Shiite community’s celebrations in Iraq, as announced by top cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani.

Sunnis in Iraq will mark the start of the festival on Sunday.

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– ‘Comedy night’ –

The neighbouring United Arab Emirates has tightened its lockdown, with the night-time curfew starting at 8:00 pm (1600 GMT) instead of 10:00 pm during Ramadan. 

But that has not stopped some families from planning getaways to luxury beachfront hotels in Ajman or Ras Al-Khaimah emirates.

However, Muslims in many countries are set for frugal celebrations amid growing financial distress.

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The twin shocks of coronavirus restrictions and falling oil prices have plunged the region into the worst economic crisis in decades.

The coronavirus restrictions have hit businesses hard, including retailers who would normally be preparing for the festive rush, as Muslims save their money for masks, gloves and other COVID-19 protective gear.

In the Syrian capital Damascus, Eid shoppers rummaged through flea markets for clothes at bargain prices as the war-ravaged and sanctions-hit country grapples with a much more entrenched economic crisis.

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“The flea market is the only place I can buy something new to wear for the Eid holidays,” 28-year-old Sham Alloush told AFP.

“Had it not been for this place, I wouldn’t have been able to buy new clothes at all.”

But promising some laughs in these dire times, 40 Muslim comedians from across the world will host a virtual show on Sunday called “The Socially Distant Eid Comedy Night”.

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“This Ramadan has been particularly difficult for communities around the world,” said Muddassar Ahmed, head of the Concordia Forum, the organiser of the event.

“We’re proud to be pulling together some of the brightest Muslim comedic talent to entertain those celebrating the Eid festival at home, people looking to learn a little bit about Muslim culture, or really anyone in need of a good laugh.”


#Newsworthy..

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Breaking: Michigan Muslims find new way to celebrate Eid.


Eid al-Fitr in the US state of Michigan this year is going to be very different, said Mahmoud Al-Hadidi, a physician and chairman of the Michigan Muslim Community Council.

There will be no mass prayers in the mosques, no communal breakfasts, no carnival and no evening parties. Even family gatherings will be limited.

“Usually we have a huge party at my house with 400 to 500 people,” Al-Hadidi said.

“I’m not gonna be doing that this year,” Al-Hadidi said. “I’m going to be with my immediate family, and we’re staying at home.”

But the curbs on mass social gatherings put in place to contain the spread of the coronavirus, expected to last through at least May 28, have not dampened the holiday spirit. And residents of southeast Michigan, home to one of the largest Muslim communities in the United States, say they have found innovative ways to welcome the three-day holiday marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, while adhering to social-distancing measures.

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“We are determined to celebrate and be happy despite all the circumstances, we will adapt,” Al-Hadidi added.

Thousands are expected to tune in on Sunday morning for a live Eid sermon that will be aired on local television and streamed on social media. Later in the day, cars will be able to line up outside several mosques to enjoy live music and to receive gift bags for children, in this year’s first-ever drive-thru Eid event.

Like most Muslims around the world, those of southeast Michigan, a community of over 250,000, traditionally celebrate Eid by visiting friends and relatives in their homes or attending large gatherings where people eat and socialise together.

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“Normally we go to the mosque for prayer and breakfast, and at night we go out for dinner,” Lama Samman Nasry said, “we spend most of the day out of the house.”

Samman Nasry – a resident of the Detroit suburb Franklin who works as a manager at an urgent care clinic and is the mother of four children – said she will be one of dozens who will be volunteering to hand out presents and food, hoping to help spread some joy.

“It’s going to be a quieter celebration,” she said. “It will be a different kind of celebration, definitely.”

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Michigan has been one of the hardest-hit states during the coronavirus pandemic, with over 53,000 cases of COVID-19 and over 5,000 deaths – the fourth-highest death toll in the country, according to Johns Hopkins University statistics.

The state also imposed one of the strictest stay-at-home orders, which prompted small groups of protesters, some armed, to demonstrate at the state capitol.

On Thursday, Michigan’s governor Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced steps to reopen the state’s economy and presented timelines for the resumption of some businesses and allowing some social gatherings.

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“We’ve taken significant steps forward to re-engage our economy safely and responsibly over the past few weeks. Now we are going to take some time to ensure that these new measures are working,” Whitmer said during Thursday’s news briefing.

On Friday, US President Donald Trump said that he has deemed houses of worship as “essential” and called on governors across the country to allow them to reopen this weekend despite the threat of spreading the coronavirus.

“These are places that hold our society together and keep our people united,” he said at a news conference at the White House.

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“The people are demanding to go to church and synagogue, go to their mosque,” he said.

Trump said that if governors do not abide by his request, he will “override” them. It remains unclear what authority he has to do so, and how governors – including Michigan’s – will respond.

Meanwhile, Firas Bazerbashi, a physician, says most residents in Michigan are fully aware of the health risks and will forego the customary community celebrations. He added that after weeks of quarantine, people have learned to replace family visits with phone calls and Zoom sessions, despite a renewed need to be physically close to family.

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“It will be remarkably different,” Bazerbashi said. “It’s really hard to be isolated from family and friends and being disconnected from the community.”

“We are mentally prepared to have a COVID Eid, but it is still very challenging,” he said.


#Newsworthy…

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Bandits kill 8 Muslims in Afghanistan Mosque attack.


Gunmen opened fire in a mosque in central Afghanistan on Tuesday evening, killing eight worshippers, who are breaking their Ramadan fast, wounding five others, officials said.

“Unknown gunmen fired on people praying inside a mosque during iftar (referring to the meal eaten to break daytime fasting) time,’’ said Wahida Shahkar, spokeswoman for the Governor of Parwan province, during the Islamic holy month.

The Ministry of Interior confirmed the attack in Parwan’s provincial capital Charekar, blaming it on the insurgent Taliban.

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The Taliban denied responsibility and said Afghan security forces were to blame.

The United Nations has warned of an alarming uptick in violence against civilians in Afghanistan.

A shocking attack on a Kabul maternity ward last week killed 24 people, including newborn babies.

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Violence increased around the country even after a Feb. 29 U.S.-Taliban pact on the withdrawal of U.S.-led foreign forces in exchange for Taliban security guarantees.

Afghan security forces, on Tuesday, clashed with Taliban fighters around the city of Kunduz, a strategically important centre that has been one of the Taliban’s main targets and which the group has briefly captured twice in recent years.

Security forces largely repelled the Taliban offensive with the help of air support.

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Assadullah Khalid, acting Minister of Defence, said during a visit to the city that more than 50 insurgents and eight security force members had been killed.

The Taliban have rejected repeated calls for a ceasefire by the Afghan government.

They deny any involvement in the maternity ward attack and the U.S. believes the Islamic State was responsible.

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The U.S. has sent special envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, to Doha and Kabul to press the Afghan government and the Taliban to start stalled peace talks.

Khalilzad has said he will push for a reduction in violence during the trip.


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: UI Ibadan Muslim community suspends weekly Jum’ah.


NobleReporters reports that the suspension was contained in a statement signed by the Chief Imam, UIMC, Prof. Miftah AbdulRahman in Ibadan.

The Chief Imam said that the decision came having considered the recent global occurrence around COVID-19 pandemic, especially the official revelation that the Ekiti state index case stayed in Ibadan for 14 days.


“In effect, Jum’ah prayers starting from 20th March are suspended until further notice.

“This announcement will help us in the UIMC to proactively respond to COVID-19 virus and prevent its spread.”


AbdulRahman urged members to pray at their respective homes and observe personal hygiene.

“While they continue their Adhkar for Allah to a halt this deadly plague.

“Furthermore, members should constantly recite Ayatul-kursiyy (Q2:255),” the Chief Imam said.

He urged members to strictly adhere to the health guidelines laid down by the University of Ibadan Health Services


#Newsworthy…

What Brought Islam? [History]


Islam is the Arabic word for ’submission’, in the sense of surrendering to God’s will. It is the religion of about 1.6 billion people around the globe as of 2010, according to the Pew Research Center, which also ranks the Abrahamic, monotheistic faith as the fastest growing religion in the world.


How Islam Began

It was in the small desert town of Mecca, located in what is now Saudi Arabia and surrounded by the Byzantine and Sassanian empires, that Islam emerged in the early 7th century through revelations that Muslims believe were made to Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, by the archangel Gabriel – Jibril in Arabic.

Muhammad began receiving revelations in 610 while he was meditating in a cave on the summit of Mount Hira, outside Mecca. Muslims believe that those revelations are the words of God, conveyed by Gabriel, and that they constitute the Koran, Islam’s holy book.

Muhammad only confided in his wife and close family and friends that he had received the revelations, and it was more than two years later that he started preaching publicly.

A Religio-Social Reform Movement
According to certain historians and religious scholars, such as Vernon O. Egger, Islam emerged essentially as a ‘religio-social reform movement’, as its leader grew up an impoverished orphan who lived with his grandfather, then with an uncle after his grandfather’s death.

At the time, Mecca was home to the pagan Kaaba shrine and the few hundred pagan idols surrounding it, as well as a regional trade centre with unequal distribution of wealth between a rich elite and poor, underprivileged families and clans. Muhammad called on the people of Arabia “to share wealth and create a society where the weak and vulnerable were treated with respect”, according to Karen Armstrong, who emphasized Muhammad’s social message in her book on Islam’s history. It is little wonder that the early believers – with the exception of a few prominent Meccans such as Uthman ibn Affan – came mainly from among the poor, such as freed slaves and those who belonged to lesser clans and families.

The staunchest opposition to Muhammad’s message came from his own tribe, the Quraysh, which was the dominant tribe in Mecca at the time. Muhammad belonged to the Quraysh’s Banu Hashim clan, a prominent but not the most important clan in the tribe. Scholars and observers have put forward various possible explanations for such opposition. Egger and Armstrong, for example, attribute it to the nature of Muhammad’s teachings.

Egger wrote, ‘Muhammad’s teachings were particularly galling to the aristocrats of Mecca. On the one hand, he used the traditional value of generosity against them and exposed the fact that they had betrayed those [tribal] values by becoming greedy and stingy; on the other hand, he turned upside down the traditional criterion for status, which was a prominent position in a powerful tribe. According to him, individuals with undistinguished backgrounds who submitted to God and His Prophet would fare better in eternity than the most revered tribal leader who rejected the new teaching.’

The renowned Montgomery Walt highlighted the threat Muhammad posed to the political power and influence of rich merchants: they feared that if he succeeded in attracting a mass following, he would acquire political power and possibly run Mecca’s affairs.

Their fears were eventually realized because Muhammad would indeed later control Mecca and all of Arabia. What’s more, Muslims after his death would form an empire that would stretch over thousands of miles.

Hijra: The Muslim Era Begins

Muhammad’s main protector in Mecca, his uncle Ali ibn Abi Talib, passed away in 619. Following his death, the Quraysh’s persecution (e.g. economic boycott and physical beatings) of Muhammad’s followers intensified. It was in 622 that the early Muslim community took a step that would become a turning point in Islam’s history: the hijra (migration), moving to Yathrib, which is today the Saudi Arabian city of Medina. Medina is located around 220 miles to Mecca’s north.

Islam had already started to make its way to the city by 620, after a group of its people came to Mecca and heard Muhammad preaching. Later, a full delegation representing Medina’s Arabs visited the prophet, expressed their conversion to Islam and invited him to move to their city. Vowing to obey him, they asked him to arbitrate in the city’s tribal conflicts.

The hijra marked the beginning of the ‘Muslim era’. In fact, the year of the hijra (622 in the Gregorian Christian calendar) marks the first year in the Islamic calendar, also known as the hijri calendar.

In Medina, Muhammad’s followers increased and he became recognized as the city’s political leader. He set about organizing the affairs of a new community, which comprised the immigrant Muslims (known in Islamic tradition as muhajiroon), Medina’s converts to Islam (ansar) and the Jewish tribes that were already well established in the city.

The Koranic verses that Muhammad said were revealed to him while he was in Medina focus on rulings and legislations that were relevant to his new role in running the affairs of a growing community.

Yet the city’s Jewish tribes were not always comfortable with this role. Perhaps, according to some sources, the Jewish tribes were unhappy about the new balance of power he created after mediating between the city’s tribes and clansii, who had been engaged in a long conflict prior to his arrival.

Some historians also attribute the Jews’ hostility toward Muhammad to the religious differences between them. The Jews did not accept that the new prophet was not Jewish. Muhammad, for his part, developed a more negative position toward the ‘people of the book’ (Christians and Jews who had scriptures) after the hijra.

According to many sources, members of Medina’s Jewish clans planned to kill Muhammad more than once. Muhammad expelled two Jewish clans from the city. Amid the Battle of Trench between the Muslims and the Quraysh/Mecca, and after the Jewish Banu Qurayzah clan betrayed an agreement with the Muslims and sided with the Quraysh, Muslims in Medina killed the male members of the clan and enslaved the women and children. This went down in history as a particularly controversial incident.

While in Medina, Muhammad engaged in continuous conflict with the Quraysh/Mecca, marked by a series of three battles, until his home town eventually fell to the Muslims in 630, following Meccans’ violation of the bilateral treaty of Hudaybiyah. By the time Muhammad died in 632, the Muslims controlled all of the Hijaz, the region that makes up most of the western part of modern-day Saudi Arabia.

Following his death, four of Muhammad’s early companions succeeded him in ruling the Muslim community, which would continue to expand to include Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Iran, Afghanistan and more. These successors were given the title of caliph. During the reigns of the third and fourth caliphs, disagreements broke out among the Muslim leaders, resulting in civil war and the emergence of the Shiite Muslim sect as distinct from the Sunni sect. To this day, Shiites continue to play major religious and political roles in the Muslim world, despite being in the minority.

The Islamic Doctrine
Scholars agree on a number of key fundamentals that characterize Islam. They include, but are not limited to, the following.

Abrahamic Tradition

Muslims believe that Muhammad is God’s messenger, the last in a series of prophets God sent to complete or ‘seal’ God’s message. They believe in the prophets that preceded him, such as Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus. Most scholars agree that Islam belongs to, or is at least in general harmony with, the Judeo-Christian, Abrahamic tradition.

Muslims, however, claim that any rejection of Muhammad’s prophethood and teachings on the part of Jews and Christians is due to ‘distortions’ that accumulated in the Christian and Jewish traditions over time. The three religions have numerous key concepts in common, such as monotheism, the importance of giving charity to the poor, bodily resurrection after death, the last judgement, heaven, hell and Satan.

Tawhid: God’s Oneness

Many scholars have pinpointed tawhid as the most important concept for Muslims. Muslims are required to acknowledge God’s oneness as the only God (al-ilah in Arabic), which is why there are Arabic-speaking Christians who call God Allah as well). Allah Is the greatest, to whom all the virtuous traits are attributed in their utmost, absolute form: he is the most merciful, most generous and the most just.

Allah has no wife or offspring. He and only he may be worshipped. Islam strictly rejects all forms of polytheism and paganism. This particularly distinguished Muhammad’s message when he started preaching in Mecca because the Quraysh already believed in God, but they worshipped him through idols. Subsequently, Muslims believe that there is no religious authority (e.g. a clergy) between individuals and God.

The Koran (Quran)

In a poetic language and literary style, the Koran tells stories of the past and makes vows about the future, addressing Muhammad and Muslims at times and humankind at other times. It also lays out a number of rulings on how Muslims should live their lives and organize their community, and it describes God’s traits, such as mercy, justice and power.

There is a near-consensus among Muslims that the Koran is the word of God, delivered through revelations that Muhammad received via Gabriel. Many observers have noted that almost all Muslims around the world agree on the authenticity of the Koran, despite their differences and disagreements on scores of issues, both minor and major, and despite their divisions across sects and groups.

Many historians have also agreed on the Koran’s authenticity as a historical source on Muhammad’s life, even if they find it unsatisfactory on its own and in need of supplementary sources. Montgomery Watt describes the Koran as ‘contemporary and authentic’ as a ‘primary source for the life of Muhammad’, even if it is ‘fragmentary’ and ‘difficult to interpret’.

This on the Koran’s fragmentation can be understood in the context of the book’s division into 114 surahs (chapters) that were collected and organized according to Muhammad’s instructions, which is not the same order as the chapters were reportedly revealed to him.

Another historian, F.E. Peters, wrote, ‘There is almost universal consensus that the Koran is authentic, that the text that stands before us is the product of one man.’

Obviously, secularist and non-Muslim historians who consider the Koran authentic do not see it as the word of God, as Muslims do; rather, they consider it as a credible source for what Muhammad said during his life.


#Newsworthy…

NASFAT Says Muslim Women Should Be Of Good Behaviours


The Nasiru Lahi-l- Fatih Society (NASFAT), an Islamic group, in Lagos on Monday enjoined Muslim women in the country to exhibit good conduct at all times.The NASFAT Women Affairs Secretary, Alhaja Suwebat Kupolati, gave the advice in a statement signed by the Publicity Secretary of the society, Mr Akeem Yusuf, to mark the end of the Hijab Day.She also appealed to the government to ensure equal rights were given to Muslim women who wear hijab as granted their counterparts, adding that hijab wearing is part of Islamic dress code.


“We have always reminded our women to be of good conduct because we are all ambassadors of Islam and everybody is looking at us when we wear hijab,” she said. “We created hashtag hijab story on Instagram telling ladies between 12 to 25 years old to share their real life experience on difficulties wearing hijab. “We received 46 videos and three ladies were selected and given gifts to round off the world hijab day,” she said. She said NASFAT also visited schools across the country to sensitise the girls on the need to wear hijab. She said NASFAT would continue to sensitise the public most especially Muslims on the importance of wearing hijab. “It is in the Qur’an and we must obey Allah so we will continue to sensitise the public,” she said.

NobleReporters learnt that the hijab day is celebrated every Feb. 1. Series of activies to commemorate the event by NASFAT ended on Feb. 23.


#Newsworthy…

You shall be exposed very soon – IMN shade El Rufai


The Islamic Movement of Nigeria has issued a stern rebuke of Governor Nasir El-Rufai over the continuous detention of its leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife in Kaduna Correctional Centre.

In a statement on Sunday, the group’s spokesman Ibrahim Musa lambasted El-Rufai over his recent comments justifying Zakzaky’s detention and vowing never to release him.

Musa said the governor’s statement contained half-truths and pathological lies, “for which he has come to be known”. He also said sooner than later, El-Zakzaky will go free in the full course of justice.

“Finally, we would like to let El-Rufai and his master that the day of reckoning is very near indeed. Justice will be served and no amount of blackmail and misuse of state power could avert this whirlwind of justice from catching up with them all. On our part, we will intensify our peaceful campaigns until justice is done to the victims of Zaria genocide of December, 2015 and Sheikh Zakzaky and all those still being held regain their freedom”, Musa said..


Please read his full statement:

“With increasing pressure on the Buhari regime from home and abroad occasioned by the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague to investigate the crimes against humanity committed by this regime during the Zaria Massacre of 2015, there have been increased efforts at belittling the matter and trivializing the issues. This reached a peak in the last hours when the Kaduna state governor, Nasiru El-Rufai was rattling half-truths and pathological lies, for which he has come to be known.


“In this his warped position, he insinuated that so long as he remains Kaduna Governor, Sheikh Zakzaky would remain in detention. According to the governor, Sheikh Zakzaky is being tried for crimes he and his followers committed in the last 30 years in Zaria.

“On the contrary, after the criminal invasion of the Sheikh’s residence in December of 2015 and the subsequent killing of hundreds of his supporters including his sons and relatives by Officers and men of the Nigerian Army, the Sheikh and his wife were shot at and arrested. The Sheikh and his supporters were the victims of state terror and crimes and not the perpetrators. The Department of State Security (DSS) illegally detained them without charges until May 2018, when the pressure on the government to release them became so intense and unbearable. It was at that point that the government thought of charging them of inciting his followers to commit alleged offences.


“Prior to that, the government had struggled to give any sensible explanation for their continued detention. They had even clearly stated that the Sheikh was being kept in “protective custody” for his own safety and not because he had committed any crime. They also declared that the wife was not in detention but “merely keeping her husband company” and that she was free to walk out anytime she so wishes. So what crimes is El-Rufai referring to?

Meanwhile before all these, on December 2, 2016, the Federal High Court presided over by the Honourable Justice G. O. Kolawole (now of the Court of Appeal) declared illegal and unconstitutional their arrest and detention. The Judicial Commission of Inquiry had indicted Nigerian army for the extrajudicial murder of 347 of their supporters during the raid on their residence and burying them secretly in mass grave and ordered that the officers and men involved be tried. The government has since demonstrated a stubborn unwillingness to prosecute those indicted. On the other hand, they arrested hundreds of members of the Sheikh Zakzaky-led Islamic Movement and put them on trial for allegedly being responsible for the death of one of the soldiers, who was accidentally shot by his colleagues. The Kaduna High Court has cleared all of them of these framed up charges and subsequently discharged and acquitted them all. So again, what crimes is El-Rufai referring to?

Nasir El Rufai (Left) Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky (Right)


“Governor El Rufai’s fraudulent claims that only court can free Sheikh Zakzaky pales in the face of the obvious. Firstly, the fabricated charges of inciting, aiding and abetting brought against him (as a ploy to perpetually keep him in detention) have been squashed in the High and Appeal courts. Secondly, the Federal High court had declared his detention as unconstitutional and therefore ordered his release. The government has remained in contempt of that order. Thirdly, even when the Kaduna high court granted the Sheikh medical leave, El-Rufai never conceded. He took measures to thwart the medical bail, putting stringent terms and conditions independent of the courts. Clearly, El-Rufai, like the master he is working for, General Buhari, has no respect for the rule of law.

“Finally, we would like to let El-Rufai and his master that the day of reckoning is very near indeed. Justice will be served and no amount of blackmail and misuse of state power could avert this whirlwind of justice from catching up with them all. On our part, we will intensify our peaceful campaigns until justice is done to the victims of Zaria genocide of December, 2015 and Sheikh Zakzaky and all those still being held regain their freedom.


#Newsworthy…

Controversy on how a pregnant girl died for having a Yoruba Muslim boyfriend

... neighbors say parents beat her to death


The parents of an 18-year-old girl identified as Amaka Nweke have been accused of allegedly beating their daughter to death for allegedly dating a Yoruba boy by residents of Agility community at Mile 12 area of Lagos State,

Amaka was also allegedly tortured and starved by her parents who were enraged that she got impregnated not just by a Yoruba boy but also a Muslim.

The girl’s father, Mike Nweke who denied putting his daughter through such horrendous act repeatedly said “Is it possible for a parent to kill his own child?” when questioned by newsmen. He was also accused of confronting residents of the community who were vocal about the brutal torture he and his wife allegedly subjected their daughter to.


Before her death, Amaka reportedly welcomed a baby boy christened Zaeed, fathered by one Ibrahim Lawal she started dating when she was in Senior Secondary School (SSS).

Recounting the torture the deceased was subjected to, one of the Nwekes’ neighbours identified simply as Adebola, said;


“Amaka went through a lot. She really suffered. When Amaka and Ibrahim were dating, her parents were always threatening her. They told her that they didn’t want her to continue associating with the boy. What broke the camel’s back was Amaka becoming pregnant for Ibrahim. Her parents were livid and starved her of food.

“Whenever her parents were beating her, some of us would approach and beg them to stop. They used to beat her with different objects even while she was pregnant. Whenever her boyfriend brought food to her, they would not allow her to have access to it.


“When Amaka was delivered of her baby, her parents couldn’t afford the medical bill. They had to call on Ibrahim’s family. His family gladly paid up before the new mother was discharged from the hospital.

“After she was released from the hospital, her parents tried to prevent the husband’s family from naming their grandchild. But it took the intervention of the Chairman of the Community Development Association (CDA) and some elders in the area before the Nwekes released the baby to them.”


NobleReporters culled that Ibrahim’s mother, Mrs. Ebunola Lawal alleged she reported the incessant assault Amaka got from her parents to the police.

“When my son impregnated Amaka, I didn’t reject the pregnancy. I was already used to seeing them together. When it was clear to me that Ibrahim was the owner of the pregnancy, I started taking care of the girl as my daughter-in-law. I, however, noticed that whenever I go to give her foodstuff, her mother wouldn’t want her to collect it from me. I used to force her before she would collect it.


“When Amaka was in labour, her parents didn’t inform us. It was Ibrahim who saw her mother take her to hospital and alerted us. I couldn’t go to the hospital that fateful day, but the following day, Ibrahim went to the hospital to check on her and found she was delivered successfully.

“When it was time for mother and child to be discharged from the hospital, Amaka’s parents couldn’t afford the medical bill. They sent for us and we later paid the money. The parents took Amaka and the baby to their house, instead of the father’s house.


Ebunola also alleged that the Nwekes refused releasing the baby for the naming ceremony on the 8th day.

She said;

“We went to Amaka’s house as early as 6a.m. We begged them till noon before they finally released the baby to us with the assistance of some elders in the community.

“The parents also gave us two hours to return the baby. Two weeks after the naming ceremony, my husband and I went back to Amaka’s parents’ house to check on our grandchild, but Mrs. Nweke prevented us from seeing the baby and Amaka.


“When the pressure from her parents to stop seeing Ibrahim was becoming too much, Amaka told Ibrahim to stop coming. She said that they would be discussing on the phone. She told him that whenever he comes to visit her, her parents would pounce on her and beat her mercilessly. Mrs. Nweke didn’t like Amaka’s union with my son.

“The major issue that led to Amaka’ death started on January 1, 2020. This was after she came to our house to collect clothes for herself and the baby, to celebrate the Yuletide. A few minutes after she left our house, she called Ibrahim on the phone that her mother had started beating her for collecting the clothes and money from us. I was informed that her parents collected the baby from her and locked her in their apartment and beat her for two days.


“It was in the process of beating her that she became unconscious. The parents rushed her to hospital in the neighbourhood and they were referred to Gbagada General Hospital, where she was confirmed dead on Sunday. When Ibrahim went to check her at the hospital, she couldn’t stand up or sit. She just lied on the bed. The most annoying aspect of it was that when they were rushing Amaka to hospital, they gave our four-months-old grandson to a neighbour, instead of bringing him to us to mind.

“When we went to collect the baby from the woman they gave him to, she refused to release him to us. But out of pressure, she eventually released him. I’ll miss Amaka; she was an easy going girl. I accepted her as my son’s wife because of her attitude. It was her parents that killed her.”


A nurse identified as Omotola, disclosed that the deceased sought her assistance after the beatings from her parents became unbearable.

Omotola said;

“Amaka called me and asked that I should rescue her. She said that she didn’t want to die.


“When I didn’t see Amaka for some days, I became worried. I chatted with her up on Facebook, and she told me that she was sick due to the series of beatings she received from her parents. She told me that Ibrahim was bringing money to her to buy drugs. When I couldn’t bear it again, I went to see her. When I saw her, I noticed that her breathing was difficult and terrible. I didn’t like the way she was breathing. I went to a chemist to get her some pain relieving drugs, which I gave to her.

“Before I left, I noticed she was not improving. I quickly called her father on the phone and urged him to take her to hospital. I even suggested taking her to the hospital I work. I heard the following day that the parents didn’t heed my advice. They didn’t take her to hospital that day. They decided to take her to the hospital the following day. I don’t know why they decided to waste the life of that poor girl. Amaka was punished until she died.”


Mike Nweke however maintained his innocence and that of his wife. He said;

“Is it possible for a father to kill his only daughter, I don’t beat my children. My wife is a woman of virtue; she doesn’t beat our children, she is not a wicked woman. We didn’t beat her because we saw her going to Ibrahim’s house. Everything Ibrahim’s family said was false because now I’m in mourning. I came from a Christian family. I warned my wife to stop disturbing Amaka and Ibrahim. I told my wife that if God said the union was ordained from Him, they would live together as a husband and wife. I have never disturbed them.


“When Amaka took ill, we rushed her to two private hospitals before we were referred to Gbagada General Hospital where she died.”

When asked about Amaka’s baby, Mike said they left the baby with a neighbour in Lagos because he couldn’t take him to Ebonyi State.

He added;

“I’m only going to Ebonyi State with Amaka’s mother and siblings.”

Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Bala Elkana who confirmed the incident said they are awaiting a medical report to ascertain the cause of death.

Bala said;

“We are waiting for medical report to ascertain the cause of death. Investigation is still ongoing.”


#Newsworthy…

UK warns citizens in Nigeria to return home after shi’ites protest soleimani’s death


The United Kingdom has issued a warning to its citizens in Nigeria to be more security conscious and vigilant due to the tension between the United States and Iran following the killing of Iranian General, Qasem Soleimani.

Some Muslim groups in Nigeria took to the streets to protest Qasem Soleimani’s death. During their protest, they had a banner with the words, “Death to America. Death to Israel.” They also burnt a US flag during the protest which held in Abuja.

UK, in its latest travel advice via the Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued on Tuesday, December 7, urged its citizens in Nigeria to avoid large gatherings and also to stay clear of unsafe areas.

United Kingdom issues security alert to citizens in Nigeria after some Muslim groups took to the streets to protest the killing of Qasem Soleimani

The statement reads: “The British High Commission is not aware of specific threats against British nationals but you should continue to avoid large crowds and public demonstrations as they can turn violent unexpectedly and at short notice.

“If you become aware of any nearby unrest or disturbances, you should leave the area immediately.”


#Newsworthy…

Northerners hate christians – CAN


John Hayap is a Baptist Reverend from Kaduna State. A former Special Adviser on Christian and Pilgrimage Matters to Governors Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa and Alhaji Ramallan Yero of Kaduna State, Hayap is currently the Kaduna State Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and Vice-Chairman of CAN, Northern Nigeria. In this interview, he spoke on the state of the nation and sundry issues.

What is your assessment of the state of the nation as appears to you?

Nigerians are hungry. And you know a hungry man is an angry man. Many of the things we see and read on the pages of newspapers and possibly watch on television, almost 80 per cent of them are pure propaganda. Our leaders are not in touch with the reality on ground. Our leaders want to compel us to sing their praises even when we are dying. Our leaders want to compel us to say they are angels even when actually they are worse than the devil. Our leaders want to compel us to clap for them even when our hands are actually hurt by the wound they have inflicted on us. I tell you in this country it is only when you are privileged or you have something doing that you can eat three square meals. But the number of people who will come thinking you have everything will be more than you can contend with. We are gradually grooming an army that would consume us tomorrow. I want to appeal to our leaders to fear God and forget the name of their religions. Just fear God and do what is right. The leaders of countries that have progressed do not go to Churches or Mosques, but they are committed, patriotic and do what is right. Our leaders are not doing what is right. Today, in this country people are not safe; people can no longer travel, but you still hear our leaders telling us that all is well, but they can’t ply that road. A leader tells us in the morning that Abuja –Kaduna road is free, but they still go to train station with their family and go to Abuja. If it is safe, let’s go together. If they are willing to go they must have five to six Hilux vehicles with policemen in front and back. Let’s just move together like everybody. Insecurity has degenerated into a terrible situation. In Kaduna today and in many northern states do you know that criminals and kidnappers come to people’s homes, knock on their doors, they open and they take them away. One woman in our village, just few days to Christmas on Abuja –Kaduna road was kidnapped. She is pregnant, her husband and her brother. They killed her husband right in front of her and then kept her brother, then released her to go and look for money. They were asking for how much? N40 million. How does she get N40 million? At the last count, sometimes between July and August, I told Nigerians that the number of Christians that have been kidnapped was about 500. As at the last count we are almost hitting another 600 because between August and today we have almost 60 to 90 Christians that have been kidnapped in many communities in Birnin Gwari. Even a while ago I got a text concerning a Church leader and one of the moderators in Kankumi who is still with kidnappers. At that time I said we have paid N300 million as ransom to kidnappers. It was after that that the Engravers Secondary School girls and two of their teachers and other kidnappings took place. We are now hitting N400 million paid as ransom to kidnappers because I was involved in the negotiation in the case of the kidnap of the Engraver Secondary School girls. We paid N13.6 million. Relations, loved ones and people came to help us. A former governor in Kaduna State also helped. If government starts paying kidnappers will not allow us sleep. And I do not want government to pay because if anybody asks government to pay he is not being fair to government. I will not ask government to pay kidnappers. All we want is for government to secure the place. Like when they kidnapped the Engravers girls, first, they have agreed with us to give them N3.6 million, but the moment our governor said in Abuja that they were negotiating with the kidnappers, they took that to mean that we are collecting money from government to give them. They changed and demanded N10 million for each child. We had to start a fresh negotiation. They collected the N3.6 million and we had to start another negotiation before they now agreed that we add N10 million. We the Church also contributed. But we have resolved that the Church will no longer pay ransom because this is enough. If government will not act decisively to arrest and stop kidnappers and allow them to have a field day, it is shameful. If we talk about economy, people are hungry; they have lost jobs, they are not being paid. The story of payment of salary is only in the newspapers. Ask the workers whether they have been paid. The workers have not been paid, but newspapers say they have been paid. Pensioners have not been paid, but we see in the newspapers they have been paid. In your lack of payment you are struggling to help your brother or relations out of the hands of kidnappers. Every day they say they have blocked excesses and leakages. This is not true.

As a member of the body of ecclesiastics in Nigeria and a reverend gentleman, Vice President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Northern State and Abuja Chapter and also Chairman of the Kaduna State Chapter of CAN who has worked with two governors as Special Adviser on Christian and Pilgrimage Matters, the statement by the US government through the US Department of State and US Secretary of State, designating Nigeria, “a country of particular concern” with regard to religious freedom and freedom of thought and conscience did not come to you as a surprise. But even though Christians are claiming to be the worse victim, Muslims are also insisting that they have incurred more losses over the years. We’ll want you to reconcile the statement of the US government and that of the JNI by way of rationalization.

Well, if we want to grow above our denials what the US government has said or putting Nigeria on her “Watch List” of nations that have issues of religious persecution or violation of religious rights is absolutely correct. Those who are familiar with happenings in northern Nigeria and Nigeria at large will agree to that, not just now, but that we have had so many issues of religious intolerance where individuals disrespect other individuals because of their religious beliefs or identity. Unfortunately, the state that is supposed to give them equal opportunities and is supposed to protect the rights of others becomes bias. There was a time someone raised a false alarm against a woman in Kano. She was lynched, killed without legal sanction. The man was taken to court. What was the judgement? When a teacher, because of a woman’s examination issue, raised the alarm that she has desecrated the Holy Book or blasphemed the Prophet in Gombe, she suffered the same fate. What did the government do? In this country we have evidences to prove that certain people are not allowed to be in certain offices; not because they are not competent, but their crime simply is their faith. You are first judged by faith, by your name. If you bear any name that sounds English nobody wants to know whether you do not go to Church. You are treated as you don’t belong. I have said this in the gathering of Northern Governors and Senators and I want to repeat it. I reminded them that even contracts in northern Nigeria, Christians who think they are experts when they go to seek for it, how do they end? They will do all the quotations and biddings. Their crime is not because they cannot do it, but their crime is in their name. You know in our state if I dare give any job to a John I will be asked questions. These things are there. In fact, part of the new tactics now is that they will speak kindly and friendly and keep giving you promises that will never be fulfilled. Oh! Wait next quarter. Oh! Let it be next year. You will just be surprised that you have lasted four years receiving the same story. Meanwhile, your proposal is being used. But because we are not used to raising the alarm the truth is that we are far from each other. So, if you have a country where citizens are not given equal rights and facilities what are we saying. Okay, I want to use my state as an example and let them refute this. You collected on behalf of Kaduna State N54 billion. I am just using a figure. And the total amount you invested in a senatorial zone that is Christian dominated is not up to N800 million, then something is wrong. What is the crime of the people? One senatorial zone out of three you have not in your four years invested N800 million, what are you saying? You think everybody is a daft; nobody can see? If they are disputing this let them show us the projects. Out of the many projects that are going on in Kaduna State; please show us where they are and then give us the cost of the roads. They are there in government papers; unless if they read this interview and quickly go and start roads. Look, Christians have come here and challenged us why we are not talking. They say to us they are not building roads in our communities, but are busy building old roads that are still good looking in the northern part. I have always told them just allow them. It is not everything you fight. Let them keep building. If they like let them build to the bedroom of their parents. A day will come when they will not be able to build roads again. And that day they will realize that there are places without roads. On that day the ones they are going to build will become new roads because the ones they have been building and keep building will become old. But this is happening. It is a fact. Go and check the records of projects done by this government in Kaduna State, the total number of roads being built in the three senatorial zones and you will assume that there are no human beings in the southern senatorial zone. The road we are using from Kaduna to Kachia and from Kachia to Kafanchan is as old as how many years. Let them just show me one good road. Check the road from Samaru Kataf to Saminaka. Even check the road from Zangon Kataf to Kagoro you will see nobody cares. All these roads are in the southern senatorial district. Recently, a Senator of the Federal Republic is requesting for the establishment of a Federal Medical Center. Look at it; the Federal University Teaching Hospital which is Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, ABUTH, is in Shika-Zaria, northern senatorial zone of Kaduna State. The Barau Dikko Specialist Hospital which is also a teaching hospital for the university is in the Kaduna metropolis in central senatorial zone. Ordinarily, common sense will tell someone that if we need another Federal Medical Center it should go to the southern senatorial zone so that if we have emergency situation you don’t need to rush to Kaduna. Today, if you are terribly sick or have an accident, once you have gone beyond Crossing, a town in the southern senatorial zone, the shortest point in terms of the hospital they will take the patient to is Jos in Plateau State. Do you know that we don’t even watch the television station of Kaduna State in southern Kaduna? Even the FM that they put there for us to listen to how many people can hear the station? It will work for two hours and in the next three hours it is not there. So whose news do we hear in the southern senatorial zone? It is Plateau Radio Television, PRTV. So, we can tell you everything that is happening in Plateau State, but we don’t know what is happening in Kaduna State because they want the information we will have to be limited. After a lot of struggles there was an NTA. Go and ask what is happening to that station. When you pick Kaduna State out, go to Christian states in northern Nigeria. Go to the Christian communities in Gombe State; go to other Christian communities in the northern state it is the same story. Don’t even talk about admission. As a Christian you come with your A grades and you want to read Medicine they will say okay go and read History or Geography while those who do not have up to your grade because they belong are being asked to read Aviation Technology. Just ask yourself; is that the way to build a nation? Is this not persecution? I want to say this so that they can refute it. My daughter got a good grade and sought to read Medicine in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria here in Kaduna State; this same ABU that they are arguing and saying it is not true. The day I took her papers to a former Vice-Chancellor and he saw the grades he was surprised. I told him I was not angry they didn’t give her Medicine, but that they did not consider her for another course. Is this not also persecution? That is to tell you that we have become so used to these problems that anything they give us we are willing to take. So, I was ready even if they give her any other course provided she attends a university. In Kano, I have papers and documents to show. When we buy lands in Kano they will sell the lands to us but they will, first of all, say that the rule here is that you don’t buy land without having the endorsement of the District Head or Mai Angwar . They will then write on a piece of paper that this land you are building you must not build a Church or beer parlour. How can you choose to make a Church equal to a beer parlour? Elite are watching and listening to this and no one is saying anything and when we say we are being persecuted someone will say we are crying foul.

But the Nigerian government through Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Information Minister says the statement by the US government is incorrect and that Nigerians enjoy unfettered freedom of thoughts, conscience and religion and added that failed politicians and disgruntled elements are the ones behind the statement by the US?

If Lai Mohammed said that I will just want to go like other Nigerians who, sometimes out of sarcasm, will say that his name is Lai and he lied. That is a lie from the pit of hell. But what do you expect him to say. He needs to defend his office and government. We are talking about the reality of what Christians are facing. I have read the defense about admissions recently and I laugh. I said in this 21st Century you are giving this kind of defense and you think nobody can think? When schools are looking for the best students you are giving us flimsy excuses for not admitting good students? Giving us excuses that are not tenable and true because of religious purpose? So, for Lai Mohammed to say that…which one will I even agree because Lai is from Kwara State and he is a northerner; let’s ask Christians and Kwara Christians will tell you worse things than I have just said. He has not finished sorting the problem in his state; let him first go to his state and find out what Christians are going through in his state. I speak as the Vice-Chairman of CAN Northern Nigeria so not just as Kaduna State Chairman of CAN. We have figures. I can send to you details of the crises, the killings and others. We have cried out. I have worked closely with Chairmen of Northern Governors Forum. We have presented our cases in black and white with figures. They will just promise to do something and it ends that day. So if anybody says I should give him details I will not be sure now whether I am not just going to arm the person to go and write his thesis and pass his exam. We have facts and figures. Let’s come to Kaduna State. Is it also a lie that in the whole cabinet of Kaduna State only three of them are Christians? The Governor is Muslim, the deputy governor is Muslim, the SSG is Muslim, the Head of Service is Muslim, the Chief of Staff is Muslim and you tell us you are looking for the best. Is the governor telling us that of all the lots in Kaduna no one is qualified only this group of people? And we know those people very well. How informed and how exposed are they? These people that make up the five people I mentioned who are they? Oh! My goodness. It sounds ridiculous. Is it also a lie and is this not persecution? If I am lying please let’s take a look at it. The justification is that oh! We are looking for the best brains. Oh! My goodness. I can give you 2,000 best brains around. But they are not best brains enough because of their faith. What disqualifies their brain to be best brains is their faith. Where we have 100 opportunities you carry 95 away and just give five to us Christians. Even by ratio of numbers we can have 45. Why giving us five. But you know what they do? They go to the file, check among us those who can easily compromise, those who can easily sell out, those who can easily betray, those who are greedy because when you have a situation where everybody is being punished and they just come and pick only two of you, you feel you are highly favoured. So, you are even willing to kill your mother as long as you will keep that opportunity they have given you. This is the kind of situation they are pushing our people to. But we are happy that there are a lot of us that understand this and we are saying we have hands enough to work and eat. We have brains enough to think and create and work and eat to feed our children. We must not do funny things. But if it is religious persecution we are suffering it; we are hearing it….

When you spoke recently you sounded as though religion is being used as a basis for political and economic imbalance. Can we understand you more because the Sultan of Sokoto who is the leader of Muslims in Nigeria also dismissed the report of the US government?

It is unfortunate that our respected Sultan is living in denial about young Christian girls that are being taken away and their faith is changed, their names changed and you go, there is nothing you can do. Those things are evident, We have one million and one evidence to give. The other time we discussed that where did we end? I cited the example of Kaduna. Is the Sultan living outside Nigeria? Is the issue of appointments I have mentioned in Kaduna not true? Look, ABU, Zaria is supposed to be a federal institution, let them tell us how many Christians from North and South of Nigeria they have admitted. Even northern Christians are rarely given admission not to talk of a southern Christian. If the Sultan says this is not true I challenge the ABU, Zaria management to publish the list of those admitted in the 2019/2020 session, the names against the courses they have been admitted, their JAMB scores and WASCE results. Are there no Christians in Sokoto State? Who gives indigenous Christians any appointment? The Sultan says there are “Fulani Christians” as there are “Fulani Muslims.” Where are the “Fulani Christians in the Sokoto State cabinet? The Sultan should tell us since he said there are “Fulani Christians” and “Fulani Muslims.” We want to see a “Fulani Christian” as the SSG of Sokoto State, a “Fulani Christian” as the Chief of Staff of Kano State, a “Fulani Christian” as the deputy governor of Zamfara State. I have indigenous Christians from Katsina, Zamfara, Kano, Sokoto, Jigawa states who are well read. Since the Sultan’s argument is that there are “Fulani Christians” can he just find out from those he is referring to as “Fulani Christians” whether they are given the same rights as others, whether they are given appointments. Even in government, the so-called “Fulani Christian” will not be a permanent secretary. If you become permanent secretary you must have left your state for Abuja. In the states the issue of qualification is secondary as a Christian. Can the Sultan please release the names of the “Fulani Christians” holding positions of permanent secretary and above in Sokoto, Kano, Jigawa, Zamfara and Katsina states? In one of the states in northern Nigeria today, the leader of one of the agencies is a young man who was picked from level 09. They jumped those on levels 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 who have every knowledge and brought him to lead an agency. Is that not even an abuse of procedure? I wish that was done to those in the northern axis of the state you would have had cries everywhere and they would have come to you media men to say injustice is being done and you are keeping quiet. Is there anything more than this? What they did was to direct those on grade levels 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16 to the office of the Head of Service to go and wait for posting. What a shame. Is the Sultan aware of this? What sort of persecution can be more than this?

There is a related matter for which I seek your reaction. The Chief Justice of Nigeria spoke the other day about the need to amend the constitution to reflect the concerns of Muslims and the Shari’a law. He believes they have the number to do that and…?

(Cuts in) Let me be honest with you. Why I have refused to be part of that conversation is that the CJN was not there in person. He was represented by someone who, from my findings did not read from a script from the CJN. So, what I have always said is that the CJN must do what is right and come out to tell us his stand on this matter. The reason is that if we don’t give him that benefit of the doubt we will become so prejudicial in our judgment about him. The challenge now is for the CJN to prove to Nigerians that those were not your words. Let’s not continue this new year thinking that you have said what you didn’t say. If we continue like that tomorrow this baby you are about to give birth to will come back and haunt you. Let me, therefore, give the CJN the benefit of the doubt that probably the man he sent to represent him went beyond his brief to say what the CJN did not ask him to say. But let’s look at it from the clear point of view; if the CJN did say what he was quoted to have said then it means he has lost touch of what Nigeria is going through. Today, our major challenge is not about the Shari’a law because some years back the National Assembly promoted a bill that there should be a Canon Law. We Christians because we want togetherness said no. We asked them to focus on what will unite us. So, for the CJN to now come out to promote Shari’a to the extent of creating departments in universities it shows that we are gradually drifting into nepotism in Nigeria. And when you were taking oath Mr Chief Justice of Nigeria did you take oath to defend the constitution of Nigeria or defend a particular religion? So, you need to come out and clear the air so that Nigerians will know whether it was your position or that of the other man. Your silence is only making us to think you truly said so. So, denouncing it or clarifying it will be safer for you than silence. By the way when have we ever done census in Nigeria that you know that there are more Muslims in Nigeria than Christians. I was part of the leadership and part of the last Census Committee. We did everything humanly possible to get religious questions in the census and those things were denied. So, in the next census Christians must come and say we must have religious questions. At least for once, let us know that truly you are in the majority or not. But this one that we have no clear and gazetted data and anybody can say we are in the majority, this must stop. It is this false statistics they used to give that the CJN is building on.

You seem to believe that equity and justice in power sharing, economic opportunities, the way we regard one another is part of the solution to the problems Nigeria is facing. But many Nigerians are saying the solution resides in the restructuring of the country…

(Cuts in) No, no, no, let me put it this way because you have brought in the issue of restructuring. This is one of the challenges we have with the way we are being led by propaganda and falsehood. We make promises we cannot fulfill. I think one among the many promises is the promise of restructuring. The truth about it is that if we do not restructure Nigeria we would suffer tomorrow because everything everyday keep segmenting us. For once let people go back to where they think belongs to their father and work it out and see because the over centralization of government in Abuja is what is making this country what she is today. We must decentralize Nigeria in such a way that different regions will operate in a way that will benefit them. The configuration of some of these states is faulty. We need to restructure the faulty configuration of senatorial districts, local governments and possibly wards to suit the reality on ground.

Let’s look at 2023 and the northern question. The North through Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, of which you are a member, being a northerner, says it is for a northern candidate…

(Cuts in) Who did they consult and took that decision?

Well I am supposed to hear from you

No, no, no, you are telling me and, of course, I am not denying being from the North because since geographically I belong here…see, North is not a religion. North is a region. So, if you are a Christian or a Muslim and your state of origin falls within that geographical entity you are a northerner. The trouble we have been having and trying to correct is that so many people think North is a religion. They do not understand that North is a region. I am proudly a northerner, a Christian of northern extraction. If I go to Sokoto, Kano, Jigawa, Borno , Kebbi, Zamfara states, I will speak like a Christian, a northerner. So when you speak for us as North then we ask questions whether it is our North or your North because there is a North, “NORTH” and there is a “NOT.” Now, you say Arewa, of course, the meaning of Arewa is North in Hausa. Is it “Are” or “Wa”? We are talking about Nigerian question and we have not even addressed the problems we are facing in Nigeria as ACF; you have not addressed the problems of insecurity we are facing in northern Nigeria as ACF; you have not addressed the problem of imbalance, injustice that is going on in Nigeria, but every day you want to use our name to talk leadership, leadership, leadership because through that you gain and we continue to suffer. That is why Christians and Muslims who understand this evil, these lies and selfish groups that are using our name must be resisted. I can assure you that it is already in the pipeline because people are beginning to understand and talk. In the past they used to go to the Muslim groups to say Christians hate them. Gradually, they are beginning to realize that we do not hate them; we love them, but we are only fighting for our rights. Now that they have started hitting another Muslim group in the North that’s to tell you that it was simply divide and rule. Gradually, we are beginning to understand them and we are now forming a group of like mind people, people who are subject of persecution and discrimination. One day we will show them it is enough of this nonsense and it is coming. For the ACF to say they are backing a northern candidate and not talking about our peace, health, security, progress, schools, education, not about our industry, nothing, it is time we asked them questions. So, if we die, northern candidate; if we are hungry, northern candidate; if our children are sick, northern candidate. Has a northern candidate helped our children that are sick or stopped our hunger and poverty? Has a northern candidate helped improve our education? In fact, statistics show that lack of literacy and out of school children are from the North. So, is it a northern candidate issue? They have never sat down to holistically look at the things that are troubling us northerners, their own is northern candidate so that when the person become president he would assume that they helped him to become it so that they will continue siphoning and stealing our money.


#Newsworthy….

22 years old Nigerian in U.S narrates how she got sent home from work for using Hijab


A US-based Nigerian Muslim lady, Folake Adebola took to Twitter to narrate how she got sent home from her job in Fort Worth, Dallas, for wearing a hijab.

The 22-year-old Nigerian lady who revealed that she converted to Islam in August 2019 just before she started working at Chicken Express restaurant in October 2019, said the day she was sent home was the first time she wore the hijab to work.

Adebola disclosed that she clearly told her employer she was a Muslim before she was employed. The Nigerian lady who shared a short video of her being confronted by her boss while she pleaded with him saying “It’s part of my religion… I felt like if I work here y’all could be able to (accomodate) my religion”, revealed that her boss sees things differently as he said that the traditional Muslim headress is “a different thing” and part of her “personal life out there”. According to him, it has “nothing to do with religion”.

See her tweets below;

Nigerian Muslim lady narrates how she was sent home from work in US for wearing hijab (videos)

Nigerian Muslim lady narrates how she was sent home from work in US for wearing hijab (videos)

https://twitter.com/naemuulaa/status/1211702462475907072


#Newsworthy..

MURIC claims christains enjoys more holidays than other religions


The Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, has alleged that Christians in Nigeria enjoy more holidays than Muslims in Nigeria.

MURIC made this assertion in a statement released on Friday morning while reacting to claims made by CAN that Christians are being persecuted in the country. MURIC in its statement said the number of public holidays including New Year day being enjoyed by Christians is proof that Christians are more favoured than Muslims.

MURIC’s statement signed by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, reads


As Nigerian Christians joined their counterparts throughout the world to celebrate the New Year on Wednesday, 1st January, 2020, an Islamic human rights organization has alleged lopsidedness, partiality and persecution of Muslims in the manner the Nigerian government dishes out its holidays.

Rising from an emergency meeting where it deliberated on the latest allegation of persecution by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has insisted that the last public holiday which was declared by the Federal Government on 1st January, 2020, has exposed CAN as a body which enjoys shedding crocodile tears. This was contained in a press statement circulated on Friday, 3rd January, 2020, by the director of MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola.


MURIC said in the statement, “CAN claims it is being persecuted but fails to substantiate its allegation in concrete terms. However, the last holiday of Wednesday, 1st January, 2020 which is an annual event has exposed CAN. Nigerian Christians enjoy the New Year holiday on the 1st of January every year even without asking for it because that was the arrangement made by the British colonial master. But CAN still claims ‘persecution’ even though it is placed at an advantaged position.

“Nigerian Christians have 1st January to enjoy their first day of the year. Nobody can deny that this happened two days ago. But when the Muslims’ first day of the year comes (1st Muharram), there will be no holiday. When will CAN put itself in the Muslims’ shoes? Or rather when, indeed, will the Nigerian government give the Muslims what the colonial master denied them but gave the Christians? When will the Muslims get justice in this country? Here is persecution of Muslims that even CAN cannot deny. It happened just two days ago and we all saw it? Or is the granting of holiday for a Christian occasion and the denial of same to Muslims another form of persecution of CAN?


“Christians have five out of the eight holidays enjoyed by Nigerians. Muslims have three only. Yet CAN claims persecution. Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year Day, Easter Monday and Good Friday are all for Christians. We dare CAN to deny it. Are these not concrete priviledges enjoyed by Christians? Are the five holidays we mention here mere fallacies? Muslims only have three, namely, Id al-Kabiir, Id al-Fitr and Maulud an-Nabiyy. Is there any mathematical inexactitude in our calculation? Should CAN be complaining at all with this kind of setting?


“We make bold to say that CAN knows what it is doing. The Christian body knows that it has an edge over the Muslims as it enjoys everything it needs and even more. CAN knows that it is the Muslims who are denied certain fundamental human rights but it is determined to maintain the status quo. The modus operandi adopted by CAN to ensure that Muslims never get their rights is to perpetually cry out with claims of persecution and also to oppose every attempt to give Muslims their rights.

“This game played itself out when Shariah was introduced in some Northern states from 1979 onwards. They claimed it was an attempt to Islamise Nigeria. Shariah was introduced and nobody changed the country’s nomenclature to ‘Islamic Republic of Nigeria’. CAN did the same thing when Islamic banking was about to be introduced. Cries of Islamisation rented the air. Islamic banking arrived but we are yet to see how it has Islamised anyone. This was repeated on the issue of sukuk (Islamic bonds) and both Christians and Muslims are benefiting from the Islamic sukuk today.


“MURIC will not be deterred from pursuing Islamic liberation theology to a logical conclusion in Nigeria. We assert clearly, categorically and unequivocally that Muslims are in bondage in this country. Why should one group get all the honey in the land while the other is ignored? We demand equal rights and justice. We demand parity, particularly on the issue of holidays. Christian 1st January is just 24 hours and the Muslim 1st Muharram is no less. Why should the Federal Government recognize one and deny the other?

“Just two days ago, we joined other Nigerians in sending goodwill messages to our Christian neighbours. Governments at federal and state levels felicitated with Nigerians on that occasion. Parastatals and important dignitaries also congratulated Nigerians. MURIC also issued a statement greeting Christians in Nigeria. We do this every year despite the fact that our own 1st Muharram is not recognized. But nobody will remember Muslims on 1st Muharram. Is this fair?


“‘When beggars die, there are no comets seen. The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes…’ William Shakespeare was right when he put those words on the lips of Calpunia, the wife of Julius Caeser as she begged her husband not to venture out on the ides of March. Isn’t this very germane to the issue on ground? The drums are rolled out by government on 1st January. But they are conspiratorially silent on 1st Muharram. Is this justice? Are we really working for enduring peace in this country? What have the Muslims done to deserve this treatment?

“It is important to note that even the three holidays enjoyed by Muslims were reluctantly given after several years of post-independence. There were no holidays for Islamic festivals in colonial days. It was that bad.


“To add salt to injury, the Federal Government has never responded in spite of a deluge of petitions received from Muslims. MURIC has been demanding 1st Muharram holiday since its formation in 1994 (26 years). It is highly provocative. It is dereliction of duty on the part of government. A father who gives preferential treatment to its children is not uniting the family. Is government waiting until the demand snowballs into another struggle? MURIC will not partake in that. But what does it cost government to take a bold stand on this matter? It is not about the Buhari government per se. Successive administrations have failed to address the issue.

“Already, some state governments have recognized 1st Muharram, mostly from the North. Osun under Rauf Aregbesola (current Minister of Internal Affairs) and Oyo under Isiaka Ajimobi also did and heaven did not fall. So what stops the Federal Government from taking the cue? By the way, Muslims in those two states of the South West have written the names of those two former governors in letters of gold.


“The question now is: how does President Muhammadu Buhari want to be remembered by Nigerian Muslims? Can the declaration of 1st Muharram as a public holiday be a drift towards Islamisation? Predictably, yes, particularly by CAN. But we can take the wind out of their sail by placing 1st January and 1st Muharram parri passu. The public no longer takes CAN serious anyway.

“MURIC wishes to put the Federal Government on notice. The next 1st Muharram will fall on Thursday, 20th August, 2020. The government has a whole eight months to plan and prepare its mind. It also has an extra three days in the third week in August to declare Thursday a holiday in recognition of 1st Muharram. To be or not to be? That is the question. MURIC does not issue ultimatum. Neither is threat in our character. We are a dialogue-loving body. But the government’s body language will tell Nigerian Muslims what to do and whoever thinks the Muslims of Nigeria are still the same as they were five years ago will be making a gross miscalculation.

“As we sign out, we remind the Federal Government that it is high time it listened to the Muslims’ demand for the declaration of 1st Muharram as a public holiday in parity with 1st January public holiday. CAN has no moral right to claim persecution as Nigerian Christians enjoy five holidays while their Muslim counterparts have three only. FG should promote unity and patriotism by treating all equally. Neither should government allow one group to lord it over the other.”

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Director,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)


#Newsworthy…

Alleged Christian persecution: CAN decries sultan’s position.

…says it will be quiet only if Justice is done


Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), has accused the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Sa’ad Abubakar III, of being economical with the truth as regards the endless attacks and perceived persecution of Christians in northern Nigeria.

It insists Sultan is fully aware of the high level of attacks and unfriendly treatment being received by Christians from state and non-state powers, and unfortunately, choose to either be silent or do little about it.

CAN said it was painful reading in the media that the Sultan said that there was no case of Christian persecution in the country as alleged by CAN, that Christians are being killed on a daily basis and their landed property confiscated. “It would have been better if the Sultan had remained quiet the way he did when those killings were taking place,” CAN said.


CAN, however, justified its claims with a recent report that a Christian lady that lives around Gwoza, Borno State, was kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists on her way to a wedding and summarily executed by the terrorists.

In addition to that, it said that a report it received from Borno State Christian Association of Nigeria, indicated that about ten Christians were kidnapped on their way to Maiduguri for Christmas event. The Muslims among them were released and asked to go, while eight out of ten Christians abducted were slaughtered, while two ladies were taken away, obviously to be sexually assaulted.


CAN National Director, Legal and Public Affairs, Kwamkur Samuel, in a statement released in Abuja, on Saturday, said it was an insult and insensitive for anyone to claim that the unprecedented persecution of Christians does not occur.

He added: “It’s also an act of disrespect to the dead. The Fulani atheists took it upon themselves to be killing Christians the way they did in Benue, Southern Kaduna, Plateau and several other places. Will it still not be called Christian persecution? Do the Fulani atheists have the right to kill people the way they did and are still doing in some part of the states?


“If those who were responsible for the genocide in the middle belt of the country were Fulani atheists whose main objective was to protect their cattle, what then stopped the Sultan from condemning the unprecedented genocide?”

CAN was, however, happy that the Sultan, in the media report, agreed that there was unprecedented killings in some states which the security agencies would have helped to unmask the culprits and their religion if they had not appeared powerless while the killings lasted.


It added: “It is reprehensible that to date, those who killed our brothers and sisters after raping and maiming them for weeks are still at large as if they were spirits. Also, two years after, Leah Sharibu has not been rescued. Is that not also religious persecution?

“Is it the atheists that are denying Christians the Certificates of Occupancy in the core northern states to build churches? Are they the ones who pulled down churches in Jigawa State few years ago? Are they the ones that disallowed Christian religion to be taught in public schools in the North? Are they the ones expelling Christian corps members from NYSC camps because they didn’t want to wear trousers according to their religious obligations while hijab is allowed?”


CAN, however, said the fact that religious leaders periodically meet at the level of Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), does not mean that all is well. “We believe that having dialogues with our Muslim counterparts can reduce the tension in the land if there is sincerity. But as long as a highly-placed traditional ruler who is also the head of the Muslim community in the country is denying the obvious, then we are not surprised if other Muslim groups could talk in the same vein,” he said.

CAN also registered its discontent with the fact that the government, to whom they had complained about the plight of their people in the hands of overzealous Muslims who claimed they were fighting Jihad was not convincing enough to show that the action was not deliberate.

CAN President – Christian Association Of Nigeria.


It appealed to the government to let the Constitution be its guide in all its policies and operations, with a kind reminder that Nigeria belongs to Nigerians irrespective of religious and tribal persuasions, and any discriminatory policy could be described as persecution.

They asked President Buhari to be fair to all Nigerians, insisting that CAN will only stop complaining when it sees a just society where the rule of law, fairness, and social justice are allowed.


#Newsworthy…

Muslims in Nigeria are good set of people – Sokoto Sultan.


The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, has said that the Muslim faithful in Nigeria are good people.

The traditional ruler, who is also the President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, said this while addressing participants at the 34th National Qur’an Recitation Competition in Lagos.


The Christian Association of Nigeria had backed the United States report, saying Christians are being persecuted in the country but Sultan insists nothing of such exists, stressing that not all Fulani herdsmen are Muslims and they were not after the Christians as insinuated by CAN.

He said, “And I want to assure you that no Muslim would be provoked into taking up arms against anybody based on what you have been seeing in the media particularly of recent.

Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar


“These are issues we need to tackle; these are issues the various governments at all levels need to tackle by sitting down and talking to one another because making public comments don’t normally help.

“They aggravate situations. And I want to assure all, everything is right with us. The Muslims in Nigeria are very good people. We will continue to do the best. But among all good people, there are also bad people and we know there are bad people among all societies.”


#Newsworthy…

Just in: We killed ten christains to avenge our leader’s death – Islamic state.


We beheaded 10 Christian captives in Borno to avenge our leaders’ death – Islamic StateIslamic State released a video purporting to show its militants beheading ten Christian men in Nigeria, saying it was part of a campaign to avenge the deaths of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and its spokesman.The militant group posted the footage on its online Telegram news channel on Thursday, the day after Christmas, with Arabic captions but no audio.


The video showed men in beige uniforms and black masks lining up behind blindfolded captives then beheading 10 of them and shooting the 11th man.An earlier video seen by Reuters said the captives had been taken from Maiduguri and Damaturu in Nigeria’s north-eastern state of Borno, where militants have been fighting for years to set up a separate Islamist state.


In that video, the captives pleaded for the Christian Association of Nigeria and President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene to save them.Media could not verify the authenticity of either video.Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) split from the militant group Boko Haram in 2016 and has become the region’s dominant jihadist group. Islamist insurgents have killed about 30,000 people in northern Nigeria in the past decade.Islamic State leader Baghdadi died during a U.S. military raid in Syria and Muhajir in a separate military operation, both over the same weekend in late October.


#Newsworthy…

We should not be divided by terrorists – Buhari said.


Following the execution of some Christians by the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to Nigerians not to let terrorists divide the country along religious lines.

The terrorists had reportedly beheaded 11 Christian hostages on Christmas Day in Nigeria.


The militants said in a sickening video that the mass killing was in revenge for the deaths “of our leaders, including Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”

ISWAP which includes supporters from Boko Haram, had released a shocking 56-second video.


According to a statement by the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari said he was sad and shocked about the death in the hands of those he called remorseless, godless, callous gangs of mass murderers.

He said: “I am profoundly saddened and shocked by the death of innocent hostages in the hands of remorseless, godless, callous gangs of mass murderers that have given Islam a bad name through their atrocities


“We should, under no circumstance, let the terrorists divide us by turning Christians against Muslims because these barbaric killers don’t represent Islam and millions of other law-abiding Muslims around the world.

“As a president, the collective security of all Nigerians is my major preoccupation and the death of an innocent Christian or Muslim distresses me.”


The president said the terrorists have no clearly-defined agenda except the pursuit of evil through indiscriminate murder of innocent people, contrary to the teachings of Islam, which prohibits massacre.

“No true Muslim would be shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ while killing innocent people, an evil frequently condemned by the Holy Qur’an.


“These agents of darkness are enemies of our common humanity and they don’t spare any victim, whether they are Muslims or Christians, and therefore, we shouldn’t let them divide us and turn us against one another.

“The goal of these psychopaths is to cause confusion and spread distrust between Muslims and Christians, despite the fact that they aren’t representing the interest of Muslims or Islam.

“While I condemn this evil, I wish to reassure Nigerians that this administration will not lower its guards in the war against terrorism, and we will continue to intensify our efforts towards strengthening international cooperation and collaboration to break the backbone of these evil doers,” he said.

President Buhari called on all Nigerians to be united against terrorists and avoid unhelpful conspiracy theories that serve the interest of Boko Haram terrorists and ISWAP.


#Newsworthy…

Why IMN leader El-Zakzaky and wife are not released – Malami

…as far as the law is concerned


Nigeria’s Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has said the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, was not released along with journalist, Omoyele Sowore, and a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, because the Federal Government cannot interfere in a case already being prosecuted by a state government.

The AGF’s spokesperson, Dr Umar Gwandu, said his principal revealed this during interviews with the Hausa services of the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Voice of America.


He said, “El-Zakzaky and his wife are being prosecuted by the Kaduna State Government on charges of murder.

“The only reasons for the release of Omoyele Sowore and Sambo Dasuki revolved around our commitment to the rule of law, obedience to court orders and compassionate grounds.

“It is important to understand the fact that as far as the law is concerned and in relation to the Nigerian justice system, one has multiple options after a court has ruled on a matter.”

Orders to free El-Zakzaky had been ignored by the Kaduna State Government.


#Newsworthy…

Christians, not only persecuted but slaughtered as well – FFK tells sokoto sultan.


The Sultan of Sokoto while speaking at the closing ceremony of 77th annual Islamic vacation course (IVC) organised by the Muslim Society of Nigeria (MSSN) at Bayero University Kano, said a recent claim by CAN on Christians being prosecuted is “false and partial”.

(Read first story from CAN to Sultan)

The Sultan said, “If such persecution really exists, such is supposed to be tabled at the Interfaith Forum where Muslims and Christians leaders meet periodically to discuss issues that would promote harmonious coexistence between the two religions. Many Fulanis are atheists whose main interest is to protect their cattle.”


Reacting to the statement of the Sultan on Thursday, Fani-Kayode wrote: “It is a lie to say Christians are being persecuted in Nigeria”-Sultan of Sokoto.

“With respect to your Majesty, you are wrong. To say that Christians are being persecuted in Nigeria is actually an understatement. They are not just being persecuted, they are being slaughtered.


#Newsworthy…

Shi’ites, IMN attends church service on Xmas, present gifts.

Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) popularly called Shi’ites, yesterday, attended a Christmas service at the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, Diocese of Zaria

Leader of the team, Prof. Isa Hassan-Mshelgaru said the essence was to promote love, tolerance and understanding among Nigerians.

“We came to celebrate the Christmas with fellow Christians here because we consider them as our brothers and we don’t have anything to give them than to come and celebrate this day with them.

“As they consider this day very important, we also consider it very important, we feel that we should come and visit them so that to clear some of the unnecessary imaginary boundaries that have been created.

“There are some imaginary boundaries that could not be seen that kept us far away from each other, so, we want to bridge this gap so that we come together as brothers and sisters living in the same country and same locality,” he said.

Hassan-Mshelgaru appealed to other Nigerians, whether Muslims, Christians or traditionalists to shun all forms of hatred.

“You can be a Muslim, a Christian or a Traditionalist, always bear in mind that religion should be a platform for bringing people together not separating them.

“So, my appeal is that Nigerians should come together under the same umbrella as we live in the same country to ensure a united and formidable country envy of other nations,” he said.

Vicar of the Church, Rev. Isuwa Sa’idu, urged the group to sustain the tempo for the good of the nation.

“In fact, I am so excited that they can think of a thing like this to come and visit us on Christmas Day celebration like this.”

According to him, the visit showed that Nigerians are looking for peace and they are actually pursuing it and not just pursuing it with words but with action.

“So, their action of rising to come to visit us has shown that truly we have found that peace.

“Because Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace and if everybody will behave like our friends and brothers, the Muslim Brothers, I don’t think we will have problems in this country.

“Is just share of misunderstanding of what we are and who we are and where we represent that we lack peace today, we can never stay part from each other, we must and under must live together.”

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) have said workers and pensioners deserve the best of care and welfare as they were the ones that turn the wheel that creates wealth.

In a Christmas message to workers, Ayuba Wabba, said the leadership of NLC will continue to work hard to ensure workers and pensioners recoup a measure of the joy that they invest in others.

“Workers and pensioners deserve the very best of care and welfare because we are the ones that turn the wheel that creates the wealth.

“We will not rest on our oars in the pursuit and struggle for an expeditious implementation of the new national minimum wage in all the states of Nigeria.

“We have already demanded that states which are still negotiating with the labour and those yet to set up their negotiating councils must conclude negotiations before the end of Dec. 2019 or we will send them a not too friendly New Year Gift,” he said.

Wabba commended the Federal Government and the governments of Kaduna, Kebbi, Lagos, Adamawa and Jigawa for concluding negotiations with workers and for implementing the new national minimum wage and consequential salary adjustment for workers.

“In the spirit of Christmas, we urge our political leaders and elites at every tier and arm of government to rededicate themselves to the ideals espoused by Christmas.

“We hope that in the coming year, Nigerians would reap tonnes of positive turnaround in their existential realities as a consequence of recommitment of our leaders to the common good.”

•Pope defends migrants, calls for peace in Christmas message

Pope Francis has urged the world to let the light of Christmas pierce the “darkness in human hearts” that leads to religious persecution, social injustice, armed conflicts and fear of migrants.

In his “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) Christmas Day message, the 83-year-old pope called for peace in the Holy Land, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, Venezuela, Ukraine and several African countries caught up in conflicts.

The common thread of his address to tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square and millions watching or listening around the world was that change starts in the hearts of individuals.

“There is darkness in human hearts, yet the light of Christ is greater still,” Francis said, as he marked the seventh Christmas of his pontificate.

“There is darkness in personal, family and social relationships, but the light of Christ is greater. There is darkness in economic, geopolitical and ecological conflicts, yet greater still is the light of Christ,” he said.

Francis singled out the persecution of Christians by militant groups in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Nigeria, asking God to console those who suffer for their faith.

On December 1, at least 14 people were shot dead in an attack on a church in eastern Burkina Faso, where an Islamist insurgency has ignited ethnic and religious tensions.

Francis, who has been scorned by populist politicians because of his defence of refugees and migrants, dedicated a section of his address to their plight.

“It is injustice that makes them cross deserts and seas that become cemeteries. It is injustice that forces them to endure unspeakable forms of abuse, enslavement of every kind and torture in inhumane detention camps,” Francis said.

This month, Francis called for the closing of migrant detention camps in Libya.

“It is injustice that turns them away from places where they might have hope for a dignified life, but instead find themselves before walls of indifference,” he said.

Francis said that while there were many huge problems in the world, people did not have to look far to correct injustices. They could make a difference in their own communities as a start to healing all the “suffering members of our human family”.

“May (God) soften our often stony and self-centred hearts, and make them channels of his love. May he bring his smile, through our poor faces, to all the children of the world: to those who are abandoned and those who suffer violence,” Francis said.

To underscore his message, the two cardinals Francis chose to join him on the basilica’s central balcony were Renato Martino, president emeritus of the Vatican’s immigration office, and Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner who distributes aid to Rome’s poor and homeless.

“Through our frail hands, may he clothe those who have nothing to wear, give bread to the hungry and heal the sick,” he said, adding that through friendship, everyone could be close to the elderly, the lonely, migrants and marginalised people.

“On this joyful Christmas Day, may he bring his tenderness to all and brighten the darkness of this world,” he said.

•Tambuwal, Ugwuanyi, Ihedioha, Saraki: Pray for peace, unity, progress

Sokoto Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, in a statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Governor, Muhammad Bello, Governor Tambuwal said Christmas brings to the fore the urgent need for the unity of Nigeria, which he described as “sacrosanct, inviolable and paramount.”

According to him, the Yuletide season is also a period of reflection on Nigeria’s diversity so that they may understand and appreciate one another.

“Allah says in the Holy Quran that he created mankind as races and tribes so that they may understand each other. Therefore, our being together as one is a divine design that should be made to continue to exist”, he said.

Former Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki called on Christians to pray for peace, unity and progress of the nation.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki noted that the period of Christmas is for celebrating a man whose life symbolise peace across the world.

“Jesus Christ who we all know to be the reason for this season preached peace and therefore it is the responsibility of all Nigerians to use this period to rededicate ourselves to working to restore peace in our country by being kind to each other and being our brother’s keeper.

“We should use this period to pray to God to restore peace in the troubled areas of our country and our personal lives. We should pray to God to stop all acts that lead to blood shed. We should avoid actions and statements which set one part of the country against the other and one person against his neighbour or brother.

“Every Nigerian should get set to emulate the good deeds, character and aspiration of Jesus Christ because that is what can help our country to develop and ensure that we all enjoy as citizens. We should be moderate in our celebrations at this period and avoid actions that violate the law of the land or further create crisis.

“I wish all Nigerians a Merry Christmas, a pleasurable Boxing Day and I pray to God to protect all of us as we get ready to end 2019 peacefully and begin a new year with so much hope and God’s blessing,” Saraki stated.

Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State noted that the season offers yet another opportunity for the people to promote peace, good virtues, love and unity as well as dedicate their lives to the service of God.

He, therefore, thanked Ndi Enugu for their love, unceasing prayers, goodwill, solidarity and support, reassuring them of his firm resolve to sustain the tempo of peace and good governance in the state as well as continue to serve them with the fear of God.

Ihedioha: Reflect on the life of Jesus Christ

Governor Emeka Ihedioha called on people of Imo to take advantage of the season of Christmas to exchange goodwill and reflect on the virtues of our Lord Jesus Christ, in charity, forgiveness and sacrifice.

“The joy of Christmas must go round. At end of the festivities, we should find satisfaction in how much we gave and not how much we spent on ourselves.”

Governor Ihedioha assured of security of lives and property in the State both now and after the festivities.

He maintained that the ban on the use of all of forms of guns and explosives is still in force.

“Remember that the ban on the use of all forms of guns and explosives is still in force. You should also be alert to your neighborhoods and to report all suspicious movements to the nearest law enforcement agency.

While welcoming home, Imolites who have travelled long distances from both within and outside Nigeria in order to celebrate with relatives and loved ones, the governor appealed to all motorists to drive carefully and urged citizens to avoid all acts that are likely to cause a breach of peace.

Sen Uba urges wealthy Nigerians to reach out to the needy

In his message, Senator representing Kaduna Central, Uba Sani called on the rich to emulate Jesus Christ by remembering the poor, the weak and the sick.

“We must endeavour to give the poor, weak and the sick a helping hand and put smiles on their faces in keeping with the virtues and values which Jesus Christ espoused and pursued with vigour throughout his selfless earthly mission.

“Christ gave succour to the poor, healed the sick and strengthened the weak. We must therefore be Christ – like in our dealings with our distressed fellow countrymen and women.

“Love has departed from many Nigerian communities. Conflicts have replaced peaceful coexistence, tolerance and being our brothers and sisters keepers. May this Christmas set the stage for building of lasting peace in our communities,” he prayed.

Uba Sani in a statement he personally signed used the occasion to urge Nigerians to continue to support their leaders at all levels.

PDP BoT Chair, ACF greet Christians at Xmas

Second Republic Senator and Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Jibrin Walid has extended Christmas greetings to Christians across the country as they celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ today.

While addressing Journalists on Christmas message, Senator Walid, enjoined Muslims to visit their Christians counterpart, saying that Muslims too believe in the birth of Jesus.

This was even as Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) extended its felicitations of Christmas to all Nigerians,especially Christian brothers and sisters.

According to PDP BoT Chairman, “If Muslims believe how Jesus was born, then there should be peaceful coexistence by Christians and Muslims.

“Christians and Muslims must unite because what unite us is more than that which divide us. We must continue to live in peace”

ACF in a statement by its national Publicity Secretary, Muhammad Ibrahim said, “The 25th December of every year commemorates the birthday of Jesus Christ, the messiah. Christians world wide celebrate this day with joy, good neighborliness and love that the saviour is born for the common good of the society. Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) therefore extends its felicitations of Christmas to all Nigerians especially our Christian brothers and sisters.

“In the spirit of the seasons, ACF hereby appeals to all Nigerians to embrace the teachings of Jesus Christ namely, tolerance, love, good neighbourliness and peaceful coexistence that comes with core value of humanity.

“ACF is however disturbed with the recent reports of attacks by the Boko Haram terrorists on the Yobe State capital Damaturu and other parts of Borno State in this Yuletide period, however, the prompt action of our gallant soldiers in repelling the attacks is most commendable. ACF however urges the military to not only repel attacks, but deploy modern technology in smoking out the terrorists from their hideouts and put an end to this menace. ACF also appeal to the community to share intelligence with the security agencies, as the task of securing the nation cannot be left to the governments alone.

“ACF equally calls upon Nigerians to continue to pray for peace, harmony and understanding for the unity, progress and prosperity of our country as socioeconomic and political development can only take place in a secured environment. ACF wishes Nigerians Merry Christmas and New Year in peace and prosperity”.

Embrace values of Christmas, El-Rufai tells Christians

Kaduna Governor, Nasir El Rufai, has asked Christians to embrace values of Christmas, and appealed to all residents to pray for the state and the entire country, for peace and harmony in their communities.

In a statement by his media aide, Muyiwa Adekeye, El-Rufai stressed that the people should uphold each other and embrace the lofty values that Christmas signifies.

“This joyful festival marks the birth of Jesus Christ, famously described as the Prince of Peace. Christmas is a profound moment of hope and goodwill, and I congratulate the Christian community on this special occasion. Jesus Christ and His message are the core of the Christian faith. From the humble moment of His birth in Bethlehem, His example, teachings and sacrifice have moved men and women across the world to aspire to be better persons and to accomplish great deeds of faith and service.’’

Yahaya preaches good neighbourliness

While felicitating with Christians, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya urged the people to pray for peace, progress and prosperity of the state and the country as well as rededicate themselves and remain steadfast in prayers, which he said have immense impact on the peace, unity and stability of the society.

While assuring of his administration’s commitment to continue to initiate and execute policies and programmes aimed at promoting unity and peaceful coexistence in the state, Governor Yahaya said: “On this significant occasion of Christmas, I extend my best wishes to the Christian community and all citizens of the country.

“This period reminds us of the need to imbibe and uphold Jesus Christ’s virtues of love, selflessness and tolerance. I call on all of us, to reflect on the lessons of the season, which presents an opportunity to love and share.”

Reps PDP caucus salutes Christians

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the House of Representatives has felicitated with Christians in the country on the occasion of this year’s Christmas celebration.

The PDP caucus in a statement by its leader, Kingsley Chinda, on Wednesday, urged Christians to continue to exhibit the qualities of Christ in their dealings with other Nigerians.

Besides, the caucus also admonished Christians in the country to continue to pray for the peace, unity and progress of the country, especially against the backdrop of the challenges confronting the country at the moment.

“While we rejoice and celebrate with Christians on this event which marks the birth of Jesus Christ; we urge Christians to pray for the peace, unity and progress of our dear country, Nigeria, particularly against the backdrop of the numerous of challenges facing us as a Nation, especially in the area of poor management of the country’s economy and resources by an inept government, flagrant abuse of human rights; continuing rape of democracy and the destruction of the time-worn principles of sepration of powers, as well as the several avoidable killings of Nigerians and general state of insecurity in the country.

“We also urge Christians to continue to exhibit the qualities of Christ, for which the spirit of tolerance, sacrifice, mutual love and peaceful co-existence with other Nigerians are the hallmarks,” it stated.

Archbishop Okeke charges Nigerians to spread joy, peace at all times

Fetes Onitsha Correctional inmates

From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha

Metropolitan Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha Most Rev. Valerian Maduka Okeke has charged Nigerians to be joy to the world by promoting peace and avoiding all actions that elicits anger, sadness and heartbreaks in the society.

Archbishop Okeke who marked the Christmas celebration yesterday with the inmates of Onitsha Correctional Services said the greatest way to be happy on earth is to seek for the happiness of others.

Dwelling on his Christmas Message titled: “Be Joy to the World”, the Archbishop said all are called to be part of the peace which people are yearning for but unwilling to give. He said Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ who is the Prince of Peace while all are invited to be followers of Christ.

“You don’t have to be a Christian, but be a follower of Christ by your behavior, by being a source of joy, source of peace , a true agent of reconciliation , a true angel of peace , a true builder of peace and giver of joy” he said.

He enumerated steps one can take to be truly joy to the world which includes –be great, not by being served but by serving others. Be rich not by receiving, not by grabbing, not by destabilizing others but by enriching others. Be happy not by doing what is popular and profitable to oneself but by doing what is right .

He admonished the inmates of Onitsha Correctional Services to be joy to the world also even in the cell noting that their momentary periods of confinement can be a stepping stone to future greatness.

The archbishop also presented various gift items to the inmates and also inspected the progress report on the skill acquisition centre he had earlier built and donated for the usage of the inmates.

Former Governor Peter Obi who accompanied the Archbishop to the Correctional Centre emphasized need to remain thankful to God at all times no matter the situation. He made a monetary donation to complement the Archbishop’s equipping of the skill acquisition centre .

Leah Shuaibu remains a grave concern for the nation, says Bishop Olumakaiye

The Bishop, Anglican Diocese of Lagos, Rt. Rev. Humphrey Olumakaiye, has reflected on the plight of Leah Sharibu in Boko Haram captivity, saying she remains a grave concern for the nation.

“This is not only because of the nature of her abduction or the lengthy period since she was last seen, but for the seeming lack of sustained pressure toward her release.

“It is my view that if the entirety of the Christian community comes together, we can jointly compel Leah’s and others speed release.

“As we approach the new Year 2020, I envision an encouraging future replete with not just hope but also fulfillment and prosperity.

“Let us go into the new year with strong core values and convictions that are based upon the standards of God’s word,” he said.

Prelate Uche Chukwuemeka Kanu has showed his heart felt joy over the release of former security adviser Col. Sambo Dasuki and Sahara Reporter Omoyele Sowore describing this step as the best Christmas we have ever had in Nigeria. The release brought joy and changed the whether for the nation and brought peace as never experienced before.

While appealing to the Buhari administration to also release Leah Sharibu who has been in Boko Haram insurgence captive for long. Sharibu sin was her refusal to deny her faith to becoming a muslim and as a result releasing her as become an impossible, despite international appeal.

He made this during the Christmas Message to the nation at the Methodist Church, Trinity Tinubu, Lagos.

He also commended President Mohammdu Buhuri for making sure there was no Scarcity of fuel during this Yuletide.

While in his message, he called on Nigerians to live in Peace with one another, forbearing with one another and have the spirit of forgiveness, religious tolerance among ourselves.

for this is the only way we move forward as a nation and have a better development.

He also called on the working Senators to cut their jumbo salary, lamenting that half of their salary can pay ten persons this in a way is resource control.

#Newsworthy…

Muslims urge Buhari to release sowore.

…he is innocent

Muslim youth in Nigeria have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the immediate release of Omoyele Sowore.

The youth under the auspices of Ansar-Ud-Deen Youth Association of Nigeria, Northern States Council, asked government to respect the court’s order granting Sowore bail and immediately free him and other political detainees in the country.

Chairman of the association, Prof Bashir Omipidan, condemned the rearrest of Sowore and his prolonged detention without a court order.

He said, “ADYAN Northern States Council is not oblivious of the fact that Omoyele Sowore and some other persons are still in detention despite court granted bail.

“We call on the Federal Government to arraign those who have not been tried to court, while allowing those who have already been granted bail to go home.

“We are equally not opposed to rearrest of anyone on bail if there are reasons to suspect that condition of such bail had been flouted.

“This should however, be carried out in accordance with the rule of law.

“A person remains a suspect until convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction but so far, Omoyele Sowore is still a suspect who has been granted bail by the court and should be released.”

#Newsworthy…

Court orders leader of Islamic movement transfer from DSS custody.

..el zakzaky to be moved from DSS custody to prison

Justice Gideon Kudafa of the Kaduna State High Court has ordered the transfer of embattled leader of Islamic Movement in Nigeria Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife Zeenat, from DSS custody to a correctional centre in the state.

The Kaduna High Court judge who presided over the trial of El-Zakzaky and his wife over allegations of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, and disruption of the public peace, among other charges, said the transfer will enable an easy access by their lawyers and doctors.

It was further learnt that the Islamic leader and his wife were not in court due to their deteriorated health conditions. The case was adjourned till February 6 for commencement of trial.

#Newsworthy…