- Buhari, Saraki, Dogara seek prayers for peace, security
By Mohammed Aminu in Sokoto Olakiitan Victor in Ado Ekiti
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, yesterday declared today as the first day of the Ramadan and urged Muslims to commence fast.
Addressing journalists in his palace in Sokoto yesterday night, the monarch said the new moon was sighted in many states of the country.
According to him, reliable reports of moon sighting were received from Muslim leaders and organisations across the country and duly verified by the National Moonsighting Committee and the Committee in Sokoto.
“In accordance with Islamic law and our pursuit of obligatory fast as third pillar of Islam. We wish to announce that today Sunday the 29th day of Shaaban 1437 after Hijra which is equivalent to June 5, 2016, has marked the end of the month and the beginning of the new month of the Ramadan.
“Consequent upon this, Monday, June 6, 2016 becomes the first day of Ramadan 1437 after Hijra,”he said.
The monarch called on Muslims to commence the fasting accordingly and pray fervently for peace to reign in the country.
He also implored the Muslim ummah to live in harmony with people of other faiths and offer supplications for the leadership to succeed in steering the affairs of this country.
“Muslims should dedicate themselves to the teachings of Islam and devote themselves to the worship of Allah during the Ramadan.
“They should continue to live peacefully with other Nigerians irrespective of tribal and religious differences,” the Sultan added.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara have advised Muslims to use the holy month of Ramadan as a great opportunity for seeking forgiveness and getting closer to Allah through worship (Ibadah) and good deeds during this period.
In his message to mark the beginning of the 30 days fasting period, the president, speaking through his Special Media Assistant, Malam Garba Sadhu, said the month of Ramadan was a time of spiritual reawakening which demands not only abstention from food and drinks, but also all wrongdoing in their lives.
The president explained that he was always disturbed why people sought to make brisk profits by hiking food prices as soon as the month of Ramadan starts.
He called on Muslim traders, businessmen and women, civil servants and political office holders to use the month of Ramadan to seek forgiveness of God by abandoning wrong practices for personal gains at the expense of others.
According to the president, a religion should serve as a moral restraint from bad practices, regretting that those stealing national resources are merely paying lip service to religion.
He advised that anybody holding position of trust should primarily remember that they would be accountable one day either on earth or hereafter.
He said the government was working towards bringing relief to their lives through palliative measures and faithful implementation of the 2016 national budget.
According to him, no elected government would intentionally want you to make life difficult for the people that gave it the mandate to serve.
On his part, Saraki urged Muslim faithful across the country to use the period of this year’s Ramadan to pray for peace, security and God’s intervention in tackling the myriad socio–economic challenges confronting the nation.
In a statement to mark the commencement of this year’s Ramadan fasting season signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuf Olaniyonu, the senate president thanked God for the grace to participate in another holy obligation as enjoined by the Holy Quran.
He said: “We have entered into another season of rededication to the worship of God and service to humanity. This is a major commandment to mankind and a season of sacrifice and forgiveness. I enjoin all Muslim faithful to rededicate themselves to the true ideals of Islam as a religion of peace.
“Let us exploit the grace in this season to seek God’s divine intervention in our lingering economic and security challenges. As a nation, we need God’s power to overcome our present situation. Fasting is not mere abstinence from food, drink and worldly pleasures alone, but a time to seek Allah’s power through prayers in order to faithfully carry out the sublime injunctions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SWT) who was sent by Almighty Allah to show humanity the way of holiness, peace and brotherly kindness.”
He said while the Muslim faithful fervently strive for improvement in the living standards of the people, the federal government will on its part ensure that the right policies and laws that would make life more meaningful in the country are put in place and dutifully enforced to bring about prosperity and harmony in the society.
The Senate President also stated that the present administration would continue to work to ensure that insurgents, terrorists, militia groups and other criminal elements that have plunged some parts of the country into a state of anarchy are flushed out.
Saraki further urged all Nigerians “not to succumb to despair but to remain steadfast in the firm conviction that with courage, determination, focus and collective will, the country will ultimately overcome its present travails and emerge prosperous and peaceful once more.”
Similarly, Dogara appealed to Muslims to use the holy month of Ramadan to offer special prayers for Nigeria and leaders at all levels.
He noted that Ramadan is a special period of time when Muslims around the world focus on prayers, fasting, giving to charity and religious devotion.
In a statement issued by his spokesman, Turaki Hassan, in Abuja, the Speaker said the country is in dire need of special prayers in view of the present state of the economy and the security situation in the nation.
“No challenge is impossible to overcome with prayer, God’s guidance and direction,” Dogara noted.
According to the Speaker, many societies and nations have passed through even more difficulties than ours, but they surmounted them. “Ours is no exception, and we too shall overcome,” he admonished.
Dogara also charged the people not to despair but to persevere and remain optimistic and hopeful of a better tomorrow.
He reiterated the resolve and commitment of the House of Representatives, in the spirit of Ramadan, to always take legislative positions and interventions on the side of the needy and less privileged persons in our society.
The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, also congratulated Muslims in Ekiti State and Nigeria in general as they commence another season of Ramadan.
Fayemi said in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Olayinka Oyebode, that Ramadan remains the holiest of all months in the Islamic calendar, adding that Ramadan fast is one of the five pillars of Islam which Muslims strictly adhere to in line with injunction of the Almighty Allah.
Noting that the Ramadan fast teaches Muslims to practice piety, self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice, tolerance justice and empathy for the less fortunate in society, Fayemi called on all adherents of the Islamic faith to reflect on these lessons during the 30 days fasting period.
He stated that Allah established Ramadan to bring about equality among the faithful irrespective of social status.
“Ramadan makes everybody to be equal before Allah as the rich are given the taste of hunger which the poor go through too,” he added.
Also, former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele, urged Muslims to use the 30 days of holy sacrifice to offer prayers against insecurity, shrinking economy and for swift rejuvenation of the country’s economy.
Bamidele in a statement by his media aide, Ahmed Salami, said the present insecurity occasioned by militancy in the Niger Delta and the virulent agitations by Biafran warlords in the South-east called for prayers.
He said the Ramadan fasting affords Muslims the opportunity to intercede on Nigeria’s behalf for speedy recovery from these malaise.
“We are felicitating with Muslims and also enjoining their Christian brothers to join them in spirit during Ramadan. We serve only one God and with this belief, we should see ourselves as one, regardless of status, ethnicity and religion. This remains the best way to serve our country,” he added.