Every year, as we anticipate Ramadan, Muslims look forward to the Mosques being full again. However, in total submission to the will of Allah, the Mosques will be empty for Ramadan 2020.
This year, Ramadan will definitely be like no other due to the pandemic which has brought the world to a standstill.
This year’s Ramadan is with a lot of uncertainties. No public lectures. No collective iftar. No congregational Taraweeh. No Eid prayer. These and a number of doubts have crossed the minds of Muslims all over the world.
Traditionally during Ramadan, Muslims would troop in large numbers to the mosques after breaking the day’s fast in order to observe Taraweeh (last prayer of the night) in the congregation.
Mosques all over the world have, however, been closed to curb the spread of the pandemic.
A recent statement from the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, the Fatwa committee that met via zoom, has resolved that all forms of religious gathering in the month of Ramadan be suspended to avoid the spread of the virus.
Although Taraweeh can be observed individually, as the prophet Muhammad was reported to have done most of the time, out of concern that it would be mandated on Muslims.
The majority of Muslims prefer to observe Taraweeh in a congregation because it fosters the feeling of togetherness and kinship among them. It also affords them an opportunity to listen to beautiful and soothing recitations from the Quran.
With Taraweeh out the picture this year, many have been wondering how to fill the vacuum.
Speaking on the effect of lockdown on Ramadan, Sheik AbdulQoyoum Omidiji of Markaz told PREMIUM TIMES that the situation is very sad because congregational prayers and public lectures will be hindered.
“It is saddening because this year’s Ramadan wouldn’t witness congregational acts of worship like breaking the fast and praying in a congregation as a result of the lockdown. These are activities that help to strengthen the bond of Muslims, that are highly anticipated in the month of Ramadan,” he said.
Although this year’s Ramadan will witness a deviation from the well-known traditional practices, it is not without its silver linings. Cleric Omidiji gave a list of beneficial activities that can help maximise the full benefit of Ramadan while staying at home.
Pray as a family
This Ramadan allows family members to observe the mandatory and voluntary prayers in a congregation, an act that is very rare among family members. This will foster the sense of togetherness one feels during Ramadan while strengthening family bonds. Instead of brooding on the locked mosques, Muslims can create a mosque in every home and keep the houses alive with the remembrance of Allah.
Learn as a family
This Ramadan provides an opportunity for parents to build themselves spiritually as well as their children and wards. There is ample opportunity for Muslims to engage in the recitation and learning the meanings of the messages of the Quran. There is also the chance of engaging in lots of supplications without fear of being disturbed or having to worry about tight work schedules.
For Muslims in peaceful environments, who are alive and well and who have access to perform religious rites, here is a chance to empathise with other people who are not so lucky, as well as reflect on the mercies of their Lord upon them. Lend to your Lord a beautiful loan and expect Him to repay in multiple folds. This period is especially hard on a lot of people and many Muslims will find it difficult to feed during Ramadan. Comfortable Muslims can make it a point to feed at least one struggling family along with theirs during this trying time.
Use the media
Muslims can employ the media as a means of listening to lectures during this Ramadan without having to join gatherings. Lectures can be streamed online, listened to on radio and television. For those who work from home, lectures, chapters of the Quran and prayers can be played in the background, to keep up the spirituality in the home. Parents can listen to and memorise the Quran with their children.
Make the Quran your companion
During this period of lockdown, Muslims should recite the Quran a lot since they don’t have to go to work, this would afford them judicious use of their free time while at the same time, engaging in act of worship which will be rewarded by their Creator. This year’s Ramadan is indeed a blessing in disguise. If the free time is used judiciously, the tongues of Muslims will remain moist with the remembrance of Allah.
Random acts of kindness
There are some acts that we see as mundane but are actually weighty in goodness. They are very simple things to do but the effect on the recipient of these good deeds makes them great in reward. Is there any reward for good order than good?
Here are some examples of casual acts of kindness we can engage in for the holy month; smiling, forgiving someone, controlling your anger, avoiding backbiting, saying prayers for your parents and relatives, give cold drinks for someone to break his fast, spread the greeting of salaam (peace). No matter how small you think your effort is, it doesn’t go past the notice of your Lord and the most beloved deed to Him is the one you do continuously.
Pray and seek forgiveness
There is no better time to ask for something from your Lord than when you are in total submission, sacrificing your enjoyment to His will and depriving yourself of food, drink, and sexual pleasure in obedience to Him. He said ask and He shall give.
Be grateful to Him no matter your condition, because it could have been worse. Bow down in worship to Him and ask for His forgiveness in utmost humility and honesty. For at least 70 times in a day, seek forgiveness for you may not know that an act of sin is in the way of your breakthrough.
Sourced From: Premium Times Nigeria
Nigerian Govt’s Subsidy On Petrol Now N21 Per Litre – PPPRA
The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) on Monday said current data showed the federal government is currently subsidizing the supply of every litre of petrol with about N21.22.
The Executive Secretary of the agency, Abdulkadir Saidu, said in a statement the price of a metric tonne of petrol at the international market averaged $582.80.
With that price, Mr Saidu said, this translates to an average landing cost of N146.85 per litre and expected open market price (EOMP) of ₦166.22 per litre for imports by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) only.
Due to the controversy over petrol pricing and subsidy, the NNPC has for over a year been the only importer of petrol in Nigeria.
The government approved retail ceiling price of petrol in Nigeria is N145 per litre.
With expected open market price (EOMP) at ₦166.22, the level of subsidy per litre of petrol by government translates to about N21.22.
When the present administration came to office in 2015, it adjusted the retail price of petrol from N87 to N145 per litre after promising to remove subsidy from the pricing template of the PPPRA.
However, years after that policy decision, subsidy has since been reinstated, albeit in a different name called under-recovery, but recorded as part of the operational cost of the NNPC.
Regardless, the Executive Secretary said due to the cost of financing component built into other marketers’ imports, landing cost and EOMP of petrol averaged ₦149.86 per litre and ₦169.23 per litre respectively.
The weekly data covering November 28, 2019 to December 4, 2019, showed the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN’s official exchange rate averaged N306.97 to the dollar, while the parallel market rate was stable and averaged N360.00 per dollar during the period.
The data also showed that the reference freight rate from North West Europe (UK-Coast – UKC) to West African Frontier (WAF) averaged $30.87 per metric tonne, the rate decreased when compared to previous week’s average of $35.45 per metric tonne.
The PPPRA said that total petrol receipt for the period (November 28 and December 4, 2019) was 473,602 million litres, automotive gas oil (AGO) 68,366 million; aviation turbine kerosene (ATK) 20,327 million litres.
The average daily discharges of petrol for the week stood at 67.66 million litres.
The data showed that the national truck-out volume of petrol for the week was 409.22 million litres, AGO 115.97 million litres, and aviation turbine kerosene (ATK) 27.05 million litres. Household kerosene (HHK) recorded zero.
The average daily truck-out volume of petrol for the week from various depots for supply to retail outlets was 58.46 million litres, while the average daily sufficiency for PMS and AGO during the week were 47.25 and 41.29 days respectively.
Sourced From: Premium Times Nigeria
Witness Testifies In Corruption Trial Of Jonathan’s Ex-Aide
A prosecution witness, Ademola Folorunsho, on Monday told a Federal High Court, Lagos, that due diligence was observed in the opening of accounts linked to a former presidential aide, Waripamo Dudafa, charged with N1.6 billion fraud.
Mr Dudafa, an ex-aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, is charged alongside one Iwejuo Nna, on charges bordering on N1.6 billion fraud.
The EFCC said the accused committed the offences on June 11, 2013.
The prosecution closed its case on March 16, but the accused opted to make a no-case submission in its defence and urged the court to dismiss the case, on the grounds that the prosecution failed to establish any case against them.
Justice Mohammed Idris in a ruling delivered in August dismissed the no case submission of the accused and ordered them to open their defence.
The defence had since opened its case, after which the court adjourned for the adoption of final written addresses.
Meanwhile, following an amendment of the charge, the accused were re-arraigned on November 12, while the defence opted to recall some witnesses.
On Monday, the witness, a staff of Heritage Bank, told the court that his bank followed due process in the opening and operations of the accounts of companies linked to Mr Dudafa.
The companies are Seagate Property Development & Investment Ltd, Avalon Global Property Development Company Ltd and Pluto Property Ltd, Investment Company Ltd, Rotato Interlink Services Ltd, and Ebiwise Ltd.
Under cross-examination by Kolawole Salami, who was holding the brief of Gboyega Oyewole (SAN), the witness told the court that all the transactions carried out in the accounts of the companies were by electronic transfers and not by cash.
When shown exhibits such as A and B, the witness confirmed to the court that the transactions as can be seen from the exhibits before him are electronic transactions.
The witness also confirmed that Mr Dudafa’s name did not appear as a recipient of any money from the statement of accounts of the companies.
Under cross-examination by the second defence counsel, Ige Asemudara, the witness said that the companies’ accounts were not concealed from the bank management, or any regulatory authority.
He admitted that as Operations Manager, no transaction could go on in his branch without his knowledge, adding that all the documents required for the opening and operations of the accounts were duly provided by the owners.
When asked by Mr Asemudara if he was aware of the BVN policy of the Federal Government, he replied that he could not state categorically when the policy was made compulsory, but said that the BVN in the accounts did not have any link with the second accused.
According to him, the major beneficiaries of the cash from the accounts were signatories to the accounts, who are also directors of the companies and not Mr Dudafa.
Justice Idris has adjourned until November 29, for the continuation of trial.
Messrs Dudafa and Iwejuo are standing trial over allegations of conspiring to conceal proceeds of crime.
They were on June 11, 2016, arraigned by the EFCC on a 23-count charge of conspiracy to conceal proceeds of crime amounting to N1.6 billion.
In the charge, the anti-graft agency alleged that the accused between June 2013 and June 2015, used different companies to fraudulently launder the money.
The offences contravene the provisions of Sections 17(a), 18(c), and 27 (3) (c) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004.
Sourced From: Premium Times Nigeria
Metele Attack: Casualty Rises After Boko Haram Opened Fire On Rescue Team
Multiple deaths have been reported after a rescue team dispatched to comb the area in the aftermath of the November 18 Boko Haram attack on Nigerian soldiers in Borno State came under insurgents’ fire on November 19, military sources have PREMIUM TIMES.
The rescue, treatment and evacuation team was sent from Baga, Borno State, to Metele, home to the Nigerian Army 157 Task Force Battalion that lost scores of soldiers on Sunday. The rescue team members were selected from the Nigerian Army 7 Task Force Brigade stationed in Baga.
At least 118 soldiers were killed and 153 missing in the Sunday attack on 157 Task Force Battalion in Metele, Borno State, according to the most-recent finding by PREMIUM TIMES.
“While recovering the bodies within the Metele area, Boko Haram fighters launched another attack on the team,” a top military source told PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday.
“Additional casualties were recorded including that of the head of the medical team and scores of others,” the source added.
The account of the source was confirmed by another military chief who was amongst those who coordinated the rescue efforts. The officer told PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday Boko Haram appeared to have laid an ambush in anticipation of the rescue team’s arrival in Metele.
The leader of the rescue team was identified by military sources as Nsor, a major and physician. He was amongst the scores of rescuers killed during the attack, during which Boko Haram also stole military equipment.
About 152 officers were estimated to have taken part in the rescue efforts, although a military source said the figures could be higher because some troops from another base were asked to join the initial reinforcement from Baga.
Texas Chukwu, a spokesperson for the Nigerian Army, did not return requests for comments on Sunday. John Agim, his Defence Headquarters counterpart, said he has not information about what transpired in Metele.
“I do not have any information about the attack in Metele because I am on an assignment since one week ago. I have not returned yet,” Mr Agim said in a message to PREMIUM TIMES Sunday evening.
The army in its first reaction to the Sunday attack on Friday evening said reported casualty figures were untrue, although it did not provide its internal figures or details of how the attack occurred.
President Muhammadu Buhari commented on the attack on Saturday, vowing to ensure the end of the insurgency and as well as care for the soldiers deployed in the volatile North-East.
In a video circulated this weekend, Nigerian soldiers deployed in the war-ravaged North-East blamed obsolete equipment and pervasive corruption amongst top military brass for the massive losses in personnel and equipment which insurgents have been inflicting on the Nigerian military since their latest evil campaign of raiding bases began July.
Sourced From: Premium Times Nigeria
NCDC Confirms Yellow Fever Outbreak In Edo
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has confirmed the outbreak of Yellow Fever in Edo State.
The health agency in charge of disease control in Nigeria in a press release made available to PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday said it has begun investigations alongside the state public health team following the report of the outbreak.
According to the statement signed by the Executive Director, NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, the outbreak was reported in four local government areas.
The origin, he said, remains unknown.
“On the 21st of November 2018, nine cases tested positive for yellow fever. We await confirmatory results from the WHO Regional Reference Laboratory,” he said.
“The Edo State Epidemiology Team is working with the NCDC, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and World Health Organisation (WHO) to carry out a detailed investigation and response to the already confirmed cases,” he said.
Mr Ihekweazu also said NCDC has deployed a rapid response team to support the state with contact tracing, risk communications, and management of cases.
There are ongoing plans to begin a vaccination campaign in the state in response to the cluster of cases, he added.
Meanwhile, the federal government in collaboration with the World Health Organisation has begun a yellow fever prevention campaign in six states of the country.
The campaign which began on Thursday targets the vaccination of 26 million children and adults (aged 9 months to 44 years) in the: Niger, Plateau, Borno, Sokoto, Kebbi and the FCT.
According to NCDC, one dose of the yellow fever vaccine provides for life-long protection against the disease.
“We urge all Nigerians to get vaccinated and encourage their families, and neighbours to do the same,” it said.
Yellow fever is a vaccine-preventable disease.
The disease after 21 years of silence, resurfaced in the country in September 2017 in a seven-year-old girl at Ifelodun Local Government Area in Kwara State.
The girl had no previous history of yellow fever vaccination. She also had no travel history outside her state two years before the illness.
As at the November 11, 140 cases have been laboratory-confirmed in Nigeria.
A multi-agency yellow fever Emergency Operations Centre has been established at NCDC to coordinate the response.
The symptoms of yellow fever include yellowness of the eyes, sudden fever, headache and body pain.
Sourced From: Premium Times Nigeria
NIgeria Records 87 New Cases Of COVID-19, Total Infections Now 1,182
Johnny Drille – Halleluyah Feat. Simi (Video)
Warri Boy In Lagos Nollywood Comedy
Why Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) Recorded Increase Amidst COVID-19
Buhari Will Win In 2019: US Institute
The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has predicted that President Muhammadu Buhari will win the 2019 election. The organisation...
Why Buhari Deserves Second Term – Lai Mohammed
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said that President Muhammadu Buhari deserved second term election because,...
Atiku Presidential Campaign Council: PDP Releases List of Members
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday released the list of party members to handle the campaign team of the...
Obasanjo Forgives Atiku, Endorses Him For President
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Thursday said he has reviewed his stance on not backing his former deputy for the...
Buhari, Atiku In Battle Of Integrity Over 2019 Poll
THE brickbats continued yesterday between President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. The All Progressives Congress (APC) and...