President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday thanked Nigerians for their patience with his administration and assured them that their sacrifices would not be in vain, but that their conditions would soon improve.
In his Sallah message to mark the end of the Ramadan fasting period, President Buhari noted that reforming a country that had been plunged into near decay due to pervasive corruption came with teething pains.
In the president’s message, which was released by his senior special assistant on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, he also stressed the importance of putting the virtues of Islam into practice beyond the fasting season.
Speaking on the hardships Nigerians are grappling with, President Buhari said he empathised with them, but reassured that “these pains are temporary. The APC administration which I am privileged to lead is beholden to the ordinary Nigerians and we will leave no stone unturned to make their security, welfare and happiness our priority.”
He also urged ordinary Nigerians to stop glorifying thieves but to treat them with disdain for bringing hardship to others.
While congratulating Muslims on completing “this spiritually significant month of sacrifice”, the president urged them to reflect on the importance of Ramadan in becoming good ambassadors of Islam at all times.
He said, “Religion should be the moral compass for all believers in their public and personal lives. If people allow the teachings of their religions to influence their conduct, problems such as corruption, which diverts public funds to private pockets, would have been eliminated in the society.”
The president, however, expressed regret that selfishness and greed had overcome people’s conscience so much that they do not have moral inhibitions in the pursuit of their greed.
“It is impossible to separate morality from religion, and removing this connection encourages corrupt leaders and other exploiters to commit atrocities against the society. I always wonder why any true believer, be they politicians, civil servants or businessmen, would seek to make profits from the misfortunes of others,” the president added.
President Buhari enjoined religious leaders to always pray for peace and unity in the country and avoid making inflammatory utterances that endanger peace or promote conflicts. This is just as he appealed to fellow citizens to forgive one another and embrace peace.
He also lauded the families of recipients of national honours for showing good examples to Nigerians and urged country men and women to copy their good examples.
Senate President Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, have congratulated Muslim faithful across the country on the successful completion of the month-long Ramadan fast and called for sustained prayers for peace in the country.
On his part, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, in his Sallah message to the Muslim Ummah, enjoined them to sustain the lessons of Ramadan and replicate same in their daily lives for a better society.
In a statement by Saraki’s special adviser on media and publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, to commemorate the Eid-el-Fitr celebration, the president of the Senate said that in spite of federal government’s appreciable efforts in combating the challenge of insecurity, it is imperative for Muslim faithful to utilise this period to pray fervently for peace and unity in the country.
“We have just ended a month-long fast, thus paving the way for the Eid-el-fitr celebrations. These two periods are such times that the Almighty Allah enjoined us to ask for his blessings. We should therefore seize the opportunity to pray for the country and its leaders,” Saraki said.
He called on Nigerians to use the season to promote national integration, saying “Eid-el-fitr is a time of love and goodwill. It gives us a message to love all and hate none.”
According to him, despite numerous challenges in the country, ‘‘hope is not lost. Only tolerance, stronger sense of patriotism and love for one another will help the country surmount her present socio-economic challenges.”
Ekweremadu also enjoined Muslim faithful to remain true to the teachings of Islam imbibed during the fast even after the holy month.
“I congratulate our Muslim Ummah for successfully observing the Ramadan fast and prayers, with its life-enriching lessons on the virtues of love, forbearance, unity, patriotism and self-sacrifice.
“In the last one month, I observed the piety and the spirit of giving associated with the month and, therefore, urge our Muslim bothers and sisters to remain their brother’s keeper till eternity so as to make the society better for it.
“I urge them to continue in a life of prayers for the nation. Being the last Ramadan before the 2019 general elections, I urge our Muslim brethren and indeed all Nigerians to continue to pray for the peaceful and successful conduct of the elections”, he said.
He wished the Muslim Ummah a merry Eid-el-Fitr and God’s blessings.
In his message, Speaker Dogara called on Muslim faithful not to be carried away by only the pageantry of the Sallah celebration, but to use the occasion for sober reflection and extend gestures and hands of support to the needy in the society, and as well pray against the current security and economic situation of the country.
He emphasised the importance of peace, unity and tolerance amongst the diverse peoples of the country for the envisaged growth and development to take place, noting that the heterogeneity of Nigeria should be a source of strength rather than a trigger for conflicts.
“As you join the rest of the Ummah all over the world to celebrate this year’s Eid el-Fitr, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, I enjoin you to replicate and demonstrate in your daily lives the lessons and virtues of sacrifice, forgiveness, piety, self-denial and genuine love towards one another which you learnt during the month- long fast.
“This is indeed another moment of celebration and sober reflection. And apart from reflection, I urge you to also cash in on the spirituality of this festive period to offer special prayers for the nation against the backdrop of the current security and economic situation and to lift up our people before God, especially the downtrodden – those who struggle to make ends meet – as well as the leadership of this country, from Mr. President, the vice president, the leadership of the National Assembly, the governors down to local government chairmen and councillors for God to grant us wisdom and give us understanding and for Him to open up doors of opportunity so that we will be able to meet the expectations of the people.”
While pledging the commitment of the House of Representatives to initiating legislative interventions to overcome the many challenges in the country, Dogara used the occasion to urge Nigerians, irrespective of their persuasions, to cement the bond of unity and brotherhood as a people of common destiny and contribute meaningfully in the quest to build a peaceful and united country.
…Sultan Confirms Sighting Of Moon, Declares Today Eid el-Fitir
Meanwhile, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, in a broadcast yesterday in Sokoto, declared today the day to mark the Eid-el-Fitr following the sighting of the new moon of the month Shawwal.
The Islamic month of Shawwal comes after the 29 or 30 days of the month of Ramadan when Muslims across the world observe a month long fasting.
Abubakar said that the new moon was sighted in parts of Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Borno, Jigawa, Nasarawa, Plateau and Sokoto states among others.
He said:” In accordance with Islamic law, we have the honour and pleasure to announce that today, Thursday, the 29th day of Ramadan,1439 AH, which is equivalent to June 14, 2018 has marked the end of Ramadan and the beginning of the new month of Shawwal.
”Reliable reports of moon sighting were received from Muslim leaders and religious organisations across the country, which were duly verified and authenticated by us, states and the National Moon Sighting Committee.
”Consequent upon this, tomorrow, Friday, the 15th day of June, 2018 becomes the first day of Shawwal,1439 AH and is therefore declared the Sallah day for 2018 Eid-el-Fitr,” the Muslim leader said.
The Sultan urged the Muslim Ummah to sustain fervent prayers for the nation led by President Muhammadu Buhari, other leaders, as well as for sustainable peace and unity in Nigeria and beyond.
The sultan also urged Nigerians to continue to live in peace irrespective of religious, ethnic and cultural differences.
CAN wants FG to intensify efforts in addressing incessant killings
The President Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Samson Ayokunle has called on the Federal Government to intensify efforts in addressing the incessant killing in the country.
The CAN president made the call in a goodwill message to Nigerian Muslim, signed by Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, Special Assistant, Media &Communications to the CAN President, yesterday in Abuja.
He urged the Federal Government to use the security agencies to find a means of resolving rampant killings by Boko Haram, herdsmen and bandits.
“In celebrating the end of the Ramadan, CAN is hopeful that our political leaders at all levels will cease all discriminatory practices on the basis of religious, political or ethnic differences.
“Since Christianity and Islam preach unity, we earnestly pray that the Federal Government, through security agencies, will find means of resolving rampant killings by Boko Haram terrorists, criminal herdsmen and bandits,” he said.
Oladeji said leadership of CAN rejoices with Nigerian Muslims over the successful completion of the Ramadan period which involved purification through fasting and seeking for blessings and forgiveness from the Almighty God, the creator of mankind.
“Ramadan, being the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is very important, considering the fact that it beckoned on Muslim faithful to eschew self-seeking personal goals and work assiduously towards developing spiritual growth through demonstration of kindness, forgiveness and generosity for all, irrespective of religious differences.
“The Ramadan is also a relevant period for the Muslim Ummah as it gives opportunity to the faithful to purify their souls in a bid to bring them closer to the Almighty God.
“After a successful completion of this obligation that is among the five pillars of Islam, we congratulate our Muslim brothers and sisters on successfully completing this all-important religious act,” he explained.
Oladeji said the leadership is convinced that the spirit of sacrifice which the Ramadan epitomises in the lives of Muslims would be demonstrated in the coming months through collaborating with non-Muslim faithful in the promotion of peace and harmony in the nation’s multi-cultural setting.
He expressed the commitment of CAN to collaborate with the leadership of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (SCIA) to promote peaceful co-existence among adherents of the nation’s two major religions and to work towards ensuring unity, peace and progress of the country.
Oladeji said the CAN leadership has reiterated its irrevocable commitment to work with the leadership of the SCIA in promoting peaceful co-existence and to ensure the emergence of a just Nigerian society where justice and equity would become the bonds of its shared humanity, and where none is discriminated on the basis of its religion or social status.
He said CAN is optimistic that the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) would become more vibrant and effective as to collaborate with the Federal Government in tackling the myriad ills plaguing of the nation.
While appreciating the gesture of the government in resuscitating NIREC after many years of inactivity, he added that CAN looks forward to a more robust interaction for religious harmony.
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