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Sultan Bungles Ramadan, Admits Not Sighting Moon …Those Who Dishonour Ramadan Aren’t Muslims -Amaechi

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The palace of Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar has admitted that the Sultan of Sokoto erred by announcing the end of Ramadan based on claims by some Nigerian Muslims that they sighted the new moon of Shawwal on Saturday night.
The Sultan, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar IV, who is also the President of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Saturday night, announced the sighting of the new moon.
His pronouncement meant that the day was the end of Ramadan, making Nigeria the only country in the world which celebrated Eid on Sunday.
“The new month of Shawwal was sighted in different places within Nigeria, and therefore, tomorrow (Sunday) is the first day of Shawwal equivalent to 27 July, 2014,” the Sultan said via a message aired on Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).
But Islamic scholars including the Secretary-General of the organisation, Ishaq Oloyede, a professor of Islamic Studies, openly opposed the declaration, saying he was not aware that the moon had been sighted.
“I spoke to the Sultan about four times tonight and he did not tell me that the moon has been sighted,” Oloyede told newsmen.
“In any case, any such claim is ridiculous and unscientific. It cannot be right. The National Moon Sighting Committee (NMC) has not informed us of any credible sighting of the moon. Rather, they said the moon wasn’t sighted.
“The new moon was only born at 11:45 P.M. tonight (Saturday) and it will take several hours for it to be sighted. Is our own sky different? Is our own moon manufactured in Nigeria?”
Professor Oloyede then urged Muslims to continue their fast on Sunday and prepare for Eid-Fitri on Monday in line with the verdict of the National Moon Sighting Committee.
Similarly, Chairman of the NMC, Hafiz Wali, in his committee report to the Sultan and Oloyede insisted that the moon had not been sighted.
“Assalamu Alaikum. As expected, the NMC has not received any credible moon-sighting report,” Dr. Wali said in a short message report to the NSCIA leaders.
“Our team in Gwandu has reported that the Moon has not been sighted.” Sultan Sa’ad could not be reached as at the time this report was published at 1:56 a.m. on Sunday and it is not clear where he got the report that the moon was sighted.”
But the result of the joint moon-sighting exercise undertaken by the Sultanate Moon-Sighting Committee and the Nigeria National Moon Sighting Committee on Sunday, has now showed that the pronouncement terminating the Ramadan fast was an error.
The Sultan commissioned the joint moon-sighting investigation after his Saturday declaration.
The result of the investigation, also endorsed by the Sultan’s representatives concluded that the claim that the moon was sighted on Saturday was questionable as it was impossible for anyone to see the moon anywhere in the world at that time.
The committee carried out its assignment between 6:45PM and 7:45PM on Sunday.
The report of the joint committee, compiled by Usman Mahmud, a research officer with the National Moon-sighting Committee, reads in part:
“I write to inform you that we (the National Moon-Sighting Committee) and the Sultanate Moon Sighting Committee went to the Sighting of Moon today (Sunday, July 27, 2014).
“The moon was not sighted with naked eye or with telescope and binocular. However, we used some programmes and software applications like Skymap, Stellarium and Virtual Moon to get the details of the moon.
“The details of the Moon are: Age: 19H (hour) 05M (minutes); Hour Angle/DE:04H 45M 11S(seconds)/ +12 21’112 ; Distance between sun and moon: 3.52 .”
Experts say the result of the investigation suggested that the Sultan erred by declaring the end of Ramadan and beginning of Shawwal even when a new moon had not been born.
“It was a big error,” said Sheikh Abdulrazaq Ishola, a member of the Moon-sighting Committee Worldwide, who himself was at the AlBayrouny Observatory in Mecca that Saturday in search of the moon.
“The (Sultan’s) announcement embarrassed Nigeria all over the world because in no other place was such ridiculous claim of sighting the moon on Saturday made.
“How can anyone claim that he saw the moon even when conjunction of the moon and the sun had just taken place? That is impossible. In any case, where should we ask people to find a moon that had not been born?”
Ishola explained that after conjunction takes place, (which he said occurred at 11:47 PM on Saturday), it usually takes about 17 hours for the moon to be sighted with a telescope and between 18 and 23 hours to be visible to the naked eye.
“What happened in Nigeria is disrespect to Islam and Muslims. We are in the 21st century, yet we are still living in the past in Nigeria,” the cleric, who is also a a member of the Abu Dhabi-based Islamic Crescent Observatory Project said.
Meanwhile, Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, says those who kill and maim their fellow humans and destroy properties of Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan are not Muslims.
Amaechi said this Monday while addressing a cross-section of the Muslim community in the state who visited him in Government House, Port Harcourt as part of activities to celebrate this year’s Eid-el-Fitri.
Represented by his Deputy, Engr. Tele Ikuru, Governor Amaechi urged Muslims in the country to use the occasion of the 2014 Eid-el-Fitri to unite against terrorists and other extremists who hide under the Islam religion to perpetrate violence, thereby bringing the holy religion to disrepute.
“It amazes me that people commit evil even in the Holy Month. The month of Ramadan is a sacred month. It’s a month of fasting and sacrifice, totally committed to honouring Allah. Hence, if indeed the things they say they are doing is for Allah, that Holy Month, they would have respected Allah,” he said, adding “the fact that they are doing it and desecrating the Holy Month clearly shows that they are not fighting for Muslims, they are not fighting to protect Islam”.
The governor thanked members of the Muslim community in the state for their support for his administration, and promised to continue to pursue policies that will engender peaceful co-existence in the state.
Earlier, the leader of the Muslim community in the state and Vice President General, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Nasir Awhelebe Uhor, said this year’s celebration calls for sober reflection in recognition of the unending terror being unleashed by the Boko Haram sect on Nigerians under the guise of fighting a Holy War.
He thanked the Rivers State Government for creating a conducive environment for Muslims to reside and carry out their lawful businesses without fear of molestation, pledging their support to help sustain the peace and tranquillity the state currently enjoys.

L-R: Special Adviser to Lagos Governor on Information & Strategy, Mr Lateef Raji, Director, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Abuja, Prof. Abdusalami Nasidi, Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris and Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Public Health, Dr Yewande Adeshina at a briefing to update the public on Ebola virus in Lagos, last Monday

L-R: Special Adviser to Lagos Governor on Information & Strategy, Mr Lateef Raji, Director, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Abuja, Prof. Abdusalami Nasidi, Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris and Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Public Health, Dr Yewande Adeshina at a briefing to update the public on Ebola virus in Lagos, last Monday

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Ogoni Youths Give FG 14 Days To Fix East-West Road

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No fewer than 400 youths under the aegis of Ogoni Youth Federation (OYF), yesterday, staged a peaceful protest at the Eleme axis of the East-West Road, giving the Federal Government 14 days ultimatum to mobilize to site and fix the road or have economic activities in the area grounded.
The protesters, who carried various placards with inscriptions to press home their demands, trekked from Akpajo Junction to Refinery Junction in Eleme LGA, chanting solidarity songs to register their discontent over the neglect of the road.
Addressing newsmen during the protest, President General of the Ogoni Youth Federation, Comrade Legborsi Yaamabana, said it was regrettable that the road, which was a major route to the economic hub of the nation, has remained in a deplorable state, only becoming a death trap that has terminated the lives of innocent Ogonis.
Yaamabana, who described the mass action of the youths as a ‘warning protest’, said if the contractors handling the road were not immediately mobilized to site, then, the youths will have no option than to shut down all economic activities in the area.
He said, “we cannot continue to watch our people being killed on daily basis by tankers because of the poor state of Eleme axis of the east west road, we are calling on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency fix the road and save our people from untimely deaths as a result of the sorry state of the road, the only bridge on the road at Aleto has collapse but nothing is being done to avert the disasters faced by our people daily”.
Yaamabana also called on the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio to constitute a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission to address the development needs of the Niger Delta region, noting that the use of interim management for NDDC was “diversionary, self serving and not in the interest of the development of the Niger Delta region”.
The OYF president general also called on the Federal Government to exonerate Ken Saro-Wiwa and his compatriots who were extra-judicially murdered by the late Gen Sani Abacha military junta, and given post-humours honour as martyrs of democracy in Nigeria, while the ideals of justice they stood for should be upheld.
Also speaking, the immediate past secretary of the Ijaw Youth Council, Eastern Zone, Comrade James Tobin, who joined the protest in solidarity, decried the neglect of the East—West Road by the Federal Government, and called the immediate fixing of the road to save the teeming road users from untold pains and death.

By: Taneh Beemene

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Rising Prices Push 7m Nigerians Below Poverty Line -World Bank

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The World Bank has said that rising prices pushed about seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020.
This was contained in a press statement titled, ‘Critical reforms needed to reduce inflation and accelerate the recovery, says new World Bank report,’ released by the World Bank’s Senior External Affairs Officer of Nigeria, Mansir Nasir.
The press statement was released, yesterday, in line with the latest World Bank Nigeria Development Update.
It was acknowledged that the Federal Government “took measures to protect the economy against a much deeper recession” but it was recommended that certain policies should be set for a strong recovery.”
The statement read, “The NDU, titled ‘Resilience through Reforms,’ notes that in 2020, the Nigerian economy experienced a shallower contraction of -1.8 per cent than had been projected at the beginning of the pandemic (-3.2 per cent). Although the economy started to grow again, prices are increasing rapidly, severely impacting Nigerian households.
“As of April, 2021, the inflation rate was the highest in four years. Food prices accounted for over 60% of the total increase in inflation. Rising prices have pushed an estimated seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020 alone.”
Quoted in the statement, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, identified some of the challenges faced by the country and recommended a way forward.
“Nigeria faces interlinked challenges in relation to inflation, limited job opportunities, and insecurity.
“While the government has made efforts to reduce the effect of these by advancing long-delayed policy reforms, it is clear that these reforms will have to be sustained and deepened for Nigeria to realise its development potential,” Chaudhuri said.
Also quoted is the World Bank Lead Economist for Nigeria and co-author of the NDU, Marco Hernandez, who also gave a recommendation.
“Given the urgency to reduce inflation amidst the pandemic, a policy consensus and expedite reform implementation on exchange-rate management, monetary policy, trade policy, fiscal policy, and social protection would help save lives, protect livelihoods, and ensure a faster and sustained recovery,” Hernandez said.

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Inflation Dips To 17.93% In May, NBS Confirms

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Nigeria’s inflation rate dropped to 17.93 per cent in May, 2021, from 18.12 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed this in its monthly Consumer Price Index report released, yesterday.
The drop in the headline inflation in May was the second consecutive month this year.
The report indicates that the consumer price index (CPI), which measures the inflation rate increased by 17.93 per cent (year-on-year) in May, 2021, which is 0.19 per cent points lower than the rate recorded in the preceding month.
According to NBS, food inflation dropped in the same month from 22.78 per cent recorded in April, 2021 to 22.28 per cent in May, 2021.
The report reads, ‘‘All items less farm produce which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce stood at 13.15 per cent in May, 2021, up by 0.41 per cent when compared with 12.74 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
‘‘The highest increases were recorded in prices of pharmaceutical products, garments, shoes and other footwear, hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishments, furniture and furnishing, carpet and other floor covering.
‘‘Others include, motor cars, Hospital services, fuels and lubricants for personal transport equipment, cleaning, repair and hire of clothing.
“Other services include personal transport equipment, gas, household textile, and non-durable household goods,” the NBS added.

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