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$213m Islamic Development Bank financing for Nigeria threatened

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Over $213 million Islamic Development Bank (IDB) financing for Nigeria is being threatened. A group of Muslims, which said this also raised alarm over country’s risk of IDB’s membership loss through non-payment of dues mean for the group. The group, the Muslims Rights Concern (MURIC), said that the Islamic Development Bank has launched a programme to release $180 million in financing to six African countries for renewable energy projects as part of a broad strategy to deepen its involvement in the region.

“Islamic finance is growing in Africa as governments seek to develop large-scale infrastructure projects. Nigeria cannot afford to be shut out of this great opportunity. The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) set aside about $2 billion in support of Nigeria’s developmental programmes which was to span three years (2012- 2014). Nigeria also received $670 million interest-free loan from the Islamic Development Bank in 2012,” MURIC said in a statement. According to MURIC director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola; “Not only that, IDB has successfully financed a number of infrastructural development projects in Nigeria in recent times.

These include the $65 million Ilesha Water Supply and Sanitation project in Osun State, the $43 million 300-bed hospital project in Kaduna State and the $7 million Zaria Water Supply Expansion Project. Also, the National Programme for Food Security funded by IDB, which was designed to reduce rural poverty through enhancing farmers’ access to extension advisory support for greater productivity, was successfully implemented in Anambra, Gombe and Yobe States.

“Even right now, discussions are on-going with the bank to conclude, sign and implement several other programmes beneficial to Nigeria, including the $98 million Bilingual Education Project which will provide almajiri access to basic education and vocational skills in Osun, Nasarawa, Niger, Kwara and Kano States. Other states in the scheme are Kaduna, Gombe, Borno and Adamawa.

“In addition to approving loan facilities to Nigeria, IDB has made several grants and provided technical assistance to Nigeria. These include a $237,500 to the Central Bank of Nigeria for the development of regulatory framework for noninterest banking in the country and a $250,000 grant to the National Emergency Management Agency for the development of NEMA’s capacity in disaster management.

“As recent as September 2017, Ebonyi State received $150 million from the same IDB to boost health facilities and enable the state governor to reconstruct over 198km roads, known as ring roads, which cut across eight local government areas of the state.” Nigeria, Akintola said, is about to lose both its seat on the Board of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and its membership of the bank due to failure to pay its dues.

The bank has allegedly issued several warnings to this effect as the Ministry of Finance has failed to comply. “MURIC is deeply worried by this discovery. It is a sad reflection of the bureaucratic bottleneck often associated with some ministries and government agencies in this country.

“Who did this to Nigeria? Who is responsible for this lapse? Who left undone what should have been done? Is it the permanent secretary or the minister? Or is the delay from the presidency? Has the president issued orders for release of the fund? Is somebody refusing to take action? Who wants Nigeria to lose its membership of IDB with the dire consequences of losing all the benefits the country has been gaining?” he inquired. Although it was established since December 1973, the Nigerian office in Abuja was not opened until 22nd August, 2016.

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Islam

Ramadan: ‘Why Buhari, govs must declare emergency in prison sector

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The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called on President Buhari, and all state governors to declare emergency in the prison sector. The group, which said this in its Ramadan message also called on the Chief Justice of the Federation and all state Chief Judges to reflect on the statement of love and mercy by Prophet Muhammed in relation to the condition of inmates of Nigerian prisons nationwide during this Ramadan.

“We must think of how they too can benefit from the special qualities of Ramadan,” MURIC said in a statement issued by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.

“Buhari must borrow a leaf from his United Arab Emirate (UAE) counterpart, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who ordered the release of 935 prisoners ahead of the upcoming holy fasting month of Ramadan.

He issued the order on Monday 14th May, 2018. We urge Mr. President to declare an emergency in the prison sector and use his prerogative of mercy to release thousands of prison inmates.

This is in view of the terrible condition of the nations’ prisons where inmates sleep in turns, diseases spread like wild fire on a daily basis. “This will not be a strange development and Buhari will not be the first president of an African nation to release a large number of prison inmates.

Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, released 7,000 prison inmates in October 2016 to make room for corruption offenders. “We charge Mr. President to walk his talk on the predicament of Nigerian prisoners and people who are awaiting trial.

It will be recalled that Buhari on October 5, 2017 described the situation in Nigeria’s prisons as a ‘national scandal’. Buhari must muster the political will to turn around this horrible situation.

The time for the ‘change’ he has been brandishing is now,” MURIC said. Making a special case for the 54 soldiers serving a ten year jail term for refusing to fight Boko Haram with poor weapons, the group said that it regarded “those 54 soldiers as heroes in the present war against corruption because their action exposed the massive corruption in the armed forces.

Their present predicament is a miscarriage of justice. “We also request that Shaykh Al-Zakzaky be set free if the following conditions can b e m e t , namely, dialogue involving the Nigerian Muslim leadership, leaders of Al-Zakyzaky group and the Minister of Interior, an assurance of respect for peace, law and order by the Al-Zakzaky group, a written commitment that members of the group will stop intimidat-ing their neighbours and a halt to the group’s endless long-distance walks on express ways which cause hardship to innocent citizens.

“The Minister of Interior, Abdul Rahman Danbazau, said in June 2017 that 70 percent of Nigerian prisoners are awaiting trial. Many of these awaiting trial inmates have stayed beyond the likely jail term for their alleged offences. For instance, 34 years old Kazeem Sani, a motorcyclist was arrested and detained in 2006 for stealing a mobile phone.

He could not have bagged more than six months for petty stealing but he spent ten years in the Kirikiri Medium Prison without trial before he was set free in July 2016. Emeka Arum who was accused of armed robbery spent eight years awaiting trial in an Enugu prison. Chukwujekwu Ifejika, spent seven years in Onitsha prison also without trial.”

The group continued; “The presence of awaiting trial inmates has caused a general congestion of prisons nationwide. Enugu prison which was built for 638 inmates holds 1,800. 1,574 inmates out of 1,761 prisoners in Anambra are awaiting trial.

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Islam

Scholar : Fasting in Ramadan a unique act of worship

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Ramadan

An Islamic scholar, Ustaz Ismail Busayr, has charged fasting Muslims to imbibe the virtues of endurance, patience, perseverance, and resoluteness. Ustaz Busayr who said this at a pre-Ramadan lecture on “Muslims and Nation Building” organized jointly by Organisation of Tadhamunul Muslimeen (OTM) and The Muslim Congress (TMC), described fasting in the coming month of Ramadan as “unique” since Allah says He will reward those who are observing it after claiming its ownership.

The uniqueness of fasting in Ramadan, he said, was more pronounced because it involved hours of attachment to Allah, noted that the fasting Muslims imbibed the virtues of endurance, patience, perseverance, and resoluteness.

“Fasting is a unique Ibadaah (act of worship) that involves 13 to 14 hours of attachment to Allah. Allah says fasting is for Me and I will give rewards for it. So, every Muslim will wake up and keep vigil during Ramadan.

People read Qur’an and meditate over its meaning. Servants of Allah seek repentance from all sins and vices. We should, therefore, prepare ourselves physically for this month.

One of the best forms of preparation for Ramadan is to clean ourselves inwardly and outwardly because it is not all those who fast that will get their reward in full. Our tongues must fast with us by watching speeches that we make.

Your gaze must also fast by watching what you look at,” he said. He continued; “You must ensure that you do various forms of Ibaadah. All things being equal, we must engage in Ramadan to reform ourselves and society in order to build our nation,” “In Ramadan, Muslims’ souls will be freed. People will change their lifestyle positively.

It is the month of laylatul qodr – a night said to be better than a thousand months. “It is also the month of dua (supplication). In Ramadan, Allah is close to us because we are also close to Him. We shun evils in spite of the fact that our society is permeated by atrocities, vices and troubles.

“People discipline themselves for Allah. They endure the temptations. Surely, the reward of endurance in Paradise,” said the Chief Imam of Al-Haramain Central Mosque, Ibadan. The Islamic scholar, who attributed the source of human problems to excessive lust for materialism, enjoyed people to imbibe the spirit of God-consciousness which is one of the key targets in the month of Ramadan.

While enjoining Muslims to play their role in order to build Nigeria, he noted that they (Muslims) also needed to manage the nation in a professional way. “You play your role. I play my role.

What can an honest man do among 200 corrupt people? It is participatory. Everybody will play its role to build this nation. It is only because you are good that they are also good.”

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Islam

Search for new Ramadan crescent, Sultan tasks Muslims

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Highest body of Muslim Ummah in Nigeria, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), under the leadership of its President-General and Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, CFR, mni, has urged Muslims in the country to search for the crescent of Ramadan 1439 AH immediately after sunset on Wednesday, 16th May, 2018 equivalent to 29th Sha’aban 1439 AH.

The NSCIA, which said this in a statement on Tuesday also felicitated with the entire Muslim Ummah on the auspicious occasion of the forthcoming Ramadan, 1439 A.H.

“The Council prays that Allah grant the Ummah the opportunity to maximise the benefits and blessings of the Holy Month,” the statement signed by Deputy Secretary-General, Prof. Salisu Shehu, read.

“Following the advice of the National Moon Sighting Committee (NMSC), the President-General enjoins the Nigerian Muslim Ummah to search for the crescent of Ramadan 1439 AH immediately after sunset on Wednesday, 16th May, 2018 equivalent to 29th Sha’aban 1439 AH. If the crescent is sighted by Muslims of impeccable character on the said evening, His Eminence would declare Thursday, 17th May, 2017 as the first day of Ramadan.

“If, however, the crescent is not sighted that day, then, Friday, 18th May, 2018 automatically becomes the first of Ramadan, 1439 AH.” The NSCIA said.

The Council hereby enjoined the Muslims all over the Country to be on the lookout for the announcement of His Eminence, the President-General of NSCIA, on the commencement of the 1439 AH Ramadan fast.

 “The month of Ramadan (is that) in, which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. present at his home), he must observe fasting that month… (Q. Al-Baqarah 2:185),”it added.

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