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ALHAJI ABDULAZEEZ ALATOYE APPOINTED AS NEW AMIR, AHMADIYYA MUSLIM JAMA’AT NIGERIA (UPDATED)

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The Supreme Head of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at worldwide Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (May Almighty Allah be His helper) has appointed Alhaji (Barr.) AbdulAzeez Alatoye as the new Amir (National Head) of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Nigeria.

This was contained in a release signed by the General Secretary of the Muslim Organization, Alhaji Abbas Iromini and made available to our correspondent. Alhaji Alatoye was hitherto the Naib Amir (Deputy National Head) South West region. He succeeds Dr. Mashhud Adenrele Fashola who has been serving in that capacity for the past 15 years.

It will be recalled that the organization held its annual national forum (Majlis Shoora) last month at Tahir Mosque Ojokoro Lagos where representatives across the country participated in the National Executive Officers’ elections.

Alhaji Alatoye, alongside with the newly approved members of the National Executive Committee will resume office on July 1, 2019.

Brief Profile of the New Amir
Born on the 13th of February, 1963, Alhaji AbdulAzeez Folorunso Alatoye had his tertiary education at the Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin where he bagged Unique Distinction in Accountancy in 1991. He obtained a Diploma in Law from the Executive Business School, Ikeja Lagos in 2011 and Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from the University of Bradford, the United Kingdom in 2012.

Professionally, he is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK); a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN); Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and a Member of Nigeria Taxation Standard Board and Fellow of the Nigeria Institute of Management.

He is the Founder and Senior Partner of Ascension Consulting Services.

His Journey in the Jama’at
Alhaji Alatoye joined the Ahmadiyya Community through the maternal grandfather biat in 1975. In 1981, he personally signed the biat. Since then, he has been holding sensitive posts within the Jamaat. For instance, he was the Tabligh Secretary between 1982 and 1985 and Financial Secretary between 1985 and 1989 of Inisa Jamaat Osun State. At the auxiliary level, he held the post of an Internal Auditor of Majlis Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya Nigeria (Youth Wing) between 1988 and 1990.

At the National Level, Alhaji Alatoye was appointed as the Naib Jalsa Officer II (Deputy Conference Officer II) between 2009 and 2019; Naib Amir South West region (2013-2019); Treasurer (2010-2019); Vice Chairman Humanity First Nigeria (2011-2019); Chairman Sad Sala Jubilee Committee (2016-2019); Chairman South West Mosque Building Trust Fund Committee (2016-2019); Chairman Economic Empowerment and Development Committee (2014-2019), among others.

His areas of interest include Tabligh (Preaching), Holy Qur’an and Mosque Building. He is an advocate of honest service to Almighty Allah and Humanity.


NAMES AND PORTFOLIOS OF THE NEWLY APPROVED NATIONAL EXECUTIVE OFFICERS

S/N. NAME POST
Alhaji AbdulAzeez Alatoye National Amir (Head)
Alhaji Abbas O. Iromini General Secretary
Barr. Muhammad Bashir Badr Secretary Tabligh (Preaching)
Alhaj. M.M. Shittu Secretary Tarbiyat (Religious & Moral Training)
Mr. Tajudeen Oladoja Secretary Ta’lim (Education)
Alhaji Mudathir Dada Secretary Isha’at (Publication)
Engr. Imran Adeyemi Secretary Sami’ wa Basari (Audio-Video)
Alhaji Hassan Sunmonu Secretary Umur Kharijiyyah (External Affairs)
Alhaji Muslihu Ali Secretary Umur Amma (General Affairs)
Mr. Abdul Rahman Adetunji Secretary Dhiyyafat (Hospitality)
Mr. Mudathir Adefarati Secretary Mal (Finance)
Alhaji Dauda Kehinde Sokunbi Add. Secretary Mal (Finance)
Mr. Shakirudeen Abdus Salam Secretary Wasaya (Wills)
Mr. Abdul-Hakeem Akintobi Secretary Ta’limul-Quran & Waqf-Ardhi
Mr.Nafiu Taiwo Ajimoti Secretary Tahrik-Jadid
Mr. Abdul Ganiy Babalola Secretary Waqf-Jadid
Mr. Muhammad Tirmiziy Ajibike Addl. Secretary Waqf-Jadid & Nau Muba’in (For New Converts)
Builder Bashirudeen Asimiyu Towolawi Secretary Jaidad (Properties)
Alhaji Muslihudeen Ademoye Secretary Waqf-Nau
Prof. Abdur Rahman Abdullah Secretary Zira’at (Agriculture)
Mr. B.O. Ghazal Secretary Sanat-o-Tijarat (Industry and Trade)
Mr. Issa A. Shokunbi Muhassib (Accountant)
Alhaji Muheeb Lanre Idris Amin [Treasurer]
Mr. Hussein King Internal Auditor

Pin-pointing the Worst, the Fair and the Best of Couple and In-law Relationships

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It’s gratifying engaging with you on a talk on issues that affect our marital experience, lives, and destinies. Particularly, I feel humbled to share my thoughts on the situations and conditions that characterize the relationship of many couples and their in-laws in our contemporary time.

There are three types of such relationships that prevail today: the worst, the fair and the best relationships. Get along with me as I briefly demystify them in the following lines.

The Worst Type

In this type of relationship, the spouses are having it bad and unpleasant between themselves. There are no mutual understanding, love, and affection. The worst experience is further compounded by the sour and toxic relationship between the husband/wife and his/her in-laws. He/she often sees nothing but monster-in-laws and they, too, feel they’ve unluckily gam with a devil-son/daughter-in-law.

Often, a mere misunderstanding between the couple, even on a trivial issue, would escalate to an altercation and further get heightened to domestic violence. In this circumstance, he/she has no in-laws to call upon to intervene and reconcile or arbitrate. That’s because the in-laws themselves are either a passive part of the problem or the active actors, the dramatic personae, in the squabble.

It’s not unusual seeing the nuptial that was tied in the Name of God ending up being dissolved by such forces of marital commotion.

The Fair Type

This type comes in two opposite dimensions.

In the first dimension, the husband/wife is having a good relationship with his/her mate, but not so with his/her in-laws. Whenever any or all of the in-laws are mad with the husband/wife, he/she always has the defense and support of her/his spouse, who sees her/him to be good and feels either the in-laws are probably not understanding her/him better or they can’t just relate well with a daughter/son-in-law.

The husband/wife would often stand by the mate and present her/his case in a positive light before the in-laws. Usually, when a feudal situation escalates, he/she would protect and back her/his interest, even against the wishes of his/her blood family.

The other dimension under the fair type is a situation where the wife/husband has a good relationship with the in-laws, but not so with her husband/his wife. Whenever any misunderstanding or quarrel or commotion sparks, the in-laws would support her/him and would often wonder how the husband/wife could fail to see the charming beauty and goodness in his wife/her husband.

Whenever the marital situation of the couple gets worse, the respective in-laws could go to any length to protect the interest of their beloved son/daughter-in-law, make his/her spouse realize the missing link, and strive to successfully reconcile between them.

Notably, both the above dimensions are only fair, but not the best, the ideal relationship. 

The Best Type

In this type, not only are the husband and wife in good terms of mutual understanding, love and affection, but each of them also has a cordial relationship with their respective in-laws. All of them live and relate with themselves, by themselves, and for themselves positively, cordially, and amicably.

Whenever a fire of misunderstanding suddenly sparks, they leverage on the strength of their mutual understanding, love, and faith to quench it by objectively, sincerely and honestly addressing the causes and nip them in the bud before the fire blazes wildly and destructively.

In the cool atmosphere of this type of best relationship, the tranquility of heart, peace, harmony and happiness reign. It’s the ideal relationship where each individual lives and experiences the true meaning of marital life and destiny. This best type of relationship translates the divine’s idealistic vision and objectives of marriage and couple-in-law relationship to reality.

The Holy Qur’ān scintillatingly christens these vision and objectives when it declares that the object of marriage is not only to cohabit and procreate (Q. 42:12), but also that each may experience the tranquility of soul and peace of mind (30:22) and also be the delight of the eyes of the other (25:75).

To be able to actualize the above, Allah declares that He has made for man, family by blood and family by marriage – the in-laws (Q. 25:55). Each of the spouses must discharge the responsibilities he/she owes to the respective families. Similarly, He declares the rights and responsibilities of each spouse: ‘And they (the women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in equity, but men have a rank above them’ (Q. 2:229) – that’s merely the rank of leadership which divine wisdom apportioned to the husbands.

To facilitate the mutual discharge of responsibilities, Allah creates mutual love, mercy and tenderness between the couple (Q. 30:22), and enjoins them to maintain and sustain this divine providence through being God-fearing in all ramifications (Q. 4:2); and, in fact, becoming the leader of the righteous (Q. 25:75). More so, He stipulates that they should be straightforward in speech (Q. 33:71) and mutually consort with themselves in kindness (Q. 4:20).

Look at the present condition of your marriage and the relationship between you and your in-laws. Which of the above types of relationships characterize your marital experience? Do you really feel you’re experiencing the best, the ideal type? If yes, keep the standard up and further improve it still. If no, you’ve really got to resolve to work it out better and amend the cracks in the wall.

For us all, I pray may Allāh bless us with the best of marital experiences, lives and destinies. Āmīn!

 

IT’S A DOUBLE-HEADER FEAT FOR AHMADIYYA COMMUNITY AT APATA BRANCH

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Sunday, 21st March 2021 will no doubt remained a memorable day for Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at of Nigeria as the Amir (National Head), Alhaji (Barr.) Alatoye Folorunso Azeez commissioned a new Mosque and laid the foundation stone of another one at the Apata (Oyo State) branch of the organization.


The new Mosque is located at Bembo Area of Aba-Alamu, Apata, Oyo State. The land was donated by Pa Rauf Adekola and the foundation stone was laid on the 19th October 2019 by the then Central Missionary for the region, Maulvi Sadiq Raheem, and Branch President, Alhaji Teslim Oniyide. A total of 109 donors contributed to the construction. The Mosque can conveniently accommodate 75 worshippers at a go.


Speaking at the commissioning event, the National Head appreciated the efforts of the donor and contributors towards the quick completion of the Mosque project after the former Mosque was demolished due to road expansion at Bembo Area.
“It is a good sign for us all. Let us all strive to contribute financially and spiritually in the way of Allah like the donor who ensured that we establish a place of worship after the former one was affected by road expansion.
“Let’s strive to always please God and improve the condition and sizes of our Mosques in order to accommodate more worshippers as much as possible especially during Jumu’ah service,” the Amir said.

Foundation Stone Laying of Apata Central Mosque

The Amir later proceeded to lay the foundation stone of the new Ultra-Modern Central Mosque at Apata and blessed the project with prayers.


The Mosque project, which is being single-handedly sponsored by a family, is a story-building with the ground floor set aside for Car Park. When completed, it will conveniently accommodate hundreds of worshippers at the same time.
Barr. Alatoye reiterated the need for all members to reform themselves internally and eschew personal grudges and differences in order to win more converts into Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
“We should always think big on how to expand our Mosques across the country. Also, there is a need to put into practice what we preach to outsiders. Let’s move on from personal grudges and fighting. We will progress and convert many people when we embrace peaceful coexistence.”
“Let us always pray for the elevation of all members. It will be a good omen when this happens. Let us look for money in a legit way and contribute meaningfully to the progress of the organization. Let’s imbibe humility and do away with arrogance”, the Amir reiterated.

MINARET UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION STONE FINALLY LAID

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With the gracious approval and blessings of its Supreme Head, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has eventually laid the foundation stone of the Minaret International University, Ikirun, Osun State.
The much-anticipated foundation stone laying was performed by the Executive Governor of Osun State, Alhaji Adegboyega Isiaka Oyetola, witnessed by top dignitaries including government officials, traditional rulers, and personalities across the country.

Amir Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at of Nigeria, Alhaji (Barr) Alatoye Azeez (right) led the opening prayer, with him, the Governor State of Osun, Alhaji Adegboyega Isiaka Oyetola; his deputy, Mr Benedict Olugboyega Alabi;
The representative of Missionary-in-Charge, Director or Raqeem International Press, Maulana Adnan Tahir and others, during the lying foundation Minaret International University in Ikirun, State of Osun.

L-R: Deputy Governor, State of Osun, Mr. Benedict Olugboyega Alabi; The Governor, Alhaji Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola; Amir Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at of Nigeria, Alhaji (Barr) Alatoye Folorunso Azeez; Director Raqeem International Press, Maulana Adnan Tahir, and Naib Amir Finance/Admin, Alhaji Mufadhil Bankole, during the unveiling and inspection of Modem Ahmadiyya Minaret International University in Ikirun, State Osun.
L-R: Deputy Governor, State of Osun, Mr. Benedict Olugboyega Alabi; The Governor, Alhaji Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola; Amir Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at of Nigeria, Alhaji (Barr) Alatoye Folorunso Azeez; Director Raqeem International Press, Maulana Adnan Tahir and Naib Amir Finance/Admin, Alhaji Mufadhil Bankole, during the unveiling and inspection of Modem Ahmadiyya Minaret International University in Ikirun, State Osun.

Recall that the organization had embarked on the University Project in 2017 with the processing of Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) and documentation with the National Universities Commission. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community known to be a pioneer of Muslim education in Nigeria intends to establish a world-class tertiary institution for the intellectual and manpower development of human resources for sustainable socio-economic development nationally, regionally, and internationally.
The University will also focus on environmentally sustainable growth and development of all aspects of agriculture, energy and transportation infrastructure, water and natural resources manufacturing and processing, management sciences, engineering, communication technology, humanities as well as scientific and technological research relevant to global development problems and challenges.
Governor Oyetola lauded Ahmadiyya Community for its roles in educational development as well as humanitarian services within the country and across the globe. He believed education and religion are timeless and potent instruments for the development and transformation of society.

L-R: Deputy Governor, State of Osun, Mr. Benedict Olugboyega Alabi; The Governor, Alhaji Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola and Amir Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at of Nigeria, Alhaji (Barr) Alatoye Azeez, during the laying foundation Minaret International University in Ikirun

“The expediency of these two tools is even more compelling today that the society requires moral and ethical rebirth. It is therefore heartening that Minaret International University is combining religion and education to build the character of our youths and help them to acquire knowledge to deliver the future that we desire.
“Our Administration considers education and good moral standing as essential tools for building leaders of tomorrow and ensuring sustainable development. In line with the belief of the State that government cannot solely provide the education the State needs, successive governments have encouraged willing individuals and groups to establish schools at all levels.

L-R: Deputy Governor, State of Osun, Mr. Benedict Olugboyega Alabi; The Governor, Alhaji Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola; Amir Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at of Nigeria, Alhaji (Barr) Alatoye Azeez and Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Ghazal Lawal, at the laying foundation Minaret International University in Ikirun

Consequently, Osun is home to top-notch tertiary institutions that are making their contributions to the development of the State and the nation.
“The establishment of Minaret International University is a welcome addition to this family. As a notable knowledge-seeking and religion-savvy institution known for its tradition of excellence, I have no doubt that Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at will build a University that is a Centre of excellence in deed and in truth. I am also persuaded that the organization will produce graduates who will be problem solvers and job creators.
“Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at of Nigeria has proved over the years to be a frontline Muslim organization in the propagation of the Islamic faith. It has also demonstrated an irredeemable commitment to the peace, progress, and welfare of the people and State of Osun and the nation. These contributions are traceable to the visionary leadership of the organization.

Group Picture of Amila members of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at of Nigeria
Group photograph of the members of the Committee of Minaret International University in Ikirun.

“On behalf of the Government and people of Osun, I appreciate the leadership of this notable organization for its services to humanity and the decision to site this University in Osun, which will further expand access to tertiary education and also contribute to the development of our State,” the governor added.
The Amir (National Head) of the organization in Nigeria, Barr. Alatoye Folorunso Azeez, in his address, heartily appreciated the good support and neighborliness of the State government and the host Community towards the success of the foundation stone laying event.
“We are most grateful to the host Community of Ikirun, the immediate past Akirun of Ikirunland, His Royal Majesty, Late Oba Abdul Rauf Olawale Adedeji II, and the Osun State Government for the strong support to the actualization of this dream. Most importantly, we are very grateful to His Holiness, the worldwide Head of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at for his kind approval of the University to be sited at Ikirun in Osun State.
“MIU is owned by 215 Countries where Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has been formally established. It is the first of its kind globally, innovative University with a difference designed to promote academic excellence, moral discipline, and the spirit of selfless service for the advancement of socio-economic development, the emancipation of the people, and commitment to global cooperation for development and unity of humanity.

“The philosophy of MIU is to guard against alcoholism and drug addiction, ensure banishment of cultism, embrace theory and practical/work approach, practical entrepreneurship training, embrace sports, physical fitness and martial arts and strict enforcement of moral discipline. The tuition fees will be moderate and affordable for brilliant students,” Barr. Alatoye stated.

Ahmadiyya Community Head Addresses Nigeria Branch in Virtual Meeting

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His Holiness gives guidance on a wide array of administrative and religious matters

On 20 February 2021, the National Majlis-e-Amila (Executive) of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Nigeria were granted a virtual official meeting and audience with the World Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Fifth Khalifa (Caliph), His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad for the very first time. Also present were the principals of Ahmadiyya Muslim Schools in Nigeria, doctors serving in the Ahmadiyya Muslim Hospitals in Nigeria and Missionaries serving in the country.

His Holiness presided the meeting from his office in Islamabad, Tilford, whilst the Amila members joined the meeting virtually from the Lajna Hall in Ojokoro in Lagos, Nigeria.

During the almost 60-minute meeting, all present had the opportunity to speak to His Holiness and to receive the guidance and instructions of His Holiness on a range of issues.

Speaking to the National Talim Secretary, responsible for the Education of the members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Nigeria, His Holiness said that the department should guide Ahmadi Muslim students throughout their education.

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

“You should form a counselling and guidance committee. The purpose of the committee will be to guide and counsel the students who are secondary school-going students and guide them what further education they can pursue according to the local conditions and the local requirement.”

His Holiness also advised the National Tarbiyyat Secretary, the secretary responsible for the moral training of Ahmadi Muslims, to ensure Ahmadi Muslims living in Nigeria were observant of all Islamic teachings.

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

“Each and every Ahmadi Muslim should be very particular and punctual in offering five times daily prayers, should be very particular in reciting the Holy Quran, should be very punctual and regular and particular in reading some books of Hadith and of the Promised Messiah (peace be upon him). You should prescribe some book also for the members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community that they can read – those books which have been translated into English – so they can read and know what the purpose of the advent of the Promised Messiah (peace be upon him) is; what did he say, what does he want from us and how an Ahmadi Muslim should behave.”

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad further stated:

“If the Tarbiyyat department is active and you have done your job appropriately and in the best manner, then quite a number of other departments will run smoothly.”

His Holiness also instructed that in each and every chapter of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Nigeria there should be a local missionary and so, His Holiness said, a detailed plan should be made in this regard to outline how to train missionaries to fulfil this target.

Furthermore, His Holiness said that every Amila member should commit their time for a two-week Waqf-e-Arzi period whereby the Amila members dedicate their time for helping teach the Holy Quran to the members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community or to convey the message of Islam to the wider public.

As the meeting concluded, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad prayed for the attendees and said:

“As I have already guided some of the secretaries, they should work hard according to my instructions and identify where you are lagging behind and see how you can improve. May Allah the Almighty bless you all.”

AL-QUR’AN – THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BOOK IN THE WORLD

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Al-Hafiz Yunus Omotayo

If Muhammad, the Messenger of Allāh (peace and blessings of Allāh be on him) had been sent to personify the mercy of Allah to mankind (Qur’an, 21:108), the Holy Qur’an is indeed the ever-living proof of that mercy (Qur’an, 4:175).

More interestingly, by applying the same criteria by which the American Historian, Michael H. Hart had so ranked our Holy Prophet (saw) as the first of the 100 Most Influential Men in History, we may as well go a little further to rank the Holy Qur’an as the Most Influential Book of all the scriptures and books in the world. For, if Muhammad (saw), the body, had so influenced humanity, it is the Qur’an, the soul, which had first influenced Muhammad (saw); and, if he is the action, it is the teaching, the substance. Hence, speaking about the Holy Qur’an, Goethe, the greatest of German poets, declared: “This book will go on exercising through all ages a most potent influence. (www.alislam.org, The Al Islam e-Gazette, Friday, August 3, 2007, p. 10)

Allah the Omniscient Himself sufficiently bears witness through the treasures of the Holy Qur’an as a proof of its divine origin; even the Angels all attest to this fact. (Qur’an, 4:167). Muhammad (saw) the Prophet of power and glory, in a Hadith reported by At-Tirmidhi, describes the Holy Qur’an as the strongest Rope of Allah (Habluhu al-Mateen), His Clearest Light (Nuruhu al-Mubeen), All-Beneficial Cure (Shifa’uhu an-Nafi), and a means of protection (‘Ismah) and salvation (Najah) for its upholders. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad,(as) the Imam of the Age, was also blessed with a revelation which declares: “Al-Khairu kulluhū fil-Quran”, i.e., all kinds of good lies in the substance (Ahmad, Mirza Ghulam, Our Teaching, Islam International Publications Limited, UK, p. 17)

The above perhaps establish the reason why Allah gloriously eulogizes Himself thus: “All praise belongs to Allah Who has sent down the Book to His Servant and has not put therein any crookedness.” (Qur’an,18:20).

In the light of the above, the exigency of the revelation of the Holy Qur’an is asserted as the Divine Book whose teachings, doctrines and principles must be believed in, and submitted to, by man; whose divine text must be continuously taught, learnt, read and oft-recited by all and sundry; whose literal words must be recorded intact, committed to memory and preserved by Muslims; and most significantly, whose injunctions,  message, philosophy, and ideology must be obeyed, imbibed, practiced and propagated.

This is therefore the reason why it has received more attention by believers and detractors alike. According to Abdullah Yusuf Ali: “ There is no book in the world in whose service so much talent, so much labour, so much time and money have been expended as has been the case with the Holy Qur’an (3) Indeed, no other scripture has been patronized by men of letters, philosophers, philologists, sociologists and political analysts as the Qur’an. (Ali, Abdullah Yusuf, The Holy Quran English Translation of the Meaning and Commentary, Introduction (Commentaries of the Quran)

Excerpt from: Memorization of the Holy Quran – Merits and Methods, by Al-Hafiz Yunus Omotayo (2013)

HOW INCREASED TRAVELS, RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES, OTHERS TRIGGERED HIKE IN COVID-19 CASES – PTF

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The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has highlighted the factors that led to the increased figures of coronavirus recorded in the country since November 2020.

Addressing reporters on Monday in Abuja, the PTF Chairman, Boss Mustapha, revealed that increased local and international travels were among the major factors.

He listed the others to include increased business and religious activities, reopening of schools without strict compliance with COIVID-19 safety measures.

Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), faulted the attitude of some state authorities to the management of the disease.

According to him, no state in Nigeria is immune to the pandemic even if reports are not coming out of such states.

The PTF chairman urged the people to stay away from activities that can expose them to the virus as the nation’s tally crossed 100,000.

He announced that the government has concluded plans to roll out the pilot exercise on the use of Rapid Diagnostic Test-Kits (RDTs) ​next week in five tertiary health institutions in Abuja.

Read the full text of the SGF at the briefing below:

REMARKS BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE ON COVID-19 FOR MONDAY, 11TH JANUARY 2021

​I welcome you all to the National Briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 for today, Monday, 11th January 2021.

​Reports coming in from all over the world show that the COVID-19 pandemic is still wreaking huge havoc on humanity, economies, and systems.

The Situation Report as of Sunday, 10th January point in the following direction:

On 8th January 2021: 833,496 cases were recorded. This represented the highest ever since the pandemic started

The three days preceding the 8th, each recorded over 700,000 cases

Global cases have now reached the 90,676,320 mark

Global fatality count is fast approaching the two million mark

The global CFR has declined from 2.2 to 2.1%

The CFR for Africa has also declined from 2.3 to 2.2%; and

The WHO African region crossed the two million case mark on Wednesday, 6th January 2020.

​In Nigeria, we have crossed the 100,000 cases mark and now rank second in the number of new cases, the 4th in cumulative cases in Africa, and 5th in cumulative deaths.

Last week, Nigeria recorded over 9,000 cases. Realistically, if we estimate the numbers missed, we would be in a much higher region.

There is no state in Nigeria that is immune to this pandemic even if reports are not coming out of such states. The Hon. Minister of State for Health and the DG NCDC will expand on the statistics during this briefing.

​It is, however, very instructive to stress that factors that have contributed to rise in numbers from late November 2020 included increased local and international travels, business and religious activities, reopening of schools without strict compliance with COIVID-19 safety measures.

​The full import of the fore-going is to press further on the need for us all to elevate the level of our vigilance and compliance with the recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions.

The current wave of infections is swift and virulent, and we do not know how long it will last. Besides, the facilities available for the treatment of critical cases remain very limited and we do not wish to be overwhelmed.

Your best bet, therefore, is to avoid infections completely. The PTF has continued to receive inquiries about the issue of testing before traveling out of Nigeria.

For the avoidance of doubts, the protocol in Nigeria requires inbound passengers to test, not more than 96 hours, before boarding flights to Nigeria.

However, for passengers leaving Nigeria, it remains the responsibility of travelers to confirm the requirements of the country of destination and that of the carrier of choice. The National Coordinator will clarify the extant protocol and the policy position.

For in-bound travelers, a new protocol on pre-boarding has been released and compliance is still strongly recommended. The additional requirements for passengers coming from the United Kingdom and South Africa also remain in force. The NC will also speak on this during the briefing.

​Next week the pilot exercise on the use of Rapid Diagnostic Test-Kits (RDTs) will be rolled out in 5 tertiary health institutions in Abuja. The DG NCDC will expand on this.

​The isolation of different strains of the virus is being vigorously pursued. In this regard, the PTF is working with the Africa CDC and the NCDC on the sequencing of the COVID strains circulating in Nigeria. We shall keep Nigerians informed as the exercise progresses.

​As part of measures to deepen community engagement and enforcement of protocols, the PTF met with the Nigerian Governors Forum last week and will be meeting with key religious and traditional leaders soon. It will similarly meet with security agencies.

​The third stream of NYSC members will resume on 18th January and the PTF is working closely with the management to ensure that participants are tested, and protocols are complied with.

​Finally, the PTF has advanced the preparation for the management of all aspects of the vaccines discuss.

Particularly, lessons are being drawn from other jurisdictions on the successes and challenges of the vaccine administration. The Executive Director of the NPHCDA will elaborate on this.

​I now invite the Honourable Minister of State for Health, the DG (NCDC), and the National Coordinator to brief you from the technical perspectives.

​I thank you all for listening

Source: Channels

DSS DISCLOSES PLOTS TO INCITE RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE IN NIGERIA

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The Department of State Services (DSS) has alerted the public about plans by some elements working with external forces to incite religious violence across the country.  Targeted States include Sokoto, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Rivers, Oyo, Lagos, and those in the South East.

In a press release made available to the media on 11 January by its Public Relations Officer, Peter Afunanya, the security service disclosed that part of the plans is to cause inter-religious conflicts as well as use their foot soldiers to attack some worship centres, religious leaders, personalities, key and vulnerable points.

It, therefore, advised Nigerians “to be wary of these antics and shun all divisive tendencies aimed at inciting or setting them against one another.”

It further warned those hatching these plots to desist from such in the interest of peace, security, and development of the country.

“However, law-abiding citizens (and residents) are encouraged to report suspected breaches of peace around them to the nearest security agencies,” it said.

The full text of the press release can be read below:

PRESS RELEASE

PLOTS TO INCITE RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE IN NIGERIA

The Department of State Services (DSS) wishes to alert the public about plans by some elements working with external forces to incite religious violence across the country.  Targeted States include Sokoto, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Rivers, Oyo, Lagos, and those in the South East.

Part of the plans is to cause inter-religious conflicts as well as use their foot soldiers to attack some worship centers, religious leaders, personalities, key, and vulnerable points.

Consequently, Nigerians are advised to be wary of these antics and shun all divisive tendencies aimed at inciting or setting them against one another.

While the Service pledges to collaborate with sister agencies to ensure that public order is maintained, those hatching these plots are warned to desist from such in the interest of peace, security, and development of the country. However, law-abiding citizens (and residents) are encouraged to report suspected breaches of peace around them to the nearest security agencies.

Peter Afunanya, Ph.D
Public Relations Officer,
Department of State Services,
National Headquarters,
Abuja
11th January 2021

PRESIDENT BUHARI HAILS PIONEER NLC LEADER, HASSAN ADEBAYO SUNMONU, TWIN BROTHER AT 80

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President Muhammadu Buhari has joined the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and workers in the country in celebrating the pioneer President of the congress (1978-1984), Alhaji Hassan Adebayo Sunmonu, on his 80th birthday, January 7th, 2021.

In a release on 6 January by Femi Adeshina, the Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity), the President rejoiced with the former NLC President and his twin brother, Hussein Oyekanmi Sunmonu, on the milestone, saluting their courage for dedicating most of their working life to public service, starting out early in the ’60s as staff of the Ministry of the then Works and Surveys.

President Buhari affirms that the former Secretary-General of the Organization of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU) left a strong legacy in the public service and fought diligently for the welfare of the Nigerian worker, institutionalizing a national minimum wage and minimum pension scheme, and consistently negotiating with public and private sector employers on better packages for workers.

As the identical twins turn octogenarians, the President extols their courage and discipline in always accepting to serve the nation, believing that their knowledge and experiences will continue to inspire many into public service and pressure groups, which continue to work with governments in fostering development.

President Buhari prays for good health and longer life for Alhaji Sunmonu and his brother, Hussein.

Boko Haram: ‘Western Nations Have Shown Borno More Concern Than Arab Countries,’ Zulum says

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In the midst of challenges with the Boko Haram insurgency, countries from the West have shown more concern for the plight of Borno people than rich Arab nations whose people share a similarity of religion and culture with the majority of Borno citizens, Governor Babagana Umara Zulum has said.

Zulum stated this on Tuesday in Maiduguri when he received the Palestinian Ambassador to Nigeria, Saleh Fheied Saleh, in Maiduguri. Zulum praised Palestine for being one of the few exceptions, within the Arab community.

“I am a practical person. I work with the realities I see on the ground. In the face of our challenges over the years, we have received humanitarian support from the UK and other parts of Europe, the United States, Canada, Japan, and a host of others who has demonstrated concern and has made efforts to support our traumatized citizens in many ways especially on food, medicals, and livelihoods.”

“However, that level of concern never came from Arab countries with whom millions of Borno people share a similarity in religion and culture. We even have indigenous shuwa arabs in Borno and this shows how our histories are tied. We have made severe efforts, written and visited embassies of Arab countries, especially those that are rich and not dealing with crises, but obviously, the majority of the Arabs do not care about our situation, neither do they support us. The Arabs have not shown concern to us. Your visit, however, has renewed our hope especially and we are very grateful for your visit” Zulum said.

The Palestinian ambassador had informed Zulum of a plan to support the Government of Borno State in some areas of need.

“There are a lot of Palestinian companies in Nigeria, they are willing to work with the Borno State Government, we are ready to cooperate with you, we are ready to help in anything you want us to do that we can do,” Amb. Saleh said.

The Ambassador also said many Nigerians are currently residing in Palestine, particularly Borno indigenes, some of whom have diligently served the government and people of Palestine. He cited that among Borno people in Palestine, a lady called Fatima Barnawi was once a minister and a police chief.

Nigeria, Carnage and Curse: Why This Gory Trend Must Stop!

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Al-Hafiz Yunus Omotayo

As humanity continues to be aghast and the media abuzz with the news of the pervasive, wanton killings that are currently bedeviling Nigeria, it is the thrust of this article to assess the ominous development and make a case for why a stop must be put to the gory trends in the country, if truly the citizens genuinely desire to existentially break the jinx of their collective utopia for sustainable peace, security and development.

Did our history begin with the curse of Cain? It is a gory tale of murder, assassination and torture in any event. So much blood has been spilled throughout history that the whole world could be painted red with it – with plenty to spare. When will man stop killing his fellow men? When will his thirst for blood ever be quenched?

The above thought-provoking questions were raised by Hadrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad [who later became the Supreme Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community 1982-2003] in the opening paragraph of his master-piece titled Murder in the Name of Allah, written on the heels of the 1953’s Public Disturbance in Pakistan which shut down the 5-year old independent country amidst carnage and curse.

More particularly, in his historical novel titled “A Carnage before Dawn”, published online by Okada Books, the author, Ayomide Akinbode, took us on a gory tale of Nigeria’s First Coup D’état which took place in the night of 14-15 January, 1966. Today, over 50 years after the bloody event, it is still the same bloody story of killings, as Nigeria has not known peace and security of lives and properties.

Would it be inconsequential to remark, for instance, that the gory tale of bloodbath in the Nigeria’s first Coup D’état did signal an ominous repetition of the history of Cain’s carnage and curse which re-occurred to change the national fate of the nascent independent state of Nigeria, barely 3 years after her 1st republic in 1963? The atrocious event saw the shedding of the blood of Nigeria’s First Prime Minister, the Premiers of the Northern and Western Regions, the Federal Minister of Finance, and most of the senior army officers.
Of course, cases of bloodshed had earlier occurred across the three regions of the country, particularly, on the heels of the crises that greeted the 1964’s National Census and the Western Region’s election in 1965. However, considering the ominous effect the above 15th January bloodshed bore on the national destiny of the country, one may conclude that, if bloodletting is both a sin against the God of life and crime against humanity, then the bloodshed was, symbolically, an ominous incident that profaned the Nigerian soil and marked a turning point from humanely giving of life to violently causing of death in the history of Nigeria. Since then, the number of the cases of assassinations, extra-judicial homicides and wanton killings caused by the various recurring political power struggles, electoral crises, ethno-religious conflicts, inter-communal/intra-communal conflicts, vigilante killings, civil war, insurgency, militancy, suicide terrorism, banditry, abduction-for-death killings, armed robberies and alleged killings for ritual purposes etc are as uncountable and unimaginable much as they are dastardly and disturbing.
Let us look into few of the notable data.

According to Wikipedia, during the two and half years of the 1967-1970’s Nigerian Civil War, there were about 100,000 overall military casualties, while between 500,000 and 2 million Biafran civilians died of starvation. In the same vein, the 1980s were bedeviled by the Maitatsine riots which were a series of violent uprisings instigated by Islamist Muhammad Marwa on December 18, 1980 in Kano and resulted in 4,000 deaths (including Marwa).

To jump from the late histories and come closer to the recent ones, the last two decades have arguably been the bloodiest and most disturbing periods in Nigeria as a result of the increased spate of mass killings in the country.

Again, captioning on religious violence in Nigeria, Wikipedia also recalls that the events of Abuja in 2000 and Jos in 2001 were riots between Christians and Muslims that took hundreds of lives. Another such riot killed over 100 people in October 2001 in Kano State. In 2002, the Nigerian journalist Isioma Daniel wrote her sarcastic article which led to the demonstrations and violence that caused the deaths of over 200 in Kaduna. Similarly, the reaction to the Mohammed cartoons brought about a series of violent protests in Nigeria. Clashes between rioters and police claimed several lives, with estimates ranging from 16 to more than a hundred. This led to reprisal attacks in the south of the country, particularly in Onitsha. More than a hundred lost their lives.

On June 28, 2018, Tribune [Online] published the checklist of killings in Nigeria from 1999 to 2015 released by Femi Adeshina, the Senior Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media. The list shows 2,500 recorded deaths during the November 20, 1999 Odi killing. Similarly, between February and May 2000, about 5,000 people were killed during riots over Sharia law in different parts of the North. In 2001, hundreds of people, including the old, infirm, women and children were killed in Zaki Biam. Between September 7 and 12, 2001, Jos, Plateau State, erupted in internecine killings. Between 500 and 1,000 people were killed. In 2010, 992 people were again killed in Jos. Just a year after, on 16th May, 2011, Reuters reported Human Right Watch’s record in which more than 800 people were killed and 65,000 displaced in three days of violence following a presidential election in April won by President Goodluck Jonathan.

In fact, according to a report titled Ethnic and Religious Crisis in Nigeria, published by ACCORD on 29th August, 2016, between 1999 and 2013, more than 11,000 deaths have occurred in Nigeria. This statistics is however an extremely modest one when compared against the report published on December 12, 2011, by International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law on Nigerians who died outside the law since 1999. According to it, there are over 54, 000 unlawful deaths in Nigeria since 1999.
The writer, Emeka Umeagbalasi, further analyzed the progressive pace of the review. He writes: On 8th April, 2003, the Leadership in the then Anambra State SLO estimated that over 18,000 Nigerians died outside the law since 1999. On 5th August, 2009, Intersociety estimated that over 30,000 unlawful deaths took place in Nigeria since 1999, a period of ten years, and on 17th March, 2010, we reviewed it and concluded that the number might have increased to 34,000 as a result of the further rise in the killings. Our later findings, however, indicate that this figures were under-calculated, hence, the latest figure in the neighbourhood of 54,000 illegal deaths.

More worrisome is the finding that between 1 June 2006 and 31 May 2014, the absolute number of violent deaths recorded by the Nigeria Watch database was 61,241. We must not quickly forget that in 2014 alone, according to Global Terrorism Index, at least, 1,229 people were killed in the Middle Belt.

The Premium Times of February 13, 2017 reported a shocking revelation attributed to Borno Governor that the Boko Haram insurgency has killed 100,000 and displaced two million Nigerians. In the same vein, Sun News Online of 29th June, 2018 reported that while the Amnesty International said it had independently verified that since January 2018, no fewer than 1,813 people were murdered in 17 states, the UN revealed that at least 881 children were either killed or maimed by the Boko Haram terror group and the Nigerian security forces in 2017. According to the Director Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, the death tolls reflected killings as a result of farmers-herders conflict, communal clashes, Boko Haram attacks and banditry. Indeed, the incident in Plateau State, where armed gunmen attacked 11 villages on 23 June for at least seven hours and killed at least 200 villagers is still very much fresh in the memory of Nigerians.

More worrisome is the 2019 Global Terrorism Index published by the Institute of Economics and Peace where Nigeria was ranked 3rd with 8.597 scores, coming just behind Iraq (9.241) and Afghanistan (9.603) respectively. However, most disturbingly and dastardly are the current gruesome killings reportedly perpetrated by bandits and herdsmen from Katsina, to Kaduna, Benue, Plateau and other parts of the country.
At this juncture, one is compelled to again revert to Mirza Tahir Ahmad’s panoramic view of the pathology of man’s disease of bloodshed as impressively espoused in his book referred to earlier. He writes, “Abel was the first man to be killed, by his brother, for no reason. The story of that murder has been preserved by the Quran and the Bible as a lesson to us all – it will remain as an example till the end of time.”
“Study history, and one thing becomes clear: that man is an aggressive creature. His aggressiveness has been untamed by the growth of civilization. Man is as cruel today as he was thousands of years ago. The story of his ruthlessness, his tyranny and his aggression is long and painful. The fire of human aggression has not been quenched even after thousands of years of savagery.”

“Assassination of individuals and the annihilation of whole groups of peoples are a repetitive theme of history. States have attacked states; countries have fought against their neighbours and against nations far from their borders. Hordes of people living in the steppes and deserts conquered nations with ancient civilizations; blood was shed by Caesar and by Alexander; Baghdad was destroyed by Hulagu and Gengiz; the soil of Kurukshetra ran red with the blood of Kauravas and Pandavas.”
“Sometimes blood was spilled in the name of honour, sometimes in the name of revenge for supposed wrongs. Sometimes angry hordes overran peaceful lands in search of food, sometimes in search of world domination. But more often the blood of man – created in God’s image – was shed in the name of his Creator. Religion was used as an excuse for mass murder. Seeing this aspect of human nature makes one wonder if mankind is not the basest and most ruthless species on earth.”

Localizing the above analysis in the context of the Nigerian situation, one quickly comes to realize not only the factors behind the carnages in Nigeria, but also the enormity of the concomitant curses they have brought, and still bringing, upon the soil of the country. For, any genuine study of the history of Nigeria would reveal that the more Nigerians had spilled the blood of their fellow countrymen, the more the country had become accursed. True, in any society where human peace and security of lives are elusive, there, sustainable development is ever elusive, and vice-versa.

It is instructive to note that, according to statista.com, in 2020, Nigeria’s population was estimated to amount to 206 million individuals. Notably, an 18 December 2012 report on religion and public life by the Pew Research Center stated that in 2010, 48.3 percent of Nigeria’s population was Christian, 48.9 percent was Muslim, and 2.8 percent were followers of indigenous and other religions, or unaffiliated. This statistics clearly shows that 97.2 Nigerians claimed to profess faith in the two main religions that strongly prohibit bloodshed. For, the legal dictum, ‘Thou shalt not kill’, is an imperative enshrined in the Biblical book of Exodus that is very commonly heard from the lips of many Nigerian Christians. Similarly, the Quranic junctions: ‘And kill not yourselves,’ and ‘Whosoever killed a person – extra-judicially – it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and whoso gave life to one, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind’, encapsulated in the 4th and 5th Quranic Chapters respectively, are beautiful Quranic injunctions very often recited daily by the Muslim worshippers. Yet, the spate of wanton killings continues to increase astronomically! This indeed is the most disheartening phenomenon!
When will Nigerians stop shedding the blood of their fellow Nigerians? When will they let Nigeria be cleansed of the curse of blood? Now, as the going gets tough and the tough gets going against both the individual and national peace and security of the country, it is high time Nigerians all realized why this gory tale of carnage and curse must stop. To this end, it is expedient all Nigerians walk the talk: stop the killing; stop the curse!