Gunmen Kidnap Kogi Poly Student, Demands N10m Ransom

A student of the Kogi State Polytechnic, Miss Adetutu Adebanjo, was on Friday, kidnapped by unknown gunmen at Itakpe junction, on Lokoja-Okene road.

According to a statement by the National Association of Kogi Students (NAKOSS), Adetutu was abducted at gunpoint while on a journey to Ogun State via a commercial bus.

NAKOSS Director of Student Affairs, Mr Salihu Lukman, said the abductors demanded N10m ransom but reduced the ransom to N500,000 after negotiations.

“As I speak to you, negotiations are still on going. Today makes it the 4th day now and the poor mother of Adetutu who happens to be a widow can’t afford the ransom.

“We are pleading with the government and the public to come to the aid of this poor student so that we can secure her release,” the statement said.

While confirming the incident, the Public Relation Officer of the state police command, ASP William Aya said that the police was working hard to rescue the student.

 

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Gunmen Abduct Political Party Leaders In Kogi

Three local government leaders of Advanced People’s Democratic Alliance (APDA) in Kogi state were on Friday, October 13, kidnapped by yet to be identified gunmen in Kogi State.

The abducted party chieftains are Ademu Kadir from Idah Local Government Area, Alilu Omo and Ocholi from Igalamela-Odolu Local Government Area.

Confirming the abduction, the Kogi State Chairman of APDA, Abdulmumini Ibrahim, said the officers were on their way to Idah after attending the inaugural meeting of the state working committee of the party in Lokoja on Friday.

He explained that the bus conveying the party leaders was waylaid by the gunmen along Idah road. Passengers were robbed while the trio were taken to an unknown destination by the kidnappers.

Abdulmumini said the Commissioner for Police in Kogi State command, Ali Janga have been contacted. He said he was assured by the police which promised do their best to secure their release.

Channels

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Unemployment: Dangote Employs Youth Graduate For Rice Farming In Kogi

A multi-million Naira Youth Farming Initiative that will engage teeming unemployed Nigerian graduates in rice farming has been launched by the Dangote Rice Limited in Kogi State.

This is even as the Company prepares to hit the market with One million metric tons of Dangote rice in 2018.

The Dangote Youth Rice Farm project, mainly an out-grower scheme for youths only was flagged off at the Lower Niger River Basin Authority, Kampe, Ejiba in Yagba West local government area of the state where youth have embarked on rice cultivation over 100 hectares of land.

The rice farm project, which was preceded by a special training for the youth farmers on the dynamics of the rice farming, will see the youths cultivating the rice paddy on a 100 hectares of land, which will then be bought over by the company for processing.

Under the scheme, the Dangote Rice Company provides the seedling, anti-pest-chemicals, and fertilizers while the Basing Authority provided the land for the young farmers.

The management of Dangote Rice led by the Group Executive Director, Mr. Devakumar Edwin flagged off the project while taking delivery of some rice paddy bags produced from the pilot project.

Mr. Edwin explained that the project is a new dimension to the efforts by the pan-African conglomerate, the Dangote Group, at ensuring food security and creating job opportunities in Nigeria especially for the youths saying this Initiative is in line with the vision and commitment of Dangote Industries Limited to create a new generation of agri-preneur that will revolutionize the Nigerian agricultural sector.

“We believe skill, knowledge, enabling environment, collaboration and linkages along the value chain are driving forces for economic empowerment and social development in line with the Federal Government policies. This project will address the skills gap in local rice production among unemployed youths by providing technical, organisational and financial requirements.”

He said it would also enhance domestic rice production to cover the large gap between demand and domestic production and to increase self-sufficiency of Nigeria and substitute imported rice by quality Nigerian rice brands.

Mr. Edwin disclosed that most modern rice mills in Nigeria presently operate at not more than 20% capacity utilization due mainly to lack of good quality paddy and that Dangote Rice aimed to change this situation developing and adapting out-grower schemes. According to him, the Dangote Rice Company plans to set up a 150,000 metric tons integrated rice mill and sale one million mt of parboiled rice by 2018.

The Dangote Group boss stated that the decision of the management to start the project was driven by two factors, one of which is the need for youth employment through empowerment to go into agriculture. “The youths are more vulnerable to crimes and other social vices when they have nothing to engage them and this in turn affect the nation negatively.

“The second factor is the need to strengthen the on-going efforts at producing rice for self-sufficiency so that we can save foreign exchange. By the time we will be doing one million metric tons of rice next year, no less than three million jobs would been created along the value chain.”

Mr. Edwin said the Kogi pilot project will cover four season of two years and will be launched in four other states soon.

In his own remark, the Managing Director of Dangote Rice, Mr. Robert Coleman urged the youth farmers to concentrate on the project and pay attention to details so that they would come out with good paddy yield.

He congratulated the farmers for the decision to partner with Dangote Rice noting that they have a solid source of livelihood for themselves and members of their families if they give their all for the success of the scheme.

The Coordinator of the youth farmers, Umar Etudaye thanked the management of Dangote Rice for believing in them and engaging them for the project. He promised that they would deliver on the mandate given to them on the project.

He stated that the scheme is a practical step towards nation building because it’s the youths, who constitute 40 per cent of the population, would build the nation and only the youths that are empowered and gainfully employed could do that.

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Gunmen Kidnap Kogi Magistrate, Demand N100m

A magistrate with the Kogi State judiciary, Sam Unwuchola has been kidnapped by Ajaokuta-Lokoja road.

An eyewitness told Channels Television that the magistrate was returning to Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, from his station at about 7 pm on Friday in the company of his friend, when they were forced to stop by the gunmen, after shooting at them.

The bullet was said to have hit the magistrate’s friend and is currently receiving treatment at an undisclosed medical facility in Lokoja, while the men went away with Mr. Unwuchola.

When contacted, the Police Commissioner said an investigation is on-going on the matter but a source in the state judiciary told our correspondent that the kidnappers have gotten in touch with the wife of the kidnapped magistrate, demanding one hundred million as a ransom.

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Independence Day Address By Governor Yahaya Bello

My dear people of Kogi State,
I give all the praise to the Almighty God for another Independence Anniversary – the 57th for our dear Nation Nigeria. Everyone who has access to international news media knows of nations which have been confronted with the selfsame challenges that we face here and have descended into war and crises. Today is thus another perfect opportunity for gratitude, if not for the good we have achieved, at least, for the evils which God has kept from befalling us.
Poor leadership, corruption, terrorism, militancy, separatist agitations, even a Civil War which ended 47 years ago constitute some of the self-inflicted troubles which we contend with in the Nigerian Federation. Unlike other nations which have proved incapable of working through their differences and have gone up in flames, we Nigerians have had the good fortune, if not the good sense, to keep talking.
We may not always speak in polite tones, and our passion may sometimes be irrational, but we have maintained communication, and therefore avoided conflict. This is a wonderful blessing, and we must be grateful to God for it.
In Kogi State, I continue striving to exemplify inclusive leadership. I am glad that none of my traducers have accused me of ethnicism or tribalism yet (although now that I have reminded them, they may start tomorrow). If anything, some persons are angry at me for not stuffing Cabinet and other organs of governments with my own kith and kin. I do not owe anyone an apology on this score.
From the inception of my Administration, I have ensured that proportional representation of constituencies across the 3 Senatorial Districts as well as the personal merits of individual appointees have determined who serves where in Government. This posture is founded on my belief that one does not effect change by doing the same old things the same old ways.
In order to force a paradigm and generational shift in politics, I realize that I must keep justice, equity and merit as the moral compass for Government. The only way politics in Nigeria can change to accommodate more young people in high positions of leadership is for youths already in leadership to demonstrate competence and capacity to lead. I shall not speak for others but I repeat a solemn guarantee to succeed well as Governor of Kogi State.
I know that today is not a day to start reeling out a roll call of Projects executed by my Administration in the last 20 months, but I assure Kogites that tremendous progress is being made. In another 4 months, we will mark our 2 years in Office and I promise that the second volume of a Compendium which will contain all ongoing and completed projects will be released to commemorate it. The first volume has been out since January this year and continues to showcase our verifiable achievements. Till then, suffice it to say that we are racing to achieve as much as time and funds will permit.
We are careful to ensure even distribution of projects across all of our constituencies based on needs assessment. All of the 5 thematic areas in our New Direction Blueprint are receiving simultaneous attention. Education, Health, Infrastructure & Utilities, Job Creation & Youth Empowerment and Public Service & Pension Reforms remain vehicles from which to unload our Change Agenda.
While Education and Healthcare remain atop our list of priorities, communities across Kogi State are also being provided with electricity, water supply, roads, etc.
In Education, we have focused on providing quality learning environment and materials in order to unleash the genius of our students. So much has been done in the sector. For instance, I personally flagged off construction of 240 blocks of 2 classrooms each in 80 Primary Schools across the 21 Local Government Areas of Kogi State recently. Upon completion, each of them will be equipped with modern learning facilities and round-the-clock solar electricity to power the ICT components.
I was happy to hear from our Commissioner for Health a couple of months ago that we have met our 4-year target of 100% immunization against childhood killer diseases already. Our statistics on Maternal and NewBorn Health initiatives also show-marked improvement from what we met on ground. Most pregnant women in Kogi State today have access to free maternity kits and care today.
Primary and Secondary Health Care Centres across the 21 Local Government Areas have either been renovated or built from scratch and equipped with drugs and equipment. We also recruited scores of medical personnel to help improve access to medicare for our people. 12 state-of-the-art ambulances were bought and distributed across Kogi State to facilitate speedy evacuation of critically ill patients to larger medical facilities in urban and semi-urban areas.
Empowerment and welfare programs for our youth and other population groups have been held to one level or the other in all of the 21 Local Government Areas. We have also been lauded as one of the most responsive state to the Social Investment Programs of the Government. Like I said in my New Year message earlier this year, 2017 is going to be a hallmark year for projects.
The Administration will continue to apply dialogue where it can make a difference in any industrial dispute. However, at this stage in our Public Service and Pension Reforms, we have a duty to pay more attention to the law, including the Public Service Rules as well as the sustainability of the reforms we are putting in place. The whims and caprices of vested interests cannot therefore be admitted to determine our responses in any way.
We do not understand what could possibly be wrong with putting into the hands of individual workers the tools to determine their own rating (and therefore progress) on the job, even after we have left office. Our aim with the clock-in, clock-out devices which Labour Leaders are rejecting is to empower each worker to leave a digital footprint which authenticates his or her participation during the typical work day. If this aim is defeated, all of the aspirations of genuine and conscientious workers to be assessed based on actual performance will remain a mirage, like in the past.
Prompt payment of salaries is still a vexed issue, but we will do our best to keep our workers happy given the competing demands on the income of the state per time. However, it is inevitable that from time to time we must ask workers to stand with us in sacrifice. We hope they will oblige in the overall interest of the state.
In similar vein, prompt payment of Gratuities and Pensions is only possible within the ambits of a Contributory Pension Scheme. Like the automation of the workforce, a Contributory Pension Scheme for the Kogi State workforce is inevitable reform. We commend workers who come around to work to the overall interest of the State. We cannot allow ourselves to become deterred from implementing much-needed reforms. We also urge all workers not to be misled as Government is doing everything possible to address the various challenges confronting the workforce. We are a responsible Government and we shall live up to our responsibilities.
The Administrations was gratified to be invited by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to send a Team to the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York City as one of only four states in Nigeria considered success stories for their implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our Team enjoyed a successful outing at the United Nations Headquarters, made a presentation at the Nigeria side event and signed a Memorandum of Understanding for deeper collaboration with the UN and her agencies. This is good for Kogi State and her people.
Let me remind us that the rains are still here and there is still need to remain vigilant against flooding and other associated natural disasters. The most potent tool against flooding is to keep existing drainage systems free of garbage and other rubbish. The next is to be wise and evacuate to higher ground if flooding appears imminent and you live in a low-lying area.
On our part as Government, we have designated camps for Internally Displaced People in each Local Government Area deemed at risk, and should it become necessary to deploy a Camp in any locality, Kogites can expect their Government to act with despatch in sending fast responders and launching emergency protocols.
As I conclude this address this 1st October morning, in the year 2017, I find myself in bitter-sweet mood. The sweet feelings flow from the GREAT POTENTIALS which Nigeria possessed long before Independence, and which remain unabated despite 57 years of checkered history. The pain comes from bitter emotions evoked when I consider the COUNTLESS MISSED OPPORTUNITIES we have had from October 1, 1960 to October 1, 2017 to transform our great potentials into great progress.
The British may have had their own ulterior motives when they amalgamated the old Northern and Southern Protectorates into one Nigeria in 1914, but I believe they also provided us an opportunity which hitherto did not exist, i.e. the opportunity to be much more greater than we would have become as individual tribes or territories.
In my opinion, and I think most Nigerians will agree with me, that even though we have not harnessed our gains after amalgamation, the present Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR is making efforts to optimize our potentials as a Nation. This is evident in a more secured Nigeria after years of terrorism threat, we are consciously diversifying our economy to Agriculture and Mining, the very vulnerable are now being focused on using various current programmes and policies – e.g Condition Cash Transfer at National level, N-power and Market Money, Home Grown School Feeding Programme etc. as a State, the GYB Food Security Project, Youth and Artisan Empowerment Project and the upcoming GYB water for life Grassroot Project and finally, GYB Model Primary and Unity School to foster cohesion amongst the upcoming young ones and quality education.
I reiterate our commitment in Kogi State and Nigeria where there is room for all citizens and constituencies to achieve their maximum potentials.
In the spirit of our 57th Anniversary as a Country, I wish all Kogites, Nigerians and our motherland, Nigeria, Happy Independence!
May the Almighty God bless us all.
YAHAYA BELLO
EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR, KOGI STATE
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Kogi Receives N4.2bn As Statutory Allocation For August

The Federation Account Allocation Committee meeting for the month of September 2017 was held yesterday in Abuja.

Kogi state statutory allocation for the month of August is N3,338,804,988.52 as against N2,195,137,453.33 received in the month of July. The Value Added Tax(VAT) for the month of August is N909,135,970.86 as against the July figure of N855,038,409.84. The state gross statutory distributable income for the month of August is N4,247,940,959.38.

The 21 Local Government Areas in Kogi state received statutory allocation of  N2,892,258,683.28 as against the figure of N1,923,794,368.34 for the month of July. Also the VAT figures for August is N620,482,976.92 as against N582,236,382.71for the month of July.

Conclusively, there was an increase of gross statutory revenue of N1,197,765,096.21 and N916,738,313.64for state and local government respectively for the month of August compared to the previous month of July.

Our decision to make the figures public is in line with our policy of transparency, efficiency and accountability to the people of our dear state.

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Dangote Cement Truck Kills Kogi Poly Student, Others

A truck belonging to  Dangote Cement Company, has reportedly killed a yet to be identified student of Kogi State Polytechnic, three school children and some occupants of ‘keke napep’ on their way to school

According to an eyewitness account, the truck was said to be coming from Obajana and heading to the northern part of the country when he lost control around the polytechnic gate and rammed into the victims.

The truck was said to have also ran into a taxi cab with an uncertain numbers of people  sustaining serious injuries.

Officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) are said to have raced to the scene of the incident to rescue those who are still trapped under the truck.

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Kogi Youths Affirm Commitment To Atiku’s Restructuring

A coalition of Kogi youths under the aegis of Kogi Youths for Atiku (KYA) has thrown its weight behind former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s call for the restructuring of the Nigerian federation to quell the rising tide of agitations and intolerance among the various ethnic nationalities in the country.

In a press statement released in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital and made available to newsmen, the group advised the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari to take on board the advice of well-meaning Nigerians like the Turakin Adamawa, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar on the need to restructure the country if Nigeria is to remain as a single united entity.

According to KYA, “The recent rise in the wave of agitations for self-determination especially in the South-east and south-western parts of Nigeria is a result of decades of skewered applications of federalism as the system of government in Nigeria. This has directly or indirectly, resulted in justifiable feelings of injustice among the various component units of the Nigerian federation.”  The only way to quell these agitations the Group opined is to “immediately take necessary and quite frankly, long overdue steps to restructure Nigeria and define, once and for all the basis for our existence”

The group also faulted the claims by the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed that the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) led by Nnamdi Kanu was sponsored by treasury looters stating that “it is an untenable argument. The Ibos and other ethnic nationalities in Nigeria have justifiable claims of marginalization and until we take the path of justice and restructure the Nigerian federation into one in which each of her component units have a sense of belonging; groups such as IPOB will continue to arise with their supporters rallying behind demagogues like Nnamdi Kanu”

It however commended the Federal Government for initiating bridge-building initiatives by sending some governors and other eminent personalities like the Turakin Adamawa on a peace mission to the South-east and the South-south: “we commend the Federal government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari for taking prompt steps to forestall a wave of needless reprisals as a fall-out of the military exercise by the Nigerian army in some south-eastern states codenamed “Python Dance”, by sending a delegation of eminent leaders of thoughts from the north on a peace-building mission to South-east and South-south states. We particularly acknowledge with appreciation the presidential mandate giving by President Buhari to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to join the peace building tours.

“We in KYA sees this as just recognition, and further confirmation of the universally acknowledge persona of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as a symbol of national unity and a pan Nigerian statesman. This has further validated our belief that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is one man capable of leading our beloved country on the path of national unity, sustainable socio-economic growth and developments come May 29, 2019.”

The group also used the medium to canvass the support of youths from the 21 Local Government Areas of Kogi State for the candidature of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the 2019 Presidential Election “if Kogites in particular and Nigerians in general, are to feel the impact of real and impactful Change.”

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[Friday Sermon] Welcoming The New Islamic Year 1439 Ah And Fasting In The Month Of Muharram, By Imam Murtadha Gusau

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

All thanks and praise is due to Allah, we seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil within ourselves and the consequences of our evil deeds. Whoever Allah guides will never be led astray, and whoever Allah leads astray will never find guidance. I bear witness there is no God but Allah, alone without any partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger.

“O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims in submission to Him.” (3:102)

“O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Verily, Allah is ever watching over you.” (4:1)

“O you who have believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice. He will then amend for you your deeds and forgive your sins, and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great attainment.” (33:70-71)

Verily, the most truthful speech is the Book of Allah, the best guidance is the guidance of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh), and the worst affairs are newly invented matters (In religion). Every newly invented matter (In religion) is a religious innovation, and every religious innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.

Brothers and Sisters! This month Muharram marks the beginning of a new Islamic year, which was initiated after the Hijrah, or emigration, of Prophet Muhammad and which marked the formation of the first Muslim nation within an independent Islamic territory under the rule of Muslims.

Servants of Allah! The Muslims had no formal annual calendar until the caliphate of Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him. In the third or fourth year of his caliphate, Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, received a message from Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari, may Allah be pleased with him, who suggested that their future correspondence be confirmed with the appropriate date. Therefore, Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, gathered some of the surviving companions of the Prophet and consulted them on this matter. Some of them suggested adopting the Persian Calendar; others proposed adopting the Roman Calendar; others still proposed that the Muslims should form their own calendar and that it should start from the birth of the Prophet; another group agreed but thought that the new Islamic Calendar should start from the day on which the Prophet embarked upon his mission; another group believed that this new Islamic Calendar should begin from the emigration of the Prophet while a final group believed that it should start from his death.

After a long discussion, they (companions) may Allah be pleased with them all agreed unanimously to adopt that the Islamic Calendar should start from when the Prophet emigrated from Makkah to Madinah and that the first month of this new Calendar be that of Muharram. This is because Muharram is a sacred month and because it follows Zul-Hijjah which is the month in which the Muslims perform Hajj, or the pilgrimage, which is the last of the five pillars of Islam that was enjoined upon the Muslims.

Brothers and Sisters! Muharram also follows the month in which the Ansar (the Madinan followers of the Prophet) pledged allegiance to the Prophet (Pbuh) which was prior to his migration to Madinah. This pledge of allegiance was one of the introductory acts of the emigration itself and therefore Muharram was deemed the most suitable month to start the Islamic Calendar by the companions of the Prophet.

My beloved people! Wallahi it is truly saddening that some Muslims today have chosen to use only the Gregorian Calendar instead of the Hijrah calendar or Hijrah with Gregorian. The Gregorian calendar has no relation with Islam and although it has been in existence for long than that of the Hijrah Calendar, that is no excuse for the Muslims to adopt it. It is well known that the companions of the Prophet would hate that any Muslim would use the Roman or Persian Calendar only.

My people! We have just ushered in the new Hijrah year. Allah Says:

“Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year) so was it ordained by Allah on the day when he created the Heaven and the Earth; of them four are Sacred – that is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein…” [Quran 9: 36]

And the Prophet (Pbuh) said:

“The year is of twelve months, out of which four months are sacred: Three are in succession Zul-Qa’ada, Zul-Hijjah and Muharram, and (the fourth is) Rajab…” (Bukhari)

These are the months that Allah has appointed for the whole of mankind. He, The Most Exalted, also Says:

“They ask you [O Muhammad], about the new moons. Say ‘They are measurements of time for the people and for Hajj (Pilgrimage].” [Quran: 189]

Therefore, we know that these months, based on the lunar calendar, were appointed for all of mankind and not just for the Arabs. This is due to the fact that the lunar months can very easily be detected and calculated by the sighting of the crescent-moon, which marks the end of the month and the beginning of a new one.

Respected Brothers and Sister! We are in the new Hijrah year. Know that it is not from the Sunnah to celebrate it or to congratulate one another on its advent (like taking it as festive period etc). For the Muslims, the passage of years does not constitute a real cause of happiness; rather, what counts is the amount of time spent in obedience to Allah during these years. The years that have passed will be considered as successful if they were spent in obedience to Allah, and miserable if they were spent in disobedience of Allah. Therefore, the most evil person is he who has lived a long life and has committed evil deeds throughout.

It is a must that we receive our days, months and years while in obedience to Allah. We must bring ourselves to account, redeem ourselves from our bad deeds and duly perform our responsibilities towards our parents, wives, children, relatives, associates, friends and humanity in general.

The advent of every new year is marked by many Muslims with sincere resolutions and plans to improve and become closer to their Lord, but the days and hours slip away while the people’s conditions remain the same, the inevitable result of such failures will be loss and disgrace in this world and the next. Therefore, we must invest our time in obedience to Allah and make sure that our spiritual condition is improving from year to year; for the more time runs away from us, the closer we are drawing to our graves.

Servants of Allah! The improvements in our worldly lives do us absolutely no good if our spiritual lives are not improving at the same time. No one can attain honour and dignity without submitting to the Lord of the Worlds, Allah. Safety, peace, tranquility and welfare cannot be attained except by adopting the methodology of the Messengers of Allah, may Allah exalt their mention. Be very clear that if any of you see welfare and pleasure accompanied with sins and deviation, then this is definitely a mere respite that has been given by Allah ahead of a total ruin and destruction. Thus, we must all stand firm in the obedience of Allah in order to protect ourselves from His punishment. Allah, The Almighty Says:

“…And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.” [Quran 24: 31]

Servants of Allah! Allah has also favoured certain months, days and nights more than others. The number of months is twelve, as decreed by Allah when He created the heavens and the earth. Among these twelve are four sacred months, Zul-Qa’adah, Zul-Hijjah, and Muharram, which are successive and the month of Rajab that comes between Jumada Al-Akhirah and Sha’aban. Know that the best day which the sun rises on is Friday and the night of Al-Qadr (Laylatul Qadr) is more virtuous than a thousand months. Therefore, we must all respect and esteem that which Allah has magnified.

Scholars maintain that the rewards for good deeds are multiplied in times and places which are favoured by Allah, and vice versa for bad deeds. The proof of this is from Allah’s Saying:

“They ask you concerning the sacred month – about fighting therein. Say, ‘Fighting therein is great [sin], but averting [people] from the way of Allah and disbelief in Him and [preventing access to] the Sacred Mosque [in Makkah] and the expulsion of its people therefrom are greater [evil] in the sight of Allah. And fitnah [Polytheism and Disbelief] is worse than killing.’ And they will continue to fight you until they turn you back from your religion if they are able. And whoever of you reverts from his religion [to disbelief] and dies while he is a disbeliever – for those, their deeds have become worthless in this world and the Hereafter, and those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide therein eternally.” [Quran 2: 217]

Muslims should not wrong themselves during the Sacred Months. They should stay well within the limits defined by Allah, fulfill all His obligations, shun all His prohibitions and fulfill the rights of the people.

Respected Brothers and Sisters! Many rewards and blessings can be gained throughout the Islamic year, not only in Ramadan. The blessed month of Muharram is the first month of the Hijrah calendar and is one of the four sacred months concerning which Allah Almighty Says:

“Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion, so do not wrong yourselves during them…” [Quran 9:36]

Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said that this phrase “so do not wrong yourselves during them… ” referred to all the months, then these four were singled out and made sacred, so that sin in these months is more serious and good deeds bring a greater reward.

The Messenger of Allah, (Pbuh), said:

“The best of fasting after Ramadan is fasting Allah’s month of Muharram.” [Muslim]

The phrase “Allah’s month”, connecting the name of the month to the name of Allah in a genitive grammatical structure signifies the importance of the month. Al-Qari said:

“The apparent meaning is all of the month of Muharram.”

But it is known that the Prophet (Pbuh) never fasted any whole month apart from Ramadan, so this Hadith is probably meant to encourage increasing one’s fasting during Muharram, without implying that one should fast for the entire month.

It was reported that the Prophet (Pbuh) used to fast more in Sha’aban. It is likely that the virtue of Muharram was not revealed to him until the end of his life. [An-Nawawi and Muslim]

Al-Izz ibn Abdus-Salam said that:

“Allah makes certain times and placed sacred or blessed in order to encourage his servants for righteous deeds and bestow a greater reward for them.” [Qawa’id Al-Ahkam]

* Ashura in history

Brothers and Sisters! The tenth day of Muharram, known as Ashura, has a special significance. Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said:

“The Prophet, (Pbuh), came to Madinah and saw the Jews fasting on the day of Ashura. He said: ‘What is this? They said: ‘This is a righteous day, it is the day when Allah saved the Children of Israel from their enemies, so Prophet Musa fast-ed on this day.’ He (Pbuh) said: ‘We have more right to Musa than you,’ so he fasted on that day and commanded (the Muslims) to fast on that day.” [Al-Bukhari]

Therefore the practice of fasting on Ashura was known even in the days of Jahiliyyah, before the Prophet’s Message. It was reported that Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, said:

“The people of Jahiliyyah used to fast on that day.”

Imam Qurtubi said:

“Perhaps the Quraish used to fast on that day on the basis of some previous law, like that of Ibrahim, may Allah exalt his mention.”

Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said:

“I never saw the Messenger of Allah so keen to fast any day and give it priority over any other time than the day of Ashura and the month of Ramadan.” [Al-Bukhari]

The Prophet also said:

“For fasting the day of Ashura, I hope that Allah will accept it as expiation for the past year.” [Muslim]

* It is recommended to fast the ninth in addition to the tenth of Muharram.

Abdullah ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said:

“When the Messenger of Allah fasted on Ashura and commanded the Muslims to fast as well, they said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, it is a day that is venerated and respected by the Jews and Christians.’ The Messenger of Allah said: ‘If I live to see the next year, ‘Inshaa Allah’, we will fast on the ninth day too.’ But it so happened that the Messenger of Allah passed away before the next year came.” [Muslim]

If a person does not know when Muharram began, and he wants to be sure of fasting on the tenth, he should assume that Zul-Hijjah was thirty days—as is the usual rule—and should fast on the ninth and tenth.

Imam an-Nawawi said that it expiates all minor sins and that is:

“Fasting the day of Arafah expiates sins for two years, and the day of Ashura expiates for one year… If there are minor sins for which expiation is desired, expiation for them will be accepted; if there are no minor sins or major sins, good deeds will be added to the servant’s account and he will be raised in status… If he had committed major sins but no minor sins, we hope that his major sins will be reduced.” [See Al-Majmu’ sharh al-Muhaththab]

* Fasting Ashura when one still has days to make up from Ramadan

The jurists (Fuqaha) differed concerning the ruling on observing voluntary fasts before making up the missed days from Ramadan or other obligatory fasts like for the fulfillment of a vow. The Hanafi jurists said that it is permissible to observe voluntary fasts before making up for the obligatory fasts, while the Maliki and Shafi’i scholars say that it is permissible but Makruh (disliked). The Hanbali scholars say that it is Haram (forbidden) and a person must give priority to the obligatory fasts until he has made them up. [See Al-Mawsu’ah al-Fiqhiyyah]

Servants of Allah! Muslims must hasten to make up any missed fasts after Ramadan, so that they will be able to fast Arafah and Ashura without any problem. If a person fasts Arafah and Ashura with the intention from the night before making up for a missed fast, this will be good enough to make up what he has missed, for the bounty of Allah is great.

* Avoiding innovations on Ashura

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullah) was asked about the authenticity of some things that people do on Ashura to seek reward, such as wearing kohl/kwalli, taking a bath, wearing henna/lalle shaking hands with one another, cooking grains (hubub) or food or something called cika-ciki and so on. Some other people mark this day by grieving and mourning, not drinking, wailing and rending their garments. His reply was:

“Nothing to that effect has been reported in any sound Hadith from the Prophet or his Companions. None of the Imams encouraged such things, neither the four Imams, nor any others. No reliable scholars have narrated anything like this, neither from the Prophet nor from his Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, nor from the Tabi’in; neither in any authentic report or in a weak report; neither in the books of Sahih, nor in as-Sunan, nor in the Musnads. No Hadith of this nature was known during the best centuries, but some of the later narrators reported Hadiths like:

“Whoever puts kohl/kwalli in his eyes on the day of Ashura will not suffer from eye disease in that year, and whoever takes a bath on the day of Ashura will not get sick in that year” and so on. They also reported a fabricated Hadith that is falsely attributed to the Prophet which says:

“Whoever is generous to his family on the day of Ashura, Allah will be generous to him for the rest of the year.”

Reporting all of this from the Prophet is tantamount to forging lies against him.

Servants of Allah! Let us remember Allah’s Messenger’s Hijrah from Makkah to Madinah, and the transformation of Yathrib into Madinah.

Let us reminisce about Hijrah, the great milestone in the Islamic cause.

Let us remember Umar’s adoption of Hijrah as the beginning of the Islamic calendar.

And let us remember that the real Hijrah today is to emigrate from evil that is forbidden from Allah and His Messenger.

On that note, I pray to the Almighty Lord that our new hijrah year which starts today may bring good things to all of us.

Wishing you and your family New Year full of peace, happiness and abundance of all. May Allah bless you through out the new year. Ameen.

I ask Allah to assist us in living by the Quran and Sunnah. I pray He lets us recognise the truth for what it is and helps us to follow it, and that He lets us see falsehood for what it is and helps us to avoid it.

O Allah! Guide us and protect us from the causes of ignorance and destruction! Save us from the defects of ourselves! Cause the last of our deeds to be the best and most righteous! And forgive all of us. Ameen Yaa Rabb!

My respected people! Anything good I have said in my today’s Khutbah (Sermon) is from Allah the Almighty, and any mistakes are my own and we seek refuge in Allah from giving wrong advice and from all forms of calamities and fitnah. And I ask Allah’s forgiveness if I stepped beyond bounds in anything I said or I do.

May Allah be praised; and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad and upon his family and Companions.

With this I conclude my Khutbah (Sermon) and ask Allah, the Almighty and the sublime, to forgive all of our sins. So seek his forgiveness, He is all forgiving and Most Merciful.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Muharram 1st, 1439 AH (September 22, 2017), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and late Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: +2348038289761.

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Kogi Inaugurates Committee For The Implementation Of Judicial Commission

Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya  Bello, has expressed the resolve of his administration to recover the resources of the state, looted by previous government. The decision, which he explained was not a ploy to witch hunt anyone, is intended to entrench the culture of transparency and accountable in governance.
Governor Bello disclosed this today, 19th September, 2017, while inaugurating the newly constituted a seven-member  committee for the implementation of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry white paper from the committee set up last year to look into how the resources of the state were expended between May 2003 to January 2016.

The committee, which has a retired Army Major General Mobolaji Koleoso as Chairman, is expected to help track and recover all looted funds and assets of the state.

According to the Governor, his administration inherited a state that was lagging behind in critical infrastructures and transparency in governance, a development he blamed on years of failed leadership. Just as he reiterated his commitment to run a transparent and accountable system,  with focus on delivering dividends of democracy to the people of the state, the governor noted that the idea to prove past government was to also serve as deterrent to those in his administration.

He pointed out that, “No responsible government would fold its alms and watch few individuals deprive the masses of their right to decent living as a result of corruption.”

The Governor said he feels emboldened by the successful onslaught of President Muhammadu Buhari in the war against the impunity of corruption in the country.

He charged the committee to be diligent and transparent in the discharge of their responsibility and urged them to see the task as a call to selfless service.

In his remark, Chairman of the committee, Maj Gen Koleoso, said the committee would ensure fairness and transparency in the discharge of its assignment, noting that he considers the responsibility as a privilege to serve God and humanity.

The committee which has Barrister Katun Sule as Secretary, has the following persons as members, State Auditor General, Yakubu Okala; Mariam Ladi Ibrahim; Kasim Suleiman; Director General,Media and Publicity, Kingsley Fanwo; and Barrister Agada. A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Joseph Daudu, is to serve as legal counsel.

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Court Humbles Dino, As INEC Releases Recall Time Table

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has issued an amended timetable and schedule of activities regarding the recall of Senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye.

In a statement by its secretary, Augusta Ogakwu, on Monday, INEC said enough time had been given for the senator to study the petitions and other attachments to enable him to prepare for the exercise.

The table showed the notice of verification will begin on October 3, while the last day of submission of application by observers will be October 5.

The publication of the list of accredited observers will be on October 9, following which there will be a stakeholders meeting at both the senatorial district headquarters and the local government headquarters on October 10.

The last day for submission of names of polling agents for verification by the lawmaker to be recalled and representatives of the petitioners will be on October 12.

The final verification will hold on October 14, according to the INEC timetable.

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My Interest Is To Justify The Present Mandate Of The People, Not 2019 Election – Gov Bello

Convinced that his administration has taken positive steps meant to transform the state, Kogi State Governor,  Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has disclosed that his utmost desire is to justify the present mandate to bring about good governance, saying that he would not be distracted by the thought of reelection.

Leadership, he noted, comes from God, and he decides who gets what, when and how, reiterating that he is desperate to raise the bar of governance in the state and not allowing the distractions of 2019 election to derail his vision.

The Governor who stated this  today at the Government House, Lokoja the state capital when he received a delegation of stakeholders from Dekina Local Government Area, noted that he was in a hurry to develop the state, after several years of failed leadership.

He pointed out that his administration, in addition to pursuing all round development of the state, is also keen in promoting the unity and peaceful relations among the various ethnic groups in the state.

While assuring of his administration’s resolve to address the development challenges facing the area, such as road, electricity, water and health services, the governor said he has strong emotional attachment to Dekina, and promised to do all within his powers to ensure that the area receives deserved attention.

The Governor disclosed,”my best friends, close confidants, as well as my personal driver comes from Dekina. What it lost due to failed leadership in the past, in my time it would regain everything”.

As part of measures to ensure regular maintenance of roads in the state, the governor said that the state road maintenance agency, KOGROMA would be decentralised, with operation base in the  three Senatorial districts to as to enhance it’s efficiency.

On security, he appealed for the cooperation of the people so as to sustain the gains already achieved and assured that the proposed, army operational base for Kogi East would be sited in Dekina local government.

In their remarks, the Administrator of the area, Hon Kabiru Idris and a former Chairman of the Council, Hon John Isah, both lauded the development strides of the present administration in the area.

They assured of their resolve to mobilise the people to support the present administration in view of the enormous development efforts of government in the area.  They also appealed for the reconstruction of Etutekpe-Ogane-nigu road, the electrification of Iyale town as well as the erosion menace ravaging some communities in the local government.

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