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2019 Hajj: 31,435 Pilgrims Back Home Safely in 65 Flights –NAHCON

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The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) says it has transported 31,435 pilgrims back home in 65 flights from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

According to NAHCON command and control centre in Makkah monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja, the latest returnees were 430 pilgrims from Kebbi State and two officials aboard Flynas XY7484.

Also 559 pilgrims from Borno state with one official came back aboard Max Air NGL 2080 which departed Jeddah airport in the early hours of Thursday Saudi Arabian time.

NAN reports that no fewer than 1.

8 million pilgrims around the world, including 65,000 Nigerians performed the 2019 hajj in Saudi Arabia.
(NAN)

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Religion

Ash Wednesday: Be Sensitive to Plight of Nigerians, Cleric to Political Office Holders 

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Rev. Fr. Christian Oji, the Parish Priest, Holy Family Parish Ologo in Enugu North Local Government Area of Enugu State, has appealed to political office holders to be sensitive to the plight of Nigerians.

Oji, who made the appeal in his Ash Wednesday sermon, advised politicians to use the lenten period to end the current economic hardship facing Nigerians.

The priest said that the political class appeared to be insensitive to the people’s sufferings, adding that the challenges facing the country were not natural but man-made.

“This is as a result of wrong policies, corruption, wickedness and insensitivity of many political office holders.

“I call on our leaders to have a rethink and come back to Christ, who is the giver of knowledge to seek wisdom to rule Nigeria.

“They should do everything humanly possible to change the face of Nigeria because people are really suffering, while the country is going down.

“Unless they take action now, something drastic may happen in future but we don’t pray for that.

“I call on them to rise and emulate Christ by making efforts to change Nigeria,” the clergyman said.

He also spoke on the meaning of the Ash Wednesday, being the beginning of Lent.

According to him, the event signifies that we are nothing but ash and ash we shall return.

“It is a period where churches all over the world come together to make preparations to undergo 40 days retreat bearing the cross with Christ.

“Ash Wednesday as the beginning of Lent, runs through 40 days before Easter, and today serves as the beginning of those 40 days of intensive retreat among Christians to reflect the passion of Christ.

“It signifies that we are nothing but dust and we are going back to dust, and it also makes us understand that apart from Christ we are nothing.

“Therefore, Christians are expected to engage in spiritual activities of fasting, praying, abstinence and alms giving,” Oji said.

He said that the message of Ash Wednesday and Lent was for humanity to give their lives to Christ.

“With the spate of insecurity, economic hardship, it is time that Christians came together to pray fervently for God to take control of this country.

“We should pray to God to intervene and deliver this country from going into self-destruction,” he said. (NAN)

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Christmas: CAN Youth Wing calls for Sober Reflection

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The Youth Wing, Christian Association of Nigeria (YOWICAN), has called on Nigerians to use Christmas as a moment of sober reflection to redirect all thinking and actions towards nation building.

The Chairman of YOWICAN, Enugu State, Mr Chekwube Ani, made the call in a Christmas message made available to newsmen in Enugu on Sunday.

According to Ani, Christmas should not be a time of festivities alone.

It should be a moment of deep sober reflection.

He said: “We should take out time in this season to evaluate ourselves and the society to see how much we have appreciated and promoted the salvation work of God.

“The gift of Jesus, whom we celebrate His birth during Christmas, is for reconciliation and salvation of mankind.

“This gift of Jesus was borne out of love and is for all men, John 3:16. Therefore, let us take this season to reconcile with our maker and demonstrate love to one another as God did to us.

“As we celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ this year, let us be mindful of who we celebrate; what He represents and what He does.”

Ani also appreciated Gov. Peter Mbah, for the massive work done in security, health, education, agriculture, road construction, water project, tourism and other infrastructural works ongoing around the state.

He said: “We pray for Grace to sustain this great work. Also, we urge the people of Enugu State to support the government for more dividends of democracy.

“Congratulations to His Excellency, Peter Mbah, on his recent victory at the Supreme Court. Indeed, our tomorrow is here with great expectations.” (NAN)

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Yelutide: Gov Nwifuru Pleads for Assistance to the Less privileged in Ebonyi

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Gov. Francis Nwifuru of Ebonyi has called on political office holders to use this period of Christmas to identify with the less- privileged to enable them celebrate the season with ease.

Nwifuru made the call on Sunday, during the 2023 Special Bazaar and Thanksgiving service held at the Government House Chapel in Abakaliki.

The Governor said the thanksgiving is in deep appreciation of God for divine, providence, protection and expressed gratitude to God for seeing the state through 2023.

He enjoined Christian faithful to always pray for the state and avail themselves of the opportunity for “God’s spirit to rest on them” and advance His mission for mankind.

“Everyone has reasons to be thankful to God, if not for anything, at least, for life.

“We are thanking God for so many things. You can look at what brought you from where you were to where you are now.

“We are also thanking God for life and sound health. It is only when you have not gone to the hospital that you will not thank God,” Nwifuru said.

He encouraged various political actors to close ranks and work with his government to move the state forward.

Earlier, the State Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev Father Joseph Origbo, said to execute God’s assignment, “man must understand his mission, backed by divine identity which ultimately birth results.”

Reports says that the special thanksgiving service attracted officials from various ministries, departments and agencies of government .

NAN also reports that the event featured former governors, members of national assembly, and members of the state executive council. (NAN)

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