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2019 Hajj: 40,821 Pilgrims Safely Back Home – NAHCON

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National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) says it has transported 40,821 pilgrims back home from Saudi Arabia after successful completion of 2019 Hajj.

According to its command and control centre in Makkah monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja, the latest returnees were 555 pilgrims from Plateau, including two officials of NAHCON aboard Max Air flight NGL 2110.

Meanwhile, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in Saudi Arabia, King Salman, has issued a Royal Decree cancelling the 2000 Saudi Riyal paid as fees by pilgrims, who wish to perform lesser hajj (Umrah) with immediate effect.

“No more paying additional 2000SR repeat Umrah Fees for intending pilgrims.” (NAN).

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2023: PFN Disowns Bishops Who Met with Tinubu

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Few days to the kick off of the 2023 presidential campaign by all the political parties in the country, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), has disowned the “Pentecostal Bishops Forum of Northern Nigeria” which held meeting with Bola Tinubu, Presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), on Friday in Abuja.
The Deputy National Secretary of the PFN, Bishop David Bakare told Reporters in a telephone interview that such group does not exist within the PFN.

According to him, the forum is not known to the PFN, adding that “there is nothing in PFN that is regional based like Southern or Northern Pentecostal Bishops.


Bakare who maintained that the PFN is an arm of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), said the position of the fellowship on same faith presidential ticket of the APC has not changed.
He said “the meeting between Tinubu and the Pentecostal Bishops Forum of Northern Nigeria has nothing to do with the PFN.

“I am speaking to you officially and authoritatively that the ranks of the Christian community and of course, the PFN which I represent is not broken at all.

“The Pentecostal Bishops Forum of Northern Nigeria is not known to the PFN. The forum does not have any affiliation or relationship with the PFN that is registered with the government of this nation”,
Bakare added that the position of the PFN “on same faith ticket still stands as it was in the beginning and we have not, for any reason, shifted our position on that matter…”
He said, “The PFN was not a part of the meeting with the presidential candidate that was highly politicised.
“We are however aware of the ripples in the public domain about this matter.
“I am speaking officially to clarify that the PFN has nothing to do with that organisation.
“We didn’t take such a decision, we have not met that political party and whatever we will do would be in the public domain.
“That group is on their own and has nothing to do with the real incorporated PFN.

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“I looked at the photos (from the meeting) and the names. I could recognised about two people who are our members, but they speak for themselves.”
He said all Pentecostal leaders in Nigeria, from the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Living Faith, Mountain of Fire House on the Rock, among others speak with one voice .
“Finally, I wish to let you know that there is nothing in PFN that is regional based like Southern or Northern Pentecostal Bishops.
“As a matter of fact, the PFN does not have any settings for Bishops. What we have is PFN, we do not separate Bishops of Pentecostal from other clergies of Pentecostal.

“PFN is just one body under which all Bishops, Pastors and members are lined up behind Bishop Francis Wale, the President.
“We stand by our decision, we have not and will not bend to the dictate of any political group.
“It doesn’t matter what politicians will want to do, the truth and the joy is that the PFN is not divided on its position.
“Individuals can form an association but when it comes to the body call PFN, there is no change in our position and we have not authorised anybody to hold a meeting.”

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FOMWAN Advocates National Collaboration against Insecurity, Economic Woe

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The Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN) has called on Nigerians to actively involve in finding lasting solutions to the spate of insecurity bedevilling the country.

FOMWAN made the call in a communique issued on Wednesday at the end of its annual national conference in Port Harcourt.

The communique, a copy of which was made available to the newsmen in Benin, was signed by the National President and Public Relations Officer of the association, Mrs Rafiah Sanni and Hajia Maimuna Momodu.

According to the group, it is imperative for all to take the community and national security very serious for safety of lives and property.

The association expressed regret over the wide generational gap in the country, which it blamed for its retarded social and national developments.

“As foremost Muslim women’s organisation, we are concerned about the serious gap that exists between generations which has affected social and national development in the society.

“We observe the negative use of the social media which is eroding social values and adversely affecting the youth.

“It is with dismay that we observe the inadequate involvement of Muslim women in politics and in policy making positions,” the union said.

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The faith- based organisation, therefore, called on women to participate in politics with fear of Allah, taking cognisance of Islamic Rights and without jeopardising their morality and motherly roles.

It also called on members to involve in creation of awareness on peaceful elections and ensure election of credible candidates that would entrench good governance and enhance inclusiveness with the well-being of citizens.

“FOMWAN persuades the government and the general populace to shun ethnic and religious bigotry in politics while promoting the culture of tolerance and understanding.

“Relevant institutions to put in place regulatory measures on the use of social media in Nigeria.

“Mentorship should be mainstreamed in our individual lives, the Nigerian curriculum at all levels and fast tracked by the Nigerian Education Resource Development Centre and other relevant institutions.

“Government at all levels must put in place a robust architecture to address the issue of insecurity in Nigeria,” the Muslims’ association resolved.

Newsmen report that the theme of the event was: Bridging inter-Generational Gaps for Sustainable Development: Spectrum of opportunities using the Islamic lens.(NAN)

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Why we are Committed to Worship of Osun goddess—Foreign Devotees

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Some foreign devotees at the just concluded  Osun-Osogbo festival have expressed  belief in the sanctity of the Osun deity, saying the annual fiesta offers opportunity for worship through the sacred grove.

The tourists, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of the grand finale of the festival in Osogbo, said the event gave them joy and a sense of belonging in the worship of the Osun goddess.

A Brazilian, Mrs Regina Alberto, said she was in Osun specifically for the Osun-Osogbo festival as a devotee of the Yoruba Orisa worship.

NAN reports that Alberto is a member of the Odudua Worldwide Group, a Diaspora socio-cultural organisation committed to the promotion of Yoruba culture, tradition and worship.

NAN also reports that no fewer than 50 members of the group were sighted at the sacred grove during Friday’s grand finale.

Alberto, who said this was  her second outing at the festival,  however, said that  her group had been coming for the festival since 2011.

“I am from Brazil. I am with Odudua Brazil, which is part of Odudua Worldwide Group.

“This is my second year of coming for the festival, but my group had been coming since 2011.

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“The Osun-Osogbo festival is very important to us because in Brazil we praise Orisa diety and being here and seeing everyone praying and worshipping, just like we try to do is so emotional.

“The energy is so powerful , it is really hard not to cry, ” she said.

Alberto said the understanding of her group  that the source and worship point of the Osun goddess was located at the Osun-Osogbo grove spurred its interest in the festival.

She said the festival gave members of the visiting devotees joy to be in company of indigenous devotees and others from around the world to celebrate the Osun goddess.

Also speaking with NAN, a German, Johnnnes Wollbold, said he was in Osun to study Yoruba culture and take part in the Osun-Osogbo festival.

Wollbold said the study  would give him a comprehensive report on the lives and nature of Osogbo people.

Wollbold, who said he came from Weimer Germany, said he was working in partnership with Jungle Communication Centre(JCC) to study African philosophy vis-a-vis Yoruba culture.

He said he had been to Nigeria three times in the 90s but  took part in Osun-Osogbo festival in 1995.

“I am here to study Yoruba /West African culture, the music, drumming, dancing and African philosophy.

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“The Yoruba culture is not individualistic, often the Yoruba celebrate together and the Osun festival brings people together.

“The festival afforded me the opportunity to understand how the Yoruba people   mix together, their contact with nature and  harmony between nature and humans, and  not forgetting their roots.

“The Osun festival is joy of life. I see people in their everyday life, joyful and I love the celebration.

” I like the Yoruba people. They are friendly. They are not individualistic . As a German-European , I will, however, like them to stay peaceful.

“There is a senseless war in Europe between Russia and Ukraine which is crazy, so I will advise Nigerians to learn to settle their differences and stay peaceful,” he said. (NAN)

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