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‘Nigerians must stay together irrespective of religious differences’

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Men wash their feet and hands before observing Ramadan prayers along the road in open space of Tinubu Square, wearing face masks and adhering to social distancing measures to curtail the spread of COVID -19 coronavirus in Lagos, on May 13, 2020. – Tinubu Square, an open space historial landmark that often serves as mobile praying ground for roadside vendors has been deserted as faithfuls prefer to pray indoors during Ramadan, and to avoid congregating in compliance with the state order to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Lagos. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

Muslim News Publisher, Rasheed Abubakar has urged Nigeria to stay together to fight the coronavirus pandemic and help the needy at this critical period.

Speaking during the distribution of non-alcoholic malt drink, Malta Guinness, to fasting Muslims in different locations in Lagos, Abubakar said Muslim News partnered Guinness Nigeria Plc to support Nigerians.

He noted that the distribution, the first of its kind, is part of Guinness’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) aimed at cushioning the adverse economic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown which has impacted adversely on economic and religious activities in the blessed month of Ramadan.

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The distribution exercise led by Abubakar saw hundreds of fasting Muslims and non-Muslims throng the main distribution centre at Pent House, Surulere area of Lagos.

Abubakar and his team moved to other Local government areas in the State, including Coker/Aguda, Orile, Mushin, Awoyokun, Onipanu, Somolu, Ojuelegba and Offin Ile, in Ikorodu to put smiles in the faces of fasting Muslims with the free Malta Guinness.

The Non-Alcoholic drink was distributed to different mosques including Alhaji Kilani Mosque, Ojuelegba; Alhaji Alebiosu Central Mosque, Palmgroove, Alhaji Ayolo Central Mosque, Ijesha, among others.

Abubakar expressed gratitude to Guinness Nigeria for the collaborative initiative with a thousand cases of its premium non-alcoholic Malt drink, adding that it will fuel the greatness of Nigerian Muslims as its slogan goes, during and after the Ramadan fast.

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He said Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is a period of intense religious and great charitable activities especially to the indigent and vulnerable fasting Muslims.

According to him, “This year’s Ramadan is coming at a period the world is battling to curtail the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. As a reliable Muslim newspaper, we felt the need to do something different apart from our primary responsibility, which is the provision of fact-based Islamic news.

“First, we must stay stronger together as Nigerians irrespective of religious persuasions and stand collectively by following all the health and precautionary guidelines to bring an end to this pandemic. Then, there is the need to provide palliatives for indigent persons, particularly fasting Muslims, more importantly, as Ramadan itself is a period of giving.

“Any time we publish activities of Islamic NGOs giving out money, food or other relief packages, we receive countless requests for support from indigent persons – Muslims and non-Muslims. So, most times we refer them to these Foundations since we are a News organisation and not an NGO.

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“Luckily for us, the Guinness Nigeria Plc Team reached out to us. They decided to give us 1000 cases of Malta Guinness for distribution to fasting Muslims. Interestingly, the company has embarked on this distribution of her non-alcoholic drink to support the palliative measures being undertaken by some states. We’re very grateful to them for this kind gesture. Alhamdulillah,” he added.

Ishola Ishaq, one of the beneficiaries in Surulere, said, “I’d like to commend the gesture from Guinness Nigeria in collaboration with Muslim News Nigeria. I must say that it is timely and apt given the unusual times we find ourselves.

“Virtually everyone is in need during this Ramadan period observed under lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic. I appreciate them and pray that Allah will not deny them the reward,” he added.

A Christian lady in Offin Ile, Ikorodu, who simply identified herself as Iya Bobo was happy to benefit from the free drinks. She told journalists that she never thought that she would be considered for the gesture since she is not a Muslim.

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