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Eid-el-Fitr: Clerics task government on job creation

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This week, Nigerian Muslims will join their colleagues globally to celebrate Eid-el-Fitr, marking the end of the month-long Ramadan fast. In addition to admonishing Muslim faithful to be of good behaviour beyond the month of Ramadan, clerics have called on government to make life meaningful by creating jobs for the teeming youths, so as to dissuade them from being lured into banditry, kidnapping and engaging in other vices. This is particularly required in the face of the deteriorating insecurity plaguing the nation. CHRIS IREKAMBA reports.

‘We Must Take Message Of
God-consciousness To All And Sundry’
(Dr. Ismail Musa, Chief Imam, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Muslim Community)
AS we celebrate Idul-Fitr, I urge Muslims and non-Muslims to keep in view the essence of Ramadan, which is to attain, maintain and improve our level of God-consciousness. All human problems are related in one way or another, to a deficiency in God-consciousness, which the Qur’an identifies as Taqwa. The Qur’an says fasting is prescribed for all generations to be God-conscious (Qur’an 2:183). 

The root of the insecurity challenges in Nigeria and elsewhere in the world is the neglect of a God-directed and a God-led life, which is the best form of living. Insurgency, kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery, militancy and various forms of other violence plaguing our country are processes emanating from a misguided heart. Nothing will fundamentally change until we return to a God-guided life. Parents, religious leaders and the society have failed in their responsibilities in training the heart. Ramadan is a divine mechanism of redirecting our focus towards God and the values He teaches. Government’s military and social interventions are temporary, no matter how sophisticated they are. Crime and various forms of mischief are best prevented through self-discipline, self-control and self-restraint, which are characteristics of a God-propelled heart.  The solutions being proffered to the problem of insecurity are over-secularised and too government-oriented that they neglect the indispensable role of God. Government can and should improve the nation’s security architecture, ensure people are gainfully employed and ensure people live decently. But, all of these measures can only endure when people live God-conscious lives by always adhering strictly to His guidance. We must take the message of God-consciousness to all and sundry through every possible means. This is the prime focus of Ramadan.     

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‘Your Money Is Valueless If
You Don’t Help Others In Need’
(Yusuf Abdul Wasiu, Imam/Missioner, Ansar-Uddeen, Oworo Branch, Lagos)
ONE of the ways I think government can curb insecurity in the country is to create employment opportunities for our teeming youths that are roaming the streets with nothing to do. If they have a place to go in the morning and come back in the evening or in the night, they are already occupied and nobody can use them for any evil agenda. If they have something doing, you know it is difficult for anybody to conscript them into any of these vices we are seeing today, such as banditry and kidnapping, among others.

The saying that ‘idle hands are the workshop of the devil’ will not make sense for an individual who is occupied. And if they are gainfully employed, that job can sustain them. Some of these boys who are vandalising government properties and bursting pipelines are doing so in search of what to eat. For instance, you and I will not go near these places because we know the consequences, but these hungry youths do not know this. But if they are occupied, nobody can lure them into any bad habit, because they have something doing and are getting something from it, which can help sustain them.

Those who vandalise government properties don’t do so in their right senses. These are jobless and aimless youths, who think the best way to make a living is by scooping fuel or bursting pipelines in search of what to eat.

To tackle insecurity, government should involve traditional rulers. They know more about their environment than anyone else, and if there is problem in the community, they know what to do and how to fish out the culprits. The traditional rulers are very close to their people. They know the vicinity and the bad eggs in the community; even in their hiding places. Community policing is also very essential at this point in time, no matter what some people are saying about it. I still see it as the best method to track down criminals in our communities. For what we are facing now, we need them to track down bandits and kidnappers. Of course, if they misbehave, what happened to SARS will also happen to them. At this juncture, I want to encourage our religious leaders to continue praying for our country. Personally, I still believe that prayer is helping us in this country. If not for the prayers, so many things could have gone wrong.

Wealthy individuals can help the government in creating employment for the youths. They should not wait on government to do everything; they can also help poor Nigerians in that regard. As they create employment opportunities for the youths, unemployment is bound to reduce as well as criminality in the society. One thing I have discovered is that unemployment leads to poverty, whether you like or not. It is compulsory that people eat, but if an individual doesn’t eat today, tomorrow or for a week, definitely if somebody comes to lure him/her into an illicit business, definitely he/she will follow the person because there’s no alternative. In that regard, anything he asks you to do will surely be done without looking back.

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So, as we mark Eid-el-fitr, I want our Muslim brothers and sisters to celebrate the occasion peacefully. They don’t need to disturb the peace of others around them. They should remember the lessons of Ramadan and all that they learnt within the period of the one month. They should continue with the lessons and love one another, whether you are Muslim or Christian.

Practise your religion and allow others to also worship their Creator their own way. We should render help to those who are in need. If during Ramadan the faithful were bringing food to the mosque to break their fast, if they have been doing that during Ramadan, I expect they should continue in likewise after Ramadan to help others. If I have something to eat, I will not be involved in banditry and kidnapping. So, your money is valueless, if you don’t use it to help others who are in need.

‘Government Should Stop Playing
Politics With Handling Of Criminals’
(Imam Rahman Bello, Lagos)
ALL praises are due to Allah. We ask for His blessings on our Prophet (SAW). I greet all the Muslims worldwide and Nigerian Muslims in particular on this occasion of Ramadan. I say Ramadan kareem. May Almighty Allah take us to the end of Ramadan and accept our Ibada. Amen.

The major challenges facing Nigeria, today, include insecurity, unemployment for our teeming youths and inflation. The government needs to wake up to its responsibility in addressing these three key areas, by fulfilling its campaign promises. Insecurity is becoming so overwhelming that the Nigerian government needs to really address it, no matter what it takes. There is banditry, there is kidnapping, there is killing of innocent souls. All this does not augur well for our economy. So, government first and foremost should wake up to its responsibility.

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Government’s first duty is to secure its people, and this it must do whatever it takes. Nigerians’ lives and property must be secure, especially those in the rural areas who are producing the food we eat. These are the farmers that are very important to our wellbeing and economy. So, government should try as much as possible to protect them and their environment to enable them undertake their day-to-day activities.

Secondly, the issue of unemployment of our youths has reached a worrisome stage. Year-in-year-out, we churn out graduates from our tertiary institutions without providing jobs for them. This is a factor that is aiding insecurity in the land because when there is no job for the youths, they will have to find jobs for themselves. Those causing trouble here and there in the country find cheap labour in these unemployed youths. They engage them to do whatever they want to do and pay them meager amounts. So, the issue of unemployment should be seriously addressed. Another problem that the government must address is that of inflation. There is high cost of food items and these are due to insecurity in the land. If you go to the market, things that should ordinarily cost N100, N200 now go for N500 and when you ask, the respond you get is that farmers can no longer farm. So, the little that is available attract high prices.

So, government needs to address these areas. It is true that government is doing something through some policies, but they are not enough. Many youths out there are still unemployed and you know an idle hand is a devil’s workshop.

Furthermore, government should stop playing politics with the handling of criminals. The process of arrest and prosecution of those criminal elements is not encouraging at all. Our judiciary needs to hasten the process so that criminals are dealt with to enable citizens have trust in the system. When criminals are arrested, they should receive what is due to them in terms of punishment. We keep killing innocent souls while criminals are walking free on the streets. This is highly disheartening. Government should be more sincere in providing basic needs for the citizenry.

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