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What Is Ramadan? Here Are 5 Things To Know



What Is Ramadan? Here Are 10 Things To Know

Observed by millions of Muslims worldwide, Ramadan is an interesting mix of austerity and celebration. For those who are observing it, it’s nil by mouth from when the sun rises, so it’s very important to eat and drink wisely to avoid dehydration and maintain energy levels throughout the day.

As Muslim faithful began the Ramadan for the year (2021), Newsrand presents below the 10 things you should know:

Fasting happens during daylight hours

Ramadan is based on the lunar calendar and begins with hilal, which is the Arabic word for crescent or “new moon”. This happens in the ninth month of each lunar year. But because the lunar cycle steadily moves backward, Ramadan falls earlier and earlier each year – moving back 11 days each time.

There are two main meals eaten during Ramadan

Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. During this month, two main meals are eaten, daily. They are called suhoor (served pre-dawn) and iftar (served at sunset). Suhoor should be a hearty meal to provide the energy throughout a day of fasting. It ends when the sun rises and fajr or morning prayer begins. Some choose to sleep rather than prepare food and eat during suhoor.

Dates are traditionally the first thing eaten at iftar


Bowl of dates

In adherence to how the Islamic prophet Muhammad broke his fast, a handful of dates followed by a glass of water are consumed before Maghrib (evening prayer) and the main meal. Soaking dates in milk overnight is a Middle Eastern iftar favourite. Some would eat dates followed by fruit or yogurt, which helps to kick-start the body’s metabolism after a day’s worth of fasting.

Fasting during Ramadan is a must, but there are ‘loopholes’

On top of keeping thoughts pure, Muslims are required to abstain from eating, drinking, and refraining from extra pleasures such as cigarettes and chewing gum from sunrise to sunset each day. However, there are some instances in which a fast can be broken. According to the Quran, those who are unwell and/or taking medication, elderly, travelling, pregnant or breastfeeding, as well as children under the age of puberty, can forgo fasting – especially if it will negatively impact their health. A fast can also be broken if a woman is on her period. In all these cases, those who broke their fast can make up for the missed days of fasting.


Eid marks the end of Ramadan

Lamb, squash and apricot tagine in a large pot with couscous on side

Eid al-Fitr, which means ‘feast of breaking the fast’, is a three-day celebration that marks the end of Ramadan. This begins when the new moon is sighted, and Muslims rely on news of an official sighting of the new moon rather than looking at the sky themselves. This also means that Eid dates differ around the world, although they are a day or two away from each other. It’s a massive event in the Islamic calendar – think Christmas and Easter Sunday combined.

Muslims celebrate with families and friends, and large meals are prepared. In some households, the women of the house gather in their kitchens to make special sugar-coated cookies, known as Eid cookies or kahk, which are served during breakfast.

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REVEALED: How Abuja-Kaduna Train Station Staff Exploit Passengers



Excluisive: How Abuja-Kaduna Train Station Staff Exploit Passengers

The Ministry of Transport is under the supervision of the Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi. Since the inception of the Buhari administration, it has launched various railway stations across the country, one of which is the Abuja-Kaduna Railway.

Information reached NEWSRAND about suspicious activities going on in the train station, of staff exploiting passengers by selling tickets at a higher price.

Our team conducted an investigation and here’s what we discovered;

Staff at these stations hoard tickets, then tell passengers who intend to board that they are sold out, no more seats in the train.

READ ALSO: FG Inaugurates E-Ticketing Platform For Abuja-Kaduna Train Service

As departure time draws nearer, staff who hoard these tickets then discreetly go to meet with frustrated passengers, telling them they have a reserved ticket and then doubling the price from the initial ticket price.

These passengers have no option but to buy this ticket because of the need and urgency.

NEWSRAND in its findings got the original price of the ticket to be N3,000 for economy class, and N6,000 for business class, with minor extra charges for medical.

Speaking with Andra Chidiebele one of the riders at the Kubwa train station, she explained to NEWSRAND how she was exploited by one of the train station staff.

“I tried getting the tickets online, on my way back to Abuja, and it was showing me that there were no more available seats on the train. I went there to the train station, and I got the same feedback that the seats were all occupied, I was feeling down because I had to get back to Abuja for an event that day.

READ ALSO: FG Inaugurates E-Ticketing Platform For Abuja-Kaduna Train Service

“Suddenly a man came to me, telling me he can get me a ticket in the Economy class for N6,000, I was not happy about the hike, the initial price of the ticket is N3,000, but I had to go back home today, so I bargained with him for N5,000 which he agreed.

“On entering the train, I found out that it was almost empty, the seats they claimed to be all out, I was vexed but could do nothing about it.

Another passenger Bright Udom shared his experience of how he was ripped earlier on his way to Kaduna.

“I had a wedding to attend on a Saturday morning, so I closed from work earlier to catch the 6 pm train, I went straight to the ticket stand only to be told the train is full. I had to get on the train because of the wedding starting at 10 am the next day, I felt disappointed, only to be approached by a staff who told me he has an extra ticket.

“He told me he has sitting ticket and standing ticket, that the sitting will cost me N7,000 why standing will cost me N4,000. I tried negotiating but he said he will not sell less, so I had to buy the standing since it is just a 2 hours journey. I got on the train and I didn’t even have to stand for a second because there were empty seats.

Jessica Chibuike, a Commuter narrated her ordeal, how amused she was when a cleaner in the station sold her a train ticket.

“I was rather amused than upset (even if I had been swindled of an extra N2,000) when a cleaner in the station sold a ticket for me after I was told the train was full. I mean like is he going back to Kaduna after work, what is he doing with an extra ticket?

Passengers have cried out to this exploitation and it seems that nothing yet has been done so far, and with the rate of insecurity in the Abuja-Kaduna expressway, people find it safer to travel by train.

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EXCLUSIVE: Why Sanwo-Olu Ordered Demolition Of Okeowo’s Ikoyi House



EXCLUSIVE: Why Sanwo-Olu Ordered Demolition Of Okeowo's Ikoyi House

To many Lagosians, particularly real estate merchants in the commercial hub of Nigeria, Olu Okeowo, the founder and chairman of Gibraltar Construction is a popular figure, all thanks to his affluence.

For over 27 years, the real estate tycoon has been exploring the building and construction engineering industry, making the island and Ikoyi areas of Lagos his fortress with the development of luxury homes like Palacio De Okeowo, Solomon Court, Adejoke’s Court, Abraham Court, Grace Court, amongst many others.

But on Friday, April 23, the demolition of Tumi’s Court, one of the billionaire’s properties situated at Olusegun Aina Street, Parkview Estate in Ikoyi, started

When Newsrand visited the house situated just beside Okeowo’s famous Palacio De Okeowo, site workers were seen pulling down Okeowo’s N120 million (3 bedroom)/N140 million (4 bed room) a flat multi-family building.

EXCLUSIVE: Why Sanwo-Olu Ordered Demolition Of Okeowo's Ikoyi House

Our correspondents, however, learnt that the demolition was on the order of Lagos governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Newsrand was informed by sources who don’t want to be mentioned in this report, that the construction was a form of reclamation, an act of creating land out of an ocean or stealing a portion of a sea to situate property, w

hich is illegal. Okeowo dredged and sand-filled a part of the sea to extend what was meant to be a luxury building.

As seen in an aerial video by Ripples, the reclaimed part is occupied by a two-storey building, with gardens, a swimming pool, and a tennis court, as the waterside was used as a unique selling proposition to lure buyers/investors.

EXCLUSIVE: Why Sanwo-Olu Ordered Demolition Of Okeowo's Ikoyi House

Prior to the demolition, a Lagos-based journalist Olalekan Fakoyejo had reached out to the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA) to find out if the state government gave a license for such extension or approved the building plan. He, however, found out from Fanope Queen, the hotline call representative for the real estate regulator, that the extension works may have been illegal and not approved by the government.

Confirming that Sanwo-Olu ordered the demolition, Lagos State Commissioner for Information, Gbenga Omotosho said the building contravened the existing laws in the state. “I’m told it was a case of contravention of the regulation,” he told Newsrand in a chat.

Meanwhile, a close ally to Okeowo, expressed shock to the demolition, querying “whom as my friend offended that would have called for this incident?”

The ally who preferred anonymity told this publication that a top Southwest governor has been approached to interven in the matter.

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Idriss Déby: Hereditary Succession In Africa’s Modern-day Autocracy



Idriss Déby: Hereditary Succession In Africa's Modern-day Autocracy

Yesterday (Tuesday, April 20, 2021) was a sad day for Chadians, and not only for them but Africans at large. It was the day Idriss Déby, who served the country as a sitting president for no less than 31 years.  He died from the bullet wounds he suffered while leading Chadian troops in a fight against terror sect, Boko Haram.

A few hours after Déby’s death was disclosed, his son, General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, 37, was named as a transitional leader of the country. And in what appeared to be a demonstration of the country’s succession-designed plan, he eventually became the successor of his late father. “Itno will occupy the functions of the president of the republic, and also serve as head of the armed forces”, a statement from the presidency read.

How Déby planned to stay in power for at least, 4 decades

It would be recalled that a national conference, in what appeared to be a move to design monarchy, approved of Déby to be in power till 2033. The conference also sought the granting of greater powers to the deceased under constitutional changes. Newsrand understands that the development came after Déby had spent 31 years in power.

The two-week forum of about 800 politicians, business leaders, and traditional chiefs, also recommended the elimination of the post of prime minister, as they kicked against the idea of running a fully presidential system.

It, however, proposed re-instating presidential term limits that were scrapped by a 2005 referendum, but the reforms would still let President Idriss Deby, who came to power in a rebellion in 1990, stay on well into old age.

It recommended six-year presidential terms, limited to a maximum of two terms, effective from 2021, which was when the much-awaited presidential election was expected to hold. This development means Déby would stay in power until 2033 when he will be 81.

Even though he’s dead, Déby somehow managed to remain in power through an heir.

The leadership succession at play

Leadership succession is a truly ubiquitous phenomenon with manifold and wide-ranging implications, which explains the major attention that issues of succession have received in the international community.

While most contributions to the topic focus on political succession in either democratic or non-democratic regimes, it is pertinent to note that succession is an inevitability of political life, and as it has been seen in the past, there are several ways it has been accomplished. From dynastic inheritance to assassination, to competition for votes, Africa as a whole has experienced leadership through successions. Although, some do it better than others.

In view of the many successions that have been experienced in different African countries, it is however fair to say that the continent has had more than its share of disorderly successions. Even where succession does not lead directly to violence or state breakdown, uncertainty surrounding the process can impede economic development, increase insecurity, amongst other factors that might ignite call for revolution.

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