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Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu at 65



Professor Abdalla Adamu

By Ibrahim Sheme

On this day, April 25, the immediate past Vice-Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu, clocked 65 years.

He was the VC of NOUN from 2016 to February 11, 2021. When his tenure ended, he returned to his former duty post at Bayero University, Kano, but then took sabbatical work as Visitor at Kaduna State University (KASU), Kaduna, on March 1, this year.

Born in Kano City on April 25, 1956, Adamu is unarguably one of the leading academic lights in Nigeria. He obtained a professorship each in Science Education and in Media and Cultural Communication, both from Bayero University, in 1997 and 2012 respectively. Indeed, he is one of very few academics in the country to have attained the feat of a double professorship.

Adamu is an international scholar, having taught media and science education courses in many Nigerian universities and around the world, including serving as a European Union Visiting Professor at University of Warsaw, Poland, in 2012, visiting professor, Rutgers University, New Jersey, and visiting professor, University of Florida in 2010. He was also Fulbright African Senior Research Scholar in 1991.

One other remarkable achievement he recorded was the development of ‘hooked’ Hausa language character font sets (ɓ Ɓ ɗ Ɗ ƙ Ƙ), which were not present at the advent of the Internet. The emergence of these fonts, which he created as part of his various extracurricular activities, has helped many authors, publishers, scholars, students and ordinary users in conveying the Hausa language in a way that it should be written.

Two years ago, on a day like this, I penned a birthday tribute to Professor Adamu to help celebrate his 63rd anniversary. In that write-up I did not dwell on his unfolding accomplishments at NOUN in the area of infrastructural development of the university because others had done so already. Instead, I emphasised on the then VC’s human relation, which I have always found unique. And I wrote: “On that score Prof. Abdalla has remained the same person I have known for about two decades – easy-going, humorous and understanding towards all. I think this essence is a great contributory factor to the achievements he is making as a leader and chief executive.

“His approachability is rare. I know chief executives who are ‘feared’ – and consequently loathed – by those working under them because of their stiffness and unbendability. Some, you strictly need an appointment to see them, and their secretaries become lords because they emulate the ‘man inside’.  Not Baba Prof (as we used to call him). He runs an open door policy, with a  secretary (Esther) just as approachable and nice as he is.

“Once you get into his office, you immediately feel at home. He has a joke for everyone. You will never find him mirthless or sad as if the whole world rests on his shoulders. If it is lunch-time, he offers you his food.

“That sense of humanity, for me, are as important as the infrastructure he is putting on ground at NOUN. That sensibility, plus the infrastructure and the policy transformation, will no doubt count as his best legacies when his tenure ends in February, 2021.”

I daresay many at NOUN would remember him for such virtue. Happily, his successor as VC, Professor Olufemi A. Peters, is another approachable chief executive who doesn’t put on airs. Even though the two men do not necessarily share the same character traits, one can say there are several points of convergence that one can easily point at – but that is a story for another day.

Meanwhile, I’d like to use this opportunity to wish Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu happy birthday and many happy returns.

Sheme is the Director, media and publicity at National Open University of Nigeria, Abuja

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Tinubu’s big bets on gas



By Abdulaziz Abdulaziz


Three distinct events in the course of last week all point to the unmistakable direction of the Tinubu administration in putting Nigeria on a firm and sustainable energy path.


First was the order that government ministries and agencies must prioritise vehicles powered by Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) in their procurement. The second was the commissioning by the President of three important gas projects through a virtual ceremony on Wednesday. The third in chronology was the announcement of the mass deployment of 530 CNG-powered buses nationwide followed by a heartwarming inspection tour by a Federal Government team to a company taking the lead in provision of CNG vehicles in Nigeria. We take them one at time.


At the Federal Executive Council meeting on Monday a bold decision of the government to cease purchase of petrol-powered vehicles was announced. It was a move championed by no other person than President Bola Ahmed Tinubu himself. In considering a council memo for the proposed purchase of 200 Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles for use by the Nigerian Customs Service, the President made a deft move by drafting in his vision for Nigeria’s energy future into the prey. At the end the council agreed that it should be a policy that henceforth government money should not be used to purchase petrol-only vehicles.


The policy has far-reaching implications. With 209.5 trillion cubic feet of proven gas reserve, Nigeria ranks 9th in the world among gas-rich countries. Yet, the country is still far away from full utilization of this abundant natural resource for both domestic use and export. Since his coming, President Tinubu has shown his eagerness to change the Nigeria’s energy story using the potentials of our gas deposits.


In driving the point to members of his cabinet, the President noted that Nigeria “will not progress if we continue to dance on the same spot. We have the will to drive the implementation of CNG adoption across the country, and we must set the example as public officials leading the way to that prosperous future that we are working to achieve for our people. It starts with us, and seeing that we are serious Nigerians will follow our lead.”


As if it were a planned sequel to that powerful statement, two days later, the President launched three salient gas projects with collective capacity to generate $500 million for Nigeria in the next 10 years.


The three milestone projects were the expanded AHL Gas Processing Plant; the ANOH Gas Processing Plant, and the 23.3km ANOH to Obiafu-Obrikom-Oben (OB3) Custody Transfer Metering Station Gas Pipeline.


Speaking during the virtual inauguration of the projects at the State House, President Tinubu assured citizens that his administration is stepping up its coordination of other landmark projects and initiatives that will ensure the earliest realization of gas-fueled prosperity for Nigeria.


The President noted that the projects are fully in line with the Decade of Gas Initiative and his government’s vision to grow value from the nation’s abundant gas assets while concurrently eliminating gas flaring and accelerating industrialization.


“This event is highly significant to our country as it demonstrates the administration’s concerted efforts to accelerate the development of critical gas infrastructure geared at significantly enhancing the supply of energy to boost industrial growth and create employment opportunities.


“It is pleasing that when these projects become fully operational, approximately 500MMscf of gas in aggregate

will be supplied to the domestic market from these two gas processing plants, which represents over 25% incremental growth in gas supply,” the President said in his remarks.


The new projects are purposed to bolster more gas to the power-generating sector, gas-based industries, and other critical segments of the economy which would build into the government’s bid to leverage the nation’s vast gas capacity to drive economic growth.


The president was, expectedly full of praises for the NNPC Ltd under the workaholic GCEO, Malam Mele Kyari, and its partners for heeding to the clarion call to ramp up efforts to accelerate investment and developments of projects in the gas sector on a win-win basis.


For President Tinubu the goals are clear: The government is ready to partner private sector in deepening domestic gas utilization, increase national power generation capacity, revitalize industries, and create multiple job opportunities for economic growth.


At another part of the country on the same day, excited transport sector stakeholders were taken through the governments agenda for CNG vehicles and the torrents of incentives targeted at investors in the new energy vista.


The event was a stakeholders engagement for the South West region organized by the Presidential Compressed Natural Gas Initiative (P-CNGi). It was a follow up to the major event held with stakeholders in Abuja to secure their buy in for the government’s vision for the cheaper and cleaner transport sector.


Launched last year, the P-NGi aims to midwife transition into gas-powered transportation in Nigeria. Aside working with private sector players to widen gas infrastructure nationwide, the programme has facilitated opening conversion centres and placed order for hundreds of buses for mass transport on campuses and cities to pilot this new energy source. Michael Oluwagbemi, P-CNGi project director said 530 of those buses would soon be rolled out on our roads.


Encouraged by the government’s desire to develop the CNG ecosystem a number of businesses such as NIPCO, Matrix, BOVAS, Mikano, JET and Innoson are making huge investments in making available the CNG infrastructure and flooding the market with CNG-powered vehicles. On the trip to Lagos, the Federal Government delegation had tour of Mikano plant along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway where the company is assembling assortment of vehicles with a new focus on CNG compatibility. From what we saw at the Mikano plant and the explanation by its chairman, Mr Mofid Karameh, as well as comments from stakeholders at the Wednesday gathering in Lagos, the bright future for the CNG in Nigeria is clear.


As a bon mort, it is important to stress that President Tinubu’s vision of utilisation of Nigerian immense gas resources is not new. As someone familiar with the energy market, the President has been a front line advocate for exploring our gas resources for cheaper and cleaner energy. His goal is to hasten domestic utilisation and quicken its export to fertile Europe gas market. He had said it as a candidate and has reiterated it again and again since coming to office. Thankfully, the President is not one given to lip service to issues he feels strongly about. These latest steps, among others, have given unambiguous expression of his political will to save Nigeria and Nigerians from perpetual energy crisis and boost prosperity.


Abdulaziz is a senior special assistant to President Tinubu.

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Friday Sermon: The Reward For An Accepted Hajj (Hajj Mabrur) Is Paradise (Jannah)



By Imam Murtadha Gusau



In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation, may Allah extol the mention of our noble Prophet Muhammad in the highest company of Angels, bless him and give him peace and security―and his family, his Companions and all those who follow him correctly and sincerely until the establishment of the Hour.

Dear brothers and sisters! Allah Almighty has honoured the Muslim Ummah with successive seasons of goodness, consecutive days of mercies, and many means of triumphing with Paradise. The days pass by quickly. For as soon as Muslims bid farewell to Ramadan, the month of blessings and mercy, the season of Hajj arrives, the season of remembrance, magnifying and praising Allah, responding to the call of Allah, standing in Arafah, throwing the jamarat and tawaf (circumambulating) around the ancient House. Allah Almighty said:

“That [is so]. And whoever honours the symbols [i.e., rites] of Allah – indeed, it is from the piety of hearts.” [Qur’an, 22:32]

And from Allah’s magnifying this season, that the souls of the believers yearn to shade under, is that Allah Almighty singled it from other seasons, that He did not entrust the honour of informing people about it and inviting them to it except to His close friend and the best of His creation after our Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him); our father Ibrahim (Peace be upon him). Allah Almighty said:

“And [mention, O Muhammad], when We designated for Ibrahim the site of the House, [saying], “Do not associate anything with Me and purify My House for those who perform tawaf and those who stand [in prayer] and those who bow and prostrate. And proclaim to the people the Hajj [pilgrimage]; they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every distant pass.” [Qur’an, 22:26-27]

Respected brothers and sisters! Hajj, pilgrimage, to Allah’s sacred House is one of the great pillars of Islam. Allah Almighty mandated Hajj once in a lifetime upon His servants who are able to find a way there. Not to multiply through them due to lack and not to get glory through them out of humility. For He is the Free of need, the Praiseworthy. And indeed He bestows His grace and mercy upon people. So whoever obeys Him is guided. And whoever disbelieves does not hurt except themselves and does not harm Allah Almighty in the least bit. Allah Almighty said:

“And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House – for whoever is able to find thereto a way. But whoever disbelieves [i.e., refuses] – then indeed, Allah is free from need of the worlds.” [Qur’an, 3:97]

And Hajj is specific to this religion and it is the secret of tawhid (affirming the Oneness of Allah). It is the visit of the one who loves to their Beloved and answering His invitation. And one’s dignity is through an ancient phrase that constantly renews, whose echo does not weaken over the centuries and the successive generations:

“Labbaikallahummah Labbaik, Labbaika la sharika laka labbaik… I respond to Your call O Allah, I respond to Your call, You have no partner, I respond to Your call…”

Those of you who intend to perform the pilgrimage to the Sacred House of Allah, have glad tidings of Allah Almighty’s promise for you as the Prophet (Peace be upon him) indicated when responding to a man from among the Ansar (helpers) about what Hajj contains of reward. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“As for leaving your home towards the Sacred House; for every step that your riding animal takes, Allah will record a good deed for you, and wipe away a sin. As for your standing in Arafah, Allah Almighty will descend to the sky of this world (in a manner befitting His Majesty) and boast about them to the angels and will say: these servants of Mine have come to Me disheveled from every distant pass, hoping for My mercy and fearing My torment while they have not seen Me, so how about if they saw Me? So if you have (countless) sins like the sands of a great desert or the days of this worldly life or the raindrops of the sky, Allah will cleanse it from you. As for your throwing the jamarat, its (reward) will be stored for you, as for shaving your head, a good deed will be recorded for every hair that falls, then if you perform tawaf around the House (Ka’abah) you will exit from your sins like the day that your mother gave birth to you.” [At Tabarani reported it and Albani in Sahih al Jami’]

Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him said that the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) was asked:

“Which of the deeds are the best? He replied faith in Allah and His messenger. Then it was said, what’s next, he said striving in the way of Allah. Then it was said, what’s next, he replied a Hajj Mabrur.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

And a Hajj Mabrur is a Hajj that is performed properly in accordance to the requirements and accepted by Allah Almighty. A Hajj that is free from showing off, seeking reputation, sin and unlawfully gained wealth. Therefore, it’s reward was promised by the Lord of the Worlds. And it’s reward is for the Allah conscious. It is the precious wish of the seekers of Allah’s pleasure and the believers race to it. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“And the reward for the Hajj Mabrur (an accepted Hajj) is paradise.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Ibn Shumasah, may Allah have mercy on Him reported:

“We visited Amr Bin Al-As (May Allah be pleased with him) when he was on his deathbed. He wept for a long time and said: When Allah placed the love for Islam in my heart, I went to Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) and said, extend your right hand, so that I may pledge allegiance to you. He (Peace be upon him) stretched out his right hand, but I withdrew my hand. He (Peace be upon him) said, What is the matter, Amr?’ I said, I wish to make some conditions. He asked, What conditions do you wish to make? He replied, to be granted forgiveness. He (Peace be upon him) said, do you not know that (embracing) Islam wipes out all that was before it (previous misdeeds). And that emigration for the sake of Allah wipes out all the previous sins before it, and that Hajj (pilgrimage) wipes out all previous sins and misdeeds before it.” [Muslim]

And from Allah’s kindness to the Muslims is that if a door of righteousness is closed for someone, He replaces it with another that is in line with their abilities and readiness. For the wives of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) requested from him to strive against the adversaries (Jihad) for the sake of Allah for what it contains of great virtue and high positions with Allah Almighty. So the Prophet (Peace be upon him) directed them to a deed that takes its place and is befitting for them. Indeed it is Hajj. For the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: But the best Jihad (for women) is the Hajj Mabrur (accepted by Allah). Then Aishah said, I did not leave performing Hajj after I heard this from Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him).” [Bukhari]

There are many virtues of Hajj and Allah’s favour upon us is bigger and greater. It is astonishing for the one knowing these virtues to turn away from Hajj; people whom Allah has blessed with health, well-being, security and abundance of wealth. Rather, they may have gone on trips and travels to all countries and regions. They endure toil and fatigue because of these trips, and may even incur sins because of them. While their toil and spending in Hajj (pilgrimage) is recorded for them with their Lord and is saved for them in the balance of their good deeds. And in spite of this, there are those who are negligent of Hajj. For Aishah, may Allah be pleased with her, narrated that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said to her when she performed Umrah:

“You will be rewarded in accordance to your effort and spending.” [Sahih Al-Targhib of Albani]

And the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Perform Hajj and Umrah consecutively; for they remove poverty and sin as the bellows remove impurity from iron, gold and silver. And there is no reward for an accepted Hajj except paradise.” [Sunan an-Nasa’i]

Dear brothers and sisters! Every Muslim, who has the ability, should hasten to perform Hajj. And it is not justified for the one who is able and capable of performing Hajj to delay it. Rather one should hasten to perform Hajj before something happens to them. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Hasten in performing the (one obligatory) Hajj, For none of you knows what will happen to them.” [Ahmad and in Sahih Al-Jami’]

And in another narration:

“Whoever intends to perform Hajj, shall hasten to do so, for he may fall sick, lose his mount, or be faced with some need.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]

And Abu Sa’id Al-Khudry, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said that Allah said:

“Verily, the one whose body I have made sound, and I have made his life easy, but five years pass for him without coming to me, is deprived.” [Sahih Al-Jami’ of Albani]

Meaning that if five years pass without a person visiting Allah’s sacred House, either intending Umrah or Hajj, while they are healthy and have extra wealth, then they are deprived from great good and reward from Allah Almighty, because they left what has much good in this life and the next without a valid excuse.

I ask Allah Almighty to grant us and you a Hajj this year and to bless us with pardoning and well-being in this world and the hereafter. Indeed Allah is All Hearing Answering.

Great servants of Allah! During the months of Hajj, convoys of pilgrims set off, heading to the Sacred House of Allah, affirming allegiance to the Lord of this House. And those convoys successively increase. And when the season approaches it turns into an active and tireless race. They cut across land, sea and air, coming to this House from the East and the West, displaying humility and submission to Allah. They recite talbiyah, magnify, glorify and exalt Allah Almighty. Whenever, they ascend a hill or descend into a valley, they make remembrance of Allah and praise Him. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“There is no (pilgrim) who recites the Talbiyah but that which is to his right and left also recites it, rocks and trees and hills, to the farthest ends of the earth in each direction, from here and from there.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]

Dear brothers and sisters! A few reflections upon the verses of Hajj in the Book of Allah Almighty (Qur’an), are sufficient to reveal some of the secrets of Hajj and its wisdom, and what it contains of improvement and refinement, and the fundamentals of abandoning sin that leads to the horizons of goodness.

These reflections represent the greatest wisdoms and aims of this great worship (Ibadah). Indeed, it is contemplation upon the tawhid of Allah Almighty, for which the ancient house was built and was made the aim of people from all over the globe; to fuel the ritual of oneness of worship and dedication to Allah alone, who has no partner. Allah Almighty said in Surah Al-Hajj:

“And [mention, O Muhammad], when We designated for Ibrahim the site of the House, [saying], Do not associate anything with Me.” [Qur’an, 22:26]

Then Allah the Almighty says after mentioning some of the aims of Hajj and its rulings:

“So avoid the uncleanliness of idols and avoid false statement. Inclining [only] to Allah, not associating [anything] with Him.” [Qur’an, 22:30-31]

Then Allah Almighty describes the danger of shirk (associating of others with Allah), the bad consequence for the one making shirk (associating of others with Allah) and the ugly situation that it represents. Allah Almighty said:

“And he who associates with Allah – it is as though he had fallen from the sky and was snatched by the birds or the wind carried him down into a remote place.” [Qur’an, 22:31]

Then Allah the Almighty praises those sincere to Him and those magnifying His command and upholding His limits. Allah Almighty said:

“That [is so]. And whoever honours the symbols [i.e., rites] of Allah – indeed, it is from the piety of hearts.” [Qur’an, 22:32]

Respected brothers and sisters! If you worship Allah with insight from Allah seeking the reward of Allah and leave the prohibitions of Allah with insight from Allah fearing the punishment of Allah, then you have fully realised consciousness of Allah in the reality of your life; through which you fulfill the rights entrusted to you towards your Creator and towards your brothers in religion.

That is why, the talbiyah of tawhid made by the pilgrim upon entering the Hajj rite, is the most prominent manifestation of Hajj.

In this talbiyah is a declaration of responding to Allah and a manifestation of obeying Him and complying with His command, the Most High, for which He is entitled, for the necessary praise and gratitude, because He is singled out for tawhid and singled out for divinity, lordship and the most beautiful names and lofty attributes. Therefore, it is not permissible for the ones saying “Here I am, O Allah, here I am”, to humble themselves to anyone other than Allah. And they should only plead to their Lord and should only seek help from Him and only seek refuge from Him. So then their prayer will only be for the sake of Allah and their Hajj will only be for the sake of Allah and their worships will only be for the sake of Allah. For Allah is their Master, their Sovereign and the Rectifier of their interests and the Disposer of their affairs.

And all of the manifestations of Hajj indicate this purpose. For all the Muslims are like one body. During the blessed Hajj pilgrimage, they live moments in which embody the meanings of Allah-consciousness and the foundation of strong brotherhood, which builds bonds between Muslims in spite of the diversity of their languages and colours. For when the pilgrims replace their usual clothing with the unified Hajj garments, they become of one appearance. And they proceed to one Lord reciting one talbiyah. And they all perform tawaf (circumambulate) around one House. And they perform one Ibadah.

This living image is one of the ripe fruits of Allah-consciousness, which suggests to people that there are no acceptable reasons for them to have division and disharmony. And there is no reason for the arrogant to be arrogant and the haughty to be haughty. And there is no reason to be proud of one’s pedigree, lineage, or titles. Rather if Allah-consciousness takes hold in a believer’s souls, it will make them realise the evident that Allah Almighty derived people’s races and lineages from the same two parents, to make Eve’s (Hauwa) womb a vast gathering place where relations are connected and bonds are strengthened. Allah Almighty said:

“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another.” [Qur’an, 49:13]

Through Allah-consciousness a person is honoured and elevated like Suhaib Al-Rumi was elevated and Salman Al-Farisi was honoured, both whom left their lands to embrace the truth, may Allah be pleased with them all. And with loss of Allah-consciousness, humiliation and disgrace is realised and Allah lowers the one not having it like He lowered Abu Lahab with shirk (associating others with Allah) and disbelief.

It is Allah-consciousness (At-Taqwah) that made Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), who was one of the nobles of Quraish, marry his paternal aunt, Zainab Bint Jahsh Al-Asadiyyah, to Zaid Bin Harithah – may Allah Almighty be pleased with them, while he had previously been a servant of the Prophet (Peace be upon him). And the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said to the clan of Banu Bayadah regarding Abu Hind, who was one of their servants:

“Oh Banu Bayadah, marry Abu Hind (to one of your daughters), and marry from him (his children).” [Sunan Ibn Majah]

Dear brothers and sisters! The stability of individuals and societies can only be achieved by adhering to religion and holding on to Islam, as the drowning person clings to a lifeline. And the blessed season of Hajj draws people to religion and reminds them of Allah’s rights. It increases the readiness of those with sound souls to change what is within themselves so that Allah can change what has befallen them. Allah Almighty said:

“Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” [Qur’an, 13:11]

Indeed Allah reminds people in the verses of Hajj of the necessity of this religion for them, and that every Ummah that neglects the commands of its religion and obstructs the ordainments of their Lord and takes them lightly or hesitantly, is in reality, neglecting their greatest source of peace and power, and obstructing the means of their prosperity in this world and the Hereafter. And a society that does not feel its need to adhere to religion is a faithless society and far away from Allah, the Merciful. For the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“There are three things, whoever attains them will find therein the sweetness of faith: When Allah and His Messenger are dearer to him than all else; when he loves only for the sake of Allah and hates to return to disbelief after Allah rescued him just as he hates to be thrown into the Fire.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Dear brothers and sisters! The distinction of certain nights and days is a reason for capturing the goodness in them. And our Prophet (Peace be upon him) urged capitalising on the necessarily fleeting blessings. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Take advantage of five before five: your youth before your old age, your health before your illness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before your business, and your life before your death.” [Al-Hakim]

Respected Muslims! Also the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah have come upon us. Allah Almighty took an oath by their nights saying:

“By the dawn. And [by] ten nights.” [Qur’an, 89:1-2]

And they are from Allah’s sacred days. And it is the conclusion of the known months that Allah Almighty referred to in the Qur’an:

“Hajj is [during] well-known months.” [Qur’an, 2:197]

Their days are better than the days of the last ten nights of Ramadan. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“The best days of this world are the ten days.” [Sahih Al Jami’ of Albani]

So whatever good deed a person does, of prayer, reciting Qur’an, remembrance, supplication, charity, acts of goodness and joining kinship, is better than the same deed performed during the rest of the year. And the deeds in it are superior to striving in the way of Allah Almighty which is the best of deeds.

Imam Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar, may Allah have mercy on him, said:

“It appears that the distinction of the (first) 10 (days) of Dhul-Hijjah is that it is the meeting place for the major acts of worship, and they are prayer and fasting and charity and Hajj. And that does not occur in other than it.”

And whoever intends to offer a sacrifice shall refrain from cutting their hair or nails from the first night in which the ten days enter. So one should not remove anything from them. For it was narrated by Umm Salamah, may Allah be pleased with her, that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“When the (first) ten days (of Dhul-Hijjah) begin, and one of you intends to offer a sacrifice, let him not remove anything from his hair or skin.” [Muslim]

So strive in these ten blessed days. And free yourselves for performing the righteous deeds. For the breezes of the Merciful in it are abundant. And His reward for the doers is plentiful. Allah Almighty said:

“And whatever good you do – Allah knows it. And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is fear of Allah. And fear Me, O you of understanding.” [Qur’an, 2:197]

Ya Allah make us among those who take advantage of these blessed days and shower us with Your mercy. Indeed Allah is All Hearing, Answering.

Dear brothers and sisters! I conclude with this and send prayers of blessings and peace upon our beloved Prophet as our Lord commanded:

“Indeed, Allah confers blessing upon the Prophet, and His angels [ask Him to do so]. O you who have believed, ask [Allah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [Allah to grant him] peace.” [Qur’an, 33:56]

Ya Allah, guide us with those whom You have guided, grant us well-being among those You have granted well-being, be an ally to us along with those whom You are an ally to, and bless what You have bestowed upon us, and save us from the evil of what You have decreed. For verily You decree and none can decree over You. He whom You support can never be humiliated. Glory is to You, our Lord, You are Blessed and Exalted.

Ya Allah, We ask You for all that is good, in this world and in the Hereafter, what we know and what we do not know.

Ya Allah, we seek refuge with You from all evil, in this world and in the Hereafter, what we know and what we do not know.

Ya Allah, we ask You for the good that Your servant and Prophet has asked You for, and we seek refuge with You from the evil from which Your servant and Prophet sought refuge.

Ya Allah, we ask You for Paradise and for that which brings one closer to it, in word and deed, and we seek refuge in You from Hell and from that which brings one closer to it, in word and deed. And we ask You to make every decree that You decree concerning us good.

Dear servants of Allah! Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.

Remember Allah, the Great – He will remember you. Thank Him for His favours – He will increase you therein. And seek forgiveness from Him – He will forgive you. And be conscious of Him – He will provide you a way out of all difficult matters. And, establish the prayer.

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true followers.

Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of: Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah Mosque; and Late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene Mosque, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via:; or +2348038289761.

This Friday sermon (Jumu’ah Khutbah) was delivered today Friday, 09 Dhul-Qa’dah, 1445 AH (May 17, 2024).

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SIM Boxing, And The Unboxing of a Crime Syndicate



Suleiman Bala Bakori


Boxes have a multitude of uses, and the word “box”, lends itself to diverse contexts. For “Ajala Travelers,” the box is a necessity for keeping goods for their endless journeys. In literature, idiomatically, it can be said that “one has been boxed into a corner;” another might say to deal with a conundrum: “think outside the box;” then there is the “Pandora’s box” that no one wants opened. To “box one’s ear’s” refers to a hit on the head, especially around one’s ears. For those who celebrate Christmas, “Boxing Day,” which is the 26th of December, the second day of Christmastide is not to be joked with: A day to unbox gifts. So much for the box.

Another type of boxes exists in the telecommunications world: The SIM Box. Have you ever received an international call but saw a local phone number ring in? That is SIM Boxing in action. Let me explain.

SIM boxing happens when a person uses a special equipment, what is called a SIM Box containing tens to hundreds of SIM Cards—from 32, to 96, to 512 and more SIMs —to terminate international calls by bringing in the international call into the SIM Box using internet connections and regenerating the calls to the called party from one of the hundred SIMs in the box. This way, the called party will see the local number of the SIM from the SIM Box, and not the original international number calling.

With SIM Boxes, the syndicate charges international call carriers lower rates than what regular Nigerian telecommunications operators would charge, as they do not have to pay the full cost of maintaining and operating a phone network. Basically, they are bypassing the normal route for international phone call termination to terminate international calls cheaply and making windfall profits off it.

Take for instance, a telecommunications operator in Nigeria would ordinarily charge international carriers 10cents per minute for terminating an international call in Nigeria. However, by routing the call through a SIM Boxing syndicate, the international telecommunications carrier only pays a fraction of the charge to the syndicate, say 5cents per minute and does not have to pay the full 10cents per minute charge.

The SIM Boxer will terminate this call to the called subscriber at a rate of, say N15 per minute using one of the SIM cards in their SIM Box. The SIM Boxer thus makes a killing from the differential between the rate charged to the international carrier and the rate paid to telecommunications operators whose SIM they utilise in their SIM Boxes, at the expense of our national security and income of mobile network operators and quality of our service to consumers.

Asides the revenue loss that local mobile network operators suffer courtesy the activities of these syndicates, networks face congestion around areas where the illegal call routings via SIM Boxing occurs. With the huge traffic from the boxes, callers around the area see more dropped calls, poor call quality, and slower data speeds.

The introduction of the linking of National Identity Numbers (NIN) to SIMs is one way the Federal Government has worked to tackle this criminal enterprise. With every SIM in the country being linked to an NIN, an identity is tied to the owner of each line, and regulators now have visibility of ownership. That is not all. There is also the “Max-4 Rule” where a subscriber is not allowed to have more than four lines per network operator linked to his NIN. With this rule in place, coupled with the NIN-SIM Linkage, every telephone subscriber in Nigeria would not just be accurately identifiable but limited to having only four telephone lines per subscriber.

To enforce this rule, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on the 29th of March 2024 announced the deadline for Mobile Network Operators to bar all subscribers who had five lines and above, and whose NIN failed the verification test of biometrics matching.

Over the last few weeks, sources within the NCC have confirmed cases where a single NIN was linked to over 100,000 lines. Some NINs had well over 10,000 SIMS linked to them, others over a thousand, others had hundreds. Many have questioned the reports and asked, what would any single reasonable person be doing with these number of lines? Justifiable questions, because no sane person—who is not running a business—should own more than five SIM cards.

Given the ‘Max 4 Rule’ in place and the NIN-SIM Linkage Policy, SIM Boxers have been boxed into a corner. The applications they use require tens to thousands of SIM Cards, and the imperative to stay anonymous. If these policies are well and fully implemented, this is the death knell for SIM Boxing merchants.

But the regulator, NCC needs to be fast and ready for the battle ahead. SIM Boxing is a billion-dollar criminal enterprise. They are not going to go down without a fight. It is like taking a bone being chewed from the mouth of a bulldog.

Already, the battle seems to have kicked off. A lawyer, Barrister Olukoya Ogunbeje has recently taken the Federal Government, NCC and Mobile Network Operators to court, claiming that the barring of SIMs not linked to NINs goes against his fundamental human rights, and has cost him the loss of business opportunities. Anyone who has Nigeria’s interest at heart ordinarily supports this policy. It then does not add up seeing a so-called activist lawyer take up such a matter that is clearly against the public interest—unless this is the Haka cry of SIM Boxers.

A most interesting observation with his case is that it is not even a class action, but individually driven. It begs the question then, who is funding Barr. Olukoya Ogungbeje? What is his interest in fighting this policy that puts paid to the business of a criminal enterprise? Is he funded by interests in the SIM Boxing world? Time would tell. But in the meantime, NCC must go head on without fear or intimation and clean the Augean stable of SIM ownership in Nigeria.


Suleiman Bala Bakori is a researcher, and writes from the FCT.

This article was first published on Premium Times.



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