President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday urged all Muslims in Nigeria to pray for peace, stability and progress of the country as they join Muslims in other parts of the world to begin this year's Ramadan fasting.
Special adviser to the president, Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, in a statement quoted the president as saying: "As Muslims start the annual month-long fast which is one of the five pillars of Islam, President Jonathan urges all Nigerian Muslims to offer special prayers during the period for peace, stability and progress in the country.
"Noting that the Ramadan fast teaches Muslims to practice piety, self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice, tolerance, justice, fairness and empathy for the less fortunate in society, the President calls on all Nigerian adherents of the Islamic faith to reflect on these edifying lessons as they fast and make them a greater part of their daily lives to promote peaceful co-existence and greater unity amongst the diverse groups in Nigeria.
"Against the background of recent security challenges in parts of the country, President Jonathan assures the Islamic faithful in the affected areas that every possible effort will be made to ensure that they observe the Ramadan rites of spiritual reflection, supplication, good deeds, charity and worship without hindrance.
"The President prays that God Almighty will grant the prayers of Nigerians during Ramadan and reward the entire nation with multiple blessings as well as greater peace, security, political stability, unity and faster socio-economic development. He wishes the Muslim community a successful and spiritually rewarding Ramadan".