Abuja — Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and the Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, have urged Muslim faithful to pray for a positive turn-around of the country's fortunes as they join their counterparts across the globe to observe this year's Ramadan fasting.
Saraki, in a goodwill message in Abuja to mark the beginning of the holy month, signed by his Media Adviser, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, noted that since fasting symbolises internal cleansing and spiritual renewal, the country can benefit tremendously from the prayers of the faithful during the period.
He said: "It is my prayer that Allah accepts the earnest prayers and sacrifices of the Muslim Ummah during this Holy Month. May we emerge better, both at the individual and national levels, after this spiritual exercise.
"Let's us seek an end to recurring killings, kidnapping and all forms of insecurity in our country. As community leaders and members of the Islamic faith, we have a responsibility to work for peace in our communities in particular, and the country in general.
"We cannot afford to gloss over the present level of insecurity and harsh economic realities in our country. Therefore, let us pray earnestly for Allah's intervention in the socio-economic life of our people," he stated.
Saraki also called on all leaders both at the national and state levels to put in place policies and programmes that would directly benefit the people and gainfully engage the nation's growing youth population.
He added that the high youth population in the country is a blessing as the young people can hasten the development process if positively engaged but that the advantage can also become a time bomb if they are not well managed and deployed for good causes.
On his part, Dogara enjoined Muslims to use the Ramadan period to pray fervently against the current spate of killings, kidnappings and armed banditry in parts of the country.
In a message to the Muslim Ummah to mark the commencement of Ramadan fast, Dogara also appealed to the well- to-do in the society to show compassion and extend hands of support to the less-privileged ones in the spirit of the season, especially thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) across the country.
He described Ramadan as a period of devotion, obedience and spiritual rebirth and urged the faithful to commit themselves to prayers for peace, security and stability of Nigeria.