Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hajj 2009: NAHCON And Its State Of Preparedness

October 16, 2009
As the countdown to Hajj 2009 begins, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) commenced its last minute preparedness for this year's Hajj exercise. Throughout the calendar, NAHCON set a formidable committee to enlighten the pilgrims as well as the authorities concern and the stakeholders on the need of eradicating the problems faced by Nigerian pilgrims at the Holy land in order to record a successful and hitch-free Hajj (Hajj-al-Mabrur).
An accepted Hajj is a Hajj performed--overall--in a manner pleasing to Allah (SWT), and its signs are that a person returns with resolve and determination to fulfill their duty to Allah in a pleasing manner. If this is the case, then such a person's Du'as are likely to be answered--not just 40 days after their return, but beyond as well.
It is a known phenomenon that over the years, the attitudes of our Nigerian Pilgrim have constituted major menace to Saudi Authorities during each Hajj Operation. The Nigerian Pilgrims are known to embark on demonstrations at Saudi Airport and the places of accommodation both in Makkah and Madinah, out of impatience to come back home after completing their Hajj. Others are in the habit of overstaying after Hajj or Umrah while some falsify their traveling documents.
The general disorderliness of our pilgrim right from the shores of Nigeria and while in Saudi Arabia is nothing to write home about. For instance, the disorderliness in boarding plane, bus, the rowdy nature of our weighing centres, our eating and hygiene habits in our accommodation places, the rampant cases of pilgrim loss, deliveries of babies, in some cases miscarriages, oversize and multiple luggages at boarding points and carrying about luggages at Jamarat are all problems of serious concern noted by Hajj stakeholders and have become the bane of successful and hitch-free Hajj. These anomalies have so long been associated with Nigerian pilgrims to the extend that today any black man who perpetrates them is automatically regarded as a Nigerian.
The Hajj Stakeholders cannot alone surmount these enumerated problems without the support and cooperation of our intending pilgrims, and the cooperation of intending pilgrims can only be obtained if the pilgrims are adequately enlightened on the basic tenets of attaining an acceptable Hajj.
The salient key to attaining an acceptable Hajj is the fear of Allah and imbibing the spirit of patience and tolerance throughout the period of Hajj performance.
Presenting the update of 2009 Hajj arrangements recently at the floor of the National Assembly, the NAHCON boss, Alhaji Musa Bello highlights that the 85,000 pilgrims' slot allocated to Nigeria have been distributed to the 36 states, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the Armed forces. He said, the payment of the seats have been commendable with N29,540,054,815.16 received out of N30,638,407,760.29, which was expected. According to him, this represents 96% success of the payment received.
On the E-passport and issuance of the Hajj visas, the commission reaffirmed the circular received earlier this year (January 2009) by the Saudi authorities asserting that from the 2009 Hajj season, pilgrims' passport will no longer be accepted from anyone globally, only international passports will be used. Following that, the commission made adequate arrangements with the Nigerian Immigration Service and the state pilgrims' welfare boards and agencies across the nation to take care of this development. "Consequently, by now, every intending pilgrim for this year has already obtained his e-passport. We have even held meeting with the concerned Saudi Authorities on how the e-passport should be handled to avoid damage," said NAHCON boss.
The issuance of visa for 2009 Hajj, according to the commission, commenced on 7th September, 2009 at the Saudi consulate in Kano where 60,000 pilgrims from the states of the North-West, North-East and parts of North-Central geo-political zones are being processed. The balance of 25,000 pilgrims are being handled by the Saudi embassy in Abuja. The statement further said visa issuance in Abuja commenced a week after Ramadan where approximately, 50,000 visas have so far been processed.
On pilgrims' accommodation, NAHCON is optimistic that Nigerian pilgrims' accommodation has been secured by the states in Mecca, while the commission has secured accommodation in Madina. Alhaji Bello said, "The cost of accommodation in Makkah this year has been benchmarked at SR2,500 per pilgrim, while that of Madina has been benchmarked at SR350 per pilgrim for the eiath days pilgrims generally desire to saty in Madina."
Notably, Hajj is one of the fundamental Jihads (cause of Allah), therefore, when we prepare for hajj we should also prepare for death. No one is guaranteed return from Hajj. We are supposed to put our affairs in order, make our wills, say our goodbyes. We try to mend fences with those estranged from us-relatives, friends, enemies. Understandably, we often put these uncomfortable conversations off until the last possible minute.
Ramadan is a good time to begin the process of forgiving, asking forgiveness and reconciling with others just as we fast and pray and hope for forgiveness from Allah and reconciliation in our relationship to Allah, while Hajj is another window to exercise Allah's piety. May Allah Ta'ala grant us Hajj-al-Mabrur.

Al-Khul’: The Woman’s Choice

Published on Friday, October 09, 2009)

The situation in which the wife initiates divorce proceedings is known as Khul’a or Khul’i. It is a compensation given to a husband by his wife who desires divorce. Once the husband agrees to divorce her in exchange for some money or the remission of her dower, the divorce is known as Talaq. It is valid as the Talaq given by the man of his own initiative. Khul’i depends upon the agreement reached between the two parties. If the husband agrees to give Talaq provided that his wife either abandon her right to the dower (if the dower has not yet been paid) or return back the amount of the dower to the husband (if the dower had been paid). In the time of the Prophet (SAW), the wife of one of his Sahaba (companions), Thabit bin Qais, asked for Talaq from her husband because she did not like him. The Prophet (SAW) asked her to return back to him the garden he gave to her at the time of marriage as dower. She accepted this demand and got the Talaq.
In the holy Qur’an, Allah (SWT) said, “If you fear that they (the spouses) may not uphold the boundaries of Allah, then there is no harm upon the two of them (spouses) in the ransom offered by her (wife).” (Q1:229)
However, why should a woman seek divorce? A thorough research conducted recently by Women’s Right Advancement And Protection Alternative (WRAPA) under the auspices of the Islamic Family Law (IFL) project in seven north-western states in Nigeria revealed that women are undergoing a lot of torments in the society, thus, If a woman is unable to endure with her husband and is unable to fulfill her rights as a wife, who will be answerable? Will her parents or the society intercede for her on the Day of Judgment?
Though, Islam condemns male chauvinism, we see chauvinism obvious among many Muslim societies. Even in the case of divorce, a male easily gives Talaq to his wife if he is unable to endure with her. But it isn’t the same with the wife. In fact, she is asked to be patient all the time, instead of using her own right to end a relationship, without having a look to understand how they can neglect the rights given to them by Allah (SWT).
Therefore, at a validation meeting attended by 62 Islamic scholars, jurists and academicians at Dutse, the Jigawa State capital, WRAPA, under its IFL projects, in its contributions towards creating awareness and empowering women, resolved in a communique that the Khul’i be limited to the only Sadaq (dowry) paid by the husband. Where a husband has paid the Sadaq far above the normal, the Qadi (judge) should use his discreation to decided on what is reasonabe and affordable for the wife to pay.
Although, before reaching this conclusion, a lot of things were put into consideration. First, some observers view that by resolving to a low scale of the Khul’i, payment, it gives women an easy way to ask for divorce and probably, it may become detriment to the society once women were at liberty to seek divorce without austere measures, but the scholars argued that no woman wants her marriage crashed, but there are some instances whereby women are being denied certain marital rights and because of the culture of the husbands cajole then into being patients, they remain in their houses without given due consideration. “If you agree with me, a lot of women are silently dying due to one problems or the other. They are being denied their certain rights, for example, conjugal rights, some husbands fervidly deny their wives their matrimonial rights simply because they have alternatives, they keep mistresses outside. Therefore, what will be the faith of their innocent wives, who have no any alternative?” One of the WRAPA officials sighted.
Unfortunately, in some societies it is culturally unacceptable that a woman should be aware of her rights, and that she might actually wish to exercise those rights! Many brand the woman with ugly names, such as adulteress, psychic, possessed by Jinn, masculine, arrogant, etc., just for intending to seek her conjugal rights ordained by Allah (SWT) if she noticed the husband is not forthcoming.
When a Muslim woman seeks a Khul’i, she often must endure constant mental and physical torment from her neighbors, friends, even family who do not understand that this is her God’s given right, and no shame should follow upon it.
These are some of the reasons why most women chose to remain silent, enduring painful and lifeless marital situations. First and formost, the cultural bindings. In our northern societies, the culture of Alkunya affects the marital institution, so much so that certain issues are ignored or abolished due to this fact. Eventually, they later turn out to be detrimental to our family affairs.
I have been wanting to come up with issues relating to family affairs in our modern societies because I have come to undertand that a lot of marriages crashes not because the couples subscribed for the hurtle, but because of some impediments.
In our subsequent discussions, I will share with you instances where women call to seek advice or counselling for their marimonial wahala. Meanwhile, is Khul’i a recipe or techniques for eradicating women snags in their matrimonial lives?

From My In-Box

Readers' Reactions and Comments on Zee-Zee

(published October 11)

Re: Ummi Zee-Zee: My Secret Affair With Timaya
I really find it difficult to describe how senile this young upcoming artress in Hausa film has gone by her recent interview in your column of Leadership Weekend of October 3, 2009.
I was one of her admirers in the Kannywood world before the Maryam Hiyana debacle, which threw the industry into disarray and made it possible for Zee Zee to now go into music.
Reading her interview made me ponder on a lot of things, especially given the fact that she comes from a Muslim family. What aroused my curiosity to even waste my precious time to write this piece is the way she proudly announced to the world that Timaya and Mighty Duncan are her boyfriends–Waiyazubillah. How could a Muslim girl take pride in saying that her boyfriends are people who are not of the same religion like her? How sure is she that any one of them would become a Muslim to marry her?
What Zee Zee wanted to tell the people is that her parents if they are alive have no control over her. This is because if her parents have control over her, she wouldn’t dare say it out that Timaya and Mighty Duncan were her boyfriends. She needs to be reminded that whatever she gets in this world, she must surely leave behind.
She also needs to be reminded that as a Muslim, it is not even proper for her to become a Musician. Not to mention her utterances that she bought ten expensive cars with her money which I believe is a lie. If indeed she’s a Musician, where is the album she released that fetched her that staggering amount?

Usman Santuraki,
No. 74, Tafida Street, Jimeta - Yola, Adamawa State

Who hired you to blackmail Timaya?
Please tell us how much Zee-Zee gave you to blackmail Timaya? If it is true, why is she involving the two other aritstes? Anyway, tell her that this is not something to be proud of as a good Muslim.

Maryam Sanusi,
48, Maiduguri Road, Sokoto,

I am disappointed
Al-Amin, you have disappointed me by featuring this rif-raf called Zee-Zee. She is a disgrace to the Muslim faithful. She should go back and seek her parent's forgiveness.

Asabe Gamawa, Kano, 08037037782

Zee-Zee, I Am Disppointed
I am one of those who admire certain folks in the industry and Zee-Zee happened to be one of them, but with the current situation, I can say that I am really dispointed in her. How dare she be proud of telling the entire world that she is in love with Timaya? I think Ummi does not have respect for her parents. Timaya is just using her as a rhesus monkey.

Malam Haruna, 8/10 Sokot State
0802 360 7222

What Is Wrong In Being Friends With Timaya?
Why are our Muslim brothers so hypocritical? Whatever is wrong with a Muslim making friends with people that are non-Muslims, is what I still find amazing. Most of us Muslims have satellite dishes and do tune to musicals and many are fans of Akon, the american pop star. What Zee-Zee is doing is in many folds, better than being a Nigerian politician for instance.

Ibrahim Maiduguri
0802 691 1397

Re: Asabe Gamawa’s Comment
Asabe, you have spoken my mind in your comment about Zee-Zee in LEADERSHIP Newspaper. I think we should engage her in our prayers. She definitely needs deliverance.
Hamza Jos

Zee-Zee? Who Cares!
I don’t know why people pay attention to this Ummi Zee-Zee and Timaya saga. Ummi should be allowed to date any man of her choice. The world is wide enough for everyone, but Ummi needs to know that she is a woman and the life span of a woman is not long enough for her to roam about.

Umar Faruk,
0803 072 7081

Zee-Zee Is A Disgrace To Us
I want to commend your efforts, please permit me to tell Zee-Zee that she is nothing but a disgrace to the entire good Muslim women. So what if Timaya is your boyfriend? You should know better that there are certain games that one does not play because they are expensive and risky.
May God guide people like you.
Anisa, Kano
0803 788 2127

Please you guys should forget about this brat called Zee-Zee, who cares if she dates the whole artistes in the industry?
Lawal Mai-Anguwa, Mando, Kaduna
0803 694 6230

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Zee-Zee Vs Timaya: Matters Arising

•How Timaya Dumped Me For Njamah, After Giving Him A Honda Jeep Worth N4m

(Published in LEADERSHIP - October 11, 2009)

“So when you feel like hope is gone, look inside you and be strong. And you'll finally see the truth – that a hero lies in you...” (Mariah Carey - Hero)

Can anyone tell Ummi Zee-zee that she may attain whatever position she may aspire to be in as much as she believes in herself and what she positively does?” This is just one of the numerous responses I received last week about the Ummi Ibrahim (Zee-Zee) article published in this column.
The 'Jinsee' star actress, exposure of her love life with Bayelsa State- born militant singer, Inetimi Odon, popularly known as Timaya, did not go down well with her teeming readers and fans. Although the beautiful and gorgeously looking former Kannywood actress boasted that she has won the heart of the contemporary artiste of the moment, I am pretty sure that by the time my readers get to know that the Kannywood star who fled the industry has been jilted again by her lovebird, Timaya, they may conclude that they are probably watching a TV-Soap love series. However, the issue of the moment is that the slim, pretty, tall star could not hide her dismay over how she allegedly allowed a man who would have been her husband to slip away from her warm arms into that of another woman.
Sources available to Inside Kannywood reveals that the relationship, according to her, suddenly broke up when Timaya decided to go back to the popular Nollywood star, Empress Njamah. How did it happen? First, Zee-Zee alleged that she bought her Bayelsa State-born star a customised Honda Pilot Jeep worth N4 million as a love gift.
"I bought him Honda Jeep Pilot for N4 million, but he dumped me for Empress Njamah. I asked him to return the car, but he has been running away from me," said Zee-Zee.
She is said to have opened a fresh love chapter with Jonah D’Monarch, whom she described as her new love bird.
Scandals in the entertainment industry is not a new thing – ranging from boyfriend-girlfriend saga to matrimonial infidelity, to the illicit pornographic video racks and so on. As for Timaya, whenever one asks him about his life and the scandals, he simply smiles and says, "I think I am paramount; that is why they talk about me. I never actually wanted it this way, but then, I never liked a situation where people just kept saying good things about me, it makes me scared. So, writing or saying wrong things about me once in a while is in order."
A public commentator, who spoke on anonymity on this matter said, “How could Ummi Zee-Zee be blinded by the so-called promises from a man she does not know in the first place? According to him, Zee-Zee should revisit the love affair between Timaya and Empress. The story is not hidden. Doesn’t she know that Empress was in a love affair with Timaya before her?
Of course, archives don't tell lies, Timaya and Njamah have come a long way. Imagine that he could hold his “hard-earned Hip–Hop award plaque in front of the general public and fans and announce that he is dedicating it to his queen, Empress Njamah. Zee-Zee should have at least realised that Njamah had been enjoying the sweetest taboo from Timaya long before her.
Apart from that, there has been allegations that Timaya's queen is also pregnant for him, an allegation Timaya denied, saying, "Imagine that in January, they wrote that I had done a secret marriage introduction with Empress Njamah and that she was four months pregnant. That is a big lie, a mega lie. I'm serious. If she was four months pregnant, then she should be giving birth by now, but she has not."
But then, on many occasions, Timaya affirmed his relationship with Njamah: "I am in a relationship with Empress like I am in a relationship with any other person. We are not enemies; we have dates and go out for drinks. People just say what they want to say because they see both of us at places together – shows, clubs etc."'
Not only that, the Don Kpolongo singer lately had a rough taste of love turned sour when he was arrested by the police recently. The episode happened at a Church premises in Lagos. Sources say Timaya with his friends arrived the Church premises where a wedding event was going on. He was allegedly given a seat by one of the church Ushers, but he insisted he wanted a high table position, and when the usher stood his ground, he calmly sat without betraying any emotion of what he planned to do.
Present at the event was Empress Njamah who became alarmed and quickly stood up from her position and made her way to the front row area where some elders of the Church sat, expressing her fear that Timaya's presence may bring some trouble. And of course, that was what really happened. Thereafter, Timaya got up from his seat and tried to make his way to the high table, shouting and making trouble that he had come to retrieve the key to his car which his girlfriend, Njamah, took from his house. The tension was doused by the involvement of a Naval officer who was present at the event. He did that by inviting his men who rushed to the venue handcuffed Timaya and took him away.
One may ask: What really went wrong with Timaya to engage in such a show of shame? The answer is simple. He thought his girl was getting married to another man, so he decided to storm the Church to disrupt the wedding. But the much talked about wedding was between one of Empress' best friends and her long-standing boyfriend.
By this, one may quickly conclude that no Jupiter will put the Timaya/Njamah relationship asunder. Has it also occurred to Zee-Zee that she was just dancing to the tune of others? She should know by now that even if she buys him an Air Force One, one of the world's most luxurious air craft, she won't buy his heart? Certainly, that’s how others learn from their mistakes.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

My Secret Affair With Timaya – Zee-Zee

(Published in my INSIDE KANNYWOOD column in LEADERSHIP today)

Ummi Ibrahim Usman, a.k.a Zee-Zee, has been enmeshed in much controversy recently. As much as she had tried to exonerate herself of blame in her previous relationship, she is still receiving knocks for quickly getting involved in another with star artiste Timaya. In this interview, she lay bare her mind on the scandal that led her to police detention, among other issues.

For a while now, you have been silent on issues, why?
The reason I decided to back out from issues of discourse is due to the unfortunate incident that came upon Maryam Hiyana. When the sex video clip was exposed, I vowed not to feature in any movie again.

But some music video posters of you and Timaya showed that you are working on your new album. How about that?
The reason I opted for musicals was because I stopped featuring in Hausa films; that is why I decided to work on my musical album, but not the Adamu Nagudus contemporaries. I am doing English musicals alongside stars like Timaya, Jonah the Monarch, Duncan Mighty, among others.

Why this sudden migration?
I have told you, I am no more interested in any Hausa movie or show again. The Hiyana scandal really put me off. It was a bad experience.

Most of these artistes you mentioned are more ‘expensive’ then those of Hausa extraction, how did you manage your budget?
(Laughter) The issue of budget is secondary because they are my business associates. We are into the same business, so we know our ways.

Could you tell us how you met Timaya?
(Laughter) The point is that we are destined to be. We are in the same profession. One thing led to another and that's how it all started.

Is it true that one of your boyfriends introduced you to Timaya?
I don't understand. You mean my boyfriend introduced me to him?

Yes, that your boyfriend hooked you up with him?
How could my boyfriend have introduced me to another man? It’s not true.

But is it true that Timaya is also your boyfriend?
Yes, Timaya is my boyfriend. In fact, I am also going out with two other artistes in the music industry– Jonah The Monarch and Duncan Mighty– but I am more recognised with Timaya.

How are you able to do this?
I want you to understand that I am single and searching. I can date 100 men, but Islam allows me to marry only one. Therefore, I am taking my time to search for Mr. Right.

You just mentioned Islam, how is it going to be?
Whoever wants to seek my hand should convert to Islam.
Do you think your boyfriends might convert to your faith in order to win your heart?
Of course! They could.

Has Timaya come to terms with your faith?
Yes! Not just him, all of them are ready to become Muslims.
Among the artistes you mentioned, who is going to be the hero - the one expected to become a Muslim and marry Zee-Zee.

Out of the three? (long silence)
I am not sure yet, but whoever is destined to be my husband will surely become a Muslim.

There are allegations that you were recently apprehended by the police. What really happened?
I have a boyfriend in Jos, Abdullahi Adamu Usman, who proposed to me, but unfortunately, my parents felt he was not the right man for me. You know the religion permits one to know the background of whoever comes to seek your daughter's hand in marriage. If he is good, then so be it. But for Usman, my dad said no. But I dated him for about a year, or there about. I used to visit him in Jos.

But is it true that you betrayed him? After buying you expensive cars, you jilted him for your new found love?
You mean people think I am a dupe, isn't it? The allegations are false. Abdullahi could be the one who is insinuating these against me. The guy is frustrated and is going about telling people that he gave me money, cars, etc. Since the day he felt that my dad wouldn’t bless our relationship, he started talking, even to the police. First, he said we were business partners and that I betrayed him of his 20 houses and 20 cars, as well as some undisclosed amount of money. He even said, I was planning to flee from the country.

The truth is, we are not partners in business, but the poor guy became furious when he realised that my father refused him; that is why he took that step. He would have asked that I redeem what he offered me in the cause of our relationship, and I would have paid him whatever I knew was between us, rather than tarnish my image. And don't forget, he offered me some gifts unconditionally because of our love, but all of a sudden, they turned the table against me.

But to some extent, what he did is wrong. He labelled criminal charges against me, which he knows I am innocent of. As a public figure, he succeeded in tarnishing my image. He ordered that my passport be confiscated. He said I was a '419er'. What I could recall is that he gave me five cars and I bought another five from him. I have 10 cars. That is the transaction that transpired between us. How could I have duped him? If not for anything, I am a Muslim, I can’t do that, but I leave everything in God's hands.

Did he retrieve the cars he gave to you?
My cars have special plate numbers like 'Zee-Zee 1,' 'Zee-Zee 2,' 'Zee-Zee 3,' 'Zee-Zee 4' and 'Zee-Zee 5'. I bought them with my money. What he should understand is that even before I met him, I have been riding in flashy and expensive cars, courtesy of my parents. Though he came back begging me for forgiveness, he equally brought back the cars to me.

How about the case at the police station?
Since he wants reconciliation, he, send his people from Jos to come and withdraw the case.

Is it true that you were detained for two days?
I was detained for three days.

Since he withdrew the case, are you still going to press charges for character assassination and libel?
The guy did some damages to my person but as I said, I leave everything in God's hands. I won't go to court. Let Allah be the judge.

Even if he returns the five cars?
Even if he buys me a private jet, he has already destroyed my hard-earned reputation. Before I met him, I was lavishing in expensive cars, but then he succeeded in tarnishing my image in the eyes of my fans, friends and well-wishers.
At the police station, some people said Timaya gave you money to buy cars?
Yes, Timaya gives me money because he is my boyfriend, and I don't think it is wrong to give money to your woman.

Could you now say quitting the Kannywood industry has brought more blessings to you
I am a product of the Hausa film industry. The industry took me to where I am today. They are two different things. For the fact I denounced featuring in the movies does not mean I look down on Hausa films, but my business matters more to me now. There is more money in the music industry than in the movies. That's all I said.
People are yet to see your album.

When are you launching it?
My songs are being aired on most satellite channels like MTV, Channel O, etc. But very soon, they will storm the market.

But don't you think you are the architect of all that is happening to you?
I don't understand.

The way you cruise around in those expensive cars and do odd things...
It's about policy. That is how I want to live my life. You also have your policy and ideology in life. These cars are not that expensive, with little savings you could also buy one or two, or even 20. I don't think there is any cause for alarm. Allah is the provider, once you can pray, He can grant your wishes (laughter).

All your men are rich. Is it that Zee-Zee doesn't mingle with the lower class?
(Laughter) It is in my blood, everything I touch turns gold... (laughter again). It’s nature's gift to me. Everything I touch turns to gold. If an ordinary man on the street approaches me today, you will be surprised at what he would become tomorrow. All I can say is that money is not love, but love is divine. If you are with me, you will surely be among. (Laughter).

Friday, October 2, 2009

Censors Board Increases Fees


By Al-Amin Ciroma

In its desire to enhance and facilitate service delivery to its stakeholders, the National Film and Video Censors Board will today, review upwards by 30 per cent the fees charged for the preview of films.
The review, the board said in a release signed by the corporations Assistant Director, Corporate Affairs, Yunusa Mohammed Tanko, is in line with its efforts to offer premium service to its stakeholders.
With the acquisition and installation of modern cinema style preview theatres at our Lagos office, which is capable of handling 35mm celluloid video, as well as a digital lounge for clients, the present fees charged for preview of films and movies, musical videos and others are no more realistic. The sustainability of this heavy resource base is a prerequisite in the effort to offer global best practices in the Nigerian movie industry.
He said the new equipment would enhance and facilitate online preview of films and movies within the minimum time possible. It will also afford owners of the movies the opportunity to follow and track the progress of the preview in a seamless manner without being present physically.
The board reterated its committed to the upliftment of the movie industry and therefore appeals to all concerned for co-operation and understanding.
The review, The corporation's Assistant Director, Corporate Affairs, Yunusa Mohammed Tanko, said for local films made in Nigerian languages (of 0-15 minutes) will be N10,000, while a Nigerian film in foreign language such as English language will be charged N20,00, while a film meant for exhibition will be charged N25,000.00. In a general perspective, NFVCB has made 30% increment of the applicable fees.
The board increased review fees was in 2002.

Bold Steps Taken By NAHCON For Sustainble Hajj

(Published in my ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVE COlumn today in LEADERSHIP)

By Abubakar Bello Kaoje

As we are aware, Hajj operation is time-bound and this requires a carefully-planned sequence of events for implementation. If for whatever reason, the time of a particular event is skipped, it would also eventually affect the other plans. For instance, the Nigerian Pilgrims are not the only pilgrims performing Hajj, it is a world wide affair, and the Hajj authorities in Nigeria have to therefore wait for Saudi Government to invite them for a meeting which would culminate into signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the admittance of the number of pilgrims to perform Hajj every year.
Based on the number of pilgrims admitted, the central body would coordinate and organize meetings with the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the Armed Forces on how best to distribute and allocate the Hajj seats to these 38 organizational units.
Another difficult area in the administration of Hajj affairs is the decision of Hajj fares. Because of the different components in the Hajj fare, it takes time before the Hajj package decision is finalised. Decisions on the airfare, accommodation in Makkah and Madina, the ever fluctuating exchange rate of the US dollar in relation to the Naira, etc, all are decisions which must be reached before the Hajj package is determined. To decide on the airfare is the most cumbersome of all Hajj decisions. Being a purely technical area, the central body and the State Pilgrims' Welfare Boards across the country cannot alone decide the airfare. The government agencies like the Ministry of Aviation, the National Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), National Airspace Management Authority (NAMA) and the Federal Airport Authority (FAAN), these aviation experts would sit down to closely scrutinize the documents of the prospective Carriers with a laid-down procedure, sometimes it would take them two to three weeks to enable the pre-qualification of the Airlines for the airlift exercise.
Often times, the Hajj authorities are left with dilemma of selecting the Air carriers as most of the bidders for the job of airlifting the pilgrims are not owners of the Aircrafts. To employ the services of foreign Airlines will be difficult as the fare offered by Nigeria is not of international standards and therefore not attractive enough for foreign Airlines. Another reason is the attitudes of our pilgrims of carrying over size and multiple luggage and the delays or failure of the pilgrims to turn out on a scheduled flight. Also some of the Airports used for Hajj lack facilities required by Foreign airlines.
Thus, the Nigerian Hajj authorities have no alternative but to carry on and manage with such indigenous Airlines. This requires close monitoring of the agreement documents entered with their business partners. Sometimes, some of the Airlines assure the screening Committee of bringing the required capacity of Aircrafts and positioning the Aircraft on the agreed date and if you ask them any documents as regards to their assurances they would produce them, but on the day of positioning the Aircrafts the story would be different. They fail to fulfil their promises not because they want to disappoint, but that the success for scouting their Aircrafts depends largely on the vagaries of market forces.

Re: Ijbar –Marital Consent: The WRAPA Approach

(Published today in my ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVE column in LEADERSHIP)

By Mohammed A. Salisu

After carefully studied your piece on the above topic, I realised how versatile knowledge is in Islam. But then I believe the case studied organisation, the Women's Right Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), which is an avenue for rendering guidance as well mobilising women, but I am opined to think that WRAPA, though has good objectivity in its mandate, but don’t you think may run contrary to Islamic laws concerning certain issues? Before we digest this important question, let’s look at the marriage instituion in the islamic spectrum.
Allah (SWT) has created men and women as company for one another, and so that they can procreate and live in peace and tranquillity according to the commandments of Allah Ta’ala and the directions of His Messenger (SAW). In the holy Qur'an, Allah says: “And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your hearts. Undoubtedly in these are signs for those who reflect.” (30:21).
These verses of the Noble Qur'an clearly show that in contrast to other religions like Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism etc. which consider celibacy or monasticism as a great virtue and a means of salvation, Islam considers marriage as one of the most virtuous and approved institutions. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) declared, “O you young men! Whoever is able to marry should marry, for that will help him to lower his gaze and guard his modesty.” (Al-Bukhari)
Modesty was regarded as a great virtue by the Prophet. He said, "Modesty is part of faith." (Al-Bukhari)
The importance of the institution or marriage receives its greatest emphasis from the following hadith of the Prophet (SAW), “Marriage is my sunna. Whosoever keeps away from it is not from me.”
With these Qur'anic injunctions and the guidance from the Prophet (SAW) in mind, we shall examine the institution of marriage in the Shari'ah.
The word Zawaj is used in the Qur'an to signify a pair or a mate. But in common parlance it stands for marriage. Since the family is the nucleus of Islamic society, and marriage is the only way to bring families into existence, the Prophet (SAW) insisted upon his followers entering into marriage. The Shari’ah prescribes rules to regulate the functioning of the family so that both spouses can live together in love, security, and tranquillity. Marriage in Islam has aspects of both 'ibadah (worship) of Allah and Mu'amalah (transactions between human beings).
Now, let’s explore some of its conditions. After careful consideration of the Qur’anic injunctions and the traditions of the Prophet (SAW), it clearly show that marriage is compulsory (Wajib) for a man who has the means to easily pay the Mahr (dowry) and to support a wife and children, and is healthy, and fears that if does not marry, he may be tempted to commit fornication (Zina). It is also compulsory for a woman who has no other means of maintaining herself and who fears that her sexual urge may push her into fornication. But even for a person who has a strong will to control his sexual desire, who has no wish to have children, and who feels that marriage will keep him away from his devotion to Allah, it is commendable (Mandub).
However, according to the Maliki school, under certain conditions it is obligatory (Fard) for a Muslim to marry even if he is not in a position to earn his living:
•If he fears that by not marrying he will commit Zina.
•If he is unable to fast to control his passions or his fasting does not help him to refrain from zina.
•Even if he is unable to find a slave girl or a destitute girl to marry.
However some jurists suggest that if a man cannot procure a lawful livelihood, he must not marry because if he marries without any hope of getting lawful bread, he may commit theft, and in order to avoid one evil (his passions) he may become the victim of another (theft).
The Hanafi school considers marriage as Fard for a man:
•If he is sure that he will commit Zina if he does not marry.
•If he cannot fast to control his passions or even if he can fast, his fast does not help him to control his passion.
•If he cannot get a slave-girl to marry.
•If he is able to pay the dowry (Mahr) and to earn a lawful livelihood.
Marriage is Haram to a man, according to the Hanafi school, if he does not possess the means to maintain his wife and children or if he suffers from an illness, serious enough to affect his wife and progeny.
It is not desirable (Makruh) for a man who possesses no sexual desire at all or who has no love for children or who is sure to be slackened in his religious obligations as a result of marriage.
In a beautiful tradition the Prophet (SAW) has given the most important point that should weigh with every Muslim in selecting his bride:
“Whoever marries a woman solely for her power and position, Allah will only increase him in humiliation. Whoever marries a woman solely for her wealth, Allah will only increase him in poverty. Whoever marries a woman because of her beauty, Allah will only increase him in ugliness. But whoever marries a woman in order that he may restrain his eyes, observe cautiousness, and treat his relations kindly, Allah puts a blessing in her for him and in him for her.”
In order that problems should not arise after marriage the Prophet (peace be upon him) recommended that, in the selection of his bride, a man should see her before betrothal lest blindness of choice or an error of judgment should defeat the very purpose of marriage.

Ijbar, A Safety Valve?
The consent of both the man and the women is an essential element of marriage, and the Qur'an gives women a substantial role in choosing their own life partners. It lays down:
“Do not prevent them from marrying their husbands when they agree between themselves in a lawful manner.” (2: 232)
However, Imam Malik, gives a slightly restrictive interpretation to this verse and makes the choice of partner by a Muslim girl subject to the over-ruling power or Ijbar of her father or guardian in the interests of the girl herself.
It may sometimes happen that in her immaturity or over-zealousness, a girl may want to marry a man about whom she has distorted information or who does not possess good character or who lacks proper means of livelihood. In such a case, it is better, or rather incumbent upon the girl's father or guardian, that, in the wider interests of the girl, he restrains her from marrying such a worthless man and finds a suitable person to be her husband. Generally speaking, such marriages arranged by fathers and guardians work better than a marriage brought about through western courtship.
Now, the WRAPA way, do you think in this modern world, where our children are not well thought amidst societal influence with alien cultures and norms, if we disregard Ijbar, will it favour marital life in the Ummah? I quite agree that a girl’s consent is important, but I still hold it to my heart that parents’ interest to be supreme in contracting marriage. Therefore, the answer to my earlier question about the WRAPA approach is that if care is not taken, in the course of its objective criticisms, they may go contrary to the norms of the Islamic cultures. I recommended a thorough research be made before making publicity, although, the research work revealed that some Islamic scholars are involved, but still is not enough, they should widen the scope.