Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, president-general of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), has declared that Ramadan will start on Friday.
He made the declaration late Thursday, confirming that the new moon had been sighted.
Regarded as a holy month, Ramadan is the period when Muslims observe fasting and prayers.
Earlier, the sultan had asked Muslim faithful to be on the look out for the new moon.
“Consequent upon the advice of the National Moon Sighting Committee (NMSC), the President-General (Sultan) enjoins the Nigerian Muslim Ummah to search for the crescent of Ramadan 1441 AH immediately after sunset on Thursday, April 23, 2020, which is equivalent to 29th Sha’aban 1441 AH,” Salisu Shehu, deputy secretary-general of the council, had said in a statement on Tuesday.
“If the crescent is sighted by Muslims of impeccable character on the said evening, then His Eminence would declare Friday, April 24, 2020 as the first day of Ramadan 1441 AH. “If, however, the crescent is not sighted that day, then, Saturday, April 25, 2020 automatically becomes the first of Ramadan, 1441 AH.”
Sultan also directed Muslims to shun congregational gatherings and maintain physical distancing throughout Ramadan as part of measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Kuwait, Qatar, Tunisia, Lebanon, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and many Arab countries have announced that the holy month will start on Friday.
But the Gulf sultanate of Oman announced that the crescent was not spotted, thus Ramadan will begin on Saturday.
During Ramadan, Muslims have to abstain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn to sunset.