Lagos State Bans Religious Gathering Of Over 50 People

 

The Lagos State Government has banned all religious gathering of over 50 people within the state.

The decision was arrived at on Wednesday after a meeting of the Lagos State Government with religious bodies in the state, because of the increasing number of coronavirus cases in the country.

The religious bodies include the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Muslim leaders.

Reading a communique after the meeting held at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Elegushi said the groups agreed that all large religious gathering of over 50 people should be suspended immediately.

He said the suspension would last for four weeks, with a necessary review carried out if need be.

Elegushi added that a committee had been set up to monitor the enforcement of the suspension to ensure that both Muslims and Christians in the state abide by the decision.

Read Also: Mikel Obi Leaves Turkish Club Over Coronavirus Fears

The 15-member committee comprises representatives of Muslims and Christians in the State.

Elegushi also said the meeting agreed that the state government should embark on massive sensitisation of people at the grassroots on the need to embrace proper hygiene.

He added that the meeting agreed that all health workers in the state should up their games in the battle against Coronavirus.

Elegushi stated that it was agreed that the Federal Government should shut down borders, especially land borders to checkmate the influx of foreigners into Lagos in order to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

The commissioner said the state government would immediately embark on massive sensitisation of residents to be more aware of the danger posed by the coronavirus.

Elegushi appealed to Lagosians to desist from handshaking and to always wash their hands with soap and water or make use of sanitisers.

Read Also: COVID-19: Reps Asks FG To Stop Open Worship

Chief Imam of Lagos State, Sheikh Oluwatoyin Abou-Nolla, said the action of the state government was commendable, urging all Muslim leaders to abide by the decision and to also make personal hygiene a priority.

The CAN Chairman, Apostle Alexander Bamgbola on the other hand, said the nation was at a critical point, stressing that since the outbreak of the coronavirus, Christians had been praying.

“We are at a critical moment in Nigeria, since we heard this, we have been praying. We have listened carefully to one another, particularly the government. The responsibility of every government is to protect the lives of the people,” he said.

“We must be proactive and take preventive measures. It is no longer the issue of religion but survival. We are going to accelerate the education of our people. We must listen to the instruction of the government and take the instruction seriously. We agree with the action of the government”.

US Considering Ban On Travellers From Europe Over Virus – Top Official

Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli testifies before the Senate Homeland Security Committee during a hearing on the government’s response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on March 5, 2020 in Washington, DC.  Samuel Corum/Getty Images/AFP

 

The United States is weighing a ban on travelers from Europe to slow the spread of the coronavirus, a senior US official said Wednesday.

“The question is a live question about how to treat Europe as a whole,” said Ken Cuccinelli, the acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

“That is not to the level of using legal authorities to block travel yet. But it is under consideration,” he told a congressional hearing.

“As each country, or in this case region, becomes more and more problematic it obviously gets reviewed on a day-to-day basis,” Cuccinelli told the House Homeland Security Committee.

“Europe presents a unique problem,” he said, pointing to the Schengen Area that maintains open borders between most of the Western European countries.

Cuccinelli, who is also acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, said that Italy, the European country worst hit by the COVID-19 virus, is pre-screening passengers on all direct flights to the United States.

But Cuccinelli said the United States does not have adequate resources to screen travel by Italians or others who are flying indirectly to the United States from Europe.

He gave no additional information on the possibility of a ban.

Earlier a top government health expert said the largest threat to the country with respect to the virus is transmission from Europe.

“Where our real threat is right now is Europe,” said Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“That’s where the cases are coming in from. If you want to be blunt, Europe is the new China,” he said.

AFP

Landmark Man City Win In Madrid Vindicates Guardiola

Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola holds a press conference at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on February 25, 2020, on the eve of the UEFA Champions League football match against Real Madrid CF. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP.

 

Manchester City’s European ban means they are under enormous pressure to win the Champions League this season and they are one step closer after arguably their greatest result in the competition at Real Madrid.

Nothing is won yet, not even after City’s 2-1 victory in the first leg of the last-16 tie at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday, as Pep Guardiola was keen to point out.

Real, who been European champions a record 13 times, have a history of dramatic comebacks

However, City’s first-ever victory against one of Europe’s traditional giants in the knockout stages of the Champions League was vindication for Guardiola.

“For us to win at the Bernabeu is a great satisfaction for us,” said the City boss. “It is incredible to be able to win here for us because we are not used to doing these things.

“We hope it will help us in the future to believe in ourselves and to be able to go to any stadium and play the way we have.”

Guardiola said earlier this week City’s two-year Champions League ban, pending appeal, imposed by UEFA for breaching financial fair play rules, would not act as a spur for his players.

But it was on the minds of travelling fans in the Spanish capital, who were singing against European football’s governing body from almost the first minute.

The Catalan is now the visiting coach with most victories at the Bernabeu, with six. But he would have been first in line for criticism had another surprise team selection gone wrong.

Guardiola has re-written the record books domestically in his four seasons in England, but has never progressed beyond the Champions League quarter-finals with City.
– Guardiola tactics –

The decision to leave Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, Fernandinho and David Silva on the bench, push Gabriel Jesus into an unfamiliar role wide on the left and often leave the creative force of Kevin De Bruyne isolated up front could easily have backfired.

City were trailing 1-0 when Sterling was introduced from the bench 17 minutes from time.

The England attacker’s presence pushed Jesus and De Bruyne into more natural roles and within five minutes they combined as Jesus headed home the equaliser.

A Sterling burst then lured Dani Carvajal into an ill-timed lunge to concede a penalty. De Bruyne stepped up to convert and City could have put the tie to bed with more chances in the closing stages.

“It was arguably Sterling’s 17-minute cameo that turned the game, rising from the bench like a sharp stone from a catapult, aimed directly and devastatingly at Real’s defence, playing a part in both goals,” wrote The Times newspaper.

Guardiola succeeded in protecting a defence that has often been exposed in the Premier League, with Real restricted to three shots on target.

“This was the famous night for Manchester City when they took it to Real Madrid and stuck it to UEFA,” added The Times.

Guardiola, known for his obsessive attention to detail, has been accused of overthinking when the stakes are ramped up at the sharp end of the Champions League.

It is nine years since the second of his European Cup wins as coach of Barcelona but this time he could revel in how his detailed preparations paid off.

“We had 10 days off in England and in these 10 days I watched the maximum number of Madrid games I could. I make my decisions as a result of what they do,” said Guardiola.

“We decided to play without a striker for the way they defend. They defend so aggressive, man-to-man on the goal kicks, so high and when this happens you have to make the pitch wide.

“I’m pretty sure (Zinedine) Zidane and his people are going to look at what we have done and the second leg is going to be different.”

Guardiola will undoubtedly have his own plan and City still have much to do to finish the job.

But they will always have the Bernabeu win and it is for nights like this they fought so hard to bring Guardiola to Manchester in the first place.

AFP

Lagos Ban On Motorcycles And Tricycles: Task Force Nabs 2 Fake Uniform Operatives

 

Operatives of the Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit (Taskforce) nabbed two suspects for impersonating Security Officers at Oshodi, Lagos

Speaking on the incident, the Chairman of the Agency, CSP Olayinka Egbeyemi disclosed that while one of the suspects (Monday Job) impersonated a Police Officer using his commercial motorcycle to scout for passengers on restricted routes, the second (Rasak Oloyede) presented himself as an Army Officer using his commercial bus for fraudulent acts along Lagos-Abeokuta expressway.

Egbeyemi stated that after their arrest the two suspects confessed to the crime, saying that they indulged in the act in order not to be accosted by genuine security officers on monitoring duties or patrol.

According to him “intelligent reports revealed that some dubious-minded motorcyclists are now using fake Nigerian Army/Police uniform to scout for passengers on restricted routes as well as indulging in various forms of fraudulent acts across the State”.

READ ALSO: Police Arrest Suspect Over Aso Rock Director’s Murder

He reiterated the directive of the state government which stipulates that all security personnel on an official assignment with motorcycles must be fully kitted in uniform with their identity card conspicuously displayed.

The Chairman also reiterated that motorcycle operators must desist from plying all 475 restricted routes, adding that they must also wear their crash helmets and must possess riders’ permit for proper identification of the park they belong while plying other routes.

While urging members of the public to be vigilant and desist from patronising motorcyclists and commercial bus drivers wearing a fake security uniform, the Chairman disclosed that the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu has directed that both suspects be charged to court for prosecution.

In his statement, one of the suspect (Monday Job) who hails from Akwa-Ibom State, confessed that he bought the uniform from a Police Officer who was deployed from Lagos to the northern part of the country for N7000, adding that he has since been using the uniform to carry out an illegal arrest and extorts money from both motorists and motorcyclists plying restricted routes along Lagos-Abeokuta expressway.

“I was hawking before I joined Okada business over a year ago and I have been wearing this Police uniform to arrest and defraud Okada riders and making at least N30.000 to N35.000 daily,” he added.

The second suspect (Rasak Oloyede), who impersonated a Sergeant in the Nigerian Army, said he has been using the uniform he got from a dismissed Army officer to escape checkpoints on roads by Traffic Officers.

He also claimed to be using the uniform to extort money from motorists and making a daily average collection of N25,000 to N40,000 whenever his Volkswagen commercial bus, with the registration number BDG149 XK, had mechanical faults.

Man City Get Two-Year Ban From European Football

 

Manchester City have been banned from European competitions for the next two seasons for “serious financial fair-play breaches”, UEFA announced on Friday.

The English champions, who were also fined 30 million euros ($32.5 million), immediately announced they were appealing the suspension to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) “at the earliest opportunity”.

“Manchester City is disappointed but not surprised by today’s announcement by the UEFA Adjudicatory Chamber,” the club said.

“The… flawed and consistently leaked UEFA process he (the UEFA chief investigator) oversaw has meant that there was little doubt in the result that he would deliver…

“Simply put, this is a case initiated by UEFA, prosecuted by UEFA and judged by UEFA.

“With this prejudicial process now over, the club will pursue an impartial judgment as quickly as possible” at CAS.

Pep Guardiola’s City face Real Madrid in this season’s Champions League last 16.

Announcing the ban a UEFA statement declared: “The Adjudicatory Chamber has imposed disciplinary measures on Manchester City Football Club directing that it shall be excluded from participation in UEFA club competitions in the next two seasons (ie. the 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons).”

European football’s governing body said that City “failed to cooperate in the investigation”.

“The adjudicatory chamber, having considered all the evidence, has found that Manchester City Football Club committed serious breaches of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations by overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016,” European football’s governing body said.

City lost a previous appeal to CAS over UEFA’s original decision to refer them to its adjudicatory chamber over the alleged FFP violations.

The investigation into City was based on leaked emails published last year by German magazine Der Spiegel as part of “Football Leaks”.

Guardiola’s City outfit currently sit second in the Premier League table, meaning that the fourth Champions League slot available for English teams would likely go to the fifth-placed club this term.

Sheffield United, promoted to the top flight last year, sit in fifth.

It is not the first time that Man City have fallen foul of FFP regulations, having been fined 60 million euros and seeing their Champions League squad reduced in May 2014.

Qatari-owned Paris Saint-Germain were also fined that year.

Seven-time European champions AC Milan were banned from this season’s Europa League for FFP breaches.

AFP

Only Buhari Can Finish Off Boko Haram – The Week In Quotes

 

Insecurity is a major concern for Nigeria at the moment and this issue has continued to trigger debates and protests across the nation.

Here are some top quotes from the passing week, that highlight the socio-political atmosphere within the country at this time.

Also listed are a few other quotes from events that made the news last week, with coronavirus and death of basketball legend, Kobe Bryant, taking making the headlines.

1. President Buhari is going to finish off these terrorists, he alone can do it.

The Presidency says President Muhammadu Buhari is the best man to destroy the Boko Haram insurgents in the northeast and bring an end to their carnage in Nigeria.

2. The president’s decision is the product of a comprehensive and systematic assessment that was conducted by the Department of Homeland Security, as well as in partnership with other federal agencies.

The US Government speaks on new bans imposed on Nigeria and other countries.

3. Mr President has lost control of security” adding that the nation is “in danger and we are in trouble.

The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) asks President Muhammadu Buhari to resign for ‘failing to secure the nation’ and ‘putting her democracy under threat’.

4. Once again, I call on President Trump to consider adopting measures that individually target those in government who have failed in their duties, rather than target the entire Nigerian population.

Former Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar is unhappy about the US Government’s decision to place Nigeria on its travel ban list.

5. President Buhari should resign because he has failed to solve the security challenges in the country, years after Nigerians voted the APC government into power.

The Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to resign over the security situation in the country.

6. Comrade Oshiomhole’s ambition to be the ‘ultimate godfather in Edo State is not worth the lives and safety of millions of Edo people.

Edo State Government asks the Presidency and the Inspector General of Police to call the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to order and let him know that no one can be above the law of the land.

7. Accordingly, President Muhammadu Buhari has established a committee, to be Chaired by the Hon. Minister of Interior, to study and address the updated U.S. requirements.

President Buhari sets-up a committee to ‘study’ US travel ban.

8. Ask INEC to give you the result of Imo, even excluding that of Governor Hope Uzodinma. You will find that Emeka ought not to have been declared. For me, it is shocking that nobody is interrogating INEC.

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, says Mr. Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should not have been declared governor of Imo State.

9. In Akwa Ibom, they don’t hold elections but write results.

Mr Mike Igini indicts his predecessors in Akwa Ibom, saying elections do not hold in the entirety of the state.

10. I am of the opinion that Agba should be released because I think he was just youthfully excited.

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River says he thinks the embattled journalist (Agba Jalingo) should be released from prison.

11. This is for Burna Boy.

Angelique Kidjo dedicates Grammy Award to Burna Boy, she beat the Nigerian artist in the Contemporary World Music Album.

12. Completely devastated.

Vanessa Bryant speaks out for the first time since her husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna were killed in a horrific helicopter crash.

13. This is a celebration of the 20 years of the blood, the sweat, the tears, the broken-down body, the getting up, sitting down to everything, the countless hours, the determination to be as great as he could be.

LeBron James vows that he and his Los Angeles Lakers teammates would continue the legacy of club icon Kobe Bryant.

14. Tonight is for Kobe.

Top nominee Lizzo kicks off the 2020 Grammys with a tribute to the late basketball legend Kobe Bryant.

15. Speechless and shocked!! REST IN HEAVEN MAMBA.

Twitter reacts to reports of the death of NBA superstar Kobe.

16. Terrible News.

US President Donald Trump says he is sorry to hear reports that basketball legend Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash.

17. This is a historic day.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hails a US peace plan for the Middle East as a “realistic path to a durable peace” that assures Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley.

18. Senator Abaribe’s call on President Buhari to resign is foolish.

Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, describes as foolish, the call by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe asking President Muhammadu Buhari to resign.

19. I will show you that I am Edo State Governor.

Governor Obaseki of Edo state warns APC chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.

20. Our great party would be presenting our petitions to the embassies of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and the European Union on the State of Affairs in the country.

Leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) call for the intervention of the United States, United Kingdom, and the European Union in the judgment of the Supreme Court on Imo governorship tussle.

21. We will be harder on bandits.

President Muhammadu Buhari says harder times await bandits whose disruptive activities have brought sorrow to Nigerians, kept many away from their means of livelihood, and heightened insecurity in parts of the country.

22. While I commend the effort of Aisha Babangida for putting the event together, I would like to also suggest that Former first ladies should continue to explore avenues for sharing their experiences.

Ten years after her demise, former first ladies including Patience Jonathan and Turai Yar’Adua on Thursday gathered in Abuja in remembrance of Maryam Babangida.

Trump Imposes New Travel Ban On Nigeria, Five Other Countries

 

President Donald Trump has imposed a new travel ban restricting immigration from Nigeria, and five other countries in an expansion of his administration’s policy blocking travel from certain nations.

In line with the new policy, citizens from Nigeria, Eritrea, Myanmar, and Kyrgyzstan won’t be allowed to apply for visas to immigrate to the U.S.

According to the US government, the policy was designed to tighten security for countries that don’t comply with the U.S. minimum security standards or cooperate to prevent illegal immigration.

READ ALSO: Coronavirus: WHO Lists Nigeria, 12 Other Nations As Top Risk African Countries

The Wall Street Journal reports that in line with the policy, two other countries, Sudan and Tanzania, will be barred from participating in the diversity visa lottery, which randomly awards green cards to 50,000 immigrants from underrepresented countries annually.

According to US officials, the new restrictions are set to take effect on Feb 21 and will apply only to new visa applications. Immigrants who were issued valid visas before that date will still be able to move to the U.S.

Nigeria and the five other countries listed will join a list of seven nations that faced significant travel restrictions under President Trump’s original travel ban which was issued earlier in 2017.

India Bans Electronic Cigarettes Amid Vaping Concerns

A man exhales smoke from an electronic cigarette in Washington, DC. EVA HAMBACH / AFP

 

India announced on Wednesday a ban on the sale of electronic cigarettes, as a backlash gathers pace worldwide due to health concerns about a product promoted as less harmful than smoking tobacco.

The Indian announcement, also outlawing production, import and distribution, came a day after New York became the second US state to ban flavoured e-cigarettes following a string of vaping-linked deaths.

“The decision was made keeping in mind the impact that e-cigarettes have on the youth of today,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters in New Delhi.

E-cigarettes do not “burn” but instead heat up a liquid — tasting of everything from bourbon to bubble gum and which usually contains nicotine — that turns into vapour and is inhaled.

The vapour is missing the estimated 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke but does contain a number of substances that could potentially be harmful.

They have been pushed by producers, and also by some governments including in Britain, as a safer alternative to traditional smoking — and as a way to kick the habit.

However critics say that apart from being harmful in themselves, the flavours of e-cigarette liquids appeal particularly to children and risk getting them addicted to nicotine.

Some 3.6 million middle and high school students in the United States used vaping products in 2018, an increase of 1.5 million on the year before.

The New York emergency legislation followed an outbreak of severe pulmonary disease that has killed seven people and sickened hundreds.

President Donald Trump’s administration announced last week that it would soon ban flavoured e-cigarette products to stem a rising tide of youth users.

 Big E-Tobacco 

Although few Indians vape at present, the Indian ban also cuts off a vast potential market of 1.3 billion consumers for makers of e-cigarettes.

Tobacco firms have been investing heavily in the technology to compensate for falling demand for cigarettes due to high taxes and public smoking bans, particularly in the West.

In 2018 Altria, the US maker of brands such as Marlboro and Chesterfield, splashed out almost $13 billion on a stake in one of the biggest e-cigarette makers, Juul.

A few Indian states have already banned e-cigarettes although the restrictions have been ineffective since online sale of vaping products continue.

The new ban does not cover traditional tobacco products in India.

According to the World Health Organization, India is the world’s second-largest consumer of tobacco products, killing nearly 900,000 people every year.

Nearly 275 million people over 15, or 35 percent of adults, are users, although chewing tobacco — which also causes cancer — is more prevalent than smoking.

India is also the world’s third–largest producer of tobacco, the WHO says, and tobacco farmers are an important vote bank for political parties.

According to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry, an estimated 45.7 million people depend on the tobacco sector in India for their livelihood.

Tobacco is also a major Indian export, and the government holds substantial stakes, directly or indirectly, in tobacco firms including in ITC, one of India’s biggest companies.

AFP

Messi Given One-Match Ban For Copa America Red Card

 

Argentina star Lionel Messi was hit with a one-game suspension by South American football bosses over his dismissal during the Copa America third-place play-off against Chile earlier this month.

However, CONMEBOL made no mention of Messi’s “corruption” accusation against the regional governing body that he made after receiving his red card.

Messi was harshly dismissed in the first half of Argentina’s 2-1 win over Chile after a clash with defender Gary Medel.

Television images suggested Messi did nothing wrong as Medel appeared to repeatedly try, unsuccessfully, to headbutt the Barcelona forward.

READ ALSO: US Fines Facebook $5bn, Toughens Privacy Oversight

While most observers acknowledged that the Chile captain deserved to be sent off, Paraguayan referee Mario Diaz de Vivar controversially also gave Messi his marching orders.

CONMEBOL’s disciplinary commission hit Messi with “an automatic one-match suspension,” adding late on Tuesday that it could not be appealed by the Argentine Football Association (AFA).

It means the 32-year-old five-time Ballon d’Or winner will miss the first of Argentina’s qualification matches for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, due to be played in March. He was also fined $1,500.

“Corruption and the referees are preventing people from enjoying the football and they’re ruining it a bit,” Messi said after the Chile match.

Messi had also hit out at the organizers after Argentina’s semi-final elimination against hosts Brazil in their previous match.

“Brazil were the hosts and they’re managing a lot in CONMEBOL these days, which makes it complicated” for everyone else, Messi had said after his side were denied what appeared like two clear penalties in a 2-0 defeat.

The CONMEBOL commission made no mention, however, of Messi’s comments, for which he was expected to face harsher punishment.

The announcement came after CONMEBOL, earlier on Tuesday, sanctioned AFA president Claudio Tapia for his blistering attack on Ecuadoran referee Roddy Zambrano, who had refused to consult VAR over the two Argentine penalty claims in their 2-0 defeat to Brazil.

Tapia had hit out at “serious and gross refereeing mistakes” while questioning whether “the principles of ethics, loyalty and transparency” had been observed during the match.

CONMEBOL stripped Tapia of his role as the regional body’s representative on the FIFA executive committee.

AFP

Sri Lanka Blocks Social Media After Anti-Muslim Riots

 

Sri Lanka blocked Facebook, WhatsApp and other social media platforms on Monday after anti-Muslim riots hit several towns in the latest fallout from the Easter Sunday suicide attacks.

Christian groups attacked Muslim-owned shops in a sign of the continued religious tension in Sri Lanka since the April 21 attacks by jihadist suicide bombers on three hotels and three churches which left 258 dead.

A state of emergency has been in place since the bombings — which the Islamic State group claims to have helped — and security forces have been given sweeping powers to arrest and detain suspects for long periods.

Police said a mob targetted shops in the north-west town of Chilaw on Sunday in anger at a Facebook post by a shopkeeper. Security forces fired into the air to disperse the crowd, but the violence spread to nearby towns where Muslim businesses were also attacked.

A motorcycle gang attacked shops in nearby Kuliyapitiya and four members were arrested, officials said. However, dozens of people laid siege to the police station and forced their release.

Despite a night curfew, a mosque was vandalised, local residents said.

Police said the curfew in Chilaw and nearby areas was relaxed Monday, but the social media ban was brought in to head off new violence.

 Mosque attack 

“Don’t laugh more, 1 day u will cry,” was posted on Facebook by a Muslim shopkeeper, and local Christians took it to be a warning of an impending attack.

Mobs smashed the man’s shop and vandalised a nearby mosque prompting security forces to fire in the air to disperse the crowd. A curfew was imposed from Sunday afternoon until dawn Monday.

There have already been clashes between Christians and Muslims in Negombo, the town north of Colombo that was one of the targets for the suicide attackers.

The main body of Islamic clerics, the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU), said there was increased suspicion of Muslims after the Easter attacks carried out by local jihadists.

“We call upon the members of the Muslim communities to be more patient and guard your actions and avoid unnecessary postings or hosting on social media,” the ACJU said.

Internet service providers said they have been instructed by the telecommunications regulator to block access to Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and other platforms.

The latest unrest came as Catholic churches resumed Sunday masses for the first time since the bombings.

Worshippers were searched before being allowed into churches that were guarded by armed police and troops. There were no reports of disruption to services, however.

Schools reopen 

Dozens of people have been detained since the Easter Sunday attacks, and amid the heightened security, police have banned parking near schools and students are allowed in after checking for explosives.

Public schools completed their reopening from extended Easter holidays after the attacks, but attendance was low, according to education authorities.

Upper classes resumed last week while primary school pupils were asked to start Monday.

Private Catholic schools were to open on Tuesday, but many were planning to postpone the reopening until next week, parent groups said.

Muslims make up around 10 per cent of Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka’s 21 million population and Christians about 7.6 per cent.

AFP

Nigerian Army Bans Motorcycles In Forest Areas Of Seven States

 

The Nigerian Army has banned the use of motorcycles in the north-western states of the country, due to the increased rate of kidnapping and banditry.

Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Colonel Sagir Musa, made the announcement in a statement on Sunday.

He said the affected states are Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kaduna, Sokoto, Zamfara and Niger.

While giving the reason for the ban, Musa noted that “armed bandits, criminals and kidnappers hibernate and all around where troops are conducting operations alongside other security agencies.”

READ ALSO: El-Rufai Asks Air Force To End Attacks On Abuja-Kaduna Highway

The Army spokesman warned that “anyone caught using motorcycles within the named areas will be taken for an armed bandit, criminal and kidnapper with dire consequences.”

While appealing for the cooperation of the general public, Musa said the directive will stop the dastardly activities of these bandits from operating across the affected region.

He also reiterated the military’s commitment in securing lives and properties of the citizenry, calling on the “respective State Governments are enjoined to please disseminate the ban on the use of motorcycles in the named areas and enforce the ban in conjunction with the security agencies.”

The development follows ongoing military operations in the affected states codenamed Exercise Harbin Kunama aimed at combating security challenges in the area.

Sri Lanka Bans Face Covering After Attacks

file photo

 

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday announced a ban on face-covering, a week after Islamist militants carried out coordinated suicide bombings that killed 253 people.

Sirisena said he was using emergency powers to ban any form of face covering in public. The restriction will take effect from Monday, his office said in a statement.

“The ban is to ensure national security… No one should obscure their faces to make identification difficult,” the statement said.

READ ALSO: Spain Election: Socialists Win Amid Far-Right Breakthrough

It came days after local Islamic clerics urged Muslim women not to cover their faces amid fears of a backlash after the bombings carried out by jihadists affiliated to the Islamic State group.

Muslims in the majority Buddhist nation account for about 10 per cent of its 21 million population.

Most Sri Lankan Muslims practise a liberal form of the religion and only a small number of women wear the niqab.

AFP