COVID-19 Lockdown: Cleric, Clubbers Among 620 Violators Arrested In Lagos

A file photo of a police patrol van.



The Lagos State Police Command has arrested a total of 620 people for violating the lockdown order directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

President Buhari had issued the directive in March, as well as in Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory, to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The spokesman for the police command, Bala Elkana, confirmed the arrest of the violators in a statement on Sunday.

He explained that the arrests were made in three days while those apprehended included a cleric, strippers and clubbers, and travellers coming from different parts of the country.

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“On 21/4/2020 at about 2000hours, acting on information, operatives from Denton Police Station arrested 95 inter States travellers at Bhojson area, Ebute Metta in seven commercial buses,” Elkana said.

He noted that the buses were impounded while the drivers and passengers were charged to a Mobile Court and sentenced accordingly.

The command’s spokesman added that 211 violators of the lockdown order were arrested in different parts of the state and also charged to court.

On Thursday last week, he said the police arrested 10 suspects for organising a party at Lekki Garden and were arraigned in court on three counts charges and found guilty as charged.

The court, Elkana stated, sentenced the suspects to six months imprisonment and community service, to run concurrently.

He disclosed that 121 other violators of the lockdown order were arrested in different parts of Lagos and charged to court and were awarded fines ranging from N5,000 to N10,000 and two hours of community services.

“On 24/4/2020 at about 0130hours, acting on credible intelligence, operatives from Idimu Police Station arrested 39 suspects in a hotel at Idimu, for clubbing and striptease. This is in total violation of the lockdown order and social distancing regulations.

“Also, on 24/4/2020 at about 2030hours, Enforcement team from the Rapid Response Squad arrested one Suleiman Abubakar, the Imam of Sheik Central Mosque, Mile 12 for holding evening prayers (Maghrib and Isha prayers) in the mosque with a large number of worshippers in violation of the social distancing regulations.

“A total of 288 violators of the lockdown order were over the weekend, arrested in different parts of the state,” the state government said.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police in Lagos, Hakeem Odumosu, has urged the residents to continue to be law-abiding, especially during the lockdown period.

He warned against spreading fake news to create panic and recycling old videos on social media with new captions that suggest that the incidents happened during the lockdown period in Lagos.

Court Sentences Islamic Cleric To Prison Over Terrorism


An Israeli court Monday sentenced a firebrand Islamic cleric to 28 months in prison for incitement to terrorism in connection with deadly unrest at a Jerusalem holy site in 2017.

Raed Salah had been convicted by Haifa magistrates’ court of “incitement to terror” for “praising, sympathising or encouraging terrorism” in remarks made after attackers killed two policemen on the Haram al-Sharif mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

The deadly July 14, 2017 attack, at the Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem site, was carried out by perpetrators from his hometown of Umm al-Fahm.

His group, the radical northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, was outlawed in 2015 for incitement linked to the Jerusalem holy site.

Salah was also found guilty of “supporting an illegal organisation” in Facebook posts from 2015 and 2016, in which he called his supporters to commit “acts of violence or terrorism” while speaking in favour of his movement.

The Haifa court on Monday also noted that 61-year-old Salah made the criminal remarks on three separate occasions following the Jerusalem shooting.

The prosecution was quoted in the ruling as saying that Salah’s deeds “harmed the security of the state and its citizens,” and considering the preacher’s prominence, “have high potential to cause damage”.

Salah, an Arab Israeli, can appeal the sentence within 45 days, the court said.

His arrest in August 2017 followed his release from prison the previous January after serving a nine-month sentence on similar charges.


Cleric Charged With Terrorism In Pakistan

Pakistan on the map. Credit: Google Map


A hardline cleric has been charged with terrorism and sedition offences by the Pakistani government after he led violent protests to oppose the acquittal of a Christian woman from blasphemy charges, a minister said Saturday.

Firebrand cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi and his party Tehreek-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) held furious protests after the Supreme Court overturned the death penalty for Asia Bibi in October.

Demonstrators blocked major roads in protest, burning cars and buses, and leaving large swathes of the country paralysed as they called for her execution to be carried out.

Rizvi was detained on November 24 after police launched a crackdown on hundreds of his supporters in Punjab province and the port city of Karachi.

Fawad Chaudhry, federal minister for information and broadcasting told reporters in Islamabad that sedition and terrorism charges had been made against Khadim Rizvi and other TLP leaders.

During the violent protests, one leader of TLP called for mutiny against the military chief, the murder of the judges who acquitted Asia Bibi, and branded Prime Minister Imran Khan as a “son of Jews.”

Chaudhry said these charges can carry a life term in prison.

“Other people who were directly involved in the destruction of properties, insulting women and snatching their purses, burning buses, have been charged in terrorism cases,” he said, saying more than 3,000 people had been arrested in connection with the TLP protests.

The government signed an agreement with the protesters at that time to bring about a quick end to protests — but launched a crackdown a few weeks later when the TLP threatened to launch another protest.

Blasphemy is a hugely inflammatory issue in Muslim-majority Pakistan, where even unproven allegations of insulting Islam and Prophet Mohammed can lead to lynchings and murders.

Bibi’s conviction stemmed from a 2009 incident when she was asked to fetch water while out working in the fields.

Muslim women labourers objected to her touching the water bowl as a non-Muslim, and a fight reportedly erupted. A local imam then claimed Bibi insulted the Prophet, Mohammed.

Bibi has consistently denied the charges, and her prosecution rallied international rights groups, politicians and religious figures.

She spent eight years on death row before the Supreme Court decision to free her.


Saudi Arabia Seeks Death Penalty For Cleric

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz attends the 29th Summit of the Arab League at the Ithra center in Dhahran, Eastern Saudi Arabia, on April 15, 2018.  STR / AFP


Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor sought the death penalty against prominent cleric Sheikh Salman al-Awda at the start of his trial Tuesday in Riyadh, a year after his arrest, media said.

Awda faces 37 charges, the pro-government Okaz newspaper and other media close to the Saudi government reported, without offering any details.

Awda was among more than 20 people arrested in September 2017 in a widening crackdown on dissent in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

There was no immediate statement by the public prosecutor’s office.

“Reports that Saudi prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against prominent Saudi cleric Salman al-Awda,” tweeted Adam Coogle, Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“Bringing the death penalty into a case like this is a major escalation in the level of repression.”

Awda was hospitalised in the western city of Jeddah after almost five months in solitary confinement, Amnesty International said in January, citing family members.

The rights group said his family had been denied any contact with him.

Amnesty said Awda was arrested a few hours after posting a tweet welcoming reports of a possible reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and neighbouring Qatar.

Saudi Arabia and its allies cut off all diplomatic and economic ties with the emirate in June accusing it of links to Islamic extremists, a charge Doha has categorically denied.

According to his family, the Saudi authorities had demanded that Awda and other prominent figures publicly back the kingdom in the dispute but he refused.

Saudi activists have said Awda’s brother Khaled has also been detained for disclosing the cleric’s arrest.


Police Arrest Cleric With Human Parts In Lagos

The Lagos State Police Command has arrested a cleric, Alfa Kayode Abdul-Fatai in the Alakuko area of the state allegedly for being in the possession of suspected human parts.

A statement from the command’s Public Relations Officer, Mr Chike Oti, confirmed the arrest on Tuesday, saying that the suspect had a female heart and lap in his room.

Oti, a Superintendent of Police, said the cleric was apprehended at Okedumola Street, Off Obadare area of Alakuko.

He, however, stated that the suspect told the police during interrogation that the human parts were given to him by an accomplice who has also been picked up.

The suspect and his alleged accomplice would be charged to court at the end of the investigation.

Oti, recalling the earlier advice given by the state Commissioner of Police, Imohimi Edgal, urged members of the public to be conscious of the activities of people living within their vicinity, and report any suspicious movement to law enforcement agencies.

“The CP urges members of the public to embark on ‘Operation Know Your Neighbour,’ because the Alfa was staying in a compound without his neighbours knowing what he does for a living,” Oti said.

Cleric Commits Suicide In Kaduna

A forty-year-old cleric, Samuel Hamza has committed suicide at Ungwar Romi area in the Kaduna state capital.

Hamza, until his death was a pastor of a Pentecostal church in the area.

He sent himself to an early grave by handing himself with a rope on the fan inside his house.

His lifeless body was on Friday night found dangling on a rope inside his room by his neighbours.

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Although the cause of the suicide act is not yet known, some of the neighbours told Channels Television that the deceased has been passing through some kind of depression since he lost his wife in 2015.

They, however, expressed surprise that he could take his life because of emotional challenges.

The late Pastor Hamza who residents and neighbours describe as a gentleman lost his wife in 2015 who gave him a male child.