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Soleimani’s killing: US warns citizens to reconsider travel to Nigeria

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Qasem Soleimani

Following the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and his aides in a drone airstrike, on Friday, the United States has cautioned Americans to reconsider travel to or across Nigeria.

The US Embassy in Nigeria in a statement on its website admonished American citizens to review their personal security measures, be prudent and keep a low profile.

Stating that it had no specific security threat information, the mission advised US nationals in Nigeria to stay alert in public places, including schools, hospitals, government facilities, places of worship, tourist locations, and transportation hubs.

The security advisory which was dated January 3, 2020, also asked them to review and alter travel routes and times to reduce time and place predictability.

It read,

“Due to recent world events, U.S. citizens should review their personal security measures. While we have no specific threat information, it is prudent to remind ourselves of the following personal security actions to follow on a regular basis.

“Actions to take: Be aware of your surroundings; keep a low profile; avoid crowds and demonstrations; exercise caution when walking or driving at night; carry proper identification; review your personal security plans and monitor local media for updates.

Soleimani who headed Iran’s elite Quds Force was killed in Baghdad, Iraq on Friday.

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The general was killed alongside Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Forces (Hashd al-Shaabi), an Iran-backed umbrella organisation comprising several militias.

Several other people were also killed in the attack.

The move by the US had drawn condemnation from leaders and officials who fear that tensions in the region could escalate drastically.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei had warned that “a harsh retaliation is waiting.”

Following this development, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu had placed police commands and formations nationwide on red alert.

He hinged the decision on intelligence report indicating that some “domestic interests” were planning to embark on massive public disturbances and sabotage to protest the killing of Soleimani by the United States.

“Consequently, zonal AIGs and Command Commissioners of Police have been directed to ensure maximum surveillance and security of lives and property across the nation,” the force spokesman, DCP Frank Mba, said in a statement in Abuja on Sunday.

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The statement disclosed that police commanders had been directed to ensure strategic deployments of both overt and covert police operatives to ensure adequate security and safety of citizens, foreigners, especially diplomats and diplomatic missions as well as the protection of critical national assets.

There are also fears that the Shi’ites faithful in the country who have a religious affiliation to Iran may protest Soleimani’s killing.

But the spokesman, Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim Musa dispelled speculations that the Shi’ites may foment trouble over the assassination of the Iranian general.

Musa in a phone interview with our correspondent on Monday, said the sect did not believe in violence, adding that the IG should count them out of the people under police suspicion, noting that the IMN was not known to foment violence.

He said:

“If the IG in his statement is referring to the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, he is dead wrong. The Islamic movement has been in existence in the last 40 years and it has been peaceful in all its agitations. In fact, last Friday, we held a mass rally and demonstration peacefully.”

“It is not a matter that we are going to harm or kill anybody, it is not like that. If at all, the IG is referring to the Islamic movement, we are dissociating ourselves from that. That doesn’t meant we are not concerned about what happened in Iraq and Iran, we are, but it doesn’t mean we are going to take up arms. We are peaceful in nature and we would continue to be,” he added.

The Shi’ite’s spokesman condemned Soleimani’s killing, arguing that the US had no right to “behave like the policeman of the world.”

He added:

“We are concerned about the killing, there is no reason for America to take up arms and kill a high profile general such as Soleimani. He was invited to Iraq, he is a guest of Iraq, but America should stop behaving like the policeman of the world, it is not.”

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I didn’t receive N28m from Magu, Falana says

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Femi Falana

Lagos lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, a senior advocate of Nigeria, on Sunday repudiated a report he was a loot funnel for suspended chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu.

In a letter dated July 12 written to a media house over the said report, Falana, through his lawyer, Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika, a Silk, distanced himself from whatever alleged corrupt practices likely perpetrated by Magu whose tenure temporarily came to a halt last Wednesday when President Muhammadu Buhari approved his suspension.

The letter reads in part,

“The publication and the imputations it conveyed is damning, as you will no doubt agree with me. It is particularly damning against my client because his entire career as a lawyer has been devoted to fighting human rights abuses and corruption in high and low places (among the many public causes he has become noted for). So, to charge such a person with the imputations in your publication is not something that he can (in fairness to himself and the reputation he has worked for all his life) ignore despite that he is also a well-known advocate and defender of press freedom.

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“It is noteworthy that no attempt was made by you to contact and request my client to react to the allegation before publishing and circulating it to your worldwide readers. The impression my client gets from this is that you were well aware that you were publishing a planted story, hence there was no desire or need on your part to seek and balance it with my clients reaction. This speaks volume as to your professionalism, as well as your malicious intent.

 

“My client does not deny that he is a supporter and public advocate of the EFCC, and indeed of all agencies set-up to rescue our country and its downtrodden masses from the noose of corruption. He has been since the inception of the EFCC and the tenure of its first Chairman, Mr. Nuhu Ribadu.

 

“As a token of his support and public advocacy against corruption, he has, since the Commission was established in 2003 and up till now,  refused and rejected all approaches by the high and mighty (who are loaded with cash and able to pay for his services and thus save him from the indignity of having to criminally scrape around for =N=28m or any sum whatsoever from anyone in the EFCC) to take-up their cases or causes against the EFCC. He stands tall to also say despite his public advocacy for the Commission and its anti-graft efforts, all reports or allegations of human rights abuse of disobedience of court orders by the Commission or any of its officials that came to his attention were always taken-up by him with its Management.

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“My client acknowledges that just as his anti-corruption activism has won him friends, they have also bred enmity from those who see things from a different perspective and have therefore always tried to paint and present him (or anyone that strives or claims to be different) as someone that is also not free from the stains of corruption! Not long ago, these elements invented and spread through the media the lie that my client was a beneficiary of property purchase from the EFCC. When given the opportunity to prove the allegation, the publisher failed to take up the opportunity but apologised for the false publication. I am not too sure that your case will turn out different if you permit it to degenerate to the level of being sued.

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“In the circumstance, my immediate instruction is to demand that you acknowledge your wrongdoing, expressly admit that what you imputed against my client was false, and apologise for your unprofessionalism and the damage you have caused to him. I do hope that you will, within the next 48 hours, comply with this gentlemanly request by publication on the front page of your newspaper. Failing compliance, my instruction is to issue a Writ in the tort of defamation in other to afford you an opportunity to prove what you imputed against my client’s character.”

 

See the letter below;

 

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Hungary bars travel from Africa, Asia

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Hungary’s government said Sunday it was barring travel from Africa, most of Asia apart from China and Japan, and restricting entry from several European countries after worldwide spikes in coronavirus cases.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Chief of Staff Gergely Gulyas said that Hungarian health officials have placed 154 countries into three risk categories based on numbers of coronavirus infections.

“We need to protect our security so that the virus is not introduced from abroad… the level of active infection cases at home is falling, and we want to keep it like that,” he told reporters in Budapest.

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Entry into Hungary would be barred for citizens from countries assessed as “red” from Tuesday midnight, including all African and Asian countries apart from China and Japan.

European countries in the red zone are Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Belarus, Montenegro, as well as Hungary’s neighbor Ukraine.

Hungarian citizens returning from “red” countries must pass a virus test and undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine, said Gulyas.

Citizens from countries in a “yellow” category — including the US, UK, Norway, Serbia, Russia, China, and Japan — will have to enter two-week quarantine unless they have tested negative for the virus within five days.

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Four of Hungary’s fellow EU members — Bulgaria, Portugal, Sweden, and neighboring Romania — will also face the same restrictions.

Countries in the “green” category can continue to enter without restrictions.

Hungary’s population of almost 10 million has been lightly affected by the pandemic in comparison with other parts of Europe, reporting just over 4,200 coronavirus infections and around 595 deaths so far.

Earlier this month, Orban said Hungary would not follow an EU recommendation to lift coronavirus travel restrictions for more countries outside the bloc, citing a risk to health.

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The EU’s border relaxation, announced June 30 and left to member states to implement, was a bid to help rescue the continent’s battered tourism sector, which had been choked by a ban on non-essential travel in place since mid-March.

The number of infections and deaths has risen relentlessly in many of the world’s biggest nations, with the United States crossing three million confirmed cases.

In Europe, where many nations had successfully suppressed their outbreaks, spikes have occurred in recent weeks.

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Kwara records 71 fresh cases of COVID-19

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The Kwara Government says 71 more people have tested positive to Coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing the total of confirmed cases in the state to 382.

The Chief Press Secretary to the state Governor and Spokesman of the Technical Committee on COVID-19, Mr. Rafiu Ajakaye, made this known in a statement issued on Sunday in Ilorin.

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According to him, this brings the total of confirmed cases to 382, with 167 patients discharged and 12 death recorded in the state.

“As at 11:00 pm on Saturday the number of active cases is now 203, while 167 have so far been discharged and 12 deaths recorded,” he said.

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