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Turkish mosques reopen for mass prayers

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Turkish mosques reopened on Friday for mass prayers after more than two months as the government further eased strict restrictions to stop the spread of the new coronavirus.

Turkey has been shifting since May to a “new normal” by easing lockdown measures and opening shopping malls, barbershops and hair salons.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said many other sites — restaurants and cafes as well as libraries, parks, and beaches — will reopen from Monday.

Hundreds of worshippers wearing protective masks performed mass prayers outside Istanbul’s historic Blue Mosque for the first time since mosques were shut down in March.

In the Ottoman-era Fatih mosque, worshippers prayed both inside and outside, with the municipality handing out disinfectants and disposable carpets.

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Gulcek Uyanik, 55, was exultant.

“I have waited a lot for this, I have prayed a lot. I can say it’s like a new birth, thanks to God, he has brought us back here,” he said.

Another worshipper, Asum Tekif, 50, said: “It has a been a long time… we missed the mosques.”

Turkey, a country of 83 million, has so far recorded 4,489 coronavirus-related deaths and 162,120 confirmed cases.

– Prayers in Hagia Sophia –

Muslim clerics on Friday recited prayers in the Hagia Sophia, the world-famous Istanbul landmark which is now a museum after serving as a church and a mosque.

The prayers were held to celebrate the anniversary of the conquest of Constantinople, today’s Istanbul, by the Ottomans in 1453.

“It is very important to commemorate the 567th anniversary of the conquest … through prayers in the Hagia Sophia,” said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who attended the ceremony via videoconference.

The stunning edifice was first built as a church in the sixth century under the Byzantine Empire as the centerpiece of its capital Constantinople.

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After the Ottoman conquest, it was converted into a mosque before being turned into a museum during the rule of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, in the 1930s.

But there have been hints about reconverting the Hagia Sophia into a mosque. Last year, Erdogan himself mooted the possibility of turning the Hagia Sofia museum into a mosque.

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Such calls have sparked anger among Christians and raised tensions with neighboring Greece.

In 2015, a Muslim cleric recited the Koran in the Hagia Sophia for the first time in 85 years to mark the opening of an exhibition.

After Friday prayers at the Blue Mosque, a small group of Muslim worshippers shouted: “Let the chains break and let the Hagia Sophia open,” an AFP photographer reported.

The group was later dispersed by the police who stopped them from protesting near Hagia Sophia that sits immediately opposite the Blue Mosque.

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NHRC summons SARS officer over disappearance of 20-year-old boy in 2012

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The National Human Rights Commission of Nigeria [NHRC] has summoned a SARS officer, James Nwafor, over the alleged disappearance of 28-year-old Chijioke Iloanya, who was allegedly arrested eight years ago.

Nigerians have testified of the heinous crimes perpetrated by the SARs Boss who claims no one can question him for his constant act of violating human rights.

Chijioke who was 20-year-old at the time was seeking admission to a university when he was carted away during the child dedication of one of his friends on November 29, 2012, in the Ajali area of the state.

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His family members, who visited the Ajali Police Station in search of him, were informed that he had been transferred to the SARS headquarters.

Upon getting to the SARS office, Nwafor, who was the Officer-in-Charge of the Anambra State Special Anti-Robbery Squad then, reportedly denied that his men arrested the victim. He was said to have later claimed Chijioke had been shot dead by the police.

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Reacting to the matter, the NHRC, through its Twitter handle, stated that the officer had been invited to Abuja for questioning, adding that the commission would ensure that justice was served.

It tweeted,

The attention of @NhrcNigeria was brought to a painful report by a Twitter user, of the alleged torture and murder of her brother by CP James Nwafor who led the Awkuzu SARS division in Anambra State.

“Other Twitter users commented under the post, retelling their experiences or that of their family members. The issue was brought to the attention of @NHRCNigeria and we are working with other authorities to ensure this is not swept under the carpet.

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Pastor who reportedly bought Dubai property for Magu, prophesied Buhari will retain him

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The pastor who reportedly bought Dubai property for Ibrahim Magu, the suspended acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had reportedly prophesied in the past that Buhari will retain him.

The pastor identified as Emmanuel Omale who is the founder of the Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministry, Abuja was among religious leaders who prophesied in December 2019 for people to have a clue or spiritual understanding of the incoming year.

The pastor, Omale had reeled out a list of things he said would happen in 2020 and one of the things he highlighted is President Muhammadu Buhari retaining Ibrahim Magu, suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

According to the pastor on December 31, 2019, “President Buhari has seen the great success of his war on corruption under Ibrahim Magu and he will submit his name for re-appointment and confirmation in spite of massive gang up,”.

Newsmen reported that the suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) allegedly used a cleric to launder funds abroad, the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets (PCARA) reveals.

Recall that Magu was arrested on Monday by a combined team of officials of the Department of State Services (DSS) and force criminal investigation department (FCID) after failing to honour two invitations from the panel.

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He has been detained since then and the police authorities on Thursday withdrew his security.

In the report of the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets (PCARA), which probed assets recovered by the EFCC from May 2015 to May 2020, Omale was said to have been used by Magu to launder funds.

He was reportedly uncovered during an investigation on EFCC’s activities by the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).

According to the report, the clergy bought a landed property on behalf of Magu worth N573 million in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Below are some of the things Omale said in his end-of-the-year message:

1) The war on corruption will jail two ex-governors who are currently serving as Senators.

2) Let’s pray for the health of a former Nigerian president who may not make it to 2020

3) There are a lot of enemy arrows being shot at the first lady, and her immediate family. She requires special prayers to avert tragedy.

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4) The Nigerian security agencies should activate their intelligence gathering mechanism to avert a terrorist driver ramming into early morning commuters in Abuja.

5) A serving Governor from North-West Nigeria will experience tragedy in his family, but seeking the face of God will prove beneficial.

6 Governor Rotimi Akeredolu must pray against terminal illness.

7) So also, a prominent minister from the South East needs to get closer to God, to avoid calamity.

8 ) A retired general from the North East may be implicated in a coup attempt.

9) Two major markets will be engulfed in flames. Traders should insure their shops and goods.

10) The rains will be unusual in their pattern this year, and we will see severe flooding nationwide.

11) Kidnapping on major highways may increase around Easter period but this can be mitigated by security agencies’ diligence

12) I see a burning petrol tanker around lokoja engulfing several vehicles.

13) President Buhari may effect minor cabinet reshuffle.

14) The Deputy Senate President should pray against enemy’s attack on his health.

15) I see prosperity for a lot of Nigerians despite a severe dip in the econoy that will affect fixed salary earners.

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16) A major old generation bank will face serious challenge and may collapse except for Gods intervention.

17) Christians should be exemplary in their conduct, especially one of the largest churches in south west that may immerse in big scandal.

18) A telecommunication magnet from the South West should pray against stroke and eventual bedridden paralysis.

19) The Chief of Staff to the president, Mallam Abba Kyari is trusted by the president. He should, therefore, pray against a well-orchestrated set up that may result in his removal.

20) President Trump may still get re-elected unless the Democrats field Mr. Bloomberg.

21) A major airline will face a major crisis that will collapse it if they don’t seek the face of God.

22) Governor Obaseki will find it hard to get re-elected in Edo state, unless he seeks the hand of God.

23) The Naira will depreciate against major international currencies, we need God to intervene.

24) A former President of Ghana will win elections in Ghana.

25) The price of petrol will go up.

26) An ex-militant in Bayelsa will die in assassination and this may throw the region into turmoil.

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Tunde Braimoh: Sudden darkness overtakes our sun

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It has been over 24 hours, yet I am still in search of the right words to portray how I feel currently. It did not come like lightning. No. It hit like thunder. Maybe. Maybe worse than that. Or how best can one describe the blow death brought upon us with the sudden demise of Hon? Tunde Braimoh? How best can I understand that one backbone of the Lagos State House of Assembly has been expunged, not even like something taken away temporarily to be returned someday? How best can I pull myself together knowing that we will not see this scholarly politician whose meritorious service has added to the gains of Lagos?

As I sit quietly, ruminating about our journey on this earth, how we became close pals, the circumstances that brought us together, Briamoh’s unique voice, his brilliant arguments and postulations, his sequence and enviable use of words that sometimes got us bursting with laughter and respect, his gait, his carriage, then the reality that none of these would be heard or seen again, I melt with thick sweats on my forehead. Can our tears cease? Two times I have tried to put something together within the last 24 hours. Yet, same two times I have been at a loss for what to say.

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Tunde Braimoh was not just a lawmaker, he was an ally, he never had ‘no’ for an answer. He knew what to do even before such was brought to his attention. He had a ready answer for all questions. I remember the many times he would walk up to me to tell me about issues. A constant characteristic was that he solved most of them before I got to know.

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Yes, he was not perfect; he was a human being like all of us, but who can judge him when his good deeds, which are unquantifiable, are there before everyone? There is no doubting the fact that he touched lives personally and on behalf of the House of Assembly. He had feelings for the downtrodden – they benefitted immensely. In everything he did, he always placed himself in the shoes of the other person.

Hon. Braimoh had plans, great ones, for Lagos State. He had shared some with me. He also always had his constituents in mind constantly thinking of how best to reach them and give them reasons to be happy.

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This year 2020 has shown its troubling uniqueness. Between June and July, we lost two strong pillars. We were still grappling with the reality of the demise of Senator Sikiru Oshinowo, whose valedictory session Braimoh played a role in as the Chairman of the House Committee on Information, Security and Strategy.

We will be consoled by the fact that the late two-term lawmaker served his State and the Federation of Nigeria with his might and intelligence and contributed immensely to their advancements. But, again, our hearts will continue to grieve. Rest on, dear brother and friend.

Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa

Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly

 

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