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31 Mar 2020

Nigerians Come Hard For Imam Of Peace As He Reveals People Behind His Attack On Buhari

A few days ago, the Nigerian social media space was filled with talk about Australian cleric, popularly called the Imam of Peace, who launched an attack on the governing ability of President Buhari.
In a series of tweets which rapidly went viral, he called Buhari a dictator supporting terrorism in Nigeria while also ridiculing him of being clueless. His tweets made him very popular as many Nigerians hailed him.

However, today it seems the tables have turned after a tweet he made about two hours ago. He took to Twitter to announce a giveaway for Nigerians who have "suffered enough under Buhari". His tweet included the co-sponsors who are Reno Omokri and Apostle Suleiman, two strong critics of President Buhari.
This has led to many people saying his tirade last week was nothing but a sponsored action by PDP loyalists like Omokri.

See some comments 247NNU gathered below:

Losing Her Religion: Nigeria’s Faith Unveiled In The Face Of COVID-19 By R. Evon Benson-Idahosa

I remember falling asleep at a Tuesday evening church service as a 9 year old child. I had a tambourine on my lap and as I fell to the floor, it reverberated thunderously throughout the hall, drawing the attention of everyone who had been attentively listening to the dynamic preacherman.
 
I awakened to piercing stares and side eyes- particularly from my father- whose message I had disrupted. Every Nigerian child knows that stare, that glare that silently speaks a thousand words, cloaks you in debilitating fear and assures your quivering being that there will be consequences. Needless to say, it was a quiet ride home and for the rest of the revival week, I was ushered to the front row where I forced my eyes open, humming tunes to myself to stay awake.

Saying that I literally grew up in church would be an understatement. Week long revival services, such as the one I reference above, were customary. I was also in the choir, went to Sunday school before church services on Sunday, Agape Force Children’s meetings on Saturdays, mid-week services and the occasional 6:30 am morning prayer services, followed by our home bible study with Auntie B. And because my father was Archbishop Benson Idahosa, there were no negotiations. It just was.

At the age of10, shortly after the infamous “tambourine experience,” the truth of those messages became real and I earnestly became a follower of The Way. And so, as news began to sweep the globe of the novel corona virus and its import, I found myself immediately turning to my faith as a source of comfort and peace. I also called my mother, who now heads CGMI, the global ministry my father left when he passed away 22 years ago. Her words of encouragement and the tone of her voice assured me that, as we like to say in Nigeria, ‘it is well.’

And it will be.

But for now, the pandemic continues to rage, as thousands succumb to its will. First China. Then South Korea. Japan. An epidemic. Then Italy, the UK, the US. Thousands upon thousands of cases were being reported and every day brought the reality closer to home. Then it became a global pandemic and as it stands, the WHO estimates that there are 719,700 confirmed cases globally, with almost 34,000 deaths.

On February 28th, Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, confirmed its index case of the corona virus which arrived the country via an Italian businessman. As I write, her Centre for Disease Control is reporting a total of 135 confirmed cases and two deaths, having conducted just several hundred tests, even though thousands of passengers have arrived from varying countries since the index. Self isolation has been deemed an advisory, not mandatory measure.

Nigeria has taken what some would consider drastic, yet in this writer’s opinion, insufficient and strikingly Western style measures to address what is likely to come in the absence of a miracle. In addition to finally closing her borders from international travelers, including Nigerians, schools have been shut down, civil servants are being asked to work from home, “social distancing” policies are being enacted and several states, including my home state of Edo, have prohibited religious, social and public gatherings of more than 20 persons.

In a country where over 90% of her citizens profess to be religious, most Nigerians are accustomed to turning to their faith in times of crisis. The corona virus pandemic is no exception. Many who had strayed from God are now repenting of their sins and brandishing the sign of the cross as they leave their homes. Others are praying for a “Passover,” as CNN and other news outlets flood us with “end of the world,” doomsday messaging. As a result, many of us are yearning to collectively gather to pray.

Whether the desire to collectively gather is buttressed by denial (“coronavirus is not here” — “the spirit of corona virus is dead in Nigeria”) or stems from a deep seeded longing for God to show mercy to a healthcare system that is wholly unprepared to handle the worst case scenario, the fact remains that Nigeria’s religious faithfuls are unaccustomed to missing gatherings for anything. Services are considered sacred times to commune with God and to be encouraged by the brethren. Others hang on to every word of their clerics who, in some cases, insist on serving as a religious crutch- intermediaries between their congregants and God. Many believers who engage with God on a transactional basis come bearing tithes and/or offerings in the hopes that God will hear their prayers. (He hears them regardless.)

As such, the prohibition on religious gatherings of more than 20 (which essentially translates to a prohibition of services in general) has resulted in many Nigerian believers losing their ‘religion,’ i.e., left bewildered as to how to make the adjustment to a God who potentially exists outside the four walls of their churches; to a God who speaks directly to them in God’s long forgotten voice. Who, precisely, are Nigerian believers without our religions and religious houses of worship?

Could it be that for the first time in a long time, Nigerian believers are being presented with a church-less opportunity to develop even more meaningful personal relationships with their God; to ‘lay hands’ on themselves and speak words of healing into their children from a God who has always heard them? Could this pandemic serve as an opportunity for believers to be what Murray Bowen describes as a ‘non-anxious presence’ to those who may be paralyzed by fear? Or as a practical example, to give our hired staff the much deserved paid time off to assuage the fears of their own elderly parents? As we creatively consider our individual responses, it is imperative that we recognise that our actions are a reflection of what we truly believe about our faith and the One who implores us to be salt and light.

As the Church, however, it is unhelpful that some of our pastors are refusing to comply. The other day, I was tagged on a rather unfortunate video of a pastor irresponsibly screaming to congregants that the corona virus cannot withstand Nigeria’s “corrosive anointing.” However, even Jesus instructed us to obey the law of the land (render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s). This blatant refusal to consider the reality that may most aggressively affect those on the margins begs the question of why some churches are so adamant against temporarily closing their doors.

Sure, we all need hope and encouragement in these perilous and uncertain times, but have we not, after all these years, fed the flock enough “meat” to trust that they can and will turn to God for themselves? Or are we, draped in our own egos, more selfishly concerned that they may not return to our fold and thus, affect our financial bottom line?

It is not a lack of faith to use wisdom or to be practical. Even Jesus reached out his hand to save Peter when he could easily have let him drown and then used his “corrosive anointing” to raise him from the dead. Wisdom is profitable to direct and I believe my father, who I consider one of the greatest men of faith to ever walk this earth, would have done the needful to protect the sheep. My mother most certainly is.

To this end, some larger churches are offering their services online. However, for the working poor who faithfully make up the backbone of most Nigerian churches, internet connectivity and/or live streaming of an entire service make that option impractical and/or unaffordable. They are the ones, who because they live day to day, cannot afford to practice social distancing, “stay at home” and for some, even “wash your hands,” because soap becomes a luxury when one’s ‘daily bread’ is devoid of the ‘daily.’ If our government does not step up to courageously seek support that is tailored to our unique realities and then provide that support to those on the margins, the import of the corona virus in our beloved Nigeria could be felt by generations to come.

As such, could this pandemic present an opportunity for churches to fill the glaring gaps and practically serve the last and the least in a manner that reveals who we profess to be as followers of The Way? Might this be an opportunity for the church to put our egos aside and creatively heed Jesus’ instructions to ‘feed my sheep’, to apply the Balm of Gilead, by serving those who will be most physically, mentally and economically impacted? Practically speaking, could we convert our sanctuaries to temporary hospitals or food pantries where those in need can obtain essentials? Can we use the funds of those who have faithfully donated over the years to buy ventilators and personal protective gear for our hospitals and health workers on the front lines? Can we purchase hygiene products and distribute them to those who may be confined to their homes? This, I believe, is our mandate.

At the end of the day, my faith in God runs deep. It has guided my life since I was 10 and I prayerfully trust that we will get through this. But as the Nigerian Church temporarily loses her ‘religion’ and her faith is unveiled in the face of COVID-19, she is presented with an opportunity to reverberate thunderously and rise up to be who she professes for such a novel time as this. After all, in the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, ‘the church is the church only when it exists for others…not dominating, but helping and serving.’

WRITTEN BY

R. Evon Benson-Idahosa, Esq.

Lead table turner and expert troublemaker at Pathfinders Justice Initiative (www.pathfindersji.org); creating more space for women at the table.

JUST IN: Coronavirus Test Result Of Police IG, Other Top Officers Revealed

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has tested negative for coronavirus.
This was contained in a statement posted on the Nigeria Police Force Twitter handle on Tuesday afternoon.
It said the IGP received the result of his test this morning, having submitted samples on Friday, 27th March, 2020.

Other officers who tested negative include Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba; the Principal Staff Officer to the IGP, DCP Idowu Owohunwal, Head of the Force Technical Intelligence Unit, DCP Lanre Ogunlowo.

Others are Personal Physician to the IGP, CSP (Dr) Nonye Welle; Medical Officer, Police Clinic, Force Headquarters, Abuja CSP (Dr) Titus Adegbite; Secretary to the IGP, SP Moses Jolugbo and five other close aides to the IGP.

While noting that policing is a high-contact job with its attendant risks, the IGP enjoined police officers nationwide “to adhere strictly to all precautionary and safety measures in the course of their day-to-day activities”.

Nigeria currently has over 135 cases of COVID-19 global pandemic.

The spread has resulted in a lock down of Lagos and Abuja

Ogun State is expected to also commence a lock down on Friday.

The global pandemic has claimed nearly 40,000 lives in three months and affected 200 countries.

General Adeniyi: Nigerian Army Removes General In Viral Video Asking For Weapons To Fight Boko Haram

The Nigerian Army under the leadership of Lt. General Tukur Buratai, Chief of Army Staff, has removed General Olusegun Adeniyi, who appeared in a viral video urging military authorities to supply them with weapons and accurate intelligence to combat Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East region.
Adeniyi, who is Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, in the viral video lamented how his men were outgunned and ambushed while on an operation in Borno.

247NNU on Tuesday exclusively gathered that a massive shake-up involving the redeployment of over 50 senior officers would be carried out today and Adeniyi is one of persons affected.

Several army generals would be removed on account of the viral video that caused the military authorities great embarrassment.

The Nigerian Army has in recent times suffered huge losses in the fight against Boko Haram due to lack of intelligence, sufficient weaponry to match the insurgents and neglect of troop welfare.

Terrorists recently ambushed and killed over 70 soldiers in Borno State.

#Coronavirustruth: WHO Drops Bomb On People Who Wear Face Masks For Protection

The World Health Organisation, WHO has dropped a shocker to people wearing masks as protection against coronavirus.
It said masks do not offer protection against coronavirus.

In its latest update about the virus which has sickened close to 800,000 people worldwide and killed 38,000, WHO said emphatically that people who are healthy should not wear masks.

It warns that masks used improperly can be a source of infection.

“If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection.

“Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.

“Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

“If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.


Here is WHO advisory on how to use the mask:


“Before putting on a mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.

“Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

“Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not re-use single-use masks.

“To remove the mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

Breaking News: Ex President Dies Of Coronavirus

Former President of Congo, Jacques Joaquim Yhombi Opango is dead.
Opango died of coronavirus in France on Monday

BBC reports that his son, Jean-Jacques said the 81-year old was sick before contracting the disease.

Born in 1939, Yhombi Opango was an army officer who rose to power after the assassination of President Marien Ngouabi.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office for Africa in Brazzaville, Congo, on Monday confirmed that South Africa has more confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) than any other country in Africa.

WHO said South Africa is the most affected by the coronavirus in Africa, with 1,280 cases, one death, and 31 recoveries as of Monday, March 30.

UK Pledges £75m To Evacuate Its Citizens From Nigeria As Coronavirus Cases Rise

The British Mission in Nigeria says it is receiving expression of interest from its nationals in Nigeria who want to return to the United Kingdom.
This is just as the UK Government pledged up to £75 million to bring stranded UK citizens back home giving priority to citizens on short-term visits outside the UK and those with underlying health conditions.

The PUNCH reports that some countries including France, Israel and the US have started evacuating their nationals from Nigeria.

According to World Health Organisation statistics as of 11pm on Monday, March 30, the UK had 19,526 confirmed cases and 1,228 deaths while Nigeria’s COVID-19 cases topped 131 with two deaths.

Some infected Nigerians have travel history to the UK including the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari; and the Comptroller-General of Immigration, Muhammed Babandede, who both tested positive for the virus upon their return from the UK.

The Federal Government had restricted flights from the UK and some countries identified as volatile coronavirus beds before finally shutting all international airports in the country.

However, in a video released on Monday, British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, said the mission understood that the airports in the country are closed to international flights but it is working intensively at evacuation flights.

She said, “I fully understand the anxiety that COVID-19 is causing UK citizens here in Nigeria. It is my top priority to support British citizens here.

“We fully understand that travelling back to the UK is not feasible now for our citizens. That is because the government of Nigeria, in its own response to contain COVID-19, closed Abuja and Lagos airports to international flights from the 23rd of March for one month.

“The government of Nigeria has, however, made exemptions for humanitarians and for evacuation flights. We are working intensively to look at those options for evacuation flights.

“Our top priority at the moment is those who are normally resident in the UK but are here, temporarily visiting Nigeria. Our second top priority is those with underlying health conditions and other vulnerabilities.

“We have not of course forgotten those who are resident in Nigeria and we will be returning shortly with further advice but for now, our top priority is those who are visiting temporarily and those with underlying health conditions.”

Also, the UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, in a statement on Monday said the UK Government is in talks with governments and airlines to evacuate Britons from around the world.

He said the UK Government has signed a memorandum of understanding with airlines such as Ethiopian Airlines, Virgin, Easyjet, Jet2 and Titan Airways to work with British Airways for this purpose.

Raab said, “This is a worrying time for many British citizens travelling abroad. We’ve already worked with airlines and governments to enable hundreds of thousands to return home on commercial flights.

“Where commercial routes do not exist, the government will provide up to £75 million financial support to enable special charter flights – operated by the airlines above and others – to fly to priority countries to bring back UK residents.

“Charter flights are already up and running to Ghana and Tunisia. We will add more countries this week with the aim of bringing people back from countries such as India and South Africa where large numbers of British travellers are stuck and commercial routes are completely suspended.

“We are negotiating intensely with countries around the world to secure permissions for return flights where airspace has been closed.”

Nigerian Graduating Student Dies Of Coronavirus In America After Doctors Refused To Test Him

Weeks before he was set to graduate at the Western Michigan University, a Nigerian-America student, Bassey Offiong, died from coronavirus after being refused a test several times in Michigan.
The PUNCH gathered that the deceased is a 25-year-old college student studying Chemical Engineering at the Michigan-based university.

A relative to the deceased told The PUNCH that he tested positive for coronavirus on Friday.

Offiong’s cousin, Rosalyn Afiong, added that the student died on Sunday, describing the deceased as a “shining light.”

“My dear sweet cousin, this is unreal. I don’t even know where to begin. May your soul rest in eternal peace. You did everything and more with your time here on Earth, and although you weren’t anywhere near done in your purpose, you’ve been called for a higher purpose bigger than us all.

“I love you so much and I pray you to keep that same light shining on us from above,” Afiong said while paying a tribute on Facebook.

According to his sister, Offiong was refused testing several times despite showing symptoms of the deadly virus.

She said the victim had shortness of breath, fatigue and fever before his death.

“I told him to ask them to test him. He said they refused to test him,” she told Detroit News.

Confirming his death, WMU president, Edward Montgomery, said, “On behalf of the entire Bronco community, I want to extend my deepest condolences to his entire family, including his sister Asari, who has been generous in communicating with us regularly.”

One of his friends, Koko Adiaha, said it was “extremely hard” to believe Offiong’s death,

Adiaha said, “My mother called me frantic and told me we lost Bassey Offiong due to COVID-19. I just can’t wrap my head around the why and how.

“This one is extremely hard to process. Beloved by everyone who knew him. Bassey deserved much more than what was offered to him.”

A representative of Michigan’s Sixth Congressional District, Fred Upton, added, “I woke up this Sunday morning to the sad news of a WMU Engineering student who passed away with coronavirus. Our condolences are with them.”

"Waste Of Bigmanship" - Obaseki, Mr Jollof Ridicule Tinubu Over N200m COVID-19 Donation

Comedian-cum-Politician, Mr Jollof, and the cousin to Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, have ridiculed APC Chieftain, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, over his donation of N200m to combat the Coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Jollof alluded to the 2019 election when a bullion van was seen entering the chieftain's Ikoyi residence in Lagos. He also compared him to Femi Otedola and Tony Elumelu who donated N5bn for the cause.

Tinubu is further mocked as they ask him to remove the Jagaban from his name and send his account number so they can return his N200m.

Watch video below:

Breaking News: Shots Fired As Prisoners Riot Over Contacting Coronavirus, Demand To Be Released

Inmates of the Kaduna Central Correctional Centre are protesting the congestion in their cells following the outbreak of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
The inmates who are alleged to have engaged prison officials are insisting that they must be released to avoid being infected by the deadly virus.

Security personnel, including prison wardens, are reportedly battling the inmates.

Reports say shots have been fired in the ensuing fracas.

Details soon…

 
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