Tag Archives: mosque

Lagos govt announces reopening date for worship centres

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The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu says places of worship in the state will be reopened from August 7.

Sanwo-Olu disclosed this during a briefing on COVID-19 at the State House in Marina.

While mosques will be reopened next week Friday, the governor said churches will follow suit on Sunday, August 9.

According to him, religious leaders must make available hand sanitisers, thermometer guns, adding that the state government will ensure that social distancing is maintained.

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“Places of worship in Lagos will now be opened from Friday, August 7 for our Muslim worshippers and on Sunday, August 9 for our Christian worshippers.

“We will only be allowing 50 per cent of their capacity at either the church or the mosque. Churches that have Saturday worship day will also be allowed to start holding their Saturday worship.

“We must reiterate that places of worship are only permitted to have their regular once a week service on designated days.

For the avoidance of doubt, there will be Friday worship for our Muslim followers and Sunday worship for our Christian followers,” he said.

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The governor vowed that the state government will closely monitor and observe the compliance level of religious bodies before taking the next steps.

Decrease In Positive Cases

On the level of COVID-19 cases in the state, Governor Sanwo-Olu announced that the past two weeks witnessed a decline in fresh infections.

While noting that the state government successfully tested 9,000 samples in the week ending July 26, the governor explained the figures represented 50 per cent increase in the 6,000 tested samples in the preceding week.

According to him, more testing of suspected COVID-19 cases have been made possible with the creation of additional laboratories in the state.

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He is however optimistic that the state is winning the battle against the dreaded virus owing to the increase in the number of tested samples.

“We must, however, mention that we have seen a gradual decrease in the positivity rate in Lagos State over the last two weeks which combines with our increase in the testing numbers.

“We will continue to fine-tune our strategy and our efforts to build on our successes and close all existing gaps if any.”

Meanwhile, in a fresh statistics released by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Friday night, Lagos recorded 78 fresh COVID-19 cases trailing the FCT with 93 cases.


#Newsworthy…

Reactions from ‘Globe’ as turkey reconvert Museum into Mosque

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UNESCO, Greece, Cyprus and church leaders among others express concern about changing status of the sixth-century site.


President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared Istanbul’s iconic Hagia Sophia open to Muslim worship on Friday after a top court ruled the building’s conversion to a museum by modern Turkey’s founding statesman was illegal.

Erdogan made his announcement, just an hour after the court ruling was revealed, despite international warnings not to change the status of the nearly 1,500-year-old monument, revered by Christians and Muslims alike.

“The decision was taken to hand over the management of the Ayasofya Mosque … to the Religious Affairs Directorate and open it for worship,” the decision signed by Erdogan said.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site in Istanbul, a magnet for tourists worldwide, was first constructed as a cathedral in the Christian Byzantine Empire but was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453.

Awaiting of decision for Hagia Sophia trialThe court decision was followed quickly by Erdogan saying that the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Istanbul would be reopened for Muslim worship.

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The Council of State, Turkey’s highest administrative court, unanimously cancelled a 1934 cabinet decision and said Hagia Sophia was registered as a mosque in its property deeds.

The United States, Greece and church leaders were among those to express concern about changing the status of the huge sixth-century building, converted into a museum in the early days of the modern secular Turkish state under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Below is a round-up of international reaction to Friday's decisions.

Church leaders
The Russian Orthodox Church expressed dismay at Turkey’s decision to revoke the museum status of Hagia Sophia, accusing it of ignoring voices of millions of Christians.

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“The concern of millions of Christians has not been heard,” Russian Orthodox Church spokesman Vladimir Legoida said in comments carried by the Russian news agency Interfax.

“Today’s court ruling shows that all calls for the need for extreme delicacy in this matter were ignored,” Legoida said.

The Russian Orthodox Church previously urged caution over calls to alter the status of the historic former cathedral, and Russian Patriarch Kirill said he was “deeply concerned” about such a potential move and called it a “threat to the whole of Christian civilisation”.

Previously, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual head of some 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide and based in Istanbul, said converting it into a mosque would disappoint Christians and would “fracture” East and West.

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UNESCO
UNESCO said its World Heritage Committee would review Hagia Sophia’s status, saying it was “regrettable that the Turkish decision was not the subject of dialog nor notification beforehand”.

The Hagia Sophia is a landmark of Istanbul, once serving as Christian cathedral, later as a mosque, then as a museum [Reuters]

“UNESCO calls on the Turkish authorities to open a dialog without delay in order to avoid a step back from the universal value of this exceptional heritage whose preservation will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in its next session,” the United Nation’s cultural body said in a statement.

The European Union
The European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called the decision “regrettable”.

“The ruling by the Turkish Council of State to overturn one of modern Turkey’s landmark decisions and President Erdogan’s decision to place the monument under the management of the Religious Affairs Presidency is regrettable,” he said in a statement.

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Cyprus
Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, a Greek Cypriot, posted on his official Twitter account that Cyprus “strongly condemns Turkey’s actions on Hagia Sophia in its effort to distract domestic opinion and calls on Turkey to respect its international obligations”.

United States of America
“We are disappointed by the decision by the government of Turkey to change the status of the Hagia Sophia,” Morgan Ortagus, State Department spokesperson, said in a statement.

“We understand the Turkish Government remains committed to maintaining access to the Hagia Sophia for all visitors, and look forward to hearing its plans for continued stewardship of the Hagia Sophia to ensure it remains accessible without impediment for all.”

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Greece
Greece branded Turkey’s move an “open provocation to the civilised world”.

“The nationalism displayed by Erdogan … takes his country back six centuries,” Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said in a statement.

Mendoni further said the court ruling “absolutely confirms that there is no independent justice” in Turkey.

Russia
Vladimir Dzhabarov, deputy head of the foreign affairs committee in the Russian upper house of parliament, called the action “a mistake”.

“Turning it into a mosque will not do anything for the Muslim world. It does not bring nations together, but on the contrary brings them into collision,” he said.


#Newsworthy…

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Turkey turns her 1,500-year-old Hagia Sophia museum into Mosque

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President Erdogan declares iconic cultural site reopen to Muslim worship after a court ruling.


Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia open to Muslim worship after a top court ruled that the building’s conversion to a museum by modern Turkey’s founding statesman was illegal.

Erdogan made the announcement on Friday an hour after the court ruling was revealed, despite international warnings not to change the status of the nearly 1,500-year-old monument, revered by Christians and Muslims alike.

“The decision was taken to hand over the management of the Ayasofya Mosque … to the Religious Affairs Directorate and open it for worship,” the decision signed by Erdogan said.

Erdogan had previously proposed restoring the mosque status of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, a focal point of both the Christian Byzantine and Muslim Ottoman empires and now one of the most visited monuments in Turkey.

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Earlier, a top Turkish court revoked the Byzantine-era Hagia Sophia’s status as a museum. The Council of State, which was debating a case brought by a Turkish religious organisation, cancelled a 1934 cabinet decision that defined the sixth-century building as a museum.

“It was concluded that the settlement deed allocated it as a mosque and its use outside this character is not possible legally,” Turkey’s top administrative court said in the ruling.

The 1,500-year-old monument is revered by Christians and Muslims alike [Anadolu]

“The cabinet decision in 1934 that ended its use as a mosque and defined it as a museum did not comply with laws,” it said.

Erdogan shared on his Twitter feed a copy of the decree he had signed which said the decision had been taken to hand control of the Ayasofya Mosque, as it is known in Turkish, to the country’s religious directorate and reopen it for worship.

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Reporting from Istanbul, Noble Reporters Media learnt the decree was not a surprise as Erdogan had previously stated that he would like to see Hagia Sophia open for Muslim prayers on July 15, the anniversary of a failed coup attempt.

Koseoglu said that in four hours Erdogan was expected to make a speech on the importance of the Hagia Sophia, and its status being altered to a mosque again.

“There are dozens of people in front of Hagia Sophia museum. As soon as the court decision was announced … they have been here chanting, they have been celebrating since then, and we spoke to them, they are very impatient to be able to pray inside Hagia Sophia,” Koseoglu said.

International concerns
Hagia Sophia was first constructed as a cathedral in the Christian Byzantine Empire but was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453.

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In 1935, in the early days of the modern secular Turkish state under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, it became a museum.

The organisation which brought the court case, the latest in a 16-year legal battle, said the Hagia Sophia was the property of the Ottoman leader who captured the city in 1453 and turned the already 900-year-old Byzantine church into a mosque.

Erdogan threw his weight behind the campaign to convert the building before local elections last year. He is due to speak shortly before 9pm (1800 GMT), his head of communications said.

In response to the ruling, the Russian Orthodox Church on Friday said the decision could lead to even greater divisions.

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The United States, Russia and Greece, along with UNESCO, had expressed concerns ahead of the ruling.

UNESCO said its World Heritage Committee would review Hagia Sophia’s status, saying it was “regrettable that the Turkish decision was not the subject of dialog nor notification beforehand”.

“UNESCO calls on the Turkish authorities to open a dialog without delay in order to avoid a step back from the universal value of this exceptional heritage whose preservation will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in its next session,” the United Nation’s cultural body said in a statement.

Erdogan earlier this month rejected international criticism as an attack on Turkey’s sovereignty.


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: Continuous lockdown on worship centres unacceptable – CAN

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The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has declared that the continuous COVID-19 lockdown order placed on worship centres by some states unacceptable and unreasonable.

The declaration was made on Tuesday by the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Samson Ayokunle, who called on state governments yet to reopen worship centres to do so immediately.

Rev. Ayokunle who made the call in a statement in Abuja issued by his Special Assistant, (Media and Communications), Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, said that the continued lockdown order on places of worship is no longer acceptable and reasonably justified.

The statement reads thus in full; “The President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), His Eminence, Rev Dr Samson ‘Supo Ayokunle, on behalf of the Association, has called on all State governments that are yet to reopen churches under their watches to do so now because the continued lockdown order on the places of worship is no longer acceptable and reasonably justified.

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“Despite the directive given by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 with regards to the re-opening of places of worship nationwide, some states like Lagos and Ogun are yet to allow worship places, especially churches, to be reopened. What sin have the places of worship committed?

CAN President, Rev. Supo Ayokunle

“With the sudden emergence of the coronavirus pandemic, the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) at all levels, agreed with the government on the need to close down the places of worship, economy, schools and every other facet of life.

“But with the reopening of the economy, especially the markets (both organized and the unorganised markets) along with the plan to reopen airports and schools, the closure of churches anywhere in the country is no longer tenable and acceptable. In what way are the opened and road side markets more organized than the church which warranted their opening?

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“Is it not our members in the places of worship that do go to markets and other sectors opened? Why are they allowed to go to markets and disallowed from going to places of worship? Is it because the marketers cannot contact the virus in the markets and airports?

“It is our opinion that while the government and other relevant stakeholders are working hard to get cure for the COVID-19 pandemic, the Church too has a role to play by seeking for divine solutions as well”.

He also appealed to the Lagos, Ogun and other state governments where churches are still under lockdown to: “relax it for God’s sake”.

Ayokunle said: “As much as we believe that COVID-19 deserves attention, it is our belief that the affected state governments would not turn a deaf ear to our quest but allow worshippers to return to places of worship”.


#Newsworthy…

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Girl of 6 found dead in Mosque after allege rape.

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A 6-year-old girl has been found dead inside a mosque located at New Road, Kurmi Mashi by Nnamdi Azikiwe bypass, Kaduna North local government area of Kaduna State.

The young girl is believed to have been raped to death by yet-to-be-identified persons.

Confirming the sad incident, the Spokesperson of the Kaduna state police command, ASP Muhammed Jalige, said the body was discovered on Friday, June 26, 2020.

ASP Muhammed Jalige said the community members called men of the Kurmi Mashi police division to make a report after seeing the dead body at about 3.20pm which is close to the time they were supposed to converge for their Friday prayers.

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Jalige said no arrest has been made but that the police is investigating the matter. He said;

“Though no arrest has been made in connection to the crime, but police detectives attached to Kurmi Mashi division of the Command have launched an investigation to unravel the misery.

Yes, the case was reported at Kurmi Mashi division on Friday. Our men in that division received a call from the people in the community in Kurmi Mashi that they saw a dead body lying in the mosque. With the lockdown, they have not been opening mosques except for Friday prayers. They discovered the dead body around 3:20 pm close to prayer time.

An investigation into the matter has commenced. No arrest made so far. But police detectives attached to Kurmi Mashi are seriously on the issue.”


#Newsworthy…

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Nigerian govt might ban worship centres again – PTF reveal reasons.

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The Federal Government has threatened to review the relaxation of the restriction placed on churches and mosques if worshippers disregard its guidelines.
This comes shortly after the Federal Government reopened worship centres.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said this on Thursday at the task force press conference in Abuja.

He also lamented that some Nigerians, who tested positive for the virus, refused to go into isolation.

Read Also

Churches, Mosques to begin service?

In the guidelines, the task force advises vulnerable people including those with conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer as well as people that are above 55 years to worship at home.

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On Thursday, Mustapha said the task force would continue to explain the guidelines it issued to worship centres and other public places.

On the reopening of churches and mosques, he stated, “As we approach the weekend, we remind the public to be aware of the guidelines set for restricted opening of places of worship. National guidelines have been shared with the states and we expect that protocols will be agreed with religious leaders. Compliance is important so as to avoid unwanted consequences that put the lives of people at risk of contracting COVID-19. We urge utmost caution at all times.

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“The PTF will continue to monitor the overall compliance to the easing of restriction as well as evolution of the outbreak. However, we will not hesitate to review as we progress, should the situation warrant, to avoid preventable risks of transmission.”

Mustapha restated that the World Health Organization had resumed the clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine, which it suspended on May 25.


#Newsworthy…

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Why Lagos Churches, Mosques won’t reopen despite National ban lift.


The Lagos State Government has announced that churches and mosques in the state will not be reopened for worshippers.

Prince Anofiu Elegushi, the State Commissioner for Home Affairs, said this during the 2020 Ministerial Press Briefing commemorating the first year in office of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had on Monday, lifted the ban on mosques and churches in the country.

However, Elegushi said the state will not reopen worship centers because the state was the epicenter of the deadly COVID-19.

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According to him, before the pronouncement by the Federal Government, the possibility of reopening religious centers was ruled out in a meeting with religious leaders in the State.

He said the leaders of both faiths claimed they cannot assure that only 20 to 50 people pray behind them.

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”Like an Imam said, he doesn’t know what is going on at the back immediately he is leading a prayer. He said if more than 20 or 50 people are staying at his back he is not going to take responsibility for their presence.

”So, in the meeting, we ruled out in totality the issue of reopening the religious houses until we have a clear coast for us to do so.

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”We all know Lagos is still having more figures. So definitely that will speak to our decision,” NRM quoted him as saying.

He added that the governor of the state would come out with further directives on the matter.


#Newsworthy…

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Churches, Mosques that won’t open – Nigerian Govt specify.


The Federal Government has said churches and mosques that do not comply with “required measures”, will not be allowed to reopen.

The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Sani Aliyu, stated this during the daily briefing on Tuesday.

Aliyu also suggested that it was safer for congregants to worship at home, despite the lifting of ban on religious gatherings.

He however warned that “Places of worship that do not comply with required measures should not be allowed to operate.

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“State authorities should not allow such churches or mosques to operate.”

Aliyu explained that strict compliance to provided guidelines was important, as that nature of religious gatherings could see Coronavirus spread easily.


#Newsworthy…

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Churches, Mosques to begin service?


The Federal Government has relaxed the restriction placed on churches, mosques and other places of worship as part of measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, announced this during the daily briefing of the panel on Monday.

Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to Government of the Federation, said the ban on inter-state travel is still in place. Effective Tuesday, the Federal Government on Monday announced that the nationwide curfew remains in place but with a new timing of 10pm—4am.

It has also approved the full opening of the financial sector – normal working hours for banks.

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It has approved the restricted opening of places of worship, (regular church and mosque services only), to be based on State Governments protocols.

It also said hotels are now free to operate but within the protocol guidelines released.

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The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on coronavirus (COVID-19), Dr. Sani Aliyu said this at the daily briefing of the task force.

The chairman of the PTF and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said President Muhammadu Buhari approved the recommendations of the PTF.

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He said: “After considering all factors mentioned above, the PTF submitted its recommendations and the President has approved the following for implementation over the next four weeks spanning 2nd – 29th June, 2020, subject to review-:

Based on the overall assessment, including available data on the public health considerations and resultant economic impacts, the PTF is of the opinion that Nigeria is ready to allow SCIENCE and DATA determine her cautious advancement into the second phase of the eased lockdown for a period of four (4) weeks.

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​After considering all factors mentioned above, the PTF submitted its recommendations and the President has approved the following for implementation over the next four weeks spanning 2nd – 29th June, 2020, subject to review-:
i. Cautious advance into the Second Phase of the national response to COVID-19;

ii. Application of science and data to guide the targeting of areas of on-going high transmission of COVID-19 in the country;

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iii. Mobilisation of all resources at State and Local Government levels to create public awareness on COVID 19 and improve compliance with non-pharmaceutical interventions within communities;

iv. Sustenance of key non-pharmaceutical interventions that would apply nationwide and include:

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a) Ban of gatherings of more than 20 people outside of a workplace;

b) Relaxation of restriction on places of Worship based on guidelines issued by the PTF and Protocols agreed by State Governments

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c) Managed access to markets and locations of economic activity to limit the risk of transmission;

d) Ban on inter-state travels except for movement of agricultural produce, petroleum products, manufactured goods and essential services;

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e) Mandatory use of non-medical face masks in public places;

f) Mandatory provision of handwashing facilities/sanitisers in all public places;

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g) Extensive temperature checks in public places;

h) Maintaining 2 metres between people in public places;

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i) Strengthening infection prevention and control at healthcare facilities;

j) Isolation of vulnerable populations (elderly and those with underlying health conditions)

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k) Massive information and education campaigns.​

v. Deepening of collaborative efforts with the community leaders, civil society, faith-based organisations, traditional institutions, etc;

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vi. Continuous mobilisation of State governments to take up greater role in the implementation of the guidelines and advisories provided by the PTF;

vii. Continued provision of support by the NCDC to States through guidelines to shape decision-making in responding to high burden LGAs and Wards; and

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viii. Easing the total lockdown of Kano State and introduction of Phase One of the Eased Lockdown.

22.​Ladies and gentlemen, this is still a fight for life and our advancement to phase two does not mean that COVID-19 has ended. It is still potent and highly wasteful of human lives. I implore all Nigerians and corporate citizens to take responsibility and play the expected role.


#Newsworthy…

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Covid-19: Saudi Arabia finally reopen Mosques


Saudi Arabia has finally re-opened the doors to their mosques for worshippers, the first time in more than two months.

The kingdom, on Sunday, began to ease restrictions imposed on worship centres to combat the coronavirus.

However, there are strict rules to be adhered to.

Worshippers are to use their face masks before, during and after the prayer times. They are also to use personal prayer mats, avoid handshakes and stand at least 2 metres apart.

Children under 15, the elderly and people with chronic diseases are not permitted in the mosques.

People must also perform their ablution rites at home, before coming to the prayer grounds.

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“My eyes filled with tears when I entered the mosque and when I heard the call to prayer. Thank God for this blessing that we are back to the houses of worship,” said Maamoun Bashir, a Syrian resident in Riyadh.

Earlier, Saudi authorities said that restrictions would be lifted in three phases, culminating in a curfew ending on June 21, except the holy city of Mecca.


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: Abortion centres open – worship centres close – Trump piss.


US President Donald Trump has said that he has ordered governors to open worship centers despite coronavirus pandemic still raging.

Trump stated this while reacting to the move by some state governors to keep liquor stores and abortion centers open while worship centers remain closed.

“It’s not right,” Trump said. “I’m calling houses of worship essential.”

“If there’s any question, they’re going to have to call me, but they’re not going to be successful in that call,” Trump said of state leaders.

“The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now, for this weekend,”

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“If they don’t do it, I will override the governors.”

“It’s not right,” ”This move is aimed at correcting this injustice.”

“If there’s any question, they’re going to have to call me, But they are not going to be successful in that call.”

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“In America, we need more prayer,” “Not less.” Mr Trump said before leaving the briefing room.

Speaking in a press briefing, Trump stated that he has approved guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which will enable worship centers to reopen.

Earlier on Friday, Trump said more on the subject.

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“We want our churches and our places of faith and worship, we want them to open,” he said. “But they’re going to be opening up very soon. We want our churches open, we want our places of faith, synagogues, we want them open, and that’s going to start happening.”

“I consider them essential, and that’s one of the things we’re saying. We’re going to make that essential,” Mr Trump said. “You know, they have places [deemed] essential that aren’t essential. And they open, and yet the churches aren’t allowed to open, and the synagogues. And again, places of faith, mosques, places of faith.”


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: Churches, Markets, Mosques to remain shut – Ortom back FG.


Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has stated that markets, religious worship centers in the state have to remain closed to contain the spread of covid-19.

The governor had earlier ordered churches and mosques in the state, closed due to the pandemic, said they should reopen.

He also ordered for the reopening of markets.

However, during the weekly news briefing on activities of the Covid -19 Quick Response Team in the state on Saturday, the governor rescinded his earlier orders.

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On why he did, he said it was due to the apprehension expressed by the Federal Government over decisions by some state governments to reopen religious activities.

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 had on Thursday warned the state governors against lifting bans on worship centres and other gatherings.

It insisted that the directive of the Federal Government against the gathering of more than 20 persons was still be in effect.

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Ortom said Benue as a state that remained a component of the Federal Government, could not go ahead with a decisions that goes against the expressed standing of the Federal Government.

According to him, the Federal Government, as the custodian of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), had all the needed information on the viral infection and how to contain its spread.

The governor pleaded with the residents of the state to bear with the state government over the withdrawal of the earlier order.

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He said, “You need to be alive before you can worship.”

The governor added that he had consulted with relevant stakeholders including leaders of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Jamatu Nasiru Islam on the matter.


#Newsworthy…

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Bandits kill 8 Muslims in Afghanistan Mosque attack.


Gunmen opened fire in a mosque in central Afghanistan on Tuesday evening, killing eight worshippers, who are breaking their Ramadan fast, wounding five others, officials said.

“Unknown gunmen fired on people praying inside a mosque during iftar (referring to the meal eaten to break daytime fasting) time,’’ said Wahida Shahkar, spokeswoman for the Governor of Parwan province, during the Islamic holy month.

The Ministry of Interior confirmed the attack in Parwan’s provincial capital Charekar, blaming it on the insurgent Taliban.

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The Taliban denied responsibility and said Afghan security forces were to blame.

The United Nations has warned of an alarming uptick in violence against civilians in Afghanistan.

A shocking attack on a Kabul maternity ward last week killed 24 people, including newborn babies.

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Violence increased around the country even after a Feb. 29 U.S.-Taliban pact on the withdrawal of U.S.-led foreign forces in exchange for Taliban security guarantees.

Afghan security forces, on Tuesday, clashed with Taliban fighters around the city of Kunduz, a strategically important centre that has been one of the Taliban’s main targets and which the group has briefly captured twice in recent years.

Security forces largely repelled the Taliban offensive with the help of air support.

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Assadullah Khalid, acting Minister of Defence, said during a visit to the city that more than 50 insurgents and eight security force members had been killed.

The Taliban have rejected repeated calls for a ceasefire by the Afghan government.

They deny any involvement in the maternity ward attack and the U.S. believes the Islamic State was responsible.

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The U.S. has sent special envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, to Doha and Kabul to press the Afghan government and the Taliban to start stalled peace talks.

Khalilzad has said he will push for a reduction in violence during the trip.


#Newsworthy…

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Breaking: MURIC state position on reopening of mosques. [Nigeria]


An Islamic human rights organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) on Monday warned against the reopening of mosques amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is coming against the backdrop of the reopening of mosques on the orders of Borno, Gombe, and Zamfara States governments.

The federal government had placed a ban on places of worships in Nigeria over a month ago in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus in the country.

However, MURIC in a statement issued by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, and gathered by NobleReporters said: “There are reports that some state governments have given the green light for the opening of mosques. This may not be wise enough. We must be on the side of caution regarding this dangerous virus whose cure has not been found. Muslims should not rush to their graves. We suggest that mosques should remain closed until the Federal Government (FG) declares the country safe from the pandemic.

“We know that lockdown hurts. But so does it hurt everywhere else. We urge Muslims to exercise patience. Those who die can never be seen again. Neither can they be part of a safer and better Nigerian society when the lockdown is finally lifted. We must join hands with the rest of humanity to defeat COVID-19. No single community, group or country can fight the battle alone.

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“Reopening mosques at this time can be interpreted as withdrawing from the battlefield and leaving the rest of the country to face the fight alone. It may also be interpreted as disobedience to FG’s restriction on crowding.

“MURIC reminds the governments and people of Borno, Gombe and Zamfara states whose population is predominantly Muslim of Allah-given fundamental right to life. This right should not be violated through any hasty yet wrongful policy decision.

“The pattern of congregating in mosques may even be more prone to infections than some other places. Unlike others who assemble for worship once in a week or once in a year, Muslims congregate five times daily for the five daily prayers, once weekly for jumu’ah prayer and twice annually for the festivals. It is noteworthy that the last three draw mammoth crowds.

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“Though kaleidoscopic and symptomatic of our unity and strength, the manner of our worship in congregation where we stand shoulder to shoulder and feet to feet in rows that allow no gap whatsoever also renders Muslim worshippers most prone to the spread of infectious diseases particularly during a pandemic like this. Our prostration where all heads touch the ground simultaneously and rise together gives cause for concern about the likelihood of one worshipper breathing almost directly into another’s nostrils. A pragmatic and realistic approach is therefore necessary on the issue of reopening of mosques. It is bad enough that there is fire on the mountain. But it may be worse if we use our hands to draw the fire to our rooftops.

“It is therefore our considered opinion that the authorities in the three states (Borno, Gombe and Zamfara) should reconsider their decisions particularly before the Id al-fitr festival prayer which is fast approaching. We remind the three states that the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) had advised Muslims against congregations until further notice. We therefore suggest that the leadership of the Nigerian Muslim community, namely, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the NSCIA should be consulted before the decision to reopen mosques can be implemented.”


#Newsworthy…

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[Nigeria] Not all levels will resume – Presidency reveal when Schools, Worship centres will resume.

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Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina while speaking on This Morning programme on TVC News, disclosed that the person who leaked President Muhammadu Buhari’s draft speech hours before he delivered his address to the nation on Monday night, has been traced.

According to Adesina, the version released was full of errors and was already circulating on social media before the actual broadcast to the nation.

Asked to clear the confusion on the lockdown where some newspapers carried out different date, the Presidential Spokesman said: “There is just one authentic copy of the broadcast which is the one released from the media office. But then, I recognise that a couple of hours before the broadcast itself, a copy of the purported speech had been circulating particularly on WhatsApp. If you compare the two, yes there are some similarities but then there are also wide differences.

“You have just mentioned the effective day particularly of the gradual easing of the lockdown. What happened was that somebody got hold of the initial draft of the broadcast and played hanky panky with it by releasing it through the social media. If you know the processes that a broadcast goes through before it gets recorded – the script will originate from the relevant government agency, department, parastatal of ministry, whoever heads that agency, ministry or parastatal sign up on it and then they sent it to the presidential office.

“When it gets to the presidential office, it gets through a number of hands again, because the President’s thoughts must be infused and injected into that draft. There are some things that may be in it that the President may completely not agree with. “Finally, it comes to the media office, and I sign on it which I also did yesterday before the broadcast was recorded – I signed on the final copy before the broadcast was recorded.

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“So some hours before the recording was played back, I saw something circulating on social media, I knew that that was not the copy that I signed off on. Then we began to investigate. It has been found out that the original script from inception was what somebody laid hands-on and released to the social media.”

Speaking on some mainstream media reporting from the leaked speech, Adesina said: “Well, mainstream media knows how we release our statements – whatever documents that we are releasing. They should know how to authenticate it. It comes from the media office. So if any mainstream media is now taking its information from the social media, that mainstream media is to be blamed because we duly released the authentic copy of that broadcast by 8:06 PM. So the mainstream media should not have depended on a leaked copy which turns out to have many discrepancies compared with the original and final copy. “

On the reopening of worship centres and schools and whether it is a bit hasty considering the lives of the children, the Presidential spokesman said, “what Mr. President said yesterday was that, from Monday, May 4, there will be a gradual opening up and what that means is that the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 will give a guideline on what can be done and what can’t be done under that gradual easing up.

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“Remember that the President stressed yesterday that some other things will continue like social distancing, not congregating for religious events – it’s on the broadcast yesterday. But the Presidential Taskforce will continue to advise on how we can open up and return to normal life gradually.”

Asked if the same rule applied to schools and school children, Adesina said, “yes but if you look at what the Army did about a week ago, it opened up its schools but not at every level. Those who are in senior secondary schools preparing for WAEC are supposed to return to school to write their exams and he said gradually it will go down to different grades. I don’t want to preempt what the guidelines of the Presidential Taskforce will be like but definitely, there will be a guideline on how schools can begin to reopen. It may not be the whole school because if a school has a population of one thousand it may have an effect. But those who are going to write WAEC are the ones to resume.”


#Newsworthy…

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Shocker: New born baby abandoned close to a mosque in Minna ..


A new born baby girl has been dumped by an unidentified woman close to a culvert along Kuta Road opposite Central Mosque in Minna, the Niger State capital.


NobleReporters learnt that the baby was brought before the Niger State Child Right’s Protection Agency in Minna on Tuesday by a Good Samaritan, Hajiya Fatima Adamu.

According to the woman, the baby was wrapped in a cloth (wrapper) and dumped by the road side close to a culvert and was discovered by passers-by.


“I was called to the scene where the baby was dumped by my neighbours. When I got to the scene, I saw people gathered where the baby was dumped and when I inquired, I was told that an unknown woman dropped from a motorcycle, dumped the baby and left with same motorcycle.

“I noticed everybody was afraid to touch the baby, because nobody except the little children that were playing outside the house said they saw a woman dropped from a bike and dropped something that was moving.

“It was the children that immediately informed their parents but they could not come out after the bike had zoomed off with the woman. They quickly alerted their neighbours and everyone rushed to the scene,” she explained.

She said, with the assistance of a vigilante member that lived in the area, she picked up the baby and went to report the matter to the Central Police Station, Minna.


#Newsworthy…

Ghen Ghen!! 2 men fights in mosque after flirting with each other’s wives


A Twitter user has narrated a story that alleged happened in Ijebu-Igbo, Ogun state, between two married men who were cheating with each other’s wives.

According to the Twitter user, one of the men found out a married man was having an affair with his wife. Rather than confront his wife and her married lover, he decided to start an affair with the man’s wife.

After he achieved his aim, he went to the Mosque on a day when his rival was also there, took the mic and announced to the man and the entire Mosque that he was also sleeping with the man’s wife. This led to a fight, @OlaseniOladejo claimed.

Read his tweets below.

Twitter stories: Two men cheating with each other

Twitter stories: Two men cheating with each other


#Newsworthy…

Nigerians react to Jigawa govt., Says, Build 95 schools, not mosque.

…as report claims creation of 95 mosques in process

Nigerians have vehemently opposed the move by the Jigawa state government to build 95 mosques in the state.

The Jigawa state government announced it will open a bidding process for the construction of 95 mosques across the state.

Nigerians took to Twitter to react to this revelation. They pointed out that Jigawa state has over 800,000 out-of-school children, yet, rather than build schools, the government is making plans to build mosques.

Some asked how the new mosques will empower the people or create employment. Some suggested that factories or schools should be built instead. And some said it wouldn’t be right even if it’s 95 new churches that are being built because that shouldn’t be our priority.

Read a few tweets below.

#Newsworthy…

Jigawa government set to build 95 mosques.

The Jigawa State Government has announced its plan to build 90 Friday congregational and five daily prayer mosques.

Spokesperson of the office of the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Isma’il Ibrahim confirmed the development and further disclosed that over 200 contractors are bidding for the project which will take place across the 30 constituencies in the state.

He also disclosed that Ghali Mu’azu who is the representative of the state’s Due Process and Project Monitoring Bureau, said the process of selecting the contractors would be transparent, fair and just.

#Newsworthy…

New marriage certificate fees law set against churches – PFN

… traditional and Islamic wedding exempted from paying fees

The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) has alleged that churches are being targeted by the Federal Government following the new marriage certificate law introduced by the Ministry of Interior.

PFN’s National President of the fellowship, Rev.(Dr.) Felix Omobude who lashed out at the Ministry of Interior over the imposition of a compulsory N30,000 charge licence for Christian worship centres for the conduct of statutory marriages in churches and N21,000 for each marriage certificate, alleged that it is an attempt to commercialize Christian marriages in the country.

Omobude called on the Federal Government to shelve the unpopular policy which he said is exploitative and targeted against Christian marriages in the country. He added that they will use every legal means to stop the new marriage certificate law.

He said;

“This is very unfair and to the best of our understanding, the new law is targeted against the Church because the Traditional and Islamic weddings are exempted from paying the new marriage certificate fees.

“PFN is at a loss as to why Church Marriages should be in the exclusive list of the nation’s constitution. The PFN, therefore calls on the Federal Government to immediately shelve the unpopular policy targeted against Christian marriages in the country.

“If the Ministry of Interior is in dire need of funds, it should look elsewhere and resist the temptation of placing extra financial burden on the Christians and their churches.”

#Newsworthy…