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Police arrest 4 men in Pakistan for challenging Imam for refusing to announce Christian funeral

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Pakistani police officers 

Pakistani police on Wednesday have arrested four men charged with blasphemy after they argued with an ‘imam’ over whether a funeral announcement for a Christian neighbour could be made from a mosque.

According to Al Jazeera, a local police official Faryad, disclosed that the case occurred in the village of Khodi Khushal Singh, near the eastern city of Lahore, on November 18. 

“The men have been detained and we have presented them before the court,” he said.

The men, who were Muslim, argued with a local cleric after he refused to make a funeral announcement for a Christian man from his mosque, the initial police report says.

“As soon as they arrived [at the mosque], they started cursing the mosque’s imam, they disrespected the mosque and they insulted Islam,” reads the report.

Reacting to the report, a Pakistani human rights activists and lawyer, Nadeem Anthony, decried the case against the four men as being unfounded.

“If there was a Muslim who in good faith wants to have an announcement such as this made in the community, it’s not an attack on someone’s faith, it’s a good cause,” said the rights activist.

“So if someone announces [a funeral] on a loudspeaker, how is it a religious violation?”

Blasphemy is a sensitive subject in Pakistan, where strict blasphemy laws prescribe a mandatory death penalty for certain forms of the crime.

The four men were charged under sections 295 and 298 of Pakistan’s penal code, which carry penalties of up to two years in prison.

Pakistan has never executed a convict under the blasphemy laws, but accusations of the offence have increasingly led to murder by mobs or individuals. Since 1990, at least 79 people have been killed in such violence, according to an Al Jazeera tally.

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Tinubu jets out of Nigeria for medical attention abroad

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The Paradise Breaking News
APC National Leader, Bola Tinubu 

National Leader of the All Progressives Congress and 2023 presidential hopeful, Bola Tinubu, has again jetted out of Nigeria to seek medical attention abroad. 

This comes barely three weeks after he informed President Muhammadu Buhari of his ambition to contest the position of president in 2023.

Tinubu also paid visits to some Northern states where he donated millions of naira in a bid to sell his presidential ambition.

He also recently met with former Head of State and annuller of the June 12, 1993, presidential election, General Ibrahim Babangida, over his plans to be President of Nigeria.

According to sources, Tinubu left the country after admitting to having a stressful time touring states for his “lifelong presidential ambition”.

His destination was, however, not disclosed.

He had recently returned from the United Kingdom after a three-month medical trip where he claimed he went to meet his physicians for physiotherapy.

On Thursday, Tinubu was absent at the inauguration of the working committees of a new movement in support of his ambition, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in GRA, Ikeja, Lagos.

His absence had raised concerns about his whereabouts. SaharaReporters reports

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PDP accuses Buhari govt of deceit over subsidy payment, demands details of importation costs

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government of insincerity and deceit over the payment of fuel subsidies.

This was contained in a statement issued on Friday by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, in response to statements by the FG over the N3 trillion budgeted for the payment of fuel subsidies in 2022.

On Wednesday, the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, disclosed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) requested the sum of N3 trillion as fuel subsidy for 2022.

“In 2022, because of the increased crude oil price per barrel in the global market, now at $80 per barrel, and also because NNPC’s assessment is that Nigeria is that the country is consuming 65.7 million litres per day, that we would end up with an incremental cost of N3 trillion in 2022,” Ahmed added.

However, the opposition PDP challenged the FG to publish details “of importation costs to Nigerians as no genuine pricing template can support such criminal increase in fuel subsidy beyond the appropriate pricing which experts posit cannot be above N500 billion.”

READ ALSO: PDP NWC fixes Feb 19 for Lagos congress

The statement further accused the FG of “surreptitiously funnelling trillions of naira into the pockets of corrupt APC leaders and their cronies in government ahead of their shameful exit in 2023.”

It read, “The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is appalled by the bare-faced move of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration to hide under fuel subsidy to siphon and fritter a staggering N3trillion, describing it as an outrageous and unpardonable crime against Nigerians.

“Whilst the PDP is not against subsidising petroleum products for Nigerians, our party rejects this wicked plot by the APC government to use heavily padded fuel subsidy claims to surreptitiously funnel trillions of naira into the pockets of corrupt APC leaders and their cronies in government ahead of their shameful exit in 2023.

“The PDP demands full disclosure of specifics of the subsidy templates including details of the cost of importation of petroleum products into the country to warrant the additional N2.557 trillion being requested by the corrupt APC administration.

“The PDP already has information on how corrupt APC leaders pushed for the additional N2.557 trillion to the N443 billion already approved for fuel subsidy in the 2022 budget just to create a surplus as a slush fund ostensibly for APC leaders to share as well as deploy to rig the 2023 elections.

“The APC government cannot justify the proposed increase in fuel subsidy in the face of incontrovertible evidence of slowing economy and consequential decrease in consumption of petroleum products in Nigeria due largely to the rudderless, irresponsible, and insensitive economic policies of the APC as well as the adverse effect of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Is it not revealing that while fuel subsidy was N24 billion in 2016 and rose to N144.53 billion in 2017, it spiked to N878 billion in 2018 ahead of the 2019 elections; remained at N551.22 billion in the election year of 2019, only to drop to N102 billion in 2020, after the elections?

“It is clear that the APC increased fuel subsidy to N1.4 trillion in 2021 and now barefacedly seeks an additional N2.557 trillion to have a cumulative subsidy bill of N3 trillion in 2022 to prosecute the 2023 elections having realized that it has a tough battle with Nigerians because of its monumental failures.

“The PDP, standing with the Nigerian people, vehemently rejects the bandying of incoherent, unsubstantiated, and heavily doctored figures by the APC government in its desperate lies on domestic consumption and landing costs.

“Our Party challenges the APC to present the details of importation costs to Nigerians as no genuine pricing template can support such criminal increase in fuel subsidy beyond the appropriate pricing which experts posit cannot be above N500 billion.

“The PDP, therefore, calls on the National Assembly to stand with the people and reject the scandalous N2.557 trillion addition for fuel subsidy at this critical time as approving such would be a great and unpardonable disservice to Nigerians.”

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Remain focused, I will come out victorious — Kanu tells supporters

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The Paradise Breaking News

Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, has assured his supporters that his ordeal is for a time and that he will soon come out victorious from the allegations levelled against him by the Nigerian Government.

Kanu also urged followers to remain focused and always tow the path of peace in the midst of challenges.

He spoke through a statement by his lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, on Thursday.

The statement reads, “Our visit to our indefatigable client – Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, remains positive as our legal strategies were discussed, and he is in firm spirit.

“Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu deeply appeals to umu Chineke to avail themselves of the peace initiative presently ongoing and not to be distracted anymore. He further implored all umu Chineke to keep their eyes on the ball because enemies are struggling in vain to entrench disharmony.

“Onyendu reiterates that the ongoing interventions towards peaceful coexistence must be respected, encouraged and abided by. His call for unity among the entire umu Chineke at all levels, who believe in his peaceful message cannot be overemphasised.

“Further, Onyendu extends his warm regards to millions of his fans and followers who have equally remained consistently resolute and focused. He is convinced that the present situation will only last a while and he will emerge victorious.

“He also used the opportunity to offer special prayers for me in commemoration of my birthday, as he believed most strongly that the future is crystal bright and holds much good tidings.

“Consistent with our usual request, we crave for your unrelentless prayers and supplications to the Almighty Chukwuokike Abiama. It will surely end in praises. Thank you all, umu Chineke and remain blessed.”

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