Breakout prospects for 2020 | MLB.com

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Every organization takes pride in its ability to identify and develop talent. We’re the same way at MLB Pipeline, especially when it comes to predicting future breakout prospects.

Looking at last year’s list of breakout candidates, we see many examples of players who realized their potential en route to becoming some of the sport’s premier prospects. White Sox outfielder Luis Robert shot up from No. 44 to No. 3 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects list thanks to a 32-homer, 36-steal campaign across three levels, while Blue Jays right-hander Nate Pearson, another three-level climber in ‘19, ascended from No. 90 to No. 10.

With the start of the 2020 season around the corner, MLB Pipeline once again is picking one breakout candidate from each organization. And while some of the names on this year’s list might be more recognizable than others, they all have the potential to jump on the scene during the upcoming season and establish themselves as can’t-miss prospects.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays: Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP (No. 6) — The Mets’ second-round pick from the 2018 Draft pitched better than his numbers suggest he did at Class A Columbia, and he made six impressive starts for Class A Advanced Dunedin after joining the Blue Jays in the Marcus Stroman Trade Deadline deal to finish his first full season with a 126/24 K/BB and .238 BAA in 106 2/3 innings. The 19-year-old righty is a high-ceiling pitching prospect, armed with a plus fastball-curveball combo, an advanced changeup and a mature overall feel for his craft that could help him move quickly through the Minors.

Orioles: DL Hall, LHP (No. 3, MLB No. 60) — Baltimore’s 2017 first-rounder boasts some of the best pure stuff in the Minors among left-handed pitching prospects, with a plus fastball-breaking ball pairing and a promising changeup. Hall’s overall control, however, leaves much to be desired after the 21-year-old southpaw issued 6.0 BB/9 over 80 2/3 innings last season at Class A Advanced Frederick. The good news is that Hall has never had any issues missing bats (11.1 K/9 across his first 185 1/3 pro frames) and continues to be tough to barrel (.201 BAA), so it’s easy to envision him taking a step forward in 2020 with improved strike-throwing ability.

Rays: Shane Baz, RHP (No. 7, MLB No. 94) — Acquired from the Pirates as the PTBNL in the lopsided Chris Archer deal, Baz spent all of 2019 at Class A Bowling Green in the Midwest League, pitching to a 2.99 ERA with 87 strikeouts and 37 walks in 81 1/3 innings (17 starts). He was especially good down the stretch, too, posting a 2.22 ERA over his final six regular-season starts for the Hot Rods before turning in an eye-opening performance in the Arizona Fall League. With a fastball that can touch triple digits, a devastating slider and a raw but promising changeup, the 20-year-old right-hander could develop into a front-of-the-rotation force if he can improve his control and command.

Red Sox: Gilberto Jimenez, OF (No. 7) — A $10,000 steal from the Dominican Republic in 2017, Jimenez skipped a level last season and led the short-season New York-Penn League in batting (.359) in his U.S. debut. The best center-field defender and one of the fastest runners in Boston’s system, he’ll make the jump to full-season ball in 2020.

Yankees: Clarke Schmidt, RHP (No. 5) — Schmidt had Tommy John surgery as a South Carolina junior a month before New York made him a first-round pick in the 2017 Draft. Though he has been brought back slowly, taking that summer off and totaling 114 innings in 2018-19, he already has reached Double-A and shows the makings of four plus pitches.

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

Indians: Aaron Bracho, 2B (No. 13) — Bracho’s advanced bat earned him a $1.5 million bonus out of Venezuela in 2017, but he didn’t make his pro debut until last season because he fractured his right arm in May 2018. A switch-hitter who possesses deceptive power and precocious command of the strike zone, he hit .296/.416/.593 in the Rookie-level Arizona League last summer.

Royals: Kyle Isbel, OF (No. 8) — The Royals were excited after Isbel’s exceptional pro debut after they took him in the third round of the 2018 Draft, but his 2019 season was interrupted by injuries and he played in just 59 games. He made up for lost time in the Arizona Fall League and should use his impressive .315/.429/.438 (leading the league in OBP) showing to catapult him to the upper levels of the system

Tigers: Parker Meadows, OF (No. 12) — The Tigers knew that Meadows — Rays outfielder Austin Meadows’ younger brother — would need time to develop when they selected the athletic prep outfielder in the second round of the 2017 Draft, and his .221/.296/.312 showing over 126 games at Class A West Michigan in his first full season only confirmed that assessment. However, the 6-foot-5, 205-pounder’s five-tool profile offers reason to be optimistic about his future, as all the raw qualities are in place for the 20-year-old to develop into an impact player.

Twins: Wander Javier, SS (No. 7) — While it’s true the Twins didn’t protect Javier on their 40-man roster this offseason, that was a relatively low-risk move given the shortstop hasn’t played above A ball. A torn labrum cost him the 2018 season and he struggled once he got to full-season ball for the first time in late May of 2019 (.177/.278/.323). But he still has tremendous tools, the ones the Twins saw when they gave him $4 million to sign in July 2015.

White Sox: Matthew Thompson, RHP (No. 13) — Before Chicago selected Thompson 45th overall last June, it had spent just two picks that early on high school pitchers in the previous 17 Drafts (Gio Gonzalez in 2004, Spencer Adams in 2013). Though he was inconsistent as a senior last spring, the White Sox love his athleticism and quick arm, which could result in a mid-90s fastball and plus curveball once he’s fully developed.

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST

A’s: Marcus Smith, OF (No. 30) — The Kansas City high schooler was a bit of a surprise third-round pick, one who wasn’t on our Draft Top 200 list in 2019, but he sure made the A’s look smart during his relatively brief pro debut in the Arizona League (.361/.466/.443 in 29 games). That advanced approach should serve him well and let him use his 70-grade speed to his advantage in his first full season of pro ball.

Angels: Jeremiah Jackson, SS/2B (No. 4) — He’s yet to reach full-season ball, but he set the stage for the jump by leading the Pioneer League in home runs and RBIs in 2019. He’ll need to cut down on his strikeouts (33 percent rate), but he’ll also only be 20 for all of 2020, so there’s time for him to refine his approach and become a truly impactful middle infielder.

Astros: Jeremy Pena, SS/2B (No. 8) — The son of offensive-minded second baseman Geronimo Pena, Jeremy was one of the best defensive shortstops available in the college class of 2018, when Houston popped him in the third round out of Maine. His glove was as good as advertised in his first full pro season, when he exceeded expectations by batting .303/.385/.440 with 35 extra-base hits and 20 steals between two Class A levels.

Mariners: George Kirby, RHP (No. 6) — Kirby made a name for himself as a control artist at Elon University and parlayed that into being a first-round pick last June. He showed just how good that command was by not walking a single batter in 23 innings during his pro debut. Seen as a safe pick who could ride his pitchability quickly up a ladder, his first full season could show that he’s more than that, with the potential to join others from his class on our Top 100 in 2020.

Rangers: Cole Winn, RHP (No. 4) — One of the most polished high school pitchers in the 2018 Draft, Winn went 15th overall but struggled more than expected while being kept on a tight leash in his first full pro season in 2019. But he finished the year with a 2.81 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 51 1/3 innings over his final 12 starts, showing signs of a quality four-pitch mix once he dials in his command.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Braves: Bryce Ball, 1B — Ball spent two years in junior college before transferring to Dallas Baptist for his junior year. The Braves nabbed him in the 24th round of last June’s Draft after he hit .325/.443/.614 with 18 homers and then he hit 17 more combined in the Appalachian and South Atlantic Leagues during his pro debut. He might have the most power in the system and has already shown the ability to get to it.

Marlins: Braxton Garrett, LHP (No. 7) — The seventh overall pick in 2016, the Alabama high school product required Tommy John surgery after just four pro starts, costing him all of 2018. Garrett looked like his old self last season, pairing a low-90s fastball with a plus curveball in high Class A, and could move quickly in 2020 as he puts elbow reconstruction further behind him.

Mets: Francisco Alvarez, C (No. 5) — Alvarez’s $2.7 million bonus in July 2018 was one of the top totals handed out during the 2018-19 international period, and it wasn’t long thereafter that he began to receive rave reviews from those inside the organization. The Mets challenged Alvarez last summer in his pro debut, assigning him straight to the Rookie Gulf Coast League before a quick promotion to the Appalachian League, and the then-17-year-old backstop responded by slashing .312/.407/.510 with seven homers in 42 games between the two stops. The Venezuela native is already perhaps the best pure hitter in New York’s system, with defensive chops behind the plate that could make him an impactful two-way catcher.

Nationals: Jackson Rutledge, RHP (No. 3) Taken with the No. 17 overall pick in last year’s Draft, Rutledge, a 6-foot-8 right-hander, has some of the best pure stuff among college pitchers from his class with an explosive mid-90s fastball and a wipeout slider that front his four-pitch mix. Harnessing his stuff to throw more strikes and developing a better changeup will be developmental keys for the 20-year-old in his first full season, though he’s exactly the type of power pitcher the Nats have successfully developed in the past.

Phillies: Francisco Morales, RHP (No. 6) — One of the top pitchers in the 2016-17 international signing class, Morales has tremendous raw stuff. In many ways, it played well during his full-season debut in 2019, as he struck out just over 12 batters per nine innings and held hitters to a .226 batting average. He needs to refine his command to reach his very lofty ceiling, but here’s betting he takes a big step forward in 2020.

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL

Brewers: Tristen Lutz, OF (No. 2) — Tabbed as the Brewers’ top breakout candidate a year ago, Lutz advanced to Class A Advanced Carolina in 2019 and produced a nearly identical line (.754 OPS, 13 HR, 137/46 K/BB) compared to his first full season (.742 OPS, 13 HR, 139/46 K/BB). The elevated strikeout rates fuel questions about the 21-year-old’s hit tool, but there’s a lot to like in his blend of right-handed power potential and patience at the plate. Lutz has the makings of becoming an everyday corner outfielder if it all clicks for him, and a strong showing at Double-A in 2020 would mark a significant turning point in his development.

Cardinals: Ivan Herrera, C (No. 6) — Signed out of Panama for $200,000 in July 2016, Herrera was pushed up to full-season ball at age 18 in 2019 and responded to the challenge by slashing .284/.374/.405 with nine home runs in 87 games across two levels, including Class A Advanced Palm Beach. Herrera continued to impress on both sides of the ball after the season as one of the Arizona Fall League’s youngest players and will enter 2020 with a big up arrow next to his name.

Cubs: Brennen Davis, OF (No. 3) — Though scouts considered Davis one of the better prep athletes in the 2018 Draft, a hamstring injury slowed him as a senior and helped Chicago grab him in the second round. More advanced than expected, he batted .305/.381/.525 and flashed 30-30 upside in low Class A last season — albeit while limited to 50 games by multiple finger injuries.

Pirates: Jared Oliva, OF (No. 11) — A seventh-round pick out of Arizona in 2017, Oliva has had a solid, if unspectacular, first two full seasons of pro ball with a career .274/.348/.403 line, to go along with an impressive 84 steals. He opened a lot of eyes by leading the AFL with 11 steals (in 12 attempts) and hitting .312/.413/.473, setting the stage for a big 2020.

Reds: Tyler Stephenson, C (No. 7) — The 2015 first-round pick got hit by the injury bug quite a bit during the first stages of his career, but he’s going to look back at 2019 as the year it all started to click. After a solid regular season in Double-A, the backstop had a very strong AFL campaign (.347/.372/.410 in 49 at-bats) to earn a spot on the 40-man roster. A big follow-up campaign should vault him onto the top catching prospects list and have him ready for Cincinnati.

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST

D-backs: Kristian Robinson, OF (No. 2, MLB No. 71) — Signed out of the Bahamas for $2.5 million in July 2017, Robinson offered a glimpse of his potential in 2019 as he slashed .282/.386/.514 with 14 homers and 17 steals while ascending from Class A Short-Season Hillsboro to Class A Kane County in his age-18 season. The 6-foot-3 outfielder’s massive right-handed power highlights an all-around exceptional set of tools, and, overall, it gives him one of the higher ceilings in the Minors among teenage prospects.

Dodgers: Diego Cartaya, C (No. 11) — MLB Pipeline’s top-rated international amateur in the 2018 class, Cartaya signed for $2.5 million out of Venezuela. Often compared to Salvador Perez, he has the tools to make a difference offensively and defensively and hit .281/.343/.432 between two Rookie-ball stops in his 2019 pro debut.

Giants: Alexander Canario, OF (No. 7) — Signed for $60,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2019, Canario possesses the quickest bat in San Francisco’s system and batted .318/.377/.623 with 16 homers in 59 games between the Rookie and short-season levels last year. He fits the right-field profile well and could have even more value if he’s able to stick in center.

Padres: Reggie Lawson, RHP (No. 21) — The Padres’ second-round pick in the 2016 Draft, Lawson spent much of the ’19 season on the injured list with a balky right elbow, but he returned late in the season to make six starts for Double-A Amarillo, then dominated while making three impressive outings in the Arizona Fall League (0.82 ERA, 14 K, 11 IP), where he operated with a mid-90s fastball, a sharp, 12-to-6 curveball and a promising changeup. With his blend of size and stuff, Lawson could break out in earnest with a healthy 2020 campaign.

Rockies: Helcris Olivarez, LHP (No. 25) — Olivarez made his United States debut in 2019 and missed a lot of bats in the Pioneer League (11.76 K/9 in 46 2/3 IP), largely with a very lively fastball. He’ll need to improve his command (4.63 BB/9) and tighten up his secondary stuff, but the ingredients are all there for him to take a big step forward, perhaps with a move to full-season ball.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

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Derek Acorah dead: TV psychic and Celebrity Big Brother contestant dies aged 69 after ‘very brief illness’ | London Evening Standard

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TV mystic Derek Acorah has died aged 69, his wife has said.

The self-styled spiritual medium, whose real name is Derek Johnson, appeared on Celebrity Big Brother  in 2017 and launched the paranormal reality TV series Most Haunted in 2001.

His wife Gwen Acorah shared the news in a statement on his official Facebook page, adding that the psychic had been in intensive care after falling into a coma.

“Farewell my love! I will miss you forever! I’m devastated to announce that my beloved husband Derek has passed away after a very brief illness,” she wrote.

Derek Acorah took part in Celebrity Big Brother three years ago (PA Archive/PA Images)

“Thank you so much to everybody who has supported me – I can never thank you enough.”

She suggested that her husband had been targeted by trolls before his death in the second part of her statement.

Born in Bootle, Merseyside, in 1950, Acorah featured in regular segments on 1996 TV show The Psychic Zone before becoming a contributor on spin-off show Psychic Livetime.

Acorah got his big break on TV thanks to Psychic Livetime on satellite channel Granada Breeze, and then followed it up with his own series Predictions With Derek Acorah.

He then went to Living to feature in Most Haunted, where he was the guest medium for several series until he departed after six series in 2005 following claims of fakery.

The show’s resident parapsychologist Dr Ciaran O’Keeffe told The Mirror in late 2005 that he had set up Acorah by having other crew members feed him false information about spirits in various locations.

Dr O’Keeffe invented a long-dead South African jailer called Kreed Kafer, an anagram of Derek Faker, and said he was stunned when the TV medium “got possessed by my fictional character” at Bodmin Jail.

In 2006, Acorah’s former co-host Yvette Fielding told the Metro: “We tell people everything is real, then it turns out he was a fake, so he had to go.”

After Most Haunted, the presenter had another series called Derek Acorah’s Ghost Towns, which ran for three series in 2005 and 2006.

In 2009 Acorah attempted to contact the late King of Pop in a broadcast called Derek Acorah’s Michael Jackson: The Live Seance, but the show was widely panned by viewers and critics.

Acorah was forced to apologise to the McCann family after he was quoted as saying that that their lost daughter Madeleine was dead.

He reportedly told The Sun that she had joined the “spirit world”, greatly upsetting the McCanns, although Acorah later claimed he had been misquoted by the paper.

Acorah was banned from driving for more than two years in 2014 after admitting to driving without due care and attention and for failing to provide a breath test following a crash the previous year.

His wife said he died from a short illness (PA)

He appeared in series 20 of Celebrity Big Brother on Channel 5, where he came fourth.

Acorah was born in Bootle, Merseyside, in 1950.

He originally had aspirations to be a footballer, and was on the books of Liverpool FC but did not play a game.

He went on to play football in Australia but his career in the sport ended while he was in his late twenties due to a leg injury.

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Christ Embassy Church probe in UK: The Full report | P.M. News

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Pastor Chris Oyakhilome: heads the Christ Embassy Church in UK

Christ Embassy Church, owned by Pastor Chris Oyakhilome and registered in the UK in 1996 as a charity came under probe of the Charity Commission in 2013, following complaints about the use of charitable funds on large connected party payments.

Truly, investigators discovered numerous failings in its management. They established that a number of informal grants and payments were made, including over £1.2 million* to a broadcasting company, Loveworld Television Ministry, which was wholly owned by a trustee of the charity.

Also, for six years the charity had allowed Loveworld free use of a £1.8 million property it had purchased, and was subsidising a proportion of the company’s utility bills. The inquiry found a lack of formal contracts or appropriate record keeping, and a lack of evidence of proper decision-making or of conflicts of interest being appropriately managed.

Financial management at the charity was also found to be poor. The trustees claimed 9 bank accounts held funds belonging to Christ Embassy Nigeria, and that 3 UK properties belonged to Christ Embassy Nigeria, however the inquiry concluded that all of these in fact belonged to the charity.

Oyakhilome’s ex-wife Anita Ebodaghe: was on the charity board at the time

The inquiry considered that there was serious misconduct and/or mismanagement in the administration of the charity, and took action to remove two of the trustees of the charity, however the individuals resigned before the sanction was applied. The Commission has since been granted new powers to address this loophole, which it secured under the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016.

As a result of the inquiry, a new board of trustees was set up to strengthen the administration and management of the charity.

Amy Spiller head of the investigation team spoke on how the investigation was able to dissect the complex web of entities connected with the Christ Embassy Church:

“This was a complex inquiry that unveiled numerous failings by those running Christ Embassy over a number of years, which exposed the charity to undue risk. I am pleased that these issues have been resolved and that the new board of trustees has shown a clear commitment to move the charity forward responsibly.

“Those running a charity should always be guided by their charitable purpose. Trustees have an important responsibility to ensure that they act in the best interests of their charity at all times, and take care to safeguard their charity’s assets. Our guidance around governance arrangements is there to help trustees ensure they do just that.

“Charities are trusted in a way that is unique, and people often put a lot of faith in religious charities. It is therefore vital that trustees, particularly those with a large following, do all that they can to inspire public trust”.

Christ Embassy operates over 90 churches in the UK, providing religious services to over 5000 people, and has a substantial international following.

Here is the full report released 14 November, 2019 as culled from www.gov.uk

The Charity
Christ Embassy (the charity) was registered on 19 November 1996. It is governed by a Declaration of Trust dated 23 October 1996.

The charity’s entry can be found on the register of charities.

Charity Structure
The charity was established in South London in 1996. The charity’s Headquarters is located at the Loveworld Conference Centre (commonly referred to as the “Christ Embassy International Office”), in Folkestone, Kent and is supported by three sub offices situated in Bermondsey, Croydon and Hendon. The sub-offices operate in excess of ninety churches throughout the country, providing religious services to in excess of five thousand beneficiaries.

The charity has a trading subsidiary company called Christ Embassy Limited (Company Registration No. 05862298) which became a subsidiary in 2012. The trading subsidiary shares the charity’s UK headquarter premises. The trading business involves the production, sale and distribution of religious books and media products.

The charity’s reported income in the year ending 31 December 2013 was £14,055,229 and its expenditure was £15,923,977.

Trustees
During the Commission’s engagement with the charity (since 2012) there have been numerous trustees in office. The table below only lists the trustees who were in office for a part of the inquiry.

Trustee From To
A (Reverend Christian Oyakhilome) 23 October 1996 17 May 2014
B (Reverend Anita Oyakhilome) 6 April 1999 2 June 2015
C (Pastor Obioma Chiemeka) 6 October 2009 13 October 2015
D (Pastor Nkemakonam Odiakah) 6 October 2009 15 February 2016
E (Pastor Ifeoma Onubogu) 6 October 2009 12 February 2016
F (Pastor Uche Onubogu) 17 May 2014 26 January 2015
G (Pastor Tony Obi) 17 May 2014 16 October 2015
H (Reverend Raymond Okocha) 17 May 2014 8 August 2017

Trustee A resided in Nigeria and was the founder and international leader of the charity. His wife, trustee B, resided in the UK and was leader of the UK based charity.

Trustees B, D and F were also paid employees of the charity during periods of their trusteeships, which was permitted by their governing document in particular circumstances.

Following the appointment of an Interim Manager and full governance review, a new board of trustees (the new board of trustees) was appointed on 12 April 2016 who are now responsible for the administration and management of the charity going forward. Significant progress has been made to address the governance and improve oversight and control by the new board of trustees.

Issues under Investigation

On 29 July 2013, the Commission opened a statutory inquiry (the Inquiry) into the charity under section 46 of the Charities Act 2011 (the Act).

The Inquiry closed with the publication of this report.

The scope of the Inquiry was to examine a number of issues including:

*the transactions between the charity and “partner organisations” that include grants made to a number of unidentified entities and Loveworld Television Ministry, Healing School, International School of Ministry, Christ Embassy France, Christ Embassy Canada, IPCC Conference and Rhapsody of Realities

*the administration, governance and management of the charity by the trustees with specific regard to connected party transactions in respect of payments to Loveworld Limited and the management of conflicts of interest

*the financial controls and management of the charity

*whether or not the trustees had complied with and fulfilled their duties and responsibilities as trustees under charity law

Findings
Transactions between the Charity & “partner organisations”
The Inquiry team examined the accounts of the charity, for the period 2009-2011 which showed that the charity had paid substantial grants to organisations classified as “partner organisations”.

During 2009-2011, the charity’s accounts show grants amounting to £1,281,666 were paid to Loveworld Television Ministry; £118,995 to Healing School, £186,616 to International School of Ministry, £10,000 to Christ Embassy Canada, £10,566 to Christ Embassy France, £37,216 to IPPC Conference and £77,266 to Rhapsody of Realities.

The trustees provided the Commission with a copy of their grant making policy, and admitted to the Inquiry that “Prior to the involvement of the Charity Commission the grant making practice consisted of a discussion by the Trustees at a Trustee meeting regarding who should receive grant”.

Following his appointment on 6 August 2014, the Interim Manager (the IM) examined the charity’s records and found no evidence of compliance with the Grant Making Policy. Documents examined, by the IM, demonstrated a lack of records and receipts to account for grants made and there appeared to be little consideration given to whether the receiving parties had expended grants appropriately and for intended purposes, as was required by the policy.

This demonstrates failure to comply with its grant making policy and inadequate recording of decision making by the trustees which is misconduct and/or mismanagement in the administration of the charity.

Administration, governance and management of Charity by trustees-specific regard to connected party transactions in respect of payment to Loveworld Limited (also known as Loveworld Television Ministry – registered number 4691981) and management of conflict of interest
The inquiry had serious concerns regarding the trustees’ decision making relating to the charity’s relationship with Loveworld Limited.

It was established that Trustee C, was the sole shareholder of Loveworld Limited since its incorporation in March 2003. Trustee C had also been trustee of the charity between October 2009 and October 2015. The primary objective of the Loveworld Limited was to advance Christian programming in the UK and to provide entertaining and educational programmes for the diverse demographics of the UK, which it did by carrying out both radio and television broadcasting services.

The trustees informed the Inquiry, payments made by the charity to Loveworld Limited were not grants/donations as indicated in their accounts but represented payments for broadcasting services provided by the company to the charity. On 28 March 2013, the trustees were asked to provide all documentation held by the charity or its trustees that recorded the decisions made in respect of the payments by the charity to Loveworld Limited. On 19 September 2013, the trustees provided only two sets of minutes of trustee meetings (minutes of trustees meeting dated 6 January and 6 April 2012) that appeared relevant to the issue. However, neither set of minutes included any decision or resolution to make payments to a company of which one trustee was sole shareholder.

The trustees did not have any formal contracts in place, or indeed rationale for using Loveworld Limited as opposed to any other broadcaster. Additionally the IM, during his inspection of books and records found no evidence to suggest that any of the trustees considered whether the costs charged by Loveworld Limited were better value than the costs charged by any other service provider. The trustees have failed to take, or have failed to record, any proper decisions as to why such payments are in the best interests of the Charity.

The IM confirmed that as early as 2009, the Audit Report highlighted to trustees that transactions with organisations and companies controlled by trustees were required to be disclosed in the financial statements as related party transactions. Auditors also recommended that trustees seek professional advice on whether these payments were permitted under their governing document, discuss and decide whether the payments were in the best interests of the charity and minute those discussions, ensuring that any conflicted parties withdraw from the meeting during discussions. The IM’s investigation into these matters found that this advice had not been followed and in particular there was no evidence that the trustees had sought legal advice.

The IM’s scrutiny of charity records and documents demonstrated that the trustees had failed to comply with the terms of the charity’s governing document and that they failed to comply with the requirements of section 185 of the Act in paying for services by a company owned by a trustee.

Additionally, the Inquiry identified that the charity had purchased a property in March 2006, costing £1.8 million and allowed Loveworld Limited free use of the property from 2006 until September 2012. The trustees informed the Inquiry that Loveworld Limited had only occupied a “small part of the premises”, on an informal basis, with the charity using the premises themselves until February 2014. They informed the Inquiry that the arrangement had been formalised since 2012 and the company was charged £75,000 per year for use of the property. The Inquiry considers that this level of rent indicates that Loveworld Limited occupied a substantial proportion of the building.

The trustees failed to demonstrate that rent for occupation of the premises was a properly assessed market rent which would cover the charity’s overheads. The trustees stated, that the yearly rental income covered all mortgage costs incurred by the charity, however later stated that the charity’s annual mortgage payment was higher than this.

It was unclear to the Inquiry how the permitted, free use of the premises to Loveworld Limited between 2006 -2012 was in the best interests of the charity and was properly authorised.

This indicates that the trustees failed to act in the charity’s best interests or with reasonable care and skill in terms of their decision-making and in the negotiation of the arrangements with Loveworld Limited and in not seeking appropriate advice regarding formalising occupation of premises by the company. In addition, the fact that the charity was also subsidising a proportion of the company’s utility bills indicates a lack of reasonable care and skill and a failure to use the charity’s resources responsibly. These actions were not in the charity’s best interest or in furtherance of its objects and were misconduct and/or mismanagement in the administration of the charity.

Ventaja Limited
An audit conducted by the IM on appointment also identified purchases in excess of £30,000 by the charity from Ventaja Limited – trustees’ reports and financial statements for year ending 31 December 2013: the charity declared £44,925 of purchases made from Ventaja Limited for decorating and the construction of a stage. The company was wholly owned by Trustee G. The payments were made while, Trustee G was church pastor and zonal pastor (prior to being appointed trustee in May 2014). His wife was also director of the company, church pastor and a salaried employee of the charity. The IM found evidence indicating that Trustee G had employed the services of Ventaja Limited to provide services to the charity but it was unclear from the charity’s records what considerations were made regarding potential conflicts of interest. It is unclear to the Commission that the decision making trustees, in position at the time payments were made, were acting only in the interests of the charity.

The trustees failed to provide any records to evidence that conflicts of interest had been identified or correctly managed prior to the opening of the Inquiry. Although the trustees provided the inquiry with a copy of their new “Conflicts of Interest Policy” in their 2013 response, they did not have any policy which covered the conflict which arose as a result of Trustee G, being a church pastor and trustee, authorising payments from his church to his company and therefore effectively paying his own company. The trustees failed to demonstrate that they had recognised or properly managed conflicts of interest. Consequently the Inquiry found this was misconduct and mismanagement in the administration of the charity.

Financial control & management of the Charity
When interviewed by the Inquiry in October 2013, the trustees explained the structure and administration of the charity to the Commission. The structure involved Chapters (also known as churches) within the charity which were spread across the UK with the use of over 100 premises. The IM found that cash collection and payment recording processes were not uniform across the charity, with a number of basic key controls (for example timely bank reconciliations or maintenance of the SAGE records ) found to be lacking.

Bank Accounts/Assets
The inquiry identified nine active bank accounts that the trustees identified as holding funds belonging to Christ Embassy Nigeria (Christ Embassy Nigeria is a separate company to the charity). The inquiry found no evidence to suggest that any of the banking institutions were aware that they were holding funds controlled by Christ Embassy Nigeria. In addition, the accounts were not named in such a way as would indicate the funds are controlled from Nigeria: for example, two of the active accounts are named Christ Embassy East London.

The inquiry, not being satisfied that the funds held in these accounts were owned by Christ Embassy Nigeria, exercised legal powers and issued orders dated 8 august 2014, under section 76(3)(d) of the Act, freezing six of these nine bank accounts, protecting funds to a value of £615,420.

In the absence of clear evidence to support the trustees’ position, the Inquiry concluded that funds held in the accounts belonged to the charity and these accounts remained frozen until the order was revoked on 24 August 2016. The Inquiry being satisfied that the new board of trustees had assumed control of the charity’s property discharged the freezing order on 24 August 2016.

This demonstrates the trustees’ failure to deal with the bank accounts appropriately and their lack of understanding of financial management and the importance of clearly identifying the charity’s property and/or assets held on behalf of another entity and is mismanagement and/or misconduct in the administration and governance of the charity by the trustees.

Tax related issues
The IM informed the Inquiry that the trustees’ failed to submit the charity’s 2010-11 and 2012-13 Self-Assessment Tax returns on time to HMRC thereby incurring penalties for late submissions. In addition, the IM found that the trustees had failed to comply with information Notices issued by HMRC thus incurring further penalties.

The trustees’ non-compliance and failure to submit the charity’s Self-Assessment forms within statutory deadlines resulted in scrutiny by HMRC creating a risk to the charity’s assets in regard to financial penalties incurred and is further evidence of trustees failing in their duty to protect and manage resources responsibly.

Gift Aid is available on donations made by UK tax payers such that the charity can reclaim the tax already paid on the donation by the donor. This means the charity can receive an extra 25p for every £1 donated. It is the trustees’ responsibility to ensure that the charity has effective systems and internal controls in place to ensure complete and accurate returns are made, reducing the risk of amounts being reclaimed by HMRC and ensuring that the charity receives the Gift Aid promptly and with confidence.

The IM established that the charity had failed to maintain:

*sufficient records or processes to show that expenditure by employees had not been an employee benefit and therefore subject to tax
*sufficient records to show that charity vehicles were being used solely for charitable purposes and not used by trustees/employees for private use
*sufficient records to support the charity’s claim to Gift Aid and to demonstrate the expenditure was in fact charitable

The IM dealt with these inquiries and agreed a settlement with HMRC. During discussions with HMRC, the IM made payments on account of £250,000 in order to minimise interest/penalty charges.

The IM informed the Inquiry, in excess of £1.4m of expenditure was disallowed by HMRC and became subject to tax.

The IM reached final settlement over these matters prior to his discharge.

The trustees’ failure to maintain sufficient records and processes to account for expenditure resulted in scrutiny by HMRC creating a risk of criminal proceedings and loss to the charity’s assets in regard to tax liabilities and is further evidence of trustees failing in their duty to protect and manage resources responsibly.


Whether complied and fulfilled duties and responsibilities as trustees under charity law

The Inquiry found a number of breaches of their legal duties by the trustees as evidenced in the previous sections of this report. Additionally the Inquiry found evidence that the trustees exposed the charity, its assets and/or its beneficiaries to harm or undue risk for example:

Property Related matters
The charity is unincorporated, and as such does not have legal personality and cannot hold property in its own name. Instead property must be held on behalf of the charity by nominated individuals (known as holding trustees, and often in practice one or more of the charity’s trustees). From time to time these individuals will change for example due to retirement or death, and the legal ownership of the property will need to be transferred to the new trustees to ensure that the Land Registry records are accurate.

The charity’s main asset other than cash was its ownership of a number of properties. The Inquiry identified 3 UK properties that were not disclosed to the Commission in the trustees’ first responses or during the October 2013 meeting. The trustees asserted that despite the legal title of the properties being vested in the name of two of the charity’s trustees, the properties “were acquired on behalf of, and held in trust for, Christ Embassy Nigeria”.

The Inquiry noted that the Land Registry entries in respect of the 3 properties made no reference to the beneficial owner being Christ Embassy Nigeria and documentation supplied by the trustees provided no evidence to support their assertions. None of the Land Registry proprietorship registers differed in any material way from those of the properties originally disclosed to the Commission as belonging to the charity. These matters were explored further by the IM. His investigations confirmed that the properties were held legally and beneficially by the charity and that there was no trust in place suggesting they were held on behalf Christ Embassy Nigeria.

The Inquiry obtained evidence that the trustees’ failed to ensure land registry details for charity properties were amended once trustees resigned. This was raised a number of times by Auditors in their reports from 2009 onwards and as a result the trustees failed in their duties and responsibilities as trustees to act in the charity’s best interests.

Insurance
The Inquiry found that the trustees failed to secure adequate insurance to protect charity assets and protect against claims for accidental damage to property/or compensation for accidental injury to third parties. The IM was made aware of an outstanding claim in February 2015, brought by a member of the congregation who was injured at a charity premises in 2012. The IM sought to identify whether any relevant insurant was in place. The trustees confirmed that there was no relevant insurance cover and following legal advice obtained by the IM, he settled the claim, in order to avoid lengthy and costly litigation.

The failings of trustees to act appropriately left the charity open to financial and reputational risk and losses, as well as to risk of litigation.

Planning & Building
The trustees failed to ensure that a property purchased by the charity had the necessary planning permission for use as a place of worship – D1 use as Non-Residential institutions, which include a place of worship and church hall. The previous owner had applied for permission to use the property as a place of worship, in 2003 but the planning application had been refused by the local authority. The charity appealed the decision unsuccessfully. Enforcement action was commenced by Southwark Council (18 April 2011). This was also unsuccessfully appealed by the charity. The continued unauthorised use of the premises as a place of worship by the charity, exposed it to enforcement action by the Council. The IM team liaised with the Council to permit a planned exit from the premised which was vacated in January 2015.

The existence of the enforcement notice is a criminal matter. Any breach of the enforcement notice and continued unauthorised use of the premises as a place of worship exposed the charity to prosecution by Southwark Council. Legal advice obtained by the IM confirmed that the breach could have led to criminal sanctions being imposed against the charity and potentially exposed the charity to confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

This demonstrates the trustees’ lack of understanding regarding planning law and regulations which exposed the charity to substantial financial risk as well as legal costs.

Conclusions
The Inquiry concluded that there was serious misconduct and/or mismanagement in the charity’s administration. The former trustees, at the relevant times had not complied with or fulfilled their duties as trustees under charity law. They failed to:

*exercise reasonable care and skill in the execution of their roles and as a result exposed the charity to risk and financial loss
*ensure sufficient financial controls and procedures to protect the charity’s property file their annual accounting information, in accordance with their statutory obligations, on time
*ensure that conflicts of interest were effectively managed comply with the terms of the charity’s governing document in relation to remuneration of trustees
*obtain professional advice during their decision making process and to properly record their decision-making
*comply with planning law and regulations and adhere to enforcement notices, causing the charity substantial financial loss
*address the need for Health & Safety compliance and the lack of adequate property insurance exposed the charity to considerable losses which could have been avoided or minimized with proper management and prompt action

In light of the findings and evidence of misconduct and/or mismanagement, the Inquiry exercised its legal powers under section 79(2)(a) of the Act to remove two of the trustees of the charity.

However the trustees subject to regulatory action resigned prior to the Commission being able to complete the process. Section 79(5) and 82 of The Charities (Protection and Social Investment ) Act 2016 has closed this loophole, thereby allowing the Commission to proceed to remove a charity trustee who has resigned following the Commission having given notice to the charity trustees of its intention to make a removal order. The law has since been amended so that resignations following the Commission issuing a notice of intention to remove a trustee would not prohibit the trustee’s removal and consequent disqualification from action as a trustee in the future.

Regulatory Action Taken
During the course of the Inquiry the Commission exercised its legal powers (Sections 47, 52 and 54 Charities Act 2011), provided by the Act, to issue various orders and directions for the purposes of information gathering from local authorities, private individuals and companies, including financial institutions.

The Inquiry directed trustees to a meeting on 18 October 2013 to discuss regulatory concerns and seek further explanation from the trustees. The charity’s books and records were also inspected on 13/14 November 2013.

The Inquiry, being satisfied in accordance with section 76(1) of the Act, that there had been misconduct and / or mismanagement in the administration of the charity and that it was necessary or desirable to act for the protection of the property of the charity, used a number of regulatory powers, under the following sections of the Act:

*section 76(3)(d) orders (8 August 2014), directing the banks not to part with the charity’s property without the Commission’s prior written consent, protecting £615,420 of the charity’s funds

*section 76(3)(g) appointing an Interim Manager on 6 August 2014 (appointment to take effect from 11 August 2014) and then under 337(6) varying the order (25 January 2016) to authorise the
*Interim Manager to appoint a new board of trustees
section 337(6) discharging (18 November 2014) the order not to part by further order, once the

*Interim Manager assumed control of the charity’s property

The former trustees exercised their right to appeal (8 August 2014) to the First-tier Tribunal, General Regulatory Chamber (Charity) against the order appointing the Interim Manager. The appeal was withdrawn on 20 January 2015 with the charity’s legal representatives, notifying the Commission that the trustees were “now willing to accept that the statutory threshold under section 76 of the Act was met in the present case”.

Appointment of an interim manager
The Inquiry appointed an interim manager, Rod Weston of Mazars LLP, (the IM) on 6 August 2014 under section 76(3)(g) of the Act to take over the management and administration of the charity to the exclusion of trustees. The trustees were not excluded from performing the religious and/or spiritual functions connected with their roles as Pastors within the charity.

The scope of the IM’s appointment included:

*taking control of the management and administration of the charity to the exclusion of trustees and taking steps to secure and protect charity property

*reviewing the governance and administration of the charity and taking remedial action in the best interests of the charity

*reviewing the charity’s financial controls, systems and reporting procedures, safeguarding funds and ensuring proper expenditure controls and governance
consider whether any of the decision making trustees were personally liable for any breach of duty/loss of the charity, taking remedial action to regularise any breaches of duty in the best interest of the charity

The costs of the IM’s appointment, including legal advice and fees that would have been necessary and incurred by any trustee, amounted to £1,244,983.50 excluding VAT. The costs of the IM’s appointment were met out of the charity’s funds and are itemised as follows:

*fees directly related to work as IM – £390,358.40
*professional fees – £854,625.10 (relating to work conducted by 3rd parties on behalf of the IM)
*In addition £208,000 of work was undertaken by the IM on a pro bono basis.

As part of his appointment, the IM completed a full governance and infrastructure review of the charity and its activities. His initial findings, on 9 October 2014, corroborated the Commission’s regulatory concerns relating to the charity, reporting that “the board of trustees appears to be fragmented” and “appear to have little appreciation of their roles, duties and obligations as Trustees”. He identified a number of Health and Safety risks and concerns as well as legal issues relating to property matters which had failed to be dealt with by the trustees and which posed financial risks to the charity. The IM’s investigations found failings in the charity’s governance, leadership and management structures and personnel, including identifying that the charity had insufficient financial controls and procedures.

Remedial actions were taken to regularise the charity’s governance to ensure it was fit for purpose. This encompassed the following:

*establishing a central record of all properties leased and/or rented by the charity to ensure that the terms of leases were being met appropriately and suitable exit plans were in place where leases were due to expire
*establishing an accurate record of assets (ownership of a number of properties, motor vehicles and a range of fixed assets ) owned by the charity, gaining control of the charity’s property portfolio and cash reserves – the IM reduced the number of bank accounts in operation from approximately 40 to 8 and in September 2015 took control of just under £12,000,000

*introduction and implementation of financial controls, systems and reporting procedures, regularising the management of income and expenditure

*Health and Safety audits and fire risk assessments were carried out; training provided to staff and implementation of suitable Health & Safety policies and procedures
extensive liaison with HMRC resulting in settlement of the charity’s tax liabilities
recruitment of new board of trustees

*induction and training of new trustees

Restitution
On 18 November 2015, the IM considered professional advice and the particular circumstances of this case and decided that restitution (by way of civil claims against former trustees for breaches of duties and losses to the charity was not in the best interests of the charity.

Following the appointment of a new Board of Trustees on 12 April 2016, significant progress has been made to address the governance and improve oversight and control by the new trustees, as a result of which the IM was discharged on 12 April 2016.

Issues for the wider sector
Financial Controls & Accounting Records
Proper financial controls are a necessary feature of any well-run organisation. Because of the special characteristics of the charitable sector, they play an essential part in helping to show potential donors and beneficiaries that a charity’s property is safeguarded, and that its management is efficient.

Trustees are equally responsible for the overall management and administration of the charity. Every charity’s accounting records must be sufficient to show and explain its transactions and disclose with reasonable accuracy its financial position. Trustees should ensure that financial controls are not only adequate but provide sufficient information to satisfy the trustees that the controls are being observed. If, due to the nature of the charity, its work, location and /or set up the trustees delegate supervision of financial arrangements to one or a small number of trustees or employees, they need to ensure that there are arrangements in place for proper reporting back to the whole trustee body. In this way, system failures or issues can be identified at an early stage.

Therefore, in order to show that they are complying with their legal duties, trustees must keep records and an adequate audit trail to show that the Charity’s money has been properly spent on furthering the Charity’s purposes for the benefit of the public.

Conflicts of Interest Policy
Charity trustees should ensure that they have a conflicts of interest policy in place to ensure that they are fully aware of their responsibilities and that any conflicts that do arise are appropriately managed.

Where a charity trustee has a conflict of interest they should follow the basic checklist set out in the Commission publication Conflicts of interest: a guide for charity trustees (CC29) and where necessary or appropriate take professional advice.

The law states that trustees cannot receive any benefit from their charity in return for any service they provide to it or enter into any self-dealing transactions unless they have the legal authority to do so. This may come from the charity’s governing document or, if there is no such provision in the governing document, the Commission or the Courts. Further information is available from Trustee expenses and payments (CC11).

Charity Property
Charity trustees have a general duty to manage their charity’s resources responsibly, reasonably and honestly. This means not exposing their charity’s assets, beneficiaries or reputation to undue risk. It is about exercising sound judgement and then taking decisions that a reasonable body of trustees would do.

Trustees must put appropriate policies, procedures and safeguards in place and take all reasonable steps to ensure that these are followed.

If a charity owns land or buildings, trustees need to know on a continuing basis what condition it is in, that it is being properly used, and that adequate insurance is in place. The essential trustee: what you need to know, what you need to do (CC3) makes clear that decisions about charity land and property are important. If the charity owns or rents land or buildings, the trustees need to:

*make sure the property is recorded as belonging to the charity
know on what terms it is held
*ensure it is properly maintained and being correctly used
*make sure the charity has sufficient insurance

A charity’s governing document or the general law can provide a ‘power to insure’. If the governing document imposes a positive duty to insure, if trustees then fail to insure property, this will be a breach of trust. More details are available in the Commission’s guidance Charities and insurance (CC49).

Trustee Decision Making
Charity trustees are responsible for governing their charity and making decisions about how it should be run. Making decisions is one of the most important parts of the trustees’ role. Trustees can be confident about decision making if they understand their role and responsibilities, know how to make decisions effectively, are ready to be accountable to people with an interest in their charity, and follow the 7 principles that the courts have developed for reviewing decisions made by trustees. Trustees must:

*act within their powers
*act in good faith and only in the interests of the charity
*make sure they are sufficiently informed
*take account of all relevant factors
*ignore any irrelevant factors
*manage conflicts of interest
*make decisions that are within the range of decisions that a reasonable trustee body could make

It is important that charity trustees apply these 7 principles when making significant or strategic decisions, such as those affecting the charity’s beneficiaries, assets or future direction.

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Why we burnt PDP women leader to death — Suspect

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The man, Ocholli Edicha, suspected to be the gang leader of those who led some political thugs to burn Mrs Salome Achejuigu, the PDP women leader to death has confessed that they carried out the dastardly act because he had been nursing a grudge against the woman before the Nov 16th governorship election.

Ocholli who spoke with newsmen shortly after been paraded on Wednesday confessed that he was an All progressive Congress thug who mobilized some other thugs from Ejule in ofu local government area to set the house on fire and reigned mayhem shortly after the election.

It will be recalled that the victim, Mrs Salome Abuh, the Women Leader of Wada Aro Campaign Council, Ochadamu Ward, was said to have been burnt alive in her personal residence when she was resting after treatment from an injury on election day

While reacting to the banal act, the spokesman, Wada/Aro Campaign Council, Faruk Adejoh-Audu had claimed the thugs, shooting sporadically, arrived Hon (Mrs) Abuh’s house at about 2pm on the fateful day and surrounded the house, bolting every exit and escape from outside.

“They then poured petrol on the building and set it ablaze as other terrorized villagers watched from hiding. She reportedly attempted to escape through a window but was prevented by the metal burglary proof and gun shots with bullets raining in her direction.

“The blood thirsty thugs waited, shooting and watching with relish while Mrs Abuh cried from inside the inferno until her voice died out.
they reportedly left only when the entire house and Mrs Abuh had been burnt to ashes” he was quoted to have said

But the police commissioner, Hakeem Busari while parading the suspect with five others said the whole crisis erupted when there was a misunderstanding between one Gowon Simon and one Awolu Zekeri which led to the death of the later.

He said the death of Zekeri led to the mobilization of some angry youths in the town who moved to the house of one Simon Abu who is an uncle to the suspect where the 60 years woman was burnt to death.

The CP who said other suspects are on the run however said as soon as investigation is completed, the suspects will be arraigned in court.

He gave the names of other suspects who claimed they were only arrested differently as armed robbers and not killers of Mrs Abuh as Adamu Haruna, Onu Egbunu, Musa Alido, Attai Haruna and Attah Eje.

Mrs Abuh was buried last Saturday amidst tears.

The post Why we burnt PDP women leader to death — Suspect appeared first on TheNigerialawyer.

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Senate Proposes Death Sentence For Hate Speech

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The Senate has gone tough on promoters of hate speech in Nigeria as it yesterday passed into the second reading a bill seeking death by hanging or life jail for anyone who runs foul of the proposed law.

When passed into law, the offenders would be prosecuted under the “Act to provide for the prohibition of hate speeches and for other related matters in Nigeria.“

Although the bill passed the first reading at yesterday’s plenary in the National Assembly, the opposition lawmakers, who kicked against it, said that it was targeted at gagging social media interactions.

Depending on the gravity of the offence, the sponsor of the bill, Senate deputy chief whip, Sabi Abdullahi, appealed to the upper legislative chamber to approve death by hanging for offenders.

Last year, a similar bill, seeking the establishment of the National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches, sponsored by the same lawmaker  passed the first reading on the floor of the Senate.

The 8th Senate had in 2017 attempted to pass the bill without success when the same Senator Abdullahi, as spokesman of the Red Chamber, introduced it.

Abdullahi, who represents Niger North Senatorial District, who sponsored the bill last year, proposed death penalty, life jail, and five years’ imprisonment depending on the degree of the hate speech and an option of a N10 million fine for offenders.

It stipulated that any person found guilty of any form of hate speech that result in the death of another person shall die by hanging upon conviction.

The bill, which was reintroduced yesterday by Abdullahi, is not different from that of last year.

It also seeks the establishment of a commission to enforce the law across Nigeria.

The objective of the bill, according to him, is to ensure the “elimination” of all forms of hate speeches against persons or ethnic groups as well as advising the federal government on the matter.

The proposed law defines hate speeches as comments that insult people for their religion, ethnic, linguistic affiliation, racial contempt among others.

Abdullahi said: “A person who uses, publishes, presents, produces, plays, provides, distributes and /or directs the performance of, any material, written and/or visual which is threatening, abusive or insulting or involves the use of threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour commits an offence if such person intends thereby to stir up ethnic hatred, or having regard to all the circumstances, ethnic hatred is likely to be stirred up against any person or persons from such an ethnic group in Nigeria.

“Any person who commits an offence under this section shall be liable to life imprisonment and where the act causes any loss of life, the person shall be punished with death by hanging,” he said.

For offences such as harassment on the basis of ethnicity, racial contempt, the bill proposes not less than five-year jail term or a fine of not less than N10 million or both.

According to him, “a person who subjects another to harassment on the basis of ethnicity for the purposes of this section where, on ethnic grounds, he unjustifiably engages in a conduct which has the purpose or effect of: (a) violating that other person’s dignity; or (b) creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the person subjected to the harassment shall be guilty of the offence of hate speech.”

He said that a “conduct shall be regarded as having the effect specified in subsection (1)(a) or (b) of this Section if, having regard to all the circumstances, including in particular the perception of that other person, it should reasonably be considered as having that effect.

“A person who subjects another to harassment on the basis of ethnicity commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to an imprisonment for a term not less than five years, or to a fine of not less than N10 million, or to both.“

Among the functions of the hate speech commission are discouraging persons, institutions, political parties and associations from advocating or promoting discrimination or discriminatory practices through the use of hate speeches; promoting tolerance, understanding and acceptance of diversity in all aspects of national life, and encouraging full participation by all ethnic communities in social, economic, cultural and political life of other communities.

But senators elected on the platform of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have said that they would resist any proposed law in the National Assembly that infringes on the rights of Nigerians.

The lawmakers stated that once any bill threatens the fundamental rights of Nigerians as guaranteed in Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), they would kick against it.

Through the Senate minority leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, the PDP lawmakers told visiting members of Leadership and Accountability Initiative that the right thing would be done on the controversial bill.

Abaribe said that there were already laws that deal with the issues the proposed law seeks to achieve. He, however, urged Nigerians to respect the rights of others while expressing their views.

He said: “There is no speed for this bill to be passed. The first reading of a bill is automatic. We can’t make a comment on what is still at the first stage.

“What I can assure you is that this Senate can’t be a party to removing the rights of Nigerians under any form. Section 39 of the Constitution talks about our freedom as citizens. The 9th Senate will not abridge your rights.

“I don’t think Nigerians who fought and paid the supreme price to entrench this democracy will easily give it away and make us go back to the dark days. Be rest assured that when we get to that point, we will stand for the people. Every bill that passes here must pass through the rigours to ensure that it protects the rights of over 200 million Nigerians.

“We have a plethora of laws that can be used to drive the question of a free society. While the social media can be good, it can also be bad. I am a victim of the social media.

“As much as there is freedom, yours stops where another person’s starts. We urge Nigerians not to propagate falsehood or fake news. Our job is to guarantee the freedoms and rights of both sides,” he said.

The leader of the group, Nwaruruahu Shield, had earlier argued that there were already existing laws and irrelevant to promote a new anti-social media restrictions.

He said: “It is imperative to note that there are existing provisions in the Nigerian constitution which define in plain terms about defamation: A defamation matter is defined in Section 373 of the Criminal Code as a matter likely to injure the reputation of any person by exposing him to hatred, contempt or ridicule or likely to damage any person in his profession or trade by injury to his reputation.

“Seeing that Nigeria has more than enough laws such as the Cybercrimes 2015 Act and other existing laws, it has become obvious that what the sponsor(s) (covertly and overtly) of this bill seek to do is to gag the social media and dictate to us what we can say and what not,” he said

Last week, the Senate proposed a “Bill for protection from internet falsehood and manipulations 2019,” which stipulates a three-year jail term for anyone involved in the abuse of social media. It has an option of fine of N150,000 or both.

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Facing ‘certain death’, boy in US with vaping injury gets double lung transplant, United States News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

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NEW YORK (NYTIMES) – A 17-year-old boy whose lungs were irreversibly damaged by vaping received a double-lung transplant at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, a life-saving measure taken when a patient’s own lungs are diseased or damaged beyond repair and there is no other hope of survival, doctors said on Tuesday (Nov 12).

Without the transplant, performed last month, the patient “would have faced certain death”, Dr Hassan Nemeh, who led the surgical team, said during a news conference at the hospital.

The patient’s lungs were scarred, stiffened, pocked with dead spots and extremely inflamed, he said.

On a CT scan before the surgery, the patient’s chest appeared almost empty, as if the lungs had vanished. Normal lungs look dark on imaging because they are full of air; the patient’s were not visible because they were not working. There was no air.

“What I saw in his lungs is like nothing I’ve seen before, and I’ve been doing lung transplants for 20 years,” Dr Nemeh said. He added, “This is an evil I haven’t faced before.”

The patient is recovering well and is up and about now, but still in the hospital. His name is being withheld to protect his privacy, but he and his family wanted to release information about his case in the hope that it might persuade other people to quit vaping or never start, hospital officials said.

A doctor at the briefing read a statement from the family, which said, in part: “We asked Henry Ford doctors to share that the horrific life-threatening effects of vaping are very real! Our family could never have imagined being at the centre of the largest adolescent public health crisis to face our country in decades.

“Within a very short period of time, our lives have been forever changed. He has gone from the typical life of a perfectly healthy 16-year-old athlete – attending high school, hanging out with friends, sailing and playing video games – to waking up intubated and with two new lungs, facing a long and painful recovery process as he struggles to regain his strength and mobility, which has been severely impacted.”

The doctors declined to say what products the patient had been vaping, how long he had been doing it or how often.

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About 86 per cent of the patients with lung injuries in this outbreak had vaped THC, the chemical in marijuana that makes people high.

The case is the first transplant reported in the nationwide outbreak of vaping-related lung injuries, and it highlights the severity of an illness that, as of Nov 5, had sickened 2,051 people and killed 40.

Researchers have described the lung damage from vaping as chemical burns, similar to the injuries in people who have inhaled toxic fumes in industrial accidents, or in soldiers attacked with mustard gas in World War I.

The patient was first admitted to a different hospital on Sept 6 with what was thought to be pneumonia. His condition worsened and he was placed on a ventilator on Sept 12. He continued to deteriorate.

On Sept 17, he was transferred to a second hospital, where he was connected to a machine that delivers oxygen directly to the bloodstream.

His health continued to decline, and in early October, he was transferred to Henry Ford Hospital, where he was put on the waiting list for a lung transplant. A national organisation sets the criteria for eligibility, not individual hospitals. Several factors quickly pushed him to the to top of the list, Dr Nemeh said: He was a child, the lung damage was irreversible and he would die without the transplant.

The surgery was performed on Oct 15. The doctors said they could not reveal any information about the source except to say that the donor had been healthy.

Health officials investigating the outbreak described a major advance last week: Researchers found a “very strong culprit”, a form of vitamin E, in the lungs of patients who had the vaping illness. The substance, vitamin E acetate, is sometimes used by illicit sellers to “cut” or dilute THC and increase profits.

Finding the chemical in the lungs meshed with earlier investigations that had already found it in vaping products.

The vitamin compound is thick and sticky. Precisely how it might damage the lungs is not yet known, and health authorities say it is still possible that other chemicals added to vaping fluids may also contribute to lung disease.

The doctors in Detroit did not say whether vitamin E acetate had been found in the patient’s lungs.

“We’re going to see more of this,” said Dr Mangala Narasimhan, a lung specialist at Long Island Jewish Medical Centre and Northwell Health’s regional director of critical care, who has treated several severe cases of the illness.

“We definitely see some patients who have such severe lung damage, we are thinking that some of it might not be completely reversible.”

None of her patients have needed transplants. In general, lungs for transplantation are difficult to obtain, she said.

“A huge number of patients die waiting.”

About 2,500 lung transplants were performed in the US in 2018, compared with more than 21,000 kidney transplants.

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Lady beats her 13-year-old sister to death for bed wetting

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When a Lagos trader Mr. Emeka Omenka and his wife Ifeoma allowed their 13-year-old daughter Precious to visit her half-sister in Lekki, they never knew it was a decision they would regret the rest of their lives.

Precious, a Junior Secondary School (JSS) 3 pupil died on October 25 at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Ebute Metta from complications of the beating she allegedly received from her older half-sister Nneka and her mother Seki Eko on October 14.

According to the death certificate issued at the hospital, the primary and secondary causes of death were Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) and Cardiopulmonary Collapse.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, AKI is a sudden episode of kidney failure or kidney damage that happens within a few hours or a few days and causes a build-up of waste products in the blood, making it hard for the kidneys to keep the right balance of fluid in the body.

Other causes of AKI, the foundation said, are decreased blood flow to the kidney caused by shock, clotting, bleeding or severe diarrhoea, severe allergic reaction, overuse of pain medicines used to reduce swelling or relieve pain from headaches, colds, flu, and other ailments.

The teenager went to Nneka’s house in Ikota, Lekki on October 12 on the latter’s request.

Omenka said his 13-year-old daughter was returned on October 16 looking weak with complaints of body pains. He said Precious gave details of how she was kicked in the stomach, chest and sides several times, adding that she was beaten with a mop stick and a cable as well. They tried to relieve the pains with analgesics and hot water massage.

“I am in pain,” he said. “My heart is broken. I do not even know where to start. I am finding it so difficult to understand how my older daughter and her mother beat up my girl so badly to the point that she died as a result of wounds she sustained. Nneka is my first daughter. I had her out of wedlock with one Seki Eko I was in a relationship with. She runs a beer parlour at Oluwole Market. But Nneka was trained by my wife Ifeoma who loved her like her own child.

“When I got married to my wife, it was difficult for her to conceive and so she brought up Nneka like her own child. So, when she came and said Precious should come to her place in Ikota, we did not have any reason to deny her request. Her husband lives in Dubai. She promised to send her to a private school to appreciate my wife for taking care of her.

“Precious went to her place on October 12. It was that weekend that it rained all through. Then, on October 14, which was a Monday, it also rained and Precious said she peed on the bed. That was her offence that made my daughter and her mother to descend on her like that.

“When they finished, they brought her back and dumped her at my place in Apapa Road, Ebute Metta. She was complaining of body pains and narrated what happened to her at her sister’s place in tears. I could not bear it and I wept as she was talking.

“My wife and I bought painkillers that we gave her. My wife was also using hot water and cloth to massage her body. We did not know that it was so bad. When we saw that she was not getting better despite the painkillers, we decided to take her to FMC because that’s where she was born.

“She was already stooling on her body and her mother was cleaning it. So, at the hospital, she was rushed to the emergency room after the doctors said she was short of blood. They did so many tests and scans and discovered that she was bleeding internally and that her bladder burst too.

“She was in the hospital some days and was booked for emergency surgery. I was busy running around to raise money to save my daughter’s life. I even borrowed from friends and family members so that she could be saved but at last we lost her.

“Nneka did not tell me what happened to my daughter and did not even come to the hospital until her relative from her mother’s side who works at the FMC called her to rebuke her. That was when she came and spent about N14,000 on my daughter’s drugs that day.

“I did not go to the police station then because I was busy running around for my daughter to be alright. But after she passed on…my kinsmen advised I report at the station. I went to Denton Police Station and Iponri but they told me it did not happen in their jurisdiction and that I should go to Lekki to report.

“I just sent a message to her husband and told him what she did. My wife has been inconsolable since then.

“I want justice for my daughter. I feel very disappointed that this happened to my family. I want human rights to come and government to investigate this case. Nneka is my daughter but Precious is also my daughter and she did not deserve to die like that,” he said.

The mother of the deceased told our correspondent she was still in shock over the incident, denying insinuations that Precious might have been ill.

She said: “My daughter was very healthy and even cooked for her younger ones that day before following Nneka. Nneka and her mother should explain what happened to my daughter. Nneka was brought to my house when she was 17 and we trained her in the university. I never did any wrong to her and then, she chose to pay me back this way?”

Our correspondent contacted Nneka for her reaction to the allegation and she said she would call back because where she was in a noisy place. After 90 minutes, our correspondent called again but she asked, “Who gave you the information? I cannot answer you if you do not say who gave you information. If you are recording me, I am recording you too and we all have our exhibits.”

Later, a woman, Tolu Fagbayila who said she was Nneka’s manager and public relations person called but declined to give her client’s side of the story.

She insisted on a physical meeting for a way forward.

Our correspondent told her a physical meeting was not necessary and that Nneka’s reaction could be sent through email, WhatsApp or SMS by the lawyer or anyone speaking on her behalf but that was not done.

Nneka reportedly told those around her the teenager died as a result of ruptured appendicitis, adding that the girl was ill before she took her to her house.

Efforts to reach her mother Seki Eko on her telephone number were unsuccessful. Meanwhile, a coalition of child advocates has signified interest in the matter following The Nation online report of the case.

Mr. Omenka told our correspondent that the advocates have contacted and interviewed him, adding that they also volunteered to take over the case and ensure justice.

Sources at the police station said an order to exhume the teenager’s body would be sought so that autopsy could be conducted.

Police spokesman Bala Elkana confirmed the case was reported at Ajiwe Division in Ajah, adding that the suspects have been arrested.

He said, “The father of the girl reported the incident at Ajah Police Station. He said he has since buried the girl. We have arrested the suspects and the case has been transferred to homicide section of State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence (SCIID) Yaba.”

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Lady beats her younger sister to death for bed wetting. – YabaLeftOnline

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When a Lagos trader Mr. Emeka Omenka and his wife Ifeoma allowed their 13-year-old daughter Precious to visit her half-sister in Lekki, they never knew it was a decision they would regret the rest of their lives.

Precious, a Junior Secondary School (JSS) 3 pupil died on October 25 at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Ebute Metta from complications of the beating she allegedly received from her older half-sister Nneka and her mother Seki Eko on October 14.

According to the death certificate issued at the hospital, the primary and secondary causes of death were Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) and Cardiopulmonary Collapse.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, AKI is a sudden episode of kidney failure or kidney damage that happens within a few hours or a few days and causes a build-up of waste products in the blood, making it hard for the kidneys to keep the right balance of fluid in the body.

Other causes of AKI, the foundation said, are decreased blood flow to the kidney caused by shock, clotting, bleeding or severe diarrhoea, severe allergic reaction, overuse of pain medicines used to reduce swelling or relieve pain from headaches, colds, flu, and other ailments.

The teenager went to Nneka’s house in Ikota, Lekki on October 12 on the latter’s request.

Omenka said his 13-year-old daughter was returned on October 16 looking weak with complaints of body pains. He said Precious gave details of how she was kicked in the stomach, chest and sides several times, adding that she was beaten with a mop stick and a cable as well. They tried to relieve the pains with analgesics and hot water massage.

“I am in pain,” he said. “My heart is broken. I do not even know where to start. I am finding it so difficult to understand how my older daughter and her mother beat up my girl so badly to the point that she died as a result of wounds she sustained. Nneka is my first daughter. I had her out of wedlock with one Seki Eko I was in a relationship with. She runs a beer parlour at Oluwole Market. But Nneka was trained by my wife Ifeoma who loved her like her own child.

“When I got married to my wife, it was difficult for her to conceive and so she brought up Nneka like her own child. So, when she came and said Precious should come to her place in Ikota, we did not have any reason to deny her request. Her husband lives in Dubai. She promised to send her to a private school to appreciate my wife for taking care of her.

“Precious went to her place on October 12. It was that weekend that it rained all through. Then, on October 14, which was a Monday, it also rained and Precious said she peed on the bed. That was her offence that made my daughter and her mother to descend on her like that.

“When they finished, they brought her back and dumped her at my place in Apapa Road, Ebute Metta. She was complaining of body pains and narrated what happened to her at her sister’s place in tears. I could not bear it and I wept as she was talking.

“My wife and I bought painkillers that we gave her. My wife was also using hot water and cloth to massage her body. We did not know that it was so bad. When we saw that she was not getting better despite the painkillers, we decided to take her to FMC because that’s where she was born.

“She was already stooling on her body and her mother was cleaning it. So, at the hospital, she was rushed to the emergency room after the doctors said she was short of blood. They did so many tests and scans and discovered that she was bleeding internally and that her bladder burst too.

“She was in the hospital some days and was booked for emergency surgery. I was busy running around to raise money to save my daughter’s life. I even borrowed from friends and family members so that she could be saved but at last we lost her.

“Nneka did not tell me what happened to my daughter and did not even come to the hospital until her relative from her mother’s side who works at the FMC called her to rebuke her. That was when she came and spent about N14,000 on my daughter’s drugs that day.

I did not go to the police station then because I was busy running around for my daughter to be alright. But after she passed on…my kinsmen advised I report at the station. I went to Denton Police Station and Iponri but they told me it did not happen in their jurisdiction and that I should go to Lekki to report.

“I just sent a message to her husband and told him what she did. My wife has been inconsolable since then.

“I want justice for my daughter. I feel very disappointed that this happened to my family. I want human rights to come and government to investigate this case. Nneka is my daughter but Precious is also my daughter and she did not deserve to die like that,” he said.

The mother of the deceased told our correspondent she was still in shock over the incident, denying insinuations that Precious might have been ill.

She said: “My daughter was very healthy and even cooked for her younger ones that day before following Nneka. Nneka and her mother should explain what happened to my daughter. Nneka was brought to my house when she was 17 and we trained her in the university. I never did any wrong to her and then, she chose to pay me back this way?”

Our correspondent contacted Nneka for her reaction to the allegation and she said she would call back because where she was in a noisy place. After 90 minutes, our correspondent called again but she asked, “Who gave you the information? I cannot answer you if you do not say who gave you information. If you are recording me, I am recording you too and we all have our exhibits.”

Later, a woman, Tolu Fagbayila who said she was Nneka’s manager and public relations person called but declined to give her client’s side of the story.

She insisted on a physical meeting for a way forward.

Our correspondent told her a physical meeting was not necessary and that Nneka’s reaction could be sent through email, WhatsApp or SMS by the lawyer or anyone speaking on her behalf but that was not done.

Nneka reportedly told those around her the teenager died as a result of ruptured appendicitis, adding that the girl was ill before she took her to her house.

Efforts to reach her mother Seki Eko on her telephone number were unsuccessful. Meanwhile, a coalition of child advocates has signified interest in the matter following The Nation online report of the case.

Mr. Omenka told our correspondent that the advocates have contacted and interviewed him, adding that they also volunteered to take over the case and ensure justice.

Sources at the police station said an order to exhume the teenager’s body would be sought so that autopsy could be conducted.

Police spokesman Bala Elkana confirmed the case was reported at Ajiwe Division in Ajah, adding that the suspects have been arrested.

He said, “The father of the girl reported the incident at Ajah Police Station. He said he has since buried the girl. We have arrested the suspects and the case has been transferred to homicide section of State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence (SCIID) Yaba.”

Source: The Nation.

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Yinka Ayefele Opens Up On The Birth Of His Miracle Triplets & Why He Kept The News From The Public – Motherhood In-Style Magazine

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Nigerian veteran music star, Yinka Ayefele has opened up on the birth of his babies and why he kept the news of the birth of the triplets Richard, Eniola and Raymond, from the public.

According to the Juju singer, he feared for the lives of his new triplets – two boys and a girl – who were prematurely born on January 18.

In June, the news of the birth of the miracle triplets was broken by some trigger happy media platforms but the singer vehemently denied it, saying it wasn’t true. In a new interview with , Ayefele said he denied the reports because they were on intensive care. He shared:

”Yes, I even denied it once when it happened. When the news broke a lot of people were talking about it because my babies were very tiny because they were born prematurely’.

So, I was afraid to broadcast. I did not want to lose them after the long wait and according to a Yoruba adage that says if you broadcast a child you might lose the child, so, I decided to keep it within the family until they are fully grown and healthy.

That is why I denied it when the news got out. But my partner told me not to be afraid, that God, who gave the kids will surely protect them and that was when I came out to tell people. I was initially afraid of how they looked, very tiny, thank God today they are big.

It was hard to keep it a secret. A lot of colleagues in the media knew about it but I told them to hold on till the right time to broadcast it. I tried as much as I could to keep the news from getting out, I did not release any of their pictures.”

For over 20 years, the famous Tungba exponent battled a fertility challenge following a ghastly accident that has since confined him into a wheel chair after a spinal cord injury. With the belief by many that it cannot happen again, Ayefele never wavered as he believed in the spiritual power of God as well as modern science.

Speaking further, the dad-of-three confirmed that the triplets; two boys and a girl were born on January 18, 2019 at Holy Cross Hospital in the USA. He also explained how it felt like, from the moment his wife was confirmed pregnant till the time the babies arrived. In his words:

“It was stage by stage. Are you asking me when we first went for the pregnancy test or when the pregnancy was a month, 3 months, 6 months or 9 months, or during labour or the day my wife gave birth? I can’t explain it each month from the 8th day she was confirmed pregnant. I most ran mad when I heard she was pregnant.

I could not believe it after series of attempts. I didn’t know who to explained it to, but the night she gave birth it was as if I have seen them together before because I have followed her to many scan sessions. It was like welcoming them fully that night. I can’t really tell how I felt that night.”

In addition, he said he could not believe his eyes when his wife got pregnant and was full of gratitude to God when the triplets were born as many had thought he could never have a child after 22 years of marriage.

“I don’t mind having triplets, even if I can go as far as having 20, I really don’t mind because the pain of looking for a child was so aggravating. It wasn’t easy going to mountains for prayers, going to different hospitals, both at home and abroad, doing one test to the other.

Yinka Ayefele is on a wheelchair, people think I can’t get a woman pregnant because of my situation, because of my spinal cord issue. Eventually, God blessed me with triplets.”

The 51-year-old also said that his triplets tend to eat, cry, and defecate at the same time, adding that the most difficult part of it all is having to carry all of them at a time.

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Attack on mosque in Ogun: Gov Abiodun must fish out culprits — MURIC

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•Says: Enough is enough

Few weeks after the Oro cult group invaded a mosque in Idi-Iroko, Ogun State, another mosque, the Zumratul Mu’miniin Mosque in Amororo area of Iperu, Ikenne Local Government Area of Ogun State, has again been attacked by another cult group popularly known as Eluku. The mosque properties including vehicles, materials were damaged.

During the attack which occurred on Tuesday, 22nd October, 2019 around 8.30 pm, three Muslims were hospitalized due to serious injuries inflicted on them by the attackers. Other worshippers in the Zumratul Mu’miniin Mosque who sustained various degrees of injury were discharged after receiving treatment.

The Eluku cult members also poured boiling vegetable oil on three members of the mosque who had gone to report the incident at the Iperu police headquarters. Two of them, Nurein and Abdul Razaq, are currently receiving treatment at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH).

Meanwhile, an Islamic civil society group, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has denounced the attack. The group spoke through its Founder and Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, who signed the press statement.

“We strongly denounce this unprovoked attack. It was premeditated, gruesome and vicious. It is an infringement on freedom of worship as enshrined in Section 38 (i) & (ii) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This is one attack too many. There had been two separate attacks on mosques and Muslims in Ogun State this year 2019 alone. What have we done to deserve this incessant molestation?

“Traditional worshippers of Olosha Oba and Oro Cult invaded Umar Bin Khattab Mosque in Idi-Iroko in the Ipokia Local Government Area of Ogun State on Saturday, 27th July, 2019 during the afternoon Zuhr prayer.

“This is the third attack on Muslims in Ogun State alone in 2019. Once is happenstance, twice is a coincidence, the third time is enemy action. If we call Idi Iroko mosque a mere happenstance, the beating up of a woman in hijab in Abeokuta township a coincidence, the latest mosque invasion at Iperu has no other name. It is enemy action.

“We are therefore constrained to ask the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, to explain to the whole world why Muslims are constantly exposed to danger under his watch. Dapo Abiodun became the executive governor of Ogun State on 29th May, 2019. Since then, our mosques have been invaded twice and a Muslim woman was assaulted.

As the chief security officer in the state, the governor has not deemed it fit to issue a public statement on any of these attacks. Has the state government ever warned traditional worshippers over these attacks? Are we to assume that there is tacit approval?

“Dapo Abiodun must fish out the culprits. The governor does not need to go far. Investigations conducted by the Iperu Zone of MURIC have revealed the identity of leaders of the Eluku cult in Iperu. Osako, Aluko and Young Owner are the key suspects. They are well known in the governor’s community.

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