A week on from the worst ever attack on New Zealand soil the country came together to deliver a rejection of hate.
A Muslim call to prayer, broadcast live on television and radio across the country, relayed from outside of the Christchurch mosque where most of the 50 victims died.
A traditional two-minute silence was observed around the land too.
Behind the two enclosures for male and female worshippers, hundreds of non-Muslims stood in Christchurch’s Hagley Park to show their support.
New Zealanders have spent the last week demonstrating their solidarity with Muslim community but this was a powerful moment.
The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, for many a symbol of unity, spoke briefly: “New Zealand is with you,” she said. “We are one.”
They had come from around the world to be part of these Friday prayers. As the bowed in unison, a few were unable to, the injured from last week, bandaged and in wheelchair, the human cost of the attacks laid bare.
It was a moment this country declared it would move on, stronger because of the tragedy.
Mustafa Abdelmonem, who was shot in the arm, told me: “It really gives us strength to say ‘You didn’t affect us, we are still here, we’re going to stay, this is our country, you guys should be getting out, not us’.”
All over Christchurch non Muslim women went about their day with headscarves in symbolic support of the community.
But no-one should forget the terrible loss here.
Salwa Mustafa lost her husband Khaled and son Hamza. Her other son Zaid was wounded. The family, originally from Syria, had only moved to New Zealand eight months ago.
Mother and son, still confined to a wheelchair, appeared before the cameras, their pain wrenchingly evident.
Fourteen-year-old Zaid saw his brother shot. “I feel if I was dead and my brother and my father were still alive it would be better,” he said.
Through tears, Salwa said: “If they think they’re destroying us, they are wrong. It makes us stronger because we are not terrorists. People say that Islam is a terrorist religion or the Muslims are terrorists and now the whole world saw who is the terrorist.”
Their pain does not end. But the support of the country they now call home is undoubtedly helping them through.
Their message to the people of New Zealand? “Thank you.”
Save Lagos From Child Cultism, African Action Congress Tells Sanwo-Olu
The Lagos State Chapter of the African Action Congress has called on Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to immediately address child cultism and insecurity in Lagos.
The party stated that the terror of child cultism was rapidly growing in the state, estimating that ‘six out of every ten children’ in Lagos are cultists.
The party said, “a 72-hour mass violence of child cultism with different names like “Omo Kesari” , “Awawa” “One Million Boys,” Seven Street Boys in Oshodi; Judas Iscariot Boys in Ejigbo; and others in Idimu, Ikotun and other areas vindicate the reports that Lagos is one of the most underdeveloped states in Nigeria, given the wealth owned by the state and the fact that its debt is second only to the Federal Government.”
Kunle Wizeman Ajayi, Acting State Chair of AAC, heaped the blame of child cultism on the low quality of education in the state, adding that the political leaders further impoverished the people by taking over all local trade places in the state.
“The reign of child cultism today can be attributed to the general collapse of public education in Lagos as well as the mass unemployment in the state. Private schools are times three of public schools.
“It is also appalling that most of the trading power of our poor people like markets, mechanic villages, and sports arenas have all been destroyed, seized.
“Then what kind of government is ignoring the night economy? This is a lucrative economy that can even resolve unemployment as well as reduce child cultism,” Wizeman said.
He stressed that the Lagos State government must put measures in place to equip and ensure all children have access to free education.
He also urged the state governor to desist from the indiscriminate arrest of innocent citizens through the machinery of the state government.
“Child cultists can be trained to become the greats of the future with democratic, pro-people standards!
“Governor Sanwo-Olu must also not resort to setting the Lagos Task Force loose to arrest traders, innocent citizens, and Okada riders. Face the real issues and tackle the problems headlong.
“Even if a government wants to prevent trade littering the streets, is it not much more correct to create alternative spaces for these traders instead of violent repression.
“Lagos AAC calls on Lagos towns to immediately build independent community Vigilance Teams. Then we all need to demand that Lagos is truly made working at all levels through free functional and compulsory education.
“Massive industrialisation and creative development of the night economy are needed to cater for employment and reducing poverty,” Wizeman stated.
Boko Haram Kills Aid Worker In Borno, Three Others Missing
Boko Haram militants have killed a member of the Action Against Hunger, Grace Taku, as well as a driver while three health workers are missing.
The incident happened when a convoy of the aid agency was heading to Damasak in Borno State.
The attack is coming a day after an army commander, colonel and some soldiers were ambushed in Yobe State by Boko Haram terrorists.
A statement by Action Against Hunger reads, “One of the drivers was killed, while one Action Against Hunger staff member, two of the drivers and three health workers are missing.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic incident as these are colleagues dedicated to providing life-saving assistance to individuals and families affected by the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the northeast of Nigeria. We are very concerned and want to ensure that they are safe and can be reunited with their families.
“Action Against Hunger strives to ensure that millions of people in need of humanitarian assistance in northeast Nigeria receive the essential services required for their survival, especially women and children.”
Nigerian Passport Scam: EFCC Arrests Immigration Officer, 14 Others
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Lagos Zonal office, has arrested a Nigeria Immigration Service officer, Mr Adebimpe Kehinde, for his alleged involvement in passport racketeering.
Mr Tony Orilade, EFCC acting spokesperson, who disclosed this in a statement in Abuja on Thursday. Orilade said that Mr Kehinde is an immigration assistant.
According to Orilade, Kehinde was arrested alongside 14 other suspected passport racketeers following intelligence reports received by the commission.
The suspects are Nnadika Timothy, Oyeyiga Samuel, Sunday Adekunle, Lola Kadoso, Adebayo Damilola, Adeola Oluwafikayomi Ajiboshin, Abubakri Adebayo.
Others are Uka Ifeanyi, Raph Emeka Ibuaku, Henry Onyebuchi, Christy Odey, Aba-Peter Blessing, Ogunmefun Oluwanishola and Busayo Balogun.
Orilade stated that the suspects conspired to extort money from unsuspecting members of the public applying for international passports.
According to him, items recovered from the suspects at the point of arrest include five laptops, mobile telephones and “official documents”.
“They will be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded,” he stated.
Crime3 days ago
Police arrest suspected cultists, armed robbers in Cross River
World News3 days ago
Hong Kong: ‘Silver protest’ as elderly march in support of youths | World News
Crime2 days ago
Nigeria Customs Intercepts Ambulance Laden With Tramadol
Arewa2 days ago
El-Zakzaky, Dasuki must not die in detention – HURIWA warns Buhari
World News2 days ago
US warship destroys Iranian drone in Strait of Hormuz | World News
Arewa3 days ago
Senate speaks on SSANU, NASU strike
Buhari2 days ago
HURIWA to Buhari: Continuous detention of El-Zakzaky, Dasuki is an act of treason
World News2 days ago
Iran seizes foreign tanker with 12 crew accused of smuggling oil | World News