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The global politics five months is rocking the foundations of the EU

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Four test playing nations. A former World Number One lost its way to experience one of the lowest points in the annals of their sporting history. In recent times, a supremely insurmountable side at home became more prone to defeats. A team famously regarded as the most volatile side to have taken the field endured isolation and wilderness in the Arabian deserts. A team deemed misfit started making significant strides that the world took note of. These are tumultuous yet exciting times for the test playing nations from the subcontinent.

One day, the leaves wither as they turn old. India and Sri Lanka are primarily experiencing this phase. There are more greens on their tree today. Pakistan is almost in a situation where the leaves are about to fall. The cricketing expiry for Misbah and Younus is much closer than what it was yesterday. Take the story of Shivnarine Chanderpaul, for example. The chances of comeback become slim for the veteran sportsmen moment the form slips away. As long as the fire in the lamp withstands the external pressure of the winds, these legendary players can continue writing more pages in their autobiographies.

 

India, now in the Sri Lankan shores, are all set to be challenged in conditions they are more familiar of. Ever since the dramatic 8-0 whitewashes in 2011-12, India showed mild signs of recovery. They have had to reshuffle the batting line up ever since the glorious trinity signed off along with the famous Delhi openers who seem to have lost their mojo. Fortunately, they have managed to construct another batting order which a lot of top ranked test countries can feel jealous about. But that’s about the best part of the segment that the team can feel proud of. As a unit, the losses at South Africa, New Zealand, England and Australia meant that the slide wasn’t arrested. With the one-off Bangladesh test abandoned due to rain, this Lankan tour is the beginning of a two year journey around the rivers and mountains of the sub-continent.

With a new leader and with the Board all set to soon announce the new coach, who would be the man to plot the route map for the future, India’s test resurgence is in tricky waters. The followers of the sport in the mad nation have had a long break since the IPL. Since IPL they have had to endure an ignominious one-day tour of Bangladesh. It has been the longest break for the team for a long time. Kohli has promised that he will play five bowlers thus thrusting more responsibility both on the top and the lower order batsmen. So far, Kohli’s approach as a leader has been all about making the moves to create a positive result. The aggressive attitude now goes a step further to embolden and empower the players with more trust and responsibility. It is time for his players to contribute with a very conscious mindset craving for consistency. With more matches scheduled in the sub-continent, the onus would be on the spinners to take lead with the attack.

On the other side of the border, Pakistan’s resurgence in test cricket has been nothing less than extraordinary. It is no easy task to defend at the adopted home as well as to beat the Lankans in their territory. Significantly, the batsmen contributed crucial runs for their bowlers to pick twenty wickets. After a relentless search for steady batsmen who build their game on temperament, Pakistan seem to have solved the puzzle. Ahmed Shehzad’s ability to convert starts into hundreds has provided a reasonable stability at the top of the order. Shan Masood, is still very young. But he showed enough gumption to convince about his ability and temperament. Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali have been the biggest finds for Pakistan cricket in recent times. They have been the pillars around whom the game revolves. The best part about the two is that, they emerge from a different school of cricket where calmness and patience are considered as stepping stones for success. Shafiq and Ali have both tasted success and have good knowledge of what it takes to score hundreds in test matches. Between Shafiq and Ali, come the most experienced Pakistani pair of Younus Khan and Misbah Ul Haq. While they both don’t seem to come close to an end with their careers, Pakistan’s fresh approach in ODIs gives a good look into their batting resources when the legends call it a day. That Pakistan completed a rout in Sri Lanka, defeating the hosts in all formats of the game, shows that the team is experiencing a positive growth. After the final T20, there were great scenes of camaraderie and team bonding. Importantly, Pakistan have showed that they enough stomach for challenge and hunger for victory.

The inclusion of Sarfaraz Ahmed in the middle order is the single most powerful addition for their line-up. Teams are prone to produce inconsistent results if they carry a lot of flashy batsmen. Such batsmen will change the complexion of the game within a session or two. Since their approach can’t be tempered, it would be difficult to expect them play a fighting innings. Sarfaraz, amazingly, can play both roles. He has lent fire to the batting order that finally found solidity and method to their game.

While Pakistan need not worry about the fast bowler produce, Saeed Ajmal’s exit from the scene could have spelt dooms for any team. Yasir Shah’s emergence as an attacking leg spinner smoothened the transition. Yasir Shah provides Misbah with both control and strike force. When the batsmen succeed, Shah becomes a bigger prospect for Pakistan’s success. The way he bowled in Sri Lanka on not so friendly surfaces was a display of his stern character and his ability to play according to the conditions.

Pakistan’s biggest challenge, though, is yet to arrive. They have slowly begun to become a strong opponent in home conditions. But just like how the challenge was for India, or for that matter any other subcontinent team, Pakistan’s ability to survive and succeed will be tested on a bigger scale when they play in Australia, South Africa, England and New Zealand.

The latest victim of the Bangladesh assault were the South Africans. Not so long ago, Bangladesh gave both India and Pakistan a rude lesson that told the world that they have finally arrived. While Bangladesh’s resurgence has mostly been in the ODIs, they made some impression when they bowled out South Africa for under 250 and took an important lead in the first test at Dhaka. The promise that Bangladesh have shown in the past six months only makes us believe that the team has matured heads who are ready to act responsibly for team’s success now. At the helm of affairs is Hathurusinghe, who is carving a legacy of his own with this resurgence. The coach has gone the long yards to make his team believe that they definitely can. The likes of Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mashrafe Mortaza have absorbed enough quality of international cricket, that they can be the torch bearers for Bangladesh cricket now. These players have shown immense maturity in taking ownership on the field and guiding the younger ones in the best way possible.

Considering the following that Bangladesh have in their backyard, it was going to be impossible for them to never improve. All this while, the stars who are torch bearers today were seeking inspiration to grow bigger. Their heroes never made it big. They got back home defeated again and again.

With Australia touring Bangladesh next, there wouldn’t be a better measure of their progress than testing it against Australia’s Gold Standard.

Sri Lanka have a problem aplenty. It is a mixed scenario that each of India and Pakistan have experienced for a long time. Under Angelo Mathews, this Lankan team is taking baby steps with their resurgence. The best aspect of this resurgence has been the performance of their fast bowlers. The tank is full with quality that Mathews can afford to prepare fast and seaming tracks for their bowlers to achieve desired results. Dhammika Prasad has come of age. Nuwan Pradeep, Suranga Lakmal and Dushmantha Chameera have had their moments. Twenty three year old Chameera, especially, has come for a lot of praise. Along with the captain himself, Sri Lanka’s pace attack are in good shape for the present and for the immediate future.

But their real concerns come with their batsmen. Jayawardane is gone. Dilshan is gone. So will Sangakkara by the end of this month. While the batting has shown odd sparks with Kaushal Silva and Dimuth Karunaratne, Angelo Mathews continues to be the lynch pin in this batting order. The replacements and the next-in-line are the players who have been there with the team earlier. Jehan Mubarak’s and Upul Tharanga’s selections gives away the fact that the older men who were discarded before, continue to be the best of the lot to play test cricket. Sangakkara’s fear in the loss of quality in the first class cricket, is well placed. If the structure can’t produce new talents then there is something wrong that needs to be fixed at the earliest.

The Lankans trust Chandimal and Thirimanne a lot. While they have been impressive in shorter formats, both players need to raise their hands up now to shoulder responsibility. The series against India, is hence going to be very crucial for these two players. If both of them fail to make any mark, the middle order will be in tatters.

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#EndSARS: Call for Buhari’s Resignation, Abuse to Democratic Principles – NIDO USA

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The Nigerians in Diaspora Organization (NIDO), New York Chapter, on Tuesday, described the call for President Muhammadu Buhari’s resignation as abuse to democratic principles.

According to the group, the ongoing #EndSARS protests across the country have been hijacked by desperate politicians who they said are behind the campaign demanding for the president’s resignation.

In an electronic statement signed by Solomon Gwamna and Zuweira Ahmed, its president and vice-president respectively, the NIDO urged relevant authorities to be on alert should there be anarchy.

While commending President Buhari for his handling of the protests, the group said it is unexplainable that the mass action is still ongoing despite the commitment and the assurances given by the government.

The NIDO, New York Chapter, however, advised these individuals and groups with vested interests to desist from acts capable of rupturing the fragile peace in the country.

It further urged Nigerian youths not to allow themselves to be used by politicians against peace and unity in the nation.

Read the full statement below:

The Nigerians in Diaspora Organization, New York Chapter have followed events keenly in Nigeria in the past two weeks were youths under the hashtag #EndSARS Now have made demands to the government to put an end to police brutality and bring about a total reform of the operations of the Nigerian Police Force.

The Nigerians in Diaspora Organization (NIDO) believes that the peaceful protests by the youths are well-intentioned with the ultimate aim of getting the government to take the necessary steps towards addressing the threats posed by the overzealousness of operatives of the now-disbanded outfit, Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

It is also heartwarming that the government of Nigeria has been responsive to the five demands made by the youths, which in itself is an indication that for once the youths of Nigeria have been able to send their message to the government and the government has responded positively.

NIDO is on the premise commending President Muhammadu Buhari for his handling of the street protests and for also granting with magnanimity the request of the youths towards reforming the Nigerian Police Force.

NIDO is however worried that some disgruntled elements have cashed in the protest to propagate their nefarious acts in Nigeria by calling for the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari.

It is our considered opinion that those making such despicable call are abusing democratic principles. As such, they must desist from such acts that are capable of rupturing the fragile peace in Nigeria.

These persons are not even up to 1% of those that voted for the president just a year ago, and as such, it is a call for anarchy that the relevant authorities in Nigeria must not take with kid gloves.

The Nigerian in Diaspora Organisation, New York Chapter after an extensive review of the situation back in Nigeria as a result of this states in unequivocal terms that indeed the peaceful protests by the youths might have been hijacked by some individuals and organizations with ulterior motives aimed towards the disintegration of Nigeria.

We also wish to remind the youths that these elements do not mean well for the country and as such would go any length to break into their ranks and instigate violence across the country.

It is therefore unexplainable that the protests are still ongoing despite the commitment and the assurances given by the government by accepting the demands of the youths.

The Nigerians in Diaspora, New York Chapter, therefore make this passionate call to the youths of Nigeria not to allow themselves to be used to destabilize the country by those politicians and vested interests against peace and unity in Nigeria.

It is also instructive to mention that from all indication, the whole process has been hijacked by hoodlums and other criminal elements. It is on this premise that NIDO is calling for an end to the ongoing protests in Nigeria.

The youths must realize that their ranks have been infiltrated and the narrative has been changed to calling for the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari which by all indication is misplaced and against all known decency.

The Nigerians in Diaspora, New York Chapter wishes to inform members of the general public in Nigeria to be wary of gatherings under the Hashtag #ENDSARS, as there is no further justification for such since the government has been responsive and made substantial commitments by leaving its doors open for continuous dialogue on the way forward.

The Nigerians in Diaspora, New York Chapter wishes to use this medium to encourage the federal government of Nigeria to continue to engage the youths most peacefully and professionally till they leave the streets.

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#EndSARS: Situation Report Decries Human Rights Abuses By Protesters, Hoodlums

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The Civil Situation Room has called for an immediate suspension of the #EndSARS protests across the country over human rights abuses. 

The situation room, consisting of over 100 human rights groups said the protests have taken a violent twist in recent days, infringing on the rights of other citizens and entrenching criminal activities.

Protests demanding an end to Police brutality entered its 12th day on Monday despite the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and subsequent formation of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT). 

In the last couple of days, the exercise has become fierce, particularly in the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Benin. 

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja, coordinator of the Situation Room on #EndSARS Comrade Adamu Kabir Matazu said protesters are now involved in abuses, depriving people of their lives. 

He, however, urged leaders of thought all over the world to prevail on the #EndSARS protesters to respect the rights of other citizens.

Comrade Kabir also urged the Federal Government to “change its approach of allowing some people run riot simply because they are hiding under the identity of youth to protest”. 

He said the FG must step in to bring order and sanity to stop the protesters from interfering with the ordinary citizens and preventing people from going about their legitimate businesses.   

Read full statement below:

Gentlemen of the press, we are pleased to welcome you to this press conference which is called to address issues arising from #EndSARS protests. You will recall that when the incidents of police brutality first became topical and Nigerians decided to protest against it all of us joined without hesitation. At the start of these protests everyone was focused on issues while highlighting the need to call operatives of SARS unit to order with the demand that the unit must be scrapped. 

It was reassuring that the federal government and the Nigeria Police Force were responsive by immediately scrapping SARS. Further agitation from protesters saw to it that the government agreed to a five-point demand from protesters. These demands were geared towards wholesomely reforming the police. From the way we see it the demands that were tabled included items that should be dealt with immediately, on this short term, on the midterm, and long term. 

As outlined, we realize that it will take time for each set of demands to be implemented depending on whether it’s something that will be done immediately or something that will cover a period of months or years. The logic is that protesters will then allow the government time to implement these demanded changes. 

This perhaps informed the decision of some people to drop out of the protest because they want the government to have time to respond to the things that they have asked for. This does not in any way negate the rights of those who decided that they will continue to protest in fact we seem that they now moved beyond the demand for police reform to include other things, some of them are even asking for the sack of the government, which was not something that was originally on the table. 

What this means is that serious minded people returned to their legitimate businesses and activities while waiting to see how the government implement the changes that they have demanded. From the way we look at it, this has made those who are still protesting to change their tactics by doing things to force others to become part of the protest. We now see them increasingly blocking roads in a way that prevents people from getting to their workplaces, from getting to their places of business, and even in some instances from accessing lifesaving treatment. 

In Abuja for instance, protesters obstructed the airport road, knowing that it is a major access for people traveling out of the city and heading to the airport to catch their flights. A particularly sad outcome from this was the case of the woman reportedly in labor, who died because she could not get to the hospital for lifesaving intervention. In the same city, there are reported incidents of motorists getting their vehicles smashed in by the unruly protesters. In Osun state, there was the sad incident of protesters attacking the state governor, they then went on rampage and burnt down a mall in the state capital. 

In Benin City, Edo state: Protesters broke into two  prisons  and set free inmates that include hardened criminals, killed two police officers and set numerous properties on fire . They also set up bonfires, obstructed free flow of traffic and serially manhandled security operatives.

Ibadan, Oyo State: protesters obstructed the road and forced people to trek long distances while those going about their legitimate business were harassed endlessly. Lives of innocent citizens have also been lost in this state. 

Lagos is also lockdown from the protesters, who made harassment of those not supporting their protests a standard modus operandi.

In other cases, the information we are getting is that protesters are randomly shooting at people, killing them, and depriving them of their lives apparently in their bid to frame law enforcement agencies to be  responsible for killing protesters. This perverted strategy is intended to make the government appear as being repressive and the law enforcement agencies as engaging in human rights abuses. 
 
In reality, it is the protesters that are now involved in abuses. They are the ones who obstruct people from having free access to move around, they are the ones who prevent people from seeking their daily livelihood, they are the ones beating people up, they are the ones destroy people’s property and they are the ones depriving people of their lives, Where are the ones hacking into people’s digital accounts and making publishing private information of public office holders and government employees thereby depriving people of their right to privacy. 

We the coalition of civil society groups numbering over 100 are therefore saying that #EndSARS protesters must stop the growing cases of human rights abuses that are being recorded at their protests. We cannot be campaigning against right abuses and then become guilty of things that we are against. 

We like to conclude this briefing by stating that: we are calling on leaders of thought all over the world to prevail on #EndSARS protesters to respect the rights of other citizens. 

We further demand that they prevail on the government to change its approach of allowing some people run riot simply because they are hiding under the identity of youth to protest. The government must step in to bring order and sanity to the protests whilst the protesters continued to interfere with the ordinary citizens and stopping people from going about their legitimate businesses is unfair, inhuman and unacceptable. We call on the international community, the US Ambassadors to Nigeria, British High Commissioner to Nigeria and all men of good conscience to call the errant members of the protests to order.

We fear that these innocent citizens will be forced to defend themselves if nothing is urgently done. 

Thank you and God bless you all.

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#EndSARS: Inter-Faith Group Berates Adeboye, Oyedepo Others for Defending Same Sex Marriage Against God’s Commandment

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The National Inter- Faith and Religious Organisations for Peace (NIFROP) has expressed displeasure with Pastor E.A Adeboye, Bishop David Oyedepo and other respected clerics over alleged links to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBTQ) community in stoking the #EndSARS protests

In a statement signed by Director of Publicity, Rev. Steven Onwu, on Monday, the clerics said the intention is to overthrow the government and install a pliable replacement that will repeal the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act 2013.

Protest across the country demanding an end to Police brutality has intensified despite disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and subsequent formation of the Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT).

In the last couple of days, the protest has taken a violent twist, raising questions about the original intents.

NIFROP said it is “hocked at the unholy alliance between some otherwise respected clergymen with their churches and LGBTQ Community to destroy Nigeria”.

The clergymen, however, advised their colleagues supporting the LGBTQ protests to repent and seek God’s forgiveness for their sins assuming they committed same in ignorance.

The group urged Nigerians to shun these protests henceforth in order not to be contaminated by the sins of LGBTQ.

Read full statement below:

National Inter- Faith and Religious Organizations for Peace (NIFROP) is disappointed other decision of some leading clergymen to team up and enter into only alliances with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer, (LGBTQ) community in stoking dissention and crisis in the land through the hijack of the #EndSARS protest.

The protest that began as a legitimate agitation for an end to police brutality and abuse of human rights, particularly by the now rested SARS unit, has now turned to the cause of unfolding bloodshed and wanton destruction of property across several cities of the world.

Concerned Nigerians had wondered how protesters were being fed and transported to protest venues only for us to discover that the massing on the streets is being sponsored by the LGBTQ Community, which had successfully hidden their involvement by using cryptocurrency and other dark mode of financing.

We surmise that LGBTQ Community’s objective for bankrolling this protests that have now turned violent is so that they can overthrow the government and install a pliable replacement that will repeal the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act 2013. It is of note that the Act tallies with the injunctions in the Bible, Quran and the other testaments that the people of God subscribe to. The faithful in Nigeria fully support the Act as none of us want the wrath of God to befall us.

The agenda of the enemies is now clear. For the LGBTQ community to proudly own sponsorship of the protests is an insult to all Christians and Muslims all over the country. It is reprehensible and condemnable in all ramifications. It is abominable that clergymen who should show the way have allowed their pursuit of worldliness to blind them to the directives of God.

NIFROP is therefore shocked at the unholy alliance between some otherwise respected clergymen with their churches and LGBTQ Community to destroy Nigeria, which is real cause for worry in the Body of Christ. We are appalled that Pastors and Bishop have delivered sermons for the youth to join and actively participate in protests whose long-term objective is to open the country up to gay, lesbian and other deplorable lifestyles.

We are further worried that these clergymen went further in their sin by taking money from God’s house to either support the protests directly or used in buying food items for the protesters. We wonder if these clergymen have deleted Leviticus 20:13 from their own versions of the Bible. Ananias and Sapphira were not as indiscreet with the resources of the Church.

NIFROP strongly condemns this decision of the senior clergymen to hobnob with the LGBTQ axis of evil; in violation of God’s injunction, they teamed up with sinners even after the legitimate #ENDSARs has ended just to destroy the country. The clergymen who lent themselves out for this evil are nothing but workers of iniquities in the vineyard of God.

We exhort Bishop David Oyedepo of the Living Faith Church, Senior Pastor (Dr.) Paul Enenche of Dunamis International Gospel Centre, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye with his Pastor Folu Adeboye as well as his son and all other clergymen that have supported the LGBTQ protests to repent and seek God’s forgiveness for their sins assuming they committed same in ignorance.

We urge Nigerians to shun these protests henceforth in order not to be contaminated by the sins of LGBTQ. Nigerians should continue to seek the face of God and pray for forgiveness for the way the LGBTQ Community lured a lot of people to sin.

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