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Sri Lanka Suspends Defiant Police Chief over Easter Attacks

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Sri Lanka’s president suspended the chief of police on Monday and appointed a new defence secretary in a shake-up of the shell-shocked country’s security services following the Easter Sunday terror attacks.

Intelligence warnings from abroad alerting to possible attacks by Islamist extremists were ignored ahead of the multiple bombings of churches and upscale hotels on April 21 that killed 253 people and injured nearly 500.

Chief of police Pujith Jayasundara had refused to quit to clear the way for a shake-up of the 85,000-strong force, prompting President Maithripala Sirisena to suspend him on Monday.

Senior Deputy Inspector-General Chandana Wickramaratne was appointed acting police chief in his place, Sirisena’s office said in a statement.

Separately Sirisena appointed on Monday a former head of the army, Shantha Kottegoda, as the country’s top defence official.

His predecessor at the ministry of defence and law and order, Hemasiri Fernando, stepped down on Thursday in the wake of the attacks, which were claimed by the Islamic State group.

General Kottegoda, 69, was forced to retire as head of the army in December 2005, by then-president Mahinda Rajapakse.

Sirisena said an intelligence agency from a neighbouring country had provided precise details of the impending attack 17 days in advance, but local authorities had failed to take countermeasures.

Official sources said the president was referring to information provided by India’s Research and Analysis Wing which apparently gleaned details of the Easter attacks from a jihadist suspect in Indian custody.

The government has since declared a state of emergency and deployed thousands of troops for search operations against Islamist extremists.

Security forces searched a Muslim burial ground in Colombo Monday following information that explosives had been hidden there, but the troops did not find any, officials said.

However, cordon and search searches were carried out across the country and 13 foreign nationals overstaying their visas were arrested, police said.

It was not clear if the foreigners — 10 Nigerians and one each from India, Iran and Thailand — were linked to religious extremists or the Easter attacks.

Over 150 people have been arrested since April 21 and more than 15 people killed in raids.

(AFP)

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Adeleke Wins As Court Strikes Out Ineligibility Suit

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Justice Obiora Egwuatu of a Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday struck out a suit seeking nullification of submission of name of Ademola Jackson Nurudeen Adeleke as the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party in the recent July 16 election.

The judge struck down the suit on the ground that the plaintiff lacked locus standi to institute the case.

The plaintiff in the suit, Awoyemi Oluwatayo Lukman had dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission, PDP and Adeleke before the court seeking order to void and set aside the submission of Adeleke’s name to INEC on ground of alleged unlawful action.

The grouse of the plaintiff was that Adeleke’s name was hurriedly submitted by PDP on March 11 as against between March 14 to 18 as contained in the INEC guidelines.

Adeleke’s name having not been submitted within the period fixed by INEC, the plaintiff asked the court to declare the submission, illegal, unlawful, null and void and be set aside.

He claimed that INEC must be bound by its official guidelines and that anything done outside the guidelines is against the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022.

However, in his judgment, Justice Obiora Egwuatu struck out the suit on the ground that the said Awoyemi Oluwatayo Lukman lacked locus standi to have instituted the case.

The Punch

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Falconets Beat Canada 3-1, Set to Meet Holland in Quarter Final

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Nigeria’s U-20 girls, Falconets, set a World Cup group stage perfect record for themselves after beating Canada 3-1 in Alajuela on Thursday morning to finish with a perfect nine points out of nine in Group C.

Head Coach, Chris Musa, said before the encounter that his girls would seek to win even as a quarter-final ticket was already in the bag, in order to sustain their winning mentality following hard-fought victories over France and Korea Republic.

That was exactly what the Falconets did.
Africa’s best team conceded their first goal of the competition in an accidental manner, following goalkeeper Omini Oyono’s poor management of a backpass from Jumoke Alani that granted Kala Novak a fortuitous goal in less than two minutes.

“It was great for us to come back from that setback, and also conceding first in the tournament. We showed character and spirit, and that would be huge for us going forward in the competition,” Musa said after the match.

Midfield impresario Esther Onyenezide, whose vicious curling shot earned all three points against Korea Republic to send the Falconets into the last eight on Monday morning, scored from the penalty spot in the 24th minute to pull the Falconets level. Defender Mia Pante had handled the ball from a Blessing Okpe shot in the box.

The Falconets looked composed and surefooted in the middle with the return of Deborah Abiodun, who sat out the encounter with the Koreans, and Chiamaka Okwuchukwu also played an inspired game after starting for the first time in the tournament. Her firm header from a Blessing Okpe cross in the 15th minute missed narrowly.

Onyenezide shot Nigeria ahead, also from the spot, in the 32nd minute minute, after Simi Awujo’s dangerous play against Mercy Idoko, as the latter went for a header from Rofiat Imuran’s inswinger, was penalised.

In the added time of first period, Idoko came close to scoring her first goal of the tournament, but her touch from another Imuran inswinger kissed the upright.

In the second half, the Falconets added pace and brilliant use of space to their game, and it was no surprise when Imuran, again with a visionary cross, set up substitute Chioma Olise for Nigeria’s third goal.

Their imperial campaign in the group stage earns the Falconets a quarter-final date with the Netherlands in Alajuela as from 1am on Monday (Nigeria time).

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Supporters Throng Obasanjo’s Residence As Tinubu Visits Former President

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Scores of supporters of the All Progressives Congress in Ogun State, Wednesday, stormed the residence of former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, in Abeokuta as the presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Tinubu visited the former President.

Tinubu arrived at the Penthouse of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Oke- Mosan, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, in his chopper at about 1:09pm in company of some party leaders.

He was received by Governor Dapo Abiodun, former Governor Gbenga Daniel, his predecessor, Segun Osoba, and other Ogun State government functionaries.

They have all gone into a meeting with the president.

The meeting was believed to be in connection with ambition of Tinubu in the coming elections.

Our correspondent reports that the duo had not been seen together since 2015 when he escorted the then APC candidate, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to Obasanjo’s residence.

He was also at the 78th birthday of the former President held at Abeokuta in March, 2015.

The two of them have since kept their distances as Obasanjo withdrew his support for Buhari and the APC, which he supported to power by tearing his card as a member of the Peoples Democratic Party.

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