Centres for watching the World Cup in northeast Nigeria advised to be closed as these place are possible targets for Boko Haram attacks, a state government official said on Wednesday, June 11.
According to the government of Adamawa State, the local military warned them that such ‘viewing centres’ where large crowds gather to watch matches on big screens were probable targets.
Spokesman for the state governor Murtala Nyako, Ahmed Sajo, said: “Based on this advice, we have directed all soccer viewing centres across the state to close down indefinitely.”
Ahmed Sajo stated that the government was concerned that fans in remote areas would ignore the ban, as they had no other means of recreation and because power cuts made watching matches at home impossible.
“We know this measure will adversely affect football lovers who will be deprived the opportunity to watch the World Cup tournament, which starts in two days,” he added.
Such viewing centres have been targeted before in Nigeria, and now 2014 World Cup is coming in Brazil. Obviously, a lot of fans of Nigerian national team, Super Eagles, are going to watch matches.
In May, three people were killed in a blast outside a viewing centre showing the European Champions League final between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in the central city of Jos.
In April, suspected Boko Haram gunmen stormed a packed venue in Potiskum, in northeast Yobe state, shooting dead two people as they watched Champions League quarter-final matches.
Earlier this month, at least 40 people were killed when a bomb went off after a football match in the town of Mubi in Adamawa. The apparent target was fans trying to leave after the final whistle.
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has previously preached against football as part of the Islamist group’s agenda to impose strict Islamic law in northern Nigeria.
In several video clips, he described football and music as a Western ploy to distract Muslims from their religion.
Sajo said the government was concerned that fans in remote areas would ignore the ban, as they had no other means of recreation and because power cuts made watching matches at home impossible.
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