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Lets reflect on returning Nigeria’s peace, prosperity this Easter-Ambode

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

 

As Christians in Nigeria join their counterparts across the world to celebrate Easter, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has urged the citizens to celebrate with a reflection on solutions that returns the country’s peace, stability and prosperity.

 

Ambode added that celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ which the season represents should be a constant reminder for everyone to extend the virtues of selflessness, love, sacrifice and tolerance.

 

The Governor, in his Easter message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Habib Aruna, Saturday, stressed need for Christians to imbibe the spirit of tolerance, peaceful co-existence and sacrifice for one another.

 

“We must therefore see this period as a time that presents us the viable opportunity to think about how we can help to steer our nation back on the road to peace, stability and prosperity, by working in the spirit of togetherness because no nation can make any meaningful progress in an atmosphere riddled with pockets of violence and killings,” the Governor said.

 

The governor said with the elections over, it was time for every Nigerian, to unite together and eschew bitterness along ethnic and religious lines for the sake of a more prosperous Nigeria, adding that no challenge is insurmountable where unity of purpose thrives.

 

“The elections have come and gone, we must not allow our political leanings determine our actions. The Nigeria we desire will only be a reality if all hands are on deck towards achieving a peaceful, united, strong, progressive and prosperous country. This is the time for us to avoid all divisive, parochial, ethnic and religious sentiments and rivalries, and begin to live more harmoniously with one another, as Jesus Christ enjoined us to,” he said.

 

Ambode also commended Lagosians for the sustained peaceful co-existence that the State has experienced since the commencement of his administration despite being home to multi ethnic, cultural and religious diversities.

 

While wishing all Lagosians a happy Easter celebration, Ambode assured residents that his administration would continue to work for the greater good of the State until he exits office.

Vatican spokesman, Burke, deputy resign

By News desk

The Vatican spokesman, Greg Burke and his deputy, Paloma Garcia Ovejero resigned on Monday over disagreements on strategy, ending a year of upheaval in the Holy See’s communications structure.

A brief Vatican statement gave no reason for the resignations of both officials.

Burke, an American, tweeted that he and his Spanish deputy, had quit to let Pope Francis appoint a new team in what was a “time of transition”.

A Vatican source said both Burke and Ovejero had wanted more autonomy from the Vatican department that oversees all communications, known as the Dicastery for Communications.

They quit two weeks after Pope Francis appointed a personal friend, Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli, to become editorial director of all Vatican communications.

The source said it was believed to be the first time both posts had changed hands simultaneously, underscoring the differences of opinion.

“Paloma and I have resigned, effective Jan. 1. At this time of transition in Vatican communications, we think it’s best the Holy Father is completely free to assemble a new team,” Burke tweeted.

The 59-year-old former Rome-based reporter for Fox News joined the Vatican in 2012 as an advisor in its Secretariat of State and become spokesman in 2016. He is a member of the conservative Catholic group Opus Dei.

Ovejero, 43, a former reporter for the Spanish radio network COPE, was one of the few high-ranking women in the Vatican.

During Burke and Ovejero’s tenure, the top two jobs in the Vatican press room were, unusually, held by non-Italians.

Tornielli is now the third-ranking person in the communications department but his closeness to the pope, whom he has known since before the pontiff’s election in 2013, will likely make him particularly influential.

Monday’s resignations capped a year of tensions in Vatican communications.

Monsignor Dario Vigano resigned as overall head in March after a scandal over a doctored letter, a public relations fiasco two months after the pope warned of the dangers of fake news.

Vigano released part of a letter by former Pope Benedict that was to have remained private, using it to promote a book on the theology of Pope Francis.

A promotional photo for the book released by Vigano blurred a part of the letter in which Benedict declined to write an introduction, saying he was unhappy with one of its contributors.

Vigano was replaced in July by Paolo Ruffini, ex-head of a Catholic television station.

The Vatican said Alessandro Gisotti, an Italian journalist who has handled the Vatican’s social media, would be interim spokesman.

Lagos records 229 suicide, murder cases in 10 months

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah
The Nigerian Police has disclosed that no fewer than 229 murder, suicide and attempted suicide cases were recorded in Lagos State within the last 10 months.
According to the law enforcement agency added that 290 armed robbers and nine kidnappers were arrested between November 2017 and September 2018.
Commissioner for Police, Edgar Imohimi disclosed these statistics on Wednesday at the 12th annual Town Hall meeting on security with Governor, themed, ‘security in Lagos State: Progress and Challenges,’ held in Victoria Island.
Imohimi stressed that the figures would have been alarming but for the community policing strategy, the law enforcement agency could record reduction in robbery cases within the period under review in the state.
According to him, 18 armed robbers were killed by the police during their encounter with the police and 701 arms and ammunition were recovered within the period under review.
“Though, 233 armed robbery cases were foiled by the police but the police couldn’t prevent 14 cases pleading to one officer been killed by the robbers during confrontation within the period.
“Also, while 37 vehicles were recovered from armed robbers, eight snatched, 23 vehicles were removed from parks across the state,” the commissioner added.
To ensure peace and harmony within the state, he noted that 669 cultist were arrested while 911 cultist renounced their membership of the groups across the state.

Adeboye prays for Buhari ahead 2019 election

By Olawale Abdul-fatah with Agency report

Ahead of the 2019 election, Wife of the General Overseer, Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Folu Adeboye, led thousands of worshipers to pray for President Muhammadu Buhari, and his Vice, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, for success at the polls

During the prayer session that lasted for hours, the pastor and the congregation further prayed for others in authority, seeking God’s protection and wisdom to direct affairs of Nigeria.

As the prayer session lasted, Adeboye thanked God for his unmerited favours upon the nation and to continue to defend the country, saying, Nigerians should continuously pray for God’s protection against those truncating the country’s peace and harmony.

She urged Christians to pray for peace and harmony of the nation, especially as the nation was preparing for the forthcoming general elections.

The special prayer for the nation was held yesterday at the 17th Annual Abuja Special Holy Ghost Service at RCCG Camp, in Nassarawa State.

According to her, O God, intervene and direct the government to make policies that will benefit your people and our nation. And you, Prince of Peace, please let your peace reign in Nigeria. Arise oh Lord and defend Nigeria.

She prophesied that Nigeria would arise again to glory and honour for other nations to see.

Mummy G.O. enjoined Christians to pray to God for forgiveness of sins that had befallen the nation and to have His mercies on the people.

“We plead for the forgiveness of ancestral sins, idolatry, murder, stealing, greed, selfishness and other sins that might be working against our progress as a nation; we ask for forgiveness in all realms for our nation.

“Imbibe in us the spirit of the fear of God in all our undertakings as leaders and citizens of this nation and let Nigeria be God’s own nation with peace, progress and prosperity in Jesus mighty name,” she added.

Earlier, Coordinator of Northern Region of the Church, Ezekiel Odeyemi, urged Nigerians to always be grateful to God for His protection upon their lives because they were His divine choice.

According to Odeyemi, Nigerians must continue to thank God for His preservation and purpose upon the nation because “Nigeria is a divine choice of God.

“Therefore, our destiny depends upon whether we live in harmony with God, follow His moral teachings. It is our responsibility to decide our destiny to find our inspiration to live righteously to be God’s divine choice,” he said.

Odeyemi encouraged Christians to see themselves as chosen of God even when they were going through helpless situations.

Pope treats 35 Catholic saints, three three martyred children as sacred people

By NewsDesk, with Agency report

The Pope Francis has treated  35 new Roman Catholic saints as sacred persons, including three indigenous children martyred in 16th century Mexico and considered as first Christians killed for their faith in the New World.

Howevern, Francis took opportunity of the occasion to announced that he had decided to call a meeting of bishops, from countries in the Pan-Amazon region, which he said has been slated for October, 2019, during which him and delegates would be discussing condition of the Church in the area and that of plight of indigenous people.

According to him, the region on list of invitation includes Guyana, Suriname, French Guyana, Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru and Brazil.

It was repoted that the three children the pope canonized before a crowd of tens of thousands in St. Peter’s Square were of the Talaxcaltec people, an indigenous pre-Colombian group in what is now Mexico.

The Pop related that the first child, Cristoforo, was converted to Christianity by Franciscan missionaries and was killed in 1527 by his own father, a tribal chief who spurned his son’s attempts to convert him from paganism.

“The boy was beaten and thrown into a fire when he was 13” he added.

“Two other indigenous children from the same area, Antonio and Juan, were killed by Indios in the village of Cuauhtinchan in 1529 as a result of their conversion. They are believed to have been 12 or 13 when they were beaten to death for helping Dominican missionaries”.

The pope also canonized 30 martyrs who were killed for their faith in Brazil in 1645, the event which was reported to have included two Portuguese missionaries and 28 followers killed by Dutch colonial soldiers during a period of persecution of Catholics.

In announcing the 2019 synod for bishops from the Amazon region, Francis said that indigenous people at the zoes were often abandoned and without the prospect of a bright future, even due to the crisis of the Amazon Forest, a lung of utmost importance for our planet”.

Francis, an Argentine and the first Latin American pope, has often linked his calls for social justice, particularly for indigenous people, to those for defense of the environment, saying the poor will suffer the most from the effects of climate change.

In 2015 he wrote a landmark encyclical, or papal letter, on defense of the environment and he has called for special protection for the Amazon region because of its vital importance to the planet’s ecosystem.

In his comments on Sunday, the pope did not mention the role of the Church in suppressing native cultures in the New World.

But during a visit to Bolivia in 2015, Francis said “many grave sins were committed against the native people of America in the name of God”. He asked forgiveness for the Church, for “crimes committed against native peoples during the so-called conquest of America”.

On Sunday, Francis also canonized Father Faustino Miguez, a Spanish priest who lived in the 19th and 20th centuries, and Father Angelo d‘Acri, an Italian itinerant preacher who died in 1739 after serving in some of the most remote areas of mountainous southern Italy.

Vatican treasurer, Pell, arraign over sex violence

By Newsdesk

The Treasurer, Vatican church, Cardinal George Pell, has been arraigned before a magistrate court in Australia over alleged sexual offence in the country.

Pell, who is the most senior Roman Catholic Official, was arraigned before the court to answer what the police described as historical sexual offences.

The 76-year-old top adviser to Pope Francis did not speak as he was escorted to and from Melbourne Magistrates’ Court by police through a group of media, protesters and supporters.

He was not required to enter a plea, because the charges have not been made public, considering multiple complainants from worshipers.

Pell’s lawyers have disclosed recently at a previous hearing that he would plead not guilty to all charges when arraigned before the magistrate.

At a 20-minute hearing, the magistrate adjourn the case to next year for a committal hearing to determine whether it should proceed to a full trial.

CAN sues for peace, unity during Nigeria Independence anniversary

By Newsdesk

As Nigeria celebrates its 57th Independence anniversary, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), has appealed to Nigerians to have hope in the country and not to lose faith in Nigeria’s ability to regain its lost glory.

The religious body argued that in spite of the pains and failures being experienced in some sectors in Nigeria, there were still many reasons to celebrate and be grateful.

Public Relations Officer of CAN, Northern chapter, Rev. John Hayab, on Saturday, made the appeal in a statement made available to newsmen in Kaduna state.

Hayab said that the next generation must be inspired by their parents and others to dream, work and hope for brighter future for the country.

“Our children must be made to see hope for a brighter future, our leaders and elders must strive to keep a good legacy. We should all work to ensure a peaceful society.

“Those who specialise in speaking evil and instigating others against their fellow citizens should have a rethink. Our government should learn to listen to the advice of citizens while the citizens should be patient with government and render honest support.

“We all should be patriotic and give our honest contributions to making this nation greater than what and where we are now,” the religious body spokesman added.

Hayab said that the country had mourned and cried enough and called on the citizens to always look for reasons to celebrate the country’s greatness rather than being negative all the time.

“God bless our great country Nigeria and we wish all a happy 57th independence anniversary,’’ the clergy said.

Yemeni Catholic priest rescue 18 months after abduction

By Newsdesk

After 18 months of abduction by militants from a home for the aged in Yemen, an Indian Catholic priest, Tom Uzhunnalil, has regain freedom from his captivity.

He was abducted by militants last year when they attacked the home, killing 16 persons including four nuns, and destroyed the chapel and the center before leaving.

Before his abduction, Uzhunnalil had been working for over four years as a chaplain at the home in southern Yemen established by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, where no fewer than 80 residents use the home.

Confirming his rescue through his social media on Tuesday, India’s external Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, disclosed that Uzhunnalil had been rescued but gave no details.

Pope Francis sustains head injury in Colombia

By Newsdesk

Pope Francis has sustained minor injuries after he lost his balance and bumped his head against a vehicle barrier while riding in the popemobile during his visit to Cartagena, Colombia.

The popemobile, is a customized vehicle designed with bulletproof glass designed, aimed at protecting him while he greets crowds during the tour.

It was gathered that the 80-year-old Catholic Pontiff appeared to be leaning outside a glass panel in front of him when the vehicle stopped and his face made contact with the barrier.

After the incident, sources narrated that he suffered bruised on his cheekbone and cut his left eyebrow with blood staining his white cassock after leaving the vehicle.

A spokesman for the pope confirmed the injuries, which were captured on video, saying, he has a wound on his cheekbone and eyebrow. And had started received ice treatment. But he is fine.

Pope Francis has been in the country since Wednesday, in a visit aimed at restoring peace to the country, has visited cities of Bogota, Medellin and Cartagena. But left Colombia also on Sunday after appealing to the country to untie the knots of violence following 50-year civil war.

Christian body to host women prayer camp meeting

By NewsDesk

A Christian body, Holy Spirit Mission, also known as Happy Family Chapel, would be hosting thousands of women to an extra-ordinary prayer conference slated between 16 and 19 of August, from  8.am to 12 noon at the Chapel in Akowonjo, Egbeda axis of Lagos.

Distinguished women from United States of America and Nigeria are to speak at the event tagged “When Mama Prays”.

The Chief Host of the prayer conference, Rev. Carol Ighele, said that the programme is a praying and teaching conference for females, under ages of 16 years and above, adding that, women are important member of  family and  homemaker and builder.

Through program features, the body stated that once  women have right focus, children would grow right, husband would be happy and society at large would benefit from it.

“Our focus is to train the woman and the girl child spiritually. It is our annual camp meeting. We expose the women on the challenges of womanhood and how they can become better persons in the society. After the conference, if you were a doctor, you would become a better doctor and if you were a teacher, you would become a better teacher.

“Ours is a kingdom agenda. We are working to ensure that the kingdom of God is experienced her on earth. The event would start on Thursday 16 August and end on Sunday.

“Our speakers are drawn from all over the world and in Nigeria. We empower women in every area. We teach them how to be entrepreneurs, ministers. It is a total package. We implore women to come with their children who are 16years and above,” he added.

Speakers for the even are: Pastor Angela Okotie-Eboh, Pastor Theresa Johnson and many others from USA.