China passes directive for religion station construction

By NewsDesk, with Agency report,

The Chinese ruling Communist Party has ordered local governments to regulate the construction of large outdoor religious statues in a better way amid increasing restrictions on religious expression of all kinds.

The directive viewed on the United Front Work Department websites on Saturday appears to target mainly the followers of Buddhism and Taoism—two of China’s five officially recognised religions.

It says regulating such statues and preventing further commercialisation of religions must be a “top priority.”

Thousands of Buddhist and Taoist temples and shrines, along with mosques and churches, were damaged or destroyed under communism, especially during the violent 1966-76 Cultural Revolution.

Although many have been restored and reopened since then, new regulations and a bureaucratic overhaul earlier this year have put the day-to-day running of religious affairs directly under the officially atheistic party.

Bayelsa traditional ruler warns politicians against crisis ignition

By NewsDesk,

The Bayelsa State traditional ruler, Graham Naingba , has alleged that politicians were benefiting from crisis in his  Amassoma community, with claimed that a set of people were exploiting opportunity to cause fresh tension before 2019 general elections.

Naingba warned politicians against igniting fresh crisis that could deepen the unfortunate crisis which recently engulfed Amassoma, a host community to the Niger Delta University in Wilberforce Island.

The monarch, in a statement issued on Saturday and signed by him, described the planned crisis as condemnable and reprehensible, directed caution at a popular Ijaw musician and lawyer against producing any music on the recent crisis involving the NDU and the Amassoma community.

He said any further fresh crisis could negate ongoing efforts of the Bayelsa State government towards amicable resolution of the crisis.

According to him, governor Henry Seriake Dickson, has not only put adequate measures in place to address emergent issues but is also effectively resolving the crisis.

“Characters with dubious intent with the backing of politicians focused on 2019 elections should desist from exploiting the crisis to cause further division in Amassoma community.

“The platform of music should not be exploited to inflict pain and agony on the community because the conflict is already being resolved by the various authorities.

“It has come to the attention of the traditional institution and authorities of Amassoma that a popular musician, Chief Barrister Smooth, has released a musical record in the form of an inflammatory dirge on the recent crisis in our dear community, Amassoma.

“While we are not opposed to genuine efforts geared towards peace, security and prosperity of our town, the people òf Amassoma are not in support of the activities of the particular musician with the backing of politicians which are designed to inflame passions in the community.

“Politicians should leave Amassoma alone. The tendency to exploit a crisis situation to aggravate conflict cannot be the best way to show concern and love. This is unknown to the culture of our people.

“The Amassoma community finds this curious action as unpatriotic. Amassoma can do without these crocodile tears and detrimental sympathies. For the purpose of emphasis, we advise that nobody should compose a song to inflame tension and threaten public peace in our community.

“The Governor and the traditional authorities have not only put machinery in place to address the issue but are indeed resolving the crisis. Nobody should do anything that will inflame passion or acts that can lead to further unrest in our community. ”

The monarch said that for anyone to claim to love Amassoma more than the indigenes was the loudest way to express hypocrisy.
“Politicians should leave Amassoma alone. The tendency to exploit a crisis to deepen conflict cannot be the best way to show concern. Amassoma is beyond any individual,” he said.

Madrid lifts 3rd back-to-back UEFA Champions League trophy

By SportDesk,

For a third consecutive time, Real Madrid has lifted won UEFA Champions League Cup with Super substitute Gareth Bale who came as star of the match between Spanish team and its English counterpart, Liverpoo, in Kiev.

However, Bale came in the 61st minute to replace Isco. Few minutes after, his impact was felt as he lashed on a cross by Marcelo and with a bicycle kick, found the right side of the net.

The goal put Madrid ahead, after Sane had neutralized Benzema’s 51st minute goal, which arose from a blooper by Liverpool keeper, Loris Karius.

In the 83rd minute, Bale was on song again, with a shot from outside the box to the keeper of Liverpool, Karius, who failed to control the ball and found it slipping into the net, for Bsle’s second goal of the night.

Police kills one, arrests three other robbery gang members in Taraba

By NewsDesk,

The Taraba State Police Command has killed one member robbers and kidnappers gang while it arrested three others during gun battle at Bukuruku in Bali Local government in Borno.

Confirming the incident, the state Commissioner of Police, David Akinremi, said in Jalingo on Saturday that the suspect was killed when the gang engaged the police in a shootout.

“ A gang of suspected armed robbers/ kidnappers engaged a team of police operatives in a gun duel in their Borno Bukuruku forest hideout in Bali LGA, based on actionable intelligence received at about 10.00hrs.

“In the process, one of them was gunned down by the superior firepower of our operatives while three others : Halilu Umaru, 35, Lawale Shehu, 22, Isah Abdullahi, 25, were arrested,” Akinremi said.

The commissioner said an Ak47 rifle with eight rounds of ammunition, criminal charms, an army camouflage and cutlasses were recovered from the suspects.

He urged members of the public to watch out for other members of the gang who escaped with gunshot injuries and report them to the police.

Akinremi warned armed robbers, kidnappers and other criminals to steer clear from the state, saying the police would arrest and bring them to justice sooner or later.

Ebonyi Gov. puts rice mills under former ambassador, minister cares

By NewsDsk,

The Ebonyi State Governor,  David Umahi, has appointed a former Nigerian Ambassador to Mexico, Lawrence Nwuruku and a former Minister of State for Power and Steel, Goddy Ogbaga, to manage two rice mills in Ikwo and Izzi Local Government Areas (LGA).

Nwuruku, also a former Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) National Commissioner, would manage the Ikwo Rice Mill, while Ogbaga was appointed the Chairman of the Rice Mill, located in Iboko, Izzi LGA.

Umahi made the announcements on Friday during the novelty football matches involving the various arms of governments and parastatals in the state as part of events to mark the 2018 democracy day celebrations.

The governor commended the organisers of the novelty matches, noting that the excitement had reduced the blood pressure of spectators at the refurbished Pa Ngele Oruta Stadium.

He also announced a donation of N5 million to participants of the matches with the six winning teams getting N500, 000 each.

“The four-runners up will get N400, 000 each, while the officials would also get N400, 000,” he said.

As gathered,  Ogbaga and Nwuruku had recently declared intentions to run for the Ebonyi North and Central Senatorial seats of the state respectively.

Minna Tech. university appoints new registrar

By NewsDesk, 

The Federal University of Technology in Minna, has announced appointment of its Deputy Registrar and Secretary, Postgraduate School, Amos Kolo,  as new Registrar of the institution,  with directive to take charge of office by June.

The authorities announced the appointment in a statement signed by the university’s Public Relations Officer, Lydia Legbu, on Saturday in Minna.

According to statement, the appointment is with effect from June 12, 2018 and for a period of five years.

“This was conveyed in a letter signed by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Abdullahi Bala, following Council’s approval at its 130th Special meeting held at the Main Campus of the University.

Kolo, who is presently a Deputy Registrar and Secretary, Postgraduate School, will be the 6th substantive registrar of the institution as he succeeds Mrs Victoria Kolo whose tenure ends on June 11, 2018.

Korean leaders talks ahead meeting with Trump

By NewsDesk,

The  North and South Korea leaders have met to ensure historic meeting between Kim Jong Un and U.S. President, Donald Trump, still hold.

Howeverm the South Korean President, Moon Jae-in, met with his North counterpart, Jong Un in the demilitarized zone for the second time in a month on Saturday to discuss the peace commitments they reached in their first summit.

There has been uncertainty over the North Korea-U.S. meeting following various demands by Trump and his North Korean counterpart.

The meeting between the Korean leaders came hours after President Donald Trump suggested his June 12 meeting with Kim may still go ahead.

Moon’s office, which released photos of the meeting, said the leaders met on the North Korean side of the demilitarized zone in the village of Panmunjom between 3 and 5 p.m. local time.

The Blue House said Moon would personally announce the outcome of Saturday’s summit on Sunday.

The two leaders reportedly spoke for two hours to “frankly discuss” how they could make the potential summit between Kim and Trump a success.

The meeting came hours after South Korea expressed relief over revived talks for a summit between Trump and Kim following a whirlwind 24 hours that saw the U.S. president cancel the meeting.

In their first summit in April, Kim and Moon announced vague aspirations for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and permanent peace, which Seoul has tried to sell as a meaningful breakthrough to set up the summit with Trump.

US warn Syrian against attacking rebels

By NewsDesk, with Agency report,

The U.S. government has warned Syrian government not to execute its planned attack of rebels in the Southern part of the country following a “de-escalation zone” agreement signed by three countries.

It would be recalled that the U.S., Russia, and Jordan agreed last year on a “de-escalation zone” in southwestern Syria to freeze the lines of conflict.

In a statement released Friday, the State Department said it was concerned by reports that Assad’s forces were preparing for an operation near the Jordanian and Israeli borders.

The U.S. said it will take “firm and appropriate measures” to protect a cease-fire in southern Syria if President Bashar Assad’s forces attack rebels there.

The State Department further warned the Syrian government against “any actions that risk broadening the conflict.”

The U.S. and Israel are growing increasingly concerned about Iranian military activities in Syria in support of Assad.

Israel says it does not want Iranian forces massing close to the nearby occupied Golan Heights.

40 die during auto crash in Uganda

By NewsDesk,

At least,  40 people have reported to have died in a road accident involving a passenger bus, a tractor and a beer truck in Northern Uganda on Saturday.

Although, the country police had initially put the death toll at 19,  the Red Cross said on their official Twitter page that the accident had “claimed over 40 lives.’’

The accident occurred late on Friday near Kiryandongo, about 260 kilometers from Kampala, police spokesman Emilian Kayima said, adding that children were among the dead.

The bus “rammed into a tractor and hit it badly, rolled and hit another beer truck,’’ he said in a statement.

“Evacuation teams are working tirelessly to rescue the injured. Reinforcement is being organised to support the rescue services,’’ Kayima added, without saying how many were injured.

Bus accidents are common on Ugandan roads and are blamed on speeding, drunken driving and the poor mechanical condition of the vehicles.

UN reiterates commitment toward tackling violence against children in Nigerian

By NewsDesk,

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has assured of its commitment to end violence against children in Nigeria, as country joins world to mark 2018 Children’s Day.

It said that the organisation was determined to mobilise will and resources to tackle all forms of violence against children wherever it occurred.

The Deputy Representative in Nigeria, UNICEF, Isiye Ndombi, described violence against children as pervasive, such that occurred at home, school, work place and online.

Speaking on Saturday in Abuja ahead 2018 Children’s Day, Ndombi said that perpetrators of voilence against kids often include the very people children are expected to trust, parents, caregivers and other family members, friends, teachers and intimate partners.

“We are currently re-analysing the 2014 Violence Against Children Survey (VACS) findings to gain an even deeper understanding of the drivers of violence against children.

“We are also supporting our Government partners to launch our National Plan of Action to End VAC by 2030, alongside a national Social Norms Change Strategy.

“We are supporting the Government to track and monitor reported cases to end the menace,’’ she said.

Ndombi noted that violence against children affected them for life, saying that the marks were sometimes visible bruises and broken bones.

According to him, harm caused by violence on children also affects their mental and physical health and their ability to function in the world.

Speaking on the year’s theme, Ndombi said it provides an excellent opportunity to speak up on behalf of all the vulnerable children in the country.

He identified the efforts of the government to end violence against children to include the conduct of VAC survey in 2014.

The survey, according to him, provides the first national representative data on the prevalence of sexual, physical, and emotional violence among children in the country.

Ndombi identified Nigeria as the first country in the West African sub-region and the 9th worldwide to conduct VAC survey.

This, he said demonstrate the commitment of government to tackle the menace.

“The findings released at the end of 2015, highlighted that millions of Nigerian children are suffering from violence every year and most are suffering in silence.

“Six out of 10 children will suffer some form of emotional, physical or sexual violence before they reach the age of 18.

“Many of them encounter violence over and over; yet, less than five per cent of the children that seek help and receive support.

“This is a clear call for the government at all levels to act to end violence against children.

“In September 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari launched a Year of Action to End Violence Against Children and called on all Nigerians to join this battle.

“Buhari renewed his commitment in October 2016 by launching a long-term campaign, aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, to End Violence Against Children by 2030,’’ he noted.