The Big 5: Buhari appeals to Nigerians on 2019 elections, Suspected Herdsmen shoot priest in Jalingo and other top stories

June 12

These are the stories you should be monitoring today:

President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to all Nigerians to support the Federal Government in its resolve to ensure the 2019 elections are peaceful.

Buhari who disclosed this on Tuesday in a national broadcast on the occasion of the Democracy day celebration, urged citizens to “conduct themselves, their wards and constituencies with the utmost sense of fairness, justice and peaceful co-existence in order for the country to have a credible, hitch free elections and a violence free process”.

He also called on Nigerians to avoid hatred and intolerance as the country celebrates its democratic experience, adding that national objectives can only be achieved  in an atmosphere of harmony and peaceful co-existence.

Two Catholic priests were reportedly beaten up, while another was shot in the leg on Monday, at the Sacred Heart Minor Seminary in Jalingo, Taraba in an attack by suspected  herdsmen.

The Director of Caritas Nigeria, an agency of the Catholic Church, Rev. Fr. Evaristus Bassey, dislosed this in a message sent to PUNCH, which was also confirmed by the rector of the institution.

He said, “Please, pray for us. Our minor seminary in Jalingo has just been attacked by Fulani men; some students are injured, some cars destroyed, two priests beaten up and one shot in the leg. They are currently receiving treatment at the Federal Medical Centre.”

The herdsmen were said to be unhappy with security men in the seminary for trying to prevent them from grazing their cattle on the premises of the institution.

The Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) has alleged that the Federal Government is threatening to proscribe the union if it fails to suspend its ongoing strike.

National Chairman of JOHESU, Mr. Josiah Biobelemoye, who disclosed this at an emergency consultation meeting of all state and zonal leaders in Abuja on Monday, alleged that the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige, had issued the threat at a reconciliation meeting with the union last week.

Biobelemoye, noted that the union is yet to be served the court order or even see the court documents; while expressing optimism that the strike may be called off soon, after a recent intervention by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja 11  has cautioned that the Federal Government on the control of birth rate in the country and the consequences of overpopulation.

Ooni Ogunwusi said this at the Ile Odua on Monday when he played host to children from over 80 public and private schools from across Ile-Ife town in Osun state in commemoration of the Children’s Day.

The Traditional Ruler said it is unfortunate that at the rate Nigerians give birth without adequate enlightenment about birth control, the population of children alone in the next few years will hit 80 per cent of the nation’s entire population, a development which he believes may spell disaster for the nation.

Ebonyi State Government says construction works has already reached an advanced stage at the new state-owned fertilizer plant.

General Manager of the company, Prof. Ogbonnaya Chukwu, who disclosed this in a statement, said the construction of an expanded production capacity of the state Fertilizer and Chemical Company Limited, is envisioned by the state government to meet the growing needs of the state, and those of the neighbouring south-east and south-south states.

“When completed, the new plant would add a production capacity of 40 metric tonnes of blended NPK fertilizer per hour to the existing plant,” he added.

And stories from around the world:

Kenyan authorities have detained more than 50 top officials and executives after widespread public anger prompted by allegations of the theft of more than $100m (£75m) at government agencies.

The suspects include the head of an agency, dozens of senior officials and four members of the same family, involved in business.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who pledged to stamp out graft when he was first elected in 2013, moved swiftly to deflect public resentment. “We are not going to tolerate unethical people. People with responsibility must be ready to serve and not to be served,” he said on Monday. (Guardian UK)

A top North Korean general has headed for the United States in what would be the highest-profile visit in years, reports said Tuesday as the two countries prepare for a momentous summit

General Kim Yong Chol landed at Beijing airport on Tuesday and will journey on to New York the following day after talks with Chinese officials, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, which cited diplomatic sources.

His journey to the US is expected to cap a frenetic few days of meetings between North Korean and American officials. (AFP)

Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile shield  has shot down a barrage of mortar shells fired from the Gaza Strip on Tuesday after sirens sounded in southern Israel, warning residents to find shelter.

“A barrage of 25 mortar shells were launched toward several sites in Israeli territory. Most of the launches were intercepted by the IDF’s (Israel Defense Forces) Iron Dome aerial defense system,” the military said in a statement. (Reuters)

A lorry drivers’ strike that paralysed Brazil for a week appears to be continuing despite the government’s decision to lower diesel prices.

Most of the truckers’ unions backed the move to cut the price by 46 Brazilian cents ($0.13; £0.09) per litre. But some unions are still holding out, with many of the protesters calling for the government to resign.

The government says some of the unions have been infiltrated by anti-government agitators and has threatened to bring in the army to halt the protests.

The strike has brought much of Brazil to a standstill, with queues at petrol stations, airports running out of fuel and supermarket shelves empty along with other losses. (BBC)

The Palestinian Football Association (PFA) has urged Argentina to cancel a friendly football match against Israel, scheduled to be played in Jerusalem next month.

In letters sent on Monday to the Argentine Football Association, the South American Football Confederation and football’s world governing body FIFA on Monday, PFA President Jibril Rajoub protested the choice of venue and accused Israel of “politicising sport” by hosting the June 9 friendly at the Teddy Stadium, which sits on a land once home to a Palestinian village before it was destroyed by Israeli forces in 1948 during the creation of the state of Israel.

According to comments made by Daniel Benaim – the fixture’s organiser – and carried on the Israeli Football Association’s website, more than 600,000 people have expressed interest in purchasing a ticket for the game. The Teddy Stadium has a seating capacity of 31,733 people. (Aljazeera)

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