The Big 5: President Buhari calls Obasanjo’s letter ‘abusive’, Cardinal George Pell likely to face 2 trials over historical sexual offence allegations and other top stories

These are the stories you should be monitoring today.

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in the United States spoke on former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s January 23 “Special Statement”, which asked him not to seek reelection in 2019.

The President said during an interview on the Hausa Service of the Voice of America (VOA) in Washington D.C.: “Even when the Minister of Information and Culture wanted to reply that abusive letter written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, I told him not to. I later allowed him but only to highlight the achievements of our administration.”

The Federal Government has assured assured workers during the celebration of Workers Day at the Eagle Square in Abuja that they will get a new minimum wage soon.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who represented President Buhari at the event, said: “It is my hope that the Tripartite Committee comprising government, labour, and the private sector, will expedite its assignment to enable the Federal Government to present an Executive Bill on a new National Minimum Wage to the National Assembly for passage into law, as soon as possible.”

The United States is finalising plans to repatriate more than $500 million (about N190 billion) looted money to Nigeria, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, said yesterday.

He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Washington, DC, that he and the Attorney-General of the U.S. were meeting, to finalise the agreement.

Malami explained that the technicalities involved were being taken care of by officials of the Nigerian and U.S. Governments.

A Fulani socio-cultural organisation, Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria (GAFDAN), has volunteered to midwife a peaceful resolution of herdsmen/farmers crises.

A statement yesterday by the National President, Sale Bayeri, after its meeting in Jos, decried increasing attacks and deaths in Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba and Kogi States.

The statement reads: “GAFDAN is disturbed and devastated by the ranging war between herdsmen and farmers in Benue, with the resultant unacceptable loss of life and property which has reduced the state to a theatre of war and misery.

We have resolved to look into the possibility of GAFDAN intervening in the conflicts as a neutral body to resolve the issues amicably.

GAFDAN is worried that the Benue crisis, from our findings, is responsible for the clashes in neighbouring Nasarawa, Taraba and Kogi States due to mass influx of displaced animals and persons from Benue to the neighbouring states.

It is our view that if the conflict is not quelled now, it has the capacity to engulf the entire country and ignite ethno-religious conflicts.”

Twenty-seven persons died and fifty-six were injured in Mubi, Adamawa, after a mosque and market were bombed.

The Chairman of Mubi North Local Government, Musa Bello said the explosions occurred about 1.30 pm.
Executive Secretary of Adamawa State Emergency Agency (ADSEMA) Haruna Furo confirmed the blast.

And… stories from around the world.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller warned he could issue a subpoena for US President Donald Trump to appear before a grand jury as part of a probe into alleged Russian election meddling, US media report.

Mueller suggested the move during talks with Trump’s lawyers in March. He said the subpoena would compel the president to face investigators, the Washington Post reports.

At least 15 people, including a priest, have been killed in an attack on a church in the Central African Republic (CAR).

Gunmen armed with grenades targeted the Notre-Dame de Fatima church in the capital Bangui during mass on Tuesday.

The incident took place near the predominantly Muslim PK5 neighbourhood, where 28 people were killed during clashes last month.

A nationwide power cut hit Ethiopia overnight after a technical fault at a massive hydroelectric dam.

The dam has caused controversy in Ethiopia and has been blamed for cutting the water supply to northern Kenya, causing Lake Turkana to shrink.

Cardinal George Pell will likely face two separate trials over historical sexual offence allegations, with his defence barrister Robert Richter telling a Melbourne court this was necessary because the nature of the two sets of charges were “completely different” and occurred two decades apart.

One trial will relate to charges from incidents alleged to have occurred at a Ballarat swimming pool, while the second trial will relate to charges alleged to have occurred at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne.

Former Malaysian PM, Mahathir Mohamad, 92, is returning to the political fray, bent on toppling his former protege, Najib Razak, a man he dismisses as “corrupt”.

Mahathir insists it is with “great reluctance” that he is running for prime minister again. If he wins, it will make him the oldest leader in the world.

It’s still quite unexpected,” he tells the Guardian in an interview. “I thought I would retire and have a nice time, but people demanded, kept on asking me to do something. Eventually I’ve had to form a party. I’ve had to be directly involved; I have no choice.”

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