The Late 5: Osinbajo hails Nigerian children as innovative, Methodist Church Leader to mobilise against wicked leaders in 2019 and other stories

These are the major stories that drove the conversation today:

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Sunday said Nigerian children are special, innovative and energetic and have what it takes to give the country a great future.

The Vice President stated this while speaking to State House correspondents immediately after the Children’s Day Service at the Aso Rock Chapel Abuja.

“It is also a moment to reflect on the responsibility that we have as government, as adults to ensure that we give to these children the very best that we can, especially the children of those who cannot afford education, healthcare and all that,” he said.

The Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, His Eminence, Rev Dr. Samuel Kalu Uche has said that he will mobilise the Christian community to vote against wicked, religious bigots and tribalistic leaders in 2019 general elections.

This was contained in his message at the 2018 Democracy Day Interdenominational Church Service at the National Christian Centre Abuja, where he warned the government against clamping down the opposition and also advised the opposition not to make careless statements that would heat up the polity.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has swept to victory in the just concluded local government elections held in Nasarawa.

Chairman of the State Independent Electoral Commission, Mr Henry Omaku,  declared on Sunday in Lafia, the state capital that the party won in the 13 local government areas and also won the councillorship election in the entire 147 wards of the state.

The Presidency has said the increment in the 2018 budget from the initial N8.6 trillion to N9.12 trillion has the consent of the members of the National Assembly and the executive.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, (Senate), Senator Ita Enang disclosed this on Sunday, explaining that the delay in the passage of the budget and the rise in the price of oil in the international market contributed to the change in the size of the budget.

Ebonyi Governor, David Umahi on Sunday, warned against a selective method of fighting corruption if the government was desirous of a successful anti-corruption fight.

The governor who made the remark at a media chat to celebrate the occasion of the 2018 Democracy Day at the Government House, said that “if the government desires to achieve overwhelming result in its fight against corruption, it must adopt inclusive approach rather than selective method, as only such approach devoid of any political undertone would bring about wide public acceptability.

Umahi said Nigerians should laud the Federal Government for its determined effort in tackling the ugly monster in the country, adding that proactive measures rather than reactive measures, would give the nation the much-desired result in its quest to reducing corruption to its barest minimum.

And stories from around the world:

Italian Prime Minister-designate Giuseppe Conte has given up his bid to form a government after the country’s president vetoed his choice of economy minister.

Mr Conte had taken his list of cabinet choices to President Sergio Mattarella on Sunday evening in the hope of finally being able to form a coalition government, but Mr Mattarella rejected his candidate for economy minister, Paolo Savona, a strong eurosceptic.

Mr Mattarella said he had “agreed and accepted all the proposals except that of the economy minister,” adding that “no-one can claim that I have stood in the way of the formation of the so-called government for change.”

He said he would wait before deciding whether to call fresh elections.

Spain’s maritime rescue service has rescued hundreds of people trying to cross the Mediterranean into Europe this weekend amid growing concerns that the country is struggling to cope with the migration crisis.

The service said its crews had rescued 293 people from nine boats on Saturday. On Sunday, a further 250 migrants were rescued from eight boats, three of which were in poor condition and later sank, they added.

The migrants were from various countries in North and sub-Saharan Africa.

South Africa’s Democratic Alliance (DA), the biggest opposition to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s African National Congress (ANC), dismissed as “rumours and gossip” a Sunday newspaper report that said the party was about to split.

The City Press, citing unnamed sources, had reported that at least five senior MPs were unhappy with the direction the party was taking under leader Mmusi Maimane were planning to form a breakaway “true liberal party” ahead of elections next year.

The report said the split came amid “serious tensions over race, transformation and other policy positions” under Maimane, a 37-year-old occasional preacher who became the DA’s first black leader in 2015.

But the DA said in a statement that the party was “united and ready to bring change in 2019.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who officials said is being treated for a lung infection, will remain in hospital for an eighth day on Sunday.

A Palestinian official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Abbas was still undergoing treatment and would not be released on Sunday, adding that he has been holding meetings with international and Palestinian officials at his bedside.

The official Palestinian news agency Wafa ran a statement which quoted Istishari Hospital’s medical director, Said Sarahneh, as saying test results show an improvement in his health.

At least 26 Syrian regime forces and nine Russian fighters were killed in an Islamic State group attack earlier this week in Syria’s eastern desert, a monitor said Sunday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the jihadists had targeted a group of Syrian and allied Russian fighters near the town of Mayadeen in Deir Ezzor province on Wednesday.

The defence ministry in Moscow who also confirmed the reports on Sunday said the fighting lasted around an hour and left 43 militants dead.

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