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    Jesuss burial site shut in protest
    Church leaders closed Jerusalems Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Sunday in protest against Israeli taxation and land policy affecting church property.
    Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Church leaders said the holy site, where many Christians believe Jesus was crucified and buried, would be closed until further notice.
    A statement by the leaders accused Israel of a systematic and unprecedented attack against Christians in the Holy Land in pursuing a new tax policy and a proposed land appropriation law.

    Source: NAN

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    Troops arrest herdsman with bullet-proof vest
    Troops on patrol have arrested a herdsman with a locally made bullet proof and cutlass at Chegba village in Logo Local Government Area of Benue.
    A statement signed by Col. Aliyu Yusuf on Sunday said the suspect had been handed over to the police.
    Yusuf also said that troops during the patrol intervened in a violent clash between hunters and herdsmen in Obi Local Government following a distress call.
    In related development, Yusuf said troops on patrol named Ayem Akpatuma, Cat Race, also seized a locally made pistol with one live cartridge at Gidan Kiya village, Ibbi Local Government Area of Taraba.
    He call on the residents of the areas where the exercise was taking place to continue to cooperate with the troops by providing useful information and to report any suspicious movement to security agencies.

    Source: NAN

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    Pope wants end to violence in Syria
    Pope Francis has called for an immediate end to violence and access to humanitarian aid to the eastern Ghouta district of Syria.
    He said Syria was being martyred by continued attacks and killing of civilians in the eastern district.
    All this is inhuman, Francis told tens of thousands of people in St. Peters Square, on Sunday for his weekly blessing.
    He spoke hours after the United Nations adopted a resolution demanding a 30-day truce across Syria to allow aid access and medical evacuation.
    In these days my thoughts have often been taken up by the beloved and martyred Syria, he said.
    He noted that there had been thousands of civilian victims of violence that had not spared even hospitals.
    Francis insisted that no one should fight evil with another evil and urged his listeners to join together in a moment of silent prayer.
    He called for an immediate end to the violence so food and medicine can get in and the sick and wounded can leave.

    Source: NAN

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    Police step up crackdown on criminals in Bayelsa
    The police have set up a task force to mop up illegal firearms in Bayelsa to rid the state of criminals.
    Mr Don Awunah, the Commissioner of Police in the state, said on Saturday in a statement, that the task force is headed by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr. Andy Amiegheme.
    Amiegheme, who is in charge of operations, is saddled with the responsibility of clearing illegal firearms and other firearms-related infractions in the state.
    He explained that the move was in accordance with the directive of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to crackdown on violent criminals and carry out a comprehensive mop up of illegal arms in the country.
    The commissioner warned that the command would henceforth prosecute persons arrested for unlawful possession of firearms and trafficking in illegal weapons as terrorists, armed robbers, kidnappers and cultists.
    The command will also embark on aggressive crack down on violent criminals throughout the state.
    We will not hesitate to deal decisively within the ambit of the law, persons, group of persons, vigilantes, neighbourhood watch groups and community vanguards arrested for possession of illegal weapons.
    Awunah, however, advised those who were directly or indirectly in possession of illegal firearms or ownership of any weapon of any nature or calibre to surrender such arms to the nearest police station within 21 days.
    The command also called for adequate cooperation and assistance from the people of the state.
    We call on all the peace loving people of Bayelsa State to cooperate and assist the Police in ensuring that peace, security and community harmony reign supreme in the state. (NAN)

    Source: NAN

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    3,000 bandits surrender in Zamfara

    At least 3,000 bandits have surrendered their arms following the peace and dialogue initiated by Zamfara state government.
    A committee was initiated by Zamfara State Government which brokered the peace, the Deputy Governor, Malam Ibrahim Wakkala, said in Guasu,
    Wakkala, who is the Chairman of the states Dialogue, Reconciliation and Disarmament Committee, said revealed at an interactive session with the National Economic Council (NEC) Committee on Farmers/Herdsmen Clashes.
    Wakkala said that the committee has succeeded in restoring peace and stability among communities in the state.
    With these efforts, our communities are now living peacefully and cooperating with security agencies in sustaining peace.
    He commended the state government, security agencies and traditional rulers and all other stakeholders for their efforts.
    In his submission, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Alhaji Sanusi Rikiji, said that 1,321 people have been killed since 2011, 1,881 persons injured and 185 cars and motorcycles lost to the activities of bandits,
    Rikiji, who is the Chairman of the state government Damage, Assessment and Relief Committee, added that over 10,000 cattle were lost to rustling and 2,688 hectares of farm lands and 10,000 houses were destroyed within the period under review.
    The speaker said the state government established the committee to ascertain the number of death and injured persons as well as property lost to banditry and cattle rustling with the aim of assisting victims.
    Within the period under review, the state government has, through the committee, spent huge amount of money in providing cash, food items as well as assistance to families of deceased and sponsoring medical bills to victims of disasters in the state, he said.

    Source: NAN

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    Gaidam offers jobs to 38 YSU first class graduates
    Governor Ibrahim Gaidam has offered jobs to 38 first class graduates of the Yobe State University(YSU).
    He made the offer today at the maiden convocation of the university, during which he was also awarded an honorary doctorate degree. The graduates will become graduate assistants, if they accepted the job offers.
    The convocation covered five sets of over 2000 graduands who completed their studies in the last five years.
    Gaidam restatedhis administrations commitment to education and other sectors to improve the lives of the people.
    Gaidam said government spent N289 million on sponsorship of 28 lecturers of the university to undergo post-graduate studies overseas.
    He said government released N1.3 billion for the construction of structures and supply of equipment to the College of Medical Sciences.
    According to him, establishment of the College will enable the training health personnel, thereby addressing the challenge of inadequacy of trained manpower in the health sector.
    Prof. Yakubu Mukhtar, Vice Chancellor of Yobe State University said although Boko-Haram insurgency has had a negative effect on his institution, the university remains committed to pursuance of quality education.
    The university started with 50 staff in 2006 but now had 709 academic and non academic staff.
    He commended the state government for providing funds for staff development as well as necessary facilities that enable the accreditation of courses.
    The ceremony, held under tight security in view of the recent abduction of school girls in Dapchi town of the state, also featured the installation of Alhaji Muhammadu Grema, Emir of Tikau as the Chancellor of the institution

    Source: NAN

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    Ghana edge unlucky Super Falcons out of WAFU Cup final

    Nigerias Super Falcons have failed to reach the finals of the maiden West African Football Union (WAFU) Womens Cup after losing 5-4 on penalties to Ghana.

    The match ended in a 1-1 draw after regulation time before both teams proceeded to penalties in the match played at the Treichville Sports Park Stadium in Abidjan.

    Alice Ogebe opened scoring for Nigeria in the eighth minute with Faustina Ampah sending in the equaliser for Ghana nine minutes later.

    Proceeding to penalty shootout, the Super Falcons lost 4-5 to the Black Queens. Falcons will take on Mali for the third place position while the Black Queens will face hosts Ivory Coast in the finals.

    Source: (NAN)

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    37 athletes for Commonwealth Games

    Thirty-seven athletes have been selected by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) to represent the country at the 2018 Commonwealth Games holding in April at Gold Coast in Australia. Sunday Adeleye, the AFN Technical Director, said the athletes are made up of 10 foreign-based and 27 home-based athletes.

    According to the AFN board member, the athletes were carefully selected to ensure Nigeria will make a mark and not just participate at the Games.

    No fewer than 915 athletes had participated in the AFN Commonwealth Games Trials held in Abuja from Feb. 14 to Feb. 16. During the trials, which was the final phase of selection of athletes for the Games, national records were broken in the womens hammer throw and womens 20km walk race.

    The home-based athletes on the list include Queen Obisesan and Fadekemi Olude who broke the national records in womens hammer throw and womens 20km walk race respectively. Also, Blessing Ibraheem, Patience George-Okon and Rosemary Chukwuma are among the other home-based women.

    Their male counterparts include Adegoke Enoch, Henry Okorie, Isah Salihu, Orukpe Eraiyokan and Bamidele Emmanuel, among others. The foreign-based women are Blessing Okagbare, Jenifer Madu, Regina George, Kelechi Nwanagha, Amusan Tobiloba and Doreen Amata. Their male counterparts are Edward Michael, Chukwuebuka Enekwechi, Stephen Mozia and Chidi Okezie.

    The teams technical officials include Adeleye, Endurance Ojokolo, Ishola Oladipupo and Lekan Soetan. The team is expected to arrive in Australia in the first week of March. Team Nigeria will participate in nine athletics events at the Games, including 100m, 200m, 400m, discus throw, high jump and decathlon.

    Source: NAN

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    Russian athlete fails doping test

    A second Russian athlete has tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

    The new development is a major blow for the nations hopes of regaining its Olympic status and drawing a line under years of doping scandals.

    Bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva tested positive for a heart drug on Feb. 18, the Russian bobsleigh federation said in a statement on Friday. The result came five days after a previous doping test returned a negative result for her. On Feb. 13, her sample was clean. The teams medical staff did not prescribe the drug to the athlete, the federation said in a post on its official Facebook page.

    The Bobsleigh Federation of Russia and the athlete herself understand the extent of their responsibility and understand how what has happened can have an impact on the fate of the whole team.

    Earlier this week, Russian curling medallist Alexander Krushelnitsky agreed to hand back his mixed-team bronze medal after testing positive for meldonium, which can aid in endurance. At that point, there were still Russian hopes that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would go ahead and lift its suspension of Russias Olympic committee.

    The development would have allowed them to march with the Russian flag at Sundays closing ceremony. That prospect is now severely complicated by the second positive test of a Russian athlete.

    Russia now accounts for two out of four positive tests during the Games. The IOC did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The news came a few hours after hundreds of Russian fans roared in celebration when teenage figure skater Alina Zagitova delivered their teams first gold medal.

    Source: (Reuters/NAN)

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    Lalong appoints 19 commissioners

    Barely two weeks after he dissolved the state executive council, Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau has sent 19 names to the House of Assembly for confirmation as commissioners.

    Among those nominated is Mr Dan Majang, Special Adviser to the governor on media and publicity. Others are Bulus Bot, Ezekiel Daju, Anna Izam, Sylvester Wallangko, Pam Bot-Mang, Hosea Finangwai and Usman Idi. Also nominated are Dakur Eli, Victor Lapang, Elizabeth Wapmuk and Regina Somela. Ahmed Nazif, Abdullahi Abbas, Dayyabu Garga, Tamakat Wali, David Wuyep, Festus Fuanter and Hitler Dadi, who were among those dropped, were re-nominated.

    According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) it would be recalled that Lalong had earlier forwarded three nominees who were screened and cleared on Feb. 14. Speaker Peter Azi, who read the names during plenary on Wednesday in Jos, said that the governors communication was in accordance with section 195 of the 1999 constitution as amended. The lawmakers have agreed to screen the nominees on Feb. 27.

    Source: (NAN)

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