Christians Across The World Celebrate Palm Sunday

Christians in Nigeria and across the world have gathered in celebration of the Palm Sunday, marking the final Sunday in the Lenten season and the start of the Christian holy week.

The holy week is the week leading to Easter and is held in remembrance of Jesus’ time in Jerusalem, before he died and was resurrected.

The Palm Sunday is also in remembrance of the day Jesus entered into Jerusalem in triumph, riding on the back of a donkey.

It is a solemn day where Christians pay their respects to their savior and reflect on the sacrifices he made.

Meanwhile, a blast has taken place outside a church in northern Egypt, leaving at least two people dead.

The explosion occurred hours after a separate blast which killed at least 25 people during a Palm Sunday service in the Nile Delta.

As gathered from Reuters, the Nile Delta explosion comes as Islamic State’s branch in Egypt appears to be stepping up attacks on Christians and threatening them in messages blasted out to followers.

Terrorist Shot After Jerusalem Lorry Attack Injures Soldiers

isrealiA suspected terrorist has been shot after ramming a lorry into a group of soldiers, injuring at least 15, Israeli police say.

“It is a terrorist attack, a ramming attack,” a police spokeswoman said on Israel Radio, which reported that bodies were “strewn on the street”.

Meanwhile, according to the BBC, some local news reports said three soldiers had died.

The attack occurred on a popular promenade overlooking the walled Old City of Jerusalem.

Images shared on social media showed a lorry with several bullet holes across the windscreen.

The attack comes weeks after 12 people where killed in a similar attack in Berlin.

Current Oil Prices Are Totally Unacceptable – Buhari

muhammadu-buhari-and-Sheikh-Tamim-Bin-Hammad-Al-Thani on Oil PricesPresident Muhammadu Buhari has decried the current situation in the crude oil market, which has seen oil prices plummet by 70 per cent since mid-2014, saying it is “totally unacceptable.”

He emphasised the need for cooperation among Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC member states to stabilise crude oil prices.

The Nigerian leader made the statement on Sunday in Doha at a bilateral meeting with the Emir of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hammad Al-Thani.

Abundant Opportunities In Nigeria

“As members of OPEC and Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), our relations in the areas of oil and gas, which our two nations heavily rely on, need to be enhanced and coordinated for the benefit of our people.

“The current market situation in the oil industry is unsustainable and totally unacceptable.

“We must cooperate both within and outside our respective organisations to find a common ground to stabilise the market, which will be beneficial to our nations,” the President said on the second day of his state visit to Qatar.

The President also commended the existing cordial bilateral relations between Nigeria and Qatar.

He invited prospective Qatari investors to take advantage of the abundant opportunities in Nigeria and invest in the key areas of energy, agriculture, real estate development, banking and finance.

He assured prospective investors of the government’s protection of their persons and investment, noting that in the course of his visit, the delegations from Nigeria and Qatar would formalise at least two bilateral agreements to boost economic cooperation between both countries.

President Buhari also weighed-in on the situation in the Middle East, commending the role Qatar was playing in resolving the Syrian crisis, the Palestinian cause and efforts in reconstructing Gaza.

“The conflicts in Yemen and Syria, with their attendant humanitarian crisis, need genuine international effort to solve. Nigeria, as a peace loving country, identifies with the State of Qatar in all her peace efforts in the world to end terrorist activities.

“Nigeria is a victim of terrorism. It is with heavy heart that I stand before you and say activities of Boko Haram have led to loss of many lives and displacement of innocent people in our dear nation.

“We, however, take pride to inform you that since our coming to power, Boko Haram has been systematically decimated and are in no position to cause serious threat to our development programs.

“I wish to reiterate that Nigeria rejects violence and extremism in all their ramifications, and assure your Highness that we are with the State of Qatar in your efforts to fight terrorism and injustice in your region and in the world at large,” President Buhari stressed.

He also called for a lasting solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict , saying; “we in Nigeria, like the State of Qatar, favour a ‘Two State’ solution, with the State of Palestine living side by side with the State of Israel.

“I want to assure you that we will stand side by side with you, until our brothers and sisters in Palestine achieve their desired objectives.

“Our support for various Security Council resolutions restoring and respecting 1967 boundaries with Jerusalem as capital of Palestine is firm and unshaken”.

Attacks Continue In Jerusalem Despite New Checkpoints

jerusalemDespite new security measures launched in Arab areas of the city, attacks have continued in some parts of Jerusalem.

On Wednesday, the Police blocked entrances to Jabal Mukaber, a district that was home to three men accused of killing three Israelis on Tuesday.

But hours later, the Police said they shot dead a Palestinian who stabbed an Israeli woman at Jerusalem’s main bus station.

A Palestinian also tried to stab a policeman near the walled Old City. He too was shot dead by the Police.

Israeli authorities say since the beginning of October, seven Israelis have been killed and dozens wounded in shooting and stabbing attacks.

The Palestinian Health Ministry also said at least 30 Palestinians have been killed, including assailants, and hundreds have been injured.

Nigerians Observe Good Friday

Good FridayToday is good Friday, a day Christians all over the world commemorate the passion and death on the cross of our lord, Jesus Christ.

Many Christians spend this day in fasting, prayer, and meditation on the agony and suffering of Christ on the cross.

The holiday is observed during holy week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of passover.

It is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, or Black Friday.

Good Friday is a widely-instituted legal holiday in many national governments around the world, including in most western countries especially among catholic nations.

Some governments have laws prohibiting certain acts that are seen as profaning the solemn nature of the day.

Here in Nigeria as in some countries, Christians particularly the Catholics embark on a special Good Friday processions as a re-enactment of the crucifixion of our lord Jesus Christ.

Jerusalem Good Friday

Meanwhile in Jerusalem’s old city, Christian pilgrims and local worshippers have gathered at the church of the holy sepulchre.

Followers of the Christian faith believe the church stands on the site of Christ’s crucifixion, burial and resurrection.

It marks the last five stations of the cross on the Via Dolorosa, which is walked by pilgrims who arrive from all over the world to take part in Good Friday processions.

Israel Prepares For Election

israelVoters in Israel are preparing to go to the polls in what is expected to be a tightly-fought election, to elect a leader.

Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, faces a challenge from a Centre-left Alliance that has promised to restore ties with the Palestinians and the international community.

Candidates from both parties spent Monday making one last appeal to voters. Neither side is expected to get more than a quarter of the votes.

While results could be declared soon after the close of polls, a definitive conclusion appears likely to take some time.

A lengthy period of negotiations over the formation of the next coalition government could follow.

No party has ever won an outright majority in Israel’s election, meaning it has always been governed by a coalition.

Much of the focus of the campaign has been on international issues, from Israel’s relationship with the United States to concerns over Iran’s nuclear programme.

But many of the candidates have concentrated on socio-economic problems in Israel, including the high cost of living and slow economic growth.

The future of the city of Jerusalem has been a central election issue.

Mr Netanyahu has consistently accused his centre-left challengers of being willing to relinquish Israel’s claim to Jerusalem as its indivisible capital in peace talks with the Palestinians.

Palestinians seek East Jerusalem – occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war – as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

But Zionist Union party co-leader, Yitzhak Herzog, has accused Mr Netanyahu of “panicking”.

Visiting the Western Wall, one of the holiest sites in Judaism, on Sunday, he pledged to “safeguard Jerusalem and its residents in actions, not just words, more than any other leader”.

Kaduna Airlifts First Batch Of Pilgrims To Jerusalem

Jerusalem

The Kaduna State Government, on November 26, commenced the airlifting of the first batch of over 1000 intending pilgrims to Jerusalem amidst tight security.

Addressing the intending pilgrims at the Kaduna Airport before their departure, Governor Mukhtar Yero, urged them to be good ambassadors of the state and the country in general.

The Governor also urged them to pray for God’s intervention for the end of the current security challenges confronting Nigeria and the successful conduct of the 2015 general election.

The Executive Secretary of the Kaduna State Christian Pilgrims Board, Nuhu Buzun, also joined the Governor in urging the pilgrims to pray for peace and security in the state and country at large, while in Jerusalem.

He also admonished the pilgrims to shun all acts capable of tarnishing their image and that of the nation and also advised them not to abscond while in the holy land.

The Executive Secretary stated further that all arrangements, including transportation, accommodation and the overall welfare of all the intending pilgrims had been concluded.

Some of the intending pilgrims told our correspondents that their main aim of going to the holy land of Jerusalem was for moral transformation and spiritual rebirth, and most importantly to pray for the peace and stability of Nigeria.

The pilgrims, who were accompanied by some Pilgrim officials from the state, were sponsored by both the state and the 23 Local Government Areas of the state.

Nigerian Hospitalized In Israel Not Sick With Ebola

EbolaA Nigerian visitor who has been undergoing tests in an Israeli hospital after being admitted with a fever is not sick with Ebola, a hospital spokeswoman said on Saturday, a report on Reuters News Agency says.

The Nigerian, a health worker in her native country, was hospitalized and put in isolation after arriving in Israel several days ago.

Nigeria is one of five West African countries affected by the virus which has killed more than 2 100 people since March.

A spokeswoman for Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem said that after receiving her test results, the patient was being treated for a different illness.

“In coordination with the Health Ministry, the quarantine was lifted. There is no danger,” she said.

Suspects Held Over Palestinian Teenager’s Murder

teen murderA number of Jewish suspects have been arrested over the murder of Palestinian teenager, Mohammad Abu Khdair, whose death sparked days of violent protests in Jerusalem and in Israeli Arab towns.

Khdair was abducted in East Jerusalem. His body was found on Wednesday with first post-mortem examination findings suggesting he was burnt alive.

Investigators believe Mohammed Abu Khudair was slain out of “nationalist motives”, the source said, in comments that appeared to confirm Palestinian suspicions that far-right Jews were involved and that his death was a vengeance killing.

Abu Khudair’s burnt body was discovered in a Jerusalem forest, a day after the burial of 3 Jewish teens who were abducted while hitchhiking in the occupied West Bank on June 12.

Their bodies were found on Monday, near the road where they had gone missing, and Israel blames Hamas militants for their kidnapping and killing.

The Islamist group has neither confirmed nor denied involvement.

Palestinians have clashed with Israeli police in Jerusalem over the past several days. The violence spread on Saturday to Arab towns and villages in central and northern Israel.

Natl. Conference Modalities: There Should Not Be ‘No Go Areas’ – Adegbulu

A Security Analyst and Associate Professor at the Redeemers University, Dr. Femi Adegbulu has said that the forthcoming Nigerian National Conference should be a platform to discuss how the country would live together if at all it is to be together.

He made this assertion while appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, where he criticized the designation of the unity of Nigeria as a topic that should not be the discussed at the conference.

He explained that the unity of Nigeria was dependent on issues like the problems of Boko Haram, religion and the quota system which were rooted in culture and must be addressed at the conference. He provided his views on some of the issues.

While noting that Sharia law, as particularly practised in some parts of the country, has been politicised, he said that Nigeria’s security challenges had also worsened, with Boko Haram having grown into three categories; namely, religious, political and criminal. He pointed out that how to identify them was a responsibility of government.

He said: “We need a deterrent mechanism whereby culprits are well dealt with for the people to see”. He also berated the legal system in Nigeria and the slow judicial process, insisting that it affects the fight against terrorism.

Speaking further on the issues of Boko Haram, Adegbulu blamed the government for being part of the issues and berated the governments’ religious inclinations. He said that government should not have a hand in religion. “Why should government be sponsoring people to Hajj and Jerusalem? Religion is personal”, he queried.

While he suggested tactical interventions, he also admitted that there was no way the country could grant all the demands of the sect. “There is also a place for counter terrorism to ensure that they are wiped out,” he stressed.

Dr Adegbulu also said that the National Conference must also acknowledge that “one of the things to be discussed is true federalism”, which according to him is the same as resource control, which is a system that empowers regions to control their resources with government paying tax based on the resources of those regions.

“The system whereby states begin to go cap in hand to get allocation from government is an anomaly”, he said.

He also protested that a system whereby someone who scores 60% and is not admissible sees someone else with 12% having access to the commonwealth must not continue and must also be discussed at the conference.

Although Government representatives have said at different occasions that such irregularity would not be allowed anymore in the country, Adegbulu said that most of the policies must be seen implemented before he would believe any promises made by the government, because government officials would always tell Nigerians “we are working on it”.

Adegbulu insisted that the idea of having the unity of Nigeria as a ‘no-go area’ during the National Conference was not acceptable.

He asked: “Are we really united?” He noted that Americans do not ask questions about their citizens’ state of origin; because being an American was enough to enjoy privileges they are entitled to.

The Associate Professor admitted that the fear of the Nigerian government was a possible breakup, pointing out that the panacea for breaking up is to discuss it. “We must inaugurate a system of equity where everyone feels a sense of belonging.”

He stated that Nigeria cannot expect the best of patriotism from a Nigerian who having scored good marks still feels cheated while seeking admission to a university, all in the name of catchment area.

Suspected ‘Price Tag’ settlers desecrate church in Jerusalem

Vandals daubed “Death to Christianity” on a Jerusalem church on Monday (February 20) in the second such attack in the holy city this month.

The words “Price Tag”, a slogan used by ultranationalist Jewish settlers, were also scrawled on the walls of the Baptist Narkis Street Congregation in a quiet residential neighbourhood in Jewish west Jerusalem.

The graffiti also included profanity about Jesus, and the vandals slashed the tyres of several cars parked in the church compound.

The “Price Tag” term refers to retribution settlers say they will exact for any attempt by the Israeli government to curb settlement in the occupied West Bank, an area Palestinians seek as part of a future state.

Two weeks ago, similar graffiti was scrawled on the 11th-century Monastery of the Cross which is also in west Jerusalem but no suspect have been arrested, according to the police.

“Price Tag” attacks have in the past targeted mosques, Palestinian homes and Israeli military installations in the occupied West Bank.

Reuters