Monday, 1 February 2016

Nigeria, Italy sign agreement on police training, intelligence sharing, logistics supply

Nigeria and Italy Monday signed an agreement to assist each other on intelligence sharing, capacity building and provision of logistics to their respective armed forces especially the police.
The signing of agreement was witnessed by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Italian Prime Minister, Mr. Matteo Renzi, in the State House, Abuja.
Besides the agreement, the two countries also held bilateral talks on issues such as energy, security, agriculture, immigration, human and drug trafficking, infrastructure and education.
The agreement on enhancing cooperation between the Nigerian and Italian Police was signed by the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase and the Italian National Police Chief, Alessandro Pansa.
Speaking at a joint press briefing, President Buhari recalled the age long relationship with Italy, expressing satisfaction with the knowledge that Italian government had decided to partner Nigeria in the areas of security, construction, oil and gas and the exploration of solid minerals.
‘‘I am impressed by the resilience and commitment of the Italian business to Nigeria’s development shown by the Italian construction companies and companies in the oil sector.
‘‘I am happy to hear that an Italian oil company, Eni ltd, is investing 4 billion U S dollars in the coming three years in the economy inspite of the downward spiral of oil prices,’’ the President said.
In his remarks, the Italian Prime Minister said his country will support Nigeria in the ongoing fight against corruption, terrorism and also encourage Italian companies to invest more in sectors that will enable growth and create jobs for Nigerians like power, agriculture and solid minerals.
“We discussed a lot about cooperation, about security. We chose to sign important agreement to work together. We have also chosen to invest in energy and infrastructure”, Benzi said

NITDA empowers 55 disabled persons with ICT skills, computer sets

ABUJA: In furtherance of its mandate of deepening information technology penetration in the country, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has distributed laptop computer sets to 55 disabled persons in Abuja.
Distributing the items, the Acting Director General of NITDA, Dr. Vincent Olatunji said the event was in fulfillment of NITDA’s plan to lift the disabled persons from state of hopelessness and poverty to becoming independent income earners.
He said that the action became necessary in view of the current economic uncertainties confronting the nation.
‘‘What we are witnessing is a continuation of training programme that commenced on Monday.
‘‘With the outcome of the first edition, NITDA decided to replicate it in 2016, despite the huge number involved and the economic challenges.
‘‘With the dwindling price of oil in the international market, it became necessary for the country to deploy IT as a panacea to the increasing poverty and unemployment.
‘‘The programme is important because the less privileged were empowered to fend for themselves.’’
The event was the second edition in the series after the maiden edition held in 2015 with over 40 beneficiaries empowered with computer skills and computer sets.
Beyond the computer sets, beneficiaries participated in a four-day intensive computer training to equip them with requisite skills that would enable them become economically independent.
With the over 25.5 million Nigerians living with disability, theNITDA boss maintained that Nigeria would get rid of high rate of poverty, unemployment and youth restiveness, if the citizens, particularly the people with disability were empowered with IT.

Obat Oil denies diversion of N1.2bn oil subsidy

THE management of Obat Oil and Petroleum Limited has denied reports of its alleged diversion of N1.2billion oil subsidy, saying the publication is not only malicious but orchestrated to disturb its business.
Oba Akinruntan
The company also urged the public to disregard rumours that its tank farms had been sealed up by the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC.
A statement signed by the Head of the Legal Department of the Oil Company Mr. Seun Bakare said “We take exception to any malicious publication and slander orchestrated by certain people in a bid to disrupt our business. For the avoidance of doubt, EFCC did not close our depot facility. We were only invited because of the petition and lies being spread by the Managing Director of Petrocam Trading Nigeria Ltd, Mr. Patrick Ilo.
“We urge the public to disregard the misinformation peddled in the false and malicious publications as well as desist from propagating same, in their best interests.
Bakare said it was unfortunate that  Ilo could stoop so low to the extent of feeding the public with falsehood and attempted to denigrate the personality of His Imperial Majesty, Oba Fredeick Obaretu Akinruntan, the Olugbo of Ugbo who was not part of the business transaction.
Bakare said while it is true that Obat Oil had business transactions with Petrocam that failed to implement the transaction according to the terms and agreement, Obat Oil will not succumb to blackmail when Petrocam had refused to allow the Accountants of the two companies to reconcile their accounts.
According to the statement, “The transactions which gave rise to the false reports and the spurious claims from which they have sprung have already been submitted to the Court’s consideration and ordinarily should not be the subject of discourse or advertorials.”
“However, Petrocam Trading has gone out of its way to lodge false complaints against us and set in motion a sequence of events that have been widely reported. We are therefore constrained to protect our professional goodwill, integrity and reputation by putting out this publication.

2016 budget will be driven by non-oil revenue – Minister

ABUJA: Despite the drop in oil price and the uncertainty currently surrounding the market, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma has assured that the continued drop in oil prices will not affect the 2016 national budget.
The Minister gave the assurance, yesterday, when the Senate Committee on National Planning and Economic Affairs led by the Chairman, Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso visited the Ministry on a familiarization tour in Abuja.
Rather than becoming a setback to government, the Minister said that the continued drop in oil price is an opportunity for Nigeria to move away from dependence on oil.
Sen. Udoma insisted that the budget would be driven by non-oil revenue, saying that the present administration is ambitious about achieving full implementation of the 2016 budget at the end of the current fiscal year.
‘‘As you all know, these are hard times for Nigeria. The oil price has gone down from $100 just a year and half ago to about $30 today.
‘‘And as you know, oil historically has represented the bulk of Nigeria’s resources used to fund the workings of government.
‘‘However, sometimes, these things can be opportunities. I see this as an opportunity to move away from dependence on oil.

His Girlfriend Was Caught Cheating At The Movies, But That Wasn't Even The Worst Part!

If you've ever been cheated on, you know it's one of the worst feelings in the world. Because of that one person, you're miserable and your life is dominated by anger and betrayal. But what could possibly make it more hurtful? Probably if that cheater committed another travesty by spoiling one of the most anticipated movies of the year during their act of betrayal. Because the only thing worse than a cheater is a movie spoiler. Well, this is exactly what happened in this hilarious series of text messages between a soon-to-be single guy and his best friend. 

It all started when his best friend went to see the newest Star Wars

                 Yeah, maybe that dude was her brother...


Pic for The Day: What can you call this???

Court remands 3 accused for alleged gang rape of 19 years girl

                       Court grants Neo Black Movement of Africa's motion to enforce fundamental human rights.
An Iyaganku Chief Magistrates’ Court, Ibadan, has remanded, Johnson Fabelurin, 23; Olalekan Oladejo, 21; and Toheeb Farayola, 22; in prison custody for alleged ganged rape of a 19-year-old lady. The accused persons were arraigned on a three-count charge of conspiracy, unlawful carnal knowledge and exhibiting its video coverage.
The Chief Magistrate, Mrs Kehinde Durosaro-Tijani, remanded the three accused persons in Agodi Prison pending the outcome of the case file at the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP). Durosaro-Tijani ordered that the accused persons be kept with the police until the signing of the duplicated case file by the police before taken them to prison.
The pleas of the accused persons were not taken. She adjourned the case till Feb. 25 for mention. The Prosecutor, Cpl. Folake Ewe, told the court that Fabelurin, Oladejo and Farayola between April and August 2015 at Apete Area, Ibadan, conspired together to commit the offence of raping the girl
Ewe said that the accused persons had unlawful carnal knowledge of their victim. “The three accused person’s allegedly exhibits publicly the sexual video coverage of the raped lady.’’ Ewe said the offence contravened Section 232(c), 357 and 516 and punishable under Section 358 of the Criminal Code, Cap 38 Vol. II, Laws of Oyo State 2000.

Security operatives avert another bomb blast in Maiduguri

Security operatives have demoblilised materials suspected to be Improvised Explosive Devises (IED) planted near the office of the Borno State Pilgrims Welfare Board in Maiduguri The Public Relations Officer of the Borno State Police Command, Mr Victor Isuku, made the disclosure in an interview with newsmen in Maiduguri on Monday.
He said that the IEDs, which were planted by people suspected to be members of the Boko Haram terror group were demobilised by a joint security team.  “I can confirm that it was a joint police/military operation that demobilised the IEDs but thank God, no live was lost or injuries recorded, “Isuku said.
No fewer than 20 people were killed after three female suicide bombers detonated IEDs in Chibok, headquarters of the Chibok Local Government Area of the state last month.

Donors pledge $250 million to fight Boko Haram

Donors at the African Union summit pledged on Monday $250 million (229 million euros) for the fight against Boko Haram insurgents, AU Peace and Security Council chief Smail Chergui said. Boko Haram, facing the heat of a military onslaught in Nigeria, has in the past year stepped up cross-border attacks in Niger, Chad and Cameroon, while continuing shooting and suicide assaults on markets, mosques and other mostly civilian targets within Nigeria itself.
Despite offensives by the regional force with troops from Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, the Islamist jihadists maintain strongholds in areas that are difficult to access. But Chergui praised the success of the force at the close of an AU summit on Sunday, saying territory had been wrested back. “Great results have been achieved and we must consolidate these gains,” he said.
Chergui said $110 million came from Nigeria, with the European Union offering 50 million euros, as well as donations from Britain and Switzerland. Chad’s President Idriss Deby, the African Union chairman, said it was crucial the money pledged was actually paid to show “our firm commitment in the fight against terrorism.”
Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama said gains had been made but much more needed to be done. “Boko Haram is no longer able to operate freely as in the past or control territories as they did,” he said.  “We are making tremendous progress in this battle, but we still need to remain vigilant, we need to share information and cooperate.”

African leaders to withdraw membership from ICC

African leaders have backed a Kenyan proposal pushing for a pullout from the International Criminal Court, leaders said Sunday, repeating claims it unfairly targets the continent. Chad’s President Idriss Deby, elected African Union chairman at the two-day summit, criticised the court for focusing its efforts on African leaders. “Elsewhere in the world, many things happen — many flagrant violations of human rights — but nobody cares,” Deby said at the close of the summit late Sunday, which had an official theme of protecting human rights.
No legally binding decision was made, and the decision to leave the ICC’s founding Rome Statute is up to an individual nation. The decision is a “proposal…for the AU to develop a road map for the withdrawal of African nations”, a Kenyan presidential statement read. The war crimes trial of former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo began last week, rekindling a bitter row across Africa over the international justice system.
Set up in 2002 as the last resort to try war criminals and perpetrators of genocide never tried at home, the ICC has opened probes involving eight nations, all of them African: Kenya, Ivory Coast, Libya, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Uganda and Mali. The AU, led in particular by Kenya, has accused the court of unfairly targeting Africans for prosecution as the majority of its cases come from the continent.
This included a failed case to try Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and a faltering case against his deputy William Ruto, for allegedly masterminding deadly post-election violence in the east African country in 2007-2008 in which some 1,200 people died. “We refuse to be carried along in a vehicle that has strayed off course to the detriment of our sovereignty, security and dignity as Africans,” Kenyatta said in a statement.
In November 2015, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom, speaking for the AU at an annual meeting between the 123 countries that have signed up to the Hague-based ICC’s founding statute, said it was “no longer a court for all.” Around one-third of its member states are in Africa.  But while leaders criticised the court, others said that was a mistake.
“Leaving the ICC with no credible mechanism for justice for mass crimes in sight would be an error of colossal proportions,” Kenya’s Daily Nation said in an editorial. “It is far better for member states to stay in the court and advocate reforms, rather than bolting and leaving millions on the continent unprotected by an international court which can step in when national institutions fail.”

85 people killed in weekend Boko Haram attack

At least 85 people were killed in a weekend attack by Boko Haram insurgents in a village near the restive north-east Nigerian city of Maiduguri, a state commissioner said on Monday. Borno State health commissioner Haruna Mshelia said 75 bodies were brought into the hospitals, while 10 others had been buried on Sunday. He gave the new toll while briefing the state deputy governor and a military commander on Saturday’s attack in Dalori, some 12 kilometres (seven miles)from Maiduguri, the state capital.
Local residents and an unidentified aid worker had said on Sunday that some 50 people were killed in the attack.   “A total of 65 bodies were deposited at the specialist hospital, 10 others are being deposited at UMTH (another hospital), while another 10 were buried yesterday evening at the Dalori community cemetery” Mshelia said.  He said 16 villagers were unaccounted for.  An eyewitness Bulama Malum said he saw more than 20 bodies burnt beyond recognition and that 15 villagers were missing.
A member of the civilian joint task force, assisting the military in the fight against Boko Haram said more than 100 were killed in the incident, the latest to hit the restive region.  “Even as at last night the people that died were over 100. I am sure many could have died today,” vigilante Musa Adamu told AFP.  “Anybody that tells you that the figure is less than 100 is just not saying the truth,” he said. Saturday’s attack occurred near a camp for people displaced by the seven-year Boko Haram violence.
It also came as thousands of internally-displaced people were returning to camps. The Borno State government has said it was planning to return some 50,000 displaced people to their home towns in the coming days. The Boko Haram insurgency has killed some 17,000 people and forced more than 2.6 million to flee their homes since 2009. The group which seeks to impose strict sharia law in mainly-Muslim northern Nigeria has also made cross border attacks into Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

Pope warns gossiping priests, nuns to ‘bite your tongue’

Pope Francis told gossip-loving priests and nuns to bite their tongues on Monday, and warned those breaking their vow of obedience to fall into line sharpish. “If you get an urge to say something against a brother or a sister, to drop a gossip bomb, bite your tongue! Hard!” the pontiff said in an improvised speech to members of the clergy marking the end of the Year of Consecrated Life.
The Argentine warned against those abusing their religious vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, describing “anarchy” as the “daughter of the devil”. And he bemoaned a drop in the number of people signing up for a religious life, but warned against taking just anyone. “Why is the womb of consecrated live becoming so sterile?” he asked.
“Some congregations experiment with ‘artificial insemination’. What do they do? They welcome… ‘Yes come, come, come’. And then there are problems,” he said. “No. We must be serious about who we take. We must clearly distinguish if it is a real vocation, and help it to grow.”
The Roman Catholic Church is still smarting from the clerical sex abuse scandal, which hurt the institution globally and saw many believers, particularly in the West, turn their back on the centuries-old institution. The number of priests and nuns in industrialised countries is in sharp decline, though the Church still counts 693,000 nuns around the world and 55,000 priests.

Thirteen students on picnic drown in beach tragedy


A college picnic to the beach turned into a tragedy on Monday when at least thirteen students drowned off India’s west coast after they went swimming, police and officials said.

The tragedy was the latest drowning incident in India, where many people are unable to swim and lax safety standards mean beaches are often without lifeguards.
Dozens of students from Pune city were on an excursion to Murud beach in the Raigad district of the western Indian state of Maharashtra when disaster struck on Monday.
“A total of 155 students from Pune went to Murud main beach and some of them went swimming around 3.30 pm (1000 GMT) this afternoon,” assistant inspector of Raigad police Arvind Patil told AFP.
“Thirteen students are dead due to drowning. The victims were all aged between 19 and 23,” Patil said, adding that 10 women and three had men died.
The victims were enrolled at Abeda Inamdar College, an arts, science and commerce institute in Pune.
P. A. Inamdar, a trustee at the college, told AFP that the students had been on a picnic to Murud, which had been arranged by the educational institute.
“They were on an excursion and must have gone into the sea against the advice of the teachers. They were swept away by the tides,” Inamdar said.
He said that 14 people had drowned, ten women and four men, although police insisted that the death toll was still at 13 late on Monday.
Inamdar said all other students had been accounted for while Patil also said everyone else on the excursion was “safe” after a massive rescue operation involving the Indian coast guard and navy.
Commander Rahul Sinha, a spokesman for the navy, said up to 18 students had got into difficulty in the water and that six of them had been rescued and taken to hospital.
Murud sits on the Konkan coast, which has dozens of beaches popular with locals who prefer it to the internationally renowned tourist state of Goa.
Murud is around 140 kilometres (90 miles) south of Mumbai.

– ‘Aggrieved and shocked’ –

Inamdar said between eight and ten college staff had accompanied the students on their trip and he had been told that there hadn’t been any lifeguards on duty at the time of the tragedy.
“I don’t think there were lifeguards on the beach. That is the basic problem,” he said.
In a statement, the governor of Maharashtra, C. Vidyasagar Rao, expressed his condolences to the families of those who died.
“I am deeply aggrieved and shocked to know about the drowning of 13 students… who had gone to the Murud beach in Raigad district for a picnic,” he said. “My heart goes out to the near and dear ones of all students who lost their life.”
Monday’s incident comes a few weeks after a man drowned off Mumbai trying to save a girl who fell into the sea while taking a selfie.
The girl and two friends fell off rocks into the Arabian sea while clicking photos of themselves.
A passerby, 37-year-old Ramesh Walanju, jumped in and helped save the two friends but was washed away by the choppy waters and his body was found floating in a nearby creek. The girl is still missing.
In February 2014, 29 people died when a passenger boat capsized in the eastern state of Orissa.
A month prior to that incident, 21 people were killed when a tourist boat capsized off India’s remote Andaman Islands.

France aided I.Coast’s Ouattara to take ‘power by force,’ ICC told

Defence lawyers for fallen Ivorian leader Laurent Gbagbo on Monday accused his bitter rival President Alassane Ouattara of seizing power by force aided by former colonial power France, after disputed 2010 polls.

On the third day of Gbagbo’s landmark trial, the defence team also lashed out at the International Criminal Court’s prosecutors saying their case “twisted the truth” about the country’s former president.
“Ouattara and his supporters wanted to seize power by force and the battle of Abidjan was, simply put, the very implementation of this strategy,” lawyer Emmanuel Altit told a three-judge bench, denouncing what he called a “smear campaign” against his client.
Gbagbo and his co-accused Charles Ble Goude, a former firebrand militia leader, have denied four charges of crimes against humanity after 3,000 people were killed following the disputed Ivory Coast presidential vote.
Their highly-anticipated trial opened on Thursday at the court based in The Hague and is set to last three to four years.
Gbagbo declared himself the winner of the November 2010 elections, but major powers including France, the former colonial power, the United States and the United Nations backed Ouattara, who had snatched a narrow victory.
The row triggered a bitter standoff that saw Gbagbo holed up in the fortified presidential palace and Abidjan — the country’s main city and commercial capital — turned into a war zone.

– French support –

“France did not want peace to be negotiated,” Altit alleged.
The then French president Nicolas Sarkozy “had shown unwavering support for his friend Ouattara,” defence lawyer Jennifer Naouri told the court.
Dressed in a dark suit, light blue shirt and dark blue tie, Gbagbo listened intently throughout the hearing but declined to make a statement as his defence team wrapped up its opening statement.
Ble Goude’s lawyers are to open their case on Tuesday, and he is thought to have asked to address the tribunal.
Gbagbo became the first ex-head of state to go on trial at the ICC and chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda painted a vivid picture of five months of turmoil saying “the Ivory Coast descended into chaos and was the theatre of unspeakable violence.”
She alleged on Thursday that Gbagbo, aided by the military, police and a youth militia group organised by Ble Goude, had clung to power by “all means necessary” as part of an orchestrated plan.
But Altit countered Monday there had been a deliberate campaign to make Gbagbo “out to be some kind of demon” and “paint Ouattara as the good guy.”
“This is nothing more than a political narrative that has been heated up and re-served.”

– Re-writing history –

Defence lawyer Dov Jacobs added: “It has been shown that the prosecution has twisted the truth” by not contextualising the violence.
“It has deprived the Ivory Coast of part of its natural history,” Jacobs added.
“Perhaps someone wants us to forget” alleged abuses committed by pro-Ouattara forces, Altit said, adding that even before the elections Ouattara had been recruiting mercenaries in neighbouring Burkina Faso, where preparations for the assault on Abidjan were made.
“The plans for military action had been drawn up by the plotters and schemers … in cooperation with French military leaders during the entire crisis,” he said.
He added that French military aircraft also delivered heavy weapons to pro-Ouattara combatants.
If the two men are convicted, the maximum penalty is usually up to 30 years in prison. Judges can impose a life sentence if they find “extreme gravity” in the case.
Prosecutors are focusing on four specific incidents triggered in the world’s top cocoa producer, once held up as a beacon of democracy in a troubled continent.
Altit regretted that no French witnesses had been called by the prosecution, saying only they “have the information needed to get” to the truth of what happened.
The ICC has been repeatedly accused by some African countries of unfairly targeting them. Several continental heads of state on Sunday backed a Kenyan proposal to pull out of the ICC on the ground that it is biased at an African Union summit.

Pep Guardiola signs 3 year deal with Manchester City


Manchester City have confirmed that Pep Guardiola will take over this summer to replace Manuel Pellegrini, who will leave on 30 June, 2016. Today being the transfer deadline day, City announced  the news at the end of Guardiola's press conference. They released a statement today which read:
 "Manchester City can confirm that in recent weeks it has commenced and finalized contractual negotiations with Pep Guardiola to become MCFC Head Coach for the 2016/17 EPL season onwards.
"The contract is for three years. These negotiations were a re-commencement of discussions that were curtailed in 2012.  
"Out of respect for Manuel Pellegrini and the players, the Club wishes to make its decision public to remove the unnecessary burden of speculation. 
"Manuel, who is fully supportive of the decision to make this communication, is entirely focused on achieving his targets for the season ahead and retains the respect and commitment of all involved with the leadership of the Club."
Manchester United and Chelsea both wanted the 45 year old Spaniard but he will now take over at City this summer.

Photos: Five children who suffocated inside an empty freezer laid to rest, parents urged to be more vigilant.

Bodies of five children, aged between three and seven were discovered inside an empty freezer on January 19 at Kakamas - Northern Cape, South Africa. The children were apparently trapped inside the unused freezer, which was standing in the backyard of their grandmother’s house.

Adrian Madjiedt, Jamiem Madjiedt, Anastacia Madjiedt, Elzaan Johnson and Elrich Johnson, all cousins were laid to rest on Saturday, January 30. Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas, who attended the funeral urged all parents to be vigilant about the whereabouts of their children.
"It is times like theses which remind us just how precious our children are . . . they are truly gifts from the Almighty Father. As parents we should ensure that we give them our unwavering support and love at all times. We should guard and protect them to the best of our abilities to ensure their safety. In the spirit of ubuntu we should care for one another and share each others’ joy and sadness. Memories of these beautiful angels will forever remain with us and it is our prayer that their souls rest in eternal peace," she said 
Lucas praised the Kakamas community for their support to the family of the children and also pledged to support the families in future.
Lucas praised the Kakamas community for their support to the family of the children and also pledged to support the families in future.

The Kakamas police have opened an inquest into the deaths of the children and the investigation continues.

Messi seeks to meet Afghan boy in plastic jersey


Barcelona star Lionel Messi is hoping to arrange a meeting with an Afghan boy who shot to fame after pictures of him dressed in a striped plastic bag jersey went viral, Kabul’s football federation said Monday.

  File: Lionel Messi
File: Lionel Messi

Five-year-old Murtaza Ahmadi idolises the Argentine soccer star but a jersey of his favourite player is beyond the means of his poor family in the volatile province of Ghazni near Kabul.
His elder brother Homayoun, 15, made him the blue-and-white-striped plastic shirt with Messi’s named scrawled in marker pen and posted the photos of Murtaza wearing it on Facebook in mid-January.
Jorge Messi, Lionel’s father, told AFP on Saturday that the footballer was aware of the photos that made waves on social media and “wants to do something” for his young fan.
The Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF) on Monday said Messi was keen to meet Murtaza as soon as possible, though no date or venue has so far been finalised.
“Messi has been in communication with the federation to set up a meeting with the young boy,” AFF spokesman Sayed Ali Kazemi told AFP.
“We are working to see whether Messi will come to Afghanistan or the five-year-old will travel to Spain or they will meet in a third country.”
There was no immediate comment from FC Barcelona.
Setting up a meeting in Afghanistan, in the grip of a fierce Taliban insurgency, is fraught with security challenges.
The Spanish embassy in Kabul told AFP it would do whatever possible to facilitate a meeting in a European destination.
Murtaza’s father, a poor farmer in Ghazni’s Jaghori district, admitted he could not afford to buy him a replica jersey, adding that Murtaza only had a punctured ball to play with.
Photos of the boy wearing the improvised Messi jersey — made from grocery bags discarded by their neighbour — has touched a chord with football fans around the world.
Sport was rarely played under Taliban rule, and the football stadium in Kabul was a notorious venue for executions, stonings and mutilations.
Football and cricket are the two most popular sports in the war-ravaged country.

‘Aisha will unite waring groups in Taraba’

The developments in Taraba State since the governorship election have been very interesting.  First was an election that was marred by irregularities and even before that some candidates did not satisfy the provision of the law to contest the position, as was evidenced in the PDP, which did not conduct Primaries.
Sen Aisha Jumei Al-hasan
Sen Aisha Jumei Al-hasan
Now, all that have come and gone and the major issue is how to move from that point; to right the wrongs while taking into cognisance the peculiarity of the state in question.
Several people may postulate different theories, but one thing we must look at carefully is the implication of the ruling on the governorship election in the state which is currently before the Supreme Court.
Many people talk about the fact that state is bedeviled by crisis but not many have paused to look critically at the problem; as in what may be the underlying problem behind the surface problem. It is worthy of note that since the creation of Taraba State, they have never had a Muslim governor, despite the sizable number of Muslims in the state.
That development has caused a particular group to feel marginalised, and that in itself is an ingredient for violence. Many people in the state do not feel that they are part of the Taraba  dream/ project and as such feel that they have nothing to lose if the state remains in crisis.
So, if we are looking at permanent peace in the state; now is the right time to make it happen; by allowing Aisha Alhassan of the All Progressive Congress to be governor of the state.
As by so doing that, no part of the state will feel marginalised, just as it every part of the state would be breaking a jinx that would in the long run have a positive impact on the state and country.
During the George Akume’s administration in Benue, a state neighbouring Taraba, they had a woman as Speaker of the House of Assembly  and that development boosted the nation’s democracy with many countries in the West hailing Nigeria for coming of age.
Since Nigeria’s independence, it has never had a woman governor; if Taraba in the conservative northern region can blaze the trail by producing not only a Muslim but also a female governor, it will be a big plus for not just the region but the country.   It is indeed time to quench the rising tide of anger among the various tribes in the state.
And as a woman,  Hajia Aisha Alhasan is capable of uniting the state and putting to rest the age long problem which had hampered development. During her campaign, she was able to penetrate all parts of the state and that is an indication of the level of acceptance and support she enjoys.
This is an opportunity to make history and change a perception that without a god-father, somebody cannot make headway in politics. Hajia Aisha went into the election without a god-father and was able to hold her own till the end.
She also proved to the women folk that they can achieve whatever they set out to through determination. Therefore, upholding the tribunal ruling which returned Aisha as winner of the election will in no little way boost the nation’s democracy and the lot of women. It will give more women the confidence to venture into politics also.
I urge the judges of the Supreme Court, who at this moment are the last hope of the Taraba people to experience Change, to be a part of history by delivering a favourable judgment.
Steven Ishaya wrote from Takum.

Governance and crisis management

ONE way to deal with economic crisis is to isolate the main elements and deal with them or go after those who caused the crisis in the first place. The worldwide economic crisis of 2007-8 (Black Wednesday) which still remains unresolved fully, caused by several factors but mainly by banks who sold products and derivatives to people who clearly would be unable to pay or took advantage of regulations to make maximum profits in unorthodox ways such as leveraging the LIBOR rate etc.
The banks sold prime mortgages to clients who had no way to pay because the mortgages had US Federal Government (Freddie May) guarantees. In some cases Governments borrowed far beyond their capacity to pay etc.
The intentions of Federal Mortage guarantees were noble since it helped the common man to buy his own house. But in order to raise the portfolios of the banks, many sold to people who could in no way redeem the loans. Mr. White is living in a US$200,000 house in a middle class suburb. A housing development company has recently developed a new gated estate with gardens, swimming pool etc. going for US$400,000. Mr. White is now told that this new development was available to him at “nearly the same mortgage rate” if he agrees to move. He does so. His US$200,000 house is sold to someone who in reality can only afford a US$100, 000 houses.
But all these mortgages are federally guarantees. The banks portfolio has quadrupled; the bankers have received their normal large bonuses for “improved performance”. The developer had also borrowed money and he too has a seemingly profitable business.
Then oil prices spike. Chinese goods flood the market. Mr. White cannot pay his mortgage. His company which cannot compete with Chinese prices is unable to retain him. He loses his job, but still has to pay for his car which he cannot. The car is repossessed.
The government has to borrow more – sell more bonds. Mr. White cannot meet the monthly payment of his car, credit cards etc. similarly, the whole country is in economic meltdown. Many of the banks have done worse than the useless papers they have. Should the banks be allowed to fail? No. To meet these crises the West comes together. The Governments seize percentage of the shares of the banks, only to find out that the government itself cannot pay its health bills; the merry round continues. What to do? Japan had the same problem.
The governments could round up all the bankers who made money, earned bonuses etc. They could round up the developers, thus create more unemployment. Or they could start inquiries to find out whether the houses were not over inflated in prices, jail a few bankers, investors etc.
Instead – they freeze interest rates at %. They hunkered down to produce polices that would grow their economy- i.e. get out of the mess through growth. They pumped more money into the economy; propped up the industries etc. They banned all gas guzzler cars; recall all cars over 10 years old and give incentives to their owners to buy new cars and forced the manufactures to make better cars, with less fuel consumption, etc. Encourage modernisation of ship yards, manufactured planes that are quieter, faster engines and encourage airlines to buy new fleet. They kept inflation low at about the same rate as interest rates. They outsourced- did all things possible to cut cost, increase efficiency and grow
Where and how does Nigeria fit? – Old cars and planes not for the West end up in Nigeria the dumping ground of all Europe’s rejects, including clothing, refrigerators, broken down computers etc.
Without a proper analysis of our problems- do we chase the bankers, the looters etc. or do we put our economy right by growing out of our crises?
The President must convince all politicians from local Government, State to Federal levels that the fight against corruption is a serious sustainable battle. At the moment only the members of the past administration are feeling the ill wind of, according to them “persecution” misnamed corruption.
Almost all politicians were motivated by the need for self aggrandizement. At the local Government level the Chairmen of the local Governments simply- take the money for their personal use; some money gets to the councilors. At the moment most Local Government Chairmen are appointed. They do nothing. Political office holders are proceeding as usual, nothing has changed. They still openly demand gratifications and complain that they invested their own money to get to where they are now. And that they contributed to the success of the party at the election. If you remind them that they were put in office to serve, you may as well be whistling in a strong wind. Houses are still being bought by the corrupt public holders;. In the universities, President Buhari’s change philosophy has not hit any responsive nerves.
Ask any student who is registering or trying to finalise graduation arrangements.
But the pursuit of corrupt people cannot be the salvation of a sagging economy. If we have to grow agriculture, where are the plans? Are we sure we are getting value for money in our purchases? Do we have conditions for peace in the Niger Delta to allow unimpeded exploitation of our natural resources?
The President and his cabinet will do a lot of good to themselves by going and staying in the area where the golden goose resides. No one dears the source of his wealth unattended and unprotected.
This Government is broke. It must live within its means – that means the politicians and the Governors, National and State assembly must cut down expense by at least 50% to 60%. No more freebies. Salaries of all who work in Nigeria must be in Naira; how people source for forex is entirely their business. We cannot run four parallel economies – one for the super rich, one for the rich, one for dollar earners, another for the normal people and even a fifth for the underclass.
The President and all APC and PDP must join in the effort of national redemption. A major public affairs effort that can communicate effectively with the people must be undertaken. For a Government committed to change, the paucity of its handling its image is incredible. The tardiness and complacency mind boggling. What is everybody waiting for? Running a country is more than a gladiatorial show.

Igbo Union pledges loyalty to Oba of Benin, denounces Eze Ndi Igbo title

Members of Igbo community union in Edo have pledged their loyalty to the Oba of Benin, saying they would never be in conflict with the Bini traditional institution.
The union pledged their loyalty in a statement signed by Chief George Igbokwe, on behalf of members of its elders’ council.
It said in the statement, was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Benin, that the Oba of Benin was the union’s grand patron.
The statement said the union regretted the action of one Chief Luke Abbas, who had attempted to crown himself as Eze Ndi Igbo within the Bini kingdom.
It said the union was neither a political nor a religious group, but a purely a “socio-political union,’’ that did not recognise such title as the Eze Ndi Igbo in the state.
The statement said the tenure of Abbas as the President General of the group in the state had long expired, but he had refused to leave office.
It said that Abbas had continued to drag the name of the union into “religious, political and even cultural conflicts that tended to, and indeed lower its collective estimation in the comity of tribes in Benin and Edo state in general.
The union said his attempted coronation created some erroneous beliefs which it had taken time to clear.
It “erroneously insinuated that it was with the support of us as Igbos in a calculated attempt to create another kingdom in Benin City and share the authority of the Oba over his subjects within Benin and environs.
“This was exactly one of the fears that prompted our quick and immediate reaction to the coronation attempt.
“We are happy that our said action and press conferences have completely doused and allayed their fears,’’ the statement said.
According to the statement, the union has, therefore, constituted and inaugurated a 10-man caretaker committee to run its affairs.
It said members “were chosen on their merit and as representatives of the five Igbo states.’’

Chelsea give Terry hope of new deal

Chelsea captain John Terry may yet be offered a new deal despite having announced his departure from the club, a spokesman for the Premier League champions said.
Terry, 35, announced on Sunday that he will leave Chelsea when his current deal expires at the end of the season because the club have not offered him a new contract.
But a Chelsea spokesman said late on Sunday: “John requested a meeting with the club the week before last. In that meeting he asked about the possibility of an extension to his existing contract.
“John was advised that while no new deal was currently on the table, that situation could change in the coming months. The club has the utmost respect for John and everything he has helped us achieve to date.
John Terry
John Terry
“He is a fantastic servant of Chelsea Football Club and a superb captain and, as such, the club will keep the channels of dialogue open.”
Terry, who has made 696 Chelsea appearances and is the club’s most successful captain, had expressed disappointment that there would be “no fairytale ending” for him at Stamford Bridge.
His former team-mate Frank Lampard paid tribute to the ex-England captain, posting a picture of the pair on Instagram accompanied by the simple caption: “#captain #legend #chelsea #winner @johnterry.26”
Terry’s current central defensive partner Kurt Zouma was shocked by the news and suggested that it would be hasty to jettison him.
– No Wenger interest –
“I am very surprised. I didn’t know,” the France international told the Evening Standard newspaper. “Now we have to see what John wants to do because I think he can play for another one or two years.
“This feels like when we lost Didier (Drogba) last summer. (Terry) is a huge personality at Chelsea. When you lose these kind of players, you have to replace them, but I don’t know how John can be replaced.
“For me he can play many more times. He is still at a top level. He has been playing very well since I arrived at Chelsea. He can continue for sure.”
The prospect of Terry leaving has also dismayed the club’s fans, for whom he is an emblematic figure.
Trizia Fiorellino, chair of the Chelsea Supporters Group, told BBC radio: “It seems a very strange time to do it and given that we’ve got no manager at the moment — we’ve got an interim manager (Guus Hiddink) — who has made this decision for John Terry to go?
“He played every minute of every league game last season and we won the title. It’s just all very peculiar, very strange, and I think the club owe us an explanation.”
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger signed goalkeeper Petr Cech from Chelsea last year, but he ruled out a move for Terry, who had said in any case that he would not be joining another Premier League club.
Asked if he was interested in signing Terry, Wenger said: “No, because he is at the end of his career and he has spent his career at Chelsea. If he wants to play longer, I am sure he will play for Chelsea.”

Respect rule of law, Bello tells impeached LG chairmen

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has urged some local government chairmen who were impeached by the State Assembly espect the rule of law and the judiciary, noting that it is wrong for the affect council chairmen to forcefully resume office, owing to his earlier directive that Council Chairmen and Vice Chairmen earlier barred from resuming office for political reasons be reinstated.
-Gov Yahaya Bello of Kogi State
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Kingsley Fanwo, on Monday, said: “The attention of the Governor of Kogi State, Alh. Yahaya Bello has been drawn to attempts by some impeached Chairmen to forcefully resume office on the strength of the earlier directive that Council Chairmen and Vice Chairmen earlier barred from resuming office for political reasons be reinstated.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Chairmen that were impeached by the legislature should respect the rule of law and our judiciary and stay away from office while those that were barred from resuming office due to their political associations are allowed to resume office through a rancour-free process.
“Governor Bello expects the relevant authorities and security agencies to help effect a smooth compliance with this directive. In clear terms, impeached Chairmen cannot benefit from the directive as the governor will not ambush the authority of the legislature as a believer in the rule of law.”

Combining youth service, participation in law school unacceptable – NYSC

 The National Youth Service Corps has warned that participation in the National Service and attendance of Law at the same time is unacceptable.
This is part of resolutions made at 2016 Annual Management Conference of the Scheme, which took place in Asaba, the Delta State capital.
The conference noted that “the NYSC Act provides for uninterrupted service year, and advised prospective Corps members to choose which one to defer between National Service and Law School attendance instead of attempting to combine both.
“Parents of prospective Corps members have also been advised by the confab to allow their graduate children take decisions as adults and avoid discouraging them from accepting postings to any locations in the country.
“Management also noted the return of normalcy in some states whose orientation camps were closed due to insecurity, and expressed readiness to make phased reopening of the camps after due consultations with security agencies and governments of the affected states.”
The conference further resolved to deepen engagements with key stakeholders, including the security and intelligence community and traditional rulers on matters of security and general well-being of Corps members.
Beginning from the 2016 Batch ‘A’ Orientation, as agreed by the conference, Corps members will be sensitized on national attitudinal change.
It was also agreed that the policy on posting of the corps members to places of primary assignment would be reviewed to meet contemporary needs.
Participants resolved that the Scheme would set up committees to study strategies for tackling challenges posed by the increasing population of corps members as espoused in a research report presented at the conference.

Ask Fayose to tell Nigerians which election result he was collating in Efon-Alaye, ‎APC tells Justice Minister

Against the backdrop of the revelations contained in a confessional televised statement by the embattled Ekiti State Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Tope Aluko, on Channels Television live programme on Sunday, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state has urged the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to prosecute all indicted people in the election rigging scandal and that he should ask Fayose to tell Nigerians which election result he was collating in Efon-Alaye on June 19, 2014.
The party said it had on two occasions petitioned the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice on the same matter, stressing that the latest revelations by PDP scribe had made it imperative that the nation’s chief law officer must act now.
Publicity Secretary, Taiwo Olatunbosun, noted in a statement on Monday that the election fraud crisis had refused to go despite all shenanigans by Governor Ayodele Fayose, who he said was the biggest beneficiary of the election fraud that had created blight on Nigeria’s international image.
The APC spokesman said even though there was nothing new in the PDP’s scribe’s revelations, he noted, however, that it had become pertinent to prosecute the suspects as the revelations were again emanating from the insider who participated fully in what is now known as Ekitigate.
“By Aluko’s revelations, we are justified in our claim that our candidate, Dr Kayode Fayemi, never lost that election, but was criminally toppled by a coup d’etat orchestrated by Fayose in cahoots with President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration that illegally deployed money and the military to ensure victory for Fayose.
“It is interesting that more names are coming up in the biggest election scam ever witnessed in Nigeria with the alleged participation of Ifeanyi Ubah of the infamous Transformation Agenda for Nigeria (TAN), a shadowy campaign group for former President Jonathan in the fraud. No wonder Ubah was compensated with a honorary Fellow by Fayose at the Ekiti State College of Education for a job well done.
“It is in the light of this that we are calling on the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation to prosecute all the suspects in the election fraud for treasonable felony to preserve the integrity of the Nigerian Constitution,” Olatunbosun said.
The APC said President Muhammadu Buhari should use Ekiti election fraud case to convince Nigerians that official impunity and fraud would not have a place in Nigeria under his watch.
“We have seen the Army already tackling the military aspect of the Army Probe Panel report. We expect the police and attorney general of the federation to also tow the line in coming out with the civilian component of the probe report and act accordingly.
“The military men were mere agents used by Fayose to rig the election. Some of the officers implicated in Fayose’s crime had been recommended for various sanctions, including losing their jobs while others are to face prosecution by the EFCC and court martial, according to the military rules and administrative procedure.
“These military men should not be made to suffer alone for the crime committed in conjunction with Fayose and his fellow conspirators in PDP who are still working free as if there is no law in this country,” he said.
Olatunbosun berated Fayose’s media aides, Lanre Ogunsuyi and Lere Olayinka, for claiming that Captain Koli’s audio tape was a forgery, saying, however, that it was gratifying that Fayose, who also first denied his voice on the tape, later admitted that the voice was his. If the Ekiti audio tape was a forgery as they alleged, were the appearances of Koli and Tope Aluko also forgeries?
Noting that Fayose had always mouthed his readiness to wave his immunity to face prosecution over alleged crimes, he said now was the time to wave that immunity to face prosecution on the electoral fraud.
He insisted that APC would not accept anything short of comprehensive review of Ekiti State election saga, even as he urged Nigerians to prevail on the Minister of Justice to compel Fayose to explain to the world what he meant by saying that he collected INEC soft copies and got them printed as captured in Captain Sagir Koli’s tape detailing all activities connected with Ekiti poll rigging.
“Besides Fayose talking on the tape about how INEC gave him soft copies that he printed to win the election, the Minister of Justice must also compel the governor, who spoke on election result collation in the tape, to tell Nigerians which election result he was collating in Efon-Alaye on June 19, 2014, two clear days before the June 21, 2014 governorship election,” Olatunbosun concluded.