Mikel Obi Begins Search For Young African Football Stars

Super Eagles captain John Obi Mikel has launched a talent hunt series dubbed “Africa’s Next Football Superstar” to discover young talents. According to CompleteSports, the series will be held in three African nations- Nigeria, South Africa, and Algeria.

Kids between the ages of 13 and 16 will be eligible for the series. Five winners will be selected from each of the three countries. They will be tested and narrowed down to nine.

The nine young boys will have the privilege of going on an all-expenses-paid trip to the UK. They will get trials with top English clubs for a period spanning two weeks, with a chance to bag a one-year contract with the club’s youth team.

The trials in Nigeria will be held in Lagos on March 15th 2019, Port Harcourt on 18th, and Abuja on 20th. The finals are scheduled for May 2-9 2019. The talent hunt will be an annual series. It will give a chance to talented young people to launch their football career. Such chances are always difficult to come by for African youth.

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I Will No Longer Complain Past Administration – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari says he has resolved to stop complaining about the problems his administration inherited when it came into office.

Buhari said he “asked for it” by relentlessly vying for office four times before emerging president in 2015.

He made the comments while speaking with a cross-section of Nigerians in Poland on the sidelines of the global summit on Climate Change.

The president said: “We inherited so many problems. Actually, I have said I will not complain because I asked for it. I tried to become President three times and I lost, but I was lucky the fourth time, I became one, so I can’t complain”

“Who asked me to do it again? Three times I ended up in the Supreme Court. The third time, I said, ‘God dey’ and the fourth time, God and technology, using the permanent voter card and the card readers, they couldn’t rig the elections; so I won.”

Speaking on the security situation in the country, Buhari said significant progress has been made in the war against insurgency.

He said Boko Haram insurgents have been able to launch attacks in recent months because “they know the area more than the soldiers”.

Buhari said: “Those in the north-east will tell you that before we came, the so-called Boko Haram used to hold about 17 local governments. Now, physically, they are not holding any local government. So they have resorted to real guerilla tactics of hit and run.

“They mobilise, hit targets and then disappear again because they know the area more than the soldiers that are defending them. Our soldiers are from Port Harcourt, Lagos, Sokoto, but they are locally there and know the terrain more than the soldiers.”

SaharaReporters Floors Saraki At Appeal Court… N4bn Judgement Overturned

The Court of Appeal in Ilorin, Kwara State, has nullified the lower court’s judgment that awarded a N4billion cost as sum of damages against SaharaReporters and its founder, Omoyele Sowore, in a suit between the two and Bukola Saraki, Nigeria’s Senate President.

On Tuesday, the Appeal Court set aside the judgment of Justice A.S. Oyinloye of the Kwara State High Court in Ilorin delivered on June 28, 2017.

The Appeal Court judges — Honourable Justice Ibrahim Mohammed Musa Salauwa, Honourable Justice Chidi Nwaoma Uwa and Honourable Justice Hamma Akawu Barka — unanimously ruled that the judgment be nullified and assigned to a new trial judge at the lower court for a retrial.

The account of Sahara Reporters Media Foundation, a Non Governmental Organisation, was garnisheed in a suit between SaharaReporters, an online citizen journalism news website, and the Senate President even though the foundation was never named in the suit, neither is it a news publishing platform.  

Justice Oyinloye had entered a judgment of N4billion against SaharaReporters and its founder, Omoyele Sowore, over allegations of defamation involving Saraki. However, the judgment was used to obtain a garnishee order against the foundation, a separate entity.

Sometime in 2017, Saraki had sued SaharaReporters and its founder to the tune of N1billion each as general damages for four different publications on SaharaReporters.

He also sought the court “for injunction restraining the Defendants from further writing, printing or causing to be written, printed or circulated or otherwise published of the Claimant, the said or similar libel”.

However, Stanley Imhanruor, a senior lawyer from Falana & Falana’s Chambers, who represented SaharaReporters at both the High Court and the Appeal Court, argued that his clients were never served in the motion on notice neither were they given an opportunity to defend themselves during the hearings that led to Justice Oyinloye’s judgment.

Paul Erokoro, Saraki’s lead counsel, had claimed in court that he could not serve the counter affidavit on the counsel for SaharaReporters because there was no address for service within the court’s jurisdiction. He argued that he had no obligation to serve counsel directly unless the court ordered him to do so or if he sought the court’s leave to serve counsel directly.

Imhanruor contested this argument, stating that his chambers had sent one Adams Adebara to the chambers of Tunde Olomu & Co to pick up the counter affidavit, to no avail. He told the court that, rather than give the document to Mr. Adebara, the chambers rudely dismissed him.

He explained to the court that Saraki’s lawyer had asked Adebara, who was to collect the counter affidavit, to meet with him on the premises of the court so that the bailiff could serve him, but Erokoro failed to deliver on his promise. He told the court that multiple calls to Erokoro were ignored.

The case was, however, withdrawn from the lower court, having lost faith in the process and an appeal filed at the Court of Appeal.

The protracted case had taken several turns before the eventual judgement of the appeal court. In one of the hearings at the Federal High Court in Ilorin, journalists and student activists who had gone to court to observe the hearing were harassed by alleged loyalists of the Senate President.

Reporters from CoreTV, AIT News, and ChannelsTV who were in court to cover the proceedings were harassed and their cameras seized. They were also forced to erase footage of the court proceedings and the assaults that took place in the premises of the court.

The touts, perceived to have been supporters of the Senate President, also assaulted a middle-aged woman, Funmi Jolayemi Ajayi, stripped her naked and beat her. Ajayi, a civil society activist, had travelled from Lagos to observe the court proceedings in Ilorin.

Breaking News:Stella Obasanjo’s Mother Died At 89

Theresa Abebe, mother of the former First Lady of Nigeria, Stella Obasanjo, has died.

The news of her death was announced in a statement signed by her son, John Abebe, on Tuesday. 

Mrs. Abebe was the wife of Dr. Christopher Abebe, the first Nigerian Chairman/Managing Director of United African Company, UAC, and Chairman, Nigerian Breweries Limited.

Housewife Arrested For Molested 12-Year-Old Houseboy With Hot Water, Razor Blade

Abimbola Oreoluwa, a housewife, has been apprehended by the officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Ondo State for allegedly inflicting bodily injury on her 12-year-old houseboy.

Oreoluwa allegedly attacked the boy with a razor blaze and hot water for stealing her personal belongings.

Pedro Awili, the NSCDC Commandant, disclosed this in Akure, the Ondo State capital, while parading the suspect before journalists on Tuesday.

Awili stated that Oreoluwa was arrested following a tip-off on how she had been maltreating her houseboy since he started living with her.

“Our investigation revealed that the boy is from Benin Republic and the woman got him through his master in Abeokuta, Ogun State. She brought him as a houseboy and paid N120,000 to his master. We are going to arrest the man in Abeokuta because this is a case of a child abuse and human trafficking. The woman has been maltreating the boy. She doesn’t allow him to go to school; she seriously abuses the boy by beating him up for any little mistake he makes,” he said.

Awili called on those engaging the services of househelps to always show them love instead of maltreating them. He also urged people to desist from engaging underage children as househelps or face the full wrath of the law.

“If you know that to beat up your househelp or inflict injuries on them, especially the underage ones is your aim of engaging them, it is better to rethink and desist from such attitude. Parents need to know about the welfare of their children and know who to give them to, if need be,” he added.

Speaking with newsmen, Oreoluwa said she acted in self-defence.

“He has been living with me for almost a year now and is fond of destroying my properties: my car, my wears and many other things. He also steals. I got him from one woman at Abeokuta and l didn’t know he is from Cotonou. I told the woman that l needed someone as an assistant and not a child like this,” she said.

“When the boy came, l told the woman that the boy is too small for me to accept. She said l should just leave him and that she would bring someone in two months. Since that time, l have been calling her but she didn’t show up.

“But what really happened was self-defence; it wasn’t intentional. He was trying to block me with an iron chair, when the kettle l was holding which had hot water in it poured on him, when he wanted to run,” she stated.

Shocking:Court Remanded 4 For Exhuming Landlord’s Corpse

A Magistrate Court sitting in Yaba, Lagos on Monday ordered that four men be remanded in police custody for allegedly exhuming the corpse of their landlord and selling his property.

The accused, Silifatu Abisile (60); Jimoh Abisile (52); Gbade Bakare (56); and Isaiah Bakare (45) were arraigned on a-five-count charge of conspiracy, kidnapping, breach of peace, forgery and false assumption of authority.

The Police Prosecutor, Williams Ologun, told the court that the accused committed the offences on November 1st, at Ishola Daniel Street, Oshodi.

Ologun alleged that the accused had conspired to illegally sell the house they were living, which belongs to the landlord.

He said that a prospective buyer had insisted they relocate the grave of the landlord situated in front of the house before he would make payments.

“My Lord, they forged an exhumation of corpse permit from Oshodi-Isolo Local Government and dug up the corpse of the house owner, Sumonu Bakare, who was buried in the compound.

“They also kidnapped the son of the deceased, Gbenro Bakare, who is crippled, thinking he was the only surviving child of the deceased,” Ologun told to the court.

In addition, the Prosecutor said that the first and second accused were relatives of the deceased, while the third and fourth accused were long time tenants on the property.

He said that the third and fourth accused had registered for change of name to ‘Bakare’, which was not their real names, claiming to be the children of the deceased.

The offences were said to contravened Sections 76 (1) [c], 168 (1) (d), 271 (1), 365 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.

They, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The Chief Magistrate, Peter Ojo, granted the accused bail in the sum of N500,000 each with two sureties each in like sum.

In his ruling, Ojo insisted that one of the sureties must be a blood relation and must be resident within the court’s jurisdiction.

He said each of the sureties must also show evidence of three years tax payment to the Lagos Government and be gainfully employed.

They are to remain in prison custody pending perfection of their bail conditions.

The case was adjourned till January 10, 2018 for trial

Breaking News:Lawmakers Take To Their Heels As Protesting Staff Shut Down National Assembly

The Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) has shut down the National Assembly complex over non payment of their salary and promotion arrears.

The workers are demanding the implementation of the Consolidated Legislative Salary Structure (CONLESS), which has been stopped since 2010. The staff said that the Salary and Wages Commission had approved the money and passed into law by the two chambers. They insisted that money had been paid into National Assembly account but the management refused to pay them.

The placard-carrying workers blocked the entrance to the both chambers, and occupied the lobby of the complex demanding the resignation of the clerk to the National Assembly, Sani Omolori .

Legislative activities at the complex have been paralysed. Some of the lawmakers who ran into the protest took to their heels to avoid been manhandled by the mob, who were chanting: “Go home, no sitting; go home,  no sitting.”

The workers had on Wednesday during their emergency congress vowed to picket the building of the highest lawmaking body in the country unless the management address their demands.

As of the time of this report, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and Speaker House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, had not arrived at the complex.

SaharaReporters 

Kogi Govt Accused Melaye Of Planning Mayhem​

The Kogi State Government has alleged there are “covert plans by Senator Dino Melaye to cause mayhem and bloodshed in Kogi State.”

A statement issued on Monday in Lokoja by the spokesman for the governor, Kingsley Fanwo, stated that the office of the State Security Adviser had uncovered “orchestrated plan to destabilise the state.

He said Melaye, senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, was set to disturb the peace of the state through violence in the name of political campaigns.

“According to the highly credible report, the senator is planning to visit the Kupa area in the Lokoja Local Government Area to launch campaign of calumny against the government of Kogi State. The choice of Kupa was informed by the solid support of the APC in the area.

“It is expected that the people will resist the use of ‘Dino language’ on the government, which will lead to attack on the defenceless people by the armed thugs which Dino is planning to convey to the place.

“The intelligence also revealed that the thugs to be imported from a neighbouring state where a political godfather just lost a House of Reps election, are to wear black T-Shirts with the inscription, ‘DSS’ to create an impression that they are security operatives. The thugs are to be conveyed in a white Hilux vehicle.  A notorious thug from Lokoja has also been co-opted into the Satanic plan.”

Fanwo said Melaye, like every other candidate, had the right to campaign for votes but urged the senator to honour the “process for peaceful campaigns” by dealing with constituted authorities charged with the responsibility of ensuring peaceful campaigns.

“A lawmaker cannot continue to be a law-breaker. We are not stopping anyone from peaceful campaigns but government will not tolerate plans that will threaten the lives of the citizens in the name of politics. Kogi State Government values life more than politics.”

Efforts to get Melaye to react to the allegations through phone calls proved abortive. He also did not respond to a message sent via WhatsApp as of the time of filing this report

Nigeria Granted Fresh $200m Loan To Finance Electricity Projects

The Federal Government has been granted $200 million loan for the funding of the nation’s electrification project.“The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a $150 million sovereign loan to the Federal Government of Nigeria to finance the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP),” AfDB said in a statement.

“The Africa Growing Together Fund (AGTF), a $2 billion facility sponsored by the People’s Bank of China and administered by the African Development Bank, has also approved a $50 million loan to the Federal Government of Nigeria to co-finance the project.”

According to the statement, the joint financing is targeted at supporting the government efforts to address critical energy access deficit in the country, and catalyze achievement of universal energy access by 2030 targets.”

In 2017, the World Bank approved $350 million loan to Nigeria for the development of rural electrification projects in the country.“By supporting the electrification of unconnected and underserved communities, NEP will contribute materially to their economic development,” said the Managing Director of the rural electrification agency, Damilola Ogunbiyi.“Access to reliable, affordable and clean electricity will result in savings for households and businesses, which can be deployed to other uses.”

10 Arrested, 4 Injured as Political thugs Fight In Jigawa

Nigeria  Police in Jigawa said they had arrested 10 suspected political thugs for fighting after a political gathering in Gwaram Local Government Area of the state.

The Police Public Relations Officer for the command in the state, SP Abdu Jinjiri, who confirmed the arrest in an interview in Dutse on Tuesday, said that four others were injured during the fight. “We have arrested 10 suspects for fighting after a political gathering in Gwaram town yesterday.

“Adequate security was provided for the gathering, however, after the event, thugs began to fight during which four persons were injured,” he said. The police image maker warned that the police would not tolerate any act capable of disrupting public peace in the state. According to him, investigation into the cases was ongoing, adding that after the suspects would be charged to court.

(NAN) MNB/OIF/DUA

Senate Commenced Investigation Into N23bn Failed Road Project

The Senate Committee on Works has commenced investigation into the N23 billion failed Ibadan-Ilorin road project.

The Chairman of the committee, Sen. Kabiru Gaya, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday.

Gaya said the committee got to know of the development during its oversight of roads across the country.

According to him, the committee discovered that the road, which is in bad shape, was completed in 2015.

Gaya noted that for the road, which was said to have been completed three years ago to have gone bad, it meant the project was not properly carried out.

He said that the committee would get to the root of the matter to ensure that the contractor and all those involved in the project were brought to book.

“We were told that the contractor had finished his job and three years after spending N23 billion the road has failed.

“We were shocked at the development and we said the senate will not take this kind of behaviour or allow this act of corruption to continue.

“If not for corruption, there is no how a contractor will finish a road and it fails within three years.

“We will investigate this. We have written a letter to the contractor and we will do a special investigation to know who authorised payment for such a shoddy job and who even paid the retention.

“Whoever we find wanting, I assure you will be brought to book to serve as deterrent to others,” he said.

The lawmaker said the committee discovered a similar development when it visited the North-Central on oversight.

He said, “we noticed a similar thing when we went to the North-Central. The contractor messed up seriously.

“He was even pouring asphalt on a rainy day.

“In fact, he was out of site for years and when he heard we were coming, he quickly went to site.

“We have dealt with the matter and now a better contractor has been mobilised there,” Gaya said.

He said the committee would do all it takes to ensure that all Nigerian roads were motorable.

He said the committee had so far inspected roads across 33 states of the federation and would visit the remaining states before the end of the year.

Unilorin Students Committed Suicide After Failing Final Year Project

A 27- year old student of the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), who failed in his final year project last session and was made to repeat the current one, has reportedly killed himself.

The deceased, identified as Adigun, Olawale Emmanuel, from the Faculty of Agriculture, was believed to have died after he drank a pesticide, Sniper. Sources at the university claimed he had a grade of Second Class Upper Division but that with the failed project he would necessarily have to drop to Second Class Lower Division.

In a social media note left behind, the deceased indicated that he had been accused of ‘copy and paste’, a reference to plagiarism in research works. Some neighbours claimed the deceased had been subject to depression since he failed to make the last graduation list of the institution.

The incident happened on Thursday night at Oke-Odo, a student-populated area in Ilorin, Kwara state, but the corpse was only discovered on Saturday after neighbours noticed a foul smell oozing out of his room. When the door was broken, his bloated body was found on the floor.

Checks indicated that the deceased had communicated his intention to end his life to a female friend who however pleaded with him to have a rethink and face the challenge like most other men in life. According to available records from his social media interactions, the deceased had uploaded a picture of the Sniper on his WhatsApp page at about 5.14 pm, some two hours after he had lamented online about his situation to his friend.

He had opened the conversation at about 3.39 pm when he said in short statements: ‘same research work. He said I did copy and paste. Ever since den, things changed from bad to worst. Am in a deep mess at @the moment. My life don tire me. I feel like dying. I wish I can sleep and wake not wake up again”.

His friend, however, responded with words of encouragement, “Don’t give up bros, it gets better”. And as if he had accepted the admonition, the deceased had then responded, “I pray xo, Thanks a lot for ur concern. I appreciate a lot. May God continue to bless you. Amen.”

However, by the time he uploaded the Sniper picture, his friend apparently became frantic and pleaded with him not to take any wrong step. The friend said: “Wale Abeg, Calm Down. Abeg You In the Name of God. Nothing Happen wey God no know about ooo please don’t do anything stupid ooooo”.

When contacted, spokesman for the university, Alhaji Kunle Akogun, said he was yet to be briefed about the incident. Similarly, spokesman for the state police command, Ajayi Okasanmi, said his office was also yet to be briefed but promised to get in touch with the appropriate quarters on the development.

In another development, another final year student of the school, Alada Babatunde, who was expelled for alleged examination malpractice has appealed to the management of the institution for “compassionate consideration” after the “regrettable mistake” that led to his expulsion.

Babatunde, from the Department of Veterinary Surgery and Radiology was reportedly expelled for alleged examination misconduct. According to online reports, Babatunde was accused by the university’s Students’ Disciplinary Committee (SDC) of being caught with a Blackberry phone containing materials relevant to the examination written on July 24 during the 2016/2017 academic session.

According to SaharaReporters, the letter of expulsion signed by the Registrar, Modupe Olowoleni, indicated that Babatunde was expelled after the SDC found him guilty of examinations misconduct.

He has however denied the allegations, stating that he wasn’t involved in examination malpractice. In the letter written to the SDC, he argued that the said phone was neither caught with him nor was he caught using the phone in the exam hall.

The letter read: “It is worthy to note that the phone was switched off while charging and kept in a place very far from my reach (at the window side, to avoid it being stolen) when the invigilator saw it and took it, while the exam was ongoing.

“As I look forward to your compassionate consideration on the regrettable mistake of keeping the switched off phone close to the examination hall, I also tender my apology that it was not intended for any form of examination malpractice or misconduct.”

He lamented not being given fair hearing, noting that there was no proper proceeding during his appearance at the panel and that the invigilator who was said to have caught him was not called to testify against him during the disciplinary committee sittings.

“Neither was my phone or alleged materials viewed in my presence to guarantee fair hearing, despite the demand of the chairperson of the SDC, Professor N.Y.S. Ijaiya to see the invigilator, to ensure fair hearing and a just conclusion,” he added.

SAHARAREPORTERS 

2019: INEC Warns Incumbents Against Using State Resources

warned incumbent office holders against using state resources or apparatuses for their campaigns or against their opponents.

Yakubu sounded the caution yesterday in Abuja at a lecture: “Political corruption and other emerging issues for the 2019 elections”,  organised by the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) in partnership with Christian Voice to the People (V2P) and Hope Givers Initiative (HOG-I).

He noted that the commission has the power to monitor campaign financing and sources of funds according to the Constitution and the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.

Yakubu, who was represented by a National Commissioner, Prof. Antonia Okoosi-Simbine, noted that the commission, in line with its powers as provided in Section F(15) in the Third Schedule of the Constitution, is well-positioned to, among others, monitor the campaign and finances of political parties for the 2019 general elections.

He added: “Another interesting area of campaign finance spending to watch out for is the use of state administrative resources by incumbents, particularly now that the campaigns have fully kicked off. Section 100 (2) of the EA provides that ‘state apparatus shall not be employed to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate at any election’.”

TMG Chairperson Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, in her remarks, expressed worries over the developments around the 2019 elections, saying experience from the off-cycle elections have shown widespread manifestation of political corruption, possibilities of widespread electoral violence, vote-buying and voters’ inducements.

“The implication or impact of vote-buying on Nigeria’s maturing democracy is well-traversed. There cannot be free or right choices of candidates with such ominous practices in such an environment. Such elections are simply for the highest bidder or the candidate with the deepest pocket without regard to competence or merit. Such electoral system has been observed to be incapable of producing a transparent government,” she said.

She said the TMG plan to release a report, titled: “‘Market place democracy and Nigeria’s electoral process: An analysis of the dimensions of political corruption and its implications on Nigeria’s democratisation process”, which will bring to fore how these tendencies manifest in the nation’s electoral system by the middle of December.

On her part, the Executive Director, HOG-I Mrs. Onyeka Udegbunam urged politicians and other stakeholders place national unity above personal interest to ensure the success of the 2019 elections.

A security expert and lecturer from University of Ibadan, Prof. Albert Olawale, however, warned that Nigeria’s present structure requires that the country has to be careful going into 2019 elections.

He said Nigeria is presently conflict-genic and that if care is not taken, the 2019 elections might be the trigger.

A Senior Fellow at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim, who spoke on “2019 General Elections and the threat of transactional politics and other related matters”, warned electorates against vote-buying under any disguise, saying this would continue to worsen the situation.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris said the increasing rate of vote-buying, rigging, act of thuggery, flash points of electoral violence, ballot box snatching small arms and light weapons, militant groups as potential threats to the 2019 elections.

Idris, who was represented by the Commissioner of Police, Federal Operatives, Force Headquarters, Keneth Ebrisem, however, assured that to checkmate the activities of thugs, profiling of their leaders, sponsors, sympathisers and their locations is ongoing