Friday, 17 March 2017

Champions League and Europa League 2017 draws revealed

The official result of the Champions League and Europa League quarter-final 2017 draws held  on Friday, March 17  at UEFA's headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.

See date below:


UK: Trump spying claim 'ridiculous;' US govt won't repeat it

A spokesman for Britain's prime minister says the White House has promised that it won't repeat a claim that U.K. spies snooped on U.S. President Donald Trump.

Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman, James Slack, says the British government has made it clear to the U.S. that the "ridiculous" claims should be ignored. He said Friday that Washington has assured Britain they will not be repeated.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Thursday cited Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano, who suggested that the British electronic surveillance agency GCHQ had helped former President Barack Obama spy on Trump before last year's presidential election.

GCHQ took the unusual step of releasing a statement calling the claims "nonsense."

It said "they are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored."

AP

Mali suspended from global football by FIFA

World football governing body FIFA on Friday in Zurich said all of Mali’s football clubs have been suspended from international competitions, after the country’s government interfered in the national association.

The football body took action after Mali’s sports minister, Housseini Amion Guindo, decided to replace the executive body of the Malian Football Association FEMAFOOT with a new provisional leadership.

“The suspension will be lifted once ministerial decisions are nullified,’’ it said in a statement.

In the meantime, FEMAFOOT has lost its FIFA membership rights, and the national team and clubs from the West African country are banned from international events.

Health Minister: Outbreak of new disease now in Nigeria

The Federal Government says it has deployed epidemiologists and vaccines to arrest the outbreak of a new a strain of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis (CSM) in parts of the country.

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja that the new strain, which is not common in Nigeria, was imported from Niger Republic.

Adewole said that the new strain requires a different type of vaccine and a team of epidemiologists have been deployed to address the challenge.

He described the outbreak of meningitis in Sokoto and Zamfara states as an unfortunate incidence, stressing that the ministry is working hard to contain the situation.

“It has become an annual ritual under this administration; we would want to put an end to annual outbreak of meningitis in some of the northern states.

“I have just spoken with the commissioner for health in Zamfara who is appreciative of what the Federal Ministry of Health has been doing through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

“We have sent field epidemiologists; they are actually called disease detectives, to support them at the state level,’’ Adewole said.

The minister said that government have provided vaccines and would continue to do more in terms of whatever was needed with respect to material and technical support to overcome the outbreak.

“What we know in public health is that there is always an outbreak, but what is uncertain is where and the type.

“We want to be ready at any time,’’ he said.

Adewole said he has scheduled a meeting with the commissioners of health from the Northern states to plan a resilient and strong strategy to put an end to meningitis outbreak in the country.

He said all the states in northwest region are prone to the disease and the states would be treated equally when confronted by outbreaks such as this.

While calling for more vigilance, the minister appealed to Nigerians to report all cases of unusual fevers to health facilities and avoid overcrowding.

“When people are coughing let them be referred to facilities, open windows and ensure that we do not get infected easily.

“Children are more susceptible and when they have unusual fever they should also be referred to the hospital,’’ Adcewole said.

According to him, many ailments like Lassa fever, meningitis and other diseases usually occur during the dry season and we expect many health challenges.

“Global warming had changed many things; as far as we are concern we would be ready for many things,’’ he said.

NAN recalls that an outbreak of CSM has claimed five lives in Gada and Wauru towns of Gada Local Government Area of Sokoto State.

The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Balarabe Kakale, said that the victims died at the Gada General Hospital and Wauru Primary Health Centre.

He said: “Three of the deaths were recorded at the Gada General hospital, while two were recorded at the Wauru PHC.”

A similar report outbreak was also reported from Zamfara on Tuesday.

Paul Pogba ruled out for weeks with hamstring injury

Paul Pogba will miss Sunday's Premier League match at Middlesbrough with hamstring injury and he's also expected to miss France’s matches against Luxembourg and Spain later this month.

The 24-year-old Manchester United midfielder pulled up in the second half of United’s Europa League win over FC Rostov on Thursday and had to be replaced by Marouane Fellaini.

United manager Jose Mourinho could not say how much longer Pogba would be out.

Asked whether he would be out for around three weeks, Mourinho replied: ''Yeah. I don’t know for sure, but for sure, no Middlesbrough and no national team.''

Thursday, 16 March 2017

EFCC arraigns fake Femi Adesina

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission today docked one Christian Efe Oyovweyho alias Femi Adesina before Justice Z.B Abubakar of the Federal High Court Kano on a two count charge of Obtaining by False Pretence.

The defendant allegedly impersonated the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Muhammad Buhari, Femi Adesina and attempted to obtain N300,000 from a professor of Economics at Bayero University Kano, Dalhatu Mohammed Galadanci.

According to the complainant, sometime in July 2016, the defendant sent him a text message claiming to be Femi Adesina, S.A to the president on Media and Publicity.

The defendant fraudulently claimed to be speaking on behalf of the president and that the name of the professor has been forwarded for appointment in the presidency.

The complainant further stated that the defendant claimed to be searching for a better office for him. Subsequently, the defendant asked the professor to make payment of the sum of N300,000 (Three Hundred Thousand Naira Only) to facilitate his appointment to Nigeria Port Authority or Nigerian Railway Cooperation and Rural Electrification.

At that point, the professor got suspicious and reported the matter to the commission.

One of the counts read that “ You Christian Efe Oyovweyho alias Femi Adesina and another (now at large) on or about 16th day of July, 2016 at Kano, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court Kano with intent to defraud attempted to obtain the sum of N300,000 (Three Hundred Thousand Naira Only) from Professor Dalhatu Mohammed Galadanci through your Zenith Bank Account with Account number: 2173729401, under the false pretence that the money was meant for a juicy appointment in Abuja , which pretence you knew to be false and thereby committed an offense contrary to section 8 (b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under section 1 (3) of the same Act.

After listening to the charge, the defendant pleaded not guilty.

Prosecution counsel Musa Isah requested a date for trial in view of the plea of defendant.
Counsel representing the defendant, T.M Oyedema however brought a motion for bail, praying the court to admit his client to bail pending the hearing and determination of the case.

Justice Zainab granted the defendant bail in the sum of N500,000 and two sureties in like sum.

One of the sureties must be a State or Federal government official not below grade level 8.

The other surety must be a respected member of the society with a landed property within the jurisdiction. Also certificate of Occupancy in respect of the landed property shall be deposited with the Deputy Chief Registrar of the court.

The case has been adjourned till 11 April, 2017 for commencement of trial, while the defendant remains in prison custody pending the perfection of his bail conditions.

Deaf and dumb Boko Haram terrorist arrested

Nigerian troops have arrested a dumb and deaf suspected Boko Haram terrorist. And because of his claimed disability, his name, age and origin could not be ascertained for now.

“However, he was found to be in possession of eight functioning mobile telephone handsets, bunch of keys, two passport photographs, two amulet charms and a transistor radio:, said Brigadier Sani Usman.

A 45-year-old suspected Boko Haram terrorist, Makinta Ibrahim, has also been arrested.

He was said to be the supplier of petrol and other items to the remnants of the insurgents.

The suspect was arrested at Bay emeritus village in Yobe.

Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman, the army spokesman, who confirmed the arrest in a statement on Thursday, said the suspect hailed from Yaro Grematalti Yunusari Local Government Area of Yobe.

“Both suspects are being further investigated,” he said.

Usman said that nine suspected Boko Haram terrorists from Tambashe village, Dikwa Local Government Area of Borno, voluntarily surrendered to troops deployed along Dikwa-Gulumba Gana road.

According to him, the suspects claimed to be tired of the situation under the Boko Haram terrorists group and willingly surrendered themselves to troops as a mark of repentance.

“Nevertheless, the repentant suspects are further being investigated,” he said.

Mourinho: 'I would never have sold Di Maria, Chicharito, Danny Welbeck'

Jose Mourinho would never have sold Angel Di Maria, Javier Hernandez or Danny Welbeck, nor would the manager have given the go ahead to some of Manchester United’s signings.

United have lost their place as the dominant force in English football since Sir Alex Ferguson called time on his glory-laden reign in 2013.

The Old Trafford giants turned to Mourinho after frustrating spells under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal – a period when United flashed the cash without much success.

The Portuguese says he would never have moved for some of those brought in, with some of those exiting United puzzling him.

“Manchester United sold players that I would never sell and bought players that I would never buy,” Mourinho told BBC Sport.

“I would never have sold Di Maria, Chicharito, Danny Welbeck – never, no chance.”

Di Maria was allowed to join Paris St Germain in 2015 after a woeful and unsettling year at Old Trafford.

Hernandez joined Bayer Leverkusen in a cut-price deal later that month, while Louis van Gaal allowed Welbeck to join Arsenal the previous summer.

Three Van Gaal signings, Luke Shaw, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Anthony Martial, were left out of the squad for Thursday’s Europa League last-16 second leg against Rostov.

The trio trained away from the main group on the eve of the game, with Martial having missed Monday’s FA Cup quarter-final at Chelsea through injury.

Shaw was called up by England on Thursday despite only playing twice for United since November 30.

AP

N49m recovery not a stunt – EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has condemned a report which appeared on page 10 of Thisday Newspaper of Thursday March 16, 2017 claiming that the N49million recovered by operatives of the Commission at the Kaduna international Airport on Monday March 13, 2017 was a stunt purportedly intended to sway the senate to confirm Acting Chairman Ibrahim Magu’s nomination as EFCC Chairman.

The claim, which the newspaper attributed to unnamed sources in the Senate, “to say the least, is ludicrous, smacks of mischief and intended to rub in the unfortunate proceedings of March 15 in the Senate, where Magu’s nomination as EFCC Chair was rejected,” the anti-graft agency said in a statement by Wilson Uwujaren, its head, media and publicity.

Quoting an unnamed Senate source, Thisday reported that “the N49 million was allegedly planted by officials of the EFCC at the airport exactly one day to Magu’s screening and confirmation by the Senate to give the semblance of an agency head that was competent and one with a wide dragnet”.

It further added that, “we have it on good authority that the N49million was planted by the EFCC to create the impression that Magu is working and a major crime-bursting (sic) czar.”

“For the avoidance of doubt, the EFCC is a serious and responsible agency which is not associated with frivolity and could not have engaged in any make-belief scheme to impress anybody.

“The reputation that the agency has today is built on solid and verifiable evidence of effectiveness in law enforcement that is acknowledged the world over. The record of conviction and recovery of stolen assets which have endeared the EFCC to Nigerians was not built on the quicksand of vain glory.

“When the EFCC stormed the suburbs of Kaduna in February and recovered over $9.7million from the home of Andrew Yakubu, a former Group Managing Director of the NNPC, was that a stunt to sway the Senate for confirmation?

“When the Commission traced, recovered and confiscated $15m and $115m from Patience Jonathan and Diezani Alison-Madueke respectively, were those stunts to curry the favour of the Senate?

“The tens of billions of naira recovered from military officers, politicians and even newspapers publishers from the $2.1billion arms procurement scandal in the Office of the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, were those also a stunt?”

The statement claimed that “only the criminally gullible will not see through the intent of the Thisday report which is clearly fabricated to embarrass.”

FG congratulates Pinnick on CAF victory

The Federal Government of Nigeria has congratulated the President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, on his victory at the just-concluded Confederation of African Football (CAF), Executive Committee elections.

Pinnick defeated the incumbent, Benin Republic’s Moucharafou Anjorin, by 32 votes to 17 in the election held on Thursday in Addis Ababa.

With this win, Pinnick becomes the third Nigerian to serve on the executive seat of CAF.

In a statement signed by Nnake Anibeze, Special Assistant on Media to the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, the minister said he was happy that a Nigerian was now in the inner caucus of CAF after many years.

“When I became Minister, I asked why there was no Nigerian representative in the executive committee of CAF.

”With a population of over 170 million people, there is no way the CAF executive committee will be constituted without Nigeria as a stakeholder.

”I encouraged the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), to ensure that they are represented, hence our support for the president of the federation.

“This is a big achievement for Nigeria as we stage our return into African football politics”, Dalung said.

The Federal Government also congratulated Ahmad Ahmad following his election as President of the Confederation of African Football but maintained its support for regional interest.

“Nigeria’s position remains in favour of our national interest but we congratulate them all”, he said.

Dalung also advised the elected board to be magnanimous in victory and to run an all-inclusive government.

Trump meets Irish PM at White House ahead of St. Patrick's Day

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny pressed U.S. President Donald Trump about undocumented immigrants in the United States at their first meeting on Thursday, a day before St Patrick's Day.

"We did discuss the question of immigration, which is so important to the fabric of our people. And I know that in this country, this is an issue that the administration and the president are reflecting upon...We discussed that very constructively this morning," Kenny said at a lunch event, hosted by House Speaker Paul Ryan at the U.S. Capitol after the two met at the White House.

Kenny's tone was much more convivial than when he spoke in the Irish parliament in June last year, describing the then presidential candidate's rhetoric as "racist and dangerous." Trump has vowed to take a hard line against illegal immigrants, promising to speed up deportations, especially against those with criminal records.

Kenny told reporters after their meeting that he would recommend that any illegal Irish immigrants living in the United States with what he called "small legal issues," such as parking fees or traffic violations, clear those as a way to reduce anxiety about their status in the country. The two also discussed the effects of Britain's exit from the European Union, as well as Northern Ireland, where a recent provincial election saw nationalists Sinn Fein gain ground, Kenny said.

Kenny has signaled his intention to step down as Ireland's prime minister, a move some expect could occur after he returns from his U.S. visit.

Trump did not publicly address the illegal immigration topic but he did tout the contributions of Irish immigrants to the United States.

Trump told reporters that he planned to visit the country, declaring "I love Ireland."





Letter bomb at IMF's Paris office injures woman employee

A female employee of the International Monetary Fund suffered injuries to her face and arms on Thursday when a letter bomb mailed from Greece and addressed to the world lender's European representative blew up as she opened it, officials said.

The letter, which had arrived by mail, exploded as it was opened by a secretary at the institution's office in an upscale part of Paris.

The secretary, whose hearing was also affected, was receiving treatment but her injuries were not life-threatening, Paris police chief Michel Cadot told reporters. The blast caused little damage to the office.

The letter was intended for the IMF's European representative, according to police. Jeffrey Franks, a 24-year veteran of the fund, has been director of the IMF's Europe office since March 2015, according to its website.

Paris anti-terrorism prosecutors opened an investigation.

A militant Greek group, Conspiracy of Fire Cells, claimed responsibility for a parcel bomb mailed to German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble on Wednesday, but there was no immediate claim for the Paris attack.

However, a Greek return address was on the envelope which exploded in Paris, Greece's public order minister said in Athens.

"French authorities just informed us that it was mailed from Greece," Nikos Toskas told Ant1 Television.

The explosion was caused by a device that was fairly home-made, "like a big fire cracker," police chief Cadot said.

Asked if the head of the IMF's European office had received threats, Cadot said: "There had been some phone calls in recent days but they don't seem necessarily to be linked to this matter."

The IMF has been involved in talks between Greece and its international creditors on disbursing new loans to Athens under a bailout program.

In a separate incident, a teenage student opened fire on Thursday at a high school in southeastern France injuring three people, including the headmaster, the interior ministry said.

France, which is in the middle of a campaign for presidential elections in six weeks time, has been hit by attacks by Islamist groups in the last few years that have killed scores of people and the country is still in a state of emergency with army units patrolling the streets of Paris.

President Francois Hollande said French authorities would do all they could to find those responsible for the attack on the IMF. "I want to tell all those who work for this great institution that we are by their side," he said.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde, a former French economy minister, condemned the explosion as "a cowardly act of violence."

"I ... reaffirm the IMF's resolve to continue our work in line with our mandate. We are working closely with the French authorities to investigate this incident and ensure the safety of our staff," she said.

Reuters

White House says Trump stands by claim Obama wiretapped him

President Donald Trump stands by his accusation that the Obama administration tapped his phones during the 2016 presidential campaign, the White House said on Thursday, despite three senior lawmakers rejecting Trump's claim.

The Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee said in a statement they saw "no indications" of surveillance at Trump Tower in New York as the president claimed in Twitter posts on March 4.

"Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016," Republican Chairman Richard Burr and Senator Mark Warner, the committee's Democratic vice chairman, said in a statement.

The top Republican in Congress, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, on Thursday added his voice to those saying there was no sign of a wiretap.

But White House spokesman Sean Spicer forcefully defended Trump's assertion during a briefing, citing media reports that have discussed intelligence collection on possible contacts between Trump associates and Russia in the campaign.

"There is no question that there were surveillance techniques used throughout this," Spicer said.

When pressed for further evidence, Spicer chastised the media for focusing so much attention on comments disparaging Trump's claim about surveillance. He said reporters have not focused enough on comments from officials denying evidence of any collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

The Russian government has rejected an accusation by U.S. intelligence agencies that it worked to influence the election in Trump's favor by hacking computer systems, among other methods.

House Speaker Ryan told reporters: "The point is, the intelligence committees in their continuing, widening, ongoing investigation of all things Russia, got to the bottom - at least so far - with respect to our intelligence community that - that no such wiretap existed."

An official familiar with the investigations by Congress and intelligence and law enforcement agencies said investigators have looked as aggressively and thoroughly as they can for evidence of any spying on Trump or his associates but have found none.

Trump, a Republican, made the accusation six weeks after he took over the presidency from Democrat Barack Obama.

Trump accused Obama of wiretapping him during the late stages of the campaign, but provided no evidence. Obama said through a spokesman that it was "simply false."

"How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!," Trump wrote.

At least four congressional committees added the startling accusation in their investigations of possible Russian meddling in the election campaign and Russian ties to Trump and his associates.

On Wednesday, House of Representatives Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, a Republican, and top Democrat Adam Schiff told reporters they had seen no evidence that Trump Tower was tapped and said they would ask Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey about the issue during a public hearing on Monday.

Ryan told reporters he received the same intelligence briefing as Nunes and Schiff.

Trump appeared to back away from his accusation of wiretapping in a Fox News interview on Wednesday night.

"But wiretap covers a lot of different things. I think you’re going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks," Trump said.

Reuters

Trump eyes appeal after travel ban again blocked

President Donald Trump braced Thursday for a long legal battle over his ban on travel from six mainly-Muslim countries after two federal judges ruled against the measure, saying the Republican’s own comments suggested religious bias.

It was a humiliating setback for Trump, who saw his first attempt at limiting travel from the Muslim world halted by the federal courts last month after it had caused chaos at airports both in the US and abroad.

The Republican leader vowed to fight the “terrible” decision, to the Supreme Court if necessary, describing it as “unprecedented judicial overreach.” He has said the measure is needed to ensure national security.

The revamped executive order had been due to take effect at midnight (0400 GMT), but a federal judge in Hawaii froze Trump’s efforts to close US borders to nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days.

The judge’s ruling on Wednesday also halted a 120-day suspension of the US refugee admissions program.

A second federal judge in Maryland issued a separate, more narrow nationwide block on just the core provision concerning travel from the Muslim world, ruling it would cause “irreparable harm” were it to go into effect.

Trump, who used anti-Muslim rhetoric on the campaign trail in his successful run for the White House, will now have to account for those statements in court, with both judges saying the order raised the specter of religious bias.

In Hawaii, Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall, defending the government’s position, said: “This order doesn’t draw any religious distinction at all.”

Questioned about Trump’s tweets and statements during the presidential campaign in which he promised to enact a “Muslim ban,” Wall said: “There is a difference between a president and a candidate.”

But District Judge Derrick Watson said “a reasonable, objective observer… would conclude that the Executive Order was issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion, in spite of its stated, religiously-neutral purpose.”

Watson indicated that the court would not stay its decision in the event of an appeal, meaning the ban cannot go ahead as planned on Thursday regardless of any action the White House takes.

In Maryland, US District Judge Theodore Chuang echoed that thought, as he issued a partial injunction  on a separate complaint filed by advocacy groups claiming that the amended order discriminates against Muslims.

“While the travel ban bears no resemblance to any response to a national security risk in recent history, it bears a clear resemblance to the precise action that President Trump described as effectuating his Muslim ban,” he said.

– ‘We are going to win’ –
Trump, addressing supporters late Wednesday in Nashville, assailed the Hawaii judge for blocking his measure.

“The law in the Constitution gave the president the power to suspend immigration when he deems it to be in the national interest of our country,” he said.

“We are going to take our case as far as it needs to go, including all the way up to the Supreme Court. We are going to win.”

The Justice Department called the Hawaii ruling “flawed both in reasoning and in scope.”

The Hawaii and Maryland rulings came after a trio of hearings Wednesday on the ban.

In Seattle, Washington state’s attorney general filed an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order that would last up to 14 days in order to halt the travel restrictions, also citing “irreparable injuries.”

– Muslim ban? –
The revised ban signed by Trump behind closed doors on March 6 had a reduced scope, exempting Iraqis, permanent US residents and valid visa holders — an effort by the administration to ensure the order passed legal muster.

The White House said the other six countries were targeted because their screening and information capabilities could not meet US security requirements.

But Watson rejected the White House claim that the order wasn’t a Muslim ban, ruling that it was plausible “to conclude that targeting these countries likewise targets Islam” given their Muslim populations all topped 90 percent.

The judge made reference to several examples of Trump explicitly framing proposed action on immigration in religious tones, including a March 2016 interview during which the then president-elect said: “I think Islam hates us.”

– Three strikes and you’re out? –
Rights groups and states contesting the ban welcomed the rulings.

“The Constitution has once again put the brakes on President Trump’s disgraceful and discriminatory ban,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the immigrant rights project at the American Civil Liberties Union.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who has joined the case in Washington state, said: “Today’s order by the federal District Court of Hawaii marks yet another victory for the Constitution and the rule of law.”

Cornell University Law School professor Stephen Yale-Loehr warned Trump against a protracted battle.

“President Trump and his advisors should think long and hard before trying to impose a travel ban a third time. They may strike out,” he said.

AFP

More trouble for Customs boss as Reps order probe

On a day Colonel Hameed Ali, who heads the Nigerians Customs Service faced the wrath of the Senate for not wearing uniform, his agency became the subject of another probe at the House of Representatives.

The House on Thursday in Abuja mandated its Committee on Customs and Excise to investigate the failure of the agency to auction confiscated goods.

This followed the adoption of a motion on the “Need to Investigate the Failure of the Nigerian Customs Service to Auction Confiscated Goods’’.

The sponsor of the motion, Rep. Prestige Ossy (Abia-PDP) said that ban on the auction of goods seized by the NCS had resulted to the forfeiture of such goods to the Federal Government.

Ossy expressed worry that since the ban took effect in 2015, “it had resulted to the proliferation of seized goods at various formations of the Nigerian Custom Services’’.

He said that goods seized in large numbers from different parts of the country included vehicles, consumables, clothing materials and containers of assorted household goods.

The lawmaker said that instead of auctioning the seized items worth billions of naira, the service left them to degrade.

He said “most of these goods, especially the vehicles with Duty Paid Value (DPV) worth over N6 billion, are rapidly depreciating .

“The Customs service will eventually spend huge amount of money in disposing them when it ought to have generated huge revenue for the government by auctioning them before they wither away,’’ he said.

Ossy said that the service had announced the establishment of an auction sale website in 2015, but said two years on, the website had not materialised.

“The failure to auction goods in its custody had denied the Federal Government over N1 trillion which ought to accrue to it from the auctioning of those goods,’’ he said.

After the adoption of the motion, the house passed it to the Committee on Customs and Excise to investigate and report back in eight weeks.

Edo shuts down for Ogbemudia

The Edo State Government has declared Friday as public holiday in honour of the late Dr Samuel Ogbemudia, former Governor of the defunct Mid-West Region and Bendel.

Mr John Mayaki, the Chief Press Secretary to Gov.Godwin Obaseki said this in a statement he issued on Wednesday in Benin.

He said the holiday was to enable the people of the state pay their last respect to the elder statesman.

Ogbemudia, 84,  will be buried on Friday after an interdenominational service at the Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin.

Mayaki said  students are expected to line up in their uniforms at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium by 9 a.m on Friday during  the state burial  for the deceased.

The governor’s aide urged civil servants to be seated at the stadium by 10 a.m.

Ogbemudia former governor of Mid West Region and the old Bendel State died in a private hospital in Lagos on March 9.

Edo and Delta states are collaborating to give the revered statesman a state burial.

“Late Ogbemudia is a father of modern Edo. He represents what we have today. The infrastructures we have in Edo and Delta are attributed to him, ” Governor Obaseki said in a tribute on his Twitter handle on 12 March.

“We grew up to know him as our leader, our hero and  our Governor. As a student at Eghosa Grammar School, he’d come, wake us up and lead in morning exercise

“I could not have gotten through the electioneering without his support. He adopted me

“In my first meeting with him, he gave me a pack of notebooks and asked me to take notes as I go round.

“He was always supportive. My project was his project. He was like my father. Nobody has served this state like him; I cannot forget the encouragement he gave me, without his open and clear endorsement, my campaign would have been difficult”, Obaseki reminisced.

CAF Elections: All the winners and losers

Amaju Pinnick, President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), on Thursday won a place on the CAF Executive Committee for the 2017 to 2021 cycle.

Pinnick won 32-17 to beat the President of the Football Association of Benin Republic, Anjorin Moucharafou, to the West B Zone seat.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Pinnick’s election makes him the third Nigerian ever to sit on the CAF Executive Committee.

Earlier at the elections, Madagascar’s Ahmad Ahmad had beaten incumbent Issa Hayatou of Cameroon 34-20 to emerge new CAF President.

Both elections were part of the elections held in the Nelson Mandela Hall of the African Union (AU) building in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

NAN reports that the elections were held at the 39th CAF Ordinary General Assembly.

The elections were witnessed by FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Secretary General, Fatma Samoura, and were declared open by President Mulatu Teshome of Ethiopia.

Also elected into the CAF Exco was Fouzi Lekjaa of Morocco who thumped incumbent Mohamed Raouraoua of Algeria 41-7 for North Zone.

Musa Bility of Liberia defeated Amadou Diakite of Mali 26-22 for West A Zone, while Adoum Djibrine of Chad was elected unopposed from the Central Zone.

For the Central-East Zone which had four candidates, Suleiman Hassan Waberi of Djibouti polled 20 votes to win after Sudanese Magdi Shams El Din withdrew before the second round of voting.

In the first round, the incumbent El Din had got 12 votes, while Juneido Basha Tilmo of Ethiopia got nine and Moses Magogo of Uganda got seven.

After the Southern Zone election, Ahmad and Suketu Patel of Seychelles were replaced by Danny Jordaan of South Africa (35 votes) and Rui Eduardo Da Costa of Angola (25 votes).

Frans Mbidi of Namibia could not make it in spite of getting 24 votes, while Patel withdrew from the election.

In the election for the female slot, Isha Johansen of Sierra Leone got 35 votes to beat Lydia Nsekera of Burundi who had 12.

In the election of the African representative for the FIFA Council for the cycle 2017 – 2021 (Arabic, Portuguese, Spanish Category), Tarek Bouchamoui of Tunisia was successful.

This was after Hani Abo Rida of Egypt had withdrawn from the contest.

In the Francophone Category, Omari Constant Selemani of DR Congo got 35 votes to beat Augustin Sidy Diallo of Cote d’Ivoire who had 19 votes.

The Anglophone Category election saw Kwesi Nyantakyi of Ghana polling 33 votes to beat Leodegar Tenga of Tanzania who had 20 votes.

In the Open Category, where there were three positions to fill, Almamy Kabele Camara of Guinea and Nsekera were elected

*News Agency of Nigeria hereby presents the results of all the elections held at the 39th CAF Ordinary General Assembly held in Addis Ababa today to elect members of the CAF executive committee for 2017-2021 cycle

Election of the CAF President for the 2017-2021 cycle

Outgoing President: Issa Hayatou (Cameroon)

Candidates:

Ahmad (Madagascar) – 34

Issa Hayatou (Cameroon) – 20



Election of the members of the CAF Executive Committee for the 2017 – 2021 cycle

North Zone

Outgoing Member: Mohamed Raouraoua (Algeria)



Candidates:

Fouzi Lekjaa (Morocco) – 41

Mohamed Raouraoua (Algeria) – 7



West A Zone

Outgoing Member: Amadou Diakité (Mali)



Candidates:

Amadou Diakit̩ (Mali) Р22

Hassan Musa Bility (Liberia) – 26



West B Zone

Outgoing Member: Anjorin Moucharafou (Benin)



Candidates:

Amavu Melvin Pinnick (Nigeria) – 32

Anjorin Moucharafou (Benin) – 17



Central Zone

Outgoing Member: Adoum Djibrine (Chad)



Candidate:

Adoum Djibrine (Chad) – Elected unopposed



Central-East Zone

Outgoing Member: Magdi Shams El Din (Sudan)



Candidates:

Juneido Basha Tilmo (Ethiopia) – 9

Magdi Shams El Din (Sudan) – 12

Moses Magogo (Uganda) – 7

Suleiman Hassan Waberi (Djibouti) – 20



*Suleiman Hassan Waberi elected after Magdi Shams El Din withdrew before second round of voting



Southern Zone

Outgoing Members: Ahmad (Madagascar), Suketu Patel (Seychelles)



Candidates:

Danny Jordaan (South Africa) – 35

Frans Mbidi (Namibia) – 24

Rui Eduardo Da Costa (Angola) – 25

Suketu Patel (Seychelles) – withdrew



* Danny Jordaan (South Africa) & Rui Eduardo Da Costa (Angola) elected



Female candidates

Candidates:

Isha Johansen (Sierra Leone)  – 35

Lydia Nsekera (Burundi) – 12



Election of the African representative for the FIFA Council for the cycle 2017 – 2021

Arabic, Portuguese, Spanish Category

Candidates:

Hani Abo Rida (Egypt)

Tarek Bouchamoui (Tunisia)

Tarek Bouchamoui elected after Hani Abo Rida withdrew



Francophone Category

Candidates:

Augustin Sidy Diallo (Cote d’Ivoire) – 19

Omari Constant Selemani (RD Congo) – 35



Anglophone Category

Candidates:

Kwesi Nyantakyi (Ghana) – 33

Leodegar Tenga (Tanzania)- 20



Open Category (3 positions to fill)

Candidates

Almamy Kabele Camara (Guinea)

Lydia Nsekera (Burundi)



* Almamy Kabele Camara (Guinea) & Lydia Nsekera (Burundi) elected

Buhari directs CBN, Finance Ministry on refunds to State Governments

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, to act appropriately and with dispatch in releasing the second tranche of the London-Paris Club refunds to the states in order to ease their financial hardships.

The President, who addressed the meeting of the National Economic Council made up of State Governors and chaired by the Vice-President on Thursday in Abuja, however, made a strong case for settlement of unpaid salaries and pension liabilities of their workers.

“I will not rest until I address those issues that affect our people. One of these basic things is the issue of salaries. It is most important that workers are able to feed their families, pay rent and school fees, then other things can follow,” he said.

President Buhari, who went round the Council Chambers to greet the governors one after another, praised the unity of the Forum of State Governors. He thanked them profusely for their display of “love and respect” to him.

The President said he was overwhelmed by his recent experience in which states, irrespective of political differences charged their citizens to pray in mosques and churches for his well-being and apologized to Governors for barring them from visits to him while he rested in London.

“I didn’t want government to move to London. I wanted it to remain here and I am glad it did,” he said.

After narrating what he went through while on that vacation, President Buhari noted the suggestion by the Governors for him to add more rest, but insisted that he would remain relentless in the pursuit of the interest of the Nigerian people at all times.

This, according to him, was the only way to show his gratitude to the people who, he said, “had given so much to me. I was overwhelmed by the celebration of my return all across the country.”

The Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Abdul-Aziz Yari of Zamfara State assured the President, on behalf of his colleagues, that they will continue to support his policies and actions which they had adjudged as being in the nation’s best interest.

The governors of Imo, Akwa-Ibom, Osun and Abia States thanked President Buhari for saving the day for states through the first tranche of the London-Paris Club refunds while calling for the immediate release of the second one.

They also commended the trust the President reposed in the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, whom they said did not disappoint when he acted as President.

Garba Shehu
Senior Special Assistant to President
(Media & Publicity)
March 16, 2017.

NEW MUSIC: Banky W – Kololo

Banky W has released his brand new single titled ''Kololo'' produced by Masterkraft. Listen to ''Kololo'' below:

VIDEO: Olamide – Journey of a Thousand Miles

YBNL boss Olamide releases the visuals to “Journey of a Thousand Miles“; the 3rd track off his late 2016 album, The Glory.

Watch below:

#BBNaija: Ex-Housemate Uriel becomes Payporte fashion ambassador

Former Big Brother Naija Housemate Uriel named Payporte‘s Fashion Ambassador. The announcement was made via Payporte's Instagram page. Uriel will be joining Soma who was announced as an ambassador a few days after his exit from the house.


Buhari receives Nigerian Governors' Forum at Aso Rock - Photos

President Buhari on Thursday met with Nigerian Governors' Forum led by its Chairman Abdulaziz Yari, Governor of Zamfara State at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.





Queen gives Royal Assent to Brexit bill, allowing May to trigger Article 50

Queen Elizabeth II has given Royal Assent to the government’s European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, clearing the way for Prime Minister Theresa May to start the official process to bring the UK out of the European Union.

The Queen signed the Bill into law after it was approved in the House of Commons and the House of Lords on Monday.

The Royal Assent was presented to both House by their speakers and is now an Act of Parliament.

The PM can now decide for herself when to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, initiating the two-year process of extracting the UK from the bloc.

May has signaled the bill will be triggered at the end of March in order to avoid overlaps with next week’s informal meeting between EU countries.

The meeting will mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, which saw the foundation of the European Economic Area, which in turn led to the European Union.

May, however, said she will not be attending the meeting on March 25.

The Royal Assent comes a day after Brexit Secretary David Davis admitted there has been no assessment of how the UK may suffer if it fails to reach a deal with the EU.

May has previously said “no deal is better than a bad deal,” but the Treasury has warned that crashing the UK out of the EU without a bargain could lead to economic collapse.

Davis, however, shrugged off such concerns, telling the House of Commons that “it’s not as frightening as some people think, but it’s not as simple as some people think.”

RT

CAF Elections 2017: Isa Hayatou loses power to Ahmad

Madagascar’s Ahmad Ahmad has emerged the new president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

Ahmad defeated incumbent Issa Hayatou by 34 to 20 votes at the election currently holding in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Hayatou, who has been in charge at CAF for 29 years, was seeking an eighth term.

BREAKING: Customs boss sent back to put on uniform

Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (retd.) has been sent back to put on his uniform and return next Wednesday by the Senate, Saharareporters has reported.

BREAKING: Seized N3bn: Court remands ex-NNPC boss Yakubu in Kuje Prison

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday remanded ‎ a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, in Kuje Prison pending when ruling on his bail application would be delivered on March 21.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed gave the order of remand shortly after the ex-NNPC boss was arraigned and his bail application argued on Thursday.

Yakubu, on Thursday, pleaded not guilty to the six charges preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on March 10.

The charges bordered on fraud and false declaration of assets against him.

The charges were all in relation to the money recovered from his house in Kaduna on February 3.

Operatives of the EFCC had stormed a building belonging to the former NNPC boss and recovered the sum of $9.7m and £74,000 stashed in a huge fireproof safe in a slum in Kaduna.

The sums of foreign currencies amounted to about N3bn.

Arguing his client’s bail application shortly after the arraignment, Mr. Ahmed Raji (SAN), urged the court to grant bail to the former NNPC boss on either ‎self-recognisance.

But EFCC’s lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Ben Ikani, opposed the bail application.

The prosecutor however urged the judge to impose stringent conditions if the satisfied to grant bail to the defendant.

Punch

Pep Guardiola takes blame for Man City exit

Pep Guardiola says his failure to convince his players to attack and be aggressive in Monaco was the reason for their Champions League elimination.

Leading 5-3 from the first leg of their last-16 tie, City fielded an attacking XI in the second leg on Wednesday but lost 3-1 to go out on away goals.

“I tried to convince them in all the meetings we had to come here, try to attack and score,” said Guardiola.

“My mistake was being not able to convince them to do that.”

The Spaniard added: “I did [convince them] in the second half but it was too late.

“All managers make mistakes but I don’t think it was down to a tactical mistake.

“It’s simple. The difference was between the first and the second half. In the second half we tried to win the game, we tried to play. I did it all my career in that way. But the problem was the first half. We weren’t there.”

City were overrun and sloppy at the back as they conceded twice in the first half.

They were much improved in the second 45 minutes and looked to have saved themselves through Leroy Sane’s 71st-minute strike, but further defensive frailties were exposed as Tiemoue Bakayoko headed in a decisive third for the home side.

Guardiola continued: “It’s not about the defence. Today was not about that. Why was the second half a problem with the defence?

“Our strikers have to be aggressive and pick the ball up, but we didn’t at this crucial time. That’s why we are out.”

This is the first time that a side managed by Guardiola have exited the Champions League at the last-16 stage.

But he was adamant his players would learn from the experience and come back stronger next season.

“I came here to win the Champions League. I tried, I tried – and I will try again,” he said. “Playing like we have done this season, like in the second half, would have been enough.

“The competition is so demanding. Hopefully we are going to learn so that, next season, we can come back here and make the same performance we did at the Etihad for the whole 90 minutes.”

NAN

BREAKING NEWS: Your letter didn’t say I should appear in uniform, Ali tells Senate

Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has asked Ali why he failed to appear before the lawmakers in uniform as requested.

The Customs DG said in the last letter from the Senate to him, the lawmakers did not state that he should appear in uniform.

Ekweremadu, however, said the last letter only served as a reminder on the first letter to Ali, in which the Senate asked him to come in uniform.

Punch

Photo of Customs boss at N/Assembly today

Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang; and the Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (retd.), at the National Assembly Complex ahead of Ali’s appearance before the Senate on Thursday morning March 16 2017.



Tanzania broadcaster suspends 9 staff over fake Trump news

Tanzanian public broadcaster TBC has suspended nine staff after it aired a hoax story saying that US President Donald Trump had praised President John Magufuli’s performance, NAN reported via NewZimbabwe.

The article appeared on a website called Fox Channel.

The story, which was broadcast last week, said Mr Trump called Mr Magufuli an “African hero” compared to other leaders who are “doing nothing”.

A statement from TBC said editorial procedures had not been followed.

The broadcaster’s Director General Ayub Rioba said that the station should have verified the information before broadcasting.

The story said that the US president had called on other African leaders to follow Mr Magufuli’s example with his emphasis on good governance and his war against corruption.

Magufuli, known as the “bulldozer” for his hands on approach to leadership, has been waging a public war on corruption which has won him some support locally and internationally.

The article said that Mr Trump made the comments while signing an executive order excluding Tanzanians from a travel ban on African nationals “from countries where presidents are doing nothing and those [that] have declined to leave power”.

BREAKING: Customs boss appears before Senate without uniform

The  Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali, rtd has arrived the National Assembly without wearing the complete Customs Uniform as directed by the Senate where he would appear before the Senators at the Chambers soon.

Ali who arrived at around 9.30 am, went straight to the office of the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki.

He was led to the office by the Senoir Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters(Senate), Senator Ita Enang.

Ali who dressed in white Cafta, white cap and black shoes to match, went to Enang’s office at 10.36am shortly after Ekweremadu and other principal officers entered the chambers. In his address, there is the insignia of EFCC and that of Customs.

Enang also dressed in white. shunned the invitation by the Senate that he should appear before it yesterday in complete Uniform to explain the agency’s earlier planned policy on duty on vehicles and other recent acts of the Customs.

It would be recalled that the Senate yesterday mandated the NCS boss to appear before it today at 10am and explain why he has refused to honour the invitation of the upper chambers to come and explain his action on the implementation of the controversial policy.

Vanguard

Fulani Killings: Benue youths protest in Abuja [PHOTOS]

Benue youths are currently protesting at Unity Fountain Maitama in Abuja against Fulani killings in their state.










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