Thursday, December 31, 2009

Al-Qaeda groomed Nigerian terrorist in London

Security sources have confirmed that Christmas Day airline bomb plot suspect, Abdulmutallab was recruited by al-Qaeda in London.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, was also an ex-president of the Islamic Society at University College London.

The Christmas Day airline bomb plot suspect organised a conference under the banner "War on Terror Week" as he immersed himself in radical politics while a student in London, The Times has learnt.

One lecture, Jihad v Terrorism, was billed as "a lecture on the Islamic position with respect to jihad".

Security sources are concerned that the picture emerging of his undergraduate years suggests that he was recruited by al-Qaeda in London. Security sources said that Islamist radicalisation was rife on university campuses, especially in London, and that college authorities had "a patchy record in facing up to the problem". Previous anti-terrorist inquiries have uncovered evidence of extremists using political meetings and religious study circles to identify potential recruits.

It emerged last night that Mr Abdulmutallab featured on the periphery of one counterterrorism intelligence operation in Britain. US intelligence authorities are also looking at conversations between him and at least one al-Qaeda member.

The event he organised took place in January 2007 and included talks on Guantánamo Bay, the alleged torture of prisoners and the War on Terror.

He is the fourth president of a London student Islamic society to face terrorist charges in three years. One is facing a retrial on charges that he was involved in the 2006 liquid bomb plot to blow up airliners. Two others have been convicted of terrorist offences since 2007.

Mr Abdulmutallab left UCL last year. The Times has learnt that his attempt to renew his student visa in May this year was based on an application to study "life coaching" at a non-existent college. That visa refusal may have saved Britain from an attack. His terrorist training took a new turn in August when he moved to Yemen, ostensibly to study Arabic, and was schooled by al-Qaeda there.

Yesterday, the US put on display the underwear he wore on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day. Explosives had been sewn into them. As the plane approached Detroit the material ignited, shooting 6ft flames up the cabin wall. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which has claimed the attack, said that the device failed because of a "faulty detonator".

Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, the Yemeni Foreign Minister, appealed for help to train and equip counter-terrorist forces. He said: "Of course there are a number of al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen and some of their leaders. They may actually plan attacks like the one we have just had in Detroit. There are maybe hundreds of them -- 200, 300."

President Obama said that it was "totally unacceptable" that US agencies had not prevented the attack with the information available and demanded preliminary results from two security reviews by tomorrow. He is facing criticism for leaving two key federal security agencies without leaders 11 months into his administration.

Dutch authorities dismissed claims that Mr Abdulmutallab boarded the flight in Amsterdam without a passport. A spokesman for its counter-terrorism office said: "He had a passport and a valid visa for the United States and KLM had clearance on the passenger list to carry him to the US."


Related stories: Messageboard post by Nigerian terrorist shows he was suffering from depression

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24 Super Eagles listed for Angola 2010

With only a day to the deadline for the submission of a final list of national teams to the 2010 African Cup of Nations in Angola, Nigeria yesterday pruned down the list of players invited to the Super Eagles camp in Durban South Africa.

Coach Shaibu Amodu had invited 32 players to the team's camp which opens today ahead of the African soccer show.

But even as the invited players were yet to kick the ball, team selectors yesterday trimmed the down the list to 24 from the initial list of 32 players earlier announced by Head Coach Shaibu Amodu.

The dropped players are made up of all three home-based and five foreign-based. They are Bayelsa United duo of Bassey Akpan and Chibuzor Okonkwo and Heartland's Bartholomew Ibenegbu.

The foreign-based who were also axed by the selectors are Greg Etafia, Dele Adeleye, Olubayo Adefemi, Olufemi Ajilore, and Joseph Akpala.

Nigeria Football Federation Chief Media Officer, Ademola Olajire said in a statement yesterday that after a meeting involving the NFF leadership, members of the NFF Technical Committee and the Super Eagles' technical crew at the NFF Secretariat in Abuja yesterday morning, eight players were dropped from the playing body for the final training camp that starts in Durban, South Africa tomorrow.

Team Captain Nwankwo Kanu is set to make his sixth appearance in the continental showpiece, with his deputy Joseph Yobo and other 'senior' players like Oluwaseyi Olofinjana and Yakubu Ayegbeni also listed.

The three goalkeepers who were at the last competition in Ghana earlier last year also head to Angola, with youngster Elderson Echiejile countenancing his first African Nations Cup.


Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama, Bamidele Aiyenugba, Austin Ejide

Defenders: Joseph Yobo, Danny Shittu, Obinna Nwaneri, Taye Taiwo, Elderson Echiejile, Yusuf Mohammed, Chidi Odiah, Onyekachi Apam

Midfielders: Nwankwo Kanu, Mikel Obi, Dickson Etuhu, Sani Kaita, Yusuf Ayila, Oluwaseyi Olofinjana, Kalu Uche

Strikers: Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Osaze Odemwingie, Michael Eneramo, Obinna Nsofor, Obafemi Martins, Chinedu Obasi.

Daily Trust

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Messageboard post by Nigerian terrorist shows he was suffering from depression

An archived messageboard post by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on an Islamic discussion website called reveals that the Nigerian terrorist had been dealing with depression and loneliness. Here is his first post on January 28, 2005:

"Assalamu Alaykum brothers and sisters,

I have several dilemmas i want to get out of and this has made me lonely. As i intent to write a lot, i suggest for anyone who gets board of my long desperate talk to just read the bit they can and advise me even it is just a sentence. I will find it very beneficail and comforting to get help from muslim brothers and sisters. 

Firstly i will start with a bit of my background and then the dilemmas. I am a boarding student in a school with few muslims. For some years now, i hav been doing some da'wah, mainly enjoining good and forbiding evil, and jihadinnafs, trying to become closer to Allah. But i have been facing several problems.

First of all, i have no friend. Not because i do not socialise, etc but because either people do not want to get too close to me as they go partying and stuff while i dont, or they are bad people who befriend me and influence me to do bad things. Hence i am in a situation where i do not have a friend, i have no one to speak too, no one to consult, no one to support me and i feel depressed and lonely. i do not know what to do. 

And then i think this loneliness leads me to other problems. As i get lonely, the natural sexual drive awakens and i struggle to control it, sometimes leading to minor sinful activities like not lowering the gaze. 

And this problem makes me want to get married to avoid getting aroused. The Prophet (S) advised young men to fast if they cant get married but it has not been helping me much and i seriously dont want to wait for years before i get married. But i am only 18, (just going to university, insha Allah in London or California). i have not started searching for prospective partners because It would be difficult for me to get married due to social norms of getting to the late 20's when one has a degree, a job, a house, etc before getting married, plus parents are relunctunt to give their daughters in marriage to an 18 year old and sisters are also not normally willing to marry an 18 year old. Anyway alhamdulillah my parents i know could help me financially should i get married, even though i think they are also not going to be in favour of early marriage.

The last thing i want to talk about is my dilemma between liberalism and extremism. The Prpphet (S) said religion is easy and anyone who tries to overburden themselves will find it hard and will not be able to continue. So anytime i relax, i deviate sometimes and then when i strive hard, i get tired of what i am doing i.e. memorising the quran, etc. How should one put the balance right?

Thank you for anyone whoo reaches this stage of reading my problem. May Allah reward you for reading and reward you more for helping. Ameen"

A few months later, June 16 2005, Umar was in Yemen and seemed to have found happiness according to his post:

"Assalamu alaykum

Alhamdulillah i finally got my wish. After a hard battle deciding where to go and what to do, i finally ended up in Yemen. I'm doing a 3 month arabic course and so far it is just great. There are a lot of Brits and Americans also studying in the Institute i'm studying in, Sana'a institute of Arabic Languages- 

Its fun too. The institute is actually like a border line between the Old ciyt of Sana'a for those who like a traditional, quiet and peaceful environment, and the new city of Sana'a where bustling like Cairo, with almost anything you want to find, accesceries, clothing (not the best in quality though), food (KFC, Pizza hut, Shawarmas, Italian, chinese, korean, pakistani(Chicken Biryani, indian.....restaurants, gym, amusement parks (not as thrilling as the 7 flags or Alton Towers of course).

Its quite cheap too! For anyone who can afford it and wants to learn arabic, i say come to Sial. Some people have been to various places around the arab world such syria, palestine, egypt...learning arabic but while here at sial, they say its the best. The courses are flexible, it could be private one on one, choose your syllabus, bring your group over for large discounts. Female classes are seperate. Yemenis are so friendly and welcoming. They are very islamically modest. most of the women were niqabs. Yemen is a good place to study arabic for muslims and non muslims as well. there are several non muslims and they are really having a good time.

Hope i get time to tell you more about yemen and the course.



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38 Nigerians in Israeli prisons

No fewer than 38 Nigerians are languishing in Israeli prisons over immigration-related offences, Nigerian Ambassador to Israel, Mr. Dada Olisa has said.

He said only 600 out of estimated 3,000 Nigerians residents in Israel registered with the embassy.

Olisa who spoke in Tel Aviv, Israel said recently some of the 38 Nigerians awaiting deportation had been released.

"A few months back when we were given data, 38 Nigerians were in detention, awaiting deportation. But in the past one month or so, a few of them were released," he said.

The diplomat said not all Nigerians in Israeli prisons were criminals as many of them were charged for overstaying in the Middle East country.

"Nigerians are law abiding because their motivation and interest is to make money and the only job opportunity available are menial jobs like cleaning of the environment.

"All they do is to go for cleaning jobs, and some of them work in farms while some may be care givers, if they have the training but Nigerians here are generally cleaners," he said.

He said Nigerians residing in Israel could not afford the high cost of education in the country and this was compounded by language problems.

"We don't have Nigerians schooling here because of the high cost of schooling; an average worker earns $1,000 a month, which is the minimum wage anybody can receive in Israel. School fees is high and I don't see how any Nigerian resident here, who may not be regular, may be able to avoid such school fees," the envoy said.

He said Nigerians who come on pilgrimage to Israel had been warned against defecting, noting that Israel is a small country with tight security.

"We tell them that the kinds of opportunities they may want to have in Israel are not there and if anybody absconds, it is a matter of time, the person will be apprehended,

"In the past few years, there used to be high incidence of absconding but with the combined efforts of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), the Nigerian Embassy and the Israeli authorities, a lot of them have been discouraged from absconding.

"Israel is a country that you have to be here with your legal document; it is not a country that is as large as Nigeria where a legal immigrant could hide for a long time without being discovered.

"Here, it takes no time and when they are discovered, they are deported.

"Nigerians generally are always averse to their embassies; they hardly want to go and register with the embassy. So if they do not register especially if they came in irregularly, there is no way you will know.

"Since I came, I have adopted some measures that encouraged them to have a Nigerian association; which they now have and through their activities a good number of them have started registering," he said.

Daily Champion

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Al-Qaeda claim Nigerian bomb suspect

Al-Qaeda has claimed the failed December 25 bombing of a US-bound aircraft in a statement posted on an Islamist website yesterday, US monitoring organisations said.

The statement, which was accompanied by a picture of the suspected would-be bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, boasted that the "Nigerian brother" broke all security barriers for his operation, dispelling the "great myth" of American intelligence, SITE Intelligence said.

He used explosives technology developed by the Mujahedeen in Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's (AQAP) "manufacturing department," it said.

AQAP acknowledged that a "technical fault" caused the failure in the operation," the statement added.

Another US monitoring group, Intelcentre, also reported the same posting.

Meanwhile, in response to the failed Christmas Day terrorist attack on Northwest Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit, the Department of Homeland Security has issued a new set of security measures for the Transportation Security Administration, airports and airlines -- especially foreign carriers -- to follow.

While domestic passengers "should not expect to see the same thing at every airport," TSA said heightened security procedures would include increased vigilance and visibility that may (or may not) take the form of gate screening, added presence of law enforcement officers and canine teams, and other activities.

International travellers, however, are sure to notice a difference. New security measures for international flights heading toward the U.S., TSA said, will require increased gate screening "including pat-downs and bag searches" and a variety of in-flight restrictions.

"During certain portions of the flight," passengers may be asked to put away their personal items, turn off electronic equipment, keep blankets, pillows and personal items off their laps, and stay seated, the agency said.

While TSA's posted Guidance for Passengers gives only general information about the new in-flight restrictions, specific details have been posted on several airport and airline Web sites.

Virgin Atlantic Airlines is telling travellers heading to the U.S. that there will be "extra-screening of passengers and hand baggage at the gate immediately before boarding."

Air Canada posted notice that, under the TSA-imposed rules, "during the final hour of flight, customers must remain seated, and will not be allowed to access carry-on baggage, or have personal belongings or other items on their laps."

Canada's WestJet notified passengers that these and other new procedures, such as the limit of one passenger per bag, are scheduled to be in effect until at least December 30.

In a memo sent to airlines (but not posted on the TSA Web site), airlines flying to the U.S. were instructed to turn off any in-flight entertainment systems with embedded maps or GPS programmes showing the plane's exact location. Pilots and crew members were also told not to make announcements identifying landmarks below.

Rolled out during one of the busiest travel days of the year, the new rules immediately caused confusion, cancellations and delays at many airports.

Some U.S-bound flights from London's Heathrow and other British airports were delayed up to five hours.

On Sunday morning, a spokesperson for Vancouver International Airport reported delays of 30 to 90 minutes for flights destined to the U.S.

At Toronto Pearson International Airport, spokesperson Patricia Krale reported "significant delays for passengers on their way to the U.S. as everyone familiarises himself with the new regulations."


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Monday, December 28, 2009

Family of Nigerian bomb suspect issues statement

Our family, like the rest of the world, were woken up in the early hours of Saturday, 26th December, 2009 to the news of an attempt to blow up a plane by a young Nigerian man, who was later identified as Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab. Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab is the son of Alhaji (Dr.) Umaru AbdulMutallab, the head of this Family.

Prior to this incident, his father, having become concerned about his disappearance and stoppage of communication while schooling abroad, reported the matter to the Nigerian security agencies about two months ago, and to some foreign security agencies about a month and a half ago, then sought their assistance to find and return him home.

We provided them with all the information required of us to enable them do this. We were hopeful that they would find and return him home. It was while we were waiting for the outcome of their investigation that we arose to the shocking news of that day.

The disappearance and cessation of communication which got his mother and father concerned to report to the security agencies are completely out of character and a very recent development, as before then, from very early childhood, Farouk, to the best of parental monitoring, had never shown any attitude, conduct or association that would give concern. As soon as concern arose, very recently, his parents, reported it and sought help.

The family will continue to fully cooperate with local and international security agencies towards the investigation of this matter, while we await results of the full investigation.

We, along with the whole world, are thankful to Al-Mighty God that there were no lives lost in the incident. May God continue to protect us all, amen.

Finally, as the matter is being investigated by the various agencies, and has already been mentioned in a US court, the family requests that the press should regard this as the only statement it will make for now.

Thank you.


The Mutallab Family



This Day

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Former First Lady Maryam Babangida passes on at 61

Former First Lady and founder of Better Life for Rural Women programme, Mrs. Maryam Babangida is dead.

The death of the wife of former Military President Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida occurred in the early hours of today, aged 61, after a protracted illness according to a statement by the General's family.

"With total submission to the Will of Allah, we humbly announce the passing away of our beloved wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and amiable friend Hajiya Maryam Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida."

"The former chairperson of the Better Life for Rural Women during her husband's years in office had been hospitalised for ovarian cancer at University of California Los Angele's (UCLA) Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles, United States."

She died beside her husband, General Babangida who has been at her bedside in the US hospital till her death.

Born on November 1, 1948, she had fairly humble beginnings in her hometown of Asaba where she received part of her early education before moving up North to Queen Amina College, Kaduna for her Secondary education. She went on to graduate as a Secretary at the Federal Training Centre, Kaduna and later obtained a diploma in secretaryship from Laselle University, Chicago, USA as well as a Certificate in Computer Science from the NCR Institute, Lagos.

On September 6, 1969, two months before her 21st Birthday, she got married to Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (then a Major). Their marriage has been blessed with four children: 2 boys, Mohammed and Aminu and two girls, Aisha and Halima.


Related story: Former first lady Maryam Babangida dying of cancer

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Video report on Nigerian terrorist attempt to blow up U.S. airliner

FOX News covers the attempted terrorist attack on a U.S. airliner by Nigerian, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, who claims to be working for al-Qaida.

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Nigerian terrorist is son of former First Bank chairman

Saharareporters has identified the family of Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab in Nigeria. The 23 year old would-be bomber of Northwest airline flight 253 is the son of recently retired chairman of First Bank of Nigeria Dr. Umaru Abdul Mutallab.

The father of the bomber, Dr. Muttalab was born in 1939 in Katsina township, the home state of Nigeria’s sickly leader Umaru Musa Yar’adua.

Dr. Muttallab is currently the chairman of Nigeria first Islamic bank, Jaiz International Plc. He sits on the board of the bank with Dr. Rilwan Lukman, the Nigerian minister of Petroleum resources.

The Al-Qaida linked son, Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, is an engineering student at University College London.

Sahara Reporters

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Nigerian tries to blow up U.S. airliner

A Nigerian man claiming ties to al-Qaida tried to light a powder aboard a commercial jetliner before it landed Friday in Detroit in what senior U.S. officials called an attempted act of terrorism. “He appears to have had some kind of incendiary device he tried to ignite,” a senior U.S. official told NBC News. Other officials said the explosive device was a mixture of powder and liquid, which failed when the passenger tried to detonate it during the plane’s descent into Detroit International Airport.

Two people noticed the attempted attack, and a third person jumped on the man and subdued him, an airline official told NBC News. The man was being treated at the burn unit of the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor, officials said.
Federal officials identified the man as Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, of Nigeria, who was traveling one way, without a return ticket.

Rep. Peter King of New York, the senior Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, who was briefed on the incident, said Abdulmutallab was known in federal counterterrorism files and may have been on the government’s list of suspicious passengers banned from flying in the United States.

King said the incident raised troubling questions about airline security. “It must be looked into” how Mudallad was able to sneak a “somewhat sophisticated device” on board, he said.

Abdulmutallab told investigators that he wanted to set off a bomb over the United States and claimed to be connected to al-Qaida, the terrorism network responsible for the attacks that killed more than 3,000 people in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, counterterrorism officials said.

A counterterrorism official said Abdulmutallab, who was subdued by the crew of Northwest Air Lines Flight 253 from Amsterdam, left Lagos, Nigeria, on Thursday and boarded the flight in Amsterdam on Friday.

The timing of the attempted attack could be significant. It was eight years ago this week that a similar attempted attack was launched by a British member of al-Qaida who tried to blow up a flight from Paris to Miami by igniting explosives in his shoes. And the attempted attack comes on the same day that the Taliban released a video of a U.S. soldier it is holding captive in Afghanistan.

News organizations, including, initially reported that the government had raised the terrorism alert for flights after the incident. Those reports were inaccurate; the flight alert had been at orange before the incident.

Passengers removed, rescreened
Officials said Flight 253, an Airbus 330, was carrying 278 passengers. The Transportation Security Administration reported that the plane had been taken to a remote area of Detroit Metropolitan Airport and that all passengers had left the plane and were being rescreened, along with all the luggage on the flight. In addition, all passengers were interviewed, a TSA statement said.

Syed Jafri, a U.S. citizen who was on the plane flying from the United Arab Emirates, said he was seated three rows behind the passenger and saw a glow and noticed the smell of smoke. Then, he said, “a young man behind me jumped on him.”

“Next thing you know, there was a lot of panic,” Jafri said.

Rich Griffith, a passenger from Pontiac, Mich., said he was seated too far in the back to see what had happened. But he said he didn’t mind being detained on the plane for several hours.

“It’s frustrating if you don’t want to keep your country safe,” he said. “We can’t have what’s going on everywhere else happening here.”

President Barack Obama, who is on vacation in Hawaii, was informed of the incident Friday morning by his National Security Council staff, said Bill Burton, a spokesman for the White House.

An interagency meeting of senior intelligence, law enforcement and security was convened out of Washington to discuss the incident and possible measures to ensure that there no similar attacks, Burton said.

U.S. counterterrorism officials are particularly concerned in light of the 2006 London airline plot, in which British and Pakistani nationals conspired to carry out multiple suicide bombings on board trans-Atlantic flights.

Accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his cousin Ramzi Yousef were accused of plotting in 1995 to take down multiple airliners over the Pacific Ocean using explosive devices hidden in airliner lavatories.

The response to the attempted attack created an unusual tableau for people around the airport.

“I don’t ever recall seeing a plane on that runway ever before, and I pass by there frequently,” said J.P. Karas, 55, of Wyandotte, Mich., who was driving down a road near the airport when he spotted the jet, surrounded by police cars, an ambulance, a bus and some TV trucks.

Karas said that it was difficult to tell what was going on but that it looked as though the plane’s front wheel was off the runway.

By Robert Windrem of NBC News and Alex Johnson of with Jay Blackman, Catherine Corrigan, Dave Forman, Scott Foster and Kip Whitlock of NBC News. NBC station WDIV-TV of Detroit contributed to this report.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Guinness sponsors Super Eagles

In demonstration of its support to bringing international sporting activities to sports loving Nigerians, Guinness Nigeria Plc, through its flagship brand, Guinness Foreign Extra Stout (FES) announced its sponsorship of the Super Eagles to the Cup of African Nations (CAN) and the Federation of lnternational Football Associations (FIFA) competitions taking place in Angola and South Africa respectively.

The company's marketing director, Mr. Simon Breckon, made this announcement at the company's head quarter in Lagos recently. The event which was attended by top NFF members marked the third year running of the company's sponsorship of the national football team, Super Eagles. It should be noted that this third year sponsorship is attracting more money, as it surpassed the money committed by the company on the two previous occasions.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Simon Breckon said 'We have always been in the forefront of sponsoring sports generally in Nigeria, with deliberate emphasis on Football, which has always been the favourite of the consumers of our uniquely brewed Guinness Foreign Extra Stout that also has a great taste'.

To add further impetus and more impact to the importance Guinness placed on this sponsorship initiative, the company put a special programme in place, the Marketing Director added, 'Today, for the first time ever, we are revealing a limited edition of Guinness label, which will feature colours of the Nigerian football team. This new and distinctive label has been created specially to show support for the Super Eagles and the belief that together we can unite in the power of the Nigerian spirit as we enter the next stage of both the African Cup of Nations and the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals.'

Also on this new label edition, Mr. Breckon, said 'The bottles of the Guinness stout featuring the limited edition label will be on sale in bars across Nigeria from December. Another interesting thing to note here is that it is the limited edition label that would change in Guinness, but the price and the much loved and distinctive roasted bitter taste, dark colour and special aroma of Guinness and the shape, size and design of the bottle will stay the same.

Guinness, Nigeria's number one stout, truly distinctive and a beer of substance for men of substance, which has been the official beer of the national team, will through its 'Power Of Naija' campaign actively demonstrate its support for and belief in the team and Nigeria by Featuring Guinness Ambassador, Nigeria's former international and skipper, Austin 'Jay Jay' Okocha goes to confirm that the brand recognizes the fact that whether the team is winning or losing, 11 men and 150 million Nigerians can always come together to believe in the Power Of the Nigerian spirit.

Also speaking at the occasion, Mr. Devlin Hainsworth said Guinness Nigeria would continue to unveil initiatives in support of Guinness Greatness Football Programme as well as sustain its participation in the broadcasts of English Premier League matches in Nigeria and across Africa in partnership with Guinness Greatness Ambassador, Austin 'Jay Jay' Okocha, as well as The Super Eagles'


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Police officer arrested for murders

A police corporal who accidentally fired the shot that killed a fellow police constable and two others in Abuja has been arrested.

A police source told Daily Trust yesterday that Corporal Jabur Alexander was arrested on the orders of the Federal Capital Territory Police Commissioner Haruna John. The corporal will be investigated for firing shot that led to the death of Constable Umar Sama'ila and one Samaila Shuaibu.

Witnesses told Daily Trust yesterday three people were killed but a police source said yesterday only two people died.

The source said preliminary investigations indicated that the corporal accidentally pulled the trigger and has since the shooting developed mental health problems. The Corporal, who was attached to Paikon Kore Police Outpost near Gwagwalada, was trying to settle a matter involving the deceased constable and one Mohammed Sani who was said to have grabbed the constable by the collar.

The source said the shot fired killed two people including the constable and injured one. Meanwhile police authorities in Abuja have said the shooting was not intentional and the matter will be thoroughly investigated.

Daily Trust

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Amodu says Eagles need strong mentality to face World Cup opponents

Super Eagles coach,Shuabi Amodu has admitted that the national team need to build a strong mental capacity to overcome the challenges at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Amodu ,who was speaking at the Tom Tom interactive forum with Sports Editors in Lagos on Wednesday said that the team is one that is evolving from a gradual build up and has demonstrated a character that gives a lot of hope for the future.

"I can say that we have a team. The team is still evolving into a better squad. We may not have played the best of football but we have maintained a winning record which we can build on. It is not easy to play without losing. Sometimes we found some games difficult and most times we come up strong and win. There must be something good about this team.

"We can use the Nations Cup to prepare the team for the World Cup.

Amodu appealed to the media and Nigerians to be mindful of the way they criticis the team as it affects the psyche of the players and officials.

"I want to appeal to Nigerians to rally round the team. What we say and report about the team sometime tells of their psyche. I am confident we have a team. The players want to do this nation proud. But they need the strong mentality to confront the opponents at the World Cup. They need the support of everybody to achieve that.

Explaining the choice of Durban, for the pre-championship camping, Amodu said that the South African city was chosen ahead of Namibia which was an earlier choice because of the quality of facilities.

"We did not change the camping venue like that. We had Durban as plan B.

After we inspected the facilities in Namibia, we discovered that we may need to put the venue in right condition to suit us. We also considered the weather in Durban, it was almost the same with what we will meet in Angola and the facilities the same as where we will play. So it was a matter of making the best choice. This is why we dumped Namibia.

He further disclosed that the Nigeria Football) NFF) are considering the possibility of flying the team to Angola by a chartered flight.

"Our plan is to see if we can charter a flight to Angola for our first match against Egypt. I think we can do well. We need to believe in ourselves and remain focused, "he said.

Amodu revealed that the Eagles will play at least a friendly before the Nations Cup but added that it may not be a big team. He described it as a practice match.

Daily Champion

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Federal Government to announce new minimum wage

The Federal Government yesterday said that a new wage regime for workers in the country will be unfolded next year, just as Nigerians await the full deregulation of the oil sector.

Minister of Labour and Productivity, Mr. Adetokunbo Kayode, said this in Akure while speaking with newsmen at the laying of the Foundation of the N25million National Skill Acquisition Centre in Oba Ile area, Akure, the Ondo State capital.

Kayode, who had earlier paid a courtesy visit to the state governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, said the new minimum wage will put smiles on the faces of Nigerian workers.

According to him "The issue of Minimum wage is under process. The FG approved theJustice Alfa Belgore Panel which has Labour, employers and government as members.

"We have been divided into sub committees and have been working and it is for the committees to round off their assignments. I asked them to round off early next year so that we can move on.

The Minister said that "we want to change from minimum wage to living wage, that is a salary that can allow people to live a purposeful life. We also want to institutionalize it so that we do not need to be going round it every time.

Speaking on deregulation, the Minister said that "I do not think the fear of deregulation so to speak, is the cause of the current fuel scarcity.

"I think some people are playing games with the citizens of this country. The usual games they play at the end of every year and certain bottlenecks like the tanker drivers issue and distribution which had all been resolved.

"There is enough fuel to go round. That is why the Federal Government wants to implement a reform of the downstream sector in the first place. For the past 25 years, government has been trying to do this but for these bottlenecks. Now, Mr. President has said that he will do it.

"He will do it, not that he is not aware of some temporary hardship, but in the long run, it will be in the best interest of this country.

"The fuel shortage will actually end the moment we tidy up the conflict in the distribution process. There are lots of fuel on the high sea, depots and so on. Fuel is available, so why don't they distribute it properly.

"What we have decided at the Federal level is to implement the very urgent, massive programme for skill development and acquisition throughout Nigeria. This type of skill acquisition centre will be established all over the country.. It is a new programme to build on old ones.

"The essence is to make our people acquire additional skills, new skills that will make them employable. We have many people who are unemployed even graduates. Other than government work, what do you want somebody with a Ph.D to do? You have to additional skills

"We want to emphasize technical issues like mechatronics, technical training, welding technology, building technology and so on. Whatever you study in school or level of education, you have to key-in and acquire some skills which will enable you to be employable. ICT is also top on the agenda.

"We are doing this not only as ministry of labour, we have established synergies and partnership with other ministries. Our ICT programme for instance is being powered and funded through the NCC.

"The level of activities going on in Ondo State now also called for a proactive measure because the state has been producing too many graduates. The governor said his volunteer scheme was introduced to mop up the excess jobless youths in the state.

"We will also partner with the state government to ensure that this is done very quickly.

The Minister said that the Skill Acquisition project will cost about N25m and that seven of them exist in the country.

Earlier, at the Courtesy visit the Minister said that next year the Ministry and the state government would organize the first Ondo state Diplomatic Forum and that over fifty Ambassadors are expected to grace the occasion.

He promised to work with the governor despite belonging to different political parties for the development of the state and the people.

The Governor Dr Mimiko said that the state government would in the next four year employ over 5000 person under its Social Security Scheme launched few days ago in which 1000 Volunteers were engaged.

Dr Mimiko pointed out that the Social Security Scheme would be a model in the country.


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Policeman kills colleague and two others

A police constable on patrol in Abuja yesterday shot dead a police corporal and two other people after a quarrel.

A witness said the police constable collected a gun from the corporal to threaten a passenger who refused to obey his instruction in Dobi motor park, Gwagwalada, Abuja.

He accidently pulled the trigger, killing the corporal, the passenger and a motor park official. The witness said all the three died.

He said the passenger was carrying a gallon of palm oil and was about to board a commercial vehicle to his village before the quarrelling with the policeman.

The Police Public Relations Officer in Abuja DSP Moshood Jimoh confirmed the story and said the Federal Capital Territory Commissioner of Police John Haruna has ordered the arrest of the killer police constable and directed investigation into the matter.

Jimoh said two people including the corporal were confirmed dead from a shot fired by the constable.

He said argument ensued between the deceased over an unknown issue and the police constable carrying a gun went to settle them and accidentally fired the gun.

He said there was no established intention for the shooting at the initial stage of the investigation, regarding it as "accidental discharge".

Daily Trust

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Federal Government declares Shell can't sell oil fields

The Federal Government has said Royal Dutch Shell Plc has no powers to sell the assets it owns jointly with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The Shell/NNPC Joint Venture covers 90 oil fields, spanning 30,000 square kilometres, 72 oil-pumping stations, 10 gas plants and two major oil export terminals at Bonny and Forcados, according to a company fact-sheet. Sunday Times of London had reported that Shell planned to sell fields valued at up to $5 billion as Nigeria prepares to impose harsher terms on foreign operators and hand greater control to domestic oil firms, through the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), currently before the National Assembly.

Potential buyers may include China's Sinopec and Nigeria's Oando Plc, the newspaper said. But the Minister of Petroleum, Dr. Rilwanu Lukman, said yesterday that the company would need government's approval to sell the oilfields. "It's not theirs to sell," Bloomberg news agency quoted Lukman as saying by phone from Abuja yesterday.

"They're holding concessions given them by the government," Lukman added. The minister insisted that Shell would require government's approval before pressing ahead with a sale, adding that no such request had been made, as far as he is aware. Wendel Broere, a spokesman at The Hague-based Shell, declined to comment, according to Bloomberg. Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr. Odein Ajuomogobia, also told journalists in Lagos yesterday that government was not concerned over plans by other oil companies to sell their assets in the country owing to the harsh terms contained in the PIB. He argued that the world is a big place; as one company is leaving the country, another one is coming into the country.

"You know we are a sovereign country; we make our laws for ourselves and for those foreigners, who wish to do business with us. We will take account of international norms and practices to ensure that our laws are favourable for investment. It is in our own interest to have laws that attract investment. So, we will do everything we can to make sure that the PIB, when it is passed into law, is a law that makes Nigeria destination for foreign investment. Now, if there is any group of investors, who feel that the laws we make do not serve their interests - the world is a very big place and as one goes, another comes. So, I am not really concerned about that," he said. Ajumogobia also told Reuters yesterday that Shell, Europe's largest oil company, had not informed the government of any such plans.

"It is indeed curious, if the reports making the rounds in this regard are true, that Shell seem so keen on renewing their expired shallow water leases. We certainly intend to make a formal inquiry," he said. Shell's operations were the worst hit by the activities of militants in the oil-producing Niger Delta that started in 2006. The reform bill presented by President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua to the National Assembly seeks to give the government greater powers over oil concessions while raising taxes paid by energy companies. Licences for 16 fields operated by Shell, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Total and Chevron Corporation in the past four decades are currently up for renewal.

Only ExxonMobil, world's largest publicly-traded oil company, has so far obtained a renewal for three licences while Shell and Chevron are continuing negotiations with the government.

THISDAY reported that worried by uncertainty in the PIB, more International Oil Companies (IOCs) had suspended new investments, especially in deep offshore, where the controversial PIB imposes stiffer conditions on the operators. It was gathered that the unresolved issues in the bill and the uncertainty over its passage have forced the IOCs to adopt a "wait - and - see" attitude on new projects, with some of the companies making moves to relinquish some of their assets.

Uncertainty over the content of the PIB was also a source of worry to both local and foreign operators, who identified the circulation of many versions of the bill, provision for higher royalty payments, multiple taxes on profits and revenue sharing as main areas of dispute. The operators are also opposed to the provisions, which allow the government to renegotiate old contracts, impose higher costs on oil companies and retake oil fields that oil companies are yet to explore. With these provisions, the deep offshore assets of Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil and Total are being threatened.

This Day

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Chinese in £3 bn battle to buy Shell assets in Nigeria 

Monday, December 21, 2009

Chinese in £3bn battle to buy Shell assets in Nigeria

Two Chinese government-controlled companies are among front-runners in a £3 billion battle for control of oil assets in Nigeria that have been put up for sale by Royal Dutch Shell.

Both Sinopec and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) are understood to have expressed interest in the fields, which the Anglo-Dutch group has put up for auction as the violence-prone African nation prepares to impose tougher terms on foreign oil operators next month.

The sale of a string of onshore oilfields by Shell, the biggest foreign oil company in Nigeria, represents a significant shift in strategy by the oil giant since the appointment of its new chief executive, Peter Voser, in July.

Industry insiders said that Shell, which has been struggling for years to maintain production levels in Nigeria amid widespread sabotage, theft and piracy, had commenced discussions about the sale of a number of its smaller producing fields, as well as undeveloped blocks and fields in which production has been curtailed by security troubles.

Shell is not leaving Nigeria and is keen to keep the bulk of its operations in the country. Neither is it selling any of its offshore interests, which are less vulnerable to rebel attacks and piracy.

Insiders said the fields have drawn interest from a variety of international groups, as well as CNOOC and Sinopec. Indian companies are thought to be interested and UK-based independent oil explorers, including First Hydrocarbon Nigeria, part of London-listed Afren, are studying the opportunity.

An insider familiar with the talks said that Shell was likely to sell the fields in individual transactions in the first half of 2010. He said: “We are talking about a few different fields. These are smaller, onshore and more marginal assets that they are not really interested in developing themselves any more.”

Neither CNOOC or Sinopec could be reached for comment yesterday.

Shell is focusing on big developments such as the Pearl gas-to-liquids project in Qatar and the Perdido deepwater well in the Gulf of Mexico.

Times Online

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Top NDLEA official sacked for marrying driver

For finding love with a driver that works with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), a top female official of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Mrs. Udeoji Tochukwu Francisca has been sacked from service.

The agency in a sack letter to Mrs. Udeoji said her marriage to a driver Mr. Osondu Enwereuzor was not only embarrassing to NDLEA but a clear violation of paragraph 12.8(ii), schedule 1, part x of NDLEA regulation Act 2001.

But Senate on Thursday ordered its committee on public petitions headed by Senator Omar Hambagda to conduct full scale investigation into the circumstances surrounding the sack of the female officer.

The probe followed a recent petition sent to the Senate by the sacked NDLEA through Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia South) who told the stunned Senate on Thursday that the woman was specifically sacked by the agency for marring her heartthrob.

Mrs. Udeoji's trouble started in 2004 when she applied to the NDLEA for permission to marry her heartthrob, who was a driver with the NDDC.

Her letter was quickly referred to the NDLEA boss who in a letter signed by Assistant Commander, Mr. Ambrose Umoru ordered for a confidential report on the said driver with the NDDC.

The agency in the letter to the director of NDDC, Abuja liaison office, said the confidential report should be addressed to the commander NDLEA FCT command.

But NDLEA in a letter entitled, "notice of punishment" dated April 2006 asked Mrs. Udeoji to hand "all agency property in her possession to your state commander obtain clearance before you depart.

"Take notice that you have been found guilty of the following offence against discipline, unapproved single parent, contrary to and punishable under paragraph 12.8 of the regulation Act of 2001."

The punishment was sequel to another letter by the agency dated April 2004 in which it disapproved the request by Mrs. Udoji to marry the said driver.

The letter of disapproval was signed by Zirangey, assistant director administration and personnel.

But Abaribe in presenting the petition on the floor of the Senate last Thursday, argued that the decision to sack her was "gender discriminatory" and against her right as enshrined in chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution.

After presenting the petition on behalf of the victim, the Senate President, Senator David Mark promptly asked the committee on public petitions to commence full investigations into the circumstances and ensure that it erases the possibility of miscarriage of justice.

In her petition, Mrs. Udoji said that she was a member of Course 7ASN of the NDLEA, and was employed in the agency in May 2001.

She said she was dismissed from the NDLEA on April 13, 2006 because she got married to a man who works as a driver with the NDDC. She said her husband was investigated by the NDLEA when she gave notice of marriage and found to be clean, but that she was dismissed because she got married to somebody of a junior rank.

In the letter by the NDLEA terminating her appointment, the agency accused her of committing "unapproved single parentage," which it said is contrary to paragraphh12.8(i)schedule1, part X of NDLEA regulations 2001(as amended).

But the woman further stated in her petition that she was aware of the rule in the NDLEA which forbids senior officers from getting married to their juniors but that her husband does not work with the NDLEA.

She stated in the petition: "I did not get married to somebody in the same organisation, my husband works with NDDC while I work with NDLEA."

Daily Champion

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

MEND resumes attacks

Citing delayed negotiations with government, due to President Yar'Adua's absence, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) yesterday breached its 56-day ceasefire by attacking a major Shell/Chevron crude pipeline in Abonemma, Rivers State.

The attack is coming on the heels of MEND's complaints that President Yar'Adua's over three weeks absence from the country has stalled the ongoing talks between the government and the group's appointed negotiators, the Aaron Team.

The group's spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo, described the attack, which was launched at about 2am, as a warning strike.

He said five boats involving 35 of MEND's fighters armed with assault rifles, rocket launchers and heavy calibre machine guns, carried out the attack.

The Guardian could not independently confirm the MEND's attack.

A faction of the armed group loyal to repentant militant leader, Government 'Tompolo' Ekpemupolo, said its commanders were not aware of any attacks on oil installations.

In an online statement, Captain Mack Anthony, the spokesman to both 'Tompolo' and his (Anthony's) boss, Togo, said that the group had no hand in the reported attack.

MEND, he insisted, had not decided on any joint attacks in any of the Niger Delta States.

"Although we have our own grievances over how we were treated since we surrendered arms, if there is an attack somewhere, our General Commander, Government 'Tompolo' Ekpemupolo and my boss, Togo, are not aware," he said.

"But don't forget; there could be some pockets of misunderstanding resulting from communal differences against oil companies in the Niger Delta.

"The amnesty is not instrument of continued suppression by soldiers and multi-nationals. MEND is standing by the conditions of the peace deal," he stressed.

Tompolo had embraced Federal Government's amnesty programme, which the mainstream MEND scoffed at as doomed to fail.

Contacted, the Commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF) (Operation Restore Hope), General Sarki-Yarki Bello, said in an SMS that there was "no confirmation yet."

Similarly, spokesman of the JTF, Lt. Col. Timothy Antigha, explained that they were yet to verify any attack as alleged by MEND.

According to him: "There is no verification yet by the JTF that a pipeline has been sabotaged around Abonnema.

"If this unpatriotic act is confirmed to be true, at a time the Federal Government is doing its utmost to consolidate on the gains of the amnesty programme, then the criminals behind the act are enemies of the Niger Delta and, indeed, Nigeria; and they don't deserve any sympathy."

Shell spokesperson, Mr. Precious Okolobo, in an SMS, said: "We don't have reports of our facility being attacked, and cannot comment."

He had earlier told The Guardian on telephone that he did not have details of what might have actually transpired, promising that, "if I confirm, I will get back to you."

An official of Chevron said he had not been able to ascertain the true situation since he was in Houston, United States.

 MEND'S mouthpiece, Jomo Gbomo gave reasons why the attack on Shell/Chevron pipelines was carried out yesterday in Abonemma in Rivers State.

According to him, the Federal Government had conveniently tied the advancement of talks on the demands of MEND to President Yar'Adua, who is currently receiving medical attention in far away Saudi Arabia.

However, he noted that the same government "has not tied the repair of pipelines, exploitation of oil and gas as well as the deployment and re-tooling of troops under the aegis of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in the region to the President's ill health."

Gbomo said: "While wishing the President a speedy recovery, a situation where the future of the Niger Delta is tied to the health and well being of one man is unacceptable."

MEND accused the government, through the Bayelsa State governor, Timipre Sylva, the Ministers of Defence, Gen. Godwin Abbe (Rtd) and Ministry of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili of disseminating propaganda aimed at foreign investors, claiming that the situation in the Niger Delta is under control.

This assertion, according to him, is far from the truth.

Gbomo also accused the government of offering bribes to a number of militants, who surrendered their weapons under its amnesty programme in the form of contracts.

He said while the government perceives these individuals to wield some kind of influence in the region, MEND wants to make it abundantly clear that all those who had capitulated were of no significance to the continuation of the struggle.

According to him: "MEND is committed to continue its fight for the restoration of the land and rights of the people of the Niger Delta, which has been stolen for 50 years."

Jomo added that while MEND remains open to dialogue, "the indefinite ceasefire ordered by the group on Sunday, October 25, 2009 will be reviewed within 30 days from today, December 19, 2009."

MEND had last week told The Guardian in an online interview that the absence of the President had made it impossible for the Aaron Team to meet with the government after the first exploratory meeting last month.

He said: "At this point in time, the fragile peace process is hanging on to the thin thread of a ceasefire. Our demands have not been addressed because there is dialogue ongoing.

"We expect that when the President returns or if we find ourselves with another President, the process must continue with the current tempo and enthusiasm or else peace talks may collapse and the unrest will resume."

The Guardian

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Shell plans to sell about $5 bln worth of assets it has in Nigeria

Royal Dutch Shell, Europe's largest oil company, is planning to sell oilfields in Nigeria valued at up to $5 billion, the Sunday Times reported, citing sources linked to companies interested in the assets.

The newspaper said the auction comes as Nigeria prepares to impose harsher terms on foreign operators and hand greater control to domestic firms.

The oil giant, which declined to comment on the report, is the biggest and longest standing Western oil producer in Nigeria.

But production has been hampered by insecurity in the oil-rich Niger Delta, government funding shortfalls and an uncertain regulatory environment.

The report coincided with a group led by Shell pledging on Sunday to spend tens of billions of dollars developing Iraq's Majnoon supergiant oilfield over the next two decades.

The Sunday Times said it understood Shell recently launched a formal sales process overseen by Ann Pickard, head of Shell Nigeria.

Chinese state-owned oil group Sinopec had requested information, it said, and Nigeria's independent oil group Oando and London-listed Afren could also be interested.

In Beijing, Sinopec was not immediately available for comment while domestic peer CNOOC -- reported in September as being in talks with Nigeria to buy large stakes in some of Africa's richest oil blocks -- declined to comment.

Shell has switched investment from Nigeria, which supplied 16 percent of its 2008 oil production, in response to growing violence from militants and a souring of relations with the government.


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