The two Nigerian students-- Abdulsalam Luqman and Abdullahi Bolajoko Uthman, who were arrested by Malaysian authorities in January for alleged connections to al-Qaeda have been deported back to Nigeria Accused of being associates of Farouk AbdulMutallab, who is currently standing trial in US for the attempted bombing of s Detroit airline last Christmas, the two men were deported about two weeks ago after being arrested and held under the Internal Securities Acts (ISA) 1960.
Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ozo Nwobu in a text message sent to THISDAY yesterday morning said the men were deported to Nigeria on 13th of March, 2010.
It is however not clear what arrangements the Federal Government had with the Malaysian authorities which allowed for the deportation of the students although Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Martin Ohomoibhi had stated at a recent press conference that Nigeria had 'very friendly relations' with Malaysia.
He had stated at the briefing last Wednesday that he was not aware of the status of the two men, but promised to make their status available to newsmen.
Lars Lagerback, the Eagles Technical Adviser, has cast doubt over the inclusion of the team's captain, Nwankwo Kanu, in the World Cup squad as he said that playing time at club level and not the number of caps would determine his selection of players.
Lagerback, who watched the Eagles' Team B training session yesterday, said that he was going to focus on assessing the Team A players through their performances at their respective clubs.
In the company of his Swede assistant, Roland Andersson, Lagerback said he was not going to rely on anyone's advice or records in his assessment of the players.
"I will assess the players on my own. It's not going to be on the basis of what you have done in the past, but what you are doing
currently. So, even if you have 70 caps, you have to be playing regularly," he maintained yesterday.
The former Swedish national team Coach said one advantage towards ensuring success in this regard is that he would establish a good rapport with most of the clubs the Nigerian players are playing for.
"I'll have to have a good rapport with all the players' clubs, and I will regularly be in touch with them and their physical fitness trainers to ascertain their level of fitness. I will not want to take half_fit player to South Africa for the World Cup," he said.
Lagerback explained that the likes of Obinna Nwaneri, Danny Shittu and Nwankwo Kanu would need to seek more club football playing time if they were going to be part of the team to the June 11 to July 11 World Cup finals.
"For now Nwaneri has to get a better club, because he is playing for a club in the United Arab Emirates in a league that is third_rate, while Shittu is not playing regular football at his club for now.
"The same thing goes for Kanu, and he and the other two are not in the right shape to play 90 minutes football.
"They can only play about 20 minutes of football, and we all know that we don't need that at the World Cup, but players who can play for 90 minutes," The Swede dropped.
He said what he needed to instill in his team to excel at the World Cup were good tactics and not the game's techniques at this point in time.
United States yesterday disclosed its intention to help train officers of the Nigerian Police on how to combat terrorism and other violent crimes.
The Ambassador of United States of America to Nigeria Ms. Robin Sander, disclosed this when she led five members of the U.S Commission on International Religious Freedom on a courtesy visit to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Ogbonna Onovo.
Speaking on the occasion, she expressed the desire of her government to assist the Nigerian Police Force in the training of its personnel in community policing and combat training to contain civil disturbances experienced in certain parts of the country in recent times.
Sanders told the IGP that the US government was "ready to provide equipment/logistics as a way of supporting the Force in combating crime in Nigeria" .
Though she did not give details and the form the assistance would look like, she however said that her home governemnt was unhappy with the level of sensless killings in parts of the country, particularly the north, where she said Nigeria witnessed more violent crimes.
Expressing serious worry with the development, Sanders said she would personally do all within her capacity to bring in other forms of assitance to the police, stressing that effective policing remains one of the core ingredients of democracy.
In his response, Onovo expressed his appreciation to the Ambassador for finding time to visit him in spite of her tight schedules.
Onovo, told the US envoy of the willingness of the Police and the country as a whole to collaborate with the US government in any area of training which is aimed at building the capacity of the officers and men of the Nigerian Police with a view to advancing proactive policing.
He said that with the deep interest shown by US in the areas of crime prevention and control, it will equally help to protect investments by US citizens in the country.
The London Metropolitan Police was the first to offer assistance to the Nigerian Police and had also trained some of its personnel in community Policing, though the policy seem not to be working in the country due to corruption in the force.
Mr Rong Yansong, the Economic and Commercial Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, says the trade volume between both countries increased from $3billion in 2006 to $7.24billion in 2008.
The counselor said this in Abuja on Monday while briefing 30 civil servants billed to attend a two-week training conference in China.
Rong said the trade volume, however, dropped to $6.35billion in 2009 because of the global economic meltdown." With the trade volume of $3 billion in 2006, $4 billion in 2007, $7.3 billion in 2008 which dropped to $6.35 billion in 2009, the trade between Nigeria and China still keeps a stable growth," Rong said.
He said China's investment in Nigeria at the end of 2009 was $7.24 billion in sectors such as free trade zone, energy, agriculture, manufacture, mining and infrastructure.
Rong said in appreciation of the increasing trade volume with Nigeria, the Chinese government was constructing four rural primary schools and a hospital in Nigeria.
" We are donating four rural primary schools in Katsina, Kaduna, Ogun states and the FCT.
" We are also constructing and equipping a modern hospital for the benefit of all Nigerians in Abuja," he said.
Rong said the training programme was organised by the Chinese government for Nigerians to acquire some useful technologies and experience from China in the area of free trade zone management.
"We want you to use what you learn from China and help in the development of local industries and businesses in Nigeria after your return," he added.
Also speaking, Mr Greg Onu, the China Desk Officer in the National Planning Commission (NPC), said the training was the fourth to be organised by the Chinese government since 2009.
Onu said that three more important training programmes would be sponsored by China before the end of the year.
"These training programmes are critical to the actualisation of the 7-Point Agenda and Nigeria's Vision 20:2020 and the overall development of the country," he said.
He said the training tagged, "The management of Free Trade Zones in China," was selected because China had managed its free trade zones efficiently and effectively.
Onu said the programmes were in the area of renewable energy, bilateral trade promotion, infrastructure development, anti-poverty policies and development of SMEs.
Responding on behalf of the contingent, Alhaji Hamza Tahir, the team leader and NPC's Director of Legal Services, commended the Chinese government for its capacity building initiatives.
Tahir pledged that members of the group would be law abiding during their stay in China.
Ex-international, Victor Ikpeba, has urged Super Eagles Coach, Lars Lagerback, not to discard the players that won bronze at the Nations Cup in Angola.
Ikpeba said in an interview that the Swede must ensure he keeps many of the experienced stars, but admitted that he can also strengthen the team with revelations of last year's under-17 and under-20 teams.
"We are well prepared, but more effort has to be put into what they are doing. I think it is fighting time for this generation of Nigerian players.
"They have been condemned, they have been criticised, but it is our support that they need. I believe they have what it takes to do well.
"Now that we are planning for the World Cup, I don't agree that those that were taken to the Nations Cup in Angola should be dropped.
"I think we need a mixture of young players from the Under-17 and Under-20 teams to contribute and provide support for the older players, who we still need in the team," Ikpeba said.
Meanwhile, with Ray Nnaji and Dr. Sam Sam Jaja filing law suits against the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) and Coach Shaibu Amodu on the verge dragging Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to court, NFF General Secretary, Bolaji Ojo-Oba, insisted such moves run foul of world football body, FIFA and its African counterpart, CAF statutes.
Ojo-Oba said that he will review all the legal documents against the NPL on his return to Abuja, but warned that the litigants will not go scot-free.
"It's about the NFF statutes and FIFA statutes. It's about what the statutes say. Anyone who takes football matters to court just has to face it on his own. The federation will look into it.
"When I get to Abuja and the documents are presented to me, I will present it to the board and we will know what to do about it.
"But, I can assure you, they will not go scot-free," the scribe said.
Acting President Goodluck Jonathan Wednesday became more decisive in running the affairs of government when he ordered the immediate dissolution of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, bringing to an end lingering speculations on the existence of the former cabinet as constituted by the ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua.
Minister of Information and Communication, Professor Dora Akunyili, who took State House Correspondents through a very long briefing session, where she outlined so many contract memos that were approved by the dissolved council, said “the Acting President Goodluck Jonathan has dissolved the Federal Executive Council”.
According to the minister who could barely take few questions disclosed that “the Acting President did not give reason for dissolving the cabinet”; even as she added that “all ministers including myself are to handover to their respective permanent secretaries by tomorrow (today)”
She however pointed out that the dissolution of the cabinet also affect all presidential aides including special Advisers, Assistants and others stressing that “if they are form part of the cabinet it means they are also dissolved.
Although as unbelievable it may sound to many ministers who had engaged in the exchange of banters upon arrival at the Council Chambers of yesterday meeting, never expected that yesterday was going to be the last day in the Yar’Adua cum Jonathan led government.
Many of the ministers, against all protocol, abandoned their usual exit point from the Council Chambers, venue of the meeting, as they were seen taking different routs out of the premises; with some of them openly discussing how they intend to move swiftly to their office to collect their personal effects.
But as the meeting ended, visibly in disbelieve many ministers, particularly those loyal to Yar’Adua were seen in frowning mood as they refused to take questions from reporters; except the new minister of Labour, Alhaji Ibrahim Kazaure, who agreed to talk.
He said he want to thank both Yar’Adua and Jonathan for giving him the opportunity to serve his father land, adding that “I use to be the minister of Labour but now I am no more”.
On what he intends to do after being a minister he said “I am a politician and I will continue to be a Minister until I die.”
It was not however clear whether a chunk of the outgoing ministers and other cabinet members may be re appointed by the Acting President; even as it being speculated that some of them including those loyal to Yar’Adua are likely coming back.
The Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili has been honoured in the United States where she received an award as one of the 50 Powerful Women in an event organised by MEA Magazine at the Ritz Carlton Hotel Washington, D.C.
MEA Magazine, the organisers of the prestigious award has The Theme: "Women Going the Distance" for this year's award in which 50 most successful business leaders across the United States were honoured. This is the first time a Nigerian is being honoured.
In a statement signed by Debra Williams, Publisher of the magazine, Prof. Akunyili's efforts at Re-branding Nigeria is applauded. "I applaud Akunyili's efforts in re-branding Nigeria and for going the distance for success and excellence and her contribution to her country."
According to the group, these deserving women will be chosen from a pool of public nominations from the ranks of professionals. This is an occasion to celebrate women who have endured; gone the distance for success and excellence and have contributed to their communities. The group stated that the objective of the awards was to celebrate these women as role models for their hardwork, honesty, perseverance, resilience and integrity.
"I am honoured to be recognized as one of MEA Magazine's '50 Powerful Women in Business' said Akunyili. I could not have achieved this honour without God and Nigerians for whatever I am today I owe to Nigeria and the good people of Africa... I will not end my acceptance speech without mentioning that African women are good women and I will receive this honour on their behalf. The honour is to all of us."
In attendance were the Nigerian Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations Prof. U. Joy Ogwu and other important dignitaries amongst the African Americans. At the event the minister seized the opportunity in her speech to reinforce the Re-branding Nigeria project, and called on all Nigerians in the diaspora to join hands in moving Nigeria forward.
Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Nigerian born billionaire commodity merchant, industrialist has again made it on the list of the world richest men alive, according to a Forbes World Richest Billionaires released yesterday. But his friend and arch rival, Femi Otedola has, however, dropped out of the list probably due to the stock market crash that has gravely eroded his fortune.
Dangote has been in business for many years with interest in almost all sectors of the economy, including politics where he is known to be one of the financial backers of the ruling party, the Peoples' Democratic Party, PDP.
Dangote's net worth was put by Forbes at $2.1 billion. This is the third time the 52 year old Chairman of Dangote Group of Companies would be making the list. He was listed as the 463rd in the world.
Meanwhile some well known South African billionaires also made the list. Nicky Oppenheinmer, a citizen of Johanesburg, South Africa was listed as 154 in the Forbes list of world's richest billionaires in 2010. He runs De Beers, the world's largest producers of diamond. He accumulated his fortune from inheritance. He is married with a child, while his estimated fortune is put at $5.0 billion.
Patrice Motsepe, a self-made billionaire was listed as 421 with an estimated net worth of $2.3 billion. The South African is married to a beautiful lady who runs African Fashion International and together they have three children. His major business interest is mining.
Johann Rupert Family, another South African, also has an estimated net-worth of $2.3 billion. Also listed as 421 on the world's richest list 2010, is Johann who deals in luxury goods.
Meanwhile, Carlos Slim Helu, a Mexican-born billionaire has been declared the 2010 Forbes world's richest man alive, ahead of Bill Gates. He has a net worth of $50.3 billion. Bill Gates has $50 billion dollar as total net worth.
Mexico's Carlos Slim beat Bill Gates and Warren Buffett for the top spot on Forbes magazine's annual list of billionaires, becoming the first person from outside the U.S. to lead the rankings in 16 years.
The net-worth of Slim, 70, who built a telecommunications empire after buying Mexico's state-run phone monopoly two decades ago, rose $18.5 billion to $53.5 billion. Gates, 54, chairman of Microsoft Corp., fell to second as his net worth increased $13 billion to $53 billion. Buffett, 79, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., was third with $47 billion, a rise of $10 billion.
Slim is the first person other than Gates, last year's richest person, or Buffett to top the list since 1994, which was also the last time a billionaire from outside the U.S. led the ranking: Japanese real estate tycoon Yoshiaki Tsutsumi.
Asia's richest person, Mukesh Ambani, 52, of India, chairman of Mumbai-based refiner and energy explorer Reliance Industries Ltd., was ranked fourth with $29 billion, up from $19.5 billion last year, when he was seventh.
Lakshmi Mittal, 59, also of India, the chief executive officer of the world's biggest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal, rose to fifth from eighth. Mittal's net-worth increased $9.4 billion to $28.7 billion as shares of his company have almost doubled in the past year.
Larry Ellison, 65, chief executive of Oracle Corp., fell to sixth from fourth as his net-worth increased $5.5 billion to $28 billion. Bernard Arnault, 61, of France, chairman and chief executive of luxury goods maker LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, rose to seventh from 15th as his net worth jumped $11 billion to $27.5 billion.
Two Edo State Nollywood stars were shot dead this Tuesday in Benin by gunmen suspected to be hired killers. Mr Erhauyi Ogbeide a.k.a Ukeke and Eghosa Idehen a.k.a Erejiro were killed at the home of Ukeke's father-in-law located at 39, Ore-Oghene Street in Benin at about 8pm.
They were said to be coming from a location in a community (Iguomo) where they had gone to shoot a film soon to be released.
The killers, who may have been on their trail, arrived at the house about an hour after they got there. The five killers were said to have made straight for the sitting room where the actors and their host were meeting.
They shot Ukeke twice at close range while Erejiro who had escaped into a bathroom was also shot at close range where he hid.
Ukeke and Erejiro's host simply referred to as Chief Olaye, was also shot by the bandits at the mouth before making away with handsets of the victims in a Toyota Camry car they had parked outside. Chief Olaye is now receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital in Benin.
The Public Relations Officer of the Edo State Police Command ASP Peter Ogboi who confirmed the incident said the state commissioner of Police had directed the Criminal Investigation Department to take over the case.
Africa 's most decorated football player, Nwankwo Kanu has joined the ranks of global figures whose compelling stories_have been immortalized on the silver screen (i.e. Pele, Muhammed Ali,_Maradona and Mike Tyson). But Kanu takes it a notch further as his feature_is to be released simultaneously with his biography, after the World Cup_in South Africa. Kanu considers this movie and book to be his heartfelt gift to Nigeria on her fiftieth anniversary, to Africa and indeed the world.
Titled Lion Heart: The Kanu Story, the movie is a documentary feature,_directed by BBC London-trained Nigerian director, Bayo Awolaja, and_produced by Neil Oyenekan (Dragons Den Nigeria, Taking Sides, 2002, UK ).
The Executive Producers include Kanu Nwankwo, Lighthouse, IBST Media, Worldwide Management Ltd. and Connect Marketing. The movie is currently being filmed in Nigeria, London, Amsterdam, the USA, South Africa and_India, and has a plot that chronicles Kanu's inspiring rags to riches_story from a unique perspective that delves into his journey into the world of soccer from his humble beginnings in Owerri, to his struggle with a near fatal heart condition at the peak of his football career, to his heart surgery in Cleveland, Ohio, and back to his tribulations and triumph at Arsenal, Ajax, Portsmouth etc.
In addition to his exploits on the football pitch, the movie also unveils one of the most recognisable UNICEF ambassadors as a mentor, businessman, husband, and friend. According to the Lighthouse Productions CCO, " this film isn't just about Kanu the footballer, we intend to reveal the Kanu story through interviews with all the world renowned players, coaches, administrators, including his wife, his child-hood friends, his doctors and those people that played very important roles in his life.
"It's going to be a three dimensional documentation of Kanu's story according to Kanu, his fans, and his critics too - it's definitely going to be compelling and well-balanced because we intend to highlight the challenges he's encountered and how he overcame_them, in order to inspire many young Africans with his exceptional story of hope, determination and success"
Explaining the plot a step further, the film director, who used to work with BBC Wales, added that "it's not just about Kanu and his story, but Lion Heart: The Kanu Story is a film with a strong message that will greatly touch audiences across the globe, because despite the fact that his role as a great sportsman is emphasised, yet the salient themes in the movie revolve around determination, overcoming tribulations, triumphing over life-threatening obstacles and circumstances to soar to heights of iconic greatness."
Kanu expressed his excitement when he spoke about the project, saying: "I'm a very private person, but it has been a very interesting experience to watch my colleagues, team mates, coaches, doctors, fans, friends and family telling my story in a very passionate manner. This movie humbles me - I can see the aspects of my life that the world identifies with, and it's not easy to open up your life to the world, but then it is very noble to do so in order to inspire those who wish to do the things you have done - at least so that they can see how you did it."
But why do we have to wait until after the World Cup to see this movie? And to this Kanu replied: "The producers have been working tirelessly for a very long time now, but I believe this World Cup should be part of the film. Whether I play or not, I definitely want the experience to be part of the film "
Lion Heart: The Kanu Story is scheduled for a global premiere in_September, but so far the film parades an excellent cast of renowned footballers from some of the teams Kanu has played for, alongside coaches, and revered FIFA officials, all passionately telling the story of a true African icon in more than four languages.
An official movie trailer, posters, and snippets from the projects will be leaked to the media soon. Also, an interactive website is also in the works, and fans can participate in fun trivia for a chance to win a front-row seat at the London premiere of the movie.
Having lived most of his childhood on the gritty streets of Ikeja, Lagos and spent some of his adulthood in The States. The gentleman in the video up top has come to the conclusion that himself and the majority of people who grew up in Nigeria were abused as children.
The Jos crisis which led to the death of about 400 people on Sunday, has led to the sacking of the National Security Adviser, Sarki Mukhtar, by the Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
To replace him is Aliyu Gusau, a one time National Security Adviser to former President, Olusegun Obasanjo.
Meantime, about 400 corpses of the victims of Sunday's massacre were, yesterday, given a mass burial at Dogon Na Hauwa village in Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State amid tears and wailings.
This emerged as, former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, said there was no alternative to dialogue in resolution of conflicts. He spoke at a peace conference on the recurring crisis in Jos.
During Saturday’s Sudanese Premier League match-up between El-Merriekh and Al-Amal, Nigerian-born forward Endurance Idahor was rushed to hospital after a challenge from a fellow player left him on his back, unable to breathe.
Despite the teams’ best efforts to see that the striker was given treatment as quickly as possible, the 23-year-old is said to have passed away inside the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
Players, coaching staff and the 30,000 supporters stood in disbelief as the referee whistled the end of the match.
Sources close to El-Merreikh Club said that the player will undergo an autopsy to determine the cause of death. Meanwhile, early medical reports state that a heart attack is the most likely cause of death.
The club released a brief announcement describing the player as “an example of a professional and committed individual and a symbol of loyalty” and added, “We will assure that justice takes place”.
Endurance Idahor joined El-Merreikh from Nigerian outfits Dolphin in 2006, loaned to Al-Nasser of UAE for one season and since his return he became a key figure in the first team squad scoring over 67 goals, leading the club to their first CAF Confederation Cup final since 1989.It remains to be seen whether the rest of week 3 matches scheduled for yesterday would be postponed or not.
The government has since called for the arrest of Alhaji Saleh Bayeri, former executive secretary, Muslim Welfare Board and State Secretary of Miyetti Allah Cattle Rearers Association, accusing him of "issuing threats and inciting Fulani people against the Berom People which is unfortunate."The attack is coming at a time the Christian community in the state raised alarm over reports of renewed suicide attacks being planned for some selected churches in the state, as contained in a widely circulated documents yesterday.
A reliable government source told Daily Champion yesterday on phone that the attackers invaded the villages in the wee hours of the morning.
The source said that rumour of the attack filtered in at about 11pm and Jang took steps to nip it in the bud by informing the sectoral commander of the military joint patrol team in the area.
He said leader of the patrol team, an army captain identified as Goke, was reached on telephone and informed of the impending attack.
He however said that when the attack actually started, the joint patrol team could no longer be reached on telephone as every effort made by the state governor to speak to him failed.
He said Goke who led the team allegedly switched off his telephone forcing the governor to make alternative arrangement.
He said: "Rumours of the impending attack started coming in at about 11pm. When the governor heard it, he called the joint patrol team that is in the area. The team comprising the army and air force was being led by Goke who is the sectoral commander. He was briefed about the security situation and asked to mobilize from his location to the village.
"But some time after midnight, about 1am, people started calling from there that their village had been attacked and when the governor called the army captain to know where they were, his telephone was switched of. He could not be reached.
"The governor had to make an alternative arrangement and called another team from another location.
"But because this was happening in a village on the border with Bauchi State, before the team could actually find the place it was too late. We kept on calling and giving them direction until they got there. And when they got there they could only see burnt houses and dead people," the source told Daily Champion.
Asked about the casualty figures, the source said more than 400 were massacred in the attack. He said the attackers invaded the village from Bauchi State.
As at the time of filling this report, the morgue of the state specialist hospital where some of the corpses were deposited was filled to the brim. Chief Medical Director, Dr. Pam Dantong, who conducted journalists round the place, said the injured are receiving treatment in the institution.
Meanwhile, a document was circulated in churches during yesterday's service warning the congregation of planned suicide attacks on selected churches by 15 almajiris, who were said to have agreed to volunteer on suicide missions to benefit after being promised N20m gift each.
The document, entitled, "unanimous decision of Muslim Ummah in Northern Nigeria towards the crisis in Plateau State," was not signed or dated, but has as one Alhaji Sanusi Ibrahim Das as conveyor.
Those who saw the contents of the document which told our correspondent that the Islamic Bank and the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC), would bank role the mission, even as part payment was said to have been made to the volunteers.
Commenting on the attack, the state Commissioner of Information and Communication, Hon. Gregory Yenlong, regretted that it was a serious security challenge to the government and that government was reviewing its security machinery.
He said: "it is unfortunate that a whole family has been wiped out even when there is curfew in place in the area and appealed for calm on the part of the people, assuring that the government would do everything possible to get to the roots of the attacks."
On his part, the Paramount Ruler of Jos, the Gbong Gwom Jos said the attack was a crime against humanity and the traditional rulers in the state would make an official representation to the federal government.
He wondered why the attack could come at a time relative peace was being restored in the state and efforts are made to receive notable leaders who are billed to appear and discuss on peace building in the state.
Meanwhile, Alhaji Bayeri has expressed surprise over the state government's claims that he was inciting his Fulani kinsmen.
Speaking in a phone interview, he said since the January crisis, he has been going round appealing to his people against reprisal attacks, saying the government was not fair to him, adding that in any case, this was not the time to join issues with anyone.
Nigeria's Super Eagles have been ranked 21st in the March edition of the FIFA ranking, which sees Spain remaining on top of ladder ahead of Brazil and the Netherlands. The Eagles have a new manager in the person of Lars Lagerback of Sweden, who was unveiled yesterday in Abuja.
In the latest version released yesterday in Zurich, the Nigerian team, who finished third at the last Africa Cup of Nations in Angola, dropped six places, to the 21st position while reigning African champions, Egypt, who were in the 10th position in the February ranking, have now dropped to the 17th position.
The Pharaohs drop seven places on the list and it means there is no African team amongst FIFA's top 15.
Lagerback would be looking at how to shore up Nigeria's present position in the coming months by delivering wins in matches that he leads his troops to play as they prepare for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa
However Egypt remain the highest placed African country in the rankings.
Cameroon are next in 20th place, followed by Nigeria in 21st and Ivory Coast in 22nd.
The majority of changes in this month's rankings are due to the devaluation of results from last year and the fact that the final of the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations final was played in February and not January like this year's.
More movement can be expected in the next edition of the rankings as a considerable number of matches will be played on 3 March, a date reserved for friendly matches in the international match calendar.
It is an opportunity for many teams, not just those who have qualified for South Africa 2010, to make progress in the rankings.
South Africa are the only team representing Africa at the World Cup that remains outside the continent's top ten. They are placed 16th in Africa and 81st overall.Spain continue to occupy the top spot in the world rankings ahead of Brazil and the Netherlands.
Sixty one year old Swede, Lars Lagerback, who would pilot the Eagles' affairs during the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa has said that he will include players from the domestic league if he finds good and talented players there.
Lagerback, who was full of smiles when he stepped out of the car at the NICON Luxury hotel to face a 10-man panel that screened him for the national team's job spoke briefly with journalists.
Dressed in a grey suit, the Swede was still beaming with smiles when he walked out of the interview venue with astute confidence. The man who took Sweden to the Round of 16 at the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cup Finals, spoke on his vision for the Eagles and other matters.
Lars Lagerback, you are welcome to Abuja. Please tell us, how much of Nigeria do you know?
Lars Lagerback: I've never been to Nigeria, this is my first time and it's really nice to come here.
How much of Nigerian players do you know?
Since the opportunity for this job came up I have looked into it a little bit more. Of course I've been following the team and I saw Nigeria play against Ghana during the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations and I've seen some of the Nigerian players playing in Europe and of course I can't say I followed it very closely but in 2002 and 2003. I know some of the players, I would say.
Looking at the semi-finals challenge given as target for the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa, how do you feel about it?
From what I have seen in Nigerian players, I mean you have good individual skills. And I know that the team needs to be organised, it needs to be disciplined and all that. But for me as a coach, I think the individual skills can do really well in the World Cup. So, if you just think of a team and the players together, if they are fit and ready to play on this level, I think Nigeria have good chances.
What's your philosophy of football?
The basic is always to win matches, that's the most important thing when you come to football on this level, but otherwise I was brought up in a small football country.
So I believe you have to have a good cooperation in the team, a good organised team, the players work hard for the tournament, because if you want to win in anything...if you go to Barcelona, or you go Brazil or Nigeria to win something, you really have to get good cooperation in the team, that's important philosophy for me.
Indications have emerged that some staff members of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs may be corruptly enriching themselves by inflating the cost of authenticating documents for prospective students or other Nigerians planning to travel abroad.
Most of the victims in their quest to get timely and quality service devoid of the bureaucratic hurdles which creates endless delays in public institutions, have played into the hands of racketeers in the ministry who extort money from them.
THISDAY investigations revealed that a document authenticating racket is currently churning in millions of naira for its operators in the Legal and Treaty Division of the ministry in Abuja, thereby defrauding the government of legitimate earnings.
Normally, it costs N300 only per page to get a document authenticated. But this racket charges as much as N2,500 per page, which takes only 24 hours, as against one week when done through the formal channel. Some other documents which are not school related cost as much as N5,000.
Sometimes, the racketeer collects N10,000 from unsuspecting customers, pockets N5,000 and remits the remaining N5,000 to the racket kingpin inside the ministry. Some of the footmen used by the group station themselves at the gate of the ministry were they corner customers.
THISDAY gathered that documents that are usually presented for authentication include age declaration, school transcripts, certificates of incorporation for companies and marriage certificates among others.
The cartel involved in the illegal business include a level 13 or 14 officer in the Legal and Treaty Division who has the seal used for authentication. The customers do not receive any receipt for the service which proves that the money is not paid into government coffers.
It was learnt that only one person has the seal which authenticates all the documents that comes to the ministry. When people travel from all parts of the country to Abuja for that purpose, they are asked to drop their certificate and come back a week after. For those desperate to have it done earlier than that because of the cost of travelling, they are offered the choice of using the illegal channel.
A source told THISDAY that the fact that only one person has the seal in the entire ministry is a huge problem, because it has resulted into abuse of office. Also, men attached to the ministry from security agencies act as footmen. These footmen get the clients by convincing them that they would get the service within 24 hours, it was learnt.
This newspaper reports that its correspondent posed as a potential traveller seeking document authentication. When she reached the gate of the ministry, she asked the security men to give her directions to the Legal department where the service was offered.
The security men told her that it could no longer be done on that particular day (a Wednesday) as the unit in charge offers the service once a week, on Tuesday. She then pretended to be sad. Immediately, one of the men (name withheld) asked her to stand aside so that he could talk to her privately.
He said he could help and then asked to see the documents. He advised the correspondent to go to the Ministry of Education to authenticate her university certificate and statement of result. She asked how much it would cost when she returned. He said the official price is N300 per page through the normal channel.
But quickly added that it would cost N15,000 for the six pages. The correspondent pretended to be alarmed, and then he went on to explain that even though she came on a day other than Tuesday, he could get the job done within 24 hrs. To buttress his point, he mentioned the name of the Assistant Director who was in charge. The reporter asked to see her but he said that was not possible.
At that point, the correspondent promised to return when she had finished the first step at the Ministry of Education.
THISDAY contacted the spokesman of the Ministry, Mr. Ozo Nwobu, who said the allegations would have a bad effect on the government's current campaign against corruption and the ministry's diplomatic engagement which borders on Citizen Diplomacy. Ozo in a text message said an investigation had already been launched to get to the root of the matter.
"I have brought this allegation to the attention of the authorities so that an in-house investigation would be carried out...These are not issues to be taken lightly and therefore need to be properly investigated before definitive conclusions are reached."
According to a source, "the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has to look into this massive fraud going on in the ministry. It cannot be allowed to continue under this administration which claims to be fighting corruption and adhering to the rule of law."
Former Nigeria international, Emmanuel Okocha has advised that for the Super Eagles to bounce back to reckoning, the Nigeria Football Association, NFA, should map out proper plans for the development of the game.
Okocha, a member of the Eagles squad at 1990 Africa Cup of Nations in Algeria told Saturday Vanguard sports in Lagos that the pressure on the coaches, players and administrators have made them to derail from the proper plans.
"There is a lot of confusion right from the Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup qualifying ,there was a lot of scores unsettled. We really need to come together and think of the way forward.
We have put a lot of pressure on both the coaches and players and I think we should all come together and ask ourselves the problem bedeviling the country's football and fashion out the way forward," he said.
Okocha, a former player of Rangers of Enugu hinted that since grassroots football was abandoned, the country has been finding it difficult to get talented players for all the national teams.
"I think we have lost the grassroots system, our league is in shambles. The stadia are full of empty seats, our infrastructure is nothing to write about .We need to restructure our league, if you remember when I was playing for the national team, ninety five percent of us were from the local league, so why can't we find some good players from our local league.
Why can't we promote some players in the Nigerian league so that we will have a lot to choose from and not always depend on the foreign based," he queried.
Concerning the new coach, Okocha argued that the NFA should look beyond the World Cup because the event was around the corner and Nigeria might not make any impact despite hiring a technical adviser.