Monday, February 28, 2011

499 Nigerians evacuated from Libya

The Federal Government has evacuated 499 Nigerians, out of the about 2000 said to be stranded in Tripoli over the political crisis in Libya. The returness arrived the Abuja International Airport at 1:30 am on Sunday, via a chartered flight.

It was gathered that the Director General of  the National Emergency Management agency (NEMA) Muhammad Sani-Sidi led the rescue team  and promised  that the exercise would continue till all Nigerians stranded in the Arab nation are brought back home.

He said that the federal government has established a special camp to accommodate the returnees who will be discharged after necessary documentations and screening exercise.

Sani-Sidi also announced that the second flight has flown to Libya to bring the remaining Nigerian nationals.

In a statement by Yashau Shuaib, Head Press and Public Relations, NEMA, the rescue team for the operation included officers from NEMA, Foreign Affairs, immigrations , medical and security personnel.

The statement also said President Goodluck Jonathan had ordered for the immediate evacuation of distressed Nigerians after the Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja.

Among the evacuated citizens are the elderly, women, children as well as a few convicts handed over to the Nigerian Embassy in Tripoli.


Related stories: Nigerians killed in Libyan Protests 

 Embattled President Muammar Gaddafi Threatens to Blow Up Oil Pipelines

Friday, February 25, 2011

Video - Will you save someone fallen victim to the Nigerian letter

ABC sets up a staged Nigerian scam to guage whether people can tell one when they see it. Also, if they will help save a victim of the scam.


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79-Year Old Landlord sexually molests 9 year old Tenant's Daughter

An Ebute Meta Magistrates Court, Lagos on Wednesday granted a N200,000 bail to a septuagenarian landlord, Adesomoju Odoro who was docked for alleged defilement of a nine-year-old girl.

Odoro, 79, is standing trial before Mrs Folashade Kayode on the charge of defiling a primary two pupil (names withheld).

The Prosecutor, Sgt. Paul Inedu told the court that the landlord unlawfully had carnal knowledge of the minor, whose parents' were tenants in his house at No 3, Aiyetoro St., Ebute Meta, Lagos.

Inedu said that the offence was allegedly committed on Feb. 12.

According to the prosecutor, the minor came to meet the septuagenarian in the communal kitchen where he was preparing lunch and told him she wanted to defecate.

"After taking the girl to the toilet, the accused took her into his bedroom and forcefully had carnal knowledge of her," he said.

The prosecutor said that the accused had been previously arrested over similar allegations of having carnal knowledge of three other minors but was let go by the police.

Inedu said that the offence contravened Section 218 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State.

Kayode admitted the accused to bail in the sum of N200,000 with two sureties who are to deposit N50,000 into the court account.

The case was adjourned till March 30 for further hearing.


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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Video - Controversy - Beyonce darkens her face in photoshoot to pay homage to Nigerian music legend Fela Kuti

They say it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white – but Beyonce has caused quite a stir by wearing blackface make-up in a recent photo shoot.

The singer darkened down her complexion to pay homage to Nigerian musician and humanitarian Fela Kuti – who has reportedly heavily influenced her fourth album – in French fashion magazine L’Officiel Paris.

Focused on the theme of “African rituals”, the photos show Beyonce donned in tribal-style clothing and accessories for the 90th anniversary of the glossy.

In the photos her face is distinctly black in contrast with the rest of her body, which has been left in her natural caramel skin tones.

The Crazy in Love star was reportedly inspired by Broadway musical "Fela", based on the icon's life and brave defiance against government corruption and of which her husband, Jay-Z, is a producer.

But the “African Queen” themed photos have come under fire in the blogging world, including from feminist blogger Jezebel.

“When you paint your face darker in order to look more "African," aren't you reducing an entire continent, full of different nations, tribes, cultures and histories, into one brown color?” wrote Jezebel.

“What makes someone black — or African, for that matter — is not her skin tone. The African diaspora reaches from Brazil to Haiti to the United Kingdom and Pakistan. It's one thing to feel moved by Fela Kuti, and quite another to treat blackness as a fashion accessory, like a pair of glittery heels you put on because it looks cool.”

Atlanta Post writer Charing Ball has also slammed the photos, saying: “While my adoration for Beyonce’s talent and work ethic are unparalleled, I’m not quite sure as to why she would agree to do a photo shoot that associates her with one of the most deeply rooted racist images in American history.”

L’Officiel Paris has defended the shoot, saying the Beyonce star was “paying homage to African queens” by replicating several African rituals in which paint is used on the face.

The use of blackface make-up on white models has become something of a trend in the fashion world.

French Vogue caused a racism uproar in 2009 when they ran a 14-page editorial featuring Dutch model Lara Stone in black make-up in their October issue. The issue was dedicated to “Supermodels” but did not feature any models with naturally black skin.

Rumours that Beyonce had actually contrastingly lightened her skin circulated earlier this month when she appeared with bleached blonde hair and what seemed to be a paler complexion.

In 2008 L’Oreal was also accused of digitally lightening her skin tone for one its commercials.

UK Lifestyle

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Embattled President Muammar Gaddafi Threatens to Blow Up Oil Pipelines

Embattled Libyan strongman, Muammar Gaddafi has threatened to blow up oil pipelines. If the threat is carried out it could trigger off global economic crisis of dire dimensions. The threat is part of a desperate bid to rein in the mounting opposition in his country.

Agency reports yesterday put the death toll in the country at 1000 in the latest round of bloodshed as the defiant leader clings to power.

Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini said the death toll of 1000 in the unrest was "credible," a higher toll than previously estimated based on reports from rights groups.

President Goodluck Jonathan has reacted to the situation by directing that Nigerians residing in the troubled countries of the Middle East be evacuated immediately.

Also, the federal government has condemned what it described as " disproportionate use of force to disperse protesters in Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East."

Speaking after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting yesterday presided over by vice-president Namadi Sambo, the minister of information and communications, Mr. Labaran Maku and his foreign affairs counterpart, Odein Ajumogobia told State House correspondents that, "Government deplores the violence; it also condemns the disproportional use of force to disperse protesters. The crisis can and should be resolved through dialogue in those countries".

As a mark of solidarity with the Lybian people, international community might have started mobilising against Gaddafi and his family.

According to a report, a plane conveying Gaddafi's daughter, Aisha, to Malta was turned back. Also another plane carrying his son's daughter was refused landing rights in Beirut, the Lebanese capital.

Meanwhile, there were strong indications that President Barack Obama of the United States of America is under pressure to make a statement on the Libyan crisis.

News of the growing unrest came as a former Libyan justice minister claimed Gaddafi personally ordered the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988

Mustapha Abdeljalil told Swedish newspaper the Expressen that he had evidence that the Libyan leader was behind the deadly attack.

The Italian government in its assessment of the situation said Gaddafi had lost control of the eastern half of Libya amid growing deadly unrest.

Mr. Frattini said Gaddafi's regime had perpetrated a "horrible bloodbath" and was no longer in control of the eastern province of Cyrenaica, one of the three regions which make up Libya and includes the country's second city Benghazi, where the rebellion against his iron hand rule began.

The BBC reported that Ghadafi's control was limited to parts of capital Tripoli and the southern city Sabha.

Sky News broadcast the first live images to emerge from Libya, which showed an opposition rally in the city of Tobruk, the eastern-most major city.

Mr Frattini also warned that the collapse of Gaddafi's regime would spark a mass influx of Libyans towards Italy, the former colonial power in the north African oil producer.

Italy is already struggling to deal with a wave of post-revolution refugees from Tunisia.

"There would be an exodus of biblical proportions, a problem that Italy cannot, must not underestimate," Minister Frattini said.

China, India, South Korea, France and the United States, among other countries, have scrambled to evacuate their citizens from the turbulent nation, as the international community condemned the crackdown a day after Gadhafi vowed to defend his rule and called on supporters to crack down on anti-government protesters.

Gadhafi's retaliation has already been the harshest in the wave of anti-government protests sweeping the Middle East.

The Libyan ambassadors in the US, the UN, India and Bangladesh have already quit their posts in protest against the brutal acts of Ghadafi's regime.

Defections of senior officials and diplomats continued, with Libya's ambassador to Indonesia, Salaheddin M. El Bishari, becoming the latest to quit in protest.

"Soldiers are killing unarmed civilians mercilessly using heavy weaponry, fighter jets and mercenaries against its own people. It is not acceptable," El Bishari told The Jakarta Post.

In parliament yesterday, Australian foreign minister, Kevin Rudd labelled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi a "dictator out of control" and called for sanctions against the north African nation. Mr Rudd said Gaddafi had described protesters as "rats" who needed purging from his country.

"These are not the words of a responsible political leader. These are the words of a dictator out of control," Mr Rudd said.

Meanwhile, Libya's interior minister is believed to have been kidnapped in Benghazi after he resigned to join protesters, state media reported.

Libya's interior minister Abdul Fattah Younis announced his defection yesterday, shortly after leader Muammar Gaddafi threatened violence in an address on state TV.

Al Jazeera reported that another senior official, an aide to Gaddafi's eldest son Saif al Islam Gaddafi, had resigned in protest against the violence.

French energy giant Total said yesterday that it was "starting to suspend" part of its oil production in Libya adding to concerns over the impact of Arab unrest on oil price.


Related stories: Nigerians killed in Libyan Protests 

Nigerian president orders immediate evacuation of nationals in Egypt

500 Nigerians Return From Egypt

President Goodluck Jonathan Promises to Rid the Country of Tribalism

President Goodluck Jonathan, has promised to build a Nigeria where everywhere will be home for every Nigerian citizen, irrespective of tribe, religion or state of origin if he was voted into power during April elections.

Dr. Jonathan, who made the promise in Owerri while flagging off the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, campaign in Imo State, also warned that there would be unimaginable crisis if youths were not adequately provided for in the next 10 years.

"We stand for the unity of this country. We are going to run a government where we will not discriminate against anybody, irrespective of your tongue, religion, nationality or your place of birth," Jonathan said.

He also expressed hope that his administration would create a Nigeria where every citizen will have equal rights and justice, stressing that the issue of marginalization would be removed in the country.

"We hope to work with you to recreate the consciousness and awareness that any son or daughter of Nigeria, from Owerri to Enugu, Ibadan, Katsina or Maiduguri, will have equal rights in Nigeria. You will get whatever you deserve, whatever you are qualified to get and nobody will discriminate against you. That is our aspiration. That is our commitment," the President said.

He also disclosed that the federal government had a number of infrastructural development projects going on in Imo State, adding that government would continue with it until the entire nation was transformed.

"We have a nation of about 150 million. Seventy percent of this figure are people under the age of 30 and 50 percent of them are very young people, under the age of 19. So, we must prepare for this coming generation of youths, otherwise in the next 10 years, we will have crisis on our hands," Jonathan said.

It was the considered view of the President that "to do this, the nation must industrialize and we must encourage commercial agriculture, and that is why we are emphasizing on power generation."


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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Seventeen Killed in Fresh Plateau Violence

Mercenaries, who on Monday threatened to invade Jos, Plateau State capital, struck in the early hours of Tuesday in Bere village of Barkin Ladi Local Government of Plateau North Senatorial District.

Sixteen villagers fell in an attack which eyewitnesses told Daily Independent involved over 200 mercenaries suspected to be hired.

It was wailing and shedding of tears at the Local Government headquarters in Kwol on Tuesday morning, as the council chairman, councillors and supporting staff, were seen rushing survivors to different hospitals in the area for emergency treatment,

The victims sustained gun shot wounds as a result of the attack by the night marauders.

Those who were in critical condition, according to Daily Independent findings, were brought to Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) for treatment.

Council Chairman, Dr. Fom Dakwak, in a press statement, stated that "Bere in Fan District of Barkin Ladi Local Government area, a border village with Mangu LGA, was attacked at 1.a.m today (Tuesday).

"Sixteen people were killed and many others were injured. One of the killers, who is a Fulani man, was also gunned down'".

Following the development, crack security teams of soldiers from the Joint Security Task Force (JTF) and Police were deployed to strategic locations within Jos, on the orders of the JTF Chairman, Brigadier General Hassan Umaru, and the Plateau State Commissioner of Police (CP), Abdulraman Akaino.

When Daily Independent went round Jos on Tuesday afternoon, business activities were going on smoothly, although the atmosphere was tense.

Heavily armed Army personnel and anti-riot Mobile policemen were seen manning the city centre and keeping eyes on those plying the streets.

When contacted, Commissioner for Information, Gregory Nyelong, could not be reached. He was said to be in a meeting at Governor Jonah Jang's Du country home in Jos South Local Government Area.

Daily Independent further gathered that the Permanent Secretary (Security) in the state's Cabinet Office, was immediately summoned by Jang to the scene of the incident who furnished him with details of the attack.

It would be recalled that Jang had recently announced that his government had secured Presidency approval to set up a new security outfit, Operation Rainbow, to take care of the reoccurring skirmishes in local communities in the state.

Violence in the state had lingered since 2001 when the first Jos ethno-religious crisis broke out.

Daily Independent

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Super Eagles off to America for Green Bowl Football tournament

The senior national team, Super Eagles will on Wednesday fly out to the United States of America to take part in this year's United States' President's Holiday Celebration Soccer Tournament, otherwise known as the Green Bowl Soccer event.

A team of 20 players and eight officials led by the Super Eagles' Head Coach, Samson Siasia will fly from Abuja to Lagos in the afternoon before connecting a Delta Airline flight from Lagos to Dallas, taking off at 10.25pm. The delegation will touch down in Dallas, Texas at 10am on Thursday (4pm Nigeria time).

Tournament organisers say the Super Eagles will trade tackles with Mexico at the Cotton Bowl Soccer Stadium in Dallas at 7pm on Saturday (1am, Sunday in Nigeria), after Costa Rica and Panama would have played the tournament's first match.

The double headers continue on Sunday with the Losers' Final at 4.30pm (Dallas time) and the Final Match at 7pm (1am, Monday in Nigeria).

The Nigeria delegation will stay at the Double Tree Hotel, Dallas.

This Day

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Portsmouth coach Ian Woan tags Nwankwo Kanu a magician

Nwankwo Kanu came on over the weekend and scored the winner in Portsmouth's 1-0 win over Barnsley at Fratton Park on Saturday and first-team coach Ian Woan has tagged the former Nigeria captain, Nwankwo Kanu as a magician.

"There were a few raised eyebrows from the fans (when we brought him on), but you want your subs to make an impact. He's an absolute magician. You see him day in, day out on the training pitch and some of the things he does with the ball are phenomenal. He's a top, top professional given where he has played and the enthusiasm he gives us every week in training," the coach said.

Woan added: "His legs can't carry him for 90 minutes sometimes now. But in a game that is crying out for someone to get hold of it, you throw the big fella on and he is a magician.

"You can't get the ball off him. People get to the stage where they don't want to go and challenge him. He embarrasses you. The whole stand starts cheering, he does the step-overs - you know they're coming but you can't do anything about it. We just didn't have that and he was perfect for the situation," Woan stated.

On picking up a second straight clean sheet, Woan added: "I think it's a major plus for us. We have struggled to keep clean sheets.

"The back-line in the last two games has been the same. That has made a big difference. We've done a lot of work with them on the training field. Continuity is a big thing with the back four. You need to know what everyone is doing. When you pick the same back four, it makes a big difference to them."

However, Kanu, while down playing the coach's compliments, stressed that his goal was to always give his best for the team.

"I'm happy with what he (Woan) said about me but I'm just doing the job I am being paid to do," Kanu said over the phone on Sunday.

This Day

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Nigerians killed in Libyan Protests

Dozens of Nigerians are among hundreds killed in the on-going protests in Libya, according to a U.S.-based rights group.

Human Rights Watch reported that Libyan government's crackdown on anti-government protesters in the eastern part of the country has led to the death of at least 200 people in five days of unrest.

The group said Nigerians and other nationals died when Libyan security forces fired on protesters in the second largest city of Benghazi, where crowds gathered for the funerals of other activists.

Arab media reports say at least 15 protesters were killed in Saturday's shootings, which some residents described as a "massacre."

Witnesses say snipers opened fire after the mourners tried to storm a military building and prison where some Nigerians were detained.

The demonstrations have been largely confined to Benghazi and other cities in eastern Libya since they began last Tuesday.

They represent an unprecedented challenge to the four-decade rule of Libyan leader, Moammar Gadhafi, whose supporters have staged small rallies in the capital, Tripoli, in recent days.

The U.S. State Department has issued a warning to Americans to stay away from eastern Libya, saying more demonstrations and violent incidents are possible in the coming days. It also said even peaceful protests can quickly become unruly and foreigners "could become a target of harassment or worse."

Libyan authorities have also cut off Internet services in the country, denying cyber activists, a key tool to mobilise demonstrators.

There was no independent confirmation of Libyan witnesses' accounts of the violence, as the government has barred local and foreign journalists from covering the unrest.

British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, issued a statement urging Libya to stop using force against demonstrators, even as he said the violence is "clearly unacceptable and horrifying."

He also expressed concern about Libyan restrictions on media access.

Gadhafi has tried to defuse the protests by doubling the salaries of state employees and releasing 110 suspected Islamic militants.

He took power in a 1969 coup and has built his rule on a cult of personality and a network of family and tribal alliances. Speaking to Daily Independent on telephone, spokeman of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Daniel Agwu, neither confirmed nor denied the report, saying only the Minister, Odein Ajumogobia, can speak on the matter.

Attempt to reach the Minister were usuccessful. However, a Ministry official that pleaded anonimity said they were yet to get such report from the Nigerian embassy in Tripoli.

Daily Indepenent

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50-Year-Old Drug Trafficker Dies in Custody after excreting 72 Wraps of Narcotics

A 50 years old suspected drug trafficker, Offiah Gozie Vincent, has been reported dead during the process of excreting 72 wraps of narcotics he allegedly ingested.

The late suspect, described as an importer was nabbed by operatives of the NDLEA at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos last Sunday in connection with unlawful exportation of narcotics. Expressing regret over his death, the Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Ahmadu Giade said Vincent tested positive to drug ingestion with the aid of scanning machine at the central screening section during the outward clearance of passengers on a flight to Korea.

The NDLEA boss in a statement signed by the head of Public Affairs, Ofoyeju Mitchell, said the suspect excreted 72 wraps of substances that tested positive for methamphetamine weighing 1.115kg.

" In a post mortem examination carried out on the corpse Friday afternoon February 18, 2011 in a Lagos hospital, 43 additional wraps that got stuck were recovered from his stomach.

"This brought the total wraps ingested to 115. Preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect had bought the drugs he ingested with the intention of selling when he gets to Korea unlike others who smuggle drugs for a fee. "

The late suspect was said to be a professional courier for ingesting 115 wraps and having $10,000 cash on him.

Offiah, who hailed from Anambra state, was said to have been very aggressive shortly after his arrest. "He claimed to have invested his last savings in the illicit drug trade with the hope of buying more goods.


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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Video - Enoch Adeboye talks Religion and Politics

Dressed in simple trousers and a shirt and bowtie, Enoch Adeboye's modest appearance belies the enormous influence and power he wields.

The Nigerian pastor, known to his flock as "Daddy," is one of the world's most influential spiritual leaders. On any given night, he can draw more than a million to his service at Nigeria's Redeemed Christian Church of God.

His fervent sermons, coupled with his magnetic personality, have turned the Pentecostal church into one of the fastest-growing evangelical congregations across the globe.


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FIFA Threatens to Ban Nigeria again

World football governing body, FIFA, has threatened again to ban Nigeria over court cases instituted by the National Association of Nigerian Footballers (NANF).

In a letter to the Nigeria Football Association, dated February 3 and signed by its secretary, Jerome Valcke, FIFA said that Nigerians should hold NANF responsible for any action taken against Nigeria over the numerous court cases.

FIFA said NANF does not qualify to contest the results of elections into the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) since the World Players' Union, FIFPRO, does not recognise it. It also said that since NANF is not a member of the NFA, it has no legal rights in seeking redress in court of law.

Consequently, it said, NANF cannot contest the results of the elections and should NANF "action before a court materialised in any judicial action against NFA, it would then bear all the responsibility in the eyes of the Nigerian public, if FIFA should take action because of interference."

NFA had reported NANF to FIFA on January 24, claiming that NANF is an illegal body not recognised by FIFPRO. It said in the letter that all efforts at settling the matter out of court have been rebuffed by NANF.

But the NANF president Harrison Jalla has asked FIFA to go hell,saying if it wants to ban Nigeria that is its business.

Jalla said in an interview on Tuesday that without a country known as Nigeria, there can be NFA. "Nigeria is not a lawless society, our laws not be obeyed, to hell with FIFA. We are asking for a change and people are running to FIFA. Is it now that we want to get them out of office that they just realised that NANF is an illegal body?

"They are just using the media to blackmail us, we will not be deterred. If FIFA want to ban Nigeria so be it. That is there business. Nigeria laws must be obeyed and I will not belong to the class of people who will trample on the laws of the land," he said.

Jalla added that NANF has been dealing with NFA during the time of Ikpeazu, adding that why did FIFA recognise NANF when it took up the matter of the former Ranger player, John Kromah who died in 2001 with it.

"We took up the matter with FIFA and when we did not get justice we went to CAS. Rangers FC and NFA were parties in the suit, then NANF was not an illegal body.

He said NANF is working with the Nigerian Police to ensure that the Federal High Court order of September 6, 2010 declaring the elections that brough Aminu maigari and others to NFF illegal was obeyed.

"The Police have been served the order and the Inspector General of Police is aware of it. In fact, the IG has asked the Commissioner of Police, Legal Unit, to advise him on the order," Jalla said.

Daily Independent

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Video - Nollybooks

One Nigerian publisher turns to Nollywood to get students excited about reading.

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Killer Policeman to Die By Hanging

An Abuja High Court presided over by Justice Abubakar Talba Monday sentenced a police corporal, Obanla Julius to death by hanging for killing a motorist at a police check-point without justification.

In pronouncing the death sentence, the court said the prosecution had established and proven a case of culpable homicide.

"Julius is guilty as charged and I so hold respectively," the Judge said. Despite the plea by the accussed person's lawyer, C. N. Nosike, Justice Talba refused the plea for mercy by the accused's lawyer.

The judge said section 221 of the Penal Code did not avail him any room for discretion in matter involving the killing of an innocent person.

He said, "The court will fail in its duty, if it is incapable of imposing necessary punishment commensurate with the offence committed."

The judge noted that there had been incessant killing of innocent citizens of the country in the manner in which the police corporal killed his victim. The judge said, "I therefore sentence Julius to death by hanging".

In a one-count charge filed by the Attorney General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice, Corporal Obanla Julius was charged with culpable homicide under section 221 of the Penal Code of Northern Niger for killing one Shagari Haruna at the Federal Housing Authority road junction at Kubwa on May 2, 2002. Julius made a confessional statement in which he described how Haruna was killed.

He said the deceased was driving a Honda Car and was ordered to stop for checking at about 12:30am but failed to stop. He said he was infuriated by the attitude of the deceased following which he shot him to death with his A.K. 47 rifle.

The Judge said, "There is no better evidence to show who and what caused the death of Shagari Haruna. Exhibit A was admitted in evidence where he confessed that he killed Shagari. It was made voluntarily. And it has passed the admissibility test of evidence.

"Beside, it was the intention of the accused to kill the deceased." The court noted that a statement deposed to by the policeman in charge of Kubwa police station Mr. Baba Shehu partly corroborated what Julius stated in the court.

Shehu explained that the accused was posted to take charge of the A.P. Filling station situated directly opposite the Kubwa FHA road junction.

While he, Shehu was patrolling, he met Julius at the FHA road junction where he was not supposed to be and asked him to leave for his duty post.

Not quite some minutes after he drove away from that spot, he heard a gunshot which prompted him to return.

On getting to the scene of the incident, he inquired about the gun shot and none of the policemen said anything until Julius owned up to his action.

He explained that within the vicinity, the body of the deceased lying in a pool of his blood could be found.

Shehu said he asked Julius the reason for shooting the deceased but said it was because he ordered him to stop and refused.

This Day

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Video - Eleven Killed in Goodluck Jonathan Presidential Campaign Tragedy

It was a black weekend in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, yesterday, when President Goodluck Jonathan launched his south-south zonal campaign rally, in which no fewer than 11 persons, most of them women, were feared killed in a stampede at the Liberation Stadium.

Reacting immediately to the tragedy, President Jonathan condoled the families of those, who lost their lives and victims who were injured, stating that he received the news with shock and sadness.

Speaking through his spokesman, Mr. Ima Niboro, the president directed a full scale investigation into the cause of the incident, describing it as sad, unfortunate and regrettable.

At the 20,000-seater stadium, a mammoth crowd had turned out for the rally and was so large that those outside the main bowl of the stadium were estimated to have exceeded those inside.

The campaign speeches and fanfare progressed without incident, but it was at the end of the rally that things started to go awry as the crowd surged in unison to exit both from the main bowl and outside, leading to a blockade of the exits.

In an attempt to control the crowd, soldiers deployed to the venue shot sporadically into the air, which caused pandemonium and a

desperate stampede that led to many people being trampled to death.

A commissioner in the state, who witnessed the incident, confirmed that the death toll was over ten while several people were injured.

But Mr. Blessing Wikina, acting Chief Press Secretary to Governor Chibuike Amaechi, said that the tragedy was regrettable, but refused to give the number of casualties.

"What happened today is unfortunate and regrettable. The governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has directed the State Emergency Medical Services to attend to the injured.

"That means even those on leave are being recalled to join in attending to the injured. The tragedy could have been averted if the security men charged with crowd control had created more exits from the stadium," he said.

Asked what the number of casualties was, Wikina replied: "The state government cannot ascertain the full number of fatalities as medical personnel were still combing for casualties.

"The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Sampson Parker, is still at the stadium coordinating and collating the figures and at the end, he would give the figures."

In its official statement on the incident, the police spokesperson in Rivers State, Dr. Rita Abbey, said, "At about14.50 hours at the

Liberation Stadium during the presidential campaign flag off for the south-south zone, lots of jubilant supporters were exiting the main gate after their governors had been given the PDP flag.

"Those coming in were pushing and those exiting were pushing their way out. In the ensuing stampede, so many people fell down. The police mounted troops, mobile police and other security agents, which moved victims."

She confirmed that of the 11 people who died, ten were women and one male, while 29 injured were receiving treatment.

She stated that some of those who sustained injuries had been taken to the police clinic with ambulances, some to Teme Hospital and others to the Braithwaite Memorial Hospital for treatment. She added that the identity of casualties and number of victims were unknown, but preliminary inquiries were still ongoing.

The Inspector General of Police, Mr. Hafiz Ringim, she disclosed, has in accordance with a presidential directive, set up a panel that will be headed by an Assistant Inspector General of Police to investigate the cause of the incident at the stadium from Monday in Port Harcourt.

Earlier in the day, another incident occurred when the president and Vice President Namadi Sambo left the airport to pay homage to the Eze Apara Rebisi, Eze Sunday Woluchem at his palace off Olu Obasanjo Road.

Suddenly, a Toyota Prado SUV with registration number AS 176 KMK, which was on Aba Road, suddenly started overtaking other vehicles.

In the process, it nearly collided with a white Toyota Hiace bus, which in the attempt to avoid a collision, veered off the road and hita trailer that was parked for the convoy to pass.

The driver of the bus and a lady passenger in front, were reported to have died instantly. Two soldiers said to be in another vehicle that also crashed into the scene also died.

The injured were rushed to a military hospital less than 300 meters away from the scene of the accident, which occurred almost in front of the head office of the Niger Delta Development Commission, while another ambulance rushed the remains of the dead to the mortuary.

A driver, who was involved in the road accident, but pleaded anonymity, said the accident was furthe r worsened by the slippery surface, which rendered brakes ineffective due to the early morning shower but blamed the recklessness of the driver of the SUV, who he said was overtaking when all the vehicles were moving at speeds of almost 160 kilometres per hour.

Relaying the president's condolence on the tragic occurrence in Port Harcourt, Niboro stated: "The president mourns with the families of the deceased, and prays the Almighty to grant repose to their souls."

He said President Jonathan noted with a heavy heart, that these are persons who came to celebrate his success at the primaries of the PDP and wish him well in the coming elections.

"I am sad and heavily weighed down by this incident. It is sad, unfortunate and regrettable. I mourn with those who mourn tonight. May God grant us all the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss," Jonathan said through his spokesman.

Owing to the tragedy in Port Harcourt, the president postponed the inauguration of the new Goodluck/Sambo campaign council. The event was initially billed for 8 pm last night in Abuja.

According to Niboro, the cancellation was necessitated by the tragic incident that occurred during the flag-off of the presidential

campaign in Port Harcourt. The postponement of the event is meant to honour the victims of the stadium incident.

The campaign council is to be chaired by Ambassador Dalhatu Tafida, former foreign affairs minister, Ojo Maduekwe is the designated deputy chairman, while former IGP, Mike Okiro, is supposed to chair the security council.


This Day

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Video - British Nigerian Claudia Aderotimi dies after Buttocks Enhancing Injection

A woman visiting Philadelphia from Britain died on Monday after she had a procedure to inject silicone into her buttocks, police confirmed to late Tuesday.

The incident reportedly happened at a Hampton Inn near Philadelphia International Airport.

Lt. John Walker at Southwest Detectives in Philadelphia confirmed four British women flew into Philadelphia on Saturday. Two women came to get a butt-enhancement from a party they met online.

The other two women were "along for the ride" and were going to visits friends up in New York.

Two women then showed up to perform the procedure at the Hampton Inn, and one woman did the injections. The woman who died received her buttocks enhancement injection in a 4th floor hotel room on Sunday at 12 p.m.

Roughly 12 hours later, she told her girlfriends of shortness of breath. She was rushed to Mercy-Fitzgerald hospital where some time after arrival she was pronounced dead.

Paramedics say she was awake and coherent on the ride to the hospital.

Detectives have not made a connection between the injection and her death, but, preliminary investigations are leaning toward that being a cause of death.


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Nigerian Government to Phase Out 6-3-3-4 Education System

The Federal Government has said the 6-3-3-4 system of education introduced during the military administration of former Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida, would be phased out.

Minister of State for Education, Kenneth Gbagi, said this at a meeting with executives of the National Association of Private Proprietors of Schools (NAPPS) led by its Chairman, Saidu Ahmed Mijinyawa in Abuja late Tuesday, where he apologized to them over the closure of primary and secondary schools for voters' registration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

President Goodluck Jonathan had earlier agreed on the phasing out of the 6-3-3-4 system of education last year at the National Education Summit and asked those that introduced it to apologise to Nigerians because of its failure.

Gbagi said the national curriculum of education would be redesigned to phase out the present system of 6-3-3-4.

This he said would give way for the reintroduction of the old system of education which he referred to as better.

He also apologised on behalf of the Federal Government to the proprietors private schools for the sudden decision to extend the reopening date of primary and secondary schools in January to allow for the conduct of the voters' registration without any consultation or input from private schools. The minister added that they would be engaged in dialogue to gain their input towards the resolution of issues that affect stakeholders in the education sector.

He also directed examination bodies to discontinue with the registration of "magic centres" across the country.

This Day

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Osaze Odemwingie Escapes Siasia Axe

West Bromwich Albion striker Osaze Odemwingie was only hours from being thrown out of the Nigeria team by a furious Eagles coach Samson Siasia ahead of the friendly against Sierra Leone yesterday.

A top team official disclosed that Siasia was seething with anger after he learnt that Osaze was one of the first to arrive Nigeria from Europe ahead of the friendly international, but chose to stay away from the team.

"Siasia was just very angry when he learnt that Osaze has been in Lagos for at least two days, but had yet to report to the team's hotel and he was just about to tell Osaze Odemwingie to stay clear of the team before the player reported Sunday evening," an official said.

Siasia and the former Locomotive Moscow star fell out during the 2008 Beijing Olympics with Osaze even threatening to walk out on the team in China because the coach was not giving him enough respect.

The late arrival of players for the Sierra Leone game would force Siasia to cancel training on Monday, meaning the Eagles only trained twice Tuesday before the match.

Daily Champion

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Super Eagles in Scrappy 2-1 Win Over Leone Stars

Super Eagles returned to winning ways with a less than convincing 2-1 defeat of Sierra Leone in an international friendly at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos yesterday. It was new coach Samson Siasia's first game in charge of the team.

Two first half goals from Marseille defender Taye Taiwo and debutant Warri Wolves' Ekigho Ehiosun put the Eagles in the lead to the delight of Lagos fans who were seeing the team for the first time since 2002.

The Leone Stars' goal was scored by Mohammed Bangura late in the second half.

Taiwo the Eagles ahead in the 15th minute after Peter Utaka was fouled in the penalty box. Taiwo's shot into the low right corner beat John Tryre in the Sierra Leonean goal and sent the fans into early cerebration.

Nigeria increased the tally in the 45th minutes when substitute Ehiosun got on the end of a Joel Obi.

Ehiosun, the Nigeria Premier League's leading scorer came on for another debutant Emmanuel Emenike who was stretched out after a collision with a Leone Stars player.

It was the Leone Stars who made the first impression of the game when Bangura sent a cheeky cross that almost beat Nigeria keeper Dele Aiyenugba who punched for a corner kick.

Veteran Mohammed Kallon tried to spur on his team but they were met by a stoic defence led by Joseph Yobo who started out shaky but soon gained confidence.

Afterwards it was the Super Eagles who dominated the match with debutant Inter's Joel Obi leading the midfield charge. Soon enough the home crowd began to chant his praise screaming "Obi, Obi, Obi" into the night air.

It was not long after when Obi sent in the cross to Ehiosun to seal both players' debut with an assist and a goal.

Siasia also handed debuts to Sienna defender Michael Odibe, Kano Pillars' Wasiu Sowemimo and Osas Okoro in the absence of Obiora Nwankwo.

Daily Champion

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Video - Nigeria voter registration ends in anger

CNN's Christian Purefoy reports Nigeria's voter registration has ended leaving many voters angry and disenfranchised.

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Nigerian Teenagers Caught With U.S.$9.7 Million at Airport

Following the arrest of two teenagers at the old domestic wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, on Thursday night , shortly after arriving with $9.7m, 664,100 euro aboard an Arik Air flight from Kano, a senior police officer has called for community policing.

Narrating how the teenagers, identified as Abdul Bashir and Rabiu Bashir, were arrested, the officer, who pleaded for anonymity said, "I believe if the people, in the spirit of community policing, give information to the police, crime will be reduced to its barest minimum."

The officer at the Murtala Muhammed domestic airport police station disclosed that the suspects were arrested at the MMA2. "Men of the Nigerian Air Force got to the scene of arrest first. The boys were found out when one of them cried out that his money had been tampered with.

He said $50, 000 had been removed from his money. That drew the attention of people, the security and they were arrested and detained at the police station."

He said since they were northerners and claimed to be bureau de change operators, the police invited some bureau de change people who witnessed the counting of the money. " The bureau de change people came here. They helped in the counting of the money because it was so huge and we couldn't do it alone. They were in four big bags."

Explaining how the case was transferred to Abuja on the orders of the Inspector-General of Police, Hafiz Ringim, the officer said,

"When they were brought in, the DPO got an IPO to take their statements. I didn't go through the statements; so I cannot comment on that."

The source added, "We didn't sleep that day. Upon their arrest, the DPO contacted the commissioner in charge of the Airport Command who in turn informed the Inspector General of Police. The IG then ordered that the case be transferred to the antifraud unit of the Force CID in Abuja.

"The police commissioner, anti fraud unit came in from Abuja following the Inspector General's order to take over the case. They were taken to Abuja yesterday (Friday)."


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Monday, February 7, 2011

Nigerian Writers Dominate Commonwealth Prizes

Four Nigerian writers are among the authors on the race for this year's Commonwealth Writer's Prize: Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, author of "I Do Not Come To You By Chance," is one of them.

She was shortlisted in the Best First Book (Africa) category for her debut novel, I Do Not Come To You By Chance. The book, which has been published in the United States and Britain, is a fictional story about so-called '419ers' whose mode of operation is advance fee fraud perpetrated via e-mail.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has also been shortlisted for Best Book for her collection of short stories titled The Thing Around Your Neck. She had in 2005 won Best First Book overall prize with her novel, Purple Hibiscus.

Kachi A. Ozumba, author of The Shadow of a Smile and Abidemi Sanusi, author of Eyo are two UK-based Nigerian authors who have also been shortlisted for Best Book and Best First Book respectively.

The Commonwealth Writers' Prize has been considered as one of the world's most important literary awards, presented annually by the Commonwealth Foundation with the support of the Macquarie Group Foundation.

Established in 1987, the prize aims to recognise the best fiction by both established and new writers from Commonwealth countries and ensure these works reach a wider audience outside their countries of origin. Going by the archive of the foundation, almost 200 books have now been recognised with prizes since the scheme began.

The prize aims to discover and promote up-and-coming and under-recognised writers, encourage dialogue and understanding of different cultures. This, it does through reading, and also by sharing compelling stories of human experience.

Chaired by Hon Nicholas Hasluck AM, the prize is fully international in its character, administration and judgement. Each year, prizes for Best Book and Best First Book are awarded in four regions: Africa, Caribbean and Canada, South Asia and Europe and South East Asia and Pacific.

The prize is judged in two phases annually. Entries are assessed by four regional panels made up of three judges. In each of the four regions, two prizes of £1000 are awarded, one for the Best Book and one for the Best First Book. For instance, these eight regional winners will be announced in March 2011. The eight winning books are then considered by a Pan-Commonwealth jury, which will meet as part of the prize final programme in a commonwealth country in May 2011 to choose and announce the overall winners for Best Book and Best First Book. The overall Best Book winner is awarded £10,000 and the overall Best First Book winner will go home with £5,000. The eight regional winners will be expected to attend the final programme.

The prize organisers cover the cost of participation in the final programme. The final programme consist of week of readings, discussions, community and public events with the eight winning authors and the judging panel, culminating in the announcement of the Best Book and the Best First Book prizes. Publishers of winning writers are expected to strongly encourage writers to attend the final programme and to take part in publicity activities leading up to it.

Any work of written fiction is eligible for both Best Book and Best First Book awards. That is a novel or collection of short stories with the exception of any work written for children alone. However, the organisers do not consider entries of drama, collection of poetry and graphic novels and there is no restriction on setting, theme or mode. The length of the story is expected to be reasonable and the entry will be considered potent if published between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2010, for this year's edition. Books published in early years are not eligible. Also books that have been previously published from countries other than the country of the present publisher are not eligible for the competition. E-books will only be honoured for this award if the publisher has earlier contacted the regional chair for clarifications. Before a short story book will be considered for entry, at least, one half of the collection of stories must have been published after January 1, 2006.

To be qualified for the Best First Book, the entry must be the first work of fiction, a novel or collection of short stories, which the writer has published with adult readership in mind. The work must have been written by a citizen of a commonwealth country and the publisher must verify the writer's citizenship before entering the book. Specifically, writers from Republic of Ireland and Zimbabwe are automatically disqualified from sending their entries because it is strictly reserved for member of Commonwealth countries. It is however not compulsory for either the writer or the publisher to be based in the commonwealth country before entry can be sent in, so far the issue of citizenship has been confirmed without contentions. Unfortunately, writers from Fiji Island, which has been recently suspended from the Commonwealth countries, are also exempted from the competition.

Unlike other prizes like Nigeria prize for literature, sponsored by the Nigeria LNG, it is compulsory for the writer to be alive on the closing date for entries. No entry will be translated from other languages to English, which has been accepted as the original language for the prizes. Nevertheless, the organisers maintained that the judges have final saying on the eligibility of the writer or the book for the competition. All entries are made by the publishers but self-published books by writers from countries in Africa, Asia, Caribbean, and Pacific Island, may be acceptable while other countries are denied access to this rare consideration.

Entries are acceptable when they are submitted through the region of the writer's Commonwealth citizenship. On the completion of the online entry process, three copies of each book are expected to be sent to the appropriate regional chair and one copy to the prize organisers with the printed confirmation of entry generated by the online entry process. If the books have not been received by the regional chair on the specified submission date they will not be considered. Entry of all books published before November 15, 2010 must be received by regional chair by that date. Any books due to be published between November 15, 2010 and December 31, 2010 must be received by the regional chair on December 31, 2010. The regional chair must be notified earlier or advance proof copies should be sent.

It is forbidden for a writer to enter the same book for both Best Book and Best First Book Prize and books cannot be entered in more than one region. In all regions except Africa, publishers will be restricted to two entries per category per region. In other to encourage more submissions, publishers from Africa can submit three books per category. Publishers are also advised to seek the consent of the author before presenting their works. Entries that are ineligible will not be returned to the writer or publisher.

The entry for this year closed on December 31, 2010.

The annual awards are organised by the Commonwealth Foundation, which describes its initiative as "an exceptional opportunity for new writers to demonstrate their talent and for authors already on the literary scene to strengthen their reputation."

This year's winners will be announced at a ceremony in New Delhi, India, on April 12.

Only four African writers have won the Commonwealth Overall Winner prize since its inception. Nigerian writer, Festus Iyayi received the 1987 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for his book, Heroes becoming the first African writer to ever win this prestigious award. Acclaimed South African author, J. M. Coetzee, was the second winner, receiving the prize in 2000 for his book Disgrace.

Two other writers, Manu Herbstein (South Africa) for his book, Ama, A Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, for her book, Purple Hibiscus won the Overall Winner Prize for Best First Book in 2002 and 2005 respectively.

Past Nigerian writers who have won the Best Book Prize include Professor Karen King-Aribisala with her book, The Hangman's Game in 2008; Isidore Okpewho, Tides (1993); Festus Iyayi, Heroes (1988) and Ben Obri, Incidents at the Shrine (1987).

Those who have won in the Best First Book Category from Nigeria include Uwem Akpan, Say You're One of Them (2009); Sade Adeniran Imagine This (2008); Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Purple Hibiscus (2005); Helon Habila, Waiting for an Angel (2003); Funso Aiyejina, The Legend of the Rockhills and Other Stories (2000) and Karen King-Aribisala, Our Wife and Other Stories (1991).

Daily Independent

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Injury Threatens Shola Ameobi's Eagles Debut

Shola Ameobi's 10-year-wait for his Nigeria debut looks likely to stretch a little longer following a suspected fractured cheekbone he suffered while playing for Newcastle United in Wednesday's 1-0 defeat at Fulham.

Ameobi, who has shouldered most of the Magpies' attack due to the injury-enforced absence of the now departed Andy Carroll, collided with Fulham's Steven Sidwell and had to go off with barely 14 minutes played.

Super Eagles coach, Samson Siasia had disclosed the Kogi-born forward's decade-old dream during his interactive session with sports editors on Wednesday.

According to the former Dream Team handler, Ameobi personally told him of his anguish during his trip to Europe late last year to meet with national team players. "When I said I wanted him to play for Nigeria and he said he was willing to I then asked him why he had not all this while.

His response was that no one had approached him to do so! So as things stand, he (Ameobi) will be playing for the Eagles this year," explained Siasia.

Ameobi, who has represented England at Under-21 level, was  due to make his first run-out in this month's friendly in Lagos against Sierra Leone. (CHECK WHEN D MATCH).

This Day

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500 Nigerians Return From Egypt

No fewer than 500 Nigerians returned from Egypt early on Thursday and were received by the Foreign Affairs Minister for State Hajia Salamatu Suleiman at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The returnees were made up students, government officials, businessmen and others.

President Goodluck Jonathan had directed the immediate evacuation of Nigerians from Egypt following the political unrest in that country.

Receiving them, Salamatu expressed government's commitment to the protection of its citizens wherever they are across the globe.

Responding on behalf of the returnees, Col. Abdulmumuni Aminu commended the Federal Government for its quick response to the plight of the people, adding that the experience was traumatic for them, following the closure of banks, and other basic amenities.


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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Nigerian Becomes Coca Cola CEO

After many decades of successful operation in the Nigerian market, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited has announced the appointment of a Nigerian, Kelvin Balogun as the Company's new Chief Executive Officer effective February 1, 2011.

Kelvin, the first Nigerian to occupy the position, succeeds Islay Rhind, who will be retiring from The Coca-Cola Company.

The new CEO joined the company in October 1999 as Strategic Planning & Business Development Manager. In February 2002 he moved to East Africa where he held positions of increasing responsibility in Kenya, Tanzania and the Horn of Africa before assuming the role of Strategy Director for the Coca-Cola East & Central Africa Business Unit in May 2008 with responsibility for strategy development across 27 countries. Kelvin's last role in East Africa was that of General Manager for the East Africa & Mozambique Franchise, leading Coca-Cola's operations and market development in Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Mozambique.

Reacting to the appointment, President of Coca-Cola North & West Africa Business Unit Curt Ferguson, said "Kelvin is well grounded in the business and has a strong track record of performance. He successfully rebuilt some of the key business drivers for profitable growth in several East and Central African markets. We are confident that he will accelerate the growth momentum that our business has built in Nigeria and will lay a solid framework for sustainable market leadership".

Kelvin began his career in 1989 as a Business Analyst at Accenture in Lagos, and rose to the position of Senior Manager & Head of Strategy Competency. He has an MBA from the Goizueta School of Business at Emory University in Atlanta and a Bachelors degree in Metallurgical & Materials Engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife. He is also an alumnus of the Lagos Business School and the Logistics Strategy School at the Cranfield University in the UK.

"I am excited by the opportunity to return home and help shape and drive the Coca-Cola business here" said Kelvin. "Nigeria is a strategic growth market; my colleagues and I will focus on strengthening the fundamentals of the business, deepening the bonds between our brands and our consumers and expanding our market leadership".

This Day

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Eagles Drop As Black Stars Rise On FIFA Rankings

Nigeria dropped eight places on the FIFA World rankings for February, which was released yesterday. But Ghana moved up a step to replace Egypt as the top African nation.

Egypt currently engulfed in political tumoil, plummeted from the 10th position to 33rd on the global rankings. There was no movement among the top five. World champions Spain lead the pack followed by Netherlands, Germany, Brazil and Argentina.

The sharp drop by Egypt, Nigeria and others on the African listing was because of their inactivity. Egypt has not played any friendly since their back-to-back win of the Africa Nations Cup, while Nigeria have only played their friendly matches on the pages of newspapers.

The Black Stars ranked 15th thus top the African rankings for the first time since May 2008. Cote' d Ivoire moved five places down to the 26th spot. They are second on the continent. Egypt are third while Nigeria retained the fourth position. Burkina Faso at 41 displaced Algeria from the African top five. The Desert foxes dropped from 36 to 55.

There was brighter news for South Africa who for the first time in five years have climbed four places to occupy 47th position, behind Cameroon and Guinea who are perched at the 43rd and 46th places respectively.

The next Fifa rankings will be released on Wednesday 9 March.

Nigeria's Super Eagles will now tackle Sierra Leone in a friendly next week Wednesday after a proposed game with Guatemala in the United States was called off.

Chairman of the technical committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Chris Green, said the Guatemala match has been cancelled because the match organisers feared incurring a huge loss.

"The organisers were apprehensive of the goings_on in Nigeria as regards a FIFA ban after football matters were again taken back to regular courts," Green said.

Eagles now to play Sierra Leone

There have been huge doubts over the Guatemala game, but the NFF insisted last week that all arrangements for the encounter had been concluded.

Officials have now disclosed Sierra Leone will replace Guatemala on the FIFA friendly day window with the game likely to be played in Lagos.

Media reports suggested that the country's top Euro-based stars have been contacted to rearrange their travel plans and now fly into Nigeria for this match.


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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

FIFA Decides Adamu's Fate Today

Dr. Amos Adamu will by the end of today know if he still has a future in football, as the Appeals Committee of FIFA sits to decide the fate of the Nigerian official.

Adamu along with fellow FIFA Executive Committee member, Reynald Temarii of Tahiti were both suspended last December after the governing body's Ethics Committee found them guilty following an inquiry into World Cup vote selling allegations levelled against them by British newspaper, The Sunday Times.

Adamu was given a three-year ban from all football related activities, while Temarii got one year.

However, both men, insisting on their innocence, subsequently lodged appeals with FIFA's Appeals Committee, which recently announced that it would be hearing their cases over 48 hours beginning from today.

But Adamu, who arrived Zurich on Monday for the hearing, has been sounding very confident of overcoming what is definitely a defining moment in his long and often controversial career as a top Nigerian sports administrator.

Speaking before leaving the country, Adamu, who is also a member of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Executive Committee, said he expects to get a fair hearing, and ultimately, vindication.

"I don't want to say too much about the appeal but I know I'll get a fair hearing. It is important that I clear my name in this matter and I believe that will be done at the meeting," said Adamu, who is also WAFU President,

The man who will decide Adamu's fate is Bermuda Football Association President, Larry Mussenden, who chairs the Appeals Committee.

If exonerated, Adamu would be cleared to stand for re-election to his FIFA post. The Confederation for African Football has its annual assembly February 23 in Khartoum, Sudan, where it will choose two of its four delegates to the FIFA ruling body.

Apart from Adamu and Temarii's cases, the Appeals Committee will also hear three others. Aloulou, a Tunisian lawyer who chaired FIFA's disputes panel, is challenging a two-year sanction. FIFA referees committee member Amadou Diakite of Mali and Ahongalu Fusimalohi from Tonga were each suspended for three years. Bhamjee got a four-year ban.

A sixth official, Ismail Bhamjee of Botswana, has not appealed his ban.

However, even if their suspensions are upheld, the men can still seek redress at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS); because the Lousanne-based organisation has the power to overturn the Appeal Committee's verdicts.

The hearing will be held at FIFA's headquarters in Zurich.

This Day

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mob Sets Bank On Fire in Abuja

What could have led a policeman to shoot a pregnant woman dead? That, is the mystery which the Federal Capital Territory Police Command was trying to unravel.

On Monday, tragedy broke out in Mpape, Abuja as stray bullet fired by a policeman guarding one of the banks (names withheld) in the area shot a pregnant woman dead.

The pregnant woman whose identity could not be immediately ascertained was passing by before the bullet fired by the trigger-happy policeman went off and sent her to her early grave.

An eyewitness said the policeman was trying to challenge a taxi driver who attempted to make a u-turn in front of the bank. The bullet he fired, apparently against the taxi driver, swerved and hit the passer by, stated the eyewitness.

The name of the officer could not be established and the real reason why he fired the shot.

However, the sound of the gun was said to have attracted people in the area who subsequently set the bank ablaze.

It was confirmed that employees of the bank escaped as the commotion raged while top officials of the bank who were later spotted by the Nigerian Tribune declined comment on the matter.

As at the time of filling this report, the area where the incident took place was deserted as passers-by feared possible arrest by the police.

The Police Commissioner in charge of FCT, John Haruna who later arrived the scene of the incident noted that the situation was under control.

He said the police would do everything possible to fish out the officer who committed the murder and ensure that he is brought to book.

Daily Champion

Nigerian president orders immediate evacuation of nationals in Egypt

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday directed National Security Adviser Andrew Azazi and Minister of Foreign Affairs Odein Ajumogobia to immediately evacuate Nigerians trapped at the Egyptian airport in Cairo.

President Jonathan who is currently in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for the 16th session of the African Union (AU) General Assembly according to his spokesperson, Ima Niboro gave the directive Sunday night when he got the news of the plight of Nigerians in Egypt.

The Nigerian leader said both Azazi and Ajumogobia (who is also in Addis Ababa) must coordinate the mission and return the trapped Nigerians home to their families and loved ones.

About 200 Nigerian including students, businessmen, government officials, and others on medical visits are said to be stranded at Cairo's International Airport due to the turmoil in that country.

According to findings, they are said to have been at the airport for days with no access to call home as Egyptian authorities had blocked mobile services as well as access to internet.

While Egypt air flights to Europe, Arabian cities and others are still operating, same cannot be said of flights to African cities including Lagos, Kano, Accra, Nairobi and Entebbe.

Egypt has cancelled flights to African cities without any excuse thereby subjecting Nigerians to harsh conditions.

Egypthians have been in turmoil for nearly a week, with hundreds of thousands protesting the continued stay in office of President Hosni Mubarak.

He has been in power for 30 years and the protesters have insisted that he must go beforean end to the crisis in the country. 

People Daily

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