Thursday, June 23, 2011

Nigeria's Pastors 'As Rich As Oil Barons'

Nigeria's pastors run multi-million dollar businesses which rival that of oil tycoons, a Nigerian blogger who has researched the issue has told the BBC.

Mfonobong Nsehe, who blogs for Forbes business magazine, says pastors own businesses from hotels to fast-food chains.

"Preaching is big business. It's almost as profitable as the oil business," he said.

The joint wealth of five pastors was at least $200m (£121m), he said.

Bishop Oyedepo owned a publishing company, university, an elite private school, four jets and homes in London and the United States, according to Mr Nsehe.

The Nigerian blogger said Bishop Oyedepo was followed on the rich list by Pastor Chris Oyakhilome of the Believers' Loveworld Ministries. He was worth between $30 and $50m.

These pastors are flamboyant. You see them with private jets and expensive cars," Mfonobong Nshe Nigerian blogger

"Oyakhilome's diversified interests include newspapers, magazines, a local television station, a record label, satellite TV, hotels and extensive real estate," Mr Nsehe said.

He said three of the other richest pastors were:

  • Temitope Joshua Matthew of the Synagogue Church Of All Nations (worth between $10m and $15m);

  • Matthew Ashimolowo of Kingsway International Christian Centre (worth between $6 million and $10 million) and

  • Chris Okotie of the Household of God Church (worth between $3 million and $10 million).

Mr Nsehe said representatives of all the clergymen, except Pastor Ashimolowo, confirmed ownership of the assets he had listed on his blog.

"These pastors are flamboyant. You see them with private jets and expensive cars. This extravagance sends out the wrong message to their followers," he told the BBC's Network Africa programme.

He said the pastors acquired their wealth from various sources, including their congregations.

"We have Nigerians who are desperate, looking for solutions to their problems. They go to church for salvation, redemption and healing and pastors sometimes take advantage of them," Mr Nsehe said.

Public Agenda

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Police retract 'suicide bomb' claim

Nigerian police say they no longer believe an attack last week on police headquarters was a suicide bomb.

National police spokesman Olusola Amore distributed a statement at a press conference Wednesday "correcting the report about the fact that it is (a) suicide bombing."

The statement said the investigation has not been concluded into the attack in the capital of Abuja that left at least two dead. Amore took no questions and gave no further details.

Police said shortly after Thursday's attack that it was a suicide bomb and said they suspected a radical Muslim sect locally known as Boko Haram. They said the bomber was among the dead.

A man claiming to speak for Boko Haram told the BBC and a local paper it was responsible. He did not say, however, if it was a suicide bomb.


Related stories: Video - Police investigate Abuja suicide bombing by Boko Haram

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Video - D'Banj signing record deal with Kanye West

Dbanj and Don Jazzy have been officially signed to Kanye West’s music label G.O.O.D (Getting Out Our Dreams). The music label G.O.O.D boasts award winning stars such as John Legend, Kid Cudi and Common.

D’Banj’s manager, Sunday Are of List Entertainment, confirmed that there have been talks between Mr. West and D’banj but that D’Banj officially signed the contract today. “Yes there have been discussions between the two parties lately. They have been exchanging contracts but now the wait is over, he said.

This development was confirmed by both Dbanj and Don Jazzy on twitter:
Dbanj tweeted “Just like yesterday myself and my brother did Tongolo. 7yrs later Mo’
Hits signs with Good Music. Best birthday gift ever. God thank u”

Don Jazzy also tweeted “Thanks for ur love and prayers always. Now we can hear IDJA (Its Don Jazzy again) from the world’s finest Stars. Thanks again, it’s Naija”

Related storis: How we sealed record deal with Kanye West - D'Banj

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Monday, June 20, 2011

How we sealed record deal with Kanye West - D'Banj

Members of the Mo'hit crew Thursday in Lagos described the open contract it signed with the American super star Kanye West's record company Good News as the biggest thing to happen to Nigeria's entertainment industry.

The contract sealed between Don Jazzy, President of Mo'hit records, D'Banj, Kanye West and management of Good records was witnessed by rap artiste Jay Z and other top rated American musicians.

Narrating the genesis of the deal, D'Banj disclosed that "After our collaborations with Snoop Dogg, we traveled to Dubai on business and that's where we ran into Kanye. We were quite surprised when he told us he was familiar with our music and was willing to work with us.

We decided that since Snoop was only interested in collaborating with us, we should give Kanye a chance. And that's how the whole process started".

Now that the deal is sealed, D'Banj continued "we will be traveling to America to begin recording of our first album and that will take us away from the country for about three months.

Our going to America does not also translate to relocation, instead we would be spending some time there and the rest of the year in Nigeria".

Don Jazzy who also spoke at the media brief held at the Koko Lounge in Yaba, Lagos allayed fears in some quarters that his record company would abandon artists on Mo'hits records saying, " the contract we signed is between D'Banj and Mo'hits records and what this means is that, this is an opportunity for artists signed on our label to get world attention too.

Right now all our artists have equal opportunity of getting on board the Mo'hit/Good records collaboration".

He also spoke about his company's desire to sign on its first female musician pointing out that this year's Koko Mansion will dwell on searching for Mo'hits' first lady.


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Friday, June 17, 2011

Boko Haram suicide bomber attacks police headquarters

Boko Haram on Thursday mounted Nigeria's first suicide attack at exactly 11 a.m. in the heart of Abuja, tore through police headquarters, killed dozens, and destroyed over 74 vehicles, in a carnage that solely targeted the Inspector General of Police (IG), Hafiz Ringim, who was nearly, nearly murdered.

An Islamist slipped into town with two ladies to call his bluff.

Though the suicide bomber failed to get Ringim, the jihadist detonated the bomb, killed himself, and others, plus the two ladies, and set the vehicles ablaze.

Boko Haram, the fundamentalist Islamic sect also known as the Nigerian Taliban, had on Monday demanded the implementation of the Islamic Sharia legal code in 12 states in the North as part of conditions for dialogue with the government.

That was in response to President Goodluck Jonathan's overtures in New York last week that Abuja is willing to hold talks with the jihadists in order to end the violence concentrated mainly in the North.

Boko Haram also demanded the prosecution, under Sharia law, of some politicians, traditional rulers, and security forces accused of responsibility for the extra-judicial killing of its members since the sect began its uprising in 2009 - including its leader, Mohammed Yusuf, killed in July that year after his capture by security agents.

Force Headquarters Public Relations Officer, Olusola Amoren, told a press conference in Abuja on Thursday that the explosion was carried out by Boko Haram.

The blast came after Ringim vowed on Tuesday in Maiduguri to end the scourge of Boko Haram, whose brand of Islam condemns Western education as sin.

Sources at police headquarters said the suicide bomber drove a Honda car and, against regulations, trailed Ringim's convoy to the premises and attempted to park beside the vehicle Ringim alighted from.

A police officer stopped the man from switching off the ignition, prevented him from coming out of the car, placed him under arrest and asked him to drive to the general car park for proper checking and identification.

The bomber was about to park the Honda when a police traffic warden spotted three jerry cans in it. There were two women in the back seat.

An Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) in charge of traffic, whose name could not be ascertained at press time, had entered the vehicle, sat in the passenger seat with the bomber driving, and directed him to the general car park where the search was to be conducted.

With fully armed policemen approaching to take part in the search, the bomber detonated the bomb, killed everybody within range, and injured scores of others nearby.

An eyewitness recounted: "When he was told to remove his car from the IG parking lot, he did not leave on time. He was apparently trying to detonate the bomb right there, but when the policeman shouted at him, he moved to the general parking lot where the bomb was detonated."

A police source said Ringim's convoy to force headquarters had been a subject of controversy on many occasions and if police officers insisted on routine check, they were often resisted by civilians who claimed they were his visitors.

"We have had some of our men even sacked for trying to check some vehicles trying to enter the premises. What they do is call one Oga who will say, 'Who are you not to allow so and so to enter the premises?'

"In my presence like this a policeman's rank was removed and sacked. So it is an issue here that we have been coping with."

The impact of the blast shook the huge police building to its foundation, shattered the windows of Wing A and Wing B with the glasses piercing the bodies of policemen in the offices.

Over 74 cars of police officers and visitors parked on the premises were consumed by the fire of the blast.

National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Director General, Muhammad Sani-Sidi, sent a rescue and evacuation team to the scene, and ordered the use of specialised equipment to put out the fire as well as body bags to evacuate the victims.

Some vehicles were completely damaged.

Other agencies at the site included the Fire Service, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC), the military, the Red Cross, the police, and medical personnel.

As the fire was being put out, ambulances from NEMA, National Hospital, and Police Clinic conveyed the dead and the injured to hospital.

Human parts scattered all over the scene were cleared into body bags by NEMA officials and loaded into ambulances.

Some damaged but still movable cars were driven out of the premises splattered with blood and human flesh.

In their attempt to cordon off the blast scene, usually overzealous policemen hindered local journalists from covering the event but gave unrestricted access to foreign journalists.

Some journalists who could not find their way to force headquarters on time due to heavy traffic were delayed for hours at the gate by the policemen.

Two hours after the explosion, Amoren finally met with journalists hoarded into the conference room.

Amoren blamed Boko Haram for the attack and pledged that the police will not be cowed by the Islamic jihadists.

He reiterated the threat Ringim issued to the sect, saying the days of the sect are numbered.

He insisted that Ringim did not feel embarrassed by the brazen action and he will not resign because of it.

By 1:20 pm, the dead and wounded had been completely evacuated, except the suicide bomber whose charred remains were left in the completely burnt vehicle.

Tissues of his brain dropped out of the cracked skull.

Earlier, the loud explosion shook the National Assembly (NASS) complex and its environs followed by a thick smoke that enveloped the bright morning sky.

Minutes later, shreds of human flesh, mangled bones, burnt vehicles, and a thick smoke filled the air, and cries of agony erupted everywhere.

The vibration caused a panic at the NASS as people rushed out to see what had happened. The Sergeant-at-Arms, police and other security agents tightened security in the area, shut the main entrance gate, and searched incoming vehicles.

A few minutes later, fire fighter vehicles and NEMA vans blared sirens on their way to the scene at Louis Edet House, joined by NSCDC and police anti-bomb squad personnel.

Apart from the vehicles on the premises, the windscreens of cars passing through Shehu Shagari Way in front of police headquarters were smashed.

Wounded or traumatised children at a nearby crèche were rushed to Women Centre for treatment.

The crèche was damaged and the window glasses of all adjacent buildings were broken by the vibration.

At 5.30 p.m. when Daily Independent visited Aso Rock, tight security was noticed at the entrance gate which soldiers guarded with AK-47 riffles.

Traffic built up at the Supreme Court entrance to the Villa as motorists underwent extra screening and questioning before being allowed in.

The Head of Surgery at Asokoro General Hospital, Sule Ahmed, said the condition of the victims was stable.

Ahmed who is also the Coordinator, Federal Capital Territory Emergency Medical Services, told reporters that nine mobile policemen were brought to the hospital, the fourth time in a year it would treat victims of bomb blasts.

One of the victims, Mohammed Azare, who was admitted at the National Hospital, was brought out of the emergency unit after doctors stabilised him after about two hours.

Reacting to the incident, Senate President David Mark pleaded with the security agencies to rise up to the challenge and end rampant bomb explosions in the country.

A statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Paul Mumeh, urged them to look inwards and arrest the situation forthwith.

He expressed grave concern over the spate of bomb blasts, which he said is a threat to the security and corporate existence of Nigeria, as "no nation has ever progressed or survived in the midst of terror."

Mark contended that no matter the grievances or anger in a man's heart, resort to violence, terrorism or wanton destruction of lives and property cannot be a way out.

He said there are established channels of addressing any issue, and unorthodox means would only create more harm.

Mark stressed that the security challenges demand collaboration and synergy among all security agencies to bring the situation under control.

He implored all Nigerians to be security alert and co-operate with the security agencies, stressing that "those committing these heinous crimes do not live in the moon, they live among us.

"I do not think that resort to killings or terrorism would answer our questions. The real answer lies in our ability to come together as a people and address our common problems.

"No one can claim monopoly of any knowledge; we can all contribute our quota positively and make our society a better place."

He pledged that the Senate and indeed the NASS would make adequate budgetary provision for the security agencies to carry out their assignments unhindered.

He sympathised with Ringim, and urged him not to be deterred but reinforce his operations in order to stop the carnage.

However, the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) demanded the resignation or sack of Ringim in a statement issued by its Programme Coordinator, Okey Nwanguma, who described the attack as a shameful failure of intelligence.

"Three days ago," Nwanguma recalled, "Ringim was in Borno State to take delivery of police equipment donated by the state government.

"He threatened that the days of Boko Haram were numbered. Angered, Boko Haram said they were no longer interested in dialogue with (Jonathan) which they had previously agreed to, with conditions. They further threatened fiercer and wider attacks in the Northern states and Abuja.

"Today, they made good their threat, starting from force headquarters, Ringim's own backyard. This is scandalous. It is a clear message to the IG, who only two days ago, made empty scandalous boasts. It shows clear and shameful failure of intelligence.

"If Nigeria's number one law enforcement and security agency could be so cheaply infiltrated and attacked, clearly Nigeria and Nigerians are unprotected and defenceles."

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) weighed in by warning that Nigeria risks descending into unmanageable anarchy if the insecurity threatening lives and property is not tackled.

Lagos ACN Publicity Secretary, Joe Igbokwe, said suicide bombers successfully infiltrating police headquarters is a sign that national insecurity has indeed got worse.

What is left of security, he wondered, if bombers can effortlessly break through police firewall and detonate explosives?

On Tuesday, State Security Service (SSS) personnel discovered the bomb on the rail track near the bridge behind Danbo International School in Barnawa Government Reserved Area (GRA) in the heart of Kaduna.

It was intended to destabilise the state government rail service that daily plies the route - 24 hours after a bomb was found at the gate of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) staff quarters in the Narayi area of the city.

The device on Tuesday was discovered at about 10 a.m. after four hours of search by SSS personnel acting on intelligence.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) in charge of the police anti-bomb squad, Patrick Effiong, explained that the explosive could have caused "massive destruction of the rails turning them into fragments, and even the buildings."

Terror fears first materialised on the night of May 30 in co-ordinated bomb explosions in Abuja and other parts of the North, taking 15 lives and leaving 55 injured, a few hours after Jonathan was inaugurated President amid tight security.

Thirteen died and 40 were injured in Bauchi, two died and 11 were injured in Abuja. Four were severely injured in Zaria.

Boko Haram bombed a military patrol vehicle in one attack in Maiduguri. Abuja suffered bomb blasts on October 1 last year, and Bauchi and Maiduguri were in the grip of the violence that erupted after the Presidential ballot on April 16 this year.

Militants had threatened to disrupt the Presidential inauguration. They did not succeed. However, a bomb blast at exactly 8 p.m. at a beer parlour at Zuba International Market, Abuja marked the closure of the Presidential inauguration.

The explosive was kept in a Baco sack under a table. The blast injured 11 persons, including a girl aged one year and two months.

Two persons died, one a girl aged six who gave up the ghost on the way to hospital. Igbokwe lamented on Thursday that "We had been inundated by sterile and empty threats and vows of arresting the masterminds of each fresh bomb incident and such vows have always ended as rituals, which are kept in store for another bomb incident and the violent circle goes on unhindered."

ACN expressed concern that Nigerians are becoming targets of ceaseless bomb attacks and other forms of violence while Abuja feels so overwhelmed to do something about them.

It said it is disturbed about the perception that the government can do nothing to stop the violence threatening to swallow the entire country in one huge ball of insecurity.

It insisted that something urgent and radical must be done to re-take Nigeria from the hands of bombers and restore the security of lives and property.

A special task force should be set up, the ACN canvassed, to purge the security agencies of their embarrassing incompetence.

Daily Independent

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Nwankwo Kanu retires

After almost two decades of top-flight football, Nwankwo Kanu (a.k.a) Papilo on June 1, took a bow from the game that not only brought him into limelight but also wealth and fame in a testimonial match in Lagos that was a collection of the greatest African players.

The venue of the testimonial - Teslim Balogun - a venue aptly named after the first Nigerian professional footballer, was a befitting venue for a showpiece game in honour of the most decorated footballer to have come out of Nigeria.

Kanu became a household name in the country in 1993 after propelling the Nigeria Under-17 team to win the FIFA U-17 World Cup, the second time Nigerian will be winning the trophy. He was a member of the senior national team, the Super Eagles for 16 years from 1994 until 2010, scoring 13 goals in 86 appearances. He was named CAF African best player in 1996 and 1999. He was also named BBC African Footballer of the Year in 1997 and 1999.

After the U-17 triumph, he moved to Holland where he won three Eredivisie titles in 1994, 1995 and 1996 with Ajax. He also won both the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Super Cup with the same club in 1995 before leading Nigeria to Olympic gold at Atlanta 1996. Afterwards, he was diagnosed with a life- threatening heart condition when he moved to Inter but recovered to win the UEFA Cup in 1998. In 1999, Kanu made his move to Arsenal where he won two Premier League titles in 2002 and 2004 and two FA Cups in 2002 and 2003. He had earlier won the Community Shield with the Gunners in 1999. Among the titles won was the Nigeria Premier League with Iwuayanwu Nationale, now Heartland in 1993. Kanu won his last major trophy, the FA Cup, with Portsmouth in 2008, where he scored the winning goal against Cardiff City.

He was born August 1, 1976, in Owerri, where began his career at First Division club, Federation Works, before moving to Iwuanyanwu Nationale in 1992. After a notable performance at the U-17 World Championships he was signed by Dutch Eredivisie AFC Ajax in 1993 for €207,047. He made his Ajax debut the following year and went on to score 25 goals in 54 appearances. Kanu also came on as a sub in Ajax's 1995 Champions League final win over AC Milan. In 1996, Ajax sold Kanu to Serie A side Internazionale for around $4.7 million that summer he captained the Nigerian team that won gold at the Olympics, and scored two late goals in the semi-finals against powerhouse Brazil to overturn a 2-3 scoreline into a 4-3 win in extra time. However, soon after returning from the Olympics, Kanu underwent a medical examination at Inter, which revealed a serious heart defect; he underwent surgery in November 1996 to replace an aortic valve and did not return to his club until April 1997. In interviews, Kanu frequently cites his faith as a Christian, and has often mentioned this trying time of his career as an occasion when he prayed to God. Kanu's experience also led to his founding the Kanu Heart Foundation, an organisation that helps predominantly young African children who suffer heart defects. Kanu is known throughout Africa for his philanthropic work.

In February 1999, after just 11 games and one goal for Inter, Kanu was signed by Arsenal for approximately £4.15 million. He scored his first goal for the club in the next round of the cup against Derby County, coming off the bench to net the only goal of the game. He quickly became known for his goal-scoring prowess from the bench, scoring important goals against Sheffield Wednesday, Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa as a substitute. He scored 17 times in 50 matches for the Gunners, Including three goals in 15 minutes against Chelsea to turn a 2-0 deficit to a 3-2 victory. However, Kanu's appearances for Arsenal gradually became less frequent, particularly after the emergence of Thierry Henry as Arsenal's first choice striker, when Kanu was mainly used as a substitute. In all, he played 197 games for Arsenal (nearly half of them as a substitute), scoring 44 goals. In the summer of 2004, after his contract with Arsenal ended, he moved to West Bromwich Albion on a free transfer. In 2008 Kanu was voted 13th in the "Gunners' Greatest 50 Players" poll.

In his two years at The Hawthorns, he made a total of 58 appearances - 16 of them as a substitute - and scored nine goals.

Kanu was a free agent following his departure from West Brom, and he signed for Portsmouth on a one-year deal shortly before the start of the 2006-07 season. He made his debut for Portsmouth as a substitute against Blackburn Rovers on August 19, 2006, the opening day of the 2006-2007 Premier League season. He scored twice and missed a penalty. Though Kanu led the top scorers chart early in the season, he had a goal drought for the rest of the season, but still finished as the top goalscorer for Portsmouth, with 12 goals.

In his second season at Portsmouth, Kanu scored in both the FA Cup 1-0 semi-final win against West Bromwich Albion and the 1-0 win in the final against Cardiff City, earning him a third FA Cup winner's medal.

His first goal of the 2008-09 season put Portsmouth 2-0 up in their eventual 2-2 UEFA Cup draw with Italian club Milan. He later scored the winning goal against Bolton Wanderers which ensured Pompey's mathematical safety. It was his only Premier League goal of 2008-2009. He re-signed with Pompey in August 2010 with an eye on becoming a coach when he retired. Kanu signed a three-year deal and will keep the number 27 shirt.

Kanu was a member of the Super Eagles from 1994 until 2010, making his debut in friendly against Sweden. Earlier on at the start of his career, Kanu was instrumental in Nigeria's overall success at the 1993 FIFA U-17 tournament in Japan and their subsequent 2-1 victory over Ghana in the final. With five goals, he was second joint-scorer in the tournament with Peter Anosike and Manuel Neira, behind compatriot and Captain Wilson Oruma.

As well as winning the Olympics gold in the football event at 1996 Olympics, Kanu participated in the 1998 and 2002 FIFA World Cups. On June 24, 2010, Kanu ended his international career following Nigeria's exit from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Nigeria lost their group matches against Argentina and Greece, before a 2-2 draw with South Korea ended their stay in the tournament. He won 86 caps and scored 13 goals for his country and is the joint most capped Nigerian player of all-time alongside Muda Lawal. Missing from his collection is the African Cup of Nations and failure to score a Nations Cup goal despite taking part in six editions from 2000 to 2010.

Daily Independent

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Another Nigeria vs Argentina friendly confirmed for September

The Nigeria Football Federation has confirmed that the national senior team, Super Eagles, will trade tackles with Argentina in another international friendly in Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh on September 6.

NFF's acting General Secretary, Barrister Musa Amadu said on Wednesday: "Yes, we can confirm that there will be an international friendly match between the Nigeria senior team and the senior team of Argentina in Bangladesh in September.

"Every document that will make the match a reality has been signed and we are looking forward to a big game. The two teams will go to Bangladesh with their first teams and all the top stars," said Amadu.

Nigeriathrashed Argentina 4-1 in an international friendly match at the National Stadium, Abuja on Wednesday, June 1.

This second clash, in three months between the two countries, comes up three days after the Super Eagles' very important African Nations Cup qualifier against Madagascar in Antananarivo.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Kanye West signs Dbanj and Don Jazzy to G.O.O.D music label

Dbanj and Don Jazzy have been officially signed to Kanye West’s music label G.O.O.D (Getting Out Our Dreams). The music label G.O.O.D boasts award winning stars such as John Legend, Kid Cudi and Common.

D’Banj’s manager, Sunday Are of List Entertainment, confirmed that there have been talks between Mr. West and D’banj but that D’Banj officially signed the contract today. “Yes there have been discussions between the two parties lately. They have been exchanging contracts but now the wait is over, he said.

This development was confirmed by both Dbanj and Don Jazzy on twitter:
Dbanj tweeted “Just like yesterday myself and my brother did Tongolo. 7yrs later Mo’
Hits signs with Good Music. Best birthday gift ever. God thank u”

Don Jazzy also tweeted “Thanks for ur love and prayers always. Now we can hear IDJA (Its Don Jazzy again) from the world’s finest Stars. Thanks again, it’s Naija”

Information Nigeria

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Argentina want rematch with Super Eagles

In a desperate efforts to avenge the disgraceful 4-1 defeat in the hands of the Super Eagles of Nigeria in Abuja,Argentina have initiated a rematch against the Albiceleste before the end of the year.

The planned rematch is may hold in the month of September in a yet to be named venue.

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is also discussing a proposal with the Ghana Football Association for an international friendly.

It was gathered that the planned friendly between Super eagles and Black Stars will take place in London in August.

The general secretary of NFF, Musa Amadu, revealed that two international friendly games are on the cards for the Super Eagles but cannot confirm them yet.

"Yes two friendly matches are being lined up for the men's national team. One should come up on August 9 just before the season kicks off in Europe.

"The other one is billed for September 6. But all of these are not confirmed yet since talks are still on. In about a week or more we should get a clearer picture of the teams the Super Eagles will play and the venues for the matches," said Amadu.

Daily Champion

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George Weah, Eto'o, Adebayor to honour Nwankwo Kanu

Cameroonian ace, Samuel Eto'o Fils is among several retired and active international superstars who will make up the 'Friends of Kanu' in Saturday's glamour Nwankwo Kanu Testimonial Football Match at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.

The match is between 'Friends of Kanu' and 'Super Eagles All-Stars'.

Officials involved in the organization of the showpiece game to honour the most celebrated Nigerian footballer of all time confirmed yesterday that most of the ex and current leading lights of international football coming have already secured their entry visas into Nigeria.

Saturday's match is expected to pull a huge crowd to the 25,000-capacity Teslim Balogun Stadium, which itself is named after one of the heroes of Nigerian football.

Another of the biggest names to be welcomed to the artificial turf of the Teslim Balogun Stadium is George Oppong Weah, the only African to have won the World, European and African Footballer of the Year awards, achieved in the same year - 1995.

Weah, who was one of two candidates for the Liberian presidential election few years ago, will re-unite with former Cameroonian captain Rigobert Song, who played in four World Cup finals between 1994 and 2010.

A much-younger Song, Alex, who plays for English Premiership side Arsenal, will also be around, alongside team-mate and Ivorian international defender Emmanuel Eboue, Ghanaian World Cup defender John Paintsil, Bafana Bafana forward Tiko Modise and Uruguayan star Roberto Solano.

Togo Captain Emmanuel Adebayor, former Bafana Bafana and Leeds United captain Lucas Radebe, Chelsea and Ghanaian midfield powerhouse Michael Essien and former Dutch marksman Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink are also expected.

Daily Champion

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Goodluck Jonathan meets Barack Obama today

President Goodluck Jonathan will hold bilateral talks today with United States President Barrack Obama at the White House, Washington D.C. after participating in the UN HIV/AIDS meeting yesterday.

Jonathan, who arrived New York Monday night with First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan, restated Nigeria's support for the global fight against HIV/AIDS as the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution calling for urgent and co-ordinated international efforts to curb the impact of the scourge in conflict and post-conflict situations.

Contributing to the open debate on the impact of the deadly disease on international peace and security by members of the UN Security Council at the UN headquarters in New York, Jonathan stressed that the "time is ripe for a final solution" to the 30-year-old pandemic.

Jonathan said that "as the largest contributor to peacekeeping in Africa and the fourth largest in the world, Nigeria has a major stake, not only in ensuring that our armed forces are protected against HIV/AIDS but also given adequate treatment."

The President also expressed Nigeria's concern over the consequences of gender-based violence related to HIV/AIDS, especially in conflict situations.

Nigeria, Gabon and South Africa are the three African non-permanent representatives in the Security Council participating in the special debate before Wednesday's enlarged high-level meeting on HIV/AIDS at the General Assembly with 14 foreign leaders expected to attend.

Daily Trust

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Monday, June 6, 2011

32 Teenagers on trial for planning to sell babies

Dozens of pregnant teenagers in Abia State could face charges after being accused of planning to sell their babies into a growing child trafficking trade in the state and most parts of the South-east, the state police has said.

The pregnant teenagers - 32 girls aged between 15 and 18 years - were arrested during the raid of an illegal clinic in Aba in Abia State last week.

The girls were taken at the Cross Foundation, locally known as Heda Clinic. The clinic's director was also arrested. The police accused him of buying the babies from the young mothers and selling them for a generous profit to childless couples.

He denied the charge, and said he was a volunteer doctor who delivers the unwanted babies and then places them in orphanages.

"One of the girls told us that mothers sell their babies for $160 to $190," Abia State police chief Bala Hassan told The Associated Press.

They can then be resold for up to $6,400, depending on their gender. Traditionally, boys are preferred, as they can inherit land according to the local Igbo culture, said Arinze Orakwe, spokesman of the National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic in Persons.

"This girl already feels that she has brought a burden onto her family and onto herself, and she wants to get it over with," added Orakwe.

Child trafficking carries a penalty of 14 years to life imprisonment.

This Day

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Man cuts off own genitals with razor

A middle-aged man (names withheld) in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun, had on Friday severed his manhood with a razor blade in broad day light.

The incident, which occurred at the popular Oyingbo Road, the commercial centre of the town, drew the attention of hundreds of residents.

An eyewitness revealed that the man was walking along Folagbade Road but suddenly stopped at Oyingbo Road junction and brought out a razor blade. The account said the man used the razor blade to cut off his male organ.

"I saw the man coming from Folagbade Road in a well-behaved manner but suddenly stopped at Oyingbo junction.

"He pulled off his trousers and brought out a razor blade to cut off his manhood.

"Those of us who were at the scene of the incident could not believe it because it was totally strange to us," an eyewitness said.

It was learnt that the man, in a pool of his own blood, was rushed to the state hospital by sympathizers.

When contacted, the chief medical director of the hospital, Dr Wellington Ogunsanya, confirmed the incident.

He said that a high level of depression and frustration might have led the man to commit such an act.

Ogunsanya, however, said that doctors were in the process of performing a reconstructive operation on the man.


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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Video - Nigeria vs Argentina goals

Nigeria warmed up for Sunday's Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in style when thumping Argentina 4-1 in Abuja.

The visitors paid heavily for fielding an experimental side, with Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez, Javier Mascherano and Sergio Aguero all absent.

Instead, a B side attempting to force their way into coach Sergio Batista 's Copa America squad were soundly beaten.

Ikechukwu Uche (2), Obinna Nsofor and Emmanuel Emenike netted for the hosts before Argentina's late consolation.

Coach Samson Siasia's will now travel to Ethiopia for Sunday's Group B qualifier in buoyant mood.

The absence of so many big names had inititally provoked anger among some Nigerian fans but this may now be overlooked given the manner of victory.

Uche grabbed his first early on as his shot deflected over the Argentina goalkeeper.

Nsofor doubled the lead with a penalty just before the half-hour, before Uche headed home at the far post to give the Super Eagles a 3-0 half-time lead.

To the delight of those who watched inside the Abuja National Stadium, Siasia's men then took a four-goal lead.

Turkey-based Emmanuel Emenike sent the 30,000 fans wild as he converted against the shell-shocked Argentinians.

Deep into injury time, Mauro Boselli grabbed a consolation goal for the visitors, who performed well below par.

Argentina will host the Copa America, South American continental championships, from 01-24 July.

Nigeria: 1-Vincent Enyeama (16-Dele Aiyegnuba, 46); 2-Joseph Yobo, 3-Taiwo Taye, 5-Efe Ambrose, 6-Chibuzor Okonkwo (13-Yusuf Ayila, 67); 10-John Mikel Obi, 4-Joel Obi (17-Ogwude Fegor, 72), 12-Kalu Uche (7-Ahmed Musa, 46), 15-Ike Uche; 18-Victor Obinna (8-Peter Utaka, 80), 9-Victor Anichebe (11-Emanuel Emunike, 44)

Argentina: 1-Adrian Gabbarini; 2-Ezequiel Garay (13-Mateo Musacchio, 65), 3-Emiliano Insua 4-Pablo Zabaleta, 6-Federico Fazio; 5-Mario Bolatti, 8-Fernando Belluschi (15-Nicolas Bertolo, 62), 14-Alberto Costa (20-Alejandro Cabral, 58), 10-Nicolas Gaitan; 9-Mauro Boselli, 18-Diego Perotti (11-Franco Jara, 70).

Referee: Ibrahim Chaibou (Niger)


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