Archives October 2023

Ballon d’Or rankings: Mikel Arteta sets challenge for two Arsenal players

Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta has challenged Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka to finish even higher next time on the Ballon d’Or ranking after the pair made it to the final top 30 nominees.

Arteta spoke at his pre-match press conference ahead of Arsenal’s Carabao Cup tie with West Ham United on Wednesday.

Recall that Messi won this year’s Ballon d’Or ahead of the likes of Manchester City striker Erling Haaland and Paris Saint-Germain forward, Kylian Mbappe, who finished in second and third place, respectively on Monday night in Paris.

Saka and Odegaard both received their first-ever nominations for the award, finishing a joint-28th and 24th on the 30-man list.

Asked if he had spoken to his players who made the Ballon d’Or list, Arteta told reporters: “Yeah, pride is always good, to look at yourselves next to those names and in those lists.

“So it’s a compliment for them, for what they’ve done. And now the challenge is to be higher up the list next season – because that would mean that you’ve done it again.”

(Daily Post)

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Plateau: APC hails Dafaan over appeal court victory

The Plateau chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has congratulated John Dafaan over his victory at the Court of Appeal as the member-elect for Shendam/Qua’an-Pan/Mikang Federal Constituency.

The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Friday nullified the election of Rep Isaac Kwallu of PDP and declared Dafaan as winner.

APC, in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Mr Sylvanus Namang, on Tuesday in Jos, described Dafaan’s victory as well deserved.

Namang said that APC had confidence in Dafaan, the former Chief of Staff to ex-Gov. Simon Lalong, to offer quality representation to his constituents.

He lauded the appeal court judgment and described it as a landmark victory.

“This fair, firm and unanimous decision of the court has, indeed, portrayed the judiciary as a hallowed temple of justice.

“Its stand is a deft move towards protecting and preserving the integrity and independence of the judiciary.

“This is in spite of mischievous attempts in some quarters to put the judiciary on a needless social media trial through several ill-motivated smear campaigns.

“The judgment is unprecedented, sound and historic in all ramifications.

“To say the least, the judgment is a page-turning development in the annals of our jurisprudence, as the judges have stood very strong and tall in their decisions, regardless of all the innuendos and blackmails,” he stressed.

(Daily Post)

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Bayelsa guber poll: Judiciary vindicated for reinstating me, says APC guber candidate, Sylva

Following the Appeal court verdict reinstating him as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva has said that the judiciary has vindicated itself.

Recall that the High Court in Abuja had on October 9 declared that Sylva was not eligible to participate in the gubernatorial contest having already spent five years in office as governor of the state.

The Court of Appeal reversed the high court verdict on Tuesday, reinstating Sylva as APC candidate for the November 11 guber poll.

Sylva reacted to the development on Tuesday in Abuja after meeting with the Deputy National Chairman, North, Bukar Dalori and the National Secretary of the party, Senator Ajibola Bashir.

The immediate past Minister of Petroleum insisted that it was very clear that the APC is going to win the November 11 governorhip election.

Sylva said that was the reason the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) decided to go to court to stop him to make sure he’s not on the ballot.

Sylva stated: “Today, when the court now said that the guy who did not participate at all in the process had no locus, and I was a little bit confused, but the judiciary has vindicated itself.”

He said although the person that took him to court claim to be a member of APC, the suit was orchestrated by the PDP.

(Daily Post)

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Rivers crisis: Tinubu intervenes, requests Wike, Fubara to douse tensions – Bauchi gov

The President is currently in talks with the Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, and his predecessor, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, disclosed this to The PUNCH shortly after the Police Council meeting at the State House which both men attended.

“The President is on a call, he is speaking to both parties to douse the tensions,” Mohammed said.

Both Wike and Fubara attached the Police Council meeting that confirmed the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, who was nominated in late June.

The PUNCH reported that both men were spotted shaking hands upon meeting at the State House.

It’s been 24 hours since the Rivers State House of Assembly served an impeachment notice on Fubara.

(Punch)

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Mohbad: Naira Marley, Sam Larry seek redress in court against magistrate, police, demand N40m

Controversial singer, Abdulazeez Fashola, alias Naira Marley, and Lagos socialite, Samson Eletu, alias Sam Larry, have filed a fundamental rights suit to challenge their continued detention over the death of 27-year-old singer, Ilerioluwa Aloba, alias Mohbad.

Joined as defendants in the suit filed before the Federal High Court in Lagos were the police and the Lagos magistrate, Adeola Olatunbosun, who ordered their remand in police custody for 21 days.

Naira Marley and Sam Larry are each demanding N20m damages from the defendants.

In the suit filed through their lawyer, Mr Olalekan Ojo (SAN), they are urging the court to declare that the continued detention “at the Homicide Section of the Lagos State Police Command, Panti, Yaba, Lagos State since October 4, 2023,” constituted a violation of their rights.

They are seeking “an order of the court releasing the applicants forthwith.”

In the affidavits attached to their suits,  deponents said, “Their travails started between October 3 and 4, 2023 when they were arrested by the police on the alleged connection of the applicants with the death of one Ilerioluwa Aloba, aka Mohbad.

“On the 4th day of October 2023,  the Commissioner of Police sought an order in the Magistrates’ Court, held at Yaba to remand them for 30 days.

“Chief Magistrate Adeola Olatunbosun granted the police application to remand them for only 21 days in the custody of the police.

“The 21-day remand order granted by Chief Magistrate Olatunbosun has since lapsed on October 26, 2023, and the order has not been renewed.”

(Punch)

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Disbursement to institutions will increase in 2024 – TETFund

The Tertiary Education Trust Fund says it has budgeted a significant increase in annual direct disbursements in response to improvement in tax collections.

The Executive Secretary of TETFund, Sonny Echono, made this known in Abuja on Tuesday at an interactive session with heads of beneficiary institutions on the disbursement guidelines for the 2024 intervention cycle.

Echono, who appreciated the Federal Inland Revenue Service for its diligent efforts in collecting the education taxes, said that the 2023 collection was being allocated by the fund for the 2024 intervention projects.

Echono also said that its 2023 collection of education tax was the highest in a single year since inception.

The TETFund boss also attributed the high revenue to increases approved by the former and present administrations to 3 per cent of accessible profit and other factors diligently implemented by the FIRS in collaboration with the TETFund.

Speaking on the proposed areas of focus under the 2024 intervention programme, he said TETFund had budgeted a significant increase in annual direct disbursements in response to the improvement in tax collections.

According to him, 90.54 per cent of taxes generated is budgeted for direct disbursement and designated 6.5 per cent for some projects and 2.94 for stabilisation to enable the fund to respond to emerging issues, all of which are subject to final distribution/approvals.

“The proposed new interventions in the annual direct disbursement include the establishment of Career Centre/Unit in all categories of beneficiary institutions, as well as institution-based skills development for polytechnics to improve the employability and career prospects of students.

“For the Special Direct Disbursement, we have increased the allocation and number of beneficiary institutions for the Special High Impact Programme,” he said.

He added that SHIP would also focus on “provision of hostels using the Public Private Partnership arrangement for selected beneficiary institutions.

“We have also sustained allocations for Research including the National Research Fund Research and Innovation Fund, uptake of research findings to commercialisation, and supervision of scholars’ PhD research.

“We have made provision for four central multipurpose laboratories and an additional provision for the three agricultural laboratories and farms initiated in 2023.

“We have sustained the implementation of the ICT roadmap with provision for converged services, subscription services for fixed cable /internet access and the Tertiary Education Research Application Services initiative.

“There will be an upgrade of laboratories, workshops and equipment to Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education (Technical) for the 2024 Intervention Year. There will also be the early grade resource centres phase II to Colleges of Education,” he said.

He described the year 2023 as “an impactful year that had witnessed a series of programmes such as the development of the TETFund ICT roadmap culminating in the deployment of the BIMS and launching of the TERAS platforms.

He added that there had also been the commencement of the designs and strategy for the innovation hubs to selected beneficiary institutions, and the constitution of the committee for the establishment of two central research laboratories.

Echono expressed the fund’s determination to deepen research, promote innovation and honing of skills, and encourage the discovery and development of creative talents amongst scholars and especially the students as a major pillar of the renewed hope agenda of the present administration.

(Punch)

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No plans to redenominate naira — CBN

The Central Bank of Nigeria has said that it has no plan to redenominate or restructure the naira notes in 2024.

The apex bank said this on Tuesday in a statement signed by its Director, Corporate Communications, Isa AbdulMumin, and shared on its X handle.

The CBN urged Nigerians to disregard the wide circulation of a text message suggesting that the Bank plans to redenominate the country’s legal tender next year, noting that the contents of the message are misleading.

“We are concerned that this narrative, which we had refuted before now, appears to be gaining traction with several debates on the implication of
such a policy for the Nigerian economy.

“We wish to reiterate that the contents of the message are misleading. The authors of the message, in their mischief, modified text eked from an old policy move by a previous CBN Governor in 2007 to make it appear recent.

“For the avoidance of doubt, there is currently no plan by the Bank to restructure and redenominate the naira.”

However, it added that while the bank may be considering reforms, “such are subject to laid down procedures in line with the provisions of the CBN Act, 2007.

“The public is hereby advised to ignore the news report, as it is speculative and calculated to cause panic in the polity,” AbdulMumin added.

The bank had in 2022 redesigned the N200, N500 and N1000 notes.

(Punch)

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Crack between Wike, Fubara emerges as impeachment plot thickens

The political marriage between the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike and Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State may be hitting the rock barely six months after a tranfer of power between the duo.

The alleged crack, The Guardian gathered last night was sequel to Wike’s overbearing nature and control of things in the state he relinquished power from on May 29, despite serving as FCT Minister.

Stakeholders in the state had expressed concern over seemingly slow pace of effective governance barely six months after Fubara was sworn-in to office. This is as rumours of impeaching the governor is thickening.

A source in the state Assembly told The Guardian that plans has been orchestrated to first impeach the state Assembly leader, Edison Ehie, who is said to have been opposing former governor Wike’s dictatorial tendencies.

However, amid the rift, suspected thugs on Sunday invaded the Assembly complex and burnt the building using Improvised Explosive Devices (IED).

In the meantime, the Assembly complex has been taken over by the police with over 17 armoured vehicles with stern looking security personnel stationed around it.

Though there had been relative inactivity in the state, Fubara had earlier inaugurated 14 commissioners and assigned portfolios to them and just last week after much criticism from opposition political parties, he (Fubara) inaugurated additional five commissioners who were screened by the House of Assembly.

The feud between the duo became visible after the swearing of the latest Commissioners.

It was gathered that Wike was not happy with Fubara’s move to revive Shonghai Farm and other initiated programs that will benefit the people.

Shonghai was initiated by former governor Chibuike Amaechi, who has been in festering crisis with Wike.

Meanwhile, some youth groups have issued strong warning to Wike not to truncate the relative peace in the state, saying they will not sit, fold their arms and allow anyone to remove the governor from office.

In a swift reaction to the development, the Coalition of Democratic Vanguard, a unified group of concerned citizens, condemned attempts by Wike and his allies for allegedly seeking to impeach Governor Fubara and Edison Ehie, the leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

The Coalition in a statement signed by its Chairman, Thompson Orumbo, and Secretary, Peter Nwabunna, warned Wike not to undermine democratic process and urged all parties involved to respect the will of the people and prioritize the betterment of Rivers State.

“Rivers State has made significant strides in the pursuit of development and stability under the leadership of Governor Fubara. The governor has championed policies and initiatives that have positively impacted the lives of the citizens. Political squabbles and power struggles should not hinder the progress, and the people’s mandate must be respected,” the group stated.

“The Coalition calls upon Wike and his co-travellers to prioritize the interests of the people and set aside personal and political interest. The unity and stability of Rivers State should be the primary goal, with cooperative efforts dedicated to achieving sustained development, improved infrastructure, and the welfare of its citizens”.

The Coalition said, if Wike and his men have genuine concerns regarding the performance or integrity of Fubara and Ehie, they should first present concrete evidence through appropriate channels, such as investigations to ensure that any actions taken will be based on facts and not subject to personal motives.

“Rivers State is not the personal estate of Wike, as such should be allowed to be governed by the chosen one of Rivers, Governor Fubara for the advancement of a greater Rivers State.

“The Coalition reiterates its warning to Wike and his allies against any attempts to undermine the democratic process to plough unrest in Rivers State. It calls for adherence to democratic principles,” the statement added.

Similarly, the National Youth Council of Nigeria in Rivers has expressed support to Governor  Fubara.

The chairman of the apex youth body in the state, Chijioke Ihunwo, warned those trying to truncate the tenure of Governor Fubara to watch their back.

“The youths will not sit, fold their arms and allow anyone to remove the governor from office,” he warned.

(Guardian)

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APC petitions NBA over Abure, Kenneth Okonkwo’s utterances

The ruling All Progressives Congress has written the disciplinary committee of the Nigerian Bar Association to report what it labelled as ‘deprecating remarks’ against the justices of the Supreme Court by the National Chairman of the Labour Party, Julius Abure, and a spokesman of the party campaign council, Kenneth Okonkwo.

In the petition signed by the National Secretary of APC, Senator Ajibola Basiru, the ruling party disclosed that making inciting statements against the justices and the judiciary was an act it considered a breach of Abure and Okonkwo’s duty as legal practitioners.

In an exclusive phone chat with The PUNCH, Ajibola stated that as stakeholders in Nigeria’s democracy, they cannot fold their arms and watch the judiciary being brought into disrepute by those who ought to know better.

He said, “It is true that the APC is presenting a petition to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee against the duo of Abure and Kenneth of Okonkwo. The duo make deprecating remarks about the justices of the Supreme Court and the judiciary which acts we consider a breach of their duties as legal practitioners.

“They should defend themselves accordingly rather than their party engaging in unnecessary characteristic ranting.”

Reacting via a statement on Sunday night, National Publicity Secretary of the Labour Party, Obiora Ifoh, emphasised that the petition was a vindication of Abure’s earlier warning that President Bola Tinubu and the APC are planning to come after their chieftains and presidential candidate, Peter Obi.

Ifoh stated that reporting the duo to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee, a unit under the NBA, was the beginning of the rumoured persecution they suspected.

He said, “Nigerians will recall in our press statement of Thursday that we alerted the nation some key leaders of the Labour Party have been earmarked for vilification and persecution using security agencies and other institutions in the aftermath of the judgement of the Supreme Court, on the Presidential Election.

“The party views this action by the APC, less than three days after the Supreme Court judgment, as a confirmation of our suspicion and information of a campaign of persecution, harassment, intimidation and incarceration against the Labour Party and its overwhelming supporters, nationally and globally. We hold firmly and with no fear of contradiction, that every court judgment, especially on political matters, is subject to criticism and administrative review. All authorities in Nigeria including the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria derive their strength and authority from the people. Therefore, all authority in Nigeria is subject to public opinion and oversight.

“Again, we emphatically state, that all those statements were made during Public and press interaction, respective to their political offices and responsibilities, and were not delivered in their personal capacities, or in their professional duties, as legal practitioners. They were purely political statements, delivered in their capacities as the National Chairman of the Labour Party, as well as the spokesperson of the Obi Datti Presidential Council. Probably, the APC leadership is not duly enlightened, that once a judgement is delivered, comments coming afterward, are no longer considered subjudice.

“Several other Nigerians, including notable legal luminaries, including a retiring Justice of the Supreme Court, have also freely expressed their opinions on the procedure and outcome of the Supreme Court Judgement. Therefore, for the APC to isolate our leaders for vilification, by exaggerated and misguided inferences, our fears of persecution have begun to materialise.”

Continuing, the spokesman warned that if the administration succeeds in its alleged dictatorial path to hound and vilify opposition political parties and supporters, it stands to destroy a democracy, still battered and trying to recover, from the unprecedented chain of events witnessed in the aftermath of the election season.

“We call on all democratic fronts in Nigeria, and people of goodwill, to rise up to this ugly and unfortunate development, and to work in joint purpose, towards protecting public opinion, and upholding human rights, in Nigeria, as guaranteed by the Constitution, and international statutes, before they are totally and entirely compromised.

“Finally we appeal to the NBA to not allow itself to be dragged into APC’s murky political ways through which it has shamelessly compromised key institutions,” he stated.

(Punch)

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Rivers crisis gets messier as lawmakers sign impeachment notice on Gov. Fubara

The crisis rocking the Rivers State government got messier on Monday as the state Assembly reportedly signed an impeachment notice on Governor Siminalaye Fubara.

In a session that was presided over by the Speaker, Rt Hon Martins Amaewhule and attended by a good number of members, the Leader of the House, Hon Edison Ehie and those loyal to the governor were suspended.

It was gathered that the explosion that occurred in the Assembly on Sunday night was alleged to have been a ploy to stop the lawmakers from gaining access to the Assembly on Monday.

As early as 7 a.m., some lawmakers made their way into the House and immediately commenced plenary where they all signed the impeachment notice on the governor.

Meanwhile, the entire Moscow Road leading to the Rivers State House of Assembly has been barricaded by armed policemen.

(Vanguard)

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