Archive for February, 2013

About four Improvised Explosive Devices suspected to have been planted by terrorists in Maiduguri the Borno state capital , Thursday, exploded at different locations within the metropolis.

The explosions occurred simultaneously at Baga road, Customs, Gamboru general areas at about 3pm, while that last one in London ciki happened at about 6pm.

An unconfirmed report from a hospital source said, over six corpses including security operatives and  that of civilians were brought to the mortuary of the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.

When contacted, State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Yuguda Abdullahi said, he was aware of only one blast in Maiduguri where he personally visited the scene, but declined comment on the number of casualties.

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B*R*E*A*K*I*N*G News!
Construction Workers Kidnap: 5 British Military Planes Arrive In Nigeria.

An attempt to rescue abducted seven expatriates working with SETRACO Construction Company in Jama’are local government area of Bauchi State might be under way.
Five British jet bombers yesterday arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

Media exclusively sighted the bombers which were parked at the international wing of the airport.

The foreign workers, who included five Lebanese, a Briton and an Italian, were abducted last Saturday by unknown gunmen in Bauchi.

Media further gathered that the bombers might be on their way to prepare ground for the eventual rescue of the foreigners.

The jet bombers were said to have arrived in the early hours of yesterday while their colours comprised three ash and two army green. The army green jets were marked “Royal Army”.

Media further observed some foreign soldiers putting on brown camouflage uniforms were entering one of the army green jets in preparation for departure.

It was further gathered that some of the jets had started leaving the airport for certain locations to assist in the rescue of the kidnapped foreigners.

The four grey-coloured jets departed the Abuja airport at about 5.55pm, leaving only the army-green jet at the airport as at press time.

The entry of the jets, the military source said, was to prevent the recent failed rescue operation in Sokoto where the terrorists killed the foreigners before they could be rescued by the security agencies, including foreign officers.

When contacted over the unusual sighting of the jets, the British high commissioner in Nigeria, Mr. Rob Fitzpatrick, told Media, “This is routine military-to-military engagement.”

Britain’s Foreign Office had said two men were held by terrorists associated with Boko Haram, a radical Islamist sect in Nigeria blamed for more than 300 killings this year alone.

Wise men speak because They have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.

~ Plato

Since the advent of the Jonathanian era in the governance of the Nigerian State, government and the entire government apparatchik has been turned into one huge theater of comical absurdities, where those closest to the “man in charge” are vying to outdo themselves in absurdities and baloney. The soundbites coming out of the Federal and various State governments is comical at best. But on a closer examination, it is more tragi-comedic than saner citizens could wish for, especially for a country which parades great minds such as past Nobel laureate, winners of Pulitzer Prizes at various times, intelligentsia in various fields of human endeavours etc.

Nigerians have cried out severally against various heists either organized or superintended over by top government officials. Where do we start from? Is it the N2.6 trillion heist in the guise of fuel subsidy, the moribund yet drain pipe surreptitiously named SURE-P, the Maina led barefaced grab of about N194 billion pension fund, to the payment of billions to some militant leaders as a reward for their “heroic actions” of terrorism against their country, to the claim by Punch editorial indicting the government of outright looting of N5 trillion since inception? These and many more stealing and banditry by the federal government have been the reasons why poverty and unemployment have been growing exponentially in the past few years.

Probably due to the hue and cry of the citizens, it appears that the government has decided to respond by ameliorating the suffering of the mass of the citizenry by unleashing comical characters on Nigerians who are hell bent on putting the Alibabas and Basket-mouths of this world, out of business. These characters in and within the apparatchik of the Jonathan government have been on a struggle to out do each other lately, on who can say or do the ‘darndest’ things.

Let’s begin with the president himself. Nigerians were understandably over the moon when the senior national football team won the latest edition of the African Cup of Nations. It was a moment of pride. The team had been promised the sum of $15,000 each as match bonus, if they Won, which they eventually did. But as soon as they came back to Nigeria, the comedy began. President Jonathan immediately told whoever cared to listen that the Super Eagles win was as a result of the “transformation agenda” of his government And he proceeded to shower the team with plots of land in Abuja, the federal capital and N150million in cash gifts (aside the $15,000 bonus already paid). Meanwhile he conveniently forgot that the Olympic team didn’t get a SINGLE MEDAL for the first time in years at the last olympics. Apparently that should also be a part of the transformation agenda!

Enter the choir boys and fellow jesters and comics. Beginning from the Governor of Delta State who splashed N80 million of Delta state funds on the same Eagles and Lagos State following closely behind with the sum of N54million. Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Rivers States have all signified interests in continuing the culture of wastage in March when the Eagles would be assembled for another international game.

I have gone into this details to highlight the hypocrisy and self serving nature of the government. When the disabled athletes restored us some pride after the fiasco that was the London 2012 Olympic games for Nigeria, not only were they not feted like the footballers, they were initially dumped at the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos. It took our hue and cry before they were grudgingly hosted at the OJEZ restaurant inside the same national stadium. My question is: are they less humans than the footballers?
As if the government does not provide enough entertainment, few so-called “rich men who loved football” joined in the orgy of waste. Meanwhile the Falcons (Nigerian female national football team) is moribund as we speak. The local league is without a recognized sponsor and the few football academies where young ones can be developed, are comatose. But in our character, who cares? Let’s celebrate the winners today, tomorrow will sort itself out. How jejune! I am aware that Newcastle football club in England is owned by Mike Ashley, a local millionaire. One would expect our government made billionaires, since they love football so much, to invest in local teams of their choice, the way the late MKO Abiola did with Abiola Babes. But not these ones. They will rather join the FG train and dance their macabre dance of waste and avarice to the detriment of TRUE sports Development.

The comedy in government continued with The minister of (mis)Information, LieBaran Maku embarking on a strange and unheard of national junketing, shamelessly tagged “good governance tour”. He has with him an entourage of over 120 people. I wondered why we needed a minister and his merry band of journeymen to tell Nigerians about good governance. It was still a mystery to many right thinking Nigerians, Why the minister needed this tour until the comrade Governor of Edo state, Adams Oshiomhole exposed the fraud inherent in Maku and his merry band of tourists. Maku had demanded the government of Edo state to fund the feeding, accommodation and miscellaneous expenses of himself and his co-jesters on the senseless tour. Of course, the Governor of Edo State did the most sensible thing– he declined the proposal flatly.

But the mother of all comedies was unleashed when the first lady, aptly nicknamed Patience “the Lazarene” Jonathan, regaled Nigerians with her tale of how she died for seven days and MIRACULOUSLY rose again after nine surgeries. She forgot to tell us how heaven looked like, though. Hopefully she will do so in her first lady “memoir” at the end of her “tenure” of OFFICE.

In case you are wondering why the indentation, she has been given an official seal of office.

Meanwhile, upon her initial return to Nigeria, she had denied been ill and in fact rained curses on some unknown “enemies spreading false rumours concerning her health”. The saddest part of the tragic comedy of the first lady is not about her ill conceived and wasteful testimony time, which cost tax payers N500 million, it is watching full grown men and women, including so called MEN OF GOD clapping and nodding shamelessly. I wonder what was on the minds of the privileged members of that August congregation.

Plato had opined: “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light”.

The tragedy of the current state of governance in Nigeria is captured in this short quote. The current federal government is not only moribund and inept, the protagonist is equally surrounded by men with flexible morality and characters. Men who would rather the darkness remain pervasive as long as its persistence is to their shallow benefits. Same reason why men of God will sit and clap through such baloney and dance with corn cobs tied to their waists, as long as their jets are fuelled.

Recently, we were regaled with how inflation in Nigeria has been pruned down to a single digit. One wonders which Nigeria is being talked about? Reno Omokri the special assistant to Jonathan on twitter affairs, was so happy to share this “lovely” piece of information. Although he forgot to tell Nigerians that he was twitting from California. I challenge him to join me on a road tour of selected Nigerian cities to test his single digit inflation theory.

While the government proudly celebrates “YOUTHS” by splashing millions on the Super Eagles, millions of graduate youths are roaming the streets jobless. They created a “cartoon” called YOUWIN to provide jobs for 120,000 youths out of over 40 million unemployed youths, yet those 120,000 are yet to get the funds they were promised by the government. But the same government nonetheless, embarked on a naira rain for the footballers. How else do you define ‘janus-face’? I have no qualms if the Super Eagles got half the federal budgets, I only wish they would extend same magnanimity to the poor man who recently built an air-plane or the indigent but brilliant first-class youths idling away due to lack of opportunities.

We have found some comic relief out of the sheer bunkum and baloney daily served to us by the court clowns and palace jesters milling around Aso Rock, but it appears that the business of governance in Nigeria has become inherently too comical, which if unchecked might end up as a tragi-comedy.

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The Frenchman was present at a routine board meeting on Thursday and his future was not on the agenda.

It is understood that Wenger, who joined the club in 1996, will continue to have the long-term support of the board.

Arsenal announced a new £150m deal with Emirates airline in November last year which will bring in £30m a season from shirt and stadium sponsorship.

It’s believed the Arsenal board are prepared to approve around £70m of spending on new signings in the summer transfer window, although an exact figure has not been discussed.

Club sources maintain they have the infrastructure to compete with the biggest clubs in Europe and believe a strong financial performance off the pitch will produce long-term benefits on the pitch.

Arsenal are five points behind third-placed Chelsea in the Premier League and trail Bayern Munich 3-1 after the first leg of their Champions League last 16 game.

The club’s majority shareholder, Stan Kroenke, was also present at Thursday’s meeting along with chief executive Ivan Gazidis and other board members.

Wenger has a contract at Arsenal until 2014 and the Arsenal manager angrily denied a report in the build-up to the Bayern clash that the club had offered him a new deal.

“It’s the wrong information,” he said, whose side have not won a trophy for eight years. “I think I deserve a bit more credit than wrong information that has only one intention – to harm.”

 NFF President, Alhaji Aminu Maigari has praised the Executive Governors of Delta and Lagos States, as well as corporate partners Globacom, Guinness and Cadbury Nigeria Plc for their tremendous show of love to the Super Eagles after the team’s triumph at the 29th Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.
 
Globacom chairman, Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr has offered cars and house to Head Coach Stephen Keshi, while Guinness Nigeria Plc and Cadbury Nigeria Plc hosted the team in Lagos at the weekend, ‘spoiling’ them with gifts.
 
Also, Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan and Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos have provided cash and material rewards, with Governor Uduaghan offering to build a house for Coach Keshi, CON in Delta State.
 
“We really appreciate these very kind gestures from the sports-loving Governors of Delta and Lagos States, and Globacom, Guinness and Cadbury. They have done so well for the players and coaches and we commend them greatly.
 
“These Governors and the corporate bodies have stuck with the NFF and the Super Eagles through thick and thin, and their gestures now have shown them to be friends-for-ever,” said Maigari.
 

NFF: We Never Planned To Sack Keshi

Posted: February 17, 2013 in Sports

The Nigeria Football Federation has dismissed insinuations and dark innuendoes in sections of the media that it planned to sack Super Eagles’ Head Coach, Stephen Keshi at the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.
 
Chairman of the NFF Media and Publicity Committee, Chief Emeka Inyama said at the weekend that the Federation had not bothered to dignify the insinuations with any response before now as it considered those rumours to be of such low quality undeserving of any attention.
 
“If an employer sits down with an employee to review performance, with focus on better output, that does not amount to threat of sack. In the civilized world, that happens every other day.
 
“The NFF never planned to sack Keshi as the Head Coach or the entire technical crew in its entirety. The Executive Committee is made up of decent and responsible Nigerians and we have respect for our employees and their contracts.”
 
Inyama lamented the desperation by some persons to discredit the NFF after the team had emerged triumphant in South Africa.
 
“We do not have anything against people jumping on the train of success after the Super Eagles became champions of Africa. Success has many fathers (and mothers). But it is uncharitable to try and take anything away from the Federation that worked day and night to achieve the success.
 
“The NFF employed Stephen Keshi in the first place, gave him the motivation and incentives, and arranged friendly matches against Botswana, Zambia, Angola, Liberia, Egypt, Peru, Niger, Venezuela, Catalonia, Cape Verde and some European clubs to give the boys necessary exposure and turf courage. We got the team to Portugal for final training camp before receiving part of the money approved for the competition.
 
“We paid the coaches the salaries owed them before the tournament, and till end of January. That does not show an employer that wants to dispense with an employee.”
 
Inyama wondered why some persons are suddenly desperate to take some credit away from the NFF for the triumph.
 
“The truth is that if the team had failed, it would have been the NFF’s neck on the chopping block. Now that it has succeeded, people are clawing at just anything to try and discredit the NFF. This is not only unfair, it is unacceptable.”      
 
Inyama insisted that the NFF had already put the triumph behind it and is focusing hard on the challenges ahead, including the FIFA World Cup qualifiers and the FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil in June.
 
“We have so much to look forward to and plan for. The match against Kenya is next month and then the other National Teams have continental and global competitions ahead. We have the measure of all these and by God’s grace, we’ll win several more trophies for Nigeria this year and the next.”
 
 

FA CUP: Ian Wright blasts arrogant Wenger

Posted: February 16, 2013 in Sports

IAN WRIGHT has blamed ‘arrogant’ Arsene Wenger for Arsenal’s shock FA Cup defeat to Blackburn.
The Frenchman made seven changes to his Gunners side ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 tie with Bayern Munich.

And they were left stunned as Colin Kazim-Richards’ late strike sent Championship Rovers into the quarter-finals.

The result was yet another dent to Arsenal’s hopes of ending their eight-year trophy drought.

Wrighty slammed the Gunners boss for not taking the Cup seriously and instead prioritizing a fourth-place finish in the Premier League.

The Arsenal legend said: “You have to blame the manager for the sheer arrogance of not putting enough into the competition.

“The fact is when you’ve got your manager talking about fourth place being the only priority, why are the players going to be any more up for it?

“The manager has made it clear that the FA Cup is something he’s not bothered about but what he is missing is that the FA Cup is something that is worth winning — it’s a great day for the fans”

Arsenal were booed off at full-time after what was their first FA Cup defeat by lower league opponents in the 17 years that Wenger has been in charge.

The Emirates boss, however, remained defiant and said: “I couldn’t see how we could lose the game because we had a lot of the ball and they had one shot on goal but they defended well and it’s the kind of game you can lose if you make a mistake at the back like we did.

“We have just lost a game today and we don’t need to think too much about the eight season (trophy drought).

“The players who played today didn’t play eight seasons ago and we must focus on the next game.”

A bomb explosion targeting soldiers killed at least two people on Friday in the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri while houses and shops nearby were burnt, the military said.

The two dead were suspected to be the bombers, according to a statement from Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa, though independent confirmation was not immediately available and the military’s information is often unreliable.

“No civilian was killed or wounded,” the statement said of the incident in the Gambaru market area, adding that a military vehicle was damaged and a soldier was wounded.

Musa also said shops and houses in the area caught fire due to the effects of the blast, but this also could not be independently confirmed. It was also not clear how many houses and shops were burnt.

The military has been accused of setting homes and shops alight in Maiduguri in response to previous bomb blasts, among other abuses.

Maiduguri is the home base of Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, which has carried out a violent insurgency in Nigeria’s north and central regions.

Violence linked to the insurgency has left some 3,000 people dead since 2009, including killings by the security forces. The military has come under heavy pressure to show progress in the fight against the group.

Human Rights Watch said in a report released in October that Nigerian security forces as well as Boko Haram may both be guilty of crimes against humanity.

Posted: February 15, 2013 in Sports

The Nigeria Premier League will start the 2012/2013 league season on March 9, 2013, an official has said.
The assistant head of competition department, Sunny Obaseki, confirmed that “the management has agreed for the league to start on the 9th of March and also that the draws will take place on the 15th February 2013 at the FIFA goal project Abuja”.
The Premier League had gone through a turbulent period with the 2012/2013 season postponed many times.
Six players of the Nigeria Premier League teams were among the Super Eagles honoured by President Goodluck Jonathan for their outstanding performance at the just concluded African Cup of Nations in South Africa.
They include final match hero, Sunday Mba, and defence wonderboy, Godfrey Oboabona.

Keshi resigns as Nigeria coach

Posted: February 11, 2013 in General

The Nigerian national coach, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi has reportedly tendered his resignation letter to the Nigerian Football Federation, NFF, in less than 24 hours after he guided the Super Eagles to 3rd Afcon glory in South Africa.

According to goal.com, Keshi’s resignation was as a result of his purported sack by the federation before the quarter final match as NFF had booked a plane back to Nigeria as soon as they found out that Eagles would play the star-studded Ivory Coast.

According to the website, Keshi had claimed on Metro FM that “he heard about the arrangement made by the NFF after the Mali game, and that he did not want to take it to mind as it would have affected his teams preparations.”

Goal.com also said that the Super Eagles handler had informed it few days before the final, that he would ‘pack his bags and leave’ if he felt he was not wanted.

Meanwhile, Keshi’s resignation letter still has to be discussed by the NFF. However, the coach says he is unlikely to change his mind, because he believes that NFF did not trust and respect his tactics as a coach.