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Friday, 29 September 2017

Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho: The young stars leading a Nigerian football revival

By  Will Sharp

Rewind to the tender years of the new millennium, cast your gaze across the green grasses of the Premier League’s stadia, and there, dancing across them, you would inevitably find a pair of Nigerians widely regarded as the two greatest footballers their country has ever given life to.

Each one half of an aesthetic dichotomy; one lanky, spindly, an ungainly-looking giant in both size and reputation, the other neater, more compact, and with an unrelenting swagger owing to his vast repertoire of skills. The two players are, of course, Nwankwo Kanu and Jay-Jay Okocha.

The former conquered the division, winning the Premier League crown twice with Arsenal, adding to an array of trophies lifted during his days in England, while the latter, on English shores at least, amassed a collection of rewards rather less tangible. His were found not in a cabinet but in the affections of those in and out of Bolton colours, as his skills enthralled the country and the crowds loved him for it.

During the seasons the two spent bringing joy to their adopted isle and its showpiece league, as well as to their countrymen watching on from their homes in West Africa, Kanu and Okocha effectively set the bar for all future footballing compatriots.

Today, two entirely new Nigerian fledglings find themselves blazing the trail in the Premier League, consistently named alongside tremendous company as two of the hottest young talents to be found plying their trade in Europe. Assuming the mantle bequeathed to them by their footballing forefathers Kanu and Okocha, are two bright stars hoping to lead a Nigerian revival in the Premier League, as well as on the imposing international stage, aiming to soar higher than any Super Eagle before them. Meet Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi.

The elder of the two footballers, Alexander Chuka Iwobi was born in the port city of Lagos in May 1996, to be followed five months later by the birth of Kelechi Promise Iheanacho in the south-eastern state of Imo.

Iwobi’s initial introduction to the world of football came courtesy of his uncle via rather unconventional means. Far from influencing his nephew by simply buying him his first infant-sized replica kit or soft sponge football, Iwobi’s uncle instead provided him with an unforgettable first-hand account of just what life as a world-renowned footballer could be like; no doubt, one of the many privileges of having Jay-Jay Okocha for an uncle.

Iheanacho, meanwhile, fell in love with the beautiful game in a style far more reminiscent of those watching his ascent from the stands. He found his feet simply playing in the streets with the children with whom he shared his hometown, only his games were unlike those many would have taken part in as children.

As a boy, Iheanacho and his football-loving friends would play their matches on dirty, grassless pitches, pitted with divots and mounds and with no scarcity of rocks scattered beneath their bare feet. This is where games played in real boots with real balls were confined to the imagination, played only nocturnally against hazy, hopeful scenes as they slept.

“Where I grew up in southern Nigeria, it was kind of like a ghetto. It was a tough place to be a kid. My family did not have the extra funds to buy a real ball. Most of my friends didn’t have one either, so we would run around the streets and use whatever we could find to kick around. We would make balls out of socks, or sometimes we even used a balloon.” Interviewing with The Players’ Tribune, Iheanacho gave a humbling insight into his impoverished beginnings in the sport.

“Most people did not have cell phones or the internet, so the club coaches would walk through the streets in our neighborhood blowing a whistle. That was the signal that it was time for training. You knew that if you wanted to train, you had to go outside and follow them to the primary school down the road.”

After emigrating from Nigeria to London with his parents aged four, Iwobi’s first impression of English football arrived among the simplistic setting of primary school, where the impact he had upon those in his new home were sufficient to see his unpracticed signature swiftly secured by the Arsenal youth academy at just seven years old, as he signed his first contract with the club in 2003.

A decade later Iwobi’s name graced a senior Arsenal team sheet for the very first time, as the youngster was included in the matchday squad that travelled to West Bromwich Albion for a League Cup fixture in 2013. He remained on the bench for the game’s duration, though, and was made to wait a further two seasons before being given the opportunity to make his mark on the pitch.

During this time Iheanacho was busy making his own comparatively belated journey to England by way of the 2013 Under-17 World Cup, the tournament at which the talented youngster would play a starring role, sending every European scout in attendance back to their clubs bearing rave reviews.

In the United Arab Emirates, Iheanacho opened the tournament with a box office display, firing four goals past group-stage opponents Mexico in a scintillating 6-1 win, decisively declaring his and his team’s lofty ambitions for the competition.

In their second group-stage tie, then faced Sweden and were held to a 3-3 draw. On this occasion, Iheanacho was kept from scoring, although the Swedes could do nothing to prevent him from collecting two assists. For their group-stage finale against Iraq, Iheanacho featured heavily once more in what would prove to be the simplest of endeavours for he and his compatriots. The forward, on this occasion, was able to watch on with glee as his team strolled to a 5-0 victory without the need for his willing intervention and progressed into the next round as the winners of their group.

Against Iran in the first knockout round, Nigeria were unstoppable in front of goal again and Iheanacho would once more contribute to yet another awesome attacking display. This time his low left-footed drive beat the goalkeeper from the edge of the area to score what would be his team’s second goal of the game and his fifth of the tournament. They would triumph 4-1.

In the quarter-finals, Iheanacho played the role of provider again, twice finding the pass that would unlock the Uruguayan defence and help his teammate Awoniyi onto the scoresheet. To contest their semi-final Nigeria were reunited with their group stage opponents, Sweden, against whom they had scored three times during their last meeting. They would do so again and, more decisively, keep a clean sheet on this occasion too. That man Iheanacho would prove vital once more as it was his dinked pass over the Sweden defence, to land at the feet of Awoniyi, that would aid them in opening the scoring. Late goals from Okon and Ezeh made sure of the win.

At the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, Nigeria were again faced with the task of defeating Mexico. Only this time, unlike on the day of their group-stage encounter, the World Cup was at stake.

The scoring was opened by a Mexican foot, though thankfully for the Nigerians, it was an own goal that gave them an important lead. Concluding a typically expeditious counter-attack that saw Nigeria sweep forward, turning a defensive corner into an attack of genuine purpose in mere seconds, Mexican Érick Aguirre could only poke the ball into his own net in trying to prevent the three-on-one scenario from ending in a goal for his opponents.

Four minutes before the hour mark a familiar scene played out in front of the watching crowd as Iheanacho scored his team’s second of the game. Following a fine passing move, the ball was sent out wide to Nigerian right-back Musa Muhammed whom each of his teammates assumed would use his unmarked position on the flank to whip in a cross. Instead, Muhammed let fly a ferocious shot which the goalkeeper could only parry to the feet of Iheanacho who typically required just a single touch to place the ball into the net with an instinctive instep finish.

Before the curtain fell on the tournament, Nigeria would add a third, the cherry to the icing on top of their World Cup-winning cake, as captain Muhammed finally got his goal; a fitting reward for his exquisite free-kick just 10 minutes from time. As the final whistle blew, Nigeria were confirmed as under-17 champions of the world.

The tournament win meant more to Iheanacho than perhaps any of his teammates. Eight months before the tournament the teenager’s mother had tragically passed away. Iheanacho had played in the African Under-17 Championships two months after her death, and had dedicated his hat-trick – scored during a 7-0 defeat of the Republic of Congo – to his late mother, but his country were eventually defeated on penalties in the final by the Ivory Coast. With the Under-17 World Cup grasped tightly in his hands, there is no doubt who Iheanacho’s thoughts turned to when he lifted it.

Having notched six goals and seven assists, enough to see him finish as the joint-second top scorer in the tournament, Iheanacho proved undoubtedly instrumental in securing his country’s fourth under-17 World Cup, and for his efforts he was rewarded with the competition’s Golden Ball. Consequently, it was to the surprise of nobody that persistent rumours of a move to Europe followed the forward as he made his way back home from the UAE.

A multitude of clubs from every corner of the continent hoped to lure the young striker, Arsenal, Chelsea, Udinese, Monaco, Porto and Sporting CP all reportedly willing to go public with their interest in the hope of attracting their target, and it was the latter who seemed set to sign Iheanacho when news across his native country named them favourites.

Then, in December 2012, a little over a month on from his World Cup success, it was formally announced by the youngster’s father that Iheanacho had signed a pre-contract agreement with Manchester City; he would officially join them in October 2014 on the day of his 18th birthday. The move shocked many, including the player himself, but it was under the instruction of his father, who remained adamant that his son could impress in any team, regardless of their perceived strength, that Iheanacho signed for the Manchester club. During the intervening season, the Nigerian would continue to play in his native league for Taye Academy.

Before the year was up, the 17-year-old was named as the Confederation of African Football’s Most Promising Talent of the Year, an award previously collected by the likes of Obafemi Martins, John Obi Mikel, Salomon Kalou and Mohamed Salah. It appeared for all to see as though Kelechi Iheanacho had the world at his feet. In England he hoped to provide the proof.

It may seem odd that, despite the overwhelming promise with which Nigerian-born Alex Iwobi’s undeniable talent is most often referenced, he was not a member of his nation’s Under-17 World Cup-winning squad of 2013. The simple explanation is that, at the time, Iwobi was representing England.

A regular in the England youth set-up from the age of 15, many expected to witness Iwobi’s natural progression from youth player to fully fledged international, all the while with three lions worn proudly across his chest. However, despite representing England to acclaim with the under-16s, under-17s and under-18s, no call up to the under-19s followed when Iwobi came of age. His absence was made only more baffling when he broke into Arsenal’s first team.

Though Iwobi had represented the Arsenal academy for over a decade come the date of his official first team debut, Iwobi experienced a rapid rise to the senior squad. Seemingly no closer to the squad than any other highly aspiring youth holding their readied stance on the blurred periphery, suddenly Iwobi found himself alongside fellow youngsters Chuba Akpom, Gedion Zelalem, Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Chris Willock in the 27-man squad picked by his manager for the club’s 2015 pre-season tour of Asia.

In Singapore, Iwobi and Akpom made a fine first impression on those in attendance. While it was the latter who helped himself to a hat-trick against their opponents, a Singapore Select XI, Iwobi’s unerring influence throughout the game ensured he too remained in good stead for a continued place in the team. When the team arrived back home to contest the Emirates Cup, Iwobi maintained his on-pitch position and impressed again, this time against far more prestigious opposition.

In the opening game of their tournament, before a crowd of almost 60,000 fans, Arsenal fired on all cylinders and blew Lyon away. Thrilling though the 6-0 victory was to the thousands watching, the occasion will likely last longest in the mind of Alex Iwobi, who scored his first senior goal for Arsenal on the day. After the game, Arsène Wenger poured praise on the young debutant: “I like his team attitude, his movement. We have a game based on movement and speed, and he integrates that very well. He has good power and is usually efficient – he scores goals a lot,” said the manager. “Some players might go out on loan but Iwobi will stay with us.”

Wenger evidently had big plans for the young Nigerian, and so too did his native football association, since all throughout his time playing for the England youth setup, Nigeria hadn’t once given up hope of convincing the forward to play for his motherland. In 2015, two years since Iwobi had last been called to represent England at under-18 level, to the delight of both parties, player and nation finally agreed upon a collaboration and England’s loss officially became Nigeria’s gain. Iwobi would follow in his uncle’s prestigious footsteps.

The young forward made his debut for the Super Eagles on 8 October 2015, as a second half substitute during a friendly against DR Congo, before, exactly a year and a day later, he scored his first goal for his country; the opener in a 2-1 victory over Zambia in a 2018 World Cup qualification fixture.

With Wenger’s word as his bond, Iwobi duly remained with Arsenal and during the early season made inroads into the first team. After making his opening bow in the ill-fated 3-0 defeat to second-tier Sheffield Wednesday in a League Cup tie in October 2015, Iwobi was afforded the final few minutes of his team’s 3-0 victory away to Swansea, as he replaced Mesut Özil to make his Premier League debut. Four days later Iwobi surpassed another landmark as he was given a brief feel for Champions League football, seeing out the closing stages of his team’s regrettable 5-1 loss to Bayern Munich. Naturally, the joy of those memorable milestones was tempered by the poor form of his team and the results he was made to endure.

This was particularly evident when Wenger’s trust in the teenager was affirmed in emphatic style as Iwobi played out his first Champions League start under the bright lights at Barcelona’s Camp Nou in March 2016. Though he and his teammates were downed 3-1 on the night and dumped unceremoniously out of the tournament, Iwobi turned in a thoroughly impressive performance, as his exemplary dribbling, tidy touch, neat passing and fearlessness evidenced a maturity well beyond his years.

It was clear that these testing circumstances early in Iwobi’s Arsenal career would serve only to prepare him for the rigours of life at the top and earn him a wealth of experience that he would no doubt later call upon. Having fared rather more favourably in back-to-back FA Cup conquests against Sunderland and Burnley, Iwobi was rewarded in the weeks following his mature performance away to Barcelona with starts against Everton and Watford in which he would score his first Arsenal goals.

“It’s crazy, a mad feeling,” were Iwobi’s choice words after playing a significant role in his team’s 4-0 dismantling of Watford. He had been named Man of the Match for his endeavours against Everton at Goodison Park, where he had scored his first competitive Arsenal goal, and followed his finest game to date with an equally rousing performance against the Hornets. “When you’re young, you dream of this and this is like a dream come true; winning with this team.”

While Iwobi was busy making his own dream a reality, his international team-mate Iheanacho was endeavouring to do the very same thing in his first season in Manchester.

After representing City’s academy during the waning months of the 2014/15 season, the following campaign saw Iheanacho rewarded for his positive start to life in England with a call-up to the senior squad for the club’s pre-season preparations. Impressive performances against an eclectic array of opponents – Roma, the Vietnamese national team and VfB Stuttgart – ensured Iheanacho stayed firmly in place at the forefront of manager Manuel Pellegrini’s first-team plans.

On 29 August 2015 Iheanacho took to the field in a competitive fixture for Manchester City for the first time in a routine victory over Watford, and just 19 days later scored his first goal for the club. As much of a surprise as Iheanacho’s starring role had been to many, his manager had anticipated such an impact: “He’s just 18 and started working with our squad last season … this year he started pre-season with the squad and will be a very important player for the future. He’s one of the reasons I didn’t bring another striker in when we sold Edin Džeko. He deserves that chance,” he told the BBC. And when handed that chance by his manager, Iheanacho grabbed a hold and held on for dear life.

Over the following months, Iheanacho established himself as his club’s third-choice striker. Though used sparingly, the Nigerian made good on what playing time he was afforded with goals during cameos against Tottenham, Stoke and Southampton, and even thanked his manager’s faith in starting him against Aston Villa for their FA Cup fourth round tie with a hat-trick, garnished with an additional assist for a fourth goal late on.

Iheanacho’s growing contribution did not go unnoticed and Pellegrini even sought to start the young forward in his team’s Champions League semi-final at home to Real Madrid. They would ultimately exit the competition at that stage, no thanks to a 1-0 second-leg defeat which Iheanacho’s 20-minute salvo could do little to prevent, but another landmark in the quickly developing career of the Nigerian had been surpassed.

Iheanacho finished his inaugural season in the Premier League with an admirable eight-goal tally, incredibly boasting the best goals-per-minute ratio of any player in the division as he averaged a one every 93.9 minutes. From his 35 appearances in all competitions, just 11 of which were starts, Iheanacho recorded 14 goals and five assists, ensuring he ended the season as City’s third-highest scorer.

At the Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg on 7 August 2016, in preparation for their sophomore seasons in the Premier League, the two Nigerians met as opponents for just the second time. With their clubs concluding pre-season duties with a so-called ‘super match’ on Swedish soil, the players locked horns as Manchester City took on Arsenal on neutral ground. On the day, both players would influence proceedings in a far more meaningful manner than they had been able to during their first encounter.

In the penultimate game of their first season as bona fide Premier League participants, the two had featured on opposing sides as their clubs contested a fierce 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium, though neither Nigerian was able to manipulate the match’s outcome to their own want or will.

On this occasion, however, both would find themselves unshackled by the freedom befitting a pre-season game and would consequently find themselves together on the scoresheet. Iwobi struck first, finding the Gunners’ equalising goal with a shot of curling finesse bent beyond the outstretched glove of Joe Hart, before Iheanacho nodded home what would prove to be only a consolation goal for his team having been left unmarked at the far post.

Though only a glorified friendly, this game, and the influence of both Iheanacho and Iwobi, teased a sight of things to come as both players would use the following season as a springboard to greater heights, albeit to differing levels of success.

In the days leading into the 2016/17 season, Iwobi changed his shirt number from 45 to 17 as the latter had been left behind by Alexis Sánchez ,who swiftly assumed the number 7 shirt upon the release of Tomáš Rosický. This change of number was initially unwelcomed by Iwobi who seemed keen on sticking to his original number. After all, 45 was the number that had adorned his shirt on the unforgettable occasions of his first appearance, his first start and his first goal for Arsenal. There was no denying, however, that his new number better suited his elevated level of experience and the squad role he would assume over the coming months.

During the course of the season, after leaving his youth days behind him in every sense, Iwobi would play 38 times for Arsenal, establishing himself as a first-team regular for Wenger’s side, who would retain their FA Cup title.

Throughout the same season, Iheanacho would experience a campaign punctuated by fluctuating fortunes. The year brought much cause for celebration as the young Nigerian proved instrumental in his team’s memorable victory in September 2016’s Manchester derby, scoring and assisting against his team’s most bitter rivals, before scoring his first Champions League goal just four days later in a 4-0 thumping of Borussia Mönchengladbach. Unmissable exploits such as these earned Iheanacho a nomination for FIFA’s Golden Boy award.

But the Mancunian managerial revolution that saw Pep Guardiola succeed Manuel Pellegrini brought with it a customary investment in new blood that pushed Iheanacho to the back of the striking queue. Upon arrival, the ex-Barcelona boss acquired expensive attacking alternatives in the form of Nolito, Leroy Sané and Gabriel Jesus, and all at once, Iheanacho’s noble fight for game time became an excruciating struggle.

Despite expressing his desire to stay with the Manchester club, having signed a long-term contract in recent months, Iheanacho was made available for transfer, a move that the 2016 Premier League champions Leicester City greeted gladly. As Iwobi jetted off to Australia to star in his third pre-season with Arsenal, Iheanacho prepared to embark on an altogether different journey across country, as the Foxes struck a £25 million deal for his services.

Many could interpret Guardiola’s sale of Iheanacho as a bad omen for the Nigerian’s future ambitions, such is the value with which Guardiola’s judgement on footballing talent is held. It is worth acknowledging, however, that the sole influence of the sale was almost certainly the immense pressure placed upon the manager to deliver immediate on-field success – and the consequential need to favour ready-made world-class talent over the timely development of future stars – and not deficiencies in Iheanacho’s game, of which there are seemingly few.

There is perhaps no better proof of this very notion than the commitment shown by City to ensuring any permanent sale of Iheanacho was underpinned by a future buy-back clause. The one included in his sale to Leicester reportedly sits at £50 million – double the figure of his sale. Clearly even the selling club appears convinced the Nigerian is only going to keep improving.

Should he do so there is no telling what heights he or his international teammate could reach. At present, as we tumble into another manic Premier League season, both players appear intent on spending the majority of their time on their pitch, where they both appear most comfortable, doing their damnedest to remain central to the plans of their international manager.Where exactly they may go from there will be an adventure entirely of their own making. Their trajectory, much like the eagle they adorn on their Nigeria shirt, will surely be upwards.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Breaking: Nigeria to withdraw membership of 90 world bodies

Following Federal Executive meeting on Wednesday a decision has been made by the Federal Government to pull Nigeria out of 90 world organisations.

As part of plans for the country’s exit from the organisations, the Federal Executive Council has mandated a committee to come up with and present recommendations to it for ratification.

The decision is as a result of the financial implications of the country’s membership of the organisations.

Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun said this while briefing State House correspondents after the FEC meeting.

The country currently owes the organisations over $100million and its failure to meet the obligations has caused the country embarrassment.

As part of the decision to pull out of the organisations, a plan is to be drawn up for the payment of the outstanding amounts owed them.

The government’s plan is for the country to belong only to organisations that are absolutely necessary.


Details later…


M5 Shooting: Man dies during police firearms incident in Portishead

A man has died after being shot up to 10 times by armed police close to a junction of the M5 motorway in Portishead, North Somerset, according to eyewitnesses.

Avon and Somerset Police confirmed a man died during an “incident involving police firearms” on the A369, close to the M5 Gordano services, near Bristol.

An eyewitness described seeing police shoot into a red Suzuki Swift car that had been stopped by officers.

The shooting occured in Portishead this morning.

There were at least four bullet holes in the side of the hatchback car, and what appeared to be a black handgun on the roof.

An air ambulance has been dispatched to the scene (Picture: SWNS)

In an image from the shooting scene, there appeared to be a handgun on the roof of the red car involved. (SWNS)

The Avon and Somerset force has referred the shooting to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, but confirmed it was not terror-related.

Pictures from the scene show a man lying face-up on the road covered in a bloodied blanket in front of the red car.

A man has died during an "incident involving police firearms" near Bristol, Avon and Somerset Police said. The A369 was closed at Portbury, close to the M5 west of Bristol, and an eyewitness claimed he saw police shoot into a car that had been stopped. An Avon and Somerset Police spokesman said: 

"We can confirm a man died earlier this morning in an incident involving police firearms on The Portbury Hundred (A369) in Portishead."

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Death toll rises to 248 as 7.1 earthquake strikes Mexico city to rumbles of a centurion quake

7.1 magnitude quake hits DAYS after biggest in century – 248 dead.. Numbers to rise.

Thousands sift through rubble after Mexico earthquake


The quake struck at 1.15pm local time (7.15pm BST) and of the 216 people confirmed dead so far, half of them were in the capital, Mexico City.

Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto later confirmed 22 bodies had been recovered from a collapsed school in Mexico City where 48 people remain missing.

One woman, a 32-year-old mother, told reporters: "They keep pulling kids out, but we know nothing of my daughter."

The governor of the neighbouring state of Morelos said at least 42 people had been killed there.

Five more people died in the State of Mexico, governor Alfredo Del Mazo told local TV.


Rescuers work to clear the debris from a collapsed building in Mexico City


A woman is pulled alive from the rubble of a collapsed building in Mexico City


Shocked Mexico City residents console one another after this afternoon's quake

Dozens of buildings have been reduced to rubble across the capital, including a number of historic points of interest, while broken gas mains have sparked fires across the city.

The US Geological Survey said the quake hit five miles southeast of Atencingo in the state of Puebla, about 100 miles south of Mexico City, at a depth of 32 miles.

The quake prompted a small eruption of Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano, which is visible from Mexico City.

On its slopes a small church collapsed, killing 15 people.

Video has emerged showing a huge explosion over the city following the quake, the cause of which is not yet clear.

HUGE explosion tears through Mexico City after earthquake



Hospital patients were moved outside of the building following the quake


The president said at least 27 buildings had collapsed in Mexico City

A large number of hospital patients have been photographed receiving treatment outside the facility for fear the building may collapse.

Dentist Claudia Meneses said she was in her clinic in Mexico City's Lindavista neighbourhood when the earthquake struck.

"People are really scared right now," she said.

"We're going to go to a building that fell to see if we can help."


An injured woman is carried away after the quake in Mexico


Mexico has been hit by another powerful earthquake weeks after a fatal quake

The quake was recorded at 1.15pm local time and comes days after the country was hit by an 8.1 magnitude tremor, the biggest to hit Mexico in a century, killing at least 98 people.

President Nieto was on a flight to Oaxaca, one of the hardest hit areas by that quake, but has since tweeted that he was immediately returning to attend to the quake in Mexico City.

Just two hours before the quake struck, people had been taking part in evacuation drills on the anniversary of one of Mexico's deadliest earthquakes which struck in 1985.

Video footage shows a huge cloud of thick dust and smoke filling the streets as people try to make their way to safety.

One clip shows the side of a National Secretariat building crumbling as onlookers scream in horror.

People scream as Mexico earthquake destroys building


Seperate footage shows huge storm-like waves rocking gondoliers in Mexico city's famous Xochimilco canals.

Adrian Wilson, a photographer from New York City, was in Mexico City when the quake hit.

He told CNN: "I was having lunch when the floor gently rocked as if a big truck went by.


The earthquake comes just days after the country's biggest earthquake in a century killed 98 people

"It then amplified in waves and the whole room started shaking.

"The building is from the 1930s and just survived a big earthquake, so I knew I would be OK."

In Cuernavaca, a city south of Mexico City, there were unconfirmed reports on local radio of people trapped beneath collapsed buildings.

Mexican TV and social media showed cars crushed by debris.

Many people fled into the streets, and electricity and phone lines were down in parts of the capital.

"We got out really fast, leaving everything as it was and just left," said Rosaura Suarez, as she stood with a crowd on the street.

Tourists feel force of Mexico City earthquake on famous canals


The Mexican stock exchange has suspended trading following the quake.

Mexico airport has also suspended all operations.

US President Donald Trump said on Twitter: "God bless the people of Mexico City. We are with you and will be there for you."

The city and its surrounding area are home to about 20 million people.

Fears that the quake could cause a tsunami in the Pacific ocean have been dismissed by officials from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, who said it was too far inland to generate such a wave.

It also comes on the 32nd anniversary of a 1985 quake which killed 5,000 people and caused serious damage to the Greater Mexico City area

Following the quake the Mexican government brought in sweeping changes to safety rules and disaster preparation.

Additional reporting by Will Kirby, Matt Drake and Nicole Stinson.

Culled from Express

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Read: Nigerian President Speech At The 72nd United Nations Session

On behalf of my country, Nigeria, I congratulate you Mr. President on your election and Mr. Gutteres on his first General Assembly outing as our Secretary-General. I assure you both of my country’s solidarity and cooperation. You will indeed need the cooperation of all member States as we are meeting during extra-ordinarily troubled and dangerous times. Let me also thank former Secretary-General Mr. Ban ki Moon for his service to the United Nations and wish him peaceful retirement.
Mr. President,
2. The previous year has witnessed many far-reaching developments. Some of the most significant events include the Iran Nuclear Deal, the Paris Climate Change Agreement and, of grave concern, the North Korean nuclear crisis.
Mr. President,
3. I must also commend the UN’s role in helping to settle thousands of innocent civilians caught in the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. In particular, we must collectively thank the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany under the commendable leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Governments of Italy, Greece and Turkey for assisting hundreds of thousands of refugees.
4. In an exemplary show of solidarity, the international community came together within my own region to assist the countries and communities in the Sahel and the Lake Chad regions to contain the threats posed by Al Qaida and Boko Haram.
5. We thank the Security Council for visiting the countries of the Lake Chad Basin to assess the security situation and humanitarian needs, and for pledging assistance to rebuild lives and livelihoods. Indeed, in Nigeria we are providing relief and humanitarian assistance to millions in camps and those afflicted by terrorism, drought, floods and other natural disasters.
6. In the last year, the international community came together to focus on the need for gender equality, youth empowerment, social inclusion, and the promotion of education, creativity and innovation. The frontiers of good governance, democracy including holding free and fair elections, and enthronement of the rule of law are expanding everywhere, especially in Africa.
7. Our faith in democracy remains firm and unshaken. Our regional organisation ECOWAS came together to uphold democratic principles in The Gambia – as we had done previously in Cote D’Ivoire.
8. Through our individual national efforts, state institutions are being strengthened to promote accountability, and to combat corruption and asset recovery. These can only be achieved through the international community cooperating and providing critical assistance and material support. We shall also cooperate in addressing the growing transnational crimes such as forced labour, modern day slavery, human trafficking and cybercrime.
Mr. President,
9. These cooperative efforts should be sustained. We must collectively devise strategies and mobilise the required responses to stop fleeing ISIS fighters from mutating and infiltrating into the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin, where there are insufficient resources and response capacity is weak.
10. This will require strong UN cooperation with regional organisations, such as the African Union, in conflict prevention and management. The UN should continue to take primary leadership of the maintenance of international peace and security by providing, in a predictable and sustainable manner, adequate funding and other enablers to regional initiatives and peacekeeping operations authorized by the Security Council.
Mr. President,

11. New conflicts should not make us lose focus on ongoing unresolved old conflicts. For example, several UN Security Council Resolutions from 1967 on the Middle East crisis remain unimplemented. Meanwhile, the suffering of the Palestinian people and the blockade of Gaza continue.
12. Additionally, we are now confronted by the desperate human rights and humanitarian situations in Yemen and most tragically in the Rakhine State of Myanmar. The Myanmar crisis is very reminiscent of what happened in Bosnia in 1995 and in Rwanda in 1994.
13. The international community cannot remain silent and not condemn the horrendous suffering caused by what, from all indications is a state-backed programme of brutal depopulation of the Rohingya inhabited areas in Myanmar on the bases of ethnicity and religion. We fully endorse the call by the Secretary-General on the Government of Myanmar to order a halt to the ongoing ethnic cleansing and ensure the safe return of the displaced Rohingya to their homes in safety and dignity.
14. In all these crises, the primary victims are the people, the most vulnerable being women and children. That is why the theme of this session: Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet” is most apposite.
15. While the international community grapples to resolve these conflicts, we must be mindful and focus on the widening inequalities within societies, and the gap between the rich and the poor nations. These inequalities and gaps are part of the underlining root causes of competition for resources, frustration and anger leading to spiralling instability.
16. The most pressing threat to international peace and security today is the accelerated nuclear weapons development programme by North Korea. Since the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, we have never come so close to the threat of nuclear war as we have now.
17. All necessary pressure and diplomatic efforts must be brought to bear on North Korea to accept peaceful resolution of the crisis. As Hiroshima and Nagasaki painfully remind us, if we fail, the catastrophic and devastating human loss and environmental degradation cannot be imagined.
Mr. President,
18. Nigeria proposes a strong UN delegation to urgently engage the North Korean Leader. The delegation, led by the Security Council, should include members from all the regions.
19. The crisis in the Korean peninsula underscores the urgency for all member states, guided by the spirit of enthroning a safer and more peaceful world, to ratify without delay the Treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons, which will be open for signature here tomorrow.
Mr. President,
20. I end my remarks by reiterating Nigeria’s abiding commitment to the foundational principles and goals of the United Nations. Since our admission as a member state in 1960, we have always participated in all efforts to bring about global peace, security and development. Nigeria will continue to support the UN in all its efforts, including the attainment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
I thank you.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Police Release Image Of Newborn Baby Who Was Abandoned In East London Park

Police Release Image Of Newborn Baby Who Was Abandoned In East London Park

18 September 2017, 17:00

Police have released a picture of Baby Harry in a bid to encourage his mother to come forward. Picture: Met Police

Police have released an image of a newborn baby who was found abandoned in an east London park over the weekend.

Named Harry by medical staff, officers hope the picture will encourage his mother to come forward.

The newborn was discovered in a park area close in Balaam Street in Plaistow on Sunday morning.

Officers and paramedics attended and the boy, who was carefully wrapped in a white blanket, was taken to hospital where he is being cared for.

Det Insp Ian Barker, who is leading the inquiry, said: “Baby Harry is doing well under the care of hospital staff but we are very worried about his mother.

Baby Harry was found in a park area close to Balaam Street in Plaistow on Sunday morning. Picture: Met Police

"If you see this appeal, please come forward and let us know you are safe. I know you must be feeling very frightened and alone to have done what you did but please make contact with us or your local hospital or GP surgery so they can check you are OK and offer you medical care and support.

"Little Harry needs to be reunited with his mother so we would urge anyone else with information, or who saw anything out of the ordinary in the Balaam Street area on Sunday morning, to please come forward."

Anyone who can help is asked to call police on 020 8217 6528 or via 101.


Igbo Ethnic Bigotry And Hate Campaigns Worry Me, By Joe Igbokwe.

OPINION : Igbo Ethnic Bigotry And Hate Campaigns Worry Me By Joe Igbokwe.
Ever since President Buhari won the 2015 Presidential elections he was destined to win having labored in 2003, 2007, 2011 and then 2015 a very vast preponderance of South South and South East indigenes have descended on the President, pouring invectives, calling him names, abusing his person and his exalted office, preaching hate, and ethnic divisions. I have followed this dangerous trend over a year now, and it is not abetting. It is growing like wild fire everyday. In recent times the South-South people whose son lost the election have moved on except the criminal avengers who are fighting for their pockets only and destroying their environment.
I have seen spirited and genuine efforts being made by the leaders of South-South to bring peace to the Niger Delta, and I heartily commend them for this. It is in their own interest. But in the South East, our people have refused to move on. In the diaspora, in Nigeria, in schools, in the markets, on the streets, in Churches, in Town Meetings etc Igbo have refused to move on. Every move the President makes to rebuild and reposition the country is abused, castigated and ethnic meaning read into it. The dangerous trend has become so embarrassing that one is compelled to speak out. While leaders of South-South have made interventions to make way for harmony and peaceful co-existence, Igbo leaders have maintained a deafening silence but this silence is no longer golden. Ethnic bigotry and hate speeches our people both at home and abroad dish out everyday endanger our people living in all parts of Nigeria. President Buhari belongs to a section of Nigeria and must not run away with the thinking that his people will be happy and clap for us when we malign and abuse one of their own.
No ethnic group in Nigeria moves and settles in any part of the country like the Igbo. They settle and do business in almost every part of the country, and when we throw stones to other Nigerians, we endanger their lives and their businesses. The worst sets of Igbo guilty of this dangerous trend are those living outside the country. While some of them are engaged in meaningful employment, many of them are unemployed. They have become economic refugees and cultural savages. They have formed an association of hate preachers and wailing bigots. They have through actions and deeds created millions of enemies for Ndigbo in Nigeria while they waste their precious gift of time abroad doing nothing.
Last week the Vice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo was in Afe Babalola University Ekiti State as Guest Speaker during the University’s Convocation ceremony. In the cause of his speech, he told his capacity audience the Niger Delta Avengers are not freedom fighters but those fighting for their pockets only. I saw the story on facebook and other sites on the internet. The one on Facebook caught my attention because of nearly 400 reactions as at the time I read it. I took mental note of the reactions and the names attached to it. 95% are Igbo names and they abused and called the Vice President unprintable names for speaking the truth. This is a shame. Ignorance should not be a virtue. Ignorance is a disease. Foolishness is a tragedy. This is ignorance stupid. This is mental darkness. A roaring lion kills no game. It is only a river that wants to get dried up that forgets its source. A Chinese proverb tells me that “He who blames others has a long way to go on his journey. He who blames himself is half way there. He who blames no one has arrived.”
Now, it is time for the Igbo to move on and join other Nigerians to begin the process of rebuilding Nigeria. I want Igbo Governors, elected Senators, elder statesmen, House of Reps Members, House of Assembly members, political leaders, traditional rulers, Igbo intellectuals, professionals, market leaders, town union leaders, village heads, etc. to rise up to defend the integrity and honor of Igbo race. Are these ignorant ones who preach hate speaking for us? Are they representing us? Are they our brightest and bests? Are those asking for Biafra and using it as business venture speaking for all of us? Have we taken a look at the situation in South Sudan today? Shall we continue to sleep pretending that all is well? Can we be honest enough to see the real danger ahead? For how long will our leaders continue to be silent on these weighty issues? Can elders continue to sleep while the kids wear snakes as necklaces? Can the young teach tradition to the old? Who will bell the cat in Igboland? Who will call the ignorant kids to order?
Did the Yoruba go to war when June 12 1993 Presidential Election won by their illustrious son Chief MKO Abiola was annulled on June 23rd 1993 on a sheet of paper by IBB? Did Yoruba go to war when Abiola’s wife Alhaja Kudirat Abiola was murdered in Lagos in the morning of Jun 4 1996? Did Yoruba go to war when the winner of that historic election was poisoned on July 7 1998? Did Yoruba go to war when those who killed Abiola imposed Obasanjo on them as President in 1999? Did Yoruba accept Chief Ernest Shonekan when IBB made him to head the interim government in 1993? Yoruba rejected OBJ and Shonekan because this unique race has never been slaves to public office and yet they have remained number one in Nigeria in almost everything. This is wisdom and strategic thinking at work.
Those of us who have lived in Yoruba land for years should not only learn how to wear Aso Ebi, eat Ewedu soup or dance Owambe, music.
We must have also learned other unique things from them like sharing property to both male and female children, religious tolerance, ethnic tolerance, transferring legacies from generation to generation. Do you know that APC National Leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s wife is a Christian? Do you know that former Governor Fashola’s wife is a Christian? We can learn a lot from Yoruba. Yoruba too can learn from Igbo in areas of thinking home, business enterprise, self-help, apprenticeship, etc.
A Yoruba woman, a Pastor Mrs. Eunice Olawale Elisha of the Redeemed Christian Church of God old NEPA Road Phase 4 Kubwa, Abuja was killed by unknown persons on Saturday morning of July 9, 2016, while preaching the gospel around 5.30am. I have followed the reactions on the internet and Yoruba do not behave like the Igbo. They have been speaking but not preaching hate. They have called for the culprits to be fished out, prosecuted and punished. If Mrs. Eunice Elisha had been an Igbo hell would have been let loose. There would have been abuses and abuses. But Yoruba are not Igbo. This is civilization. This is strategic thinking. I hope our people can learn from this. Civility is not a sign of weakness.
To have ears is not to listen, to listen is not to hear, to hear is not to understand, to understand is not to put to practice. I know that writing this may not get me many friends among the Igbo, but it always gets me the right ones.
Case Rested!
Joe Igbokwe

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Breaking: Nigerian Army to launch Operation Crocodile Smile II in South West !

The Nigeria Army on Friday, has said that Operation Crocodile Smile II, will soon be launched in the South-West, after Python Dance II.

Brig. Gen. Sani Usman, the Director, Army Public Relations, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, on Friday.

His words: “It is so sad and unfortunate that a particular group of people, for political expediency and mischief, are trying to set the Military and Nigerian society against each other.

“It is sad, it is unfortunate”, Usman said, while reacting to the face-off between the Army and members of some groups in the zone, particularly in Abia.

The Army Spokesman however, maintained that in spite of the face-off, the Army would go ahead to conduct its exercise, “Egwu Eke” – Python Dance II, due to commence on Friday.

“It will commence on 15th, Sept. 2017. The troops have been conducting themselves professionally within the ambit of rules of engagement and code of conduct, and where there are noted infractions, appropriate measures will be taken.”

Usman described the face-off between the Army and members of the Indigenous People of Biafra in Abia, as an isolated issue which he said was being blown out of proportion by some people.

“These isolated incidences, instigated by miscreants and mischief makers, therefore, should not be taken as something that should jeopardise the Military exercise going on in that place.
“It is really sad and unfortunate that people will not find time to ask a question about the essence and activities involved in respect of exercise Egwu Eke II, before jumping into conclusion.

“The exercise is taking part in the entire South-East and Cross River, why should we have a problem in one state – Abia.

“There is no reported problem in Imo, Ebonyi, Anambra, Enugu, and Cross River States.”

The Army Spokesman called for understanding, saying that there “is need for all of us to be more responsible, exercise understanding about the issues at hand, support and encourage the Military to perform its legitimate duty.

“The exercise we are having has been scheduled since last year – 2016, it is not targeted at any segment of the Nigerian society.

“As a matter of fact, it was because of the encouraging feedback that we have about the conduct of exercise Python Dance I in 2016, that brought the idea of having another exercise.

“And being a responsible organisation, people said Python Dance seems to be something awkward, so, why don’t you call it in the native language of those people, so that they can understand it, just like you have exercise Harbin Kunama.

“We have had exercises in other parts of the country.

“As soon as we are done with exercise Egwu Eke II, we are embarking on exercise Crocodile Smile II, which is also a scheduled training exercise in the circle of the Nigerian Army training year, 2017.

“And this time around, beyond the South-South Zone, it will be extended to the South-West zone, involving 2 Division, 6 Division, and 81 Division”, Usman said.

He argued that Egwu Eke was not an operation, but a training exercise intended to sharpen the skills involved.

This, he said was to enable them to deal with crimes such as kidnapping, pipeline vandalism, and other violent crimes associated with the zone, especially in “ember months.”
“I want you to understand that the Military do not come out on its own, it will only do so in case there is a need, a constitutional responsibility, or need for them to come out in aid of civil authority.”

On the reported attack by members of IPOB on other ethnic groups in Abia and part of Rivers, he said security agencies had risen to the challenge.

“Well, there were reported attempts by hoodlums or miscreants to take undue advantage of what has been happening, to harass and molest some other persons residing in the South-East.

“For instance, we have had incidents at Oyibo in Rivers, and of course, Aba. Security agencies have risen to the challenge.

“There are some mischievous elements that are peddling information to incite people. People should be wary about information on the social media.” Usman advised.

Friday, 15 September 2017

London terrorist incident : IED used in container burning on London tube -MET

Breaking: Fire on London Tube!

Plastic container burning on district line London train in Parsons Green (southwest London) Station at 08:20hr.

  Declared a terrorist incident by police.
NUJ Europe gathered that Assistant Police  Commissioner Mark Rowley,  briefing  newsmen at 11:45 am,  said an Improvised Explosive Device is being used by yet identified suspect. He described injuries  suffered  by victims  as flashes of burning from the IED package. Investigations are still ongoing.

Meanwhile Forensic investigators are working on the materials. Over 18 people  are being treated in hospital following varying degree of injuries they sustained during  the commotion in the rush hour.
No serious or life threatening injuries reported so far.

Lashley Oladigbolu,  reporting live from London.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

FIFA Ranking: Nigeria perch 44th to trail Congo DR in Africa as champ Germany take over Brazil

Top of Africa: Congo DR lost 14 points on the ladder  and still retain leadership in Africa on 42nd position.  Nigeria pushed up to 44th by losing 6 points while African current champions Cameroun shredded 10 points to perch on 45th. 


Germany oust Brazil as qualifying heroes soar


Germany's Timo Werner celebrates scoring with Julian Draxler and Thomas Muller

Germany have returned to the summit of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, continuing this year’s ongoing tug-of-war with Brazil for top spot..

The reigning world champions edged ahead of A Seleção following two impressive FIFA World Cup™ qualifying victories over Czech Republic and Norway, and head a table much changed after the recent Russia 2018 preliminaries.

Belgium, for example, have climbed four places to enter the top five on the back of qualifying for next year’s finals. Portugal, for their part, are up three to third and, further down, no fewer than 23 teams jumped ten places or more.

Among the most notable climbers are the Cape Verde Islands (67, up 47), Luxembourg (101, up 35), Bolivia (46, up 22) and Denmark (26, up 20), this on the back of stunning results in qualifying against South Africa, France, Chile and Poland respectively.

Luxembourg are also one of four teams to have reached an all-time high position in the latest Ranking, along with Peru (12, up 3), Northern Ireland (20, up 3) and Syria (75, up 5).

The Bolivians, meanwhile, number among five new entries to the top 50, where they are joined by Montenegro (37, up 15), Bulgaria (38, up 14), Scotland (43, up 15) and Haiti (48, up 7). 

The next FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be published on 16 October 2017. 



Moves into top ten


Moves out of top ten


Matches played in total


Most matches played

20 teams with four games each

Biggest move by points

Cape Verde Islands (up 264 points)

Biggest move by ranks

Cape Verde Islands (up 47 ranks)

Biggest drop by points

Switzerland (down 119 points)

Biggest drop by ranks

Guatemala (down 31 ranks each)

Newly ranked teams


Teams that are no longer ranked


Inactive teams, not ranked


Wednesday, 13 September 2017

IPOB Unrest: Police ammunitions carted away, officer killed others wounded on attacks

The police accused IPOB members of launching attacks in Oyingbo, Rivers State

- A policeman was killed while two others were injured
- The police vowed to deal with perpetrators of the attack

-Kanu issues statement

The police in Rivers state has given details of what happened in Oyingbo, Rovers state when members of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) allegedly launched an attack in the Hausa community. It has been reported that the attack took place on Tuesday, September 12 when IPOB members allegedly attacked the Hausas in the community.

Recall a quit notice to Igbos living in the north, before withdrawing it later.
A video has emerged online depicting a search for members of Hausa community in public buses.
IPOB members also clashed with the Hausa community in Rivers State on Tuesday.IPOB members also clashed with the Hausa community in Rivers State on Tuesday.

Zaki Ahmed who is the commissioner of police in Rivers in a statement released on Wednesday, September 13 explained that a policeman lost his life in the attack while two others were badly injured. He said that normalcy has been restored in the state and vowed that the perpetrators will face the full wrath of the law.

He dismissed report that a mosque was burnt but lashed out at IPOB for attacking innocent people. He said:

“The said group who had no justification for their action also attacked a Police van from Training School Nonwa enroute Port Harcourt International Airport and burnt the Police van to ashes.

“The driver Inspr. Emaikwu Ochochi was badly injured and is now on admission. They also carted away one AK 47 riffle with sixty rounds of live Ammunition, and one Berretta Pistol with 8 rounds of live Ammunition.

“At the end of their rampage, many vehicles were damaged and stores burnt. “The timely response of the Police restored normalcy and brought the situation under control as I made adequate deployment to arrest the situation. The mob were dispersed with minimum force thereby restoring law and order. At the end of which 23 IPOB members were arrested. “However, the Command was awaken to yet another sad incident today at about 0010hrs, where the same dare devil IPOB members regrouped and launched a surprise attack on the Mobile Policemen stationed at Oyigbo junction, killing a Police Sergeant identified as Sgt. Steven Daniel attached to 19 PMF, injuring two and set a patrol vehicle ablaze as a result of which a Sterling SMG Riffle belonging to the deceased Sgt. was taken by the hoodlums.

“They were however repelled by the Police, where about 9 of them were arrested, bringing the total number of suspects arrested to 32. They are helping us in Investigation and will be due in Court as soon as our Investigation is concluded.”

Meanwhile, The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu finally released a statement since the Tuesday, September 12, siege laid at his residence by troops of the Nigerian military. Kanu in a statement personally signed by him said prominent leaders and group have before now urged him to tow the line of peaceful dialogue with governors from the south eastern region of the country.

He said he already conceded to the request from the prominent leaders which led to the August 30, meeting with governor of the South East Governors' Forum at the Government House in Enugu.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Breaking: Abia State Government Declare 3-Day Curfew Amidst Tension In South East!

The Abia state Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, Tuesday afternoon, declared a three-day curfew in Aba, a commercial city in the state.
This followed the Nigerian army’s inversion of the state.
A statement issued on Tuesday by the state government, Governor Ikpeazu expressed concerns over the launch of a military exercise tagged, Operation Python Dance II, in the state and other South-eastern states by the Nigerian army.
He said the curfew starts from 6pm to 6am on Tuesday and ends on Thursday.
The Nigerian Army had, a couple of days ago, deployed troops, including weapons to the South-eastern states, in an exercise it tagged Operation Egwu Eke II or Operation Python Dance II.
The army said the aim of the deployment was to tackle kidnapping, violent agitations and protecting the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
However, tension has continued to mount in Abia, especially the country home of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu following Sunday’s clash between the army and IPOB supporters.
The situation became even heightened on Tuesday when soldiers again were seen in a a video clip, parading Kanu’s area with heavy armoured tanks and a platoon of fierce-looking soldiers as the army said it is conducting an exercise tagged, ‘show of force’ in the state.
According to Ikpeazu, in order to nip an impending danger lurking, he declared a three-day curfew in Aba.
The statement noted: “Abia State has for the past few days been the focus of security searchlight occasioned by the reported skirmish between some groups in the State, especially Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) with men of the Nigerian Army.
“Government notes and has observed the frenzy of activities of members of IPOB within Afara-Umuahia, the ancestral home of the leader of IPOB for some months now.
“Government is equally aware of the recent proclamation by the Nigerian Army of Operation Python Dance II within the South-East geopolitical region of Nigeria.
“The operation as declared by the Army is intended to check kidnapping, banditry, assassination, secessionist activities within the region, amongst other forms of criminal activities.
“The recent confrontation between the Nigerian Army and members of IPOB on Sunday, 10th September, 2017, could presumably be attributed to the commencement of the said Operation Python Dance II.
“The Abia State Government unequivocally states that Abia is a component State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and subscribes to the supremacy of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and all other extant laws.
“While the Government of Abia State recognizes the right of the Nigerian Army and other security agencies, to perform their statutory duty of protection of lives and property of Nigerian citizens, such duties must be carried out within acclaimed Nigerian and international standards of engagement with the civil populace, with due respect to the human rights of citizens and sanctity of human lives.
“The Abia State Government is committed to the protection of the lives and properties of its citizens and others residing and doing business within the geographical entity called Abia State.
“Abians and others living within Abia, are advised to remain law abiding and carry on their lawful business without fear, as efforts by Government will be made to reduce friction between the civil populace and military personnel in the State.
“Meanwhile, Aba residents are advised to observe a curfew from 6pm to 6am from today 12/09/2017 to 14/09/2017. Persons residing within the State are strongly advised to remain law abiding, while going about their lawful business without fear of molestation, and, not engage in any form of confrontation with military personnel or other security agents.
“The Government recognizes the constitutional Right to Freedom of Movement for all Nigerians, but objects to the influx of people into Abia State for purposes of unsettling the enduring peace in the State.
“Finally, Abia State will co-operate with security agencies to maintain the rule of law and order in the State.

Legal Battle: See Siamese twins face each other in court over right to masturbate !

A set of 54-year-old conjoined twins from Michigan are facing each other in court, as one of the siblings is contesting his brother’s right to engage in sexual acts without his consent.

Alfred and Wilbert Peterson were born joined at the waist and facing each other, and spent their entire life this way.

They have two sets of arms and legs and their own hearts and stomachs but share a lower digestive tract and a penis.

This shared penis has become a major source of conflict between the twins over recent years, and Alfred is now going to court to keep his brother from masturbating.

“He keeps playing with our penis without my consent. That’s legally a sexual assault!”

Alfred says he is suffering from insomnia and from a post-traumatic syndrome after waking up at night on three occasions to catch his brother masturbating.

“I don’t want to sleep at night because I’m afraid he’s going to touch me.”

As for Wilbert, he claims he has done nothing wrong and insists that he has the legal right to masturbate.

He said he waited for his brother to be asleep because he knew he was against it didn’t want to disturb or shock him.

Wilbert’s lawyer, Michael Gallagher, says this trial threatens not only his client’s basic human rights, but also “the sexuality of all conjoined twins”.

The two of them were facing each other in a specially adapted courtroom this morning in Flint, Michigan.

Dozens of reporters were present to cover this unusual case, which should clarify many legal issues concerning the sexuality of conjoined twins.

At the moment, the Michigan state law doesn’t include any guidelines for individuals sharing the same genital organs.

Across the U.S., the only state to have a law concerning the sexuality of conjoined twins is California, which passed a bill in 2011.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

LMC, NTA sign football broadcast production agreement

A broadcast production agreement was on Thursday in Abuja signed by the League Management Company (LMC) and the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) for production of matches of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

The papers were signed by the LMC Chairman Shehu Dikko and Mallam Yakubu Ibn Muhammed, the Director General of NTA.


An official statement jointly signed by the heads of the two organizations indicate that the LMC and NTA would be setting up a private sector driven company to manage the business of the broadcast production.

According to the statement, “the company which shall be operated as a private, commercial venture will leverage its operations on the huge infrastructure, technical and human capacity and equipment of NTA spread across the country. The equipment includes very high grade eight Outside Broadcast (OB) Vans specially designed for football and sports coverage, which had been acquired by the Federal Government at huge cost.”

It marks a new vista in the management of broadcast content in the annals of professional football league in the country as hitherto; broadcast right holders have also produced the games. However, in the new dispensation, the LMC treading the path of some European football leagues such as the English Premier League and Spanish LaLiga, is aiming to control the production and distribution of broadcast content across all media including live streaming, terrestrial and cable platforms.

This landmark venture has been facilitated and strongly supported by the Federal Government of Nigeria represented by the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed. It is a culmination of strategic engagement initiated by LMC officials with the Minister of Information and Culture seeking to deploy the vast equipment procured by the Federal Government on behalf of NTA for past FIFA tournaments hosted by Nigeria. NTA also enjoys a robust network spread in the country with stations in every state capital and which the LMC hopes to leverage on to take the NPFL to the homes of millions of Nigerians in cities and rural communities.

Dikko, at the ceremony, explained that LMC will towards meeting modern broadcast standards, assist NTA to upgrade the OB Van equipment to ensure that contents produced will be globally competitive.

“The operation of the company, as envisaged will rely on the services of international technical partners and domestic expertise to provide the much needed vehicle for the production of high quality programmes and events for broadcast in the sports and entertainment industries. This model is in keeping with proven international best practices in sports content production, distribution and broadcast,” the two organizations declared in their joint statement.

Continuing, they gave an assurance that “as from next season of the NPFL, Nigerians are, therefore, assured of the enjoyment of high quality football matches to be produced by the independent media services company for distribution, sales and broadcast across all media platforms on a domestic and global basis.

Dikko noted that the production company will serve national objectives as it is not be restricted to just football or sports production but such other industries like entertainment and cultural, political and business events in general.

“All over the world, countries develop because they have a standard production broadcast company with capacity to serve not just the sporting industry but also the entertainment industry. We are delighted that the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Information, has backed this project and we look further to other fantastic partnerships,” the LMC Chairman concluded.

"For us, this is just another step for NTA to stamp its authority as the biggest broadcast network in Africa. We have the widest reach and sports, especially football is a big industry, and we are happy to be in partnership with the LMC and NFF,” Muhammed said.

Also in attendance at the event which held inside the Conference Hall of NTA were the General Secretary of the NFF, Dr Sanusi Mohammed, Director-General of the NTA, Chief Operating Officer of the LMC, Mallam Salihu Abubakar, Samson Ebomhe, Legal Adviser to LMC and other top management staff of the NTA.

How Plateau United won Nigerian Pro League 2017, 3SC others relegated!

Plateau United have won the 2017 Nigerian Professional League championship, beating defending champions Rangers International 2-0 on the last day, to clinch the coveted  trophy and cash of N50million.

The 2017 championship in the last few weeks was  a cheek and jowl affair between United and Lagos based MFM FC, with just one point separating them going to Day 38.

Champions Plateau United

But while United earned the maximum three points to hit 66 points, MFM faded out, losing to El-Kanemi Warriors in Maiduguri 1-2  and ending the race with 62 points.

Both Plateau United and MFM will automatically  represent Nigeria at the CAF Champions Cup.

Enyimba International came third with 61 points and Akwa United fourth with 60 points.

It was the first time that Plateau United have won the League. They are the 19th different champions of the competition. And the victory is significant as they were promoted into the premier league this year.

Shooting Stars,  ABS FC, Gombe United and Remo Stars have been relegated from the premier league.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

World Cup qualification summary of Africa: Nigerians on the brink, big guns out in the cold!

World Cup qualification summary of Africa: Nigerians on the brink, big guns out in the cold!

THE MATCHDAY REPLAYED – Only Nigeria were mathematically able to qualify during the fourth instalment of the third round of African qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, but the Super Eagles will have to wait another month before attempting to obtain the points they require to advance. Their draw with Cameroon did have one direct impact: Les Lions ildomptables are no longer in the running for a qualifying spot.

Algeria, who competed at Brazil 2014, are also out, and Ghana are now in great danger of suffering the same fate, despite their resounding victory over Congo. Egypt, meanwhile, made up for their previous slip-up in Uganda by picking up three points against the same opponents in Alexandria, and Tunisia and Burkina Faso both came back to earn hard-fought draws late on. puts the African Zone qualifiers under the microscope.

Results Group A: Congo DR 2-2 Tunisia, Libya 1-0 Guinea 

Group B: Cameroon 1-1 Nigeria, Algeria 0-1 Zambia 

Group C: Mali 0-0 Morocco, Côte d’Ivoire 1-2 Gabon

Group D: Burkina Faso 2-2 Senegal, South Africa 1-2 Cape Verde 

Group E: Egypt 1-0 Uganda, Congo 1-5 Ghana

Match of the day Congo DR 2-2 Tunisia 

Defeated 2-1 in Tunisia three days ago, Congo DR hoped to cancel out that result when they welcomed the Carthage Eagles to the raucous Stade des Martyrs. And everything seemed to be going to plan as the home side built up a solid two-goal advantage, Chancel Mbemba heading home the opener after nine minutes and Paul Jose Mpoku doubling the lead in the early stages of the second half.

However, things can change in a blink of an eye in football, and when Congolese midfielder Wilfred Moke deflected a Mohamed Amine Ben Amor shot into his own net with a good 12 minutes remaining on the clock, the match was suddenly up for grabs. In the end, the Tunisians took just two minutes to conjure up an equaliser through Anice Badri’s improvised volley, but there was to be no further scoring. The North Africans hold a three-point lead at the top of Group A.

Group A: While the top two were locking horns in Kinshasa, the bottom pair clashed in Monastir. Libya gained revenge for their 3-2 reverse in Guinea last week by eking out a 1-0 home win, but both teams have been knocked out of the qualifying race.

Group B: Despite Vincent Aboubakar’s equalising penalty, which negated Moses Simon’s opener for Nigeria, Cameroon were forced to bid farewell to their World Cup dream, having now failed to win any of their four group games so far. The draw gave hope to Zambia, who needed to acquire all three points in Algeria to have any chance of catching the Nigerians. And they did just that, notching a 66th minute winner to stay in the hunt and knock Les Fennecs out of contention in the process.

Group C: Still smarting from their stinging 6-0 defeat in Morocco on Friday, Mali made amends somewhat in front of their own supporters by holding the same team to a scoreless draw. The Atlas Lions, for whom Hakim Ziyech missed a penalty, may regret not finding the winning goal that would have taken them top of the section, following Côte d’Ivoire’s shock 2-1 loss in Gabon. Les Elephants now have a one-point lead over Morocco.

Group D: Burkina Faso, who had worked hard for a share of the spoils in Senegal on Saturday, knew that they would retain leadership of Group D should they manage a similar result against the same opponents in Ouagadougou. With Sadio Mane having handed Senegal a 2-1 lead in the 75th minute and Les Etalons being reduced to ten men, the home fans began to feel a sense of despondency set in. However, an own goal by the unfortunate Pape Seydou N’Diaye not only kept the Burkinabe at the top of the pool, but it also pushed Senegal down into third place, due to Cape Verde’s surprising 2-1 triumph in South Africa.

Group E: After losing 1-0 to Uganda on Thursday, Egypt, who have not appeared on the World Cup stage since 1990, were forced to relinquish top spot in the group. On Tuesday, the Pharaohs returned to the summit of the section, Mohamed Salah’s all-important goal seeing off the Cranes. Ghana kept their faint hopes alive with a 5-1 demolition of Congo.

The number 4 – Ghana’s Thomas Partey, who was first capped in June 2016, had not scored an international goal prior to his country’s double-header with Congo. There was nothing unusual about this situation, as he usually plays as a defensive midfielder. But in the space of three days, the Atletico Madrid player proved that he did actually have a nose for goal, especially in high-pressure circumstances: he registered the Black Stars’ equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Congo in Kumasi, and in the second match in Brazzaville, he proceeded to notch a memorable hat-trick.

Corporate Affairs Commission approves Guild of Professional Bloggers - GPBN to raise standards of blogging in Nigeria

The Guild Of Professional Bloggers Of Nigeria (GPBN) an umbrella body of Bloggers set up to regulate the activities of blogging in Nigeria has been formally registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

The development is contained in a Press Statement signed by the Acting Publicity Secretary of the body, Miss Helen Ozor in Lagos on Wednesday.

According to her, the news of the registration process that took quite some time to complete was received with so much applause and excitement from industry and media stakeholders across the country finally legitimizing the Association as the authentic body to regulate the practice of blogging in Nigeria.

Meanwhile the Association has set up various committees to mobilize more members to join the group.

A membership drive committee headed by versatile blogger Laila Ijeoma (Lailasblog) has been set up for this purpose.

Announced in the release, an Ethics Committee that will oversee the activities of members on ethical behaviours and standards has also been set up. The Committee is headed by Mr Adrian Egonu (Naija Car Lovers Blog)

The Interim Executive Members of the Association include Chris Kehinde Nwandu (CKN News), President, Femi Adeoya (Skytrend News) Secretary, Helen Ozor (Helen Blog), Head, Media and Publicity, Mrs Nelly Agwu (Indepth News), Treasurer.

Receiving the approval from CAC the President of the Association, Mr Chris Kehinde Nwandu reiterated that the aim of the group is to set up a standard for the practice of blogging in Nigeria as well as formulate policies aimed at engaging major stakeholders, government functionaries and the general public.

Nwandu maintained that the association will also see to the fact that the practice of blogging is not abused or used as an avenue to blackmail or settle scores among individuals and stakeholders, adding that in the months ahead, the activities of the Association will be made public.

For a start, a logo has been approved by the Association to be placed on the website of all members to distinguish them from other players in the industry.

In the same vein, the Association has released the following numbers for easy access to the group.

National Secretariat: +2348033857245

Ethics Committee: +2348096433707

Membership: +2348080810909

President: +2349055513813




6th September 2017

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