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Topics - Deeran

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1
CRIME / EX-NPA CHAIRMAN CHIEF BODE GEORGE ARRESTED BY EFCC.
« on: August 07, 2008, 05:18:00 PM »
Bode George Arrested

Erstwhile National Vice Chairman (South) of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former chairman of the Board of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Chief Olabode George, was picked up from his Asokoro, Abuja home in the early hours of today by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Report about his arrest spread to the court during the hearing of former Adamawa Governor Boni Haruna?s bail application.

When our reporter contacted the spokesman of the EFCC, Mr. Femi Babafemi, he confirmed the arrest. According to Babafemi, ?Bode George was arrested this morning following his return from  overseas trip in connection with the investigation by the anti-graft body of his tenure as chairman of NPA board.

?He will be arraigned in the appropriate court within a constitutionally specified period,? he disclosed.
pmnews-cove-7-august-2008.jpg

George had boasted last weekend upon his return from overseas trip that nobody could arrest him and that he was not wanted by any anti-corruption agency.

He had actually gone to UK to baby-sit. P.M.News authoritatively gathered that the new wife of the retired naval officer, Roli Adeniyi, gave birth in the first week of July and George went to the UK to help nurse the baby.

George, while denying last week that he was on the run from the EFCC which had revisited the alleged fraud allegations levelled against him, had claimed he had nothing to hide.

Just before his arrival, in a statement signed by his personal aide, Muyiwa Collins, the Lagos PDP leader said he was not on the run and that he was enjoying his deserved vacation. He boasted that he would return to the country at the end of his vacation.

Roli Adeniyi, a former member of Pastor Kris Okotie?s Household of God church in Oregun, quit the church in controversial circumstances after her romance with Okotie turned sour. Her romance with Okotie subsequently broke up and was well reported by soft sell magazines. This led to her packing out of the house rented for her by Okotie. She also accused Okotie of seizing her jewellery and other properties which Okotie has not denied.

Roli found succour in the arms of Bode George after the split. He brought her into  PDP politics and she was regularly seen at PDP rallies and meetings held nationwide with George in attendance. She also ran for the House of Representatives seat in the Ikeja Constituency under the platform of PDP but lost to the Action Congress (AC) candidate.

Bode George, it would be recalled, dragged TheNEWS magazine to court for its publication in April 2005 alleging fraud and irregularities in the award of contracts under his watch as Chairman of the NPA board.

2
NEWS / EFCC INVITES OSUN STATE CABINET MEMBERS.
« on: August 07, 2008, 09:35:54 AM »
  EFCC invites Osun SSG, commissioners, others over govt purchases

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has invited the Secretary to the Osun State Government, commissioners for local government affairs, finance, works; and the Vice-Chancellor, Osun State University, Osogbo, over some financial procurement by the state government.

Also invited are the state Accountant-General, Mr. G Babatunde and the Clerk of the House of Assembly, Mr. Festus Omisakin. They were directed to report at the EFCC headquarters, Abuja, on Friday.

The SSG, Alhaji Akinade Akinbade, who confirmed the invitation to our correspondent on Wednesday, said it was in line with the transparency and accountability policy of the Olagunsoye Oyinlola-led government.

He said, ?I shall honour the invitation on Thursday. There is nothing strange about it. Nigeria should be built on probity, accountability and transparency. The Oyinlola administration is founded on due process, which is the pivot of the EFCC.?

Also, the Commissioner for Works, Dr. Bayo Faforiji, told our correspondent that he would honour the invitation on Friday as directed by the EFCC.

But efforts to get the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Toyese Ojo, and the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Prof Muib Opeloye, were unsuccessful as their mobile telephones lines were unavailable.

While the letter to the SSG directed that he should report to the EFCC Abuja office on Thursday, Akinrinade, Omisakin, Ojo, Opeloye and Faforiji were directed to report on Friday.

Investigations by our correspondent in Osogbo revealed that the principal officers were directed to come to Abuja with the price lists of materials bought by the 30 local government councils of the state for the University of Osun.

The Peoples Democratic Party controls the 30 local government councils in the state.

All the local governments contribute five per cent to the funding of the recently inaugurated state university every month from their allocation from the Federal Government.

The Action Congress and some opposition parties in the state had described the local government councils? funding of the university as illegal. They said that local government councils, under the law, were not expected to fund tertiary education.

Bearing reference number CR: 300/EFCC/LS/VOL 4/287, the letter to the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sola Akinrinade, directed him Akinrinade to bring documents pertaining to the purchase of materials for the university to EFCC headquarters in Abuja on Friday.

3
GAMES / MOVED: NIGERIA LOSES N1BN ANNUALLY TO FLOOD ? MINISTER
« on: August 07, 2008, 09:26:06 AM »

4
NEWS / SPEAKER DIMEJI BANKOLE BECOMES A FATHER.
« on: August 07, 2008, 09:01:51 AM »

Bankole and his wife, Laitan

  Speaker becomes father at last

Hurray! Forty-year-old Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole, has been inducted into the fathers? club. His wife, former Miss Olaitan Akinlade, gave birth to a bouncing baby girl late last month at a spe...t hospital in Ghana.

But why is it that everything about him, in respect of his relationship with the feminine gender, is shrouded in secrecy? Apart from his engagement to his gal, everyone has been left guessing as to the state of their affairs until news of their registry wedding done privately in Ghana, filtered out.

It is certainly good to shed off the toga of bachelorhood, especially when one has become ?over eligible?.

Since little noise has been made about the birth of Chief Alani Bankole?s grand daughter. The family probably thought it had the news under wrap till a petrol attendant overheard a friend of the veteran politician congratulate him, ?Eku ewu omo o!? Yoruba phrase meaning, ?Congratulation on the birth of your baby.? The latest grand father wants to know how the news leaked out.

As a gold fish has no hiding place, the Speaker?s numerous secret visits to Ghana where his wife is currently rounding off her medical studies at the University of Legon, Accra Ghana, have been monitored by the eagle eyed.

Bankole, we heard, was actually in the labour room with his wife. He flew into Ghana at about 4.30pm on July 31 and his wife was delivered of a baby girl at 6.00pm.

The birth of a child calls for celebrations and we join millions of Nigerians to welcome the latest addition to Bankole?s family. Congrats Daddy Dimeji.

5
GENERAL DISCUSSION / IS KAZEEM AT FAULT?
« on: August 04, 2008, 09:44:52 PM »
?I Don?t Know How N600,000 Got Into My Account?

Workers of a new generation bank in Ogba, Ijaiye, are still at a loss as to how N600,000 was suddenly deposited in the account of an ex-student of Osun State Polytechnic, Iree, Osun State, in their bank.

The ex-student, identified as Kazeem Mukaila, a resident of Olatorera Asumau Street, Alagbado, Lagos, according to the police in Lagos, allegedly opened a savings account with N1,000 on 14 July, 2008, on the directive of his elder brother identified as Mr. Abiodun.

Mr. Abiodun, who is reportedly based in Rivers State, Port Harcourt, had told his brother to open the account to enable him remit N300,000 to Kazeem. The suspect was supposed to use the money to pay for the admission he  had just secured with the Lagos State College of Education,  Ijanikin, Lagos.

When a call was, however, put through to Abiodun in Port Harcourt, he denied ever sending money, but admitted directing his younger brother to open an account in a bank to enable him remit some money to him to offset his school fees.

Kazeem was said to have gone to the bank on 17 July, 2008, slotted his ATM card into the machine, and discovered that the amount in his account was N600,000. He was alleged to have withdrawn N20,000 and left.

On 18 July, 2008, the bank management discovered the  money in Kazeem?s account out of which N20,000 had been withdrawn.

The bank management traced Kazeem to his house through his address, but he was not at home. His mother,  Mrs. Aminat Mukaila, told them that her son had gone out, but she gave them her son?s phone number.

The bank officials allegedly called Kazeem on Friday to come and ratify his account. Immediately he got to the bank?s Ogba branch, he was taken to the bank?s Marina headquarters on Lagos Island.

On interrogation, Kazeem allegedly told his interrogators that he did not know how the money entered his account. He was asked why he withdrew N20,000 when he did not know how the money entered his account. He was also asked why he did not raise an alarm or confirm from the management when he discovered the huge sum of money in his account. Kazeem told his interrogators that he felt God had answered his prayers and opened his way.

The police were immediately invited by the bank?s management and the accused was taken into police custody. Investigations by P.M.News revealed that the police and the bank management are not buying Kazeem?s explanations. They believe he is one of those emerging ATM fraudsters who is still learning. He is currently being detained pending proper investigation

6
CRIME / PASTOR ARRESTED WITH HUMAN SKULL IN LAGOS.
« on: August 04, 2008, 09:35:16 PM »
Pastor From Hell Arrested With Human Skull

A 55-year-old pastor with Ogo-Oluwakiitan Celestial Church of Christ (CCC), Igando, Noah Ajibigah, has been caught with a human skull by the police from the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, Panti, Yaba, Lagos.

He was arrested in his church along with his wife, Bose, after his wife?s father reported to the police that he is a fake prophet. After the police swooped on him in his church, male and female effigies believed to have been used for the separation of certain couple, was also found there among other objects including the skull said to be that of a teenager.

When interrogated on how he came about the human skull in the church, Pastor Noah claimed that the skull was that of an animal.
pmnews-cover-4-august-2008.jpg

The pastor?s wife?s father, also accused the pastor of being an evil pastor, and that the pastor tied the hands of his grandson Oluwatubosun Oluwadamilare, a 17-year-old  JSS 2 student of Egan Grammar School, Igando, with ropes from the tube of a tyre for 3 days and refused to treat the boy because the boy was not his biological, and that the boy stole his half brother?s handset.

When the wife of the pastor, Bose Ajibigah, was asked how the human skull was found in the church, she said she did not know.

Consequently, the entire family has been arrested and detained at the SCID, Panti, Yaba.

Police sources said they would be charged to court soon.

7
NEWS / BAKASSI HANDOVER STILL INTACT.
« on: August 02, 2008, 01:14:15 PM »

AGF and Minister of Justice Aondoakaa, SAN
No going back on Bakassi handover ? FG

The Federal Government on Friday in Abuja said that there would be no going back on its plan to hand over Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon on August 14.

The Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Chief Michael Aondoakaa, SAN, who spoke with journalists in his office on Friday, said the Abuja Federal High Court which ordered that the process be halted could not sit on the judgment of the International Court.

Justice Mohammed Umar had on Thursday asked the Federal Government to maintain the status quo until he heard and determined the case. He adjourned further hearing in the case till October 20 when the court would have resumed from vacation.

Reacting to the order by the judge, Aondoakaa said, ?I have been served the court order. But the Supreme Court had said in a number of cases that a court order must be explicit to enable the person to whom the order is directed to understand and comply. Am duty bound to obey a court order but the order must be explicit.

?This order is not explicit. I do not understand which status quo the learned judge is referring to. To me the order asking us to maintain the status quo is telling us to implement the judgment of the International Court. If there is no judgment to be complied with, I can understand. But a final judgment has been given and we are bound to obey.

?What is the status quo? A final judgment has been given by the International Court of Justice. We are bound by that judgment. What is the res? The res is the final judgment of the International Court which we are bound to comply with. I am not going back on the implementation of the International Court of Justice?s judgment.?

Besides, Aondoakaa said that another Federal High Court sitting in Abuja and presided over by Justice Anwuri Chikere had earlier struck out a case filed by some indigenes of Bakassi seeking to stop the handing over.

Justice Umar had on Thursday put a temporary halt to the on going plans by the Federal Government to cede Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroun. Both Nigeria and Cameroun have agreed to a final handing over the oil rich peninsula to the latter on August 14.

Also, the Cross River Government, represented by its Deputy Director of Civil Litigation, Mr. Bassey U. Bassey, said the order was ?not capable of being obeyed. This order is not capable of being obey because this court cannot sit as an appellate court on the judgment of the International Court of Justice at the Hague. All the issues in this case as well as the final cession of Bakassi are fallout from the judgment of the ICJ.?

Counsel to the plaintiff, Mr. Kayode Fasetire, however, said that the suit was not to challenge the judgment of the ICJ but the modalities for its implementation.

He said, ?We know that we are bound by the judgment of the ICJ. The Presidency did not submit the Green Tree Agreement to the National Assembly for ratification while the legislature also failed in its oversight functions to call the President to order. We are challenging the agreement and we are surprised that the President has said he would go ahead to hand over in the face of it. Nigeria has not done what it is supposed to do before implementing the agreement.?

8
POLITICS / LP YOUTHS WARN ONDO MONARCH AGAINST ADVERTS.
« on: August 02, 2008, 12:47:08 PM »
  Agagu?s removal: LP, youths warn monarchs

The Labour Party and the Coalition of Youths in Ondo State have warned traditional rulers in the state to steer clear of partisan politics, as Governor Olusegun Agagu appeals his removal by the Ondo State Election Petitions Tribunal.

Also, two of Agagu?s aides have rejected the tribunal?s decision, which on July 25 declared the LP governorship candidate, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, as the winner of the April 14, 2007 election. The LP?s Director of Press, Mr. Kolawole Olabisi, who gave the warning in an interview with our correspondent in Akure on Friday, said the party was surprised that some monarchs had signed newspaper adverts condemning the verdict of the Justice Garba Nabaruma-led tribunal.

The LP had earlier issued a similar warning to traditional rulers, whom it alleged were being mobilised to protest the removal. Although the obas did not protest as alleged by the LP, some traditional rulers and chiefs placed adverts in some national newspapers to reject the verdict.

Olabisi challenged monarchs whose names were used without their consent in the adverts to denounce such publications openly. He said, ?It is indeed a shame and we begin to wonder why respected obas should be against the popular wish of the people. The world has indeed changed when traditional rulers are now not only partisan but biased and anti-people.? In the same vein, the youth coalition warned royal fathers against taking sides in the struggle for power between Mimiko and Agagu.

The group in a statement by its president, Mr. Isaac Perema, said that the youth of the state would not hesitate to deal with any monarch who desecrates his stool by participating in any form of protest against the tribunal?s verdict.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Ondo State Electricity Board, Mr. Femi Fasawe, has called on the National Judicial Council to probe the tribunal. Fasawe, who made the call in a statement issued to journalists in Akure on Friday, expressed optimism that the appeal court would upturn the judgment.

Also, Agagu?s Special Adviser on Politics, Chief Segun Adegoke, said the tribunal?s verdict was not based on the evidence before it. He said, ?The decisions of tribunals cannot be the solution to our electoral problems. Electoral reform is the way out. How could the tribunal have cancelled about 40 per cent of the votes - majority of which are from the governor?s strong areas??

9
NEWS / JTF SHUTS 111 ILLEGAL REFINERIES IN NIGER DELTA.
« on: August 02, 2008, 12:20:14 PM »

A Refinery.

JTF shuts 111 illegal refineries
The Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta, otherwise known as Operation Restore Hope, on Friday said it had uncovered and destroyed 111 illegal crude oil refining plants in the Niger Delta.

The JTF said the illegal local refineries were located in the riverside Tuomo community in Burutu Local Government Area, Delta State. The agency said the illegal refining plants were located in the creeks of virtually all the coastal communities of the restive region.

The JTF gave its scorecard in the war against illegal oil bunkering less than 24 hours after the 14 Filipinos arrested for allegedly stealing crude oil were granted bail by the Federal High Court in Benin. A magistrate?s court in Warri had ordered that the Filipinos be remanded in Warri Federal Prisons till August 13 before the foreign nationals approached the Federal High Court to enforce their fundamental human rights. The court granted them temporary reprieve under stringent conditions, including bail in the sum of N50m each.

Meanwhile, the JTF Commander, Brig.-Gen. Wuyep Rimtip, while receiving a delegation from the House of Representatives led by the House Committee Chairman on Petroleum, Mr. Tam Brisibe, at the agency?s headquarters in 93 Battalion, Effurun, on Friday, said the operators of the illegal refineries were refining diesel and kerosene from stolen crude. Rimtip told the lawmakers, who visited the JTF on a-fact-finding mission over the arrest of the Filipinos, that illegal refining plants littered the coastal areas of the Niger Delta, adding, ?Investigations carried out by the task force showed that there were many of such illegal refineries in Bomadi Local Government, Delta State and other communities in Delta and Bayelsa states. The raid has not stopped, we are still continuing.?

The JTF commander told Brisibe, who hails from the coastal council where the shady oil plants were uncovered, that the federal troops carried out the operation on July 20. Furthermore, Rimtip revealed that 67 persons were arrested and 14 ocean-going barges impounded by the security outfit between January and July 2008, adding that 89 wooden boats and four tug boats used for illegal oil bunkering activities were seized during the period.

Similarly, he said 47, 535 barrels of stolen crude oil valued at about N6bn were recovered by the JTF during the period under review. Rimtip also disclosed that the JTF foiled a fresh attempt by Niger Delta militants to attack the Floating Production Storage Platform, otherwise known as Bonga Oil Fields, belonging to the Dutch oil firm, Shell Petroleum Development Company in Bayelsa State.

He said the attempt was made again on the strategic oil platform on Monday, July 27, over five weeks after the Movement for Emancipation of the Niger Delta claimed responsibility for an attack on the facility on June 19.

Rimtip, however, told his visitors that a warship deployed in the high sea foiled the second attempt.

He stated that the federal troops had taken effective charge of the platform and pleaded for the provision of logistic support to enable the agency discharge its duties satisfactorily.

He said the operation of the agency was being hampered by lack of basic working tools and urged the federal lawmakers to draw the attention of the Federal Government and its agencies to the plight of the security outfit. Brisibe, in his response, commended the JTF for its achievements under the leadership of Rimtip, adding that the National Assembly would relate with the Federal Government to improve the logistic base of the outfit and the well-being of its officers and men.

The federal lawmaker, who represents Burutu Federal Constituency, said the National Assembly was working out measures with the executive arm of government to legislate on sanctions against countries and foreign organisations encouraging illegal oil bunkering in Nigeria.

10
NEWS / 7,000 POLICEMEN DRAFTED TO THIRD MAINLAND BRIDGE.
« on: August 02, 2008, 12:17:43 PM »
  7,000 policemen for Third Mainland Bridge repair

The police in Lagos State have drafted 7, 000 personnel for a 24-hour three-month-special duty to control and monitor traffic and provide security during the repair works on the Third Mainland Bridge, which will commence on Saturday (today) and last for two months.

Saturday Punch learnt on Friday that apart from the manpower from the police, other security agencies such as the Federal Road Safety Corps, Lagos State Traffic Management Agency and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps were expected to contribute personnel.

The spokesman of the Lagos State Police Command, Mr. Frank Mba, who confirmed the police preparedness, said the diversion had been divided into five routes.

He said, ?Vehicles from Alapere, Ketu, Ogudu, Mile 12, Shangisha, Isheri, Ojodu Berger will be diverted at Oworonsoki/ Ifako-Gbagada intersection to join Ikorodu Road through Anthony.

?Those from Obanikoro, Palmgroove, Onipanu, Fadeyi, Jibowu, Sabo, Yaba and Ebute Meta, will go to the island through Oyingbo to join Carter Bridge.

Vehicles from Ikorodu, Imota, Ipakodo, Ijede will follow Epe/Ajah expressway to their designations on the island.

?Vehicles from the island to the mainland will either use Eko/Carter Bridge to access Western Avenue to Ikorodu Road/Agege Motor Road or Murtala Muhammed Way/ Herbert Macaulay Way to Ikorodu Road/Agege Motor Road.

?Vehicles going to Ikorodu and Epe will use Lekki-Ajah Expressway to their destinations.?

He said the police would work day and night and all traffic teams would be headed by at least a police inspector. Saturday Punch also gathered that the police would not allow driving on the wrong side of traffic. Also, MOPOL 20, 22, and 49 have been placed on red alert and instructed them to keep their APCs in top shape.

Also, street traders will be cleared from all the routes to ensure free flow of traffic.

NOTE: The bold parts are the new traffic route to and fro the Island during the maintenance.

11
SPORTS / ADEBAYOR VOWS TO STAY AT EMIRATES.
« on: August 02, 2008, 12:09:28 PM »

Emmanuel Adebayor

Adebayor had been heavily linked with moves to AC Milan and Barcelona

Emmanuel Adebayor insists he wants to stay at Arsenal and intends to sign a new contract at the Emirates.

The 24-year-old Togo striker, who scored 30 goals in 48 games last season, has been heavily linked with moves to AC Milan and Barcelona.

"Now I can tell everyone that, yes, I will sign a contract," Adebayor told the club's official website.

"I never told anyone I would be leaving this club, never ever. I'm very happy we've found a solution."

Adebayor added: "I have three years left on my contract and I'm putting two or three years more, so I'm very happy being part of this family."

He joined the Gunners from Monaco in January 2006, but his loyalty to the club had been in question after his comments that "a lot of teams want me to play for them" earlier this summer.

But Adebayor said his his relationship with Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has not been affected by the speculation over his future.

"When we started talking about my contract I never told him I'd be leaving this club and he knew my desire," said Adebayor.

"My desire was to stay at this club so for me he's like my father, he's my boss so whatever he tells me I'll do it.

"Our relationship at the moment is always strong, there is no doubt about that."

Speaking at a press conference to launch this weekend's Emirates Cup, which features hosts Arsenal, Juventus, Real Madrid and Hamburg, Wenger said reports that Adebayor was keen to leave the club were wide of the mark.

"Adebayor is an Arsenal player and will play for Arsenal next season," he said.

"For me (there has been) no trouble because when a player is a true professional he goes onto the pitch and tries to play the football he loves.

"What is very damaging sometimes is that the player gets bad publicity against his own fans for things he has not said. That is sometimes difficult to repair. There is disappointment from the fans because they feel the player wants to go.


"But all I can say is that when I was face-to-face with him he always said his priority was to stay at the club. And I told him that he has got his priorities right."

12
POLITICS / PDP WOOS FASHOLA, TINUBU TO WIN LAGOS.
« on: July 30, 2008, 07:16:27 AM »
  2011: South-West PDP woos Fashola, Tinubu to win Lagos
The South-West Peoples Democratic Party, on Tuesday said it was prepared to woo the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), into its fold, if it required that to win the state in the 2011 general elections.

The Zonal Chairman of the party, Alhaji Tajudeen Oladipo, who stated this in Ibadan, Oyo State added that the party was determined to win the coming governorship election in Lagos, owing to its strategic importance to the PDP.

Oladipo, who spoke while receiving the interim report of the Chief Tunde Osunrinde-led reconciliation committee that was set up to reconcile aggrieved PDP leaders in Lagos State, also named the immediate past governor of the state, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, as another target of the party ahead of 2011.

Tinubu, however, described the PDP?s position as laughable.

The South-West PDP chief stated that the party would not mind enlisting the support of both Tinubu and Fashola and other key opposition leaders in the state, in order to smoothen the way for the realisation of its ambition of winning Lagos in the next election.

Oladipo said, ?If the PDP wins Lagos State with Fashola in 2011, we don?t mind. All we care about is for the PDP to win the state. We will talk to Fashola and Tinubu to come to the PDP. ?Inasmuch as Fashola will be prepared to fly the flag of the PDP in 2011, we don?t mind to field him for the governorship election.?

But Tinubu, speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, My Idowu Ajanaku, on Tuesday described the PDP leaders position mere wishful thinking. According to Ajanaku, Tinubu would never join the PDP.

He said, ?Asiwaju Tinubu is progressive and plays politics of ideology, he cannot abandon his ideology to join a party like PDP that has no clear-cut ideology or plan.?

13
EDUCATION / TEACHERS SUSPEND NATIONWIDE STRIKE FOR TWO WEEKS.
« on: July 30, 2008, 07:12:25 AM »
The National Union of Teachers on Tuesday agreed to suspend its four-week old strike for the next two weeks.

The action is to allow for more negotiation and consensus with all teachers across the country.

Already, the governors have set up a negotiation team headed by the Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Namadi Sambo, with 10 members of the NUT led by the deputy President, Mr. Onem Nelson, to work out an acceptable agreement with the teachers.

The meeting with the teachers began on Monday, at the Kwara State Governor?s Lodge, where the teachers agreed to meet at a National Executive Council forum on Tuesday.

After the NEC meeting in the morning, the teachers proceeded for another round of talks with the governors, before agreeing to suspend the strike.

The suspension, according to a reliable source at the meeting, was to allow for further negotiation with the governors and get all interests accommodated.

The source said the teachers allowed the two weeks so that they could study the proposed package by the governors and the modalities that would be used to pay the teachers.

As at the time of filing this report, the teachers had begun another round of meetings with the governors, which was expected to last till midnight.

Meanwhile, striking secondary and primary school teachers in Imo State, on Tuesday, staged a peaceful march in Owerri, urging the Federal and state governments to look into their demands.

The teachers, numbering more than 2,000, wore black dresses and carried placards, calling for improved service conditions.

Led by the Imo Chairman of the NUT, Chief Josiah Eze, the teachers said they would not relent until their plight was alleviated by the appropriate government authorities.

14
NEWS / DOZENS TRAPPED AS BUILDING COLLAPSE IN ABUJA
« on: July 30, 2008, 06:43:44 AM »

?A crowd of residents and rescuers at the scene ...

Scores buried alive in Abuja building collapse     
      
Friends and relations watched in horror and desperation yesterday as rescue work crawled at a collapsed shopping complex in Abuja, in which some 50 persons were feared trapped.

"My brother was talking to me now from the building; he is no longer talking now. This is not the way to rescue people!!!" cried one of the federal capital residents who converged at the site of the incident.

The police confirmed one person dead and 15 others taken to hospital by press time yesterday. But the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) said nine persons had been rescued.

An eye witness said the shopping complex on P.O.W Mafemi Crescent, Utako district, collapsed at about 2.50p.m., killing one person. Over 50 others, including labourers and hawkers, were still feared trapped in the building as at 7.00p.m.

The shopping complex is allegedly owned by a former South-South Governor.

Abuja residents bemoaned the slow pace of rescue work at the site. One of them, Alhaji Aliyu Garba, lamented alleged late response by the rescue teams, saying it took more than an hour before the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), on the scene.


Sympathisers at the scene of the collapsed building in Abuja... on Tuesday.

"You can imagine, no single government equipment is here to rescue people and we have the money to buy the equipment to manage this kind of disaster," he groaned.

The officer in charge of operation at the Federal Capital Territory Fire Service, Asokoro, Abdul Rasheed Ashafa, was the first government official to arrive at the scene. He immediately mobilised his men for rescue operation, to the relief anxious by-standers.

By 5.10p.m. that the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Dr. Aliyu Modibbo, arrived at the site, the crowd was becoming frantic over the inadequate rescue equipment and gathered round him, calling for help. "We need crane, we need crane," some people screamed.

The minister promised that an arrangement had already been made to bring equipment from Julius Berger and Dantata & Sawoe, to back up Arab Contractors which was the first to arrive on the scene around 4.50p.m.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) in charge of operation, Ade Shinaba, said 15 people had been rescued and taken to hospital. But his figure conflicted with that of NSCDC?s chief, Dr. Ade Abolurin, who said confirmed one person dead and nine rescued.

As he was talking with our reporter, news came to him that one of the persons trapped in the building was on the line. Just as reporters were trying to listen to the voice, the line suddenly went dead. They gave the victim?s name as Isaac Okon.

Asked what the trapped victim was trying to say, an NSCDC official told our reporter: "He is saying that each time they lift debris, some are falling on him." He, however, could not ascertain where the victim was trapped in the building.

Efforts to confirm the ownership of the shopping complex and the building contractor from Abolurin did not yield results. "We are here for rescue, not for investigation," he told reporters.

15
TV and RADIO / GULDER ULTIMATE SEARCH 5 (GUS V)
« on: July 29, 2008, 09:50:59 PM »
What are you views as the 5th edition of Gulder Ultimate Search starts?
What do you think about the 10 people finally selected?
Share them here.

16
NEWS / ADULTEROUS MAN DIES INSIDE PIT LATRINE
« on: July 29, 2008, 08:21:33 PM »
An unidentified man has died after he fell into a bad pit latrine at 57, Sholanke Street, Akoka, Lagos.

P.M.News gathered that the man, whose identity could not be ascertained, was not a tenant in the house but came to sleep with a married woman whose husband has travelled.

He was reportedly sighted in the house around 3.30 a.m. that fateful Friday by one of the tenants who challenged him as regards his mission in the compound.

It was learnt that the man could not give any tangible explanation, but went to the toilet to ease himself. Unknown to him, the grounds of the toilet had caved in. He was said to have fallen into the pit latrine.

Thinking that he had escaped through the window of the latrine, a tenant went in and discovered that the latrine had caved in. The corpse of the man was recovered after the faeces were removed from the latrine. Some residents of the house who commented on the incident disclosed that the deceased came to see his female friend whose husband travelled a few weeks ago.

17
CRIME / SISTER BATHES BROTHER WITH RAW ACID.
« on: July 29, 2008, 07:59:27 PM »
Sister Bathes Brother With Acid

Regina Mborg and her friend, Miss Nkiodom Ishadu, are currently cooling their heels at the Ogoja Prison in Cross River State, after Regina bathed her brother with raw acid.

Speaking from his hospital bed where he is battling for survival, the victim, Joseph Umari, a student of Agiga Day Secondary School in Ogoja, and an uncle to Regina, said his niece was turning his one-room apartment itno a brothel and when he cautioned her and sent her packing, she and her friend went and procured acid which she poured on him.

?She turned my room into a brothel as many boys were always coming in here to sleep with her. I cautioned her to stop that attitude, but she would not take advice, so I sent her away,? Joseph said while writhing in pains.

P.M.News gathered that after Regina was sent away from Joseph?s house, where she was living, she solicited the help of her friend, Nkiodom, and they went to Mission Road in Igoli, where they procured raw acid with which they bathed Joseph.

Joseph told P.M.News that the incident happened early in the morning while he was still sleeping. He said he heard knocks on his door and he woke up and opened it.

?I initially did not want to open the door but when the kocks persisted, I had to open up. The moment I oponed the door I felt some liquid splash on my face. I did not know it was acid until the substance started burning my face,? he said in agony due to the severe burns he sustained after the acid bath..

His screams attracted neighbours who rushed him to the Ogoja General Hospital. The girls were subsequently arrested and detained at the Ogoja Police Station from where they were transferred to the Ogoja Prison, before being taken to Calabar, the state capital.

The Police Public Relations Officer for Cross River State, Mr Thomas Opene, said the girls would not be granted bail until they appear in court.

The action of the girls, he said ?is rascally and bestial. Beautiful girls like these ought to have the heart of love.?

Meanwhile, Joseph has appealed to kind-hearted persons to assist him financially as he has been referred overseas for medical treatment.

18
SPORTS / OKOCHA IN CYPROIT CLUBS TALK.
« on: July 29, 2008, 07:43:58 AM »
  Okocha considers Cypriot offers


Former Super Eagles captain, Jay-Jay Okocha

A former Super Eagles captain, Austin Okocha, is considering offers from two clubs in Cyprus.

Although a testimonial match was held in honour of the 35-year-old midfielder in Warri in June, it was only to ease him out of international football, not club football.

Okocha, who has played professionally in Germany, France, Turkey, England and Qatar, was released by his last club, Hull of England, after injury marred his season with the club, which was promoted to the Premier League after winning the Championship playoffs at the end of last season.

Our correspondent learnt that the one-time BBC African Footballer of the Year might be keen on the offers.

?The clubs in Cyprus came to discuss with him during the testimonial match in Warri and I believe they are still discussing with him. If he finds the offer good enough he will accept it. It will give him an opportunity of a new experience since he has never played in Cyprus.

?I learned that the clubs are two of the biggest in Cyprus and they want Jay Jay because he is very popular in their country,? the source said.

Okocha finally retired from international football in June, although his last match for the Eagles was in Alexandria, Egypt during the Nations Cup in 2006.

He represented Nigeria at three consecutive World Cup finals in 1994, 1998 and 2002.

He also played at five Nations Cup finals, helping Nigeria win the competition in Tunisia in 1994 and a silver at Ghana/Nigeria 2000.

19
NEWS / MILITANS ATTACKS TWO OIL PIPELINES IN NIGERIA.
« on: July 29, 2008, 07:39:49 AM »
          Again, militants attack two oil pipelines, SPDC shuts in production

Militants struck twice in the Niger Delta region on Monday, forcing the Shell Petroleum Development Company to shut in some production in one of the damaged facilities ? the Nembe Trunk line in Kula, Rivers State.

The second facility (pipeline) attacked by the militants is located in Rumuekpe, Emuoha Local Government. The owner of the pipeline was yet to be ascertained as 7pm on Monday.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta claimed responsibility for the attacks just as the Nigerian Army said that it would continue to use minimum force in its efforts to restore peace in the area.

The Public Affairs Manager of the SPDC, Mr. Precious Okolobo, explained that the decision to close the Nembe Trunk line was to prevent more crude from spilling into the neigbourhood.

Okolobo, however, said the company was still trying to find out the extent of the damage to the trunk line, one of the major components of its operations.

He said, ?We can confirm some damage to our Nembe Trunk line and we are working to ascertain the extent of damage to it.

?But as a precautionary measure, we have shut in some production so that more crude does not sip into the environment.?

MEND said in an e-mail statement to THE PUNCH that the attack was carried out in fulfilment of its pledge to resume hostilities in the region.

The two-paragraph statement reads, ?In keeping with our pledge to resume pipeline attacks within the next 30 days, our detonation engineers backed by heavily armed fighters today (Monday) sabotaged two major pipelines in Rivers State of Nigeria.

?The first pipeline is located in Kula, which has been previously sabotaged by us and the second in Rumuekpe both belonging, we believe, to the SPDC.?

But when contacted on the telephone, the Spokesman for the Joint Task Force, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa, claimed that no attack was carried out on the facility in Rumuekpe.

Musa said the facility in Rumukpe was heavily guarded by troops from the task force.

MEND had on July 19 attacked the multi-million dollar Bonga and Pennington oil fields of the SPDC.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army has said that in spite of losing some of its men in the battle to restore peace in the Niger Delta region, it would not apply full military force in dislodging the militants in the Niger Delta.

The Army Chief of Operations, Maj.-Gen. Mohammed Sale, told journalists in Kontagora, Niger State on Monday, that the Army needed to exercise restraint because the militants were a symmetric force (weaker force).

Sale said, ?We cannot use our might to resolve the crisis in the Niger Delta and this is because of the simple reason that it is a homeland affair.

?We regard what the militants are fighting for as a home affair. So the best thing to do is to use the minimum possible force to resolve the crisis.?

He said another reason why the Army would not embark on full scale war against militants was because every Nigerian had the right to express his or her dislike against some perceived misgivings in the country.

Also on Monday, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Luka Yussuf, empahsised the need for officers and men of the Nigerian Army to be trained on a regular basis.

Yussuf, in a message to the opening of a four- day Combat Support Arms Training in Kontagora , said that the nation?s combat support troops were well trained and equipped to cope with modern day warfare.

In his address, the Commander, Corps of Artillery, Maj.- Gen. John Samuel, noted that training was a phenomenon the Army should not allow to be taken to the back stage.

He said history was replete with instances whereby armies had failed or lost battles because they lacked up-to-date training to meet present day challenges.

20
EDUCATION / NIGERIA TEACHERS SET TO GO BACK TO WORK.
« on: July 29, 2008, 07:36:36 AM »
  Teachers may end strike today

The five-week old strike by the Nigeria Union of Teachers over the non-implementation of the new Teachers Salary Structure may be called off on Tuesday (today).

An indication to this effect emerged on Monday, after a meeting between the leaderships of the NUT and the Nigerian Labour Congress with the Governor?s Forum in Abuja.

The Chairman of the Forum, Dr. Bukola Saraki, told journalists after the meeting that lasted more than four hours, that the NUT leaders were expected to meet ?within the 24 hours? to take a final decision on the matter.

Saraki, who read a statement issued at the end of the meeting, assured stakeholders that nobody would be victimised for taking part in the strike.

The Forum?s chairman blamed the strike on what he called, ?the military mentality of our people,? but promised that its end was in sight since both parties had expressed commitment to resolving the impasse.

A source close to the NUT told one of our correspondents that there was every likelihood that the strike would be called off on Tuesday(today).

He said, ?The meeting will definitely call off the strike tomorrow. I can assure you that we will resume normal academic activities on Wednesday.?

The NUT had insisted that the Federal Government should issue a circular on the payment of the TSS to serve as a benchmark for the 36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory to use in determining what to pay teachers employed by them.

Although the Federal Government said it would pay the TSS to those in its schools, it said it was not in a position to direct the states to adopt the structure as a minimum wage for their teachers.

When asked if the strike would be called off on Tuesday, the Acting President of the NUT, Mr. Nelson Onem, said, ?I cannot say until the NEC meets on Tuesday.?

He, however, said that the NUT position still remained that there should be salary increase for teachers.

The NUT chief added that the union was assured by the governors that the agreement reached at the meeting would be implemented in all the states and Abuja.

He said, ?The governors have agreed to discuss with us, we are not here to discuss whether education is on the concurrent list or not.

?This is because it is the same constitution that gives the Federal Government powers to set minimum standards for salary and it is when it concerns teachers now that the Federal Government will talk about federalism because item 34 in the Constitution specifies that the Federal Government has to set standards and I can tell you that that includes minimum salary.?

Onem refused to be categorical on whether or not teachers were still expecting a circular from the Federal Government on their demand.

He said, ?If we are, then we would not be here. We are here because the governors have promised to intervene and they have said that they would talk to the Federal Government about the matter. Whatever process they want to use to intervene is okay by us.?

It was learnt that the meeting also agreed to set up a joint committee to negotiate the implementation of the TSS.

The committee, which has the Kaduna State Governor, Alhaji Namadi Sambo, as its chairman, has the deputy governors of Osun and Ebonyi states as representatives of the governors.

Also listed as members of the committee are commissioners of education in Yobe, Kano, Nassarawa, Ekiti, Kwara, Imo and Akwa Ibom states.

The NUT will name its representatives after the Tuesday meeting.

On whether the negotiation would take into cognisance the ability of each state to pay, Onem said the NUT would not pre-empt the outcome of the talks as the governors had agreed to implement whatever decision was reached.

He said the outcome of the negotiation would be used as the benchmark by all the states and the FCT.

Also present at the meeting were Governors Olagunsoye Oyinlola (Osun), Alhaji Aliu Akwe (Nasarawa), Alhaji Mamman Ali (Yobe) and the deputy governor of Ebonyi State.

The teachers were represented by the NUT Secretary-General,Mr. Ikpe Obong; and the President of NLC, Mr. Abdulwaheed Omar.

21
SPORTS / BOXER DIES ON THE RING IN LAGOS.
« on: July 29, 2008, 07:24:55 AM »

The wife and children of Bashiru Thompson inset:Bashiru Thompson.

Police boxer dies fighting in the ring

Boxing fans in Lagos watched in horror on Sunday night, as a policemanbashiru_thompson.jpg was pummelled to death inside the ring, at the National Stadium.

Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Bashiru Thompson started the eight-round bout on a promising note, when he knocked down his opponent twice in the first round.

But Thompson, a one-time African flyweight boxing champion, couldn't dominate the Bantamweight contest for long. His opponent, Haruna Jinadu, aka, Ijakoko, came out smoking in the second round, and made the odds even.

The pugilists slugged it out blow for blow and the fighting got more and more explosive in the successive rounds.

One of the officials said Thompson was ahead on all the cards and it was as if he would leave the ring victorious.

Suddenly, things became bloody in Round Seven, when Ijakoko moved in with some combinations of punches, which the defensive techniques of Thompson couldn't withhold.

Bleeding profusely from the ears and nostrils, the police boxer asked his corner to throw in the towel. But his handlers felt he could make the distance, so they encouraged him to carry on. Even the referee did not declare him unfit to continue.

Then the bell was sounded for the eighth round. And the fighting resumed.

Spectators at the ringside told the Nigerian Compass that Thompson's footwork was no longer there. His guards were left open and his punches were not making any impact.

The tired boxer went into a clinch.

Ijakoko appeared merciless. He delivered choppy punches to Thompson's face and body. The policeman's efforts to block the jabs were weak.

Ijakoko followed up the assault with a wicked elbow to his opponent's face. And that spelt 'goodnight' for Thompson.

He crashed onto the canvas and never got up. Ringside doctors tried but couldn't revive him.

Thompson was later confirmed dead at the General Hospital, Ikeja, at about 10pm.

The man Bashiru Thompson

Fallen boxer, Bashiru Thompson, follows a long list of pugilists to come out of the Nigeria Police Force in recent years.

Thompson drew inspiration from series of title-winning runs of the like of Babatunde Jonathan, who reigned as the African heavyweight king; then Samuel Peter, the reigning World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight champion.

Thompson was a fierce fighter who was no respecter of persons in the boxing ring.

Having held sway as the African Flyweight boxing king, Thompson moved on to the Bantamweight category.

A boxer said to be in his early 30s, the late Bashiru Thompson was a serving Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) in the Anambra command.

In the ill-fated bout, promoted by Larry International Promotions, Thompson was announced as representing Nigeria Police Force headquarters, Lagos.

He stepped into the ring clutching a little boy, his son.

He was fit before the fight, says Pro-boxing spokesman

Late Bashiru Thompson, one-time Africa's Flyweight Boxing Champion, was hale and hearty before stepping into the ring against Haruna Jinadu, Sunday night.

"He was certified fit by our eminent doctor, Godwin Kanu, before the fight," noted Effiong Nyong, spokesman of the Nigerian Boxing Board of Control in an exclusive chat with Nigerian Compass yesterday.

Nyong described Dr. Kanu as about the best in the field, as he is presently serving as a member of the Technical Committee of the World Boxing Council (WBC) and the World Boxing Organisation (WBO).

He added: "It is the first in many years we've had this kind of tragic incident here in Nigeria. It's very unfortunate. It is even more saddening coming at a time efforts are in top gear to revive professional boxing in the country."

Nyong absolved the NBB of C of any blame in the event leading to the fighter's demise.

"The promoters, alongside the NBB of C, did their home work well. Thompson's death is one that we sadly regret. He was leading on points in a fight he had a clear upper hand. In fact, Thompson was poised to win," added Nyong.

Nyong also suggested that failure by the referee to end the bout led to the fighter's death.

"A boxer that was leading on points could not have told the referee to stop the fight."


22
NEWS / NIGERIA ARMY TO USE FORCE ON NIGER DELTA MILITANTS>
« on: July 29, 2008, 06:55:06 AM »

Militants.

Army to use minimum force in Niger Delta

The Army yesterday outlined measures for curbing militancy in the Niger Delta, saying, it would apply minimum force.

The Army spoke just as militants blew up two major oil pipelines belonging to Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), forcing the Anglo-Dutch firm to halt production.

Army Chief of Operation Maj-Gen. Mohammed Sule said military option alone could not solve the problem, and called for a multi-dimensional approach.

He told reporters at the opening of this year?s Combat Support Arms Training (COMSAT) weak in Kontagora, Niger State, that the situation in the Niger Delta was an internal security issue that required all elements of national power to resolve.

He said diplomatic and economic options should be adopted in resolving the crisis, adding, the military would provide an enabling environment for other powers to work.

His words: "Ours is to stabilise the security of the area so that government can work without stress and without pressure in resolving the problem."

Even though he described the situation as a kind of warfare, Sule said the army would only use minimum force, arguing that the militants are a weaker force fighting a superior force.

"In this regard we cannot use all our might to resolve the crisis in that area because it is a home- land affair, so you are required to use minimum force".

The Nembe oil installation in Rivers State was hit, 39 days after the militants attacked Shell?s Bonga oil field ? the nation?s biggest, forcing a shutdown of the 225,000 barrels per day export facility.

As was the case in the Bonga incident, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) claimed responsibility for yesterday?s attack.

The attack pushed world oil prices up.

In an on-line statement yesterday, MEND said: "In keeping with our pledge to resume pipeline attacks within the next 30 days, detonation engineers backed by heavily armed fighters from MEND at about 0115 hours sabotaged two major pipelines in Rivers State of Nigeria."

The attack is coming barely a week after the group promised attacks on oil installations within 30 days to prove that it did not collect money from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

NNPC Group Managing Director Abubakar Yar?Adua was quoted in the media as saying that the corporation paid $12 million in protection fees to Niger Delta militants. He later denied making such claims.

But, apparently irked by the claim, MEND threatened that it would unleash mayhem on oil facilities. "To prove that we are not a part of this deal, the Chanomi creek pipeline and other major pipelines will be destroyed within the next 30 days," MEND said.

"The first pipeline is located in Kula which has been previously sabotaged by us and the second in Rumuekpe, both belonging, we believe to the Shell Petroleum Development Company."

Confirming the attack, the spokesman for Shell in the state, Mr. Tony Okonedo, said one of the company?s pipelines at Kula was attacked by suspected militants.

"We are assessing right now the extent of the damage, but there is no fire report so far," he added, but could not confirm the attack on the second pipeline as claimed by the militants.

The attack is the latest to rock Shell which recently resumed full operations from its offshore Bonga oilfield, which was shut down after it was attacked by MEND on June 19.

SPDC?s Precious Okolobo, in a telephone interview with our correspondent yesterday, said: "We (SPDC) can confirm an attack on our Nembe facility."

According to him, the SPDC has shut down production from the facility, following the attack, although he did not give details of the amount of oil shut in.

Warning of a bloody 30 days ahead, MEND?s spokesperson Jomo-Gbomo, in a two-page statement, on email said the group would make the Niger Delta inhabitable.

Asked about the second facility at Rumuekpe, a Shell spokesperson, who pleaded for anonymity, said the company was checking its facilities for any possible damage.

Oil Minister Odein Ajumogobia said Shell was still assessing the damage and any supposed figures for the amount of production shut down would be "speculative".

Industry sources said about 130,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil flows through the Nembe Creek pipeline, and about 100,000 bpd passes through Rumuekpe.

Both pipelines are connected to the Bonny export terminal.

Oil from the facility is popular in the United States (US) and Europe because it is easily refined into gasoline, diesel and other crude products.

U.S. crude oil prices rose after the attack, trading above $123 a barrel.

23
POLITICS / EX-DEPUTY SENATE PRESIDENT LOST RE-ELECTION BID.
« on: July 28, 2008, 11:17:56 PM »

Forrmer Deputy Senate President Ibrahim Mantu

  Mantu loses bid to return to Senate

Former Deputy Senate President, Alhaji Ibrahim Mantu, failed on Sunday in his bid to return to the Senate for a third term. He was defeated in the re-run election for the Plateau Senatorial district by the candidate of the Action Congress, Major Sati Gogwim (rtd).

Mantu?s third term ambition was thwarted in the April 2007 election when Gogwim defeated him.

However, Gogwim?s election was nullified by the election petition tribunal on the strength of a petition brought before it by Mrs. Zainab Abdulmalik, the candidate of the Democratic Peoples Party and upheld by the Court of Appeal on June 16.

In the results of the election announced in Pankshin, the headquarters of the Central senatorial district by the Returning Officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mr. Ndechi Ukechukwa, Gogwim polled a total of 141, 297 votes to defeat Mantu, who polled 103, 203. All Nigeria Peoples Party got 601 votes, All Progressive Grand Alliance, 25 votes; Democratic Peoples Party, whose candidate, Mrs. Zainab Abdulmalik, caused the upset came a distant third with 1, 335 votes.

Our correspondents observed low turn out of voters through the exercise was peaceful.

Materials for the election had been deployed to various councils in the zone by the Independent National Electoral Commission by Friday evening under tight security, making it possible for voting to commence in most of the centres as early as 9.00am.

Gogwim was one of the earliest voters at Dawaki, his country home?s polling centre in Kanke Local Government Area of the state, voted by 12 noon.

Gogwim, who exuded confidence after voting, had told newsmen that he was confident of going back to the Senate.

Mantu, after casting his vote at his Chanso country home?s polling unit at about 1.02pm, said that as a democrat, he would abide by the outcome of the election

24
SPORTS / SUNDERLAND BUYS BOLTON'S DIOUF
« on: July 28, 2008, 11:06:01 PM »

El-Hadji Diouf


Diouf completes Sunderland switch

El-Hadji Diouf has moved to Sunderland for around ?2.5m as the Black Cats continue their rebuilding plans ahead of the new Premier League season.

The Senegal international, 27, had one season left on his Bolton contract but had expressed his desire to leave.

Boss Roy Keane told the club website: "El-Hadji has always been the kind of player opposition teams and supporters love to hate, a thorn in the side.

"That's why we're delighted to now have him in our squad."

Keane added: "He has bags of Premier League and international experience, which is exactly what we've been targeting this summer.

"Our coach, Ricky Sbragia, has also worked very closely with him [at Bolton] and speaks extremely highly of him, so we're looking forward to working with El-Hadji, I think he's a signing that will excite our supporters."

Diouf, who can play as a striker or on the wing, spent four seasons at the Reebok Stadium after initially joining the club on loan from Liverpool.

The player completed a medical at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.
   
Sunderland manager Roy Keane has been busy in the transfer market in recent days, signing Tottenham duo Teemu Tainio and Pascal Chimbonda.

He is also interested in signing two more Spurs players, Steed Malbranque and Younes Kabo

25
SPORTS / BETWEEN PREMIER LEAGUE AND NIGERIA FOOTBALL.
« on: July 28, 2008, 11:03:02 PM »

Nigerians are mad for the Premiership, not so crazy about their own leagues

About 30,000 Nigerians took advantage of a rare chance to see their football heroes in action on Sunday, as Manchester United beat Portsmouth 2-1 in a friendly in the capital, Abuja.

football
Nigerians are mad for the Premiership, not so crazy about their own leagues

The attendance was higher than for many games between local teams and while the popularity of the Premier League grows in Nigeria, it seems to be at the expense of the domestic league.

Observers say the future is bleak for Nigerian football, with all its brightest stars being drawn to Europe, while its own clubs wither and die, watched by fewer and fewer people.

The coach of FC Abuja says the league officials need to change the time of their matches to avoid Premiership fixtures.

"Whenever we play at the same time as an Arsenal game, nobody shows up," says Abdu Maikaba.

A Nigerian man shows which football team he supports

Shrinking crowds

Attendances are already very low.

In a country of 140 million people, where crowds will stop and watch amateurs playing in the park, professional league games struggle to get more than 20,000 paying fans to come on match days.

   
If they can make it so we can play on a day before or after Arsenal, that would be a start
Abdu Maikada
Coach, FC Abuja


Tony Collins is from Anambra State in south-eastern Nigeria - and he supports Manchester United.

"I like Man Utd because they're winners. Actually I like any club that wins in Europe. Nigerians like winners, we're simple people. Nigerian clubs? Can you really compare? They're rubbish, I don't waste my time with that."

Only one or two teams have the following to sell out their home grounds, says Ismaila Lere, sports editor at the Daily Trust newspaper.

"When you look at the stadiums you'll find that the stands are virtually empty, while the bars and the joints that have satellite TV are full. People will pay to watch the Premier League on TV but not to watch Nigerian football live," he says.

The trouble started back in the early 1990s, he says.

Economic reforms meant many teams went bust and were not able to pay their players.

Those players started looking towards Europe for employment.

Initially, they went to Italy and Germany.


This is a rare chance to see Kanu play in Nigeria

Obsession

Most Nigerians first got wind of the Premier League when Celestine Babayaro joined Chelsea in 1997.

"In the 1980s, I was the only person in my area who was watching English football," Mr Lere says.

Nigeria's Kanu celebrates after scoring for Portsmouth
This is a rare chance to see Kanu play in Nigeria

Now Nigerians are, like most of the world, obsessed with the English Premier League.

But in Nigeria the obsession is now going too far - after the Champions League final in May, seven people in Nigeria died in clashes between Manchester United and Chelsea fans.

And many young players want to play in the lucrative leagues in Europe.

"When a player won't even be paid ?1,000 ($2,000) per month in Nigeria, but can get ?1,000 a week in Europe, what do you expect?" says Tukur Babangida, Chairman of Kano Pillars, this year's champions in Nigeria's top league.

He says that players moving to Europe is a good thing.

"Young people are inspired by the Premier League, it spurs them on to play, and the money the teams get when they move to Europe is good for the clubs."

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