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Fresh revelation has emerged that the recent sack of the Executive Secretary of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN), Mr. Jim Obazee had nothing to do with the stepping down of Pastor Enoch Adeboye as the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian of God (RCCG) in Nigeria.
A presidency source disclosed that the two incidents happening simultaneously was a coincidence. There had been insinuation that the presidency fired Obazee because of Adeboye, after the FRC under Obazee’s watch issued a Corporate Governance Code, which provided tenure for General Overseers of churches.

The presidency source told The Guardian yesterday in Abuja that Obazee’s sack had nothing to do with Adeboye or any church, but the manner the controversial code was released without regard to laid down procedure.

“To be honest with you, the decision to terminate his appointment was actually given presidential approval on the 23rd of December, 2016. But I think everybody felt you don’t go ahead to make such an announcement before Christmas and all that.
“However, the basic issue is that the Corporate Governance Code, which is a regulatory code to guide corporate outfits or corporate organisations in Nigeria is a code that the FRCN has been working on, with the committee working on it inaugurated by the last administration,” he said.
The process of passing that code, the source noted, indicated that by the time the committee finished working on it, there was supposed to be a public hearing after it had been sent to the FRCN Governing Board for debate.

The Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah is the Chairman of the Governing Board of FRCN, a parastatal under his ministry.

According to our source, after the Governing Board’s approval, the code was to go to the Federal Executive Council (FEC), to get official seal and approval for it to be issued.

This was not done, as the FRCN went straight to issue the code without the Governing Board and FEC’s approval.“So, when the FRCN unilaterally issued the Code, the ministry demanded that the code should be suspended, but the Executive Secretary of FRCN went ahead and issued the order against the suspension order of the minister.

“If Adeboye did not step aside, the Executive Secretary was already gone. This has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with the church. As I explain, due process was not followed, the Code must be approved by FEC, you don’t just do things like that.”

NEWS / Reps Queries SON Over Seizure Of Goods
« on: January 22, 2017, 10:38:33 AM »
The House of Representatives has queried the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) over the seizure of goods worth millions of naira belonging to D& K Golden Investment Company Limited.
The House via the Mr Uzoma Nkem-Abonta led Committee on Public Petitions frowned at SON’s disregard of the House order and that of a federal high court directing it to stay action on the seizure of the products, which include Dorco disposable shaving stick and tooth brush.

The committee, thereby summoned SON’s Director General, Mr. Aboloma Osita, to appear before it on January 21 to explain why his outfit committed the infractions despite an order to allow the firm to sell the products pending conclusion of the matter.

Nkem-Abonta wondered why SON went ahead to interfere with the operation of D & K Golden Company, at a time the Federal Government is exploring the means to take the country out of the recession plaguing the polity.
Nkem -Abonta called on all the parties involved in the dispute to maintain status quo pending the outcome of the committee findings. The Committee directed the authorities of D& K Golden Investment Company Limited to resume business without interference from SON.

Messers Justice Ogbadinma and Imoh Kumasa, who stood in for SON at the resumed hearing feigned ignorance of the raid of the firm, just as they declined to admit that SON erred in law for ignoring the lawmakers order and that of the high court.

NEWS / Nigerians In Spain Accuses Embassy Of Rip-Off
« on: January 22, 2017, 10:37:13 AM »
Nigerians in Spain, yesterday, accused the Nigerian Embassy in that country of ripping them off through the Police Character Certificate. They therefore asked President Muhammadu Buhari to probe the exercise, alleging that the proceeds from the certification go into private pockets.
The Guardian gathered that the Spanish government introduced the Police Character Certificate about seven years ago as prerequisite for Nigerians to apply for residence, nationality, enroll their children in school and have access to healthcare.

But Nigerians residing there said they have been made to undergo difficulties by the Embassy workers to get the yearly recertification, alleging that apart from the high fees charged, they only receive the documents a week or two to expiration.
President of Nigerian Nationals in Spain, Emmanuel Ani, said in Enugu that each of the 6,500 Nigerians resident in Spain was made to pay 120 euros (N62,000) annually in cash to the embassy workers to get the police recertification, explaining that it was the highest charged by any embassy in Spain.

NEWS / Protests Rock Asaba Over Removal Of Board Chairman
« on: January 22, 2017, 10:35:52 AM »
Trouble is brewing in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Delta State Chapter, over the removal of Mr. John Tom-Ona, as Chairman of Agency for Adult and Non-Formal Education in the state.
The people of Ndokwa East Local Council have protested against the decision of some leaders of the party, whom they accuse of influencing Tom-Ona’s removal.

The ousted chairman is said to be a long-standing member of the PDP, who has worked for its victory in Ndokwa East as far back as 1999 till date.

Speaking on behalf of the over 300 protesters, who besieged the Government House at the weekend, Fred Agadagbah, said: “Tom-Ona has never left the party for any reason. He supervised the victory of our governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa in our local government in the 2015 election. He has always delivered his ward to the PDP in all the elections.
“The local government and the party does not belong to Friday Osanebi and Godswill Obielum. We therefore, call on our amiable governor to wade into this matter and reverse this injustice.”

Chairman of PDP in ward 10, Mr. Jude Enzima, who also spoke in the same vein, said Tom-Ona was a committed member of the party, urging Okowa not to allow himself to be misled in taking decisions that would be counter-productive.

He described the purported defection of Tom-Ona to the All Progressive Congress (APC) as malicious, adding that it was the handiwork of those who perceived him as a political enemy.

Addressing the protesters, the Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the governor, Mr. Lawrence Ogomgbulem assured them that he would convey their grievances to the governor.As at the time of filing this report, effort was still being made to reach Osanebi and Obielum for comment on the matter.

Advance Action Alliance, a civil society group is calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, restructure the country in order to address inherent challenges stunting her advancement.
Leader of the group and former Lagos State governorship aspirant, Chief Owolabi Salis, who gave the advice at the weekend, said peace and unity in the country would continually remain elusive without proper restructuring.

He stressed the need for diversity-based democracy in the country, adding that the country has been grappling with a myriad of problems since independence because the political structure was defective and lopsided, as successive administrations failed to remedy the situation.

Salis listed some of the problems buffeting the country as ethnic, religious and other race-based crisis including Boko Haram, agitation by IPOB and Niger Delta youths. Others are marginalisation and political domination, party imposition and impunity, and leaders putting their selfish interest above that of the nation.
He also listed fraud, rigging, ritual killing, violence armed robbery, deception, politically motivated killings, hate campaigns, human rights abuses, political tension, false election promises, disregard for equity and loss of confidence in the country’s political system as some of the challenges faced by the country.

In view of these, Salis said there is need to restructure the country in order to strengthen the bond of unity, stressing that if the problems are not urgently addressed, they could lead to war.The group announced its plan for a nationwide campaign, through workshop to foster national unity and make the country a greater place for all.

NEWS / Yoruba Leaders Meet In Ibadan, Strategise On New Political Agenda
« on: January 22, 2017, 10:32:56 AM »
Yoruba leaders, yesterday, met in Ibadan, Oyo State capital to strategise on resetting a new agenda for the race.At the colloquium convened by a political movement, Yoruba Patriots Movement (YPM) were former national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande, Senator Femi Lanlehin, Dr. Yemi Farounbi, Dr. Frederich Fasehun, Dr. Doyin Okupe, Dr. Saka Balogun, Gen Raji Rasaki, Dr. Kunle Olajide and Senator Ayoade Adeseun, among others. Speakers restated call for the restructuring of the polity to reflect true federalism.

They also advocated the conduct of an all-inclusive Yoruba summit, where all Yoruba leaders would come together to deliberate on their future.

In his address, Dr. Olajide lamented the situation of things in the country and demanded a new order.Citing the increased cases of insurgency in the North East, religious crisis in the North West, herdsman invasion and secessionist agitation in the South East, as well as kidnapping and alleged marginalisation of the South West, Olajide said the existing order in the country is no longer acceptable to the citizens.

He said: “Everywhere around us, there is evidence of government failure, power generation for a population of 170million people is below 2000 megawatts, inflation rate is at an all-time high at 18 percent, while mass unemployment of able bodied youths is a time bomb waiting to explode. The state of the nation is simply and squarely unacceptable to the Yoruba nation.”
While calling for restructuring, Olajide said the YPM believes that each of the six zones of the country is abound with diverse resources, but are constrained by a dysfunctional federal structure and a perverse system of government, which encourages corruption.

He lamented that the current civilian dispensation midwifed by the military in 1999 imposed a quasi-federal constitution on the country. “The Yoruba nation suffered inevitable collateral damage from the twin evil of military intervention and oil boom, and military politics, characterised by politics without principles, ideology and character. Hence, the Colloquium is aimed at deliberating a new agenda for the Yoruba nation, starting from where we are today, where we want to be and how we want to get to where we want to be.”

On his part, Akande lamented that Yoruba Language is fast going into extinction and canvassed that teaching instructions across primary schools in Yoruba land should be done in Yoruba language.

Others at the meeting were Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, who was represented by the Secretary to the state Government, Olalekan Alli, former Osun State SSG, Fatai Akinbade, former Chairmen of the Oyo State Primary Education Board (SUBEB) Dr. Busari Adebisi and Dr. Soji Adejumo, Dr. Adegboye Onigbinde and former president of the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII) Bayo Oyero.

NEWS / Fayemi To Deliver UNILAG 2017 Convocation Lecture
« on: January 22, 2017, 10:31:40 AM »
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, will tomorrow, Monday, January 23rd, deliver the 2017 University of Lagos Convocation Lecture.
Titled: “Building a Succession- Generation: Reflections on Values and Knowledge in Nation Building”, the lecture is part of the convocation ceremony for the 2015/2016 academic session.

The lecture, scheduled to hold at the main auditorium of the University, would be chaired by a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Major-General Ike Nwachukwu (rtd).

Fayemi, the immediate past Governor of Ekiti State, is an alumnus of the University of Lagos, having graduated from the institution’s Department of History in 1985, before going for further studies.
A letter from the University signed by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Rahamon Bello, said Fayemi’s nomination as guest lecturer was “informed by the established tradition of best practice in the University, which extends such invitation to renowned scholars and dignitaries from within and outside Nigeria, who have distinguished themselves in their chosen career and or in service to humanity.”

NEWS / Former Boi Boss Reflects On Successes
« on: January 22, 2017, 10:30:22 AM »
Former Managing Director of the Bank of Industry (BoI), Rasheed Olaoluwa, yesterday, reminisced on his tenure in the bank and how his team was able to reposition it for increased productivity.
In a lecture titled: “Corporate Transformation in Nigeria: My BOI Experience” delivered by him, he dwelt on how he was able to galvanise the bank’s executive committee members and propel them to excellent performance levels.

According to him: “The starting point was to mobilise all the staff to rally behind a set of vision and mission statements, which are noble enough to get everyone motivated. We hired KPMG Professional Services, who conducted a comprehensive diagnostic review following which strategic retreats were organised and by the end of 2014, a robust five-year Strategic Plan 2015-2019 was developed.

“Our vision was to be the most impactful development bank in Africa. We organised all our strategic initiatives along two broad objectives: (1) to make significant developmental Impact on Nigeria’s Real Sectors (by funding industrial projects and SMEs) and (2) to adopt Global best practices in Risk Management, Operations, Human Resources, Finance, etc.
“We defined development Impact in terms of how many projects in our targeted industrial sectors we are able to finance; the level of domestic value addition by funded projects; how many Nigerians are employed by those projects; the ability of the projects to source their raw materials locally, etc.”

He added that his team benchmarked BoI against leading Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) in emerging markets such as South Africa, Brazil, India Malaysia and Turkey. Besides, “we agreed specific milestones and set timelines for a wide range of strategic actions, which we designed to achieve the developmental Impact and Best Practice objectives from 2015 to 2019,” he said

Among other decisions taken to ensure improved services, was the establishment of Loan Monitoring and Loan Recovery Department, to provide oversight over the bank’s loan portfolio, provide remedial services and actively recover bad loans.

“To sensitize the public to the issue of bad loans, we blacklisted 23 companies who had perpetrated credit fraud (willful default, cloned title documents, etc) in the bank. The criminal cases were reported to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). On the flip side, we also recognised 10 customers who had consistently fully repaid their loans from BOI and inducted them into the BOI’s Hall of Fame,” he said.

NEWS / Mutallab Recommends Sukuk To Offset Non-Interest Liquidity
« on: January 22, 2017, 10:27:46 AM »
Chairman of Jaiz Bank Plc, Alh. Umaru Muthalab has said that Nigeria could tackle its infrastructure and developmental deficit using funds from non-Interest financial bond (Sukuk).
Muthalab spoke, yesterday, at Bayero University Kano, shortly, after the International Institute of Islamic Banking and Finance honoured him with a meritorious Islamic Banking and Finance Leadership Award, for pioneering non-interest banking in Nigeria. 

The renowned business man and banker said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) could deploy the Islamic financial instrument on non-Interest liquidity accrued by Islamic Banks and others financial institutions with non-interest window to develop infrastructure facilities in the country.

NEWS / Delta Court Restrains Council’s Monthly Stipend To Monarch
« on: January 22, 2017, 10:26:30 AM »
Delta State Chief Judge, Justice Marshal Umukoro, has restrained the Oshimili South Local Council and the Delta State Government from releasing any amount whatsoever known and described as five per cent monthly stipend for traditional rulers in Oshimili South Local Government Area to His Royal Highness, Obi Prof. Chike Edozien, the Asagba of Asaba.

Justice Umukoro however ordered the Oshimili South Local Council and the Delta State Government to pay any unpaid fund known and described as 5% monthly stipend to traditional rulers in Oshimili South Local Council to the Assistant Director of the State High Court, Asaba, who shall deposit same into an interest yielding account in either Union Bank Plc, Asaba, United Bank of Africa (UBA) Plc Asaba, or Zenith Bank Plc, Asaba.

The orders of the Chief Judge resulted from the suit and motion on notice for an order of interlocutory injunction instituted by His Royal Majesty, Obi Anthony Osidi Onwuka, the Akor of Oko Anala, a recognised traditional ruler in the state who was presented with a staff of office on 29th December, 2012 by the Delta State Government.
The Claimant contended that between December 2012 and May 2016, the Asagba of Asaba converted the monies due to the royal fathers in the council solely to himself, depriving the claimant of his rights and legitimate earnings as a traditional ruler.

NEWS / ‘Map Updates Could Have Averted Bombing Error’
« on: January 22, 2017, 10:17:48 AM »
The accidental bombing of an Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Rann, Borno State by the Nigerian Air Force last Tuesday could have been averted, if the Federal Government consistently updates the country’s map.
In a press statement issued in Lagos at the weekend, President of the Nigerian Institute of Surveyors (NIS), Akin Oyegbola, said the Federal Government as a matter of urgency needs to earmark enough funds for survey and mapping in the budget so as to check future reoccurrence. “If the Information was true, it is safe to say that the map used for the mission could have been better updated”.
He explained that, “The present digital method of processing, managing, storing and presenting geo-spatial information would have made possible mapping of the IDP Camps, as they were being sited. If the IDP Camps have been mapped, the position of one of them would not have been mistaken for that of Boko Haram”.

“The Nigerian Institution of Surveyors will continue on its awareness, enlightenment, and publicity drive to make this and successive government understand the need to earmark enough funds for Surveying and Mapping in the budget, so that it can be done steadily.
“The incident no doubt shows how important mapping is to all human activities and how much Nigeria has relegated it to the background. The most mapped countries are the most developed ones. It is necessary to note that the little that is being done by the government and the private sector is not well coordinated for optimal use.”

NEWS / Akwa Ibom, Rivers, May Lose € 200m EU-Water Sanitation Project
« on: January 22, 2017, 10:16:41 AM »
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, has urged Rivers and Akwa Ibom state governments to pay up their 30 per cent counterpart funding for the European Union (EU) water projects.

Usani who made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, yesterday, explained that if both states fail to comply by the end of January, they run the risk of losing over € 200m grant.

He said that five states were captured in the current phase of water and sanitation intervention development by the EU.
“Edo, Delta and Bayelsa states have paid their 30 per cent counterpart fund of N350m each, while Rivers and Akwa Ibom are yet to pay,” Usani pointed out, adding that both states have also used up the extension of time granted them.

According to him, such grace has been explored thrice between 2012 and 2015, hence no such grace is available in accordance with EU rules.
“The ministry would physically meet with the defaulting governors to ensure that the states fulfill their part of the agreement,” said Uguru, who also disclosed that Delta, Edo and Bayelsa state governments had shown interest in providing more counterpart funds than stipulated in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to widen the scope of the projects in their respective states.

NEWS / Buhari Warns University Managements Against Financial Violations
« on: January 22, 2017, 10:15:36 AM »
• As NOUN Graduates 31 On First Class

President Muhammadu Buhari has issued a stern warning against mismanagement of funds by university authorities, stating that any institution found wanting would be made to face the full wrath of the law.

The President gave the warning, yesterday, at the 6th convocation ceremony of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), held in Abuja, where over 12, 000 graduated in various disciplines. The institution produced 31 first class graduates.

President Buhari, who was represented by the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Rasheed, stated that his administration has made education utmost priority, and is funding the sector.

“As we move to address the existing needs of our universities, we demand that the leadership of these institutions reciprocate government’s gesture by judiciously utilising their funds with utmost integrity and probity. Any university council or management found wanting in relation to financial mismanagement or gross moral and ethical violations would be made to face the full wrath of the law.
“I have already directed the honourable Minister of education to demand quarterly reports from all universities, detailing their major financial and administrative activities.

A template of such reports will soon be circulated to the universities by the federal ministry of education through the NUC,” the president said.

Buhari charged NOUN, as the premier institution in Open and Distance Learning (ODL) in Nigeria, to continue providing innovations and pragmatic ideas to move the country forward.  He said the flexible nature of learning and the wider access it offers for education makes ODL a greater advantage in comparison with conventional universities.

The overall best graduating student, Nkwor Jude Peter, of the Ikeja Study Centre, Lagos, thanked the school management for the good work it has done, by producing the numerous graduates. He graduated in Accounting with a grade point average (GPA) of 4.83.

NEWS / Presidency Denies Buhari Death Rumour
« on: January 22, 2017, 10:14:45 AM »
President Muhammadu Buhari is well and alive, the presidency said late on Saturday after a news website published a story that the Nigerian leader has passed away in London., which can be confused for the more recognised, ascribed the source of its story to unnamed officials of the Nigerian High Commission in London and a presidential aide who claimed Buhari died of an “unknown disease”.

But the presidency insisted all is well with the 74-year old Nigerian leader.

“Best wishes to all who wish PMB well. As for those who carry evil rumours, may they receive grace to repent,” tweeted Femi Adesina, Buhari’s media adviser.

“He is alive and well! President Buhari is not magical. He cannot be holidaying in the UK and be in Germany, dead or alive at the same time,” said another presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu.

Buhari left Nigeria on Thursday for London to “undergo routine medical check-ups” during a short holiday and was expected to resume work on February 6. In his absence, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo would act as as president.

His current visit would make it the second time in less than a year he has gone to Britain for medical treatment.

The president visited London in June 2016 for treatment to what the presidency described as a persistent inner ear infection, which caused him to pull out of several scheduled engagements.

NEWS / Ugandans Invent ‘Smart Jacket’ To Diagnose Pneumonia
« on: January 22, 2017, 10:12:20 AM »
A team of Ugandan engineers has invented a “smart jacket” that diagnoses pneumonia faster than a doctor, offering hope against a disease which kills more children worldwide than any other.

The idea came to Olivia Koburongo, 26, after her grandmother fell ill, and was moved from hospital to hospital before being properly diagnosed with pneumonia.

“It was now too late to save her,” said Koburongo.

“It was too hard to keep track of her vitals, of how she’s doing, and that is how I thought of a way to automate the whole process and keep track of her health.”
Koburongo took her idea to fellow telecommunications engineering graduate Brian Turyabagye, 24, and together with a team of doctors they came up with the “Mama-Ope” (Mother’s Hope) kit made up of a biomedical smart jacket and a mobile phone application which does the diagnosis.

Pneumonia — a severe lung infection — kills up to 24,000 Ugandan children under the age of five per year, many of whom are misdiagnosed as having malaria, according to the UN children’s agency UNICEF.

A lack of access to laboratory testing and infrastructure in poor communities means health workers often have to rely on simple clinical examinations to make their diagnoses.

– Bluetooth diagnosis –
With the easy-to-use Mama-Ope kit, health workers merely have to slip the jacket onto the child, and its sensors will pick up sound patterns from the lungs, temperature and breathing rate.

“The processed information is sent to a mobile phone app (via Bluetooth) which analyses the information in comparison to known data so as to get an estimate of the strength of the disease,” said Turyabagye.

The jacket, which is still only a prototype, can diagnose pneumonia up to three times faster than a doctor and reduces human error, according to studies done by its inventors.

Traditionally doctors use a stethoscope to listen for abnormal crackling or bubbling sounds in the lungs, however if medics suspect malaria or tuberculosis — which also include respiratory distress — the time lost treating those rather than pneumonia could prove deadly for their patient.

“The problem we’re trying to solve is diagnosing pneumonia at an early stage before it gets severe and we’re also trying to solve the problem of not enough manpower in hospitals because currently we have a doctor to patient ratio which is one to 24,000 in the country,” said Koburongo.

– Global ambition –
Turyabagye said plans were underway to have the kit piloted in Uganda’s referral hospitals and then trickle down to remote health centres.

“Once you have this information captured on cloud storage, it means a doctor who is not even in the rural area, who is not on the ground, can access the same information from any patient and it helps in making an informed decision,” he added.

The team is also working on patenting the kit, which is shortlisted for the 2017 Royal Academy of Engineering Africa Prize.

“Once it is successful (in Uganda) we hope it is rolled out to other African countries and major parts of the world where pneumonia is killing thousands of children,” said Koburongo.

According to UNICEF, most of the 900,000 annual deaths of children under five due to pneumonia occur in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

This is more than other causes of childhood death such as diarrhoea, malaria, meningitis or HIV/AIDS.

NEWS / In Mosul Battle, Iraq Forces Face Fewer IS-Planted Bombs
« on: January 22, 2017, 10:10:57 AM »
Iraqi forces used to facing deserted, explosives-rigged streets and booby-trapped buildings have not encountered as many bombs planted by jihadists in Mosul as they did in earlier battles against them.

The Islamic State group has no qualms about killing civilians, but the presence of a large number of residents in Iraq’s second city discouraged the jihadists from extensively sowing it with explosives, officers say.

While previous urban battlefields in Iraq’s war against IS were largely depopulated by the time the country’s forces moved in, Mosul still sheltered a million-plus people when the offensive to retake it was launched three months ago.

If explosives had been widely planted by the jihadists ahead of the battle, they would have been at risk of being triggered before Iraqi forces arrived.
So while the systematic mining of roads and rigging of buildings with bombs has arguably been IS’s signature defence system against Iraqi forces, in Mosul, the jihadists had to change tack.

Iraqi forces have seen less booby-trapping in Mosul than in Anbar and Salaheddin provinces, where earlier key battles against IS took place, said Staff Lieutenant General Abdulghani al-Assadi, a top commander in the elite Counter-Terrorism Service.

“The reason is the families remained in their neighbourhoods, in their houses,” Assadi said.

Some residents of the city have ventured out of their homes just moments after the fighting died down, and in recaptured areas of eastern Mosul, stores are reopening, goods are displayed in front of shops, civilian cars and pedestrians move along some streets and children play outside.

– ‘No comparison’ –
Staff Lieutenant General Sami al-Aridhi, another senior CTS commander, said there was “no comparison” between the number of bombs planted in Mosul and those in Anbar province, where Iraqi forces retook the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah from IS.

There are fewer because “here in Mosul, the residents didn’t leave,” Aridhi said.

“Now, when we advance into any neighbourhood, we don’t think that the street is booby-trapped; our vehicles move normally.”

IS needed civilians in Mosul to maintain at least the veneer of a functioning “state,” and extensively planting bombs that could be triggered by residents would have both reduced their defensive utility and risked stoking popular anger against the jihadists.
This does not mean that IS has completely forgone the use of bombs in Mosul.

It is a “change of strategy” for IS, said Captain Qaisar Fawzi, an officer in an Iraqi army engineering battalion.

“They did not rely on roadside bombs, they relied on explosives-rigged vehicles,” he added.

Vehicles rigged with bombs “are indeed the enemy’s weapon of choice in the battle of Mosul,” said Colonel John Dorrian, spokesman for the US-led anti-IS coalition.

But, according to Assadi, in “important areas, the residents were displaced… and (IS) started to booby-trap them.”

Lise Grande, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, said that bombs planted by IS have still posed a threat to civilians.

“People who are trying to flee Mosul… have stepped on booby-traps and IEDs (improvised explosive devices),” killing some and wounding others, Grande said.

– Civilians obstacle to both sides –
And “based on experiences from other occupied areas, we’re worried that IEDs have been planted by (IS) in schools, hospitals and other public buildings,” she said.

The large numbers of civilians in Mosul have also hampered Iraqi offensive operations.

Aridhi said that while security forces could previously strike IS from a distance, “here, we are not able to use any fire, because citizens are present.”
“We are delayed because people are present,” he said.

Assadi agreed, saying that there is “little booby-trapping, few bombs, but (many) citizens whom we must protect.”

Iraqi forces do however still use heavy weapons in Mosul: helicopters and warplanes have frequently carried out strikes inside the city, and artillery as well as large unguided rockets are fired inside it.

The combination of civilians staying in the city and the lower number of bombs planted inside it means life has returned to some recaptured areas in Mosul far quicker than in other cities retaken from IS.

Parts of Ramadi and Fallujah are still uninhabitable, but while some houses and buildings in Mosul have been wrecked and streets are cratered by bombs and strewn with rubble, other places have escaped largely unharmed.

“The booby-trapping began after the start of the Mosul operation,” said resident Raed Mohammed, speaking to AFP at a roundabout in the city’s east where street vendors were out selling goods, but which was still overlooked by an IS billboard and marred by damaged buildings.

People were going about their daily lives before that and, had the jihadists extensively planted bombs, “it’s likely that they themselves would have been exposed to explosions.”

SPORTS / AFCON 2017: Algerian Stars Need Miracle To Survive
« on: January 22, 2017, 10:06:29 AM »
Star-packed Algeria came to the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon as one of the title favourites, but they need a miracle in Franceville Monday to reach the quarter-finals.

A team including African Footballer of the Year Riyad Mahrez must defeat Group B winners Senegal, and hope fellow strugglers Zimbabwe beat Tunisia in Libreville in a simultaneous kick-off.

Those results would see Algeria and Zimbabwe sharing second place with four points each, leaving goal difference, goals scored or the drawing of lots to separate the sides.

Judged by the four matches so far in Franceville, however, victories for Algeria and Zimbabwe are unlikely as Senegal and Tunisia have been much more impressive.
Senegal are assured of finishing first and staying in the southeastern Gabonese city for a quarter-final against the Group A runners-up.

Tunisia need only draw with Zimbabwe to seal second spot and secure a Libreville date with the Group A winners.

Belgium-born Algeria coach Georges Leekens accepts the former champions are facing a mammoth task.

“Senegal play good football and, in an ideal world, we would have qualified before facing them,” he admitted.

“To be frank, this is going to be a very tough match for us to win. We dare not give away soft goals like we did against Tunisia.

“Unfortunately, we no longer have our destiny in our own hands,” added the handler who took Tunisia to the 2015 Cup of Nations quarter-finals before quitting over a bonus dispute.

An own-goal by captain Aissa Mandi and a suicidal back-header by fellow defender Faouzi Ghoulam led to the 2-1 defeat by neighbours Tunisia.

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse says he will not rest his first-choices, even though the result is of academic interest to him with first place sewn up.

“We intend fielding our strongest side,” he said. “This fixture has the potential to be a thriller and all the players want to compete.

“I believe that football followers the length and breadth of Africa are looking forward to this match.”

A glance at the line-ups makes it clear why the final-round group game is so eagerly anticipated.

The Senegal attack includes Liverpool star Sadio Mane, third in the 2016 African Footballer of the Year poll, and Keita Balde of Lazio.

Henri Saivet, a Newcastle United midfielder on loan to Saint-Etienne, is another Teranga Lion in form, creating the first goal in the 2-0 win over Zimbabwe and scoring the second.

Among the reasons Algeria were rated potential champions by pundits was the presence of winger Mahrez.

But after being a pivotal figure in the sensational 2015-2016 English Premier League title success of Leicester City, his form with club and country has dipped.

Mahrez did score twice against Zimbabwe in a 2-2 draw, but was largely anonymous for long periods, and then well contained by Tunisia.

Leicester team-mate Islam Slimani and former BBC African Footballer of the Year Yacine Brahimi are some of the other stars in the Algerian line-up who need to raise their games significantly.

Wahbi Khazri, seldom used by Premier League strugglers Sunderland this season, came off the bench to trouble Senegal during a 2-0 defeat and was instrumental in the victory over Algeria.

Fellow attacker Naim Sliti boasts that Tunisia play “beautiful football”, but all Polish coach Henryk Kasperczak wants against Zimbabwe is one point.

A concern for the Tunisians is the fitness of experienced goalkeeper Aymen Mathlouthi, who was forced to retire injured during the win over Algeria.

After a gutsy show against Algeria, Zimbabwe were overwhelmed by Senegal and fortunate to finish with just a two-goal beating.

SPORTS / MFM’s Chukwuka Wants Maximum Points Against Lobi Stars
« on: January 22, 2017, 10:04:50 AM »
Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries Football Club (MFM FC) midfielder, Onuwa Chukwuka, has asked his teammates to amass the three maximum points at stake in the Matchday Three fixture of the 2016/17 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) against Lobi Stars FC.

MFM suffered a 4-0 defeat against FC IfeanyiUbah in their Matchday Two fixture of the NPFL on Wednesday and hopes to bounce back today against the Makurdi-based side scheduled for the Soccer Temple, Agege Stadium, Lagos State.

Chukwuka, who lamented their heavy defeat against the Nnewi based club, said: “I will like to appreciate our fans for their support and for their warm reception after our loss in Nnewi such will not repeat itself again.

“Our focus now is on Lobi Stars game with the sole aim of recording the three crucial points as stake.“Don’t forget that we played Lobi during the Gold Cup pre-season tournament in Ijebu-Ode and we also saw their game against Shooting Stars where they lost 2-0. Their approach on the field of play is not new to us.
“The head coach and his coaching crew have been working tirelessly for us to bounce back and I believe we will. We the players know the importance of the game and we have urged ourselves to go all out for victory,” said the former Heartland of Owerri playmaker.

Having lost one out of their two NPFL games so far in the new season, Coach Fidelis Ilechukwu and his wards now occupy the 11th spot on the Nigerian top league table with three points.

SPORTS / Egypt Strike Late To Dump Out Uganda
« on: January 22, 2017, 09:57:55 AM »
Abdallah El Said scored with a minute left as Egypt snatched a 1-0 win over Uganda on Saturday that leaves them on the verge of the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals and eliminated their opponents.
The substitute lashed in after collecting a Mohamed Salah pass to leave the seven-time champions needing only a point from their last Group D game against Ghana — who beat Mali 1-0 earlier in the day — to go through.

Uganda, who had a Joseph Ochaya effort disallowed early in the second half, are the first team to be knocked out of this Cup of Nations after a second consecutive 1-0 defeat.

SPORTS / Nadal’s Experience Prevails In Battles Of Age Groups
« on: January 22, 2017, 09:55:34 AM »
The match was predicted a challenge of the next generation of players against the old guard and it fitted the bill. However, experience and doggedness prevailed over youth and talent as Rafael Nadal won a five-set thriller against Germany’s Alexander Zverev 4/6; 6/3; 6/7(5); 6/3; 6/2.
The promising youngster won the first set on a single break of Nadal’s serve. The Spanish maestro was down 3-5 and held serve easily. Serving for the set, Alexander reached game point on one of his booming serves but a second delivery offered Nadal the deuce. A hard first serve gave the serve advantage that was held to clinch the set 6/4. It looked like an upset was in the offing.

Nadal registered his resistance in the first game of the second set that he took at love. The second and third games flowed quickly with serve but Zverev fell behind 15-40 on his serve and Nadal capitalised for the break. He held serve for a 4-1 lead and never looked back as the games went with serve. Nadal held to level 6/3.

Zverev opened serving in the third set and did not concede a point. Although Nadal trailed 0-30 in the second game, he leveled in points and won on the first game point. There was a stiff battle in the third game. Despite reaching game point at 40-30 Zverev was forced to deuce and needed three advantage points to clinch the game, thanks to his serves that consistently registered above 200km/h. The set went into a tie break and the younger player won by 7 points to 5.
Nadal won the fourth set on a single break of serve. In the fifth set, both players won their first two games. In the fifth game, Nadal fenced off the powerful serves to force a deuce. Nadal denied Zverev two consecutive game points after a long rally at game point. Nadal returned a 207km/h serve and took the game on his first opportunity. He held his own serve to lead 4-2. Zverev needed to win the seventh game but Nadal’s returning put him behind 0-15; 15-30 and 30-40. He served to deuce and had the first advantage point. It was cancelled by Nadal. Nadal took the next advantage but could not seal the game. In all, each player had three chances to win but it was Nadal who succeeded on his third offer, to hold the cliffhanger of a game. Serving for the match, the Matador jumped to 30-15 and claimed the game on his first match point to close the set 6-2.

In every tennis match, the loser would recall specific games that made the difference and it would require an effort not to dwell on what might have been. The fifth and seventh games of the deciding fifth set will haunt Alexander Zverev for a while.
In winning the match, Nadal shut out, for the moment, the determined challenge of the next generation. Meanwhile, another of Zverev’s age grade, Dominic Thiem of Austria, prevailed in his match against Benoit Paire of France, 6/1; 4/6; 6/4; 6/4 to advance to the fourth round.

SPORTS / Murray Stunned By Zverev In Latest Open Shock
« on: January 22, 2017, 09:53:56 AM »
World number one Andy Murray was sensationally dumped out of the Australian Open by German Mischa Zverev in a fourth-round classic on Sunday.
The 50th-ranked Zverev played unbelievable sustained tennis to down Murray 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 and will play either Roger Federer or Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals.

Left-hander Zverev’s stunning upset means that both top seeds are now out of the tournament before the quarter-finals after Novak Djokovic’s shock third-round loss.

That last happened at a Grand Slam at the 2004 French Open when Roger Federer and Andy Roddick were ousted in the third round and second round respectively.
It has also been 15 years since both top seeds made early exits at the Australian Open with Lleyton Hewitt and Gustavo Kuerten both knocked out in the first round of the 2002 tournament.

Zverev had already recorded his best Grand Slam performance after reaching the round of 16, and now he has won through to the quarters.

Zverev’s career-high performance against the world number one came after his younger brother, 24th-ranked Alexander, took Rafael Nadal to five sets before losing their third round match on Saturday.

“I was just serve and volleying my way through it. I don’t know how I won certain points,” Mischa Zverev said.

“It means the world to me. I have so many people that support me. It is amazing,” he added.

“My brother inspires me all the time. He challenges me to do better on the court. He is still ranked higher than me. He gets to walk in the door first when we go home.”

– No free pass –
Murray couldn’t find a solution to left-hander Zverev coming into the net after his serve, and many times resorted to the lob to get points.

The British top seed’s serve was broken eight times and he made 66 forced errors, testament to the constant pressure put on him by Zverev.

Murray’s serve came under attack and was broken three times in the first set, while getting two breaks back to lose the opener set in 63 minutes.

Murray got an early break in the second set but he exchanged service breaks with the German and twice had Zverev 0-40 down with set points.

Zverev saved four set points in the 10th game and again came under pressure in his next service game at 0-40 before the world number one levelled the match with a backhand return winner.

In the opening two sets Murray had 13 break points on his serve, while having 12 on the Zverev ‘leftie’ serve.

It got even harder for Murray when Zverev got a double break and claimed the third set on his second set point.

Zverev again broke the Murray serve at the start of the fourth set to close in on a stunning victory.

Every time Murray appeared to play the winning shot, Zverev came up with the better volley to take the point.

Murray, who has lost five finals in Melbourne, was the favourite to finally break through after the stunning exit of six-time winner Djokovic.

The Scot had not lost before the quarter-finals at the Australian Open since losing to Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in five sets in 2009.

Murray had also not lost to a player ranked as low as the German in Melbourne since he fell to number 51 Juan Ignacio Chela in 2006.

SPORTS / Mourinho Wants United Wins Rather Than Rooney Records
« on: January 22, 2017, 09:51:56 AM »
Jose Mourinho wants record-breaker Wayne Rooney to help Manchester United solve a familiar problem after they failed yet again to turn their dominance into three points in a battling 1-1 draw with Stoke City.

Juan Mata’s own-goal gave Stoke a 19th-minute lead at the Britannia Stadium before Rooney rescued a point for the visitors deep into stoppage-time by becoming United’s all-time leading scorer with his 250th goal for the English giants as he broke Bobby Charlton’s longstanding club record.

While quick to acclaim Rooney’s “amazing achievement”, Mourinho cut a frustrated figure once again as he reflected on two more Premier League points lost and the fact that any chance of United mounting a belated title challenge is receding fast.

Rooney’s well-struck free-kick was small consolation for a performance in which United failed to make the most of the chances they created after Mata’s own-goal.
“It’s an amazing achievement, but the record is broken and now just let him (Rooney) be a normal player again and try and score more goals for us,” said Mourinho.

“It was a great goal, and in a team where you lose incredible goals week after week, to get a phenomenal goal like he did is even more astonishing.”

The United manager added: “Obviously in the Premier League, we have drawn too many matches, and today you saw why we draw too many matches.

“The opposition scored without creating one single chance, and for us to score a goal we have to create six, seven chances, so it’s hard.”

United could find themselves 14 points behind Chelsea if the Premier League leaders win at home to Hull on Sunday and Portuguese boss Mourinho would dearly love an end to his side’s drams in front of goal.

– ‘Bit of magic’ –
“Sometimes I’m on the bench and I’m tired of seeing my team play so well, create so many chances and it’s always dramatic to score a goal,” he moaned.

“I think for a long, long time that one day we will score every chance. Somebody will go home with six or seven in the basket.”

He added: “In spite of keeping a phenomenal unbeaten going, showing an amazing character by the team, showing an amazing empathy between the team and the fans, it is not a good result. I think we lost two points.”

Mourinho, however, praised Stoke’s resilience by saying: “It was a very difficult match, I have to say that Stoke started strong and after they defended with absolutely everything, with grit, emotion and aggression, but good aggression, not a negative one.

“They did everything to defend their goal.”

Meanwhile, Stoke manager Mark Hughes, himself a former United striker, paid his own tribute to Rooney.

“It’s unbelievable,” said the Welshman. “Sir Bobby’s record stood for over 40 years and a lot of very good strikers have come and gone in that time and not got near the record.

“For Wayne to do it, we clearly didn’t want it to happen today, but with top, top players, you only have to give them one opportunity to produce a ball that’s right on the money. A little bit of magic from him has got them something out of the game.”

Yet for all his disappointment at the draw, Hughes was proud of mid-table Stoke’s performances against United this season.

“When you concede that late in the game, it feels like a defeat,” he said. “When we wake up in the morning though, we’ll realise we’ve had two games against United home and away and we haven’t been beaten, so we can take a lot of credit from that.”

NEWS / Save The Children Signs Mou With Lagos Government
« on: January 22, 2017, 09:47:30 AM »
Worried by the poor healthcare coverage in Lagos and Nigeria at large, Save the Children International has signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Lagos State Government, to ensure children under the age of five have access to quality healthcare, especially children living with diarrhea.
Speaking at the ceremony in Lagos, Area Operations Manager, Save the Children, Lagos and Rivers States, Mr. Roy Chikwem, said the MoU would build strong relationship between Lagos State Government and Save the Children in reducing rate of child mortality, especially of children under five.

Chikwem said: “We have programmes on ground that would benefit children in Lagos, which include interventions in nutrition, child survival, maternal, newborn care and child health education, protection and better support for frontline health workers”.

“We have three projects in Lagos and those projects based in local councils include: HIV and AIDs project; Stop Diarrhea Initiative Project and Capacity Building Project for health workers. We want to put resources together to improve people’s access to healthcare irrespective of their financial status. At the moment, we are about to roll out distributions of vaccines for children in the local councils. Over 200 people have benefited from our projects and we are going to reach more people.”
Director Development Partnerships Department, Ministry of Economic Planning and Budgeting, Lagos State, Mr. Adetayo Bankole, representing Commissioner for Finance, said the government decided to partner with Save the Children because it knows it cannot offer quality healthcare to the citizenry alone.

NEWS / Oyo, Osun Release N500m For LAUTECH Reopening
« on: January 22, 2017, 09:44:12 AM »
There appears to be an end in sight to the crisis rocking the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), as owners, Oyo and Osun state governments have promised to remit the sum of N250 million each to the institution.

Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State had while meeting with the student leaders on the way out of the crisis rocking the institution assured that the owner states would inject N500m into the school.

Ajimobi also disclosed that the institution, which had been shut for over eight months, would be reopened before the end of January.While confirming the development, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Communication and Strategy, Yomi Layinka, said both states have released N250m each to the institution.

He said, “I can confirm that we have already paid N250m of our state’s promised share into the coffers of LAUTECH. I also understand that Osun has similarly contributed its share.
“The outstanding N84m that should make up the two months salary promised as the icebreaker should be paid in early next week. Everything points to the imminent reopening of the school as scheduled for February 1, 2017.

LAUTECH students have been at home for eight months due to the industrial action by all categories of workers in the institution.The crisis reached a peak last week when students of the school protested to Ajimobi’s office.

While addressing them, the governor promised that each owner state would contribute a sum of N250m to get workers back to their duty posts and to build on it afterwards.

When contacted, President of the Students’ Union Government (SUG) of the institution, Olatunde Bakare, commended the two governors for taking the step, which he described as the way forward.

Bakare said once the short-term solution is implemented, it would pave the way for the
medium and long-term resolution to the financial problem plaguing LAUTECH.

NEWS / UNIOSUN Students Protest Over Shooting Of Colleagues
« on: January 22, 2017, 09:42:38 AM »
Crisis erupted in Osun State, yesterday, following a protest by students of the Osun State University (UNIOSUN) over alleged police excesses and shooting of two students of the university.

The affected students, Adesola Kazeem, 300-level and Ajao Ibrahim, 400-level in the Electronics Department were receiving treatment at the Emergency Unit of the Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital, Osogbo, yesterday, when The Guardian visited.

Our correspondent gathered that pandemonium ensued in Oke-Baale area of Osogbo Local Government, when the students took over the streets to protest‎ alleged crack down on some of their colleagues by policemen, who, they said, were looking for some students allegedly notorious for Internet fraud, otherwise known as “Yahoo Yahoo boys.”

“Some policemen came this morning as they usually do in unmarked vehicles to our residence at Oke-Baale, where some students were playing football. Suddenly, they started shooting, and fracas ensued with two of the students hit by bullets,” a student said.
They claimed the policemen came to harass the students for monetary gratification, saying it was not their first time. It was gathered that before this latest fracas, some students had gone to lodge complaints at the State Criminal Investigation Department, but were told that the policemen could not be identified.

During the protest, which lasted several hours, the students walked through some major roads in Osogbo, the state capital disrupting vehicular movement, while socio-economic activities were also halted.

The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fimihan Adeoye, who was at the hospital, said he was there to ensure the students received prompt treatment. He explained that investigation into the matter had commenced. He said: “I cannot confirm that the injury was as a result of gunshots, as I have not seen them. Only the experts can confirm that.”

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