PLUS Media Summary, Wednesday, May 22, 2019

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    Buhari Returns From Saudi Arabia, Warns Against Drug Trafficking – Punch, Page 19

    President Muhammadu Buhari returned to the country on Tuesday after a five-day visit to Makkah, Saudi Arabia, where he performed Umrah (Lesser Hajj). However, before departing Saudi Arabia, he warned Nigerians against getting involved drug trafficking. At a meeting with the Nigerian community, the President said anyone caught and given harsh penalties against drug trafficking in some countries had themselves to blame. “Every country has its own unpatriotic citizens. In China and Saudi Arabia, the laws are stringent on these things (drug trafficking). Our citizens must obey our laws. “They must respect the laws of other jurisdictions and if they don’t, then they should blame themselves, not the harsh laws,” a statement by Buhari’s spokesman, Mr Garba Shehu, quoted him as telling Nigerians in Saudi Arabia. He called on Nigerians to assist the Federal Government in tackling drug trafficking and other illicit trade.

    2023 Race Intrigues Shape Bid For NGF Chair – Thisday. Page 7

    Intrigues over the 2023 presidential race will determine who emerges the new chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) as the 36 state governors gather in Abuja today to pick a successor to the outgoing Chairman, Governor Abdul’aziz Yari of Zamfara State. Findings by THISDAY yesterday showed that the permutations by the governors over the next election season would influence their votes. Although the next general election is four years away, Nigerian politicians have begun subterranean campaigns for the 2023presidential poll shortly after the conclusion of the 2019 general election. President Muhammadu Buhari who got a mandate renewal in the last general election, and is due to begin his second term in office from May 29,2019, is not eligible to run again due to constitutional restrictions to a two-term tenure for any elected president. Sources told THISDAY that Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, looked good to clinch the NGF chairmanship despite plots to stop him. Besides Fayemi of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), who is said to enjoy support of his colleagues in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), another governor mentioned as being in the race is his Kaduna State counterpart, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai.

    FG To Stop Ownership Of Gas Cylinders By Consumers – Punch, Page 30

    The Federal Government is coming up with a policy that will remove the ownership of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (cooking gas) cylinders from consumers. It stated that the move would help deepen the use of LPG, popularly known as cooking gas, adding that the government had reached an agreement with two original cylinder manufacturers to deliver 600,000 cylinders to LPG distributors on credit, with a pre-payment period of 18 months. Speaking at a stakeholders’ forum on LPG penetration in Abuja on Tuesday, the Senior Technical Assistant to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources on Downstream and Infrastructure, BrendaAtaga , noted that the planned policy on gas cylinders would require that the ownership of the facility “rests strictly on the dealers and distributors.” She noted that aside from deepening the penetration and usage of LPG across the country, the policy would also address issues of safety.

    Acting CJN Dragged To Court Over Alleged Age Falsification – Punch, Page 19

    A 46-year-old businessman, Mr Tochi Michael, has dragged Justice Tanko Muhammad, the acting Chief Justice ofNigeria, before a Federal Capital Territory High Court over alleged age falsification. The News Agency of Nigeria reports that in the originating summons with suit No. FCT/HC/BW/CV/79/2019, filed before the court in April, the petitioner alleged that the CJN deliberately falsified his date of birth. Michael alleged that the CJN falsified his date of birth from December 31, 1950 as contained in all his official records, including that of WAEC, to December 31, 1953 upon his appointment as a judicial officer. Thepetitioner in the originating summons is praying the court to determine whether such act by the acting CJN does not constitute a criminal act of perjury, falsification and forgery. Michael in the originating summons also prayed the court to determine whetherby falsifying his date of birth upon being appointed to the Nigeria Bench as a judicial officer, he has not breached the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

    Five States Lock Horns With FG Over Health Care Fund – Punch, Page 2

    The Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, has blamed the deplorable state of tertiary health institutions in the country on the inability of state governors to fund basic primary and secondary health facilities under their respective care. Adewole, who stated this at the Senate plenary on Tuesday, said state governments had “literally abandoned” health care. He also accused 14 states including Sokoto, Ogun, Cross River, Benue and Rivers of refusal to embrace the Basic Health Care Provision Fund which would have enabled them to access the N55.15bn earmarked for primary health care in the country. The National Assembly had earmarked N55.15bn in the 2018 budget as one per cent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the BHCPF. Health experts have lauded the National Assembly’s approval of the BHCPF in the 2018 Appropriation Act. But to access the fund, state governments must deposit N100m in a dedicated account at the Central Bank as counterpart fund and must have their own health insurance scheme law among other conditions.

    Fulanisation Agenda: Obasanjo Seeks To Divide Nigeria In His Old Age – FG – Vanguard, Page 5

    The Federal Government, yesterday, thumbed down former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s comments, weekend, that the Boko Haram insurgency has become an agenda to ‘Fulanise’ West Africa and Islamise Africa. Describing the comment as absurd and divisive, the government in a statement by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, urged Obasanjo not to allow personal animosity override his love for a united Nigeria, saying it will not be out of place if he withdrew his statement and apologize to Nigerians. The government said comments imputing ethno-religious motive to Boko Haram and ISWAP were deeply offensive and divisive, and far below the status of an elder statesman who had taken bullets for Nigeria’s unity. The Federal Government’s position was toed by an Islamic group, the Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, which asked the former President to come clean with any grouse he may have against the Fulani ethnic group, saying his recent comments on the threats of Boko Haram and armed herdsmen in the country were unbecoming of a statesman. However, Christian leaders and some stalwarts of the National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, said former President Obasanjo was in order and urged the government to do the needful to halt the slide into anarchy.

    FG, States, LGs Share N616.198bn April Allocation – Thisday, Page 10

    The Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) has shared a total of N616.198 billion to the three tiers of government for the month of April 2019. The committee also announced that as at May 20, 2019, the balance in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) was $144 million. A communiqué issued after the FAAC meeting in Abuja yesterday showed that the total distributable revenue of N616.198 billion comprised revenue from Value Added Tax (VAT), Exchange Gain and gross statutory revenue. The gross statutory revenue for the month was N518.916 billion, higher than the N446.647 billion received in the previous month by N72.269 billion. Revenue from Value Added Tax (VAT) was N96.485 billion as against N92.181 billion distributed in the previous month, resulting in an increase of N4.304 billion. Exchange Gain yielded a total revenue of N0.797 billion. From the total revenue of N616.198 billion, the federal government received N253.918 billion; the states got N168.056 billion, while the local governments received N126.278 billion. The oil-producing states received N46.353 billion as 13 per cent derivation revenue even as the revenue generating agencies received N21.593 billion as cost of revenue collection.

    FIRS Will Exceed N5.32t Revenue Collection In 2019, Says Fowler – Nation, Page 3

    The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) yesterday promised to surpass in 2019 the N5.32 trillion it made last year. The N5.32 trillion remains its highest yearly collection so far. In a paper titled: “The imperatives of regulatory processes, procedures and compliance in the Nigerian business sector” presented at a forum organised by the Nigerian-German Business Association in collaboration with The Nation in Lagos, FIRS Chairman Babatunde Fowler said the agency realised N1.6 trillion between January and March. Before 2018, the highest revenue made by the Service was N5.07 trillion in 2012. Represented by a FIRS DeputyDirector, Sunday Okeowo, Fowler said the Service for the first time crossed the N1 trillion threshold in Value Added Tax (VAT) collection in 2018. Another achievement was the e-stamp duties collection, which is also on a steady increase, and a collection of N15.66 billion last year. His words: “Year on year, with the exception of the year 2016, the collection performance of the FIRS grew by an average of 21per cent for the four year period.”

    Houseboy To Die By Hanging For Killing Boss – Nation, Page 1

    A Lagos High Court in Igbosere yesterday sentenced a 25-year-old houseboy, Leudjou Koyemen Joel (aka William Smith) to death by hanging for killing his employer. He murdered Dayo Enioluwa Adeleke, the daughter of the late Brig.-Gen. Adekola Alfred Adeleke, on December 20, 2016.Justice Adedayo Akintoye convicted Joel, after a nearly two-year trial which followedhis not guilty plea to a one-count charge of murder. The defendant, a refugee from Cameroon, had testified that Adeleke mistakenly stabbed herself after she fell while pursuing him with a kitchen knife. Justice Akintoye held: “All the evidence points to the defendant. I find merit in the prosecution’s case.” The police, on December 30, 2016, brought Joel before Chief Magistrate Oluyemisi Adelaja of an Ebute-Meta Chief Magistrates’ Court, Lagos. Following his remand, the case was transferred to the High Court where Joel was arraigned on January 19, 2017 on a one-count charge of murder, in accordance with Section 221 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.

    Man Arrested For Smuggling Cannabis Into Abuja Prison – Punch Online Page

    The Nigerian Prison Service, Federal Capital Territory Command, has arrested a man, Clement Jacob, for allegedly smuggling hard drugs to give an inmate of the Kuje Medium Security Prison. Jacob, who lives in the Dei-Dei area of Abuja, was arrested for smuggling into the prison a substance suspected to be cannabis in his sandal. The hemp was meant to be delivered to aninmate of the prison, identified as Emeka Onyejikacki. The prison service said in a statement on Tuesday that Onyejikacki was in the prison for possession of hard drugs. The Command Public Relations Officer, NPS, Chukwuedo Humphrey, said Jacob was arrested by one Inspector Hussain Ibrahim, who noticed the exchange of sandals between him and Onyejikacki and conducted a search on the suspect. Humphrey noted that the FCT Controller of Prisons, Mustapha Atta, advised members of the public and family members of inmates to ensure that inmates were properly reformed and rehabilitated.

    Ondo Students Protest Hike In Tuition Fees – Nation Online Page

    There was confusion in Akure, the Ondo State capital, yesterday as students across tertiary institutions marched on the streets to demand reduction of their school fees. The students, mostly from the Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko (AAUA) and Ondo State University of Science and Technology(OSUSTECH) Okitipupa, protested on the popular Oba Adesida road in Akure, the state capital. The two institutions had been shut since April, following protests on campus by the students. Commercial and vehicular movements were affected during the protest. The aggrieved students carried different placards with inscriptions such as:“No reduction, no resumption”; “Akeredolu reduce or resign”; “Education must be free” and “Say no to N250,000”. Speaking with reporters during the protest, the AAUA students’ union president, Samuel Adesomoju, said the protest would continue until Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu reduces the fees. Adesomoju maintained that the current fees of N250,000, which was increased last year, has not brought any infrastructural growth to the institution.

    Suspected Fraudster Arraigned – Nation, Page 4

    A 36-year-old man, Ayo Adeleke, yesterday appeared at an Ebute Meta Magistrates’ Court, Lagos, for allegedly defrauding an Uber driver of N47, 000. Adeleke, whose address was not provided, is charged with fraud, obtaining under false pretences and theft. Prosecuting counsel Maria Dauda alleged that the defendant committed the offence last November 19 at 8:40am, onFunsho Williams/Marina Way, Lagos. She said the defendant told the complainant, Mutiu Kareem, to transport him to Lekki and asked for a loan of N47, 000, which he promised to pay back when they get to their destination. When they got to Lekki, she said the defendant refused to pay the money or pay his fare. She said the defendant also stole two phones valued at N110,000 from the complainant. The defendant pleaded not guilty. Magistrate Mrs. A. Kusanu granted the defendant N20,000 bail with two sureties in the like sum. She adjourned till June 25.

    Two Siblings Found Dead With Powder On Their Mouths In Lagos Shop – Guardian, Page 12

    A family and residents of 46, Olatunji road, Ojota, Lagos State were thrown into mourning yesterday when the bodies of two siblings were found lifeless in a shop, with strange white-like substances around their mouth and head. The brothers, Michael, aged 21 and Paul, aged 19 years were found yesterday morning by a neighbour who wondered why the shop was not opened so late in the day. Placing calls to their mobile phones, the phones were found to be ringing in the shop. The neighbour, who didn’t want his name in print, said he started getting worried because they all knew the duo usually slept in the shop and were the first to open for business on the street. Raising an alarm, he gathered other neighbours who forced the shop open only to discover the lifeless bodies inside. Loud cries immediately filled the air as people started wondering if the duo committed suicide orwere killed. However, police officers from the Area H police station, who were called to the scene carried out some preliminary investigations on the spot and determined that they were choked with the carbon monoxide from a running generating set inside the shop.

    Police Arraign Husband, Pregnant Concubine For Assaulting Wife – Nation Online Page

    The police on Tuesday arraigned a Mr Samson Awotidoye, 38 and Mrs Toyin Ademola, 35 in an Ile-Ife Magistrates’ Court in Osun for allegedly assaulting his wife. The Prosecutor, Insp Monday Ojiezele, told the court that the defendants committed the offence in August, 2016 around 11.30 am at Ajebamidele, Ile-Ife. They were charged with three counts of conspiracy, illegal marriage and assault. He added that the Awotidoye married Ademola, while his legal wife, Victoria, was still living. The prosecutor said that the defendant assaulted Victoria. He stated further that the offence contravened the provisions of sections 351, 370 and 516 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Osun, 2002.The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty. The Defence Counsel, Mr Yemi Ijalana, pleaded for the bail of his clients in most Liberal term, pledged that they will not jump bail, but would provide reliable sureties. Magistrate Olukunle Owolawi admitted the defendants to bail in the sum of N100,000 with one surety in like sum.

    Senior Citizens Get Help Centre On Delayed Cases – Nation, Page 4

    The Lagos State Government has created a Senior Citizens Help Centre to ease the pains of elders with lingering landlords’ and tenants’ cases in courts. The state Chief Judge, Justice Opeyemi Oke, at the centre’s inauguration at the Justice J. I. C. Taylor Court House in Igbosere, Lagos, yesterday, said it would cater for elders’ cases that have lingered for three to five years. She said: “We have to consider elderly people in the society. The major reason that brought about the idea of the centre is the landlord and tenant cases that have stayed so long at the courts. “We want to bring an end to the cases of landlord and tenant lasting three to five years in courts. Most of these landlords are retirees who depend so much on the rent they earn from letting their premises out and if a tenant does not pay, that’s hardship for the property owners. “The senior citizens can walk into the centre and fill the particulars of their cases such as the year they were filed, the suit numbers, names of magistrates or judges and names of lawyers appearing in the matter and the case file will be reassigned to another diligent judge or magistrate.”

    Major Dies In Car Fire Vanguard, Page 6

    A Major, yesterday, lost his life in a fire that engulfed his car at the Ojo Cantonment, Lagos. The deceased, Major EN Efam, was said to be driving out of the cantonment in the early hours of yesterday, when his car hit that of a colleague from the rear, resulting in the fire. Before the fire could be put out by some persons, who brought out their fire extinguishers, the Delta-State born Major attached to Army Finance, had been completely burnt. His charred remains were later evacuated. Effort to speak with some Military personnel at the cantonment for details of the tragedy failed. Contacted, Deputy Director, Information, 81 Division, Victoria Island, Lagos, Lieutenant Colonel Olaolu Daudu, could not make an official statement on the incident. Spokesman for Lagos State Fire Service, Bola Ajao, said the station did not receive any distress call from that axis. She said the only incident her office was aware of was the protest by residents over the state of the road.

    Treasury Bills, Bonds: CBN To Limit Banks’ Investment – Thisday, Page 1

    The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is to limit Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) access to government securities to redirect their lending focus to the private sector. CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, said yesterday in Abuja that the intention was to stimulate growth in the economy. The CBN unfolded its new policy direction on banks’ access to investing in treasury bills and bonds just as the apex bank further resolved to hold all parameters of monetary policy constant by retaining the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), otherwise known as interest rate, at 13.5 per cent. The MPR is the rate at which the CBN lends to commercial banksand often determines the cost of borrowing in the economy. It also retained the asymmetric corridor of +200/-500 basis points around the MPR; left both the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) at 22.5 per cent and Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent.

    CBN, AACN To Attract Investments To Nigeria – Punch, Page 31

    The Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, has said that the bank will continue to drive policies that ensure macroeconomic stability and enhance ease of doing business in Nigeria. He spoke during the 8th annual Nigerian Investors Day in London, which was organised by the Association of Assets Custodians of Nigeria, with the theme, ‘Nigeria: The economics of the capital market.” He said that the bank would be instrumental in attracting and sustaining investments in the country. The governor also assured investors that the monetary policy objectives of the CBN would remain consistent. In a statement, Emefielecommended the AACN for organising the forum, which he said fit into the apex bank’s and the Federal Government’s goal of making Nigeria Africa’s top investment destination.

    Market Capitalisation Gain N372b Amid Rally On Highcap Stocks – Guardian, Page 23

    The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), extended positive streak at the end of yesterday’s transactions occasioned by bullish sentiments in the shares of MTN Nigeria, and Dangote Cement, as market capitalisation soared significantly by N372 billion. Specifically, at the close of transactions Tuesday, the All Share Index (ASI) gained 844.74 absolute points, representing a growth of 2.88 per cent to close at 30,218.14 points. Similarly, market capitalisation grew by N372 billion to close at N13.310 trillion. The upturn was significantly impacted by value appreciation recorded in some other medium and large capitalised stocks including Forte Oil, Guaranty Trust Bank, and Africa Prudential. This comes as the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), at the end of its 267th meeting, also voted to maintain status quo, following the rate cut at its previous meeting.  

    BDC Rates – BusinessDay, Page 1

    USD 361

    GBP 472

    EUR 406

    Stock Market Report – May 21

    ALL SHARE INDEX 30,218.14

    DEALS 4,453.00

    VOLUME 335,599,980.00

    VALUE N17,185,526,230.96

    EQUITY CAP N13,309,689,524,443.74

    BOND CAP N10,822,598,776,391.50

    ETF CAP N5,861,546,415.87

    N330bn Fine: MTN Has Till May 31 To Pay N55bn Balance, Says NCC – Punch, Page 30

    MTN Nigeria Communications Limited has till May 31 to pay the balance of N55bn out of the N330bn fine imposed on the telecommunications company by the Nigerian Communications Commission for SIM card registration infraction, the regulatory agency has said. In a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday, the regulatory agency clarified that MTN had paid a total of N275bn, leaving a balance of N55bn that must be paid by the end of May. The statement said, “Following a negotiated reduction of the N1.04tn fine on MTN Nigeria to N330bn and in line with the staggered payment arrangement, MTN has, so far, paid N275bn to the FederalGovernment. “Part of the fallout of the negotiated terms of payment of the fine is the listing of MTN on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and this is being done. “What this means, according to the staggered arrangement, is that May 31, 2019 would be the deadline for the telecoms company to pay the sixth and final tranche of the balance of N55bn.”

    Ecobank Promotes Environmental Sustainability With Plastic Recycling – Thisday, Page 24

    Lagos residents have continued to throng the Lagos sewage treatment plant at Amuwo Odofin to exchange used plastic bottles for cash being part of Ecobank’s campaign to rid the environment of non-biodegradable materials. In marking its 2019Sustainability Week, Ecobank Nigeria had asked residents of Lagos State to submit used plastic materials like soft drink andwater bottles to designated collection points to exchange them for cash. The locations include Ecobank branches in Ikorodu, Ojuelegba, Ketu, Allen, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island and the Lagos sewage treatment plant in Amuwo Odofin . The campaign is expected to run between Friday May 17 through Friday May 24th. Kick starting the week long campaign code-named “Get cash for plastic bottles’ at the Lagos sewage treatment plant on Friday, Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan, said the initiative is part of a deliberate policy of the bank to support environmental sustainability for all. “Our sustainability activities is part of the universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The idea for this is to support the removal of non-biodegradable materials from the environment to support healthy and safe living. Our target is to remove at least four million used plastic bottles from the streets and drains in Lagos through this initiative”he noted. Commending Ecobank, Assistant Director, Ministry of Environment, Lagos State, Lasisi Adedoyin, observed that the initiative would go a long way to improving the environment. While explaining the various efforts of Lagos state government to ensure a safer environment, he urged other corporate organizations to emulate Ecobank. He further called on residents to avail themselves the opportunities provided by the bank and its partners to earn quick cash through collection of used plastics. Speaking in the same light, General Manager, Alkem Nigeria Ltd, Mr Piyush Mishra, said the partnership with Ecobank would lead to a safer environment. He explained that plastic bottles was impacting negatively on the environment.

    FCMB Empowers More Customers In ‘Race To China Promo’ – Thisday, Page 38

    First City Monument Bank (FCMB) has rewarded another set of its small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) customers in the season two of its reward scheme tagged, ‘FCMB SME Race to China Promo.’ The winners emerged through rounds of electronic selection from the pool of qualified SME customers in the first draws of the promo (for the months of March and April) held in Lagos, Kano, Abia and Oyo states on May 21, 2019. Among the winners were eight customers who each won the star prize of an all-expense paid trip (return flight ticket to China and hotel accommodation for seven nights) to participate in the 2019edition of the Canton Trade Fair, one of the world’s biggest import and export trade fairs, scheduled to hold later this year.

    Coca-Cola Ends Plan To Refranchise Africa Bottling Unit – Thisday, Page 38

    Coca-Cola Co said it has dropped plan to refranchise its Africa bottling business, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) and would instead keep its majority stake in the unit for the time being. Coca-Cola said in a statement it had discussions with a number of potential partners over the issue. Coca-Cola HBC and rival Coca-Cola European Partners were seen as potential buyers for the unit. “While we remain committed to the refranchising process, we believe it’s in the best interests of all involved for Coca-Cola to continue to hold and operate CCBA,” Coca-Cola said. The U.S. beverage giant had wanted to refranchise the unit as part of its global plan to divest its manufacturing and distribution assets to focus on main beverage business and boost margins. Shares of Coca-Cola HBC were down 7.4 per cent in Monday trading, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.

    Unpaid Debt: Access Bank, Etiebet To Settle Out-Of-Court – Thisday, Page 38

    Parties in the suit between Access Bank Plc and former Minister of Petroleum, Chief Don Etiebet, over an unpaid debt yesterday told Justice Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court in Lagos that they had agreed to settle the dispute out-of-court. Following the inability of Etiebet to pay the multi billion naira loan owed the bank, the plaintiff, Access Bank, had taken steps to take over the Etiebet Place, a property situated at Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Ikeja, Lagos, one of the properties used as collateral to secure the facility. But the move was resisted by the defendant, Obodex Nigeria Limited, under which name the property was registered. At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday before Justice Mohammed Liman, counsel to Access Bank Plc, Obinna Divine, told the court that parties in the dispute are exploring settlement and that the talks had reached an advanced stage.

    NFF Allays Fears Over Terrorist Attacks In Egypt – Guardian, Page 46

    The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) believes the forthcoming African Nations Cup in Egypt will be safe for the participants despite the recent terrorist attacks in the host country. The federation assured Nigerians it had been in constant touch with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) on the security arrangements for the teams ahead of the competition. NFF First Vice President, Seyi Akinwunmi told The Guardian that the federation has been getting daily situation reports, adding that the owners of the competition would take the right decisions for the security of everybody. “I want to assure Nigerians that the federation would monitor the situation in Egypt and make due consultations before making any pronouncement. The safety of our players is important to the NFF,” he said. According to reports, an explosion apparently targeting a bus filled with tourists near the pyramids of Giza in Egypt wounded at least 14 people on Sunday.

    Falcons Land In Austria Ahead Of World Cup – Punch, Page 45

    African champions Nigeria have landed at the Avita Resort in the Austrian city of Bad Tatzmannsdorf for a two-week camping ahead of the 2019 Women’s World Cup. A delegation including nine home-based players and technical and administrative staff departed Abuja on Monday night aboard an Air France flight, and travelled from Paris to the Austrian capital, Vienna on Tuesday morning before connecting Bad Tatzmannsdorf. At the airport in Vienna, nine overseas-based players joined the contingent, taking the number of players to 18. With England-based Ini-Abasi Umotong already waiting in camp, it made the total number 19, with only eight more expected. The Avita Resort also served the Super Eagles in their final training sessions just before the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Coach Thomas Dennerby will pick his final squad of 23 by Friday this week. The final squad and officials will fly into France on June 4. Nigeria take on Norway, Korea Republic and hosts France in the group phase, with their first match coming up against Norway at the Stade Auguste Delauney in Reims on June 8.

    NPFL: Players To Wear Black Armband For Ogbeide On Sunday – Thisday, Page 54

    Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Coaches, Players and Officials are to honour late Coach Solomon Ogbeide by wearing black armbands during fixtures of MatchDay 22 on Sunday, May 26. Chairman of the League Management Company (LMC), Shehu Dikko, who announced the decision, described the news of the passage of the Lobi Stars Coach as “a grave loss to theleague and hundreds of players he trained in over two decades of his career as football coach in our league”. Ogbeide reportedly slumped and died Monday morning shortly after complaining of feeling unwell in Makurdi, hours before their last home fixture of the season. Dikko said the LMC would go to lengths to honour those who have contributed in any capacity to the development of the league. “In addition to the black armbands, a minute silence will be observed before kickoff at all the match venues in honour of the veteran coach,” Dikko stated.

    FIFA Lectures Flying Eagles, Others On New Laws Of Football – Thisday, Page 54

    As expected, the Flying Eagles of Nigeria will not be caught off guard when the new rules of the game introduced by FIFA take effect from 1st of June. Nigeria is one of the qualified teams for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup that have benefited from the world football governing body’s decision to school all the participating countries in Poland. THISDAY had in March this year sought to know the federation’s plans to educate its players ahead of multiple international competitions Nigeria will feature in this year when the new rule takes off on June 1. Nigeria will be in action this summer at the Africa Cup of Nations (Super Eagles) in Egypt and the FIFA’s Women’s World Cup in France with the Super Falcons as well as in the Under-20 World Cup in Poland. But yesterday, the NFF through its image-maker, Ademola Olajire confirmed that FIFA had schooled all the participating countriesincluding the Nigerian team on the new rules at the Under-20 World Cup in Poland.

    Nigeria’s Dele-Bashiru Tipped To Shine In Poland – Thisday, Page 54

    The FIFA Under-20 World Cup begins in Poland tomorrow Thursday, May 23 with Senegal facing Tahiti at the Arena Lublin, Lublin, while the Flying Eagles begin their campaign against Qatar the following day. As part of their lead-up to the tournament, the official website of FIFA has picked the top ten starlets primed to shine at Poland 2019 and beyond. According to allnigeriasoccer.com, there are no prizes for guessing that Manchester City wonderkid Tom Dele-Bashiru is the Flying Eagles player that made the list. The remaining nine players that made the cut include: Nehuen Perez (Argentina), Radoslaw Majecki (Poland), Timothy Weah (USA), Dan-Axel Zagadou (France), Diego Lainez (Mexico), Lee Kangin (Korea Republic), Moises Ramirez (Ecuador), Turki Al-Ammar (Saudi Arabia) and Erling Haland (Norway). On Dele-Bashiru, FIFA wrote: ”Born in Manchester, Dele-Bashiru represented England’s U-16s but will be pulling the strings for the Flying Eagles at Poland 2019.

    Transfer: Onyekuru Set To Seal Bayern Munich Switch – Thisday, Page 55

    Reports in several media outlets in Turkey yesterday have indicated that Nigeria’s exciting forward, Henry Onyekuru, is set to complete a permanent transfer to Bayern Munich from English Premier League side Everton. Onyekuru had a productive season in Turkey where he played a starring role for league winners Galatasaray with ‎14 league goals to his name including one in the final game of the season against Istanbul Basaksehir which helped them seal the title. Spanish sides Valencia and Sevilla were reported to be keen on signing him permanently from Everton where work permit issues have stopped him from playing for the team two years after his signing from modest Belgium side Eupen. Reports in Turkey suggest he will be in Germany next week to seal a switch to Bayern Munich who are in the market for wing forwards like Onyekuru following the departure of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben. Owngoalnigeria.com spoke with a source close to the player who confirmed that Onyekuru will be in Germany next week but refuse to reveal if the trip is in connection with the rumours linking him with a move to Bayern Munich.

    Gyan Quits After Removal As Ghana Captain – Punch, Page 46

    Ghana’s all-time leading goal-scorer Asamoah Gyan announced his international retirement on Monday, less than a month before the start of the Africa Cup of Nations. The news followed shortly after he was removed as the national team’s captain, a move more official than a shock as he’d not featured for the side in years. Striker Gyan had not featured for the side sinceSeptember 2017 after persistent injury problems, and has also battled for game-time with his Turkish club Kayserispor. Despite this, he had been on track for Afcon, so the removal of the armband prompted his final move, “Upon consultation with my family and team, and as an active footballer and captain of the national team, if the decision of the coach is to give captaincy of the tournament to another player while I am named in the team (squad) of the tournament, I wish to recuse myself from the tournament.”

    Messi Leads Argentina’s Copa America List – Punch, Page 46

    Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi will lead Argentina’s squad at the Copa America, with Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero back in the side for the first time since the 2018World Cup. Both were named on Tuesday in the country’s 23-man squad for the tournament along with Juventus forward Paulo Dybala, who made the cut despite scoring only five goals in 30 leagueappearances this season. There was no place for Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi, the Nerazzurri’s leading scorer this term with 11 goals. Messi, who took a nine-month break from the national team after the World Cup before playing again in a 3-1 defeat toVenezuela in March, has scored 50 goals in all competitions this season for Barcelona heading into Saturday’s Copa del Rey final against Valencia. The Argentina captain finished as La Liga’s top scorer with 36 goals in 34 appearances as Barca retained theSpanish crown.

    Fury, Wilder Rematch Likely In 2020 –Punch, Page 47

    Britain’s Tyson Fury says a world heavyweight title rematch with Deontay Wilder is “likely to happen in March or April”. Wilder knocked out fellow American Dominic Breazeale in the first round on Saturday to retain his WBC title. Wilder’s agent, Shelly Finkel, has said that Wilder, 33, would “probably” fight Fury or Anthony Joshua next year. “Wilder can’t run forever. This rematch has got to happen,” Fury, 30, told ESPN. Fury, Wilder and Joshua are signed to different US broadcasters. “We were very close to a rematch,” said Fury. “We had contracts, they had contracts,we were trying to agree terms. “All of a sudden I had a massive deal from ESPN and they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. That would’ve been in May I believe. “And Deontay Wilder apparently signed a three-fight deal (with Showtime) before I signed the ESPN deal.” Wilder retained his WBC belt with a thrilling draw against Fury in Los Angeles in December.

    Solskjaer Offers Pogba Captaincy – Punch, Page 47

    Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is ready to offer Paul Pogba a captaincy role at Old Trafford in an effort to convince the midfielder to stay at the club, sources have told ESPN FC. Solskjaer is looking for a new captain with Antonio Valencia set to leave on a free transfer at the end of the month. Ashley Young, who signed a new one-year deal in February, is in line to take over from Valencia as club captain but with Solskjaer looking to sign a new right-back this summer, the 33-year-old is likely to have to settle for a reduced role next season meaning on-pitch captain duties are up for grabs. Sources have told ESPN FC that Pogba, who was stripped of captaincy duties by Jose Mourinho, is one of the names in the frame and Solskjaer is hopeful that handing the 26-year-old more responsibility will help end speculation over his future.

    Olympic And World Champion Phillips, Donates Spikes To IAAF Heritage Collection – AFP Sports

    USA’s Dwight Phillips has donated a pair of spikes to the IAAF Heritage Collection which is currently on public display in Qatar ahead of the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019. Phillips, the 2004 Olympic and 4-time World long jump champion, has given the shoes which he wore when leaping to bronze at the 2007 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Osaka. The spikes were symbolically handed over to the collection in Doha via the safe hands of Qatar’s best young long jumper, 18-year-old Rasheed Abdullah Al-Suwaidi who trains in Aspire under the guidance of coach Al Walid Abdullah. “My donation of these shoes is all about ‘giving-back’ to the sport which has given me so much,” said Dwight Phillips, who retired in 2013 with a personal best of 8.74m (2009). “I’m really pleased that my Osaka spikes will now sit in the IAAF Heritage Collection alongside the kit of Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis and Mike Powell to name but a few.”

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