Daily News Updates — May 23, 2019

MainOne Earmarks N25bn For ‘Digital Lagos’ Connectivity Project – Thisday, Page 7

In a bid to roll out broadband infrastructure to cover Lagos city as demanded by its InfraCo licence, West Africa’s leading connectivity and data centre solutions provider, MainOne, has set aside N25 billion for the deployment of fibre optic broadband connectivity network for Lagos. The connectivity project, called ‘Digital Lagos’, is a broadband for all campaign initiative that will enable the digital transformation of Lagos State, through deployment of ubiquitous broadband infrastructure across the state. MainOne’s ambition for the state is inspired by the vision of Lagos State Governor-elect, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who believed “technology will improve the rule of law, education, ease of doing business and government processes of Lagos.” At the campaign launch, organised in Lagos, to announce its plans for the ‘Digital Lagos’ project, the Chief Executive Officer at MainOne, Funke Opeke, said the company would collaborate with the state government and all other stakeholders to build Digital Lagos and help citizens realise the benefits of broad, sustainable economic growth, modernised education, health, and other services delivery, and improved quality of life.

Caverton Grows Profit By 338% In Five Years – Thisday, Page 40

Five years after its shares were listed on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Caverton Offshore Support Group Plc, an indigenous offshore logistics services provider has grown in leaps and bounds. For instance, its profit after tax (PAT) grew by 338 per cent in five years. It comes to an average of 68 per cent yearly. Its PAT moved from N980 million as at December 31,2014to N4.3billion as of financial year ended December 31, 2018. Profit before tax in five years also grew by 111 per cent to N5.75 as at December 31,2018, from N2.73billion. The Group’s asset base rose by 56 percent from N36.63 billion as of December 31, 2014, to N56.06 billion in 2018, while shareholders’ fund reflected the confidence of shareholders in the group with a growth of 54 per cent in five years, from N11.93billion in 2014 to N18.38billion in 2018.

Development Bank MD Becomes CIBN Fellow – Punch, Page 29

The Managing Director of the Development Bank of Nigeria, Mr Tony Okpanachi, has become a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria. The investiture was held at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos on Thursday, May 16, 2019.Okpanachi was given the honorary fellowship award alongside other five distinguished bankers in recognition of their contributions to the banking industry and the nation’s economy. According to a statement, the fellowship award was the first investiture of the institute held outside the regular CIBN investiture series. A seasoned banker of over 29 years’ experience, Okpanachi was appointed the pioneer Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Development Bank of Nigeria Plc in January 2017. Before his appointment as MD/CEO of DBN, he was the Deputy Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria.

CBN’s Moves To Cap Treasury Bills Investment Unsettle Banks – Thisday, Page 1

The moves by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to limit commercial banks’ investment in treasury bills and federal government bonds have started causing disquiet in the banking industry. This is coming as the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Wednesday reiterated the need to enhance fiscal buffers to shield the country from external shocks. THISDAY gathered that if the policy is implemented, banks would find it difficult to sustain their profitability going forward, given their high appetite for such government securities. For instance, the five tier 1 banks in Nigeria invested a total of N4.61 trillion in treasury bills and FGN bonds, among others in 2018. The CBN had on Tuesday unveiled plans to restrict banks’ access to government securities to redirect their lending focus to the private sector. A treasurer in one of the leading commercial banks, who pleaded to remain anonymous, told THISDAY that if the policy is enforced, banks would be forced to change their investment strategy.

SEC Approves New Rules For Trading Of Shares On The NSE – Thisday, Page 41

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) Wednesday said it has received the approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to some rules and amendments of existing ones aimed at making trading on the stock exchange more efficient. In a notification placed on its website, the NSE listed the rules to include: Rules on securities transactions between dealing members of the NSE, which will become effective June 3; Rules for listing on the Growth Board of the NSE, to be effective June 17; Rules governing free float requirements for issuers listed on the NSE, effective June 3; Rules on price stabilisation of securities, effective July 15 and Rules on release calendar for regulatory announcements and filings of listed companies, effective September 2, 2019.According to the NSE, all the rules were approved by SEC on May 6, 2019. According to rule, free float means the number of shares that an issuer has outstanding and available to be traded on the exchange.

FGN’s May Bonds Oversubscribed By N171bn – Punch, Page 29

The Federal Government’s bond for the month of May worth N100bn, which was offered on Wednesday, was oversubscribedby over N171.11bn. Recent trends in the FGN bonds also showed that investors had preference for long term bonds. Total bids received from investors for the bond was N271.11bn. The Debt Management Office disclosed that the trend of oversubscription at the FGN bond auctions for the year continued, after the three instruments for five, 10 and 30-year tenors, of N35, N35 and N30bn respectively. At the May 2019 FGN bond auction on Wednesday, the DMO offered three instruments for five, 10 and 30-year tenors to the investing public, with a total amount offered of N100bn. As with the April auction when the 30-year bond was first offered to the market, investors showed a stronger demand for the 30-year bond with subscription of over N100bn compared to the N30bn offered.

Persistent Bulls Run Pushes Market Index Further By N408b – Guardian, Page 23

Sustained bargain-hunting extended the bullish run into the fifth consecutive trading day, causing market capitalisation to rise significantly by N408 billion. Yesterday, the All-Share Index (ASI) gained 927.01 absolute points, representing a growth of 3.07 per cent to close at 31,145.15 points. Similarly, the market capitalisation gained N408 billion to close at N13.718 trillion. The performance was largely driven by price appreciation in Dangote Cement, MTN Nigeria, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria, Vitafoam Nigeria, and UAC of Nigeria.  

Analysts at Afrinvest Limited, said: “Despite the weak investors’ sentiment, we expect the rally in MTN Nigeria and renewed interest in Dangote Cement to continue to buoy market performance in the near term.” Also, Cordros Capital Limited expects the rally in the equity market to persist in the short term, following sustained interest in MTN Nigeria shares.

London Stock Exchange Seeks Listings From Nigeria, Others – Punch, Page 27

The London Stock Exchange is looking for new listings from African countries. Traditionally companies based on the continent have to make a strong case to have their stock traded on one the world’s biggest bourses, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. But this week, officials are on roadshow in a bid to boost the LSE’s 115 African listings. The Exchange is banking onpartnerships with African exchanges, including those in Nigeria and Kenya, for dual listings, according to the Director of Emerging Markets and International Markets, Ibukun Adebayo. They will visit Nairobi and Luanda, the capitals of Kenya and Angola respectively, after a similar visit to South Africa two months ago. They also plan future stops in Abidjan, Cairo, Casablanca, according to Adebayo. He said a final roadshow in New York had been planned to showcase the companies to African investors as part of a United Nations initiative.

BDC Rates – BusinessDay, Page 1

USD 361

GBP 472

EUR 405

Stock Market Report – May 22

ALL SHARE INDEX 31,145.15

DEALS 4,835.00

VOLUME 294,572,910.00

VALUE N17,468,802,950.03

EQUITY CAP N13,717,995,293,643.57

BOND CAP N10,914,683,839,339.80

ETF CAP N5,813,926,615.87


Customers Win N59m In Access Bank’s Diamondxtra Promo – Nation, Page 38

Access Bank Plc yesterday doled out more than N59 million to its customers in continuation of the bank’s DiamondXtrasavings campaign. A total of 1,016 customers won more than N59 million in the 2019 DiamondXtra season 11 first quarterly draw held yesterday in Lagos. Mrs Nnenna Chukwu was the star prize winner, winning N100, 000 per month for 20 years in the salary for life category. Others included Nwoko Chibuikem, Aliyu Umar and Adewale Adekoya among others. Chukwu who could not hide her excitement explained that she had opened DiamondXtra account a long time and was not expecting to win in the promo. She commended Access Bank for providing the opportunity for her to save and win at the same time, noting that the savings campaign would help to foster savings culture among Nigerians. Executive Director, Retail Banking, Access Bank Plc, Victor Etuokwu, said the DiamondXtra initiativewas the bank’s little way of creating and adding value and meeting the needs of its customers.

Forte Oil Declares N1.5b Interim Dividend – Nation, Page 38

The board of directors of Forte Oil Plc has earmarked about N1.5 billion as interim cash dividend to shareholders of the indigenous oil and gas group. In a circular yesterday, the board indicated that shareholders on the register of the company as at the close of business on Monday June 3, 2019 will receive interim dividend per share of N1.15. The interim dividend will be paid through e-dividend on June 10, 2019. The interim dividend might be from the proceeds of the recent divestments by the oil and gas group. Forte Oil recently indicated that it had entered into share sale and purchase agreements to sell its power and upstream businesses in continuation of complicated divestment programme involving the major shareholder and chairman of board of director, Mr. Femi Otedola.

Ecobank Nigeria, LAWMA Partner To Tackle Plastic Waste – Guardian, Page 13

Plastic waste, a recurring environmental pollution issue, has been brought to public consciousness with a mandate to rid Lagos streets and waters of four million plastic bottles this year. This was the focus of Ecobank Nigeria Limited’s sustainability week in collaboration with the Lagos State Ministry of Environment, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA)and the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) at Amuwo Odofin, Lagos. Speaking at the event attended by Community Development Committee (CDC), Community Development Associations (CDAs), representatives of Soroptimist International of Nigeria and officials of the bank, Cluster Coordinator of Ecobank Sustainability Week, Christian Eneh, said the bank desires to create a healthier, cleaner environment for the good of all. “From 2017, the bank embarked on this journey with LASEPA and Ministry of the Environment to decongest Lagos and other cities of plastics, which are non-biodegradable materials that could last for ages. In 2017, we started by decongesting and removing 150,000 plastic bottles. In 2018, we concentrated on the waterways and this year, we made commitment to recycle four million plastic bottles. Chairman of Amuwo Odofin CDC, Jola Ogunlusi, president of Soroptimist International of Nigeria, Bose Milan-Jack Adeshite and representative of LAWMA, who spoke at the event, supported the idea of a cleaner Lagos. They stressed that since human survival depended on a clean, sustainable environment, there was the need to see waste as a resource and convert it to wealth in what they described as a secular economy.

Responding, Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan, said the bank chose plastic bottles recycling because with Nigeria’s 200 million population, plastic pollution has become a very key issue since it has been classified a hazardous waste.

Fulanisation Agenda: Soyinka Backs Obasanjo, Berates FG – Vanguard, Page 9

Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has berated the Federal Government for attacking former President OlusegunObasanjo over the latter’s comments that Boko Haram insurgency and herdsmen crisis had become an agenda to ‘Fulanise’ West Africa and ‘Islamise’ Africa. Obasanjo made the comment on Saturday in Delta State while the Federal Government, in a statement by Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Tuesday, lampooned Obasanjo, saying he was seeking to divide Nigeria in his old age. However, Soyinka flayed the Federal Government for ignoring the call for collaborative efforts to combat insecurity as suggested by Obasanjo. Soyinka spoke at the United Bank for Africa, UBA, symposium, tagged: “Africa’s history redefined: Our past, a path to the future.’’ Soyinka, whose relationship with Obasanjo is far from cordial, said with collaboration, “unity is possible even in the plurality of our languages.” He said: “However, everybody knows that my relationship with Obasanjo is not too cordial but at the same time, we should be very careful not to be dismissive. If there is a substance, the language must be put asidefor a moment. “I heard the Minister of Information, and I had the feeling that they are leaving aside the substance and worrying too much about the language. Obasanjo was calling for a meeting of stakeholders on a very serious aspect of social menace this country is under going. “This country is under going a horrendous descent into the abyss. The perfect picture of Africa is what we must continue to uphold in view as leaders have used the word ‘unity’ to destroy our people. “The issue of Boko Haram is currently being discussed in the House of parliament in England in relation to Africa’s well-being.’’

Pressure On CJN To Resign As Bulkachuwa Steps Down – Guardian, Page 1

It was not the pressure of guilt that made presiding justice of the presidential election petition tribunal Zainab Bulkachuwa to quit yesterday. She was secure in the rightness of staying on the panel if she chose. For the panel dismissed the application filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate in the general elections, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, against Bulkachuwa. The PDP and Atiku had last week filed an application against Bulkachuwa, asking her to recuse herself from the panel over a likelihood of bias.

But the panel held yesterday that after ruminating on the evidence and submissions of the petitioners, it found they had not established enough reason for Bulkachuwa to recuse herself. The presiding justice nevertheless announced her decision to step down from adjudicating on the matter. She said she took the action for personal reasons, and so that another female justicewould not face similar discrimination. She disclosed that a new chairman of the panel would be appointed. Four other members of the panel will continue to hear the matter pending the appointment of a new chairman.

Presidency Orders Apapa Ports’ Decongestion In Two Weeks – Thisday, Page 6

The presidency Wednesday gave a two-week deadline for the removal of all impediments to free flow of traffic and all congestion around the Apapa port and its environs. It also ordered operators of trucks and tankers parked along access roads to the ports to vacate the area within 72 hours. A statement from the Office of the Vice-President in Abuja, said the directive was the fallout of an emergency meeting convened by President Muhammadu Buhari on April 25, this year and presided over Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo. The statement, issued by Osinbajo’s spokesman, Mr. Laolu Akande, said the meeting came up with solutions toprotracted gridlock around Lagos ports, which has continued to impede both port operations and comfort of residents. In pursuit of resolutions at the meeting, the statement said a presidential task force, chaired by Osinbajo, was constituted to restore law and order to Apapa and its environs within two weeks. The taskforce is expected to file a progress report to the president.

Don’t Use Power As Tool For Oppression, Jonathan Tells Nigerians – Thisday, Page 8

Former President Goodluck Jonathan Wednesday in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, urged Nigerians to stop the quest for power as a tool for oppression, but as a way of advancing humankind. Speaking during a workshop organised by the Ijaw Elders Forum (IEF) Lagos, in collaboration with Ijaw Professionals Association (IPA), Ijaw Nation Forum (INF), G24 Embasara Foundation (EF),and Ijaw Women Connect (IWC), the former Nigerian leader also blamed politicians who deploy youths for violence during elections for the prevalence of crimes in Bayelsa State. The programme, the organisers said, was initiated to prepare the ground for a capable leader who will succeed Governor Seriake Dickson after the governorship election in November. Jonathan posited that rather than deploy violence in achieving their ends as leaders, politicians must learn to play by the rules and accept that power only comes from God and the people. “What do you leave behind? Sometimes, it’s not about the big roads or the big houses you built or the money; sometimes, people forget these things, but how creative you are; what innovations you brought to governance’; what privileges people had. It must go beyond power.

Dogara: House Under My Leadership Gave Buhari’s Government Maximum Support – Thisday, Page 10

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has disclosed that the House, under his leadership, cooperated with the executive arm of the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari by giving speedy consideration and passage to legislation and other requests forwarded by the president that would fast-track implementation of the administration’spolicies and plans. Dogara further stated that there were times the House passed executive bills within two days or one week, insisting that the 8th House was the most performing in Nigeria’s political history from independence in 1960 to date. He spoke yesterday in Abuja when he received the Euro Knowledge Award in recognition of his exemplary leadership, which was conferred on him last month at the United Kingdom’s Parliament and another one by Nigeria’s federal government for his contribution to passage of Ease of Doing Business Bills in Nigeria. Receiving the award, Dogara said, “We have done exceptionally well. It is on record that this has been the most productive National Assembly ever, as well as unparalleled House in the history of the House of Representatives.”

Fayemi, Tambuwal Clinch Nigeria Governors Forum Top Posts – Guardian Online Page

The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) has elected Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State as its new chairman. The Forum also elected Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto as the vice chairman. both men are expected to serve in those capacities until 2021. Addressing newsmen Wednesday night in Abuja after a meeting of the forum, Governor of Zamfara state, Abdul Aziz Yari, said Fayemi and Tambuwal emerged through consensus, adding that Fayemi was nominated by the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai and seconded by the Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa. Speaking, Governor Fayemi said his leadership would build on the success stories of Yari, adding that he will work with other arms of government to build a stronger nation. “We are committed to a strong partnership with the federal government,” Fayemi said. Yari said that the forum was concerned with the recent guidelines of the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) which impose a restriction on the powers of state and local governments to operate within constitutionally approved parameters.

Chinese Companies’ Investments In Nigeria Hit $20bn –CCCN – Punch, Page 25

The quantum of investment in the Nigerian economy by Chinese companies has hit $20bn, the President, China Chambers of Commerce in Nigeria, Mr Ye Shuijin, has disclosed. He explained that the 160 Chinese firms operating in the country had also employed over 200,000 Nigerians, noting that the companies were promoting what he called the ‘people to people’ culturaldiplomacy of the Belt and Road Initiative of the People’s Republic of China in Nigeria. Speaking to journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, Shuijin, who is the Managing Director, China Geo-engineering Company, stated that his company, which was established in Nigeria in 1983, had offices in 30 states. He said that CGC, a construction firm, had faced and surmounted various challenges, adding that the improved infrastructure development in the country, however, was encouraging many more Chinese businessmen and firms to invest in the economy. He said, “I believe the Chinese investment in Nigeria now is about $20b and we have employed over 200,000 Nigerians. Our workforce is 95 per cent Nigerians.

ASUU Threatens Strike, Says FG Reluctant To Implement 2019 Agreement – Punch Online Page

The Academic Staff Union of Universities on Wednesday said that its members should not be held responsible if there is any disruption in the university system, as the Federal Government had not shown commitment to carrying out the 2019Memorandum of Action. The ASUU National President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, stated this at a briefing in Abuja, to give an update on the ongoing renegotiation with the government and to clear the air over the N25billion confirmed by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, to have been approved for universities. Ogunyemi said the N25billion was meant to be a part-payment of the Earned Academic Allowances and should have been released between February 15 and 28, 2019, as agreed. But this was not done. He said, “Since information on the amounts mentioned in the media went round, the ASUU has been inundated with enquiries on the union’s perspective to the story. “Funding for the revitalisation of public universities has for years been of very high priority to ASUU.

Malaysian Arraigned For Attempting To Defraud Polaris Bank Of €250m – Punch, Page 5

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, on Wednesday, arraigned a Malaysian, Tan Richard, before a LagosState Special Offences Court in Ikeja for allegedly attempting to defraud Polaris Bank of €250m. Richard was arraigned alongside his company, Coastal Asia Investments Limited, on five counts bordering on forgery, intent to defraud and use of false document.The suspect, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges. According to the EFCC counsel, Mohammed Bashir, the defendants and one Dr Sawang Jana (still at large) committed the alleged offences on September 27, 2018, in Lagos. The offences were said to contravene sections 363 (2), 364 (1) and 409, 5(2) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State No. 11 of 2011. The anti-graft agency alleged that Richard and Jana, with the intent to defraud, attempted to obtain the sum of €250m from Polaris Bank Plc (formerly Skye Bank Plc) by false pretences. The commission further alleged that Richard forged a Swift Telex Advice dated September 27, 2018, indicating the transfer of the sum of €250m to a Coastal Asia Investment Account number 1771828771with Polaris Bank, while purporting same to be from HSBC Bank Plc, London, United Kingdom.

Site Engineer, Others Trapped Under Collapsed Four-Storey Building In Onitsha – Guardian, Page 14

Six persons were feared trapped yesterday under the rubble of a four-storey building that collapsed in Onitsha, Anambra State. The incident happened on No. 7, Ezenwa Street, Onitsha. An eyewitness said eight persons were under the building when the four-storey building under construction caved in at about 1:45p.m. The source said those trapped were six labourers, includingthe site engineer. The cause of the collapse has not been determined. Meanwhile, a rescue team on site was left helpless with no equipment to undertake their rescue operation. The Divisional Police Officer for Onitsha Central Police Station, Ifeanyi Iburu,led a team of security operatives to the scene. Other rescue teams were Red Cross officers and sister security agencies. Sympathizers and passersby also joined in the rescue mission. Confirming the incident, the chairman, Red Cross Society in Anambra State, Prof. Peter Katchy, said the rescued casualties had been rushed to the hospital for medical attention.

Cart Pusher Charged With Assault – Nation, Page 4

A cart pusher, Mr. Sulaimon Adamu, was yesterday arraigned at an Ikeja Magistrates’ Court for allegedly assaulting a man. He pleaded not guilty to the assault charge. Prosecuting Sergeant Ishola Samuel said Adamu committed the offence on May 11, at Fagba junction, Lagos. He alleged that the defendant assaulted Mr. Musa Mohammed by punching and hitting him with a torchlighton the head several times. Magistrate F. O. Hughes granted the defendant N20,000 bail, with one surety in the like sum. She said the surety must live within the court’s jurisdiction and be employed. Hughes said the surety should swear to an affidavit ofmeans and produce evidence of tax payment to the Lagos State Government. The case continues on May 30.

Woman Allegedly Kills Own Baby During Delivery In Ebonyi – Punch, Page 5

The Ebonyi State Police Command, on Wednesday, said that a lady in her late 30s allegedly killed her baby boy in the process of delivery in Abakaliki. According to the command’s Public Relations Officer, DSP Loveth Odah, the lady inflicted injuries on herself while trying to forcefully deliver the baby. She added that the woman was currently receiving treatment at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki. Odah, who alleged that the woman wanted to deliver the baby without the aid of a doctor and outside a hospital, noted that the baby had already died in her womb before she was taken to the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki. According to the PPRO, at the hospital, the woman refused medical treatment until police officers prevailed on her and the hospital management to ensure that she was given proper medical attention. Odah added that the police had ordered that she be kept in hospital for adequate medical attention until she fully recovered, saying, “By then, the matter will be transferred to the state police headquarters for further investigation.”

Immigration Officer ‘Dupes’ Traveller Of N3.99m – Nation, Page 4

An Immigration officer, Emeka Francis, 38, was yesterday arraigned before an Ikeja Magistrates’ Court for allegedlyimpersonating an Interpol officer and defrauding a traveller of N3.99 million. Prosecuting Sergeant Oluwabunmi Adeitan alleged that the defendant collected the money from Christopher Menkiti on February 19 at 12:35pm at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos. She said a National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) official accosted the complainant and handed him over to a group of men claiming to be Interpol officers, who searched his luggage. Adeitan alleged that the defendant seized the complainant’stravel documents and refused to give him back. The documents were returned after the complaint gave the defendant the N3.99 million. She said the complainant, who was held hostage for four hours, called his mother, who transferred the cash to the defendant’s two accounts. The prosecution named the accounts as Francis Emeka Eze, Zenith Bank, account no. 2081979756 and Francis Emeka Eze, First Bank, account no.2015859273. The defendant pleaded not guilty.

Fire Guts BRT Bus On Third Mainland Bridge – Punch, Page 4

A Bus Rapid Transit vehicle with number plate EKY 88XR was gutted by fire on Monday at the Iyana-Oworo end of the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos State. PUNCH Metro gathered that the driver, who had successfully conveyed passengers to the Tafawa Balewa Square, was on his way back to pick more passengers at Mile 12, when the bus developed an electrical fault thatcaused the inferno. While the vehicle’s system was said to have shut down during the incident, the driver, who was the only one in the vehicle, was said to have escaped through the emergency door. The Public Affairs Officer, Lagos State Fire Service, BolaAjao, who confirmed the incident, said the Ilupeju Fire Station was mobilised to the scene to extinguish the fire. “Immediately we received a call about the incident, the Ilupeju Fire Station was turned out to the scene. The fire started from the engine compartmentand burnt the vehicle beyond recognition. My advice to all drivers is that they should be careful while driving,” Ajao stated.

Man Making Call While Driving Kills 4 School Children, Injures 10 In Anambra – Vanguard, Page 6

Four persons were reportedly killed and 10 others injured when an Infinity Jeep with number plates MYB 22AAA rammed into a group of school children at Oba in Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State. The corpses have been deposited at Gateway Hospital mortuary, Oba. Anambra State Police Command had already arrested the driver, Mr. Chibuzor Elebo, just as investigation into the incident was continuing. Among the deceased were two siblings. The Divisional Police Officer for Oba, Mr. Ifeanyi Abanaofor, told reporters that the injured persons had been taken to various hospitals for treatment. He attributed the crash to the recklessness of the driver, who he said was driving and answering a telephone call at the same time, when the incident occurred. He said: “The driver lost control and veered off his lane into the other lane before ramming into the kids, killing three instantly, while the fourth one died at the hospital.” According to him, the children had just closed from school for the day when the incident happened, adding that they came out in large numbers and were moving to their homes in groups.”

Golden Eaglets Coach To Submit World Cup Programme Soon – NAN

The Head coach of the national U-17 team, Manu Garba, on Wednesday said that he would soon submit his programme for the U-17 World Cup to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

Garba, who told the News Agency Nigeria (NAN) that he was on top of the situation, said he had to wait for the World Cup draws to be made first. “The draws of the World Cup has yet to be made. My programme for the World Cup will soon be submitted to the federation through the Technical Director,” Garba said. He called for the support of Nigerians for a glorious outing in Brazil, saying that the team under his tutelage would make the country proud. The Golden Eaglets coach said that his team had shown classic performance in the qualifiers and trial matches. He said that he was doing his best with the team to restore Nigeria’s glory at the U-17 World Cup category. NAN reports that the FIFA U-17 World Cup that would be hosted by Brazil in September had been won five times by Nigeria in 1985, 19932007, 2013 and 2015.

Flying Eagles Set For Qatar As FIFA U-20 World Cup Kicks Off – Guardian Back Page

The stage is set for the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland, where 24 countries will fight to determine the best youth football-playing nation on earth. The competition, which kicks off today and ends on June 16, is attracting much attention because of the quality of youngsters that participated in their various continental championships. This is the championship that threw up the likes of Lionel Messi and most of the current big names in world football. It is also a competition that attracts a large number of scouts who will be looking out for the next big star. Nigeria is among the 24 countries taking part in this year’s championship after missing the last edition of the competition. Because the country did not qualify for the last edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, the Flying Eagles are made up of entirely new set of players selected from various academies and clubs across the world. As this is their first experience in a world tournament, Coach Paul Aigbogun’s ability to get the best out of them will be crucial if Nigeria must succeed in the competition.

NFF’s Autonomy Imminent As Senate Passes Bill Abrogating NFA – Thisday, Page 46

The law that changed the name of Nigeria Football Association (NFA) to Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) was one of the 11 bills passed yesterday by the upper chamber of the National Assembly. Senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani was the one who moved for the consideration of the bill changing NFA to NFF in the Senate. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate had way back in 2017 and 2018 passed different versions of the bill before a committee was set up to harmonise them into one and send it for final approval of the Red Chamber. “This is one of those important issues as far as football is concerned in the country. It brings the Nigerian football administration in line with global best practice,” Senator Sani began. “Following the consideration and passage of the bill for an act to repeal the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) and enact the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and other matters connected therewith 2019by the Senate and House of Representatives on Tuesday, 30th of May 2017 and Thursday, 8th of March 2018 respectively, the two chambers set up a conference committee.

Okpekpe Organisers Ready To Stage Biggest Race Ever – Thisday, Page 46

Organisers of the IAAF silver label Okpekpe International 10km Road Race has arrangements have been concluded for a hitch-free race this Saturday in Okpekpe near Auchi, Etsakor East Local Government Area of Edo State. Mercy Etukudo, who heads the event’s secretariat assured stakeholders that Pamodzi Sports Marketing, organisers of the race will stage another world-class event as all logistics, both technical and administrative are in place for a bigger and better event this year. “Of course we are set to go. We have concluded all arrangements for a hitch-free and successful race on Saturday. The elite athletes have arrivedNigeria and will leave for Auchi on Thursday (today) where accommodation has been reserved for them. “Nigerian elite athletes will also be in Auchi on Thursday (today) while other participants have started collecting running numbers since Tuesday at Fatima College in Auchi. Collection will continue until 2pm on Friday,” said Etukudo who revealed that all participants will receive a running race vest, number bibs, and chips. All those who finished the race will receive medal and certificate of attendance. Etukudo also disclosed that arrangement for a seamless doping control have been concluded.

Otedola Assures Chukwu Money Will Be No Impediment For His Treatment – Thisday, Page 46

Chairman of Forte Oil, Femi Otedola, on Tuesday assured former Nigeria Captain, Christian Chukwu, that money will be no impediment in the way of providing him with adequate medical and post-medical care. The oil and gas billionaire who had earlier made a contribution of $50,000 to the medicare of the 1980 Africa Cup of Nations-winning team captain and former SuperEagles’ coach, made this statement when he paid Chukwu a visit at the Wellington Hospital, Circus Road, St. John’s Woods in London. “I want to thank you for your effort regarding the medical attention to our beloved ‘Chairman’. Please continue to do your best. I want to say here and now, and for the avoidance of doubt, that money will not be an impediment to his treatment.” Also present during the visit were President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick and ‘Chairman’ Chukwu’s wife, Lilian Nkeiruka. Dr. Leye Ajayi, a renowned urologist who was also consultant to Otedola’s late father, Sir Michael Otedola, as well as Dr. Katherine Piggott (an uncologist) and Dr. Evadney Keith (a cardiologist) are the medical crew taking care of Chukwu, who also coached Eagles between 2002 and 2005.

Revealed: How IAAF’s $135,000 Was ‘Spent’ – Guardian Back Page

The main actors in the IAAF’s ‘missing’ $135, 000 saga yesterday revealed how the money was ‘spent’ by the sports ministry and some key officials of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN). The IAAF in 2017 erroneously sent $150,000 to the AFN instead of the annual $15,000 it usually gives to its affiliates. On discovering the error, the world athletics body wrote to the AFN demanding the return of $135,000, which is the excess amount it paid the Nigerian body. However, after two years, the AFN has not refunded the money, prompting the IAAF to threaten to sanction the country. On Tuesday, Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung and 11 AFN board members held a marathon meeting in Abuja to among other things, find ways of avoiding the possible IAAF sanctions. Read More: Minister, AFN in marathon meeting over IAAF’s ‘missing’ $135,000. A source at the meeting told The Guardian yesterday that the sports minister was angry with two top officials of the AFN, claiming that he was the main target in the IAAF ‘missing’ $135,000 debacle.

Sarri To Discuss Chelsea Future After Europa League Final – AFP Sports

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri plans showdown talks with the club’s hierarchy after next week’s Europa League final to see if they want the Italian to remain in charge next season.

Sarri’s side recovered from a mid-season slump in time to secure Champions League football next season via a third-placed finish in the Premier League, and could end the season with a trophy when they face Arsenal in Baku on May 29. However, Sarri’s style of football has not been universally embraced by the Chelsea fans during his first season in charge and rumours in his homeland have linked the former Napoli boss with the vacant managerial roles at Juventus and Roma. “I will speak to the club as I want to see if they are happy with me or not,” said Sarri on Wednesday. “I have two more years on my contract.” The Milan stock exchange does not appear to share Chelsea fans’ reservations. Juventus shares rose 5.60 per cent on Wednesday afternoon following reports in the Italian press the Italian champions had been in contact with Sarri.

Fifa, Qatar Retain 32-Team Format For 2022World Cup – AFP Sports

World Football governing body, Fifa and Qatar, the hosts of the 2022 edition have finally agreed to retain the 32-team format. Gianni Infantino and Hassan Al Thawadi Fifa once contemplated an expansion to a 48- team format after Qatar won the hosting rights. Qatar did not resist but after some fact-findings it was decided last night to retain the 32- team format. Qatar had always been open to the idea of an expanded tournament in 2022. They had a viable operating model and would have gone on to still accommodate the expansion if the feasibility study showed it would be for the interest of the game and all parties involved.A joint analysis, in this respect, concluded that due to the advanced stage of preparations and the need for a detailed assessment of the potential logistical impact on Qatar, more time would be required and a decision could not be taken before the deadline of June. It was therefore decided not to further pursue this option. With just three and a half years to go until kick off, Qatar remains as committed as ever to ensuring the 32-team FIFA World Cup in 2022 is one of the best tournaments ever and one that makes the entire Arab world proud.

Hazard Joins Dortmund On Five-Year Deal – Punch, Page 43

Borussia Dortmund have signed Thorgan Hazard from Borussia Monchengladbach for a reported transfer fee of €25.5m, excluding add-ons. Thorgan, who has signed a five-year contract with Dortmund, becomes the first Hazard to move this summer with his older brother Eden linked with a transfer from Chelsea to Real Madrid. “We are delighted, Thorgan has opted for Borussia Dortmund with his full conviction,” BVB sporting director Michael Zorc said. “He’s an experienced Bundesliga player and a Belgium international. He will help us with his pace and his nose for goals.” Like his brother Eden, Hazard had been on the books at Chelsea, but left the club for Gladbach in 2014, initially on a loan and then on a permanent transfer. In his five years for the Foals, Hazard contributed 46 goals and a further 44 assists in 182 appearances across all competitions.

Man United Season Tickets Sold Out – Punch, Page 43

Manchester United have sold out their entire total of 53,000 season tickets in record time despite a disappointing campaign which saw Jose Mourinho sacked in December and the club win just two of their last eight matches to finish sixth. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side finished 32 points behind champions Manchester City to miss out on a place in the Champions League. Unitedannounced in March that season ticket prices had been frozen for an eighth year in a row. Renewal letters were sent out in March with tickets selling out in a little over two months despite the on-field problems. United will play in the Europa League nextseason after finishing outside the top four for the fourth time in six years since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013. Solskjaer, who is set to undergo an overhaul of his squad this summer, has distanced himself from masterminding a title challenge nextseason, suggesting it would require a miracle to catch City and Liverpool.

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