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Jonathan: Solution to Nigeria’s problems is in Confab report

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has again called for the implementation of the 2014 national conference.

Speaking at the public presentation of a book by Femi Okurounmu, a former senator, Jonathan said his administration inaugurated the national dialogue to reconcile ethnic differences, heal old wounds and promote peace.

The conference was chaired by late Idris Kutigi, former chief justice of Nigeria (CJN).

He said the implementation of the report will help the nation to make progress

“The call for reforms has continued to grow louder, gathering the kind of momentum that should no longer be overlooked, if the nation must make real progress,” the former president said.

“I believe that the solutions to most of the problems we face today lie in our honest assessment of the recommendations of the 2014 national conference. If we take politics out of our consideration, there is every likelihood that a diligent implementation of the key recommendations of the conference will lead the nation out of the woods. This will heal frayed nerves, promote solidarity, engender peace and reposition our nation for meaningful growth and sustainable development.

“The recommendations of the conference were far-reaching in setting an agenda for peace and unity. They amply captured the solutions to the problems of today and made suggestions that will address the worries of tomorrow.”

The former president said his administration could not implement the recommendations of the conference because it did not have enough time to do so, as it was submitted less than a year to the end of his tenure.

“Then, the members of the national assembly, whose duty it was to consider and validate the process, were preoccupied with the battle for political survival,” he said.

“I believed that given the nature of the consultations and due deliberations involved in advancing the process, an orderly and systematic implementation could not have been conducted in less than one year.

“It was obvious we did not have that time before the end of my administration. I did not insist on a rushed implementation because my administration did not embark on the conference to achieve political popularity but to genuinely advance the course of nation-building.

“We assembled 492 reputable individuals, drawn from all walks of lives and shades of opinion, who emerged through a rigorous selection process, to conduct diligent deliberations over a period of 120 days. We did this not to score a political point, but to come up with ideas on how to strengthen the pillars of our democracy and build a new foundation for sustainable nationhood.”

Appeal Court dismisses suit challenging Buhari’s academic qualification to run for President

The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal on Friday dismissed an appeal challenging the academic qualification of President Muhammadu Buhari to contest the last presidential election.

A three-man panel of the court led by Justice Tinuade Akomolafe-Wilson in a unanimous judgment affirmed the earlier verdict of the Federal High Court in Abuja which had dismissed the suit on the grounds that it was statute-barred and robbed the court of jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

Delivering the judgment of the Court of Appeal on Friday, Justice Mohammed Idris, held that matter had become statute barred, having not been filed within the 14 days the cause of action arose as stipulated under section 285(9) of the Nigerian Constitution.

He held that the cause of action arose on October 18 2018, when Buhari submitted his Form CF001, curriculum vitae and a supporting affidavit to the Independent National Electoral Commission after he emerged as the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate in the party’s earlier primary election.

He noted that the appellants challenging the earlier judgment of the Federal High Court only filed their suit before the said lower court on November 5, 2018, which was outside the 14 days period from October 18, 2018.

The appeal was filed by three Nigerians – Kalu Kalu Agu, Labaran Ismail, Hassy Jyari El-Kunis.

South Africa grants Ghana visa-free entry, excludes Nigeria

 

The Department of Home Affairs says the country’s new eVisa system will launch in November 2019, and it has added new nations to the list of countries that can enter South Africa visa-free.

According to a report by Business Tech and tweeted via the unverified Twitter handle of Home Affairs @HomeAffairsSA on Wednesday, seven new countries can now visit South Africa visa-free.

The report quoted the South African Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi, as having announced that seven new countries will be added to the list of nations that are able to come to South Africa without a visa.

“Tourism will soar if we relax visa requirements for entry into South Africa. We know that tourism is very important for job creation,” he said.

“Out of the 193 countries who are member states of the United Nations, the Department has granted visa-free status to 75 countries. Of these, 16 are in our continent and are SADC (Southern African Development Community) members and 59 are from all over the world.”

The department announced that the following countries will now be able to enter the country, visa-free:

Qatar, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Cuba,

Ghana, Sao Tome and Principe

The minister said his office will immediately enter into discussions with the countries about how a visa-free regime will work, with “homework” still needing to be done for countries like China, India and Nigeria.

“While we are busy tackling the matter of the three countries, we shall, this financial year, increase two and a half times the number of people who work for Home Affairs to process visas in both China and India.

“We shall double the number of people who process visas to our country in Nigeria,” he said.

A department spokesperson said that the countries announced by the minister only apply to inbound visas (citizens from the listed countries visiting South Africa), and that outbound visas (South Africans visiting the countries listed) need to be negotiated on a country-by-country basis.

The department noted that some countries, such as Qatar and Ghana, already have visa-free or visa on arrival agreements with South Africa.

According to the latest Henley Passport Index, South Africans can visit 99 countries around the globe visa-free.

Also speaking at the department’s budget vote, deputy minister of Home Affairs, Njabulo Nzuza said that the department is moving forward with the implementation of the country’s e-Visa regime.

“This regime will place technology at the centre of our operations by making it easy, yet secure, to enter South Africa,” he told Business Tech.

The e-Visa system will allow tourists and visitors to South African apply for their visas online. These applications will then be sent to a central adjudication and approval office, while the prospective visitors “sit at the comfort of their own home.”

The new system will also open South Africa as a desirable destination through the ease of its visa systems, the deputy minister said, adding that it will have huge tourism growth implications for the country.

Document shows INEC directed RECs to upload voter data to server

A leaked internal circular of the Independent National Electoral Commission indicates that the electoral body transmitted voter accreditation data during the 2019 presidential elections from smart card readers to a central server.

The memo, dated March 25, 2019, was posted on Twitter on Wednesday by Reno Omokri, a former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.

The document showed that the secretary to the commission, Mrs Rose Oriaran-Anthony, directed INEC resident electoral commissioners to provide feedback on challenges experiences during the elections, including failure to transmit voter accreditation data to a server.

It stated, “The commission has observed, with deep concerns, the number of smart card readers that do not have data of accredited voters in the just concluded presidential/NASS elections nationwide.

“The total number of SCRs without accreditation data is 4,786 nationwide, which stands at about 4 per cent of the total SCRs deployed for that election. Attached is the chart, showing the PUs not uploaded to the SCR accreditation backend, for each of the states.”

Oriaran-Anthony further instructed the RECs to direct their respective heads of department (ICT) to download the list of the polling units without accreditation data for their states from a provided web link.

She added, “You are please requested to liaise with your HOD election operations and the electoral officers to provide comments beside each PU, stating why there are no accreditation data. The comments should reflect what happened to the SCR or the results of the PU: covering cases where election did not hold, cancellation of PU result, stolen or destroyed SCRs, etc. This should be submitted in both soft and hard copies, latest by Thursday, 28th May, 2019.”

When contacted, the INEC Director of Publicity and Voter Education, Mr Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi said, “Anything to do with server is before the tribunal. I cannot comment on anything, sorry.”

The commission had said during the ongoing presidential election tribunal that it did not have a central server during the 2019 elections, adding that the operation of a server would go against the Electoral Act.

Again, Shi’ites clash with police in Abuja

Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) better known as Shi’ites clashed with the police at the federal secretariat, Abuja, on Thursday.

The IMN members who clashed with policemen during a protest at the national assembly on Tuesday, returned to the streets of Abuja on Thursday.

Wielding placards and chanting anti-government songs, the protesters demanded the immediate release of Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, their leader.

They had converged on the federal secretariat and were marching towards Eagle Square when they were intercepted by armed anti-riot policemen.

A witness said that trouble started when the police demanded to speak with leaders of the protesters and two men: Nura Marafa and Mujaid Mohammed, who came forward were arrested.

In annoyance, the Shi’ites were said to have attacked the policemen who opened fire and also used teargas on them.

Workers at the secretariat reportedly fled in different directions in order to avoid being caught in the incident.

While debating on the action of the Shiites at the house of reps on Wednesday, some lawmakers called on the federal government to release Zakzaky in order to prevent the sect from degenerating into another Boko Haram.

Different courts have ordered the release of the Shi’ite leader but the federal government has not complied with the orders.

Onofiok Luke, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rep from Akwa Ibom state, said it is unfortunate that the federal government has continued to disobey the orders to release the IMN leader.

“If the court has given an order for the release of the man, we should cal on the government to release him. The discourse should not be on the invasion of the national assembly alone,” he had said.

 

Take over Edo if you can, Obaseki dares ‘Abuja politicians’

Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo state, has dared those he described as “Abuja politicians” to take over the state if they can.

Speaking on Thursday at a rally held to show solidarity for his administration, Obaseki said those who are intent on splitting the state house of assembly cannot stop him.

A disagreement between him and Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had split the assembly into two.

On June 17, nine lawmakers loyal to the governor took 15 loyalists of Oshiomhole unaware by organising a secret inauguration.

Before then, Oshiomhole was accused of plotting to install his loyalists as principal officials of the assembly after which Obaseki, whom he influenced his emergence, would be removed.

Addressing his supporters on Thursday, the governor said some “Abuja politicians” are already heating up the polity in the state and trying to pull him out”.

“You know what is happening. I want to assure you that what has been happening in Edo state for the past several months will not distract us. We will continue to be focused,” he said.

“I did not change cars; I did not buy an official car for myself until after 18 months because we did not have the money and the little money I had, I felt should be used for the people and not the governor.

“We are tired of our children being short-changed. After 20 years of democracy, we cannot continue to behave as if we do not have democracy.

“We have not started politics, they want to pull us out early. INEC has not announced time-table for Edo election, they have only come out with timetable for Kogi and Bayelsa and even in those states, they (politicians) have not started heating up the polity as much as they are doing in Edo.

“I want to leave you with these words that those people who are parading themselves, who are speaking on the internet for themselves and their pocket, we are watching you. For those people who have gone outside, Abuja politicians, to tell people from outside to come and invade Edo, split our house of assembly, we are waiting for you.

“We have no fear at all, we are resolved that we will continue to do what is best for our state and country. We have no doubt that we are on the right path; we know that God is with us, we know that people are with us. So, if all these people are with us, who can stop us? Anybody that can stop us should come, we dare you.

“So, those Abuja politicians whom we refuse to send back and for those who got there by mistake, they can’t disrupt the peace of Edo. We will not let them. Nobody can stop the progress in Edo state.”

FG cancels all foreign printing contracts for Nigerian passports

President Muhammadu Buhari has cancelled all e-passport printing contracts abroad, saying that it will now be the sole responsibility of the Nigerian Security Printing & Minting Company (NSPMC).

Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, made this known in a statement released on Thursday.

This new directive means all existing contracts concerning printing passports and other documents will not be renewed.

The Nigerian Security Printing & Minting Company (NSPMC), popularly known as The Mint, was established in 1963 and was saddled with the responsibility of printing the nation’s currency and security documents for ministries, departments and agencies of government, banks and other blue-chip companies.

At inception, the Mint was the largest banknote and security documents specialist printing company in West Africa until its performance dwindled.

After his appointment as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele set new targets for the company including zero importation of currency which has been achieved since 2014.

Speaking on the company, Abbas Umar Masanawa, the managing director, said: “The Mint has returned to profitability. From a moribund organization with heavy losses, the company grew from a loss position of N14.6 million in 2014 to a profit of N14.3 billion in 2018. Turnover also grew from N17.8 billion in 2014 to N61.4 billion in 2018.

“Other achievements include enhanced production capacity, revenue diversification, reduced cost of production, the institutionalization of corporate governance, improved staff welfare and industrial harmony, among others.

“We will conserve scarce foreign exchange, improve revenue generation, create job opportunities, and boost acquisition/transfer of technology.”

No plan to increase pump price, says NNPC

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has dismissed reports that it is planning to increase the price of premium motor spirit (PMS) better known as petrol.

In a statement, Ndu Ughamadu, group general manager, group public affairs division of NNPC, said mischief makers are behind the reports.

During a visit to Senate President Ahmad Lawan on Wednesday, Mele Kyari, group managing director of the NNPC, had said it is very difficult to make fuel available at N145.

After this, reports of plans to increase pump price started circulating on social media.

Ughamadu said it was improper for people to conclude that the corporation had made plans to hike the price of the product.

He said NNPC is “not even in a position to regulate the price of petroleum products.”

Ughamadu said what Kyari meant was that “the price of petrol was abysmally low in Nigeria compared to what obtained in neighbouring West African countries.”

“Mallam Kyari had observed at the event that the huge disparity in the pump price of petrol between Nigeria on the one hand and her neighbouring country on the other hand tended to encourage cross-border leakages, as he sought the support of the leadership of the National Assembly to curb the malaise of smuggling,” the statement read.

NNPC cautioned petroleum products marketers not to sell petrol above N145 per litre.

Ughamadu urged Nigerians to report cases of increased fuel price to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in order to take disciplinary measures against defaulters.

Dangote, Otedola promise $75k for every goal Eagles score

Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola, Nigerian billionaires, have promised the Super Eagles $75,000 for every goal scored in their remaining games at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations.

Dangote has promised $50,000 per goal, while Otedola pledged the sum of $25,000 for each goal scored by the Eagles.

Earlier in the group stage of the 2019 AFCON, Aiteo group, one of the official sponsor of the senior men national team gave the Eagles $75,000 for the three goals scored in their 3-2 victory over Cameroon in the Round of 16.

Hosea Wells Okunbo, a businessman, also pledged the sum of $20,000 per player, while Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos state governor, rewarded the team with $5,000 per player.

The Gernot Rohr’s men defeated Bafana Bafana of South Africa 2-1 to qualify for the semifinals on Wednesday night at the Cairo International stadium.

The Super Eagles will take on the winner between Algeria and Cote D’Ivoire in the semi final game.

Femi Otedola recently donated $50,000 to Christian Chukwu, former Super Eagles coach in need of medical attention.

AFCON 2019: Algeria beat Ivory Coast 4-3, reach semi-final

Algeria beat Ivory Coast 4-3 during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final football match at the Suez stadium

BREAKING: Nigeria beats South Africa 2-1..through to semis

Nigeria has defeated South Africa in a gruelling match ..2-1 to qualify for the Semi Finals of the African Cup of Nations football competition holding in Egypt.

Details later

Senate asks foreign airlines to provide records of Nigerians in their employment

As one of the measures to surmount this challenge, the lawmakers directed foreign airlines to provide statistics of Nigerians in their employment.

The subject was brought to the Senate through a motion by Ifeanyi Uba (Anambra-YPP).

Mr Uba informed his colleagues that foreign airlines are now designated to multiple routes within Nigeria noting that this development threatens the survival of local airlines.

“For example, Ethiopia Airlines operates in five cities namely; Enugu, Kano, Kaduna, Abuja, and Lagos; Turkish Airlines operates in four cities: Abuja, Kano, Lagos, and Port Harcourt and Emirates Airlines operates two frequencies daily into Lagos and one to Abuja.”

He noted that besides multiple designations, foreign airlines are now being encouraged to do multiple frequencies into the country and within the country, a practice which he said is not allowed in other countries.

“For instance, Turkish Airlines has just started Istanbul to Abuja, Abuja to Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt to Abuja, then Abuja to Istanbul. Lufthansa and Air France are also doing same, thereby running indigenous airlines out of business.

“Concerned that while Emirates has two frequencies into Lagos and one to Abuja, it has announced plans to introduce a third flight in and out of Lagos to start very soon, making it three flights daily to Lagos.”

Mr Uba stated that Nigerian airlines such as Arik, Virgin Nigeria, Medview and others, had in the past run out of international routes through this’ trend of unfair advantages allowed foreign airlines in Nigeria.’

Two IMN members allegedly killed, police officers shot as Shiites protest at National Assembly

Three former Senate presidents, others to review Elumelu’s emergence as House Minority Leader
He said that indigenous airlines have the capacity to cover all the domestic routes being operated now by these foreign airlines. He added that the practice in international aviation is for foreign airlines to partner with local airlines to help them distribute their passengers within the domestic routes.

He said further, “The Senate notes that the unrestrained grant of designations and multiple frequencies to foreign airlines is not only hurting the growth of our indigenous carriers but also a monumental disservice to the economy of Nigeria in several ways. Besides threatening the continuous existence of our indigenous carriers, the capital flight out of Nigeria engendered by this unwholesome practice is monumental and harmful to our economy;

“The Senate notes equally that Nigerian jobs are seriously at risk as a result of this dire situation since it is the indigenous airlines that provide massive job opportunities for our people; the number of jobs created by all the foreign airlines put together is not up to what Air Peace alone created in its first one year of existence. That airline alone has over 3,000 employees and has also created over 8000 ancillary jobs.”

Mr Uba said the practice is a threat to the survival and growth of Nigeria’s aviation industry and if unchecked, would ultimately lead to the collapse of Nigeria’s indigenous airlines.

Contributing, Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf (Taraba-APC) urged the federal government to look into the regulation of the industry as the existing ‘environment does not support fair competition.’

Kabiru Gaya (Kano-APC) and Aishatu Ahmed (Adamawa-APC) urged better collaboration between Nigeria and foreign airlines.

Senate demands investigation into death of CIIN boss, other Nigerians killed in South Africa

 

The Senate, on Wednesday, called on the South African government to investigate the death of Elizabeth Ndibuisi-Chukwu and other Nigerian citizens who have died in suspicious circumstances in South Africa.

The Senate also urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to issue travel alerts to Nigerians travelling to South Africa.

The call was made after the lawmakers deliberated on a point of order by the Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, on the need to investigate the death of Mrs Ndibuisi-Chukwu.

Mrs Ndibuisi-Chukwu was the Deputy Director-General of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN). She was allegedly murdered at Emperor’s Palace Hotel and Convention Centre, South Africa on June 13 where she lodged.

She was attending the conference of the African Insurance Organisation (AIO). Initially, it was suspected that she died of cardiac arrest.

In his lead, Mr Abaribe said the insinuation that she died of cardiac arrest was proved wrong following the autopsy report released on June 20 by the South African Department of Home Affairs which indicated in a death certificate that the death was unnatural and suspected to be murder.

He said the suspicion that she could have been murdered was further confirmed in a separate document issued by the South Africa, Department of Health on June 27 where it corroborated the autopsy report and revealed that she was strangled.

“In a curious twist, the hotel allegedly was reluctant to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies to unravel the circumstances surrounding her death. This is not the first time Nigerians have died in suspicious circumstances in South Africa,” he said.

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Two IMN members allegedly killed, police officers shot as Shiites protest at National Assembly
Lawmakers who took turns to condemn the incident stressed the need for prompt investigation. Some senators also suggested that the South African Ambassador and the Nigerian Consulate be summoned for an explanation.

Ifeanyi Ubah (YPP, Anambra) urged the Senate to invite representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to explain how much investigation has been done. He also asked the Senate to send a “strongly-worded” letter to the South African government seeking details of Nigerians that have been killed in the country.

On his part, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, recalled that a similar issue was debated in the eight Senate and an ad-hoc committee sent to visit South Africa with a message that Nigeria as a country was tired of the killings.

“We believe that the relationship between the two countries must be better. There must be respect for each other.

“South African businesses flourish more than most Nigerian businesses. South Africans are safe and are protected in Nigeria. There is no need for any South African to take the life of a Nigerian or any citizen. Nigeria is a frontline state. We deserve respect and understanding.

“Our next set of contingents in the Pan-African Parliament must ensure that this issue is brought to the fore. We don’t take the law into our hands in the word of retaliation but we should not be taken for granted. We have taken these killings for too long and we are not going to take it anymore,” he said.

The Senate commended the federal government for its prompt action in seeking South Africa’s explanation of the death of Mrs Ndubuisi and urged the government not to relent in its efforts to unravel the circumstances of her unfortunate demise.

Reps ask FG to release Zakzaky and prevent emergence of another Boko Haram

Members of the House of Representatives have asked the federal government to obey the court orders directing the release of Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).

At plenary on Wednesday, the lawmakers said IMN members who have been protesting their leader’s continued detention could wreak more havoc.

El-Zakzaky was arrested after the group better known as Shi’ites clashed with a convoy of the chief of army staff in Kaduna state in 2015.

Different courts have granted him bail but the government has insisted on detaining him thereby agitating his followers who invaded the National Assembly Complex on Tuesday.

At plenary on Wednesday, Ndudi Elumelu, minority leader, introduced a motion calling on his colleagues to probe the matter and ensure adequate security measures are in place at the legislative chamber.

While some of his colleagues agreed with the need for improved security, others emphasised that they should instead address “the root cause” of the protests which they identified as the continued detention of el-Zakzaky.

They argued that the circumstances surrounding the matter are similar to what led to the emergence of the Boko Haram insurgent group.

Onofiok Luke from Akwa Ibom said it is unfortunate that while the lawmakers are empowered to make laws, the federal government is going against the rule of law in disobedience to the court orders ordering the release of the IMN leader.

“If the court has given an order for the release of the man, we should cal on the government to release him. The discourse should not be on the invasion of the national assembly alone,” he said.

Bamidele Salam from Osun state said El-Zakzaky’s continued detention is injustice and “injustice to one is injustice to all.”

“I want to urge the federal government to look into the matter of the leader of this movement and allow the rule of law to take its course … to ensure that Boko Haram is not replicated in Shiites movement,” he said.

“If we are able to secure the national assembly, what happens to the man and woman in the market elsewhere?“

Simon Davou from Plateau state said rather than detain el-Zakzaky against court orders, the government should release him “and ensure surveillance, with enough security operatives to monitor his activities.”

Lai Mohammed, former minister of information, had in defence of the Islamic leader’s continued detention said last year, that no one wants to accept him as a neighbour.

“The court ruled that he will be released after his house has been rebuilt. Nobody wants to accept El-Zakzaky as a neighbor,” he had said during a Channels TV programme. So we have been able to build a house, where do we release him to?”

Governors kick against fuel subsidy

Governors have described as unsustainable, payment of oil subsidy to marketers by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The governors called on the federal government to do away with it, saying fuel subsidy is a drain on the nation’s resources.

Kayode Fayemi, chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), made the demand when he led a delegation to Mele Kyari, the new group managing director of the corporation.

He said subsidy remains a major drawback on government revenues, adding that there is need to consider a new deal on how government will absorb its cost.

This he said has become necessary given the new reality of low oil revenues and rising government commitments.

“It is important to highlight that subsidy remains a major drawback on government revenues. We may need to consider a new deal on how governments will absorb the cost of subsidy,” he said.

“This has become necessary given the new reality of low oil revenues and rising government commitments. We believe that at the current course, subsidy costs will continue to offset any recovery in the oil market. The country recorded one of its lowest cost of subsidy in 2016 when oil traded at an average of US$48.11 pb. Total subsidy that year was around N28.6 billion; but the amount rose to N219 billion in 2017 and N345.5 billion by mid-2018, as the price of oil and domestic PMS consumption rebounded.These are important considerations for us, with direct implications on energy security and economic stability in the country.”

The NGF chairman said having worked with Kyari when he was minister of mines and steel, he believes that the NNPC GMD is a man of integrity who would deliver on his promises to the nation.

Governors are the latest to oppose fuel subsidy. Last month, Muhammadu Sanusi, emir of Kano, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to end fuel subsidy. He had said “N1.5 trillion on subsidy is N1.5 trillion out of education“.

Six days ago, Stuart Symington, US ambassador to Nigeria, also advised the federal government to get rid of fuel subsidy.

Senegal pips Benin 1-0 to reach semi-finals after 13 years

Senegal reached the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals for the first time since 2006 when Idrissa Gueye scored to deliver a 1-0 last-eight win over Benin in Cairo Wednesday.

Everton midfielder Gueye struck on 70 minutes, side-footing the ball into the net from close range after being set up by Liverpool star Sadio Mane.

This was the first Cup of Nations match to use the VAR (video assistant referee) system and there were no controversial incidents.

Benin was reduced to 10 men in the closing stages when Olivier Verdon was given a straight red card for a last-defender foul.

(AFP)

Federer wins 100th Wimbledon match to reach 13th semi-final

Roger Federer racked up his 100th match win at Wimbledon on Wednesday as he reached his 13th semi-final at the All England Club and a possible duel with old rival Rafael Nadal.

Eight-time champion Federer recovered from losing the opening set to defeat Japan’s Kei Nishikori 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 to book his place in the semi-finals of a Grand Slam for the 45th time.

The 37-year-old is also the oldest man to make the last four of a major since Jimmy Connors at the 1991 US Open.

Federer will now face Nadal at Wimbledon for the first time since their epic 2008 final should the two-time champion Spaniard defeat Sam Querrey in his quarter-final.

“We have a lot of information on Rafa and so does he about us. I know people always hype it up in a big way,” said Federer.

“They did that again in Paris this year (when Nadal won their semi-final in straight sets). I’d love to play against him here at Wimbledon.

“But I go about it like every other match.”

Federer and Nadal have met 39 times in their careers but just three times at Wimbledon.

The Swiss star won their first two encounters in the 2006 and 2007 finals before Nadal famously triumphed in 2008 in a five-set epic which is widely regarded as the greatest Slam final ever played.

Federer said he was unaware that he had become the first player ever to win 100 matches at the same Slam.

“A fan told me congratulations on your hundredth win and I thought, oh yes, you’re right!”

Nishikori, bidding to become the first Japanese man to reach the semi-finals since Jiro Satoh in 1933, broke Federer in the first game on Centre Court.

It was enough for the 29-year-old to pocket the first set.

However, 20-time Grand Slam title winner Federer roared back, levelling the quarter-final with breaks in the second and sixth games of a 22-minute second set.

It was more of the same in the third as Federer found his range with a break for 4-3 before taking the set on a fourth set point.

Teenager allegedly hacks into bank account, steals N4m

A teenager, Nonso was on Wednesday brought before an Igbosere Magistrates’ Court in Lagos for allegedly hacking into a Wema Bank account and stealing N4 million.

Nonso, 19, is standing trial with one Emeka, 36, on two counts of conspiracy and stealing.

The defendants, whose residential addresses were not given, however, pleaded not guilty before Magistrate A.O. Alogba.

The Prosecutor, Insp. Ingobo Emby told the court that the duo committed the offences sometime in January at Wema Bank Plc Headquarters, located at 54, Marina St., Lagos Island.

Emby alleged that the defendants hacked into a Wema Bank account, fraudulently transferred four million Naira into various accounts. The allegedly withdrew the money and shared it.

He said that the offences contravened Sections 287 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State.

The magistrate granted them bail in the sum of N400, 000 each with two sureties each in like sum who must have N500,000 in their bank accounts.

He adjourned the case until July 18 for trial.

(NAN)

2023: Tinubu disowns supporters group, fails to address rumour of presidential ambition

All Progressives Congress stalwart, Bola Tinubu, has distanced himself from a group promoting his purported 2023 Presidential ambition.

He, however, failed to state if he was nursing any presidential ambition or not.

In a statement by his Media Office, the former Lagos State governor said, “We have seen pictures of face caps, T-shirts, shirts and even leaflets with Bola Tinubu 2023 embossed on them purportedly by a faceless group which christened itself ‘Asiwaju Reloaded Ambassadors’ Nigeria’. Neither the group nor its souvenirs are known to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

“We hereby, through this medium, categorically deny any knowledge of the group and dissociate Asiwaju Tinubu from the group’s unsolicited and unwarranted materials.”

The idea of Tinubu’s Presidential ambition was propagated by former Senate President Bukola Saraki who claimed last year that the former governor was supporting President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election with the hope that Buhari would, in turn, support him in 2023.

NJC recommends Tanko Muhammad for appointment as substantive CJN

The National Judicial Council has said that it has recommended to President Muhammadu Buhari the appointment of Justice Tanko Muhammad as the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria.

The NJC said this in a statement by its Director, Information, Mr. Soji Oye, on Wednesday.

Justice Muhammad was sworn in as the Acting CJN on January 25, immediately after the then CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen was suspended by Buhari.

The President in April requested and obtained the NJC’s consent to extend Muhammad’s acting tenure by the constitutionally-allowed three months.

The extended three months period was due to lapse on July 25.

Oye said the NJC took the decision to recommend Muhammad for appointment as the substantive CJN at the council’s meeting on Wednesday.

The statement added that a member of the council, Justice Umaru Abdullahi, who is a former President of the Court of Appeal, presided over the session of the NJC’s meeting when the recommendation of its Interview Committee that screened two candidates presented by the Federal Judicial Service Commission to it for appointment as CJN was considered and approved.

It added that the Acting CJN, Justice Muhammad, who doubles as the Acting Chairman of the NJC, presided over the plenary of the council when eight successful candidates were recommended to the governors of their states for appointment as Chief Judges and Grand Kadis for the states.

The states are, Sokoto, Lagos, Anambra, Ebonyi, Niger, Taraba, Kano, and Jigawa.

The statement read, in part, “The National Judicial Council rose today from an emergency meeting to recommend to President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, the appointment of Hon. Dr. Justice I. T. Muhammad, CFR, as the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria.

“The meeting which was initially presided over by Hon. Mr. Justice Umaru Abdullahi, CON, considered and approved the recommendation of its Interview Committee that screened the two candidates presented by the Federal Judicial Service Commission to it for appointment as Chief Justice of Nigeria.

“Subsequently, the plenary of the Meeting presided over by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Dr. Justice I. T. Muhammad, CFR, recommended to the Governors of Sokoto, Lagos, Anambra, Ebonyi, Niger, Taraba, Kano, and Jigawa States, eight (8) successful candidates for appointment as Chief Judges and Grand Kadis for the states.”

“The successful candidates are, Justice Muhammad S. Sifawa, recommended as the Chief Judge of the High Court of the State; the Acting Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Kazeem Alogba, recommended as the Chief Judge of Lagos State; Justice Ijem Onwuamaegbu, as Chief Judge of Anambra State; and Justice Nwaigwe A. Anselm as Chief Judge of Ebonyi State.

“The rest are Justice Aliyu M. Mayaki, recommended as Chief Judge of Niger State,

“Justice Filibus B. Andetur, recommended as Chief Judge of Taraba State; Kadi Tijjani Yusuf Yakasai, recommended as the Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal, Kano State; and Kadi Isa Jibrin Gantsa, recommended as the Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal, Jigawa State.”

The NJC’s statement noted that the newly appointed heads of court “will be sworn in after the approval of the President and their respective State Governors and confirmation by the Senate and State Houses of Assembly as the case may be.”

According to the statement, the NJC also acknowledged the notice of retirements of Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Chief Judges of Gombe, Edo, Niger, and Ebonyi states, the Acting Chief Judge of Kebbi States as well as those of nine other judicial officers from the Federal High Court, High Courts of Gombe, Delta, Edo, Imo, Benue and Katsina states.