Monday, 24 July 2017
Business and Economy

Business and Economy (654)

After 52 goals in 83 matches, two EPL titles, one EFL Cup and plenty of memorable moments, it seems that Diego Costa’s time at Chelsea has come to an end. The enigmatic Brazilian-born Spaniard has revealed that Antonio Conte, Chelsea’s Italian manager, sent him a text message to tell him his time with the English champions was up. A lot has been said about how better the parting of ways could have been handled, but at the end of the day, the inevitability of the breakup had been there all along.

As Costa’s legend is being consigned to the annals of the Pensioners’ history, another man who left Stamford Bridge as a boy some time ago is ready to come back and fulfil all the promise he showed at a young age at the London club. That man is Romelu Lukaku. See five reasons Chelsea fans should be excited about the big, burly Belgian’s return!

1. Romelu Lukaku has never been short of confidence in his own ability, he’s been banging in goals for fun at the top level since the tender age of sixteen. He was the top scorer in the Belgian league in his first full season as a pro with Anderlecht as they won the title in 2009/10 and he also scored four times in Champions League qualifying. He had already scored 41 goals in 98 games for Anderlecht as an 18-year-old before Chelsea came calling in 2011.

2. The Belgian has fully matured in the EPL and is ready to take the next step and lead the Chelsea attack six years after he was brought in as a teenager. After spending two seasons on loan to West Brom and Everton and scoring a total of 33 league goals in 66 games for both teams, Everton forked out a club record £28m to have him permanently on their books and he duly delivered as he became the Toffees top scorer in the Premier League era and twice broke the record for goals scored by an Everton player in a Premier League season. Chelsea know they will be getting a proven goal scorer in the league with his capture.

3. Romelu Lukaku has outscored Diego Costa in the last two seasons and very importantly converted a greater proportion of his clear-cut chances and created opportunities for his team-mates more frequently. However, Antonio Conte is a stickler to hard work and likes to press teams from the front, if he wants to continue in that form with Lukaku, the Belgian will have to change his game as stats and optics have shown that he isn’t that kind of striker. Over 60 forwards made an interception last season and Lukaku wasn’t one of them and he also made only nine tackles last season. In fact, Romelu Lukaku has managed just one interception and 33 tackles over the past three years in the league, so Chelsea fans should not expect to see the big Belgian harrying opposition defenders.

4. He also isn’t the kind of striker that will run down the channels as his running numbers do not make for impressive reading. Among all the strikers to have played over a thousand minutes in the league last season, his average of 8.84km distance covered per game places him bottom of the list, while his 44.77 sprints per match put him forty-second out of forty-eight forwards. What you can expect from him is great positional play and awareness inside the box, so once the chances are created and presented to him, he is most certain to finish them off. 

5. One of the most important things that Lukaku will be bringing to Chelsea when he joins them will not be able to be measured and that is a chip on his shoulder. The big Belgian has a burning desire to be a success at the London club and has said in the past that he wants to be a ‘legend at Chelsea’ which was one of the reasons he chose to leave and prove himself elsewhere, instead of languishing in the reserves or sitting on the bench at Stamford Bridge and that belief in himself has paid off as Chelsea are about to break the bank to get him back. Returning to the club will be a homecoming and he would surely want to have a huge party in London by painting the city with goals.

Posted On Friday, 16 June 2017 00:27 Written by
  • Folarin, who is one of Folorunsho Alakija's four sons, married Iranian beauty Nazanin Jafarian Ghaissarifa
  • Folorunsho Alakija, 66, is one of the richest black woman in the world with estimated fortune of $2.1 billion
  • Event at Blenheim Palace had one million roses, surprise performance from Robin Thicke and A-list guestlist
  • Father-of-one is an entrepreneur, investor and cinematographer who lost his first wife to cancer
  • Folarin's new wife studied Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Manchester

His mother is the world's richest black woman so it's little surprise that Folarin Alakija's wedding was a lavish, no-expense spared, fairytale affair.

Folarin, who is one of 66-year-old oil tycoon Folorunsho Alakija's four sons, married Iranian beauty Nazanin Jafarian Ghaissarifar in an extravagant bash at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire over the weekend, which is estimated to have cost around £5m.

The father-of-one, who is in his late 30s and lost his first wife to cancer, tied the knot to his stunning wife in front of friends, family and celebrities, including Victoria's Secret Angel, Shanina Shaik.

While Folarin makes his money as an entrepreneur, investor and cinematographer, it's his mother who has an estimated fortune of $2.1 billion. Forbes rank her as the 14th richest person in Africa but the richest woman in the country. She is number 80 on its global Power Women list and overtook Oprah Winfrey as the richest woman of African descent in the world in 2014.

It is thought the family flew hundreds of close friends and family members over from Nigeria, who were no doubt put up in the lavish hotel for the weekend.

The Woodstock venue, which is the ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill, was kitted out with one million white roses, a lavish cake decorated with hundreds of ornate white roses and even hosted pop star Robin Thicke at an estimated cost of £150,000.

Wedding planners believe the venue hire was exclusively hired at a cost of £150,000 with the bespoke marquee and bespoke marble floor with their initials etched in gold costing around £200,000 on top.

Folarin Alakija, who is the son of Folorunsho Alakija, the richest black woman in the world, married Iranian beauty Nazanin Jafarian Ghaissarifar in a lavish bash at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire over the weekend

Folarin Alakija, who is the son of Folorunsho Alakija, the richest black woman in the world, married Iranian beauty Nazanin Jafarian Ghaissarifar in a lavish bash at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire over the weekend

Folarin's new wife studied Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Manchester, has a graduate Diploma in Law and has also worked as a model and marketing consultant. The happy newlyweds are pictured walking down the aisle after tying the knot

Folarin's new wife studied Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Manchester, has a graduate Diploma in Law and has also worked as a model and marketing consultant. The happy newlyweds are pictured walking down the aisle after tying the knot

According to the venue's website, the cost of hiring the whole venue is on application but hiring just the palace and state rooms costs £33,000.

Searcys are the approved caterer for the Orangery at Blenheim palace and three course meals start at £52 per head - excluding alcohol - but it's believed they had a much more expensive bespoke package with catering company, rhubarb.

The breathtaking flowers were the work of Jeff Leatham, who is known for his elaborate decorating of the Kardashian's homes.

Bringing over 30 staff members to the UK for the ceremony, Jeff adorned every inch of the venue with copious amounts of roses and white orchids.

Guests were treated to a lavish five-course menu - printed on a golden menu card

Guests were treated to a lavish five-course menu - printed on a golden menu card

Jeff, who can command up to £250,000 for flowers, has worked for Madonna, Oprah and Tina Turner. He was also the man behind the flowers at Eva Longoria and Tony Parker’s wedding.

Guests were also treated to a surprise performance from Blurred Lines singer Robin Thicke, who reportedly costs around £150,000 to hire and would have been flown over from the US, as well as a magnificent firework display in the hotel grounds later in the evening.

Folarin's new wife, who once dated Rob Kardashian, studied Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Manchester, has a graduate Diploma in Law and has also worked as a model and marketing consultant.

The stunning brunette is the daughter of businessman Mr. Khosro and Mrs Nooshin Ghaissarifar, who are from Iran. It is believed that Naz, as she is known among her circle, was born in Iran and lived in London in her youth before moving to Manchester to study.

She has also spent time in Los Angeles, where much of her modelling work was based, and regularly mingled with celebrities, including the Kardashians.

Folarin, who studied Geography at Imperial College, London, was previously married to a lady named Chena, with whom he had a daughter. She tragically lost her life to cancer six years ago. It is believed that Folarin met Naz through friends in London.

The stunning bride, who has worked as a model, changed outfits for the reception and the pair were seen enjoying their first dance as man and wife in the lavish surroundings 

The stunning bride, who has worked as a model, changed outfits for the reception and the pair were seen enjoying their first dance as man and wife in the lavish surroundings.

The new Mrs Alakija has previously featured in a campaign for Monkee Jeans, an organic denim brand, and dated Rob Kardashian in 2013.

She stunned in a traditional strapless white gown with lace embellishment as she was walked down the aisle by her father. She accessorised her look with a dazzling diamond necklace and white Manolo Blahniks.

She later changed into a racier, floor length white gown with sheer panelling. Beaming before her friends and family, she let her hair down as she danced the night away with her new husband and glamorous wedding guests.

The pair became engaged last year and had a traditional Nigerian wedding in Lagos in November.

A FAIRYTALE ROMANCE: HOW FOLARIN AND NAZANIN MET

Folarin, who studied Geography at Imperial College, London, was previously married to a lady named Chena, with whom he had a daughter. She tragically lost her life to cancer six years ago.

The new Mrs Alakija dated Rob Kardashian in 2013 and it was reported at the time that the Kardashian women 'loved her'.

The stunning brunette is the daughter of businessman Mr. Khosro and Mrs Nooshin Ghaissarifar, who are from Iran. It is believed that Naz, as she is known among her circle, lived in London in her youth and moved to Manchester to study.

Naz studied Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Manchester, has a graduate Diploma in Law and has also worked as a model and marketing consultant.

She has also spent time in Los Angeles, where much of her modelling work was based, and regularly mingled with celebrities, including the Kardashians.

It is believed that Folarin met Naz through friends in London. The pair became engaged last year and had a traditional Nigerian wedding in Lagos in November.

 The event was planned by Sade Awe of The Bridal Circle. Sade’s impeccable taste and selective eye for the exquisite make her a trusted resource for an elite clientele

 The event was planned by Sade Awe of The Bridal Circle. Sade’s impeccable taste and selective eye for the exquisite make her a trusted resource for an elite clientele

The bride was seen walking down the aisle on the arm of her father and she donned some glittering jewels for the occasion

She later let her hair down on the dancefloor with her new husband, who proposed last October

The bride was seen walking down the aisle on the arm of her father and she donned some glittering jewels for the occasion. She later let her hair down on the dancefloor with her new husband, who proposed last October

Elaine Coles was the celebrant who performed the ceremony. Elaine, of UK Ceremonies, told MailOnline: 'It was a pleasure to hand write a bespoke and personalised ceremony for the couple'

Elaine Coles was the celebrant who performed the ceremony. Elaine, of UK Ceremonies, told MailOnline: 'It was a pleasure to hand write a bespoke and personalised ceremony for the couple'

The cake, which was adorned with hundreds of roses and ornate doves, was created by Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium. Elizabeth's clients include British, European and Middle Eastern Royalty, celebrities and high net worth individuals.

With eight tiers on their cake, topped with elaborate iced flowers and doves, it is estimated that their cake could have cost up to £10,000.

SOME OF THE MOST EXPENSIVE ELEMENTS OF THE WEDDING

Wedding venue: £150,000

Marble floor and marquee: £200,000

Flowers: £200,000

Robin Thicke: £150,000

Cake: Up to £10,000

(Prices are all estimates)

Elizabeth is also the only three times winner of The Great Cake Bake, a show which featured the best wedding cake makers in the country.

The event was planned by Sade Awe of The Bridal Circle. Sade’s impeccable taste and selective eye for the exquisite make her a trusted resource for an elite clientele and luxury partners alike so it was little surprise she was called upon.

Other famous faces at the event included Starboy Records artist Mr Eazi and Nigerian fashion blogger Temi Otedola, who were recently revealed to be dating.

Hamish Shepard of Bridebook.co.uk, said: 'The preparations and construction of their custom clear marquee, including a bespoke marble floor with their gold initials, would have required up to a week of exclusive hire of the Palace, with the cost of the marquee on top."

'Venue hire would likely be up to £150,000 with the bespoke marquee with marble floor and production around £200,000 on top.

'The spectacular endless flowers by Jeff Leatham are likely to have cost at least £200,000. With food and drink, Robin Thicke (at £150,000) and all the other items for the big day, including the dress, on top, the wedding will have no doubt cost more than £1million and potentially several million more.'

Guest Manny Kess uploaded this snap with the happy couple that was captioned: 'The most amazing wedding I will ever attend outside of my own (one day). Beyond grateful to be able to celebrate these 2 wonderful beings tying the knot'

Guest Manny Kess uploaded this snap with the happy couple that was captioned: 'The most amazing wedding I will ever attend outside of my own (one day). Beyond grateful to be able to celebrate these 2 wonderful beings tying the knot'

The lavish bash was attending by the most glamorous society guests and their Nigerian friends and family who flew over
The floor of Blenheim Palace was engraved with the couple's initials

The lavish bash was attending by the most glamorous society guests and their Nigerian friends and family who flew over. The floor of Blenheim Palace was engraved with the couple's initials

The cake, which was adorned with hundreds of roses, was created by Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium; prices start at £300 per tier

The cake, which was adorned with hundreds of roses, was created by Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium; prices start at £300 per tier

Folarin is the son of Folorunsho Alakija's, pictured, left, with her husband
Folarin is the son of Folorunsho Alakija's, pictured, left, with her husband. In 2014, she knocked Oprah Winfrey off her post as the richest woman of African descent in the world.
In 2014, she knocked Oprah Winfrey off her post as the richest woman of African descent in the world
 

Blenheim Palace, which is the ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill, was kitted out with one million white roses

THE WOMAN WHO OUSTED OPRAH WINFREY FROM THE TOP SPOT AS THE RICHEST BLACK WOMAN IN THE WORLD

Nigerian oil tycoon Folorunsho Alakija, 66, is the richest black woman in the world with an estimated fortune of $2.1 billion.

Nigerian oil tycoon Folorunsho Alakija, 66, is the richest black woman in the world with an estimated fortune of $2.1 billion

Nigerian oil tycoon Folorunsho Alakija, 66, is the richest black woman in the world with an estimated fortune of $2.1 billion

Starting her career as a secretary in a bank in the mid 1970s, Alakija, 62, then studied fashion in London and returned to Nigeria to start a label, Supreme Stitches. But her biggest break came in oil.

In 1993, her company, Famfa Oil, was awarded an oil prospecting license, which later became OML 127, one of the country's most prolific oil blocks, by then-president Ibrahim Babangida.

The company owned a 60 per cent stake in the block until 2000 when the Nigerian government unconstitutionally acquired a 50 per cent interest without duly compensating Alakija or Famda Oil.

In May 2012, Alakija, a married mother-of-four, challenged the acquisition and the Nigerian Supreme Court reinstated the 50 per cent stake to her company.

She also has a charity called the Rose of Sharon foundation that helps widows and orphans by empowering them through scholarships and business grants.

In 2014, she knocked Oprah Winfrey off her post as the richest woman of African descent in the world.

Forbes rank her as the 14th richest woman in Africa and she is number 80 on its Power Women list.

Glamorous guests donned their gladrags for the occasion

The lucky men and women who attended the nuptials posted images on their social media from inside the lavish bash

Glamorous guests donned their gladrags for the occasion. The lucky men and women who attended the nuptials posted images on their social media from inside the lavish bash

His model wife has featured in a campaign for Monkee Jeans, an organic denim brand, and dated Rob Kardashian in 2013

His model wife has featured in a campaign for Monkee Jeans, an organic denim brand, and dated Rob Kardashian in 2013

Over the weekend, Australian model Shanina Shaik (pictured) attended the wedding of Nigerian billionaire Folorunsho Alakija's son at Blenheim Palace
 
The cake, right, was adorned with doves and thousands of handcrafted roses

Over the weekend, Australian model Shanina Shaik (pictured) attended the wedding of Nigerian billionaire Folorunsho Alakija's son at Blenheim Palace. The cake, right, was adorned with doves and thousands of handcrafted roses

THE LAVISH VENUE: INSIDE BLENHEIM PALACE

Located in Oxfordshire, the historic Blenheim Palace has played host to some of the biggest films in Hollywood over the years.

Regularly used as a film location the grand country house, which is the principal residence of the Duke of Marlborough, has been seen in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Rogue Nation, Cinderella and the upcoming Transformers: Revenge of the Knight.

It even doubled up as Palazzo Cadenza in Rome for the latest James Bond film SPECTRE.

Available to hire for the big day prices start from £4,800 to hire the Orangery and you can hire the Marlborough Room for the ceremony at £960 as well as six different locations to host a reception.

Standing in all its Baroque splendour near the pretty village of Woodstock, just a few miles from Oxford, it is ideally placed for weekend visitors and attracts them in high numbers with its fascinating history and Churchill connections.

Although better known for its links to Winston Churchill, Blenheim has an interesting history of its own and culture-vultures will love the collection of tapestries, paintings and works of art throughout the palace.

Built as a gift for the First Duke of Marlborough by Queen Anne following his triumph in the Battle of Blenheim in 1704 the palace definitely shows the Queen’s appreciation of his efforts.

Available to hire for the big day prices start from £4,800 to hire the Orangery and you can hire the Marlborough Room for the ceremony at £960 as well as six different locations to host a reception

Available to hire for the big day prices start from £4,800 to hire the Orangery and you can hire the Marlborough Room for the ceremony at £960 as well as six different locations to host a reception

The couple tied the knot in a traditional affair at the Grand Ballroom of Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, in November.

The star-studded guestlist included the likes of Aisha Buhari, wife of the president, Gimbiya Yakubu Dogara, wife of the Speaker, Federal House of Representatives, and Aliko Dangote, deputy Governor.

Known for his floral arrangements and elaborate decorating of the Kardashian's homes, it was no surprise that Jeff Leatham was in charge of the flowers

Known for his floral arrangements and elaborate decorating of the Kardashian's homes, it was no surprise that Jeff Leatham was in charge of the flowers

Other famous faces at the event included Starboy Records artist Mr Eazi and Nigerian fashion blogger Temi Otedola, who were recently revealed to be dating

Other famous faces at the event included Starboy Records artist Mr Eazi and Nigerian fashion blogger Temi Otedola, who were recently revealed to be dating

Jeff flew 30 staff members to the UK for the ceremony and he was not only working with copious amounts of roses but white orchids as well

He made bouquets for the bridal party, the tables and the fireplaces

Jeff flew 30 staff members to the UK for the ceremony and he was not only working with copious amounts of roses but white orchids as well. He made bouquets for the bridal party, the tables and the fireplaces

Glamorous guests included models, fashion designers and famous bloggers, who all donned their best outfits for the occasion 

Glamorous guests included models, fashion designers and famous bloggers, who all donned their best outfits for the occasion

Guests included actress Rio Fredrika and fashion designer Becka Indigo

Dapper male models, entrepreneurs and politicians were also in attendance

Guests included actress Rio Fredrika and fashion designer Becka Indigo, left, and dapper male models, entrepreneurs and politicians

Guests took to social media to share snaps from inside the event, including a surprise performance from Robin Thicke Guests took to social media to share snaps from inside the event, including a surprise performance from Robin Thicke

The bar was stocked to the brim with expensive wines, with rows and rows of glasses lined up for guests to help themselves to

The invitations were embossed with the couple's initials in the same style as the gold initials etched onto the marble floor

The bar was stocked to the brim with expensive wines, with rows and rows of glasses lined up for guests to help themselves to. The invitations were embossed with the couple's initials in the same style as the gold initials etched onto the marble floor

Guests took to social media to upload snaps of the wedding's beautifully ornate details

They included blush pink gift bags embossed with white flowers, as well as matching invites and menu cards

Guests took to social media to upload snaps of the wedding's beautifully ornate details. They included blush pink gift bags embossed with white flowers, as well as matching invites and menu cards

The Kardashian's most trusted florist was tasked with adorning the venue with beautiful roses and orchids

The Kardashian's most trusted florist was tasked with adorning the venue with beautiful roses and orchids

There was also an impressive firework display in the hotel's stunning grounds after the event

The stunning flowers not only adorned the main hall but also the entire outdoor entrance

There was also an impressive firework display in the hotel's stunning grounds after the event. The stunning flowers not only adorned the main hall but also the entire outdoor entrance

Posted On Thursday, 15 June 2017 04:30 Written by

*Ag. President meets North’s leaders

*Okorocha slams Biafra agitators

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday read the riot act to purveyors of hate speeches, saying they won’t be allowed to destabilise the country.

The Federal Government, he said, would ensure the country’s unity, adding that nobody would be allowed to get away with seditious speeches.

“As a government, we are determined to ensure the unity of the country along the lines of our constitution and I want to say that hate and divisive speeches or divisive behaviour where it is illegal will be met with the full force of the law,” the Acting President said at a meeting with some elders from the North at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Some members of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), among other groups, were at the meeting.

It was the first in the series of meetings with leaders from the six geo-political zones over the brewing discontent between the North and the Southeast.

Last week, the Coalition of Northern Youths (CNY) gave easterners in the North 90 days to quit.

The ultimatum followed the May 30 sit-at-home observed by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the east to mark the 50th anniversary of Biafra.

Also yesterday, Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha described as nonsensical agitations for Biafra.

Osinbajo  said those pushing for disintegration by ordering other Nigerians in their domains to quit would face the law.

The government, he said, would not fold its arms and allow peace and order to be disrupted in any part of the country.

The Acting President said: “Every form of violence, every form of hate speech, any stone that is thrown in the market place will hit targets that are going to be deadly. So I need us to be fully conscious of that and the Nigerian people must be made to be fully conscious of that so that we do not create a crisis that is not intended.

“As part of living together I know that misunderstandings and frustrations will always arise and people will always want to get the best part of the deal but we must be careful to recognise that we can only begin to talk about any part of anything if we are together in peace.

“These days, wars do not end and I am sure that those who have seen or experienced war in any shape or form will not wish it on their worst enemies.

“This is not a time to retreat behind ethnic lines, moments like this are not for isolating ourselves, I want to urge all of us here and the entire Nigerian populace to come together and work together.”

He added: “And I want to ensure that there is no doubt at all that it is the resolve of the government that none will be allowed to get away with making speeches that can cause sedition or that can cause violence especially because when we make these kinds of pronouncement and do things that can cause violence or destruction of lives and property we are no longer in control. Those who make those speeches are no longer in control.

So, I want to emphasise that government will take very seriously any attempts to cause violence or disrupt the peace of this country. And that is very important because you cannot control violence once it begins.”

At the meeting were ACF leader Ibrahim Coomassie, NEF leader Prof Ango Abdullahi, who gave his backing to the Arewa youths’ threat,   former Sokoto State Governor  Aliyu Wamakko, former Plateau State Deputy Governor Pauline Tallen,  Second Republic Minister and Benue State elder  Dr. Paul Unongo, Leadership publisher Sam Ndah-Isaiah, Liberty Radio/Television Chairman Tijani Ramalan and Editor-in-Chief of Daily Trust Dan Ali, among others.

The acting President was supported by the Senate President Bukola Saraki, House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara and Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olanishakin.

Today, Osinbajo will meet with leaders from the southeast; the region’s traditional rulers will take their turn on Friday. On Sunday, the acting president will meet with traditional rulers from the North.

Posted On Tuesday, 13 June 2017 23:42 Written by

Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday signed the 2017 appropriation bill of N7.44 trillion into law.

He described the event as “an important milestone’’ in President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

The budget christened; “Budget of Economic Recovery and Growth’’ has projected revenue of N5.08 trillion with deficit of N2.36 trillion.

A total of N2.98 trillion was earmarked for recurrent non-debt expenditure, while N2.17 trillion was earmarked for contribution to the development fund for capital expenditure exclusive of capital expenditure in statutory transfers.

A total of N434.41 billion was earmarked for statutory transfers; N1.84 trillion for debt service and N177.46 billion for sinking fund for maturing bonds.

The acting president said the appropriation act was an important milestone in the administration’s economic recovery and growth plan.

He thanked the Senate President and Speaker, House of Representatives and the entire leadership of the National Assembly for completing the work on record time.

He said that the process of passing the 2017 appropriation bill in the National Assembly was smoother than that of 2016, as there were no allegations of errors or mistakes.

He added that there was improvement in the quality of interpretation and presentation.

Osinbajo also commended the Ministry of Budget and Planning on the “remarkable improvement over a single budget cycle.’’

He lauded the collaborative spirit between Ministries, Departments and Agencies and the various committees of the National Assembly and their leadership during the budget defence process.

He noted that there were few reported cases of acrimony or hostile wrangling during the budget defence process.

He said that reports indicated that the sessions were done in a friendly atmosphere, an indication that the nation’s democracy was maturing well.

The acting president said that the final presentation and signing of the budget was delayed due to disagreements between the executive and the NASS on changes made in the proposal.

According to him, the executive took the view that the changes fundamentally affected some of its priority programmes and would make implementation extremely difficult and in some cases impossible.

He said that the leadership of NASS “adopted a commendably patriotic and statesmanlike approach on engagement in resolving these critical issues.’’

Osinbajo said that the leadership of NASS had promised to re-instate budgetary allocations for all the important executive projects.

He listed the projects to include the railway standard gauge project, Mambilla power project, the second Niger Bridge and the Lagos-Ibadan expressway among others.

Osinbajo said the reinstatement would be through an application for virement by the executive which NASS had agreed to expeditiously consider.

“It is as a result of that understanding and the outcome of our detailed engagements that we are able to sign the 2017 appropriation bill into law.

“I am also pleased to mention that in our discussion with the NASS we have jointly resolved to return to a predictable January to December fiscal year.

“It is a particularly important development because this accords with the financial year of most private sector companies, underscoring the crucial relationship between government and the private sector,’’ he said.

Accordingly, Osinbajo said that the 2018 budget will be submitted in by October 2017 while the leadership of NASS has committed to work towards passing it by before the end of the year.

The appropriation bill was submitted to the acting president on May 17, after it was passed by the National Assembly.

Posted On Tuesday, 13 June 2017 00:20 Written by

Less than one week after armed men killed a personnel of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), and in the process abducted his principal, who is a Chinese national, armed men suspected to be Fulani on Friday evening reportedly killed 39-year-old Mrs. Magdalene Tunar in Uluoke, near Auchi in Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo on her way from farm alongside her husband and two children.
  
Narrating the incident, her husband, Wilson Tunar, said the two armed men, he suspected to be Fulani herdsmen had accosted them on their way from farm.He said: “I usually park my car somewhere along the farm route because of the terrain. So, we were moving towards where I parked, when two men suddenly came out of the bush and moved towards us with gun pointing at us.
 
“On sighting them, my wife inquired to know what was happening and the next thing I heard was the sound of gun. They shot her on the stomach.“When she fell, they pointed the gun at my children, but I shielded them by pushing them behind me.

 “It was a miracle, when I heard the click of the trigger, but nothing happened. I grabbed a wood close by and fought them with it and I got injured on the neck by a knife from one of them. They, however, fled when I overpowered them.
  
“I rushed my wife, who was still alive, to Iyamoh Health Centre, but we were advised to go to Faith Foundation hospital close by, as they were incapable of taking care of her.
 
“Again at Faith, we were referred to Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH). It was on our way there that she died.”Tunar said activities of herdsmen have become increasingly problematic in the area and appealed to security agencies to help protect lives and properties of people in the area.

“Three persons were abducted in the same area, same Friday, by these people. Though two cars were snatched in the process, but the vehicles have been recovered, while the persons were yet to be found.”
  

As at filing this report, The Guardian could not get confirmation from police on the abduction, as the Police Public Relations officer, Moses Nkonbe, said he was yet to get details from the area, where the incident happened.

Posted On Sunday, 11 June 2017 14:58 Written by

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday in an FCT High Court, Maitama, opened its case against Dr Fortune Fiberesima, former President Goodluck Jonathan’s chief physician.

Fiberesima was alleged to have abused his position as the chief physician to the former president in 2012 in awarding contracts valued at N258.9 million and N36.9 million to companies where he had interests.

NAN reports that he was arraigned on a six- count charge bordering on abuse of office by influencing the award of contracts to companies where he had interest.

EFCC said the offences were contrary and punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

The contracts are reclamation of land at the State House Medical Centre and supply of medical consumables.

He was granted bail on April 25 on the same condition by EFCC administrative bail, of two directors in government service with landed property in Abuja.

In addition, he was ordered to deposit to the court registrar his international passport.
At the resumed sitting, EFCC brought two witnesses out of nine billed to testify in the matter

The first witness, Mr Aminu Abubakar, retired director, Maintenance, State House, was led in evidence by Hussaina Gambo (Mrs) EFCC counsel.

He told the court that the contract for the reclamation was awarded in February . 2013 to a company named TE and C Ltd at N358.5 million to be completed within 16 weeks.

Abubakar said that at the completion of the contract, certificate of practical completion was issued to the contractor.

The witness also told the court that he was invited to EFCC and DSS in 2015 and 2016 respectively to answer questions in relation to the project.

When cross- examined by Mr Granville Alibo (SAN) counsel for the defendant, the witness said that the defendant was never a member of the Tenders Board.

“Even in the award of contract, the defendant never sat as a member of Tenders Board which reports to the Permanent Secretary of the State House,’’ the witness said.

He also told the court that he did not know if the payment of the contract was completed but that the process for payment was completed before he left service.

Another witness, Rukiyat Odekunle, told the court that the contract to supply medical consumables was awarded to one Mr Ibomaedomi and Global Services Ltd at N36 million.

Odekunle said she was the director of procurement at the State House when the contract was awarded.

When cross examined by Alibo, she also said that the defendant was never a member of the Tenders Board, adding that the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) did not object to the contract.

The judge, Justice Peter Affen, adjourned the matter until July 13 for continuation of hearing.

 
 
Posted On Friday, 09 June 2017 00:17 Written by

The Federal Government last night warned Nigerians against making statements capable of undermining the country’s peace and security.

The warning came after the ultimatum issued by some  youth groups in the North for the Igbo to leave by October or face a mass action.

They also informed northerners living in the East to return home.

The signatories to the declaration by the group are: Nastura Ashir Sharif of Arewa Citizens Action For Change; Shettima Yerima of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum; Aminu Adam of Arewa Youth Development Foundation; Alfred Solomon of Arewa Students Forum; Abdul-Azeez Suleiman of Northern Emancipation Network; Joshua Viashman of Northern Youth Vanguard; Mohammad A.  Mohammad of Northern Youth Stakeholders Forum; Mohammed Tasiu Pantami of North East Assembly and Nathaniel Ajegena Adigizi of North Central People’s Front.

The groups claimed that they were incensed by the activities of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) which have repeatedly called for a break-up of the country without being cautioned by the elders from the region.

The groups said they were further angered by the May 30 shut down of the South East by the separatist group to mark the 50th anniversary of the Biafra declaration.

But general condemnation yesterday greeted the Arewa groups’ action.

Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed in a statement said Nigerians were “free to reside in any part of  the country, as the government has the capacity to maintain law and order.

“He said there was no reason for any Nigerian to feel unsafe anywhere in the country, warning that the government would not tolerate any threat to the unity, peace and security of the country under any guise.

”There is zero tolerance for actions and speeches capable of inciting one part of the country against another, and the security agencies are fully on the ground to deal decisively with any individual or group that engages in incendiary activities.”

Mohammed advised Nigerians, irrespective of where they reside, to go about their daily activities without fear.

Earlier at a briefing after the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the minister said: “Nigeria is not new to one group or another issuing such threats.

“The issue of one or two groups issuing statements that is capable of destabilising the polity and then being responded to by another group, I think did not just start today or did not start yesterday.

“What I want to assure you is that security organizations are very very much on top of this matter.”

On whether the ultimatum given by the groups was discussed at the FEC, he said: “No.”

Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai ordered the arrest of the youth groups leaders who issued the ultimatum.

El-Rufai, who described the northern youths leaders and their action as irresponsible, said his government would not allow Kaduna State to be used to threaten the safety and property of its citizens of Igbo extraction.

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) also called for caution against unguarded statements capable of breaching the peace and unity of Nigeria.

The governor, who spoke through his media aide Samuel Aruwan, said Kaduna State Government believed in and would uphold the right of every Nigerian to live safely and develop his/her full potentials within its territory.

He said: “The Kaduna State Government takes exception to the fact that the ‘northern youths’ did their irresponsible press conference in Kaduna. This government has been consistent in taking action to punish hate speech and incitement. People who may feel unhappy about irresponsible comments or actions that have taken place in other states must know that two wrongs cannot make a right, and they cannot use our state to do or say things that threaten the peace.

“KDSG has therefore ordered the arrest, investigation and prosecution of the signatories to the statement.

“Even people who may feel unhappy about irresponsible comments or actions that have taken place in other states must know that two wrongs cannot make a right.

“Reckless disregard for the rights of other citizens drips through the press statement by these “northern youths” who have chosen to use the discourse around restructuring to promote their own agenda of hate, division and incitement. This sort of opportunists cannot be allowed to distort debate, or turn it into a pretext for a barely-disguised agenda of displacement and dispossession of some citizens.

“We will not tolerate such irresponsible statements and conduct in our state. The statement issued by the “northern youths” violates the laws of Kaduna State. Therefore, the Kaduna State Government has directed that its Ministry of Justice should prepare charges and prosecute the signatories and anyone complicit in arranging this egregious assault on the rights of fellow citizens.

“Preparatory to prosecution, the police have been directed to immediately arrest, interrogate the signatories to the statement and investigate all the circumstances and persons that may be implicated in the matter.

“The Kaduna State Government urges all residents to ignore the threats from the “northern youths”. We are in contact with the leadership of the Igbo community in Kaduna, and we delighted to say that this community, like all our other communities, believes in the strength of the constitutional order to protect all citizens.”

The ACF’s statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Muhammad Ibrahim Biu,  said ” the ACF wishes to draw the attention of all concerned, to note, that our democratic system of government which is anchored on law guarantees free movement of all Nigerians to any part of the country and to also pursue their legitimate livelihood devoid of any hindrance or molestation by any group or individuals.

“Furthermore, the system allows settlement of all grievances through our elected representatives in both the National and States Assemblies and the Law courts. Any act to the contrary, is therefore, a breach of law and order that are not helpful.

“ACF appreciates the frustrations of the Northern Youth Groups with the activities of MASSOB and IPOB members, but would not encourage any act that is not in conformity with the law by any  group or individuals which will do no one any good.

“ACF, therefore, appeals for caution over unguarded utterances or statements that are capable of jeopardising the unity, peace and corporate existence of Nigeria.”

Posted On Thursday, 08 June 2017 10:11 Written by

South African’s National team have arrived Nigeria safely.

The Bafana Bafana landed in Lagos at the Muritala mohammed International airport at about 7;50 pm on Wednesday night.

The South Africans are in the country ahead of Saturday’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against the Super Eagles in Uyo.

The foreign team were received by the duo of Paul Bassey and Gideon Akinsola who are top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation(NFF)

They will then proceed to Uyo for the AFCON qualifier against the Super Eagles.

Twenty four Super Eagles players are already in Uyo sweating it out in training ahead of the weekend clash.

Posted On Thursday, 08 June 2017 01:29 Written by

• Players not interested in injury stories from Bafana camp

Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr is of no illusion that Saturday’s African Nations Cup qualifier against South Africa will be an easy task. The Franco-German, who pointed at the fact that the Bafana Bafana has not lost any of their matches in the last two years, posits that Saturday’s encounter may be a little difficult.

Speaking at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo after his team’s first training session yesterday, Rohr, however, assured that his team would live up to the bidding.

“The game will be difficult. It will be a big challenge to beat the South Africans. It will be difficult with the young players that we have. Our captain, Mikel Obi and our first choice goalkeeper are out of the match,” he said.

Also speaking on the game, Team Captain, Ogenyi Onazi said the Eagles were working hard to win the match, stressing that the memory of 2015 AFCON miss was still fresh in their mind.

“We expect to win the game. We know what happened here in Uyo during AFCON qualifiers 2015 with the South African team. It is not going to be a do or die affair but we are here to make up for the past,” he said.

Reflecting on the introduction of new players in the Eagles, Onazi said both the old and new have adjusted to the team’s pattern, as they are all professionals. Meanwhile, the players have said they are not distracted by the reported injury problems in the South African camp.

Super Eagles Media Officer, Toyin Ibitoye disclosed that the players, who could not make it to France, have gradually understood the game plan of the coach. He enjoined Nigerians to support and encourage the players, assuring that all hands were on deck to ensure the Eagles claimed the three points in Uyo.

“We are not concerned by any strategy South Africa will deploy for the game. Rohr has assured that he will assemble a formidable team for the game. We are not concerned by anything that happens in our opponents’ camp.

“The Eagles coach would be having a conference on Thursday to let Nigerians know of his plans for the game.” He revealed that by yesterday morning’s training only three players has not arrived, adding that the team had a full squad in the evening.

The match in Uyo is the first Group E match of AFCON 2019 qualifiers with the Eagles also expected to take on Libya and Seychelles.

Posted On Wednesday, 07 June 2017 11:35 Written by

South Africa’s economy contracted in the first quarter of this year, pushing the continent’s largest economy into its first recession since 2009, the official statistics agency reported Tuesday.

“The South African economy moved into recession with the reported decrease of 0.7 percent in GDP (gross domestic product) during the first quarter of 2017, following a 0.3 percent contraction in the fourth quarter of 2016,” said Stats SA.

The biggest contributor to the negative GDP growth were the trade, catering and accommodation industry, which shrank by 5.9 percent and accounted for -0.8 of a percentage point to GDP growth.

The manufacturing sector decreased by 3.7 percent as unemployment climbed to a record 27.7 percent, the highest joblessessness rate in 14 years.

Only the mining and agriculture sectors posted growth rates of 12.8 percent and 22.2 percent respectively in the first quarter.

South Africa’s economy has been experiencing weak growth in recent years.

In April it lost its investment grade when the world’s two major rating agencies Fitch and Standard & Poor’s downgraded its sovereign debt to junk status after President Jacob Zuma’s dramatic ministerial shake-up that saw respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan axed.

The two ratings firms cited political and economic instability as grounds for the downgrades.

Posted On Tuesday, 06 June 2017 19:05 Written by
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