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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has intercepted 9.30 kilograms of cociane worth over N2.7 billion at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) Abuja. The NDLEA spokesperson, Mr Femi Babafemi, in a statement on Thursday in Abuja, said a 32-year-old drug trafficker based in Liberia, Maduabuchi Chinedu, was arrested with the consignment. Babafemi said the…

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Scientists in South Africa said Thursday they had detected a new Covid-19 variant with multiple mutations, in an announcement that came after a recent rise in infection numbers. “Unfortunately we have detected a new variant which is a reason for concern in South Africa,” virologist Tulio de Oliveira told a hastily-called news conference.

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With the dire humanitarian situation in Tigray, Ethiopia, continuing to deteriorate, it is critical to establish a regular flow of humanitarian aid into the region, the Deputy Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General said on Wednesday.  NEW YORK, USA, November 25, 2021,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/-Yesterday, almost 40 trucks with humanitarian supplies, including food, left the Afar capital of Semera for Tigray – the first convoy to do so since 18 October.   Meanwhile, trucks containing fuel…

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Jessie J on Wednesday revealed that she suffered a miscarriage in an emotional Instagram post.  The 33-year-old singer shared a picture of a positive pregnancy test and a quote from poet Seyda Noir and tagged her location as “heartbroken.”  In the lengthy caption, she wrote: “Yesterday morning I was laughing with a friend saying ‘seriously…

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A Danish naval patrol killed four pirates in an exchange of fire in the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of Nigeria, Denmark’s armed forces said on Thursday. “No Danish soldiers were injured, but five pirates were shot,” the military said. “Four of the pirates died. One was injured,” it added. The incident occurred on…



The new meaning of money

Money. The fuel that powers the world.

Despite being widely accepted and commonly spoken about, it remains shrouded in mystery. Humans interact with money daily, yet know so little about it. 

Money means different things to different people. Some perceive it as a means of exchange and for others, it is a measure of growth and progress. 

While we may differ on our perception of money and the value we place on it, there are three universal truths about it:

  1. Money is not static. Money constantly moves. Whether you save it in a bank or hide it under your bed, the value of money changes over time. In finance and economics parlance, we express changes in the value of money using concepts such as inflation, NPV, IRR, etc. 
  1. Money is never enough. The very construct of money and our insatiable nature as humans means there is always an intrinsic urge to make more of it. The more money we make, the more we discover ways to spend it, leading to an unending cycle.
  1. Money has a personality. It can be unpredictable and slippery, depending on how it is handled. Our ability to control money determines whether it becomes an accelerator or an inhibitor of growth.

The mobile nature of money means we always need to maintain or grow its value. Because it is never enough, we need to always figure out how to earn more and its personality makes it necessary to control it. To unlock growth, you need to either create opportunities to earn money or borrow it.

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The fulfilment of the above needs and the opportunities they represent is what led to the emergence and evolution of institutions we now know as banks.

The fundamental principles of banking have remained constant over time: store money for person A, lend it to person B, use the profit from it to support person C and the cycle continues. However, the advancement of technology, shifts in socio-economic realities and evolution of human needs have made it increasingly difficult for financial institutions to truly evolve with money and deliver services that adequately address the multidimensional needs of the customer.

For individuals to experience sustainable financial growth, they require the right knowledge and access to intuitive tools that will enable them to understand the fundamentals of money, and how to take control of it. 

Money needs a new meaning and we all need to build better relationships with it.

By fundamentally considering these first principles, we will gain a new set of perspectives around money and apply a different set of approaches, some of which are: 

Money must be easily accessible. Access is at the heart of value creation. Money needs to be able to move between people seamlessly and instantly irrespective of the social and economic status of the sender and recipient. To foster growth for people, the concept of money needs to be inclusive and the barriers that stand in the way of their access to it must be eliminated.

People need to understand money. Everyone needs to understand money. This understanding will help them connect to the fundamentals of it and how it moves. While financial advisers exist, they are more accessible and available to the wealthy customer cluster. Financial insights need to transcend mere obligation to accessible, intuitive and human-centered services. This approach places focus on the growth of the user and ultimately creates value for all.

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Money can be controlled. With understanding comes the ability to make the right financial decisions. If people are empowered with the right tools, they can build habits that enable them to take complete control of their financial life and future. 

Every dealing with money should result in growth. Growth lies at the intersection of access, understanding and control. When financial services are built with humans at their core, they provide a firm foundation upon which people can build to unlock the potential of money as an enabler of growth.

Everyone can be better with money, and this is why we built Eyowo. 

After years of experimenting and discovering the evolving needs of humans around the subject of money, vis-a-vis technology and the state of society; we have built a bank that is inclusive, enables control and unlocks human growth. We have succeeded at giving a new meaning to money and we are on a journey to helping people to build an improved and healthy relationship with it.

We envision a future where this new meaning of money will inspire players in the financial services industry to innovate and enable growth for all.  


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Synagogue Church reopens Sunday, set to begin live service

After 21 months of protracted closure and public suspense on reopening for Church Services at The Synagogue Church Of All Nations SCOAN, life will begin to beam again as from Sunday, December 5, 2021, at its Ikotun-Egbe, Segun Irefin sprawling headquarters in Lagos as its gate would be open for its global members who have all been yearning for the church to begin the usual live service programs.

This was contained in a press statement from the church’s Leadership on Friday.

Late Prophet T B Joshua, the Founder and General Overseer of the Ministry had in March 2020 suspended the regular Sunday Services following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic which almost paralyzed the whole world.

Till his passing on June 5 this year, the church remained under lock unlike other churches who had commenced services since last year, saying: “he was yet to hear from God on church reopening, we will only reopen when we receive an instruction to do so from God”.

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There has been a lot of pressure from members globally for the church to resume services after the passing of the prophet. However, the church’s new leadership under Prophetess Mrs Evelyn TBJoshua maintained the position of her late husband that “the reopening of the church for normal Sunday services will only commence with the intimation of the holy spirit”.

They said The SCOAN has its own fair shares of the usual leadership and succession tussles in human affairs, an avoidable situation especially in The SCOAN but for the misguided few disciples, all of whom have now retraced their wrong steps.

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A strong church member, Mr Babs Olorunwa, on the reopening said the church today has been thoroughly reorganized for better performance.

She said: “The hand of God remains very strong upon this church with the few prayer gatherings I witnessed on the church mountain. I tell you categorically, God would never forsake His own. Synagogue Church Of All Nations is alive. Glory be to God.”

They noted that the church’s resumption now is a response to the call of the Holy Spirit that the services begin as a manifestation of God’s anointing towards the glorification of His Mighty Name at this blessed, festive season.


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Haaland, Lewandowski to clash as Dortmund host Bayern in showdown

Bundesliga star strikers Erling Haaland and Robert Lewandowski go head-to-head on Saturday when Borussia Dortmund host Bayern Munich in the top-of-the-table clash.

League leaders Bayern head to Signal Iduna Park just one point ahead of second-placed Dortmund.

Haaland, 21, who has scored 19 goals for Dortmund and Norway this season, proved a hip injury is behind him with a stunning volley in last weekend’s 3-1 win at Wolfsburg.

“He give us a lot of energy, he’s a player who can decide games,” Dortmund coach Marco Rose said of Haaland.

The same can be said for Bayern’s Lewandowski, who after scoring a record 41 Bundesliga goals in 2020/21, has backed that up this season with 25 goals for the club and five for Poland.

Bayern have won all of their last six games against Dortmund, but the Bavarians could be missing two key midfielders for the game which will be played in front of a reduced crowd of 15,000 due to increasing Covid-19 cases.

Joshua Kimmich is definitely out as he continues to quarantine at home after testing positive for coronavirus.

Leon Goretzka is doubtful after leavinf training Thursday with a hip problem.

Dortmund are also waiting on the fitness of England midfielder Jude Bellingham.

Germany legend Lothar Matthaeus said this week that Haaland’s return, after missing the five weeks, could see Dortmund end their poor run of results against Bayern.

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“Dortmund has a chance because Haaland is back and Bayern is missing a leader in Joshua Kimmich,” Matthaeus told international media on Thursday.

Bayern are on course to win a tenth straight German league title next May.

Matthaeus is concerned Bayern will want to seize the chance to assert themselves over their nearest league rivals.

“If you are a mutual fan, you have to hope Dortmund don’t lose, because then Bayern will be four points clear,” he added.

Dortmund hope Haaland can inspire his team to a first win at home to Bayern for two years.

Most recently, Lewandowski scored twice last August in Bayern’s 3-1 victory at Dortmund to win the German Super Cup.

Previous to that, Haaland scored two quick goals last March to put Dortmund 2-0 up after just nine minutes in Munich, only for Lewandowski’s hat-trick to seal a 4-2 victory.

Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn insisted their forward is the “best striker in the world” and Lionel Messi, who beat Lewandowski to be named this year’s Ballon d’Or winner on Monday, agreed.

“Robert Lewandowski is a first-class striker,” Messi said on Monday, raving about “the ease with which he scores goals”.

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One to watch: Florian Wirtz
Third-placed Bayer Leverkusen host bottom side Greuther Fuerth on Saturday with their 18-year-old midfielder continuing to shine after a hip problem.

After creating two goals in a 3-2 victory over Celtic to punch Leverkusen’s last 16 ticket in the Europa League, Wirtz opened the scoring in last Sunday’s 3-1 win at RB Leipzig.

Leverkusen’s decision – to give Wirtz a 10-day break in November to rest a hip problem – is paying off.

“That did him good. It was important to reduce his workload as much as possible,” explained Leverkusen head coach Gerardo Seoane.

Key stats
65 – wins to Bayern in 129 games against Dortmund, who have won 34 times with 30 draws.

20 – goals Lewandowski has scored against his former club Dortmund in 14 Bundesliga matches since moving to Munich in 2014.

15 – goals Bayern has scored in winning all of their last six games against Dortmund, who have netted seven in reply.

Fixtures (all fixtures 1430GMT unless stated)


Union Berlin v RB Leipzig (1930)


Bayer Leverkusen v Greuther Fuerth, Hoffenheim v Eintracht Frankfurt, Mainz 05 v Wolfsburg, Augsburg v VfL Bochum, Arminia Bielefeld v Cologne, Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munich (1730)


Stuttgart v Hertha Berlin, Borussia Moenchengladbach v Freiburg (1630)


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Alec Baldwin Admits Career Might Be Over After Fatal Rust Shooting

Alec Baldwin | ABC News

Actor Alec Baldwin has revealed that his acting career might be over following the fatal shooting that led to the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of his film Rust.

Baldwin made this revelation in an interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News, adding that he did not care. 

In the interview, Baldwin explained the timeline of events, revealing that he “didn’t pull the trigger” of the gun during the incident on 21 October in New Mexico.

“Someone put a live bullet in a gun”, he said. “I know it’s not me”.

The ABC interview was broadcast in the US on Thursday evening.

“I don’t know what happened on that set. I don’t know how that bullet arrived in that gun. I don’t know,” Mr Baldwin said.

“But I’m all for doing anything that will take us to a place where this is less likely to happen again.”

The actor also revealed that his every move at the rehearsal on 21 October was directed by Hutchins.

“She’s guiding me through how she wants me to hold the gun for this angle.”

“I’m holding the gun where she told me to hold it, which ended up being aimed right below her armpit.”

He noted that to get the shot, he needed to cock the gun – but not fire it.

“The trigger wasn’t pulled. I didn’t pull the trigger.”

“I cock the gun. I go, ‘Can you see that? Can you see that? Can you see that?”

“And then I let go of the hammer of the gun, and the gun goes off,” he said.

Baldwin also told ABC News that while the incident had left him emotionally scarred, he did not feel guilty. 

“I have dreams about this constantly now,” he said. “I go through my day, and I make it through the day. Then I collapse at the end of the day. Emotionally, I collapse.”

Mr Baldwin also revealed that he met with Hutchins’ widower, Matthew, and her 9-year-old son after the shooting.

Recalling the meeting, he said, “I didn’t know what to say,”.. “[Matthew] hugged [me] and he goes ‘I suppose you and I are going to go through this together… and I thought, ‘Well, not as much as you are.’”

The interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News was Alec Baldwin’s first on-camera statement about the fatal Rust shooting since the incident occurred in October. 

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died after a prop gun was discharged during a scene on the set of Midwestern film Rust. While investigations are still ongoing, Baldwin has been sued by crew members who allege negligence on the film’s set. 

Alec Baldwin is best-known for his performance in the US sitcom 30 Rock and his impersonation of Donald Trump on sketch show Saturday Night Live.


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Real Madrid meet Real Sociedad as Liga challengers aim to reduce gap

Real Sociedad will attempt to halt Real Madrid’s march away from La Liga’s chasing pack on Saturday in a battle of first against third at the Reale Arena.

Madrid have stormed seven points clear at the top of the table after seven consecutive victories in all competitions, with nine wins and a draw recorded in their last 10.

Two wins in four days against tough opponents in Sevilla and Athletic Bilbao have seen Madrid emerge as clear favourites in the title race and it remains to be seen now which of those sides beneath them, if any, can keep up.

Real Sociedad were top themselves only a few weeks ago but a draw with Valencia and defeat by Espanyol has checked the momentum of Imanol Alguacil’s side, who will be desperate to avoid a third consecutive disappointment on Saturday.

They might take encouragement from Madrid’s performances, which have not been as convincing as the results.

Both Sevilla and Athletic squandered numerous chances at the Santiago Bernabeu and Real Sociedad will believe their attacking talents like Alexander Isak, Mikel Oyarzabal and David Silva can cause problems.

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“Seven wins out of seven is not luck,” Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti insisted.

“This team has character. When we don’t win with our quality we have other strengths we can use.”

There are also question marks over Madrid’s freshness for this fixture after a demanding couple of weeks during which Ancelotti has continued to stay loyal to a consistent core of players.

Only one or two positions have been rotated and that could leave some of Madrid’s more seasoned veterans – like Karim Benzema, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro – lacking physical sharpness.

“We have had three matches very close together and we don’t have time to rest,” said Ancelotti on Wednesday.

“I will have to think carefully about my decisions this weekend.”

Madrid might also have one eye on next week’s final Champions League group game at home to Inter Milan.

Both teams have admittedly already qualified for the last 16 but first place is still to be decided and that could prove crucial given the quality of some of the other sides going through in the competition.

Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla and Villarreal all face nail-biting European games next week as they scramble just to make the knock-out stages.

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Barca’s assignment away at Bayern Munich is particularly tough but they cannot afford to take fifth-placed Real Betis lightly on Saturday, with five points still separating Xavi Hernandez’s team and La Liga’s top four.

Sevilla, meanwhile, in fourth go up against Villarreal in 12th, with Sevilla looking for a morale-boosting victory before they play away at Salzburg on Wednesday.

Atletico Madrid, the reigning champions, could yet be Real Madrid’s closest challengers in the league after a 4-1 thrashing of Cadiz last weekend offered signs they could be turning a corner.

Atletico host struggling Mallorca on Saturday before a crunch trip to Porto on Tuesday, with a demanding week ending with the Madrid derby at the Santiago Bernabeu next weekend.

Fixtures (GMT)


Granada v Alaves (2000)


Sevilla v Villarreal (1300), Barcelona v Real Betis (1515), Atletico Madrid v Mallorca (1730), Real Sociedad v Real Madrid (2000)


Rayo Vallecano v Espanyol (1300), Elche v Cadiz (1515), Levante v Osasuna (1730), Celta Vigo v Valencia (2000)


Getafe v Athletic Bilbao (2000)


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Five Exciting Facts About Hit Spanish Hit Series “Money Heist”

By Oreoritse Tariemi

03 December 2021   |   12:20 pm

In anticipation of the final five episodes of Netflix’s hit series Money Heist, here are five facts about the show you might not have given a second thought.  Money Heist tells the story of a group of criminals who try to pull off the biggest heist in recorded history, to print billions of euros in the Royal Mint…

In anticipation of the final five episodes of Netflix’s hit series Money Heist, here are five facts about the show you might not have given a second thought. 

Money Heist tells the story of a group of criminals who try to pull off the biggest heist in recorded history, to print billions of euros in the Royal Mint of Spain led by a criminal mastermind ‘The Professor.’

To help him carry out the ambitious plan, The Professor recruits eight thieves with specific abilities and who have nothing to lose. The group of thieves storm the band and take hostages to aid in their negotiations with the authorities, who strategize to come up with a way to capture The Professor. 

With a scheduled end for today, fans will say goodbye to the series when streaming giant Netflix releases the final five episodes of one of its most-watched series.

So, here are five interesting facts about the crime series you should know:


Money Heist wasn’t an immediate hit at first release, guess you didn’t know that. In fact, its debut season scored so-so ratings when it was first broadcast on free-to-air Spanish TV station Antena 3.

The first episode aired on May 2, 2017, and only recorded four million views, and this number continued to drop. The final episode of its debut season recorded just 1.4 million viewers, a far cry from the high numbers the show had recorded in recent times.

However, after Netflix bought the show, re-edited it, dubbed it and began streaming it in December 2017, the show’s views tripled, and it went viral in Spain and the rest of the world. 


Money Heist follows a group of criminals who break into Spain’s Royal Mint to print their own money, a symbol of revolt against capitalism’s excess, which struck a code with thousands of viewers a decade against the global financial crisis.

French daily Le Monde described the series as “an allegory of rebellion.” The series’ red overalls and Salvador Dali masks worn by the show’s fictional characters have become symbolic and have been donned in protests around the globe.


In December 2020, a group of gunmen carried out a brazen robber in Criciuma in Southern Brazil, which inspired the series. The heavily armed gang had burst into a band, detonated explosives to blast open the safe and left bills flying into the air as they fled.

Police efforts to catch the robbers were foiled by bystanders who raced to collect the money that was flying around. 


If you’re a big Money Heist fan, you should already know that each gang member has a code name after cities worldwide: Tokyo, Rio, Berlin, Moscow, Nairobi, Oslo, Helsinki, Denver etc.

What you probably didn’t know is that the show creator got this inspiration from a staff member who wore a t-shirt with the word Tokyo.


Tourists to Madrid often take pictures of themselves in front of the Royal mint, where much of the series takes place.

However, for security reasons, the exterior images of the building in the movie were actually shot in front of another institution with similar architecture — the Spanish National Research Council.

For Money Heist fans, the series finale brings indescribable sadness. However, fingers crossed, something better might follow soon.



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Court dismisses CAN’s suit against CAC, Minister of Trade

A Federal High Court, Abuja has dismissed a suit filed by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) against the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment, dismissed the suit over the failure of the plaintiff to comply with the law in the name used in filing the originating summons.

“Therefore, this application lacks merit and ought to be dismissed and I hereby make an order dismissing same,” he declared.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that while the Incorporated Trustees of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is the plaintiff in the suit, the CAC and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment are 1st and 2nd defendants respectively.

The plaintiff, in an originating summons marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/244/2021, had prayed the court to determine “whether Section 839, subsections (1), (7) (a) and (10) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), 2020, is inconsistent with Sections 4(8), 6(6)(b) and 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN) (as amended) which guarantees the plaintiff’s right to freedom of association and the right to seek redress in court.

“Whether the provision of Section 854 of the CAMA is inconsistent with Section 39 of the CFRN which guarantees the right to freedom of expression,” among others.

Part of the reliefs sought by the plaintiff include “a declaration that Section 839(1), (7) (a) and (10) of the CAMA are inconsistent with Section 40 of the CFRN and thus unconstitutional, null and void.

“A declaration that Section 839(1), (7) (a) and (10) of the CAMA are inconsistent with Section 4(8) of the CFRN and thus unconstitutional, null and void.

“A declaration that Section 839(1) and (7) (a) of the CAMA are inconsistent with Section 36(1) of the CFRN and thus unconstitutional, null and void.

“A declaration that Section 839(1) and (7) (a) of the CAMA has a direct effect on the judicial power of the court under Section 6(6) (b) of the CFRN, and Is therefore void.

“An order striking down Sections 839(1), (7) (a) & (10), 842(1) and (2), 843, 851 and 854 of the CAMA for being unconstitutional.

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“A declaration that Section 17(2) (a) & (d) of the CAMA demand an impossible and impracticable action; thus, void.

“An Order striking down Section 17 (2) (a) & (d) of the CAMA for being impracticable and unknown to Law.”

However, in the course of the proceedings, CAN brought an application, praying for an order to amend the originating summons and accompanying processes by replacing the word, “INCORPORATED” with “REGISTERED” in the name of the plaintiff in the suit such that it would read, “The Registered Trustees of the Christian Association of Nigeria.”

The application was filed on the grounds that the name expressed in its certificate of incorporation is the “Registered Trustees of the Christian Association of Nigeria” and not “Incorporated Trustees of Christian Association of Nigeria.”

It stated further that in the originating summons, the plaintiff’s name was inadvertently expressed as “Incorporated Trustees of the Christian Association of Nigeria.”

“This error in the plaintiff’s name was as a result of the inadvertence of counsel.

“The error in the plaintiff’s name is what we seek by this application to rectify,” it added.

The plaintiff argued that it was an oversight on the part of the counsel who prepared the draft of the processes.

In its counter affidavit, the CAC had opposed the plaintiff’s suit, challenging the propriety of the constitution of the parties and competence of the plaintiff.

It argued that “The Incorporated Trustees of the Christian Association of Nigeria;” as a non-juristic person, was unknown to law to institute and maintain the action.

“The plaintiff is not an entity registered under the Companies and Allied Matters Act and not one otherwise recognised as being vested with statutory rights of incorporation and bereft of the requisite locus standi, legal capacity or competence to sue and maintain this action eo nomine against the 1st defendant.

“The certificate of incorporation, Exh. P1, is a certificate of Christian Association of Nigeria and not the plaintiff.

“The plaintiff being the party invoking the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court is not a juristic person and incompetent to do so.

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“The amendment which the plaintiff seeks is not one to cure a mere misnomer but an amendment to give life to the originating processes by substituting a non-juristic person with a juristic person.

“The originating process of the plaintiff is incurably defective and cannot be cured by an amendment.

“This court cannot by an order, breathe life on an otherwise lifeless and/or non-existent entity.”

The CAC insisted that granting the application would change the character of the case and would be prejudicial to it.

Delivering judgment, Justice Ekwo said he had taken a look at the certificate of incorporation of the plaintiff attached to the origination summons as Exh. P1 and found that the name on the certificate is ‘The Registered Trustees of Christian Association of Nigeria.”

“Further peruse shows that the certificate was issued under the regime of the Land (Perpetual Succession) Act, Cap. 98 of the 1958 LFN on 19th December 1986.

“This means that the plaintiff was registered before CAMA first came into effect in 1990.

“With this evidence, it means the plaintiff can only sue and be sued in the name on the certificate issued to it on 19th December 1986,” he said.

He cited a previous case to back his stand.

“There must be consequential order in the circumstance of this case.

“The originating processes in the name of ‘The Registered Trustees of Christian Association of Nigeria’ cannot stand.

“Similarly, it is my opinion that this ruling has therefore also resolved the issue in the preliminary objection of the 1st defendant too.

“I find that the plaintiff did not comply with the law in the name used in filing its originating summons.

“Therefore, this application lacks merit and ought to be dismissed and I hereby make an order dismissing same,” he ruled.

The judge added that the ruling affected the foundation of the case going by the defect in the name by which the plaintiff commenced the matter.

“I, therefore, make an order striking out the entire case. This is the order of this court,” Ekwo held.


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PSG wait for Messi to find Ballon d’Or form with Neymar out

Paris Saint-Germain have been milking the fact that they have this year’s Ballon d’Or winner in their ranks, but Lionel Messi was crowned the world’s best player for the seventh time in his glittering career entirely because of what he achieved elsewhere.

At 34, perhaps Messi was principally rewarded for his enduring brilliance by jurors as he won the prize ahead of much-fancied rivals including Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema.

However, he still scored 38 goals in his final campaign with Barcelona, was top scorer in La Liga, won the Copa del Rey and captained Argentina to victory at the Copa America.

As he collected his prize in a ceremony in the French capital on Monday, PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi was there and spoke of his “immense pride that one of our players has won the most prestigious and coveted award”.

On Wednesday, as PSG played host to Nice, the message “Paris Golden City”, in English, covered the main entrance to the Parc des Princes. Inside Messi was paraded before kick-off on a stage on the pitch as he showed off his reward.

Yet he proceeded to produce another rather flat performance as his side was held to a 0-0 draw, and Messi has still scored just once in eight appearances in Ligue 1.

He has saved his best moments so far in a PSG shirt for the Champions League, with three goals in four games in Europe.

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Messi, who has struggled with varying fitness issues, has not yet played like a Ballon d’Or winner for his new club — certainly George Weah’s victory in the 1995 Ballon d’Or owed much more to what he did with PSG, even though he had left to join AC Milan earlier that year.

Mauricio Pochettino’s PSG are 12 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 before Saturday’s game at Lens, where one of the best atmospheres in French football will await the Parisian superstars at the 37,000-capacity Stade Bollaert.

If Messi should be there alongside Kylian Mbappe, Neymar will not be, the Brazilian beginning his latest spell on the sidelines with an ankle injury.

Neymar, who has endured a disappointing 2021, is not expected back until at least mid-January.

“It makes me sad to see a player on the sidelines. We know he enjoys playing football more than anything else,” said Pochettino of Neymar this week.

Now, however, Pochettino needs to try to get his team — still regularly playing well below their potential — firing on all cylinders without the world’s most expensive player.

Player to watch: Gerson
The 24-year-old Brazilian has been lambasted for his performances for Marseille since moving to France from Flamengo for a reported fee of 22 million euros ($24.9m).

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Despite breaking into the Brazil team as recently as September, Marseille supporters had been wondering why coach Jorge Sampaoli was persisting at all with Gerson, usually playing him out of his apparently favoured central midfield position.

Then on Wednesday he finally showed what he is capable of with a brilliant turn and finish to give Marseille a 1-0 win at Nantes, lifting them up to second. The first part of his hefty transfer fee was paid back in that moment, and the hope is that he can now build on that as Marseille push for Champions League qualification.

Key stats
30 – Messi is the first player to win the Ballon d’Or while based in France in 30 years, since Jean-Pierre Papin won it in 1991 while at Marseille.

37 – The number of goals conceded by Bordeaux in 16 games this season. Across Europe’s big five leagues only Bundesliga bottom side Greuther Fuerth (39 in 13) have let in more.

5 – Brest have won five consecutive top-flight games for the first time in their history.

Fixtures (Kick-offs GMT)


Marseille v Brest (1600), Lille v Troyes (1800), Lens v Paris Saint-Germain (2000)


Saint-Etienne v Rennes (1200), Lorient v Nantes, Monaco v Metz, Montpellier v Clermont, Reims v Angers (all 1400), Nice v Strasbourg (1600), Bordeaux v Lyon (1945)


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Pope Francis urges ‘fraternity’ at mass in divided Cyprus

Pope Francis appealed for a “sense of fraternity” in an open-air mass in Cyprus on Friday, the second day of a visit to the divided Mediterranean island that has focused heavily on the plight of migrants.

As a gesture of solidarity to those fleeing poverty and conflict, the 84-year-old pontiff was expected to offer 50 migrants now in Cyprus a chance for a new life in Italy.

The pope delivered his open-air mass at Nicosia’s main football stadium to some 7,000 faithful, many of them workers from the Philippines and South Asia who make up a large proportion of the 25,000 Catholics in mainly Greek-Orthodox Cyprus.

“Faced with our own inner darkness and the challenges before us in the church and in society, we are called to renew our sense of fraternity,” Francis told them.

“If we remain divided, if each person thinks only of himself or herself, or his or her group, if we refuse to stick together, if we do not dialogue and walk together, we will never be completely healed of our blindness.”

Many in the crowd were waving the flags of nearby Lebanon, the Philippines and the pope’s native Argentina. A 130-member multicultural choir sang songs in Arabic, English and Greek.

“We are so lucky,” Jackylyn Fo Bulado, a 31-year-old domestic worker from the Philippines wearing a T-shirt with the pope’s image, said before the mass started.

“We are just waiting for a simple message of love and peace from the pope and that he will bless Cyprus and the world.”

‘Message of dialogue’
The pope earlier visited the Holy Archbishopric of the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus in Nicosia, seeking to improve historically difficult relations between the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches.

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“Where our relations are concerned, history has opened broad furrows between us, but the Holy Spirit desires that with humility and respect we once more draw close to one another,” he said in an address to Orthodox clerics, including Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus.

Elena Chentsova, an Orthodox Christian originally from Ukraine, said she woke up early to see the pope.

“I’m Orthodox and I hope he will spread a message of dialogue between the different religions, to be all the more close,” the 42-year-old told AFP.

Francis — on his 35th international trip since becoming pope in 2013 — is the second Catholic pontiff to visit Cyprus after Benedict XVI went in 2010. He travels on to Greece on Saturday morning.

Cyprus said it had deployed 500 police to secure the pontiff’s visit, with sharp-shooters deployed on rooftops and a helicopter buzzing in the sky.

Police said a 43-year-old man was arrested after a security check at the stadium when a knife was found in his possession. A police spokesperson said it was believed the knife “had nothing to do with the pope” and was for personal use.

The pope will later hold an ecumenical prayer service with migrants from dozens of nations at Nicosia’s Church of the Holy Cross, located near the UN-patrolled “Green Line” that divides the country.

Cyprus has been split since 1974 when Turkish forces invaded and occupied the island’s northern third in response to a military coup sponsored by the Greek junta in power at the time.

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Only Ankara recognises the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, and tensions simmer between the two sides.

‘Walls of fear’
The majority-Greek speaking south accuses the north of sending migrants across the Green Line and also says it now receives the highest number of first-time asylum seekers of any EU member country.

Francis on Thursday bemoaned “the terrible laceration” of Cyprus while also urging greater unity in Europe, instead of nationalism and “walls of fear”, as the continent faces an influx of refugees and migrants.

The island’s experience served as a reminder to Europe, he said, that “we need to work together to build a future worthy of humanity, to overcome divisions, to break down walls, to dream and work for unity”.

On Thursday evening, Francis visited President Nicos Anastasiades for talks focused on the island’s painful division.

“I think of the deep suffering of all those people unable to return to their homes and their places of worship,” said the pope, urging dialogue.

Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar accused the south of seeking to use the trip to score “political goals against Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”.

It was a “source of sorrow for us that Pope Francis will visit Greek Cyprus only,” he said.

“There are two peoples in Cyprus. Not only Christian Greeks but also Muslim Turks live in Cyprus. This is one of the basic realities of Cyprus.”


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Ronaldo’s 800th career goal begins Man Utd revival as Carrick walks away

Michael Carrick exited Manchester United with a win as Cristiano Ronaldo surpassed 800 goals for club and country with a double to see off Arsenal 3-2 on Thursday.

Carrick was taking charge for the final time as caretaker manager with new interim boss Ralf Rangnick watching from the stands and announced after the match he will leave the club rather than return to his coaching role.

The former United midfielder was part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s coaching staff and had been criticised by former teammate Paul Scholes for remaining at the club following the Norwegian’s dismissal.

“It’s 100% my decision,” said Carrick. “I thought it was the right thing to do for the club and for Ralf and I’m quite happy with that.

“We were in a situation where there was a responsibility to see these games through. The loyalty to Ole is a little bit of a factor but there were a lot of things that came into my decision.”

A vital three points means Rangnick will take over with United just three points off the Premier League top four and with an enticing run of fixtures to come over the festive period.

Victory also rounded off a fine stint for Carrick as caretaker after progress to the Champions League last 16 and a creditable 1-1 draw at Premier League leaders Chelsea.

The United fans paid homage to Solskjaer with a banner in the first match at Old Trafford since he was dismissed.

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However, once the action got underway, nothing seemed to have changed from the final days of the his reign as United started in a similar fashion to humiliating home defeats to Liverpool and Manchester City.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ben White had chances for the visitors inside the first two minutes.

When Arsenal did go in front on 13 minutes it was in strange fashion.

Emile Smith Rowe’s shot bounced into an unguarded net with David De Gea down injured having been stood on by his own player Fred.

Referee Martin Atkinson blew the whistle to stop play, but only after the ball had crossed the line and therefore the goal had to stand.

Arsenal players rebuffed United’s request to stand aside and allow them to equalise in a gesture of fair play.

But they did so of their own accord a minute before half-time when Jadon Sancho and Fred combined to tee up Fernandes to slot home his first goal since September.

Ronaldo was dropped to the bench by Carrick at Stamford Bridge on Sunday amid suggestions that may become a more common occurrence under Rangnick’s high-energy style.

Accommodating the 36-year-old has been one of the causes of United’s decline defensively this season.

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But Ronaldo has kept his end of the bargain with 12 goals in 17 games since returning for a second spell with the Red Devils.

He coolly slotted home Marcus Rashford’s cross, but United’s lead lasted just two minutes as Arsenal responded with almost a carbon copy equaliser.

This time Gabriel Martinelli was the provider for Odegaard to steer into the far corner.

“We had some really good moments and when you score two goals you expect to get something from the game, but it is our own fault,” said Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta.

“We deserve much more than we got but you get punished against this quality of players.”

On the night he reached another remarkable personal milestone, the stage was set for Ronaldo to breathe new life into United’s season when Fred was chopped down inside the box by Odegaard 20 minutes from time.

Fernandes blasted over when he retained penalty duties against Aston Villa earlier in the season.

This time he stood aside for his international teammate, who smashed the ball high past Ramsdale for his 130th United goal across two spells.

Ronaldo also scored 450 goals for Real Madrid, 101 at Juventus, five for Sporting Lisbon and is the record goalscorer in international football with 115 for Portugal.


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31 million PLWDs suffer as 23 states neglect disability rights

MDAs yet to implement Buhari’s directive three years after disability law passage
• Govt, private sector charged to promote disability inclusion

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world today to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), the over 31 million community of Persons Living With Disabilities (PLWDs) in the country has called on government at all levels to quit paying lip service to their plights and match words with actions by implementing the various domestic laws and international conventions.

The IDPD is a day set aside by the United Nations since 1992 to promote a better understanding of disability issues with a focus on the rights of PLWDs in every aspect of the political, social, economic and cultural life of their communities.

In absence of effective laws and implementation of international conventions, many persons with disabilities are on their own, just like this. PHOTO: DAVID ANYAELE<br />

The theme for the 2021 IDPD is ‘Leadership and Participation of PLWDs toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world,’ with a focus on their empowerment for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In a statement, yesterday, to mark the IDPD, Executive Director, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), David O. Anyaele, observed that this year’s event is the third commemoration of the day since the passage and assent by President Muhammadu Buhari of the disability rights Act that is designed to protect the more than 31 million citizens with disabilities.

He said: “We are worried that 36 months after the passage of the Disability Rights Act, only 13 states have demonstrated measures to adopt the Act. We commend states like Lagos, Anambra, Ekiti, Ondo, Plateau, Bauchi, Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Kogi, Niger, Kwara and Niger.

“We call on the state governments yet to adopt the National Disability Rights Act to do so without further delay. This is important because failure in this regard is an indirect endorsement of discrimination and other harmful practices against citizens with disabilities.

“It is important for state governments to make inclusion and participation of citizens with disabilities in governance and development programmes a priority, as it is very expensive and difficult to live with disability without government support.

“We are concerned that 34 months after the passage of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018, citizens with disabilities are still left behind due to none implementation of the Act by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). This is evidenced by the none provision of necessary measures to enhance access to buildings of these MDAs, and the inclusion of citizens with disabilities in their programmes and activities.

“We are also worried that many states across the federation are struggling to budget for the integration and rehabilitation of citizens with disabilities, even when they are budgeted, PLWDs hardly benefit from such provision. However, we commend states like Lagos, Plateau, Ondo and Anambra that have taken measures to not just pass the disability bill, but also taken steps to create offices for disability affairs in their states.

“We are worried that more than 18 months after President Buhari gave directives to MDAs to pay special attention to the peculiarities of PLWDs in the formulation and implementation of their policies and programmes, and where suitable their employment, nothing has been done in this regard,” he stated.

While acknowledging that Nigeria has signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities including its optional protocols, Anyaele said the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) would not be achieved if state and non-state actors continue to discriminate, isolate and marginalise PLWDs in Nigeria.

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The CCD boss further urged the President to assent to the Electoral Act as it contains new provisions to address the disenfranchisement of PLWDs in the conduct of elections.

“We are marking this day at a time Nigerians are awaiting the assent of the President on a Bill for an Act to Repeal the Electoral Act No. 6, 2010 and Enact the Electoral Act 2021, to regulate the conduct of Federal, State and Area Councils in the Federal Capital Territory elections.

“The Bill provides for the removal of the barrier that hinders citizens with disabilities from participating in the electoral process on an equal basis with others. We called on President Buhari to sign the Electoral Bill without further delay in order to open the space for necessary actions towards 2023 general elections.”
WHILE the Director-General of the National Centre for Women Development, NCWD, Dr. Asabe Vilita Bashir, in her statement, disclosed that there are over 27 million Nigerians living with some form of disability, she noted that all hands must be on deck to support and integrate this significant group to the society so that “they can build practical life skills that lead to enhanced independence and provides a path to recovery for those who feel isolated.

“NCWD will continue to advocate the rights and needs of PLWDs and foster the effective use of ICT that are accessible, adaptive and affordable.

“National blindness and visual impairment survey in Nigeria conducted between 2005 and 2007 showed that 4.25 million Nigerians aged 40 are visually-impaired or blind. The figures for the blind and deaf are significantly higher today and have impacted negatively the country’s workforce.

“ICT as a strategic option has the capacity to enable PLWDs to take advantage of the educational system, entrepreneurship and job opportunities available in the country.”

A non-governmental organisation, Project Enable Africa, which is at the forefront of disability inclusion has instituted the Disability Inclusion and Leadership Awards (DIAL), according to the Executive Director, Olusola Owonikoko, will serve as a platform “to appreciate, acknowledge and reward PLWDs and others who might be without disabilities but are championing disability inclusion.”

Keynote speaker at the DIAL event held in Lagos, yesterday, and CEO, Background Check International (BCI), Kola Olugbodi, urged the society to include PLWDs in all activities and ensure their talents are harnessed for the betterment of the community and state.

“The disability community is like a closed community that many people don’t know what’s happening there. And many don’t even give them the opportunity of even being showcased, or to see what we are doing, because I also belong to that community.

So, this is just to make the world know that PLWDs are doing great things as entrepreneurs too and they need to be celebrated.

“We want the world to know that we are not all beggars. Of the over 200 million population of the country, we have large numbers of us doing great things and whose voices must be heard.

“Part of our inclusive drive is to ensure that we are considered as a priority in society. For instance, in the area of the election, PLWDs should be allowed to participate in all processes of the election with some protection for the community. The inclusiveness also includes having PLWDs in politics and governance. We are Nigerians and also human beings. We are most marginalized in all facets of our society and national life, but things have to change.”

Moderator at the event, Mrs. Dolapo Agbede, a human resource management expert, called on the private sector not to wait for the public sector in driving the inclusion of PLWDs in society.

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“Because leadership is going to be crucial to what’s going to be possible for the disability community, which I belong to, this conversion needs to be taken beyond every December 3 for action to match words and policy statements.

“I am visually impaired myself, you know, since 2007, due to glaucoma, so healthcare in this country needs to improve. But back to the subject, a lot has been done in getting the society recognise that PLWDs matter too.”

Distanced working, digital skills and emotional intelligence are what businesses in Nigeria are looking for from jobseekers, according to a new report. The Labour Market Assessment 2021 report, published by Inclusive Futures, also highlighted that while these attributes are possessed by many PLWDs, job seekers feel businesses continue to consciously discriminate against them.

“Businesses across Nigeria have been disrupted by the pandemic and are looking at how to build back inclusively but only a few among them are thinking of ensuring they are disability-inclusive,” said the Country Director for Sightsavers in Nigeria, Dr Sunday Isiyaku.

“Our report shows that employers are recognising that distanced working is the new norm, requiring digital skills and prioritising soft skills like empathy and resilience.

“But at the same time, job seekers with disabilities feel they are still being discriminated against, whatever their capabilities. People with disabilities have the skills to bring huge benefits to businesses but generally aren’t being considered,” he said.

While progress has been seen in Nigeria with the enacting of the Discrimination Against People with Disability (Prohibition) Act, requiring companies to reserve five per cent of their workforce to peoples with disabilities, the report highlights that leaders of organisations of people with disabilities feel that the Act is little known or acted upon.

HR Director, West Africa Unilever, Ola Ehinmoro, said: “More work needs to be done to socialise the Disability Act in Nigeria. However, organisations like Unilever are pushing the frontiers by driving internal inclusive behaviours and deploying PLWDs to value across its West Africa markets.”

Inclusive Futures is a flagship disability development inclusion programme funded by UKAID. It brings together global leaders and specialists from 16 organisations to test and deliver innovations for people with disabilities in education, healthcare and livelihoods.

ACCORDING to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than one billion people experience disability, and this figure is predicted to rise, due in part to population ageing and an increase in the prevalence of non-communicable diseases. WHO said it is committed to supporting member states and development partners to fulfil their commitment to leave no one behind, by addressing disability inclusion in the health sector.

For the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the number of children with disabilities globally is estimated at almost 240 million. “This new research confirms what we already knew: Children with disabilities face multiple and often compounding challenges in realising their rights,” said UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore.

“From access to education to be read to at home; children with disabilities are less likely to be included or heard on almost every measure. All too often, children with disabilities are simply being left behind.”

The report includes internationally comparable data and covers more than 60 indicators of child well-being – from nutrition and health, to access to water and sanitation, protection from violence and exploitation, and education. These indicators are disaggregated by functional difficulty type and severity, child’s sex, economic status, and country.

The report makes clear the barriers children with disabilities face to participating fully in their societies and how this often translates to negative health and social outcomes.


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Nigeria ranks 9th, needs $1.1bn for humanitarian assistance in 2022

120 NGOs task world leaders to halt escalating hunger
• Humanitarian minister urges developed nations to fulfill $100bn yearly pledge to support climate action

World leaders must go beyond “grand gestures” to feed the 45 million people around the world who are on the brink of famine, 120 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have warned.

The group of 120 NGOs joined forces in an open letter calling on world leaders to do more to halt a devastating global hunger crisis as new analysis shows 17 per cent of the global population are likely to need humanitarian aid by 2022.

This follows a Global Humanitarian Overview 2022, released yesterday by the United Nations (UN) Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which warned that 274 million people could be in need of humanitarian assistance next year. This is up from 235 million people in 2021 and 168 million in 2020.

According to the UN, “this number is a significant increase from 235 million people a year ago, which was already the highest figure in decades. The United Nations and partner organisations aim to assist 183 million people most in need across 63 countries, which will require $41 billion.”

Nigeria ranks ninth on the index according to the number of people in need with $1.1 billion required for the 8.3 million people critically in need of humanitarian assistance in 2022.

The top three on the list is Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen, followed by Ethiopia, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan and Somalia. Myanmar completes the top 10 indexes coming after Nigeria.

With the world currently battling the worst hunger crisis this century, one of the main causes of humanitarian need is food insecurity with the number of people at risk of famine rising by 60 per cent since the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

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Currently, an estimated 45 million people across 43 countries are at risk of famine, up from 27 million in 2019.

In an open letter, Plan International and Save the Children joined peer organisations, leading other locally-based organisations in countries hard-hit by hunger, called on world leaders to fully fund the $41 billion humanitarian hunger response to prevent famine globally and address emergencies fueling global hunger: conflict, climate crisis and COVID-19.

It notes that hunger and malnutrition disproportionately affect women and girls, putting them at increased risk of extreme hunger and gender-based violence. Children are among the most at risk, as severe malnutrition affects over 45 million children globally, which is the cause of about 45 per cent of deaths of children aged under five.

The Famine Prevention Compact, made by the G7 in May, has not been fulfilled, signatories of the letter said, and one in 10 people are malnourished.

“It is clear that, since then, the situation has only deteriorated. Grand gestures do not fill empty stomachs,” they write.

“Less than half the funding needed to stave off famine in six countries of highest concern (Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Southern Madagascar, Northeast Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen) has been received to date. Meanwhile, some Humanitarian Response Plans (HRPs) are less than 20 per cent funded.”

The letter added: “There has been a 370 per cent rise in people experiencing catastrophic levels of hunger since April and now a staggering 45 million people are at extreme risk — on the brink of famine. These numbers do not tell the whole story. Behind them are people suffering immensely from a crisis that we can prevent. What will it take for this situation to change?”

Conflict prevention is essential, the NGOs write. Conflict leads to mass migration, millions of refugees, and is disproportionately affecting women and girls, who are at an increased risk of extreme hunger and gender-based violence.

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“Supporting peace-building and conflict prevention is also crucial. Further, it is time that political commitments made to uphold international law, safeguard people’s human rights and secure access to aid are acted upon.

“All parties to a conflict must facilitate humanitarian access, protect civilians and desist from using starvation as a method of warfare. Obstacles, such as sanctions and access denial, to humanitarian action, are severely compounding a crisis that cannot be healed with money alone.”

THE Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, however, reiterated the need for developed countries to honour the promises made in 2009 of mobilising $100 billion yearly to support climate action in developing countries.

The Minister, who was one of the panelists at the launch of the 2022 Humanitarian Overview, made this known, yesterday, while speaking on the theme ‘Climate Change and Responding to a More Challenging Humanitarian Landscape’ virtually hosted by OCHA.

Umar Farouq stated that since the Ministry’s establishment in August 2019, it has worked collaboratively with critical stakeholders to address socio economic vulnerabilities and provide humanitarian action.

“I believe the main challenge we face is the global responsibility, to address climate change collectively. In Glasgow, we urged developed countries to honour the promises made in 2009 of mobilising $100 billion per year by 2020 to support climate action in developing countries.

“Our focus towards reversing climate change requires vision, fortitude and coordinated action. This is a collective vision and must be deployed through engagement with international, regional and state actors.

I believe, we as a government play a critical role in making sure that we provide the leadership required to achieve the vision, to ensure a stronger, greener and cleaner Nigeria for generations to come.”


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EFCC re-arraigns Fayose, others for alleged money laundering

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday, re-arraigned former Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, and his company, Spotless Limited, before a Federal High Court, Lagos.

Fayose and his company were re-arraigned before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke for alleged money laundering and non-declaration of his assets.

In the amended charge, Fayose and one Abiodun Agbele, who is also standing trial on alleged money laundering offences before another division of the court, were alleged to have on June 17, 2014, taken possession of N1.219 billion to fund Fayose’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign in Ekiti State.

They were accused of committing criminal breach of trust, theft and stealing of public funds.

They were also alleged to have on the same June 17, 2014, without going through financial institutions, received $5 million from Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, who was the Minister of State for Defence.

In the charge, the EFCC alleged that Fayose on April 7, 2015, retained N300 million in his fixed deposit account domiciled in a bank.

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Fayose and his company, Spotless Limited, were also alleged to have between June 17 and August 4, 2014, taken control of N317 million, and deposited it in the same bank with a different account number. 

The former Ekiti State governor was also alleged to have between June 26 and August 27, 2014, took control of N305, 760,000, which formed part of proceeds of unlawful act. He was also accused of procuring Abiodun Agbele and a company, De-privateer Limited, to retain N719,490,000 in the bank.

The EFCC further alleged that Fayose used N270 million and N1.15 billion respectively to acquire property at Plot 1504, Yedsema Street, Maitama, Abuja, from one Rabi Kundili, and Chalets 3, 4, 6 and 9, at Plot 100, Tiyamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, in the name of JJ Technical Services. 

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He was also alleged to have between October 16 and December 31, 2018 failed to declare his assets and property by not completing the declaration form during investigation.

The offences, according to the EFCC, are contrary to sections 15 (2)(d); 1 and 16 (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended, and punishable under Section 15 (3) (4); 16 (2) (b) of the same Act.

He was also alleged to have acted contrary to Section 27(1)(3)(c) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004.

Fayose denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty to all 11 counts of charges.

Prior to his re-arraignment, Mrs. Joanne Tolulope, the 11th prosecution witness, while being cross-examined by the defence counsel, Mr. Ola Olanipekun (SAN), affirmed that her company, Still Earth Limited only dealt with Agbele.

Meanwhile, the trial continues today, as the EFCC will be calling its 12th witness.


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We’ve not received Bonfrere Jo’s application for Eagles job, says NFF

It’s a slap on Nigerian football, analysts blast Dutch coach
• Pinnick meets Minister on Rohr’s fate

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) says it has not received any application from former Super Eagles coach, Johannes Bonfrere, despite media reports that he has formally applied for the job. The Dutchman was sacked in 2001 after losing a World Cup qualifier in Sierra Leone.

Before then, Bonfrere was assistant coach to Clemens Westerhof between 1990 and 1994, and he led Nigeria’s U-23 team to win gold at Atlanta ‘96 Olympics.

About 20 years after his sack from the Super Eagles, Bonfrere feels no one has done what he achieved. He declared in a letter he allegedly dispatched to Nigeria that: “It doesn’t take up to two months to create a formidable team and make a winning pattern.”

However, a top official of the NFF told The Guardian yesterday that the federation did not receive any letter from Bonfrere. “I read about it on pages of newspapers that Jo Bonfrere has formally applied for the Eagles job. I don’t think we have such an application in our secretariat at the moment. Sincerely speaking, the NFF is not thinking in that direction now. Our focus is our preparation for Cameroun 2022 AFCON, which is about five weeks away,” the official said.

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Asked if the NFF is shopping for a replacement for coach Gernot Rohr, the official said: “I don’t have an answer to that now. Every Nigerian will know our position if anything of such happens. For now, our focus is on preparing the Super Eagles for the African Nations Cup in Cameroun.”

Meanwhile, some Nigerian sports analysts have described Bonfrere Jo’s latest move to return to the Super Eagles job as a ‘big slap’ on Nigerian football.

“I feel so sad that Bonfrere Jo is seeking to return to the Super Eagles 20 years after he was sacked,” one analyst, who gave his name as Oluwatoyin said on a radio programme monitored in Lagos yesterday. “Which football club or national team has Bonfrere coached since he was sacked by Nigeria in 2001? To be frank, Bonfrere Jo is not the type of coach the Super Eagles need now. Football has moved from his kick and follow the style of play.”

Another analyst, who gave his name as Kingsley, said: “The time to the Nations Cup in Cameroun is too short for us to be talking about Gernot Rohr today and Bonfrere Jo tomorrow. The NFF should come out and clear the air on the position of the Super Eagles coach. Who is taking Nigeria to the AFCON? Who are the players invited? We watch Nigerian players featuring for their clubs in Europe and other parts of the world every day. We know those who are doing well and those that are struggling. We also see what good coaches are doing with other national teams. We need a sound coach for the Super Eagles.”

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NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, spoke yesterday after his meeting with Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, on the fate of Gernot Rohr.

“We have discussed with the minister. We are working in close harmony with the Sports Ministry. I have to discuss with my executive members, and come back to give feedback to the minister,” he said.

Pinnick continued: “We don’t want to hurt Nigerians. We are looking at our decision from an objective perspective. Trust me, whatever we are doing will be in the interest of the country. We have looked at all the documentation, and I can assure Nigerians we will have a clear direction soon.”


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Court reschedules Nnamdi Kanu’s trial for January 18, 2022

IPOB kicks over leader’s non-appearance as HURIWA doubts FG’s willingness to release him

Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court Abuja, yesterday, rescheduled the trial of detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, from January 19, 2022, to January 18, 2022.

The shift in the trial date followed the abridgement of time granted by the judge following a passionate plea to that effect.

Counsel to Kanu, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, had approached the court with an application seeking an order of the court to accommodate the trial in November and December this year as against January 19 next year.

Shuaib Labaran, who represented the Federal Government, told the court that a counter affidavit through which the government opposed the request had been filled and served on Kanu.

Nyako, however, informed Kanu’s lawyer that the application for abridgement of time could not be considered, as there is no judicial time for such an issue.

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In the drama that ensued, the case diary of the court was read to the lawyer to establish that the court has crowded cases to treat.

Following the insistence, Nyako agreed to shift other cases slated for January 18 to accommodate the trial, which would last till January 19 and 20, 2022.

She ordered the DSS to allow Kanu to practice his faith, change his clothes and be given the maximum possible comfort in detention.

But Ejiofor also sought to move another application challenging the seven-count treasonable felony charges the Federal Government brought against him.

Labaran, however, challenged the argument on the ground that the motion was not ripe for hearing and that the business of the day was the motion for abridgement of time after which Nyako agreed with Labaran and rejected the bid to bring the motion forward.

MEANWHILE, Kanu was absent from court after he was scheduled for an emergency trial following the bail application of his October 26, 2021 re-arraignment on a seven-count charge bordering on treasonable felony and terrorism.

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Indications that Kanu might not appear in court emerged when as early as 8:00 a.m., there was the scanty presence of security operatives, unlike other occasions when he appeared in court.

IN its reaction, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), said the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami’s action showed that President Muhammadu Buhari was not willing to release Kanu.

In a statement issued in Abuja, by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, it said based on legal authorities, the power to initiate a case should carry power to terminate it as evident in London County Council vs A.G. 1902 A.C. 165, insisting that it was not premature to release the Biafrian agitator.


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