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Showing posts from November, 2021

African Genes Could Have Weakened COVID-19 Virus In New “Omicron” Variant, Says Obaje

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Dr Jonathan Obaje, a Nigerian Research Scientist based in Singapore, says based on preliminary clinical data coming from South Africa on the “Omicron” variant of the COVID-19 virus, African innate immunities may have already weakened COVID-19 virus significantly. Obaje, a former Vice President of Nigeria in Diaspora, Singapore, said this on Tuesday in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). He quoted various media reports across South Africa, saying Hospitals across the country reported that symptoms of “Omicron”, the new COVID strain, are very mild and no record of death associated with it so far. “Around 90 per cent of all new infections in Johannesburg region are now caused by Omicron, so far, COVID death rate and even hospital admissions appear not to be increasing significantly. “Some medical and scientific researchers worldwide are currently talking about this and are cautiously optimistic that if Omicron turns out to be less-lethal, but more

Messi Wins Seventh Ballon D'or

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Paris St-Germain and Argentina forward Lionel Messi won the Ballon d'Or - awarded to the best footballer of the year - for a record seventh time. Messi, 34, helped his country win the Copa America, his first international honour, and has scored 40 goals in 2021 - 28 for Barcelona, four for Paris St-Germain and eight for Argentina. Bayern Munich and Poland striker Robert Lewandowski came second, Chelsea and Italy midfielder Jorginho was third and Real Madrid's French striker Karim Benzema finished fourth. The Ballon d'Or is voted for by 180 journalists from around the world, although there was no award in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Either Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo (five wins) collected the award every year from 2008 to 2019, apart from in 2018 when Croatia midfielder Luka Modric won it. Messi had already won the trophy more times than any other player and his seventh success comes after wins in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2019. BBC Sport

𝐂𝐀𝐅 𝐏ostpones Al Ittihad Versus Enyimba Confederation Cup 𝐅ixture

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The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has postponed the Confederation Cup playoff first leg fixture between Al Ittihad and Enyimba FC. The fixture was initially scheduled for Sunday November 28 at the Stade Mustapha Ben Jannet in Monastir, Tunisia; but Enyimba were denied access to Tunisia as a result of strict Covid-19 travel restrictions in the country. Consequently, CAF, through a correspondence have announced their decision to choose a new date and venue for the fixture. A statement from the African football governing body reads:  "The match will not take place tomorrow, the 28th of November 2021(today), as scheduled and will be postponed. "The new venue and date of the match will be announced soon after consultation with CAF Interclub Committee. "Kindly note that the return leg will be played as scheduled on the 5th of December in Nigeria."

Passenger Extortion; FAAN Suspends Airport Officials At MMIA

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The management of Nigeria's airports say they have dismissed some staff involved in extortion of passengers at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos. Social media had been agog with complaints by travellers who lament the very difficult situation in Nigeria's entry points as it regards extortion and other unethical practices. However, in line with the determination of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to rid the nation's airport of corrupt officials, a statement signed by  Henrietta Yakubu (Mrs.)  General Manager, Corporate Affairs at FAAN said  some officials caught extorting a passenger at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos had been sacked. The statement said the officials, who are staff of Aviation Security and Customer Service departments of the Authority were immediately suspended, while the On Duty Card of their accomplice from the Nigeria Immigration Service has been withdrawn. It added that the action was take

LACAN Elects New Executive

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Joseph Agi of Radia Nigeria has been elected as Chairman of Labour Correspondents Association of Nigeria (LACAN), an umbrella body of journalists reporting the labour beat in Abuja. In a keenly contested election on Friday,  Mr Agi polled 14 votes to narrowly defeat Collins Olayinka of Guardian newspaper who polled 13 votes. The election for the position of Vice Chairman was declared inconclusive as the two candidates contesting the seat polled same number of votes. While Onyebuchi Ezeigbo of Thisday newspaper polled 14 votes, same number of votes was garnered by Patrick Abulu of Africa Independent Television (AIT), leading to a rerun which will be conducted on a yet to be specified date. The position of secretary went to Chinedu Echianu of Vision FM who polled 18 votes to defeat Moses Akwashiki of Blueprint newspaper who ramped up 10 votes. Ekaete Ibuot of Wazobia FM was also elected as Treasurer while Appolos Christian of Tribune newspaper emerged as the welfare officer/P

Manchester United Set To Appoint Rangnick As Interim Manager

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Manchester United are close to appointing Ralf Rangnick as interim manager on a six-month contract. The 63-year-old German is poised to join United but will not be in charge this weekend against Chelsea while he waits for his work permit. United have agreed terms with Rangnick, but not with Lokomotiv Moscow, where he is the head of sports and development. It comes after United sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Sunday following a trophyless three-year spell as boss. Rangnick won the German Cup with Schalke in 2011 and took RB Leipzig to the final in 2019. During the 2010-11 season he guided Schalke to the semi-finals of the Champions League, where they lost 6-1 on aggregate to United, who were then beaten by Barcelona in the final. United are eighth in the Premier League and Solskjaer, who scored the winning goal in the 1999 Champions League final for the club, was dismissed following an embarrassing 4-1 loss at Watford on Saturday. BBC Sport

NLC Rejects Planned Petrol Price Hike, Describes N5000 Palliative As A Bait

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on the Federal Government to consider options to help the country embrace developmental governance and accountable leadership, while rejecting the planned petroleum price increase. NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, made the call in a statement he issued to newsmen in Abuja, entitled: ”Nigerian workers refused to take the bait’’. According to him, the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Malam Mele Kyari, announced that petrol could cost as much as N340 from February 2022. Wabba described as “comical“ the bait by the government to pay 40 million Nigerians N5,000 as palliative, to cushion the effect of astronomical increase in the price of petrol. He said that the total amount involved what he called “queer initiative“ was far more than the money government claimed to spend currently on fuel subsidy. “The NNPC GMD said that the price increase would be consequent on the plans by the Federal

Senate Committee On Judiciary And Legal Matters Endorse Law School Campus In Port Harcourt

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Members of the Nigerian Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters have endorsed the Dr. Nabo Graham Douglas campus of the Nigerian Law School in Port Harcourt and declared that it has come to stay. The committee members gave the endorsement shortly after inspecting ongoing civil construction work at the campus as part of their oversight function in Port Harcourt on Tuesday. They were conducted round the project sites by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, first to the staff quarters beside the Hotel Presidential and then  to the Law School campus at Rumueme, Port Harcourt. Chairman of the committee,  Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele said they are, no doubt, impressed with what they have seen in Port Harcourt.  According to him, their colleagues in the Senate, including the leadership of the Senate who have invested so much trust and put them in charge of the committee are waiting to hear from them. But, he emphasised, that what they have seen

Buhari Suspends Inauguration Of New NNPC Board

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President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the postponement of the inauguration of the newly constituted Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC). The exercise scheduled for Wednesday has been postponed until further notice. No reason was given for the cancellation of the inauguration of the board. In a statement, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, stated that a new date will be announced in due course. “President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the immediate suspension of the inauguration of the newly constituted Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) scheduled for Wednesday 24th November, 2021 until further notice.” “A new date for the inauguration of the Board will be announced in due course. “We deeply regret inconveniences caused to members by this suspension, please,” the statement read. Recall that on September 19 this year, Buhari had approved the appointment of the Board and Management

EFCC Arrests Fani-Kayode For Forgery

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A former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, has been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in Lagos. Fani-Kayode was said to be under investigation for alleged forgery and manipulation of documents. Punch newspaper reports that the ex-minister, who rejoined the All Progressives Congress in September, was brought to the Lagos Zonal Office of the anti-graft agency on Tuesday. The details of the allegations against him were sketchy but the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed Fani-Kayode’s arrest by operatives. “I think something like that happened,” he said and declined to comment further. Fani-Kayode had been having a running battle with the EFCC for some time and he was once remanded for 67 days in 2016 alongside a former minister of finance, Nenadi Usman. The duo and two others were facing a 17-count of criminal conspiracy, fraud and money laundering to the tune of N4.9 billion. They denied the allegations, and each of them was later g

Senate Committee on Environment Queries N16B Erosion Management Loan Repayment By Ministry of Environment

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The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, said the Senate Committee on Environment identified and questioned the N16 billion proposed in the 2022 Appropriation Bill for the repayment of the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project, NEWMAP, as the loan was still covered by a 10-year moratorium expiring in 2023. Ekweremadu also said the loan ought to be serviced by various state governments, which utilised them, not the Federal Government. He added that if for any reason the Federal Government wants to repay the loan, such should be provided for in the service-wide vote, not in the budgets of Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, MDAs. A statement signed by Uche Anichukwu, media adviser to the former Deputy President of the Senate quoted him as making the clarifications during the presentation of his Committee’s report on budget hearing before the Senate Committee on Appropriation at the National Assembly, Abuja, on Monday.   “As I

Manchester United Sack Solskjaer

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Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has left the club after Saturday's 4-1 defeat at Watford. That result leaves United seventh in the Premier League  - 12 points behind leaders Chelsea with 12 games played. United have only one win from their past seven league games, a run that includes a 5-0 thrashing by Liverpool and a 2-0 defeat by Manchester City. Solskjaer, 48, replaced Jose Mourinho on an interim basis in December 2018. The Norwegian was then given the job  full-time  in March 2019 on a three-year deal and, in July, signed a new deal with the club until 2024. BBC Sport

Davido Donates N250m Gift Money to Orphanages Across Nigeria

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Nigeria’s Music star, David Adeleke a.k.a Davido says he will donate N200 million gift money received from friends and colleagues to orphanage homes across Nigeria. The hip hop artiste took to his verified Instagram on Saturday to announce the Good news. He said he would make a personal donation of N50 million to make the money N250 million towards the efforts to help the less privileged. He wrote, “I wish to express my sincere gratitude to my colleagues, fans and the public for their generous gift in recent days. “In my usual playful manner, I requested few days ago that my friends, colleagues to send me money in celebration of my birthday. “The response and outcome exceeded my expectation as I received N200 million in less than two days,” he said. Adeleke however, appreciated everyone who had donated their hard-earned money, saying “I am thankful for your generosity”. He added that he had always been passionate about giving back in helping people in need. “In view

Tinubu Visits Orji Kalu, Both Hold Closed Door Meeting

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Former Governor of Lagos State and Chieftain of the All Progressive's Congress (APC) Bola Tinubu has visited the Aso-Villa, Abuja Home of the former Governor of Abia State and current Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu. Tinubu arrived at Kalu's residence at exactly 4:25 PM Both men hugged one another, exchanged cordial pleasantries and proceeded for an indoor meeting.  Reports gathered that Shortly before they engaged in the meeting; Kalu expressed his gratitude to God for Tinubu's speedy recovery. It would be recalled that the former Lagos state governor returned to Nigeria on October 8 after spending months in London, where he underwent knee surgery. The reason for their meeting is not yet known to newsmen but it might not be unconnected with political and economic reasons. The visit comes amidst talks that both men are being strongly positioned for the 2023 presidency to succeed the incumbent President Buhari. Both men were  former Governors of

Kamala Harris: First Woman To Briefly Get US Presidential Powers

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US Vice-President Kamala Harris became the first woman to - briefly - be given presidential powers while Joe Biden underwent a regular health check. President Biden transferred power to Ms Harris for about 85 minutes, while he was placed under anaesthesia for a routine colonoscopy on Friday morning. The medical examination was Mr Biden's first as president and came on the eve of his 79th birthday. Ms Harris temporarily took control of the US military and nuclear weapons. She carried out her duties from her office in the West Wing of the White House, officials said. Ms Harris, 57, is the first woman - and the first black and South Asian American - to be elected US vice-president. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the temporary transfer of powers in such circumstances was not unprecedented, and that it was part of the process set out in the US constitution. BBC

National Assembly Transmits Electoral Act Amendment Bill To The Presidency For Assent

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The National Assembly has transmitted the recently amended Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021 to the Presidency for assent. A statement signed by the Senior Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly matters (Senate),  Senator Babajide Omoworare said the transmission is in  pursuance of Section 58 (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and the Acts Authentication Act Cap. A2 LFN 2004. The statement noted that the Electoral Bill 2021 was transmitted today, Friday November 19, 2021.

Hope Rises For Nnamdi Kanu’s Release As Buhari Vows to Consider Political Solution

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President Muhammadu Buhari has said that an unconditional release of the leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, who is currently standing trial for treason, runs contrary to the doctrine of separation of powers between the Executive and Judiciary. This is as he said, though such a demand is quite heavy, he will consider it nevertheless. Buhari said this on Friday while receiving a group under the aegis of Highly Respected Igbo Greats, led by First Republic parliamentarian and Minister of Aviation, Mbazulike Amaechi, at State House, Abuja. Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement titled ‘President Buhari to Igbo Leaders: your demand for Nnamdi Kanu’s release is heavy. I will consider it’. Speaking to the delegation led by the 93-year-old statesman, Buhari said “You’ve made an extremely difficult demand on me as leader of this country. The implication of your request is very serious. “I

Senator Betty Apiafi Laments Poor State of Women Organisations in Nigeria

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The lawmaker representing Rivers West in the Senate, Betty Apiafi has expressed sadness over what she described as the sorry state of some institutions in Nigeria dedicated to the affairs of women. She named the National Centre for Women Development (NCWD) situated at the Central Business District, Abuja as one of such institutions which she said had been dilapidated for sometime now. Senator Apiafi who is of the People's Democratic Party and Chairman, Senate Committee on Women Affairs, lamented that men have virtually taken over positions in institutions specifically meant for gender matters such as the Ministry of Women Affairs and the Centre for Women Development amongst others. The Centre for Women Development which is located opposite the Head Office of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), was established in 1992 as development - driven  research and policy formulation as well as Gender and Capacity Building Centre for women, particularly during the Better Lif

SEC Defends 2022 Budget, Releases Details of Plans to Cut Down Huge Staff Emolument

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The Senate and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), disagreed Tuesday over spending of revenues made by SEC largely on salaries and emoluments of staff of the Commission. While the Senate through its Committee on Capital Market felt it was wrong for SEC to have expended close to 90% of revenues made in the 2021 fiscal year on staff salaries and emoluments, SEC denied being frivolous on spending of revenues made. Disagreement between the Commission and Senate on revenue, ensued following presentations made by Director General of SEC, Yuguda Lamido to the Committee on Capital Market on budget performance of the agency in 2021 and projections for 2022. Yuguda in his presentation said: "A total of N11.5billion was projected as revenue for   2021 out of which N2.689 billion was realised as at June with the hope of making more before the year runs out. "Total recurrent expenditure for 2021 was budgeted at N13.53 billion but the actual expenditure was N4.063 by

Buhari Leaves Paris for Intra-African Trade Fair in S/Africa - Media Aide

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President Muhammadu Buhari will, on Saturday, leave Paris for Durban, South Africa, at the special invitation of  President Cyril Ramaphosa, to the inauguration of the second Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) 2021. Mr Femi Adesina, the President’s spokesman confirmed this development in a statement on Saturday, in Abuja. The event, billed for Nov. 15 to Nov. 21, was convened by the African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIM), in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat. The theme of the Fair, ”Building Bridges for a Successful AfCFTA”  aims at boosting trade and investments across the African continent, Adesina said, while stressing that the event would also seek to create the enabling environment for businesses to thrive across the continent. He said this would bring to fruition the lofty ideas behind the creation of the AfCFTA, by providing a platform to further identify and proffer solutions to chal

Tordue Salem: NUJ Demands Independent Inquiry, Autopsy

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The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) FCT Council has tasked the Federal Government to empanel an independent probe into circumstances surrounding the death of Vanguard Newspapers reporter, Tordue Salem.   Salem went missing on October 13 in Abuja and was reported dead on November 11 by the newspaper he worked with for several years.   In a press statement, Friday in Abuja, jointly signed by Comrade Emmanuel Ogbeche and Ochiaka Ugwu, chairman and secretary of Council respectively, the union said it was disturbed by the death of Mr. Salem and the account of the police was not in sync with credible investigation.   "The death of Mr. Tordue Salem opens another dark chapter for journalism and journalists in Nigeria and we are grievously saddened by it," the statement reads.   "While the NUJ appreciates the effort of the police in finding the corpse of Mr. Salem, as a union we are not persuaded by the account of the police as it poses more questions than answers.

Missing Vanguard Reporter Was Killed by Hit And Run Driver - Police

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Police authorities in Abuja, Friday, paraded 29-year-old Itoro Clement, suspected to be the killer of Vanguard reporter, Tordue Salem. Salem, who covered the House of Representatives, got missing on October 13, in Abuja at about 8p.m. Addressing journalists on the incident, the Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba said upon interrogation, Clement, who is a commercial driver, said he hit Salem around Mabushi/Wuse area of Abuja metropolis at about 10p.m., on the day of his disappearance. He said the driver took off immediately and never reported the accident to the police. According to Force PRO, further police investigation indicated that Salem’s body, already identified by members of his family, was deposited at Wuse General Hospital. He said that the police were, however, able to retrieve three identity cards and two Automated Teller Machine, ATM, cards of two commercial banks when the body was searched. The identity cards included that of Vanguard, National

Missing Vanguard Reporter Found Dead

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Reports say the missing Vanguard reporter,  Tordue Henry Salem, has been found dead in Abuja. Vanguard newspaper reports that details of the circumstances surrounding the  recovery of his remains were still sketchy as at 9.30 pm, Thursday.    Late Salem who was covering the House of Representatives, was last seen on October 13, 2021. After the close of work that day, he was said to have alighted from a cab at Total filling station, close to the Force headquarters, and headed  for B.J’s garden, in the company of a female relative. Thereafter, he reportedly flagged a cab for the lady who left before him, informing  her that  he was going to Area 8, Garki. But he was never seen until his remains were recovered on Thursday. An alarm on his mysterious disappearance was raised the next day, from where the matter was directed to the Intelligence Response Team , IRT on October 16, 2021. Some arrests were reportedly made. Among them was that of a man who was picked for attempti

Police Parade Suspects Connected to Raid on Abuja Home of Justice Mary Odili

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More facts have emerged on the October 29 raid on Justice Mary Odili’s Maitama residence as the police on Thursday paraded 14 suspects involved in the incident in Abuja. The police found out that the team who stormed the apartment were not security operatives. The men were said to have been led by a fake Chief Superintendent of Police, Lawrence Ajojo, who admitted that he was engaged as a consultant by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN. Parading the suspects at the Force Criminal Investigation Department, Garki, Abuja, the Force spokesman, Frank Mba, said the suspects involved in the criminal act came from different professional backgrounds. Ajojo told journalists that he was not a police officer, adding that he was a consultant to the AGF. “I am not an officer of the Nigeria Police but a consultant for the AGF; he did not send us to raid Mrs Odili’s house,” he stated. A complement of security operatives had stormed J

Anambra Guber: Andy Ubah Rejects Election Result Declared by INEC

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Senator Andy Uba Campaign Organization has rejected the result of the just-concluded Anambra State Governorship election declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC. A statement signed by the Andy Uba Campaign Organizations' spokesperson Jerry Ugokwe, said what happened on November 6, 2021 fell far below the acceptable standard of a free and fair election and can best be described as an electoral fraud perpetrated by INEC, Willie Obiano Administration and the security forces. The Andy Uba Campaign Organization noted that the elections were characterized by widespread irregularities, intimidation and voter suppression in order to clear the path for the dishonorable victory of APGA in the election. It stressed that the publishing of results on Social Media handles of APGA even before official announcement by INEC was another clear manifestation of collusion between the Obiano Administration and the electoral body. The Andy Uba Campaign Organiz

Former South African Apartheid President FW de Klerk Dies at 85

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FW de Klerk, South Africa’s last white president, died on Thursday aged 85, his foundation announced. De Klerk and South Africa’s first black president Nelson Mandela shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for leading the “miracle” transition from white rule in the country. He died after a battle with cancer, his foundation said in a statement. De Klerk had announced his diagnosis on his 85th birthday, on March 18 this year. “It is with the deepest sadness that the FW de Klerk Foundation must announce that former president FW de Klerk died peacefully at his home in Fresnaye earlier this morning following his struggle against mesothelioma cancer,” it said. He is survived by his wife Elita, children Jan and Susan, and grandchildren. AFP

Steven Gerrard Named New Aston Villa Manager

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Aston Villa have announced Steven Gerrard as new manager as seen in a statement on the club’s website on Thursday. The former Liverpool captain joined Villa from Glasgow Rangers which he guided to the Scottish Premiership title last season Speaking on the appointment, CEO Christian Purslow said the 41-year-old has the experience which the club values. He was quoted by Villa website, “The Board of Aston Villa are delighted to appoint Steven as our new Head Coach. “Since moving into coaching after his illustrious playing career, Steven began by managing and developing top young players in the Liverpool FC Academy which is experience we value highly at Aston Villa."

Ekweremadu Congratulates Soludo, Says Anambra Has Raised the Bar of Leadership Recruitment

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Former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has joined other well-meaning Nigerians in congratulating the winner of the November 2021 governorship election in Anambra State, Prof. Charles Soludo, saying he possesses the experience and pedigree to lead the State and contributing to development of the South East and Nigeria.   Ekweremadu, who also congratulated the people of Anambra and critical stakeholders for the peaceful election, said that by electing Prof. Soludo, the people of Anambra State had raised the bar of leadership recruitment in the South East, saying such was very important if Ndigbo must build the South East of their dreams.   In a post on his verified Facebook page, @iamekweremadu, the lawmaker said: “Hearty congratulations to the governor-elect of Anambra State, Prof. Charles Soludo, on his well earned victory.    “I commend him for his humility and magnanimity in victory manifest in his hand of fellowship to all, especially other

Senate Approves Buhari’s $16.2bn, €1.02bn Loan Request

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The Senate has approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s loan request for the sum of $16,230,077,718 (USD) billion, €1,020,000,000 billion (Euros), under the 2018-2020 External Borrowing plan.   Also approved was a grant component of $125 million (USD), and the request to the Bank of Industries for the issuance of €500 million (Euros) but no more than €750 million Eurobond in the International Capital Market.    The chamber’s approval to the loan requests was, however, accompanied by a resolution that the terms and conditions of the loan from the funding agencies, be forwarded to the National Assembly prior to its execution for approval and proper documentation.    The approval followed the consideration of a report by the Committee on Local and Foreign Debt on the proposed 2018-2020 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan.    Chairman of the Committee, Senator Clifford Ordia (PDP, Edo Central), in his presentation, said President Buhari’s request was in compliance with the p