29 Apr 2013


Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger controversially sold Van Persie to United for £24 million last summer but the french man has revealed that he would not allow any other Arsenal player to follow according to The Telegraph, UK.

Asked if Ferguson wanted any more of his players, Wenger said: “I don’t know but he will not sign them from us.” 

Van Persie was part of the Manchester United team given a guard of honour and, after mistakenly heading for the home dressing room when he arrived at the Emirates on Sunday, he was allowed back in by the Arsenal players after the match.

In between, Van Persie scored a penalty that denied Arsenal two precious points in the race for Champions League football and Wenger admitted that his team must now win their three remaining matches.

Fashola: We’ve Learnt Greatly from the Boston Attack

Governor Babatunde Fashola

The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, at the weekend said his government picked up critical lessons from the Boston marathon attack in the United States, a couple of weeks ago, which left many people dead and scores badly injured, some with permanent damage.

Speaking at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, John Hopkins University, Washington D.C,  where he delivered a lecture, Fashola said he kept long nights taking notes on how the US government managed the situation from the moment the attack was launched.

Describing terrorism as a trans-boundary crime, Fashola told the audience that: “I kept long hours at night following the events, taking notes about how the first responders reacted and how the law enforcement carried out their duties. They are notes that I have shared with my colleagues in government that are in charge of health and security services and many of them shared some of those long nights as well.”

The governor described the occasion of the lecture as “an appropriate opportunity to personally convey the sympathy of the people and government of the state to all of you Americans here and members of the free world for the unfortunate and horrific incident that happened in Boston over a week ago. We join you in condemning and fighting terror wherever it rears its ugly head.

“For those who still fail to understand, terror is a trans-boundary crime with global ramifications. Even though we were not physically here with you during those traumatic moments, we were deeply affected by the events as we watched on global news.”

The incident aside, Fashola also shared his experience on the trip to the US when he said: “Violence and devastating consequences compelled me to review my invitation to speak here today. I asked myself if it was safe to come. I asked myself if the law enforcement and border security agencies would be increasingly hostile to visitors in view of the origins of the suspects of the crime.

“I asked myself if people like me, a Muslim, would not be profiled for all sorts of body searches. I considered calling Professor Peter Lewis to cancel the trip. The event is a call I never made. I decided to personally experience whatever new measures that visitors to this country would now have to contend with.

“I am pleased that I never picked up the phone to call Professor Lewis. I am also pleased to say that none of my fears about the possible heavy-handed reaction were borne out– at least, certainly not from my experience or that of my entourage. But something that was non-official, in this sense, did not represent the manifest position of the government of this country, happened,” he noted.

Continuing, Fashola said “As we were being assisted through Immigration by my country’s ambassador, the very amiable Ambassador Archibong, an elderly American lady shouted out: ‘Why should these visitors go through before me? This is my country.’ Her words will stay with me for a long time as I struggle to make meaning of them. But why are they relevant here?

“It is because Professor Lewis asked me to speak on a topic that relates to the challenges of governance and development in Lagos State, and governing Nigeria’s federal system. I had chosen the topic ‘Liberating and coordinating diversity.’ But I did not write my speech until Wednesday, the day I got here.

“As far as I know, many countries that have opted for a federal system of government have done so because it is the best known system for managing diversity; whether of tribes, nationalities, religions, ethnicities or languages. In this sense, this country and my country, especially my state, Lagos, are no different.

“Lagos shares many similarities with New York: as former federal capitals, as current commercial capitals, as melting pots of different people from different walks of life. Where would our two countries be without the diversity of their immigrant population- an immigrant population whose skills and financial resource help to keep the wheels of development turning?” he asked, adding: “I will let you ponder over these thoughts, and move to the content of my speech.”

By Olawale Olaleye

28 Apr 2013

UTME Tragedy

“the students were coming from Port Harcourt to Aba in a Hiace bus when their driver rammed into a Mack truck parked by the side of the expressway”

Nine persons believed to be candidates for the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) examination, which was taken throughout the federation yesterday, lost their lives Friday morning at the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway. The nine candidates died when the commercial bus they were travelling in got involved in a fatal accident.  Sunday Sun gathered that the vehicle, a Hiace commercial bus with registration number, Rivers XY 249 PHC, was travelling from Port Harcourt to Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State, when it rammed into a stationary Mack Truck with registration number, Lagos XC 109 SLK.

Eyewitness said the driver of the commercial bus was on top speed when on reaching Obeku-Ihie, near Aba, he wanted to overtake, but suddenly saw another vehicle from the opposite direction and in an attempt to avoid a head-on collision he lost control, veered off the expressway and rammed into the truck parked by the roadside. He described the accident as very fatal, stressing that the occupants of the crashed vehicle looked like they were going for an examination.

Nine out of the 15 passengers inside the vehicle, including the driver and his conductor died instantly while six were seriously injured. The accident, which occurred around 9:30 am, caused heavy traffic build up on the ever busy Aba side of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway as commuters, particularly those using the Port Harcourt-Aba lane had to disembark to help the police from Ugwunagbo to rescue some passengers trapped inside the bus. Blood of the accident victims were splattered on the ground several metres away from the spot of the carnage and people wept openly as mangled bodies were brought out from the wreckage of the vehicle.

Abia State Command Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Geoffrey Ogbonna, who confirmed the incident to newsmen, said the 15 passengers were believed to be going to sit for JAMB examination that took place yesterday, considering the items recovered at the scene of the accident. According to the PPRO, “the students were coming from Port Harcourt to Aba in a Hiace bus when their driver rammed into a Mack truck parked by the side of the expressway”. He said the six persons who survived the accident and were in critical conditions and immediately taken to hospital, while bodies of the dead, including the driver and his conductor, had been deposited at the mortuary.

Source: sunnews.com

Finding the perfect mate (part 2)

I hear it almost everyday from my single female friends; 'It's hard to find a good man these days.' My response to them is usually that it depends on where you are looking. Sometimes what you are looking for is not packaged the way you would expect.

You have to be able to spot potential in a man and be willing to grow with him.

Let's keep it real here ladies. If the first thing coming out of the guy's mouth is about your rocking body he may not be interested in much more. A man who is into church suggests that he has certain values, a man going doing classes suggests he is into improving himself. It is possible to find good guys, they are still out there, but you have to look where they are.

Look for the General not the Specific. Some ladies have narrowed down the 'right man' to a decimal. He has to be 6ft 2 inches, dark, a dimple on his left cheek, bulging biceps, cute smile, brown eyes, wearing a yellow shirt, one earring, rich, fancy car... the list goes on and on. Look for general characteristics instead such as being thoughtful, caring and ambitious. This opens up your eyes to many more dating prospects.

Be open. Keep your heart open to love. The right guy for you may be afraid to approach you because of your attitude, or because you just will not take him seriously. Maybe you have your eyes set on Mr. Wrong so much you cannot see Mr. Right waiting for his chance. Are you still brooding over a lost love to the point you cannot see new love? Common, life has to move on!

It is hard enough finding love these days. It is even harder when you do not know how or where to look...

To be continued..

                                                                                    By Princewill Echebiri

JAMB: Over 1 million Students Will Be Denied Admission

The federal government has stated that over 1 million candidates that sat for the University Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) on Saturday, may not gain admission into the nation’s tertiary institutions due to lack of space.

The Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu Rufai, made this known at a news conference in Abuja on Saturday while invigilating the UTME that the current capacity of tertiary institutions across the country is only about 500,000.

This she notes cannot cater for the 1.7million candidates sitting for the UTME.

Professor Rufai who bemoaned the gross inadequate number of universities in the country appealed for more public private partnerships for the establishment of more institutions to increase access to university education in Nigeria.

She made the plea noting that the growing number of students who enrol for admission into tertiary institutions annually is alarming as revealed by the number of students siting for this year’s UTME.

The Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) announced that over 1.7million candidates registered for the UTME, an increase of 13.35 percent compared to last years.

According to the Minister, there is only space for one-third of these applicants and the remaining candidates, who may even pass the admission cut-off mark, may never get admitted.

She further lamented that this vicious cycle is bound to continue if the appeals of the federal government goes unheeded.

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) recently approved provisional licenses for the establishment of five new private universities in Nigeria.

This brings the total number of universities (government owned and private) in the country to 122.  With over a hundred universities, the federal government claim, the institutions are not enough to address the challenge currently facing the nation’s tertiary education.


The problem of accessing admission into the nation’s tertiary institutions is further accentuated by the over subscription of applicants to federal universities because of its low and affordable tuition.

Prof Rufai revealed that during the 2011/2012 admission year, a total of 99,195 candidates applied for placement at the University of Lagos that has a carrying capacity of a little above 6,000.

The picture is similar in all public universities. Many hope for increased collaboration to bring an end to this menace.

Culled from channelstv.com

France and Cameroon Paid Boko Haram $3.15 million To Free French Hostages – Report

Members of fundamentalist sect Boko Haram were paid an equivalent of around $3.15 million by French and Cameroonian negotiators before freeing seven French hostages this month, a confidential Nigerian government report obtained by Reuters said.

The memo does not say who paid the ransom for the family of seven, who were all released on April 19, although it says Cameroon freed some Boko Haram detainees as part of the deal.
France and Cameroon reiterated denials that any ransom was paid. Nigerian authorities declined to comment.
Armed men on motorcycles snatched Tanguy Moulin-Fournier, his wife, brother and the couple’s four young children, the youngest of whom was four years old, on February 19 while they were on holiday near the Waza national park in north Cameroon, some 10 km (six miles) from the Nigerian border. They were believed to have been held in northeast Nigeria.
Boko Haram claimed the capture of the family of Moulin-Fournier, who worked in Cameroon for French utility firm GDF Suez.
French President Francois Hollande at the time denied any money was paid when the family was released on April 19.
The Nigerian report suggests that 1.6 billion CFA francs ($3.15 million) was paid, but that right up until the last minute Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau had insisted on double that, before agreeing to reduce it if some Boko Haram members in Cameroonian jails were freed.
Reacting to the report, a French foreign ministry official said that France has passed a clear message that it does not pay ransoms. Cameroon government spokesman Issa Tchiroma Bakary said “Cameroon did not pay any ransom”.
A spokesman for Nigeria’s government declined to comment.
The report suggests Nigerian security forces decided not to try to rescue the hostages so as not to endanger their lives. A botched rescue attempt of a British and an Italian hostage believed to have been held by Islamist sect Ansaru in March last year resulted in both hostages being killed.
French news network i-tele reported earlier on Friday that a ransom had of $7 million had been paid, suggesting either Cameroon President Paul Biya or GDF-Suez had paid it.
Eight French hostages are being held in the Sahel region, although the fate of one of them is unclear after al-Qaeda’s north African arm last month said it had beheaded Philippe Verdon.
Hollande has said Paris has ended a policy of paying ransoms for hostages, but suspicion that the country still does despite official denials has been a source of tension with the United States.
France brushed off an allegation by a former U.S. diplomat that it paid a $17 million ransom in vain for the release of four hostages abducted in 2010 from Niger.
Hollande told the family of the Sahel hostages in January that the new policy also meant that he had told companies and insurance firms to not pay ransoms.
Source: channelstv.com

26 Apr 2013

Boston manhunt and lessons for Nigeria

The attention of the whole world was drawn to Boston, in the United States of America, these past few days when two powerful bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon killing three people, including an eight-year-old child, and injuring more than 100. This ugly incident, unfortunately, turned out one of the city’s most cherished rites of spring from a scene of cheers and sweaty triumph to one of sorrow, tears and blood.

Almost three-quarters of the 23,000 runners who participated in the race had already crossed the finish line when a bomb that had apparently been placed in a garbage can exploded in a cloud of smoke amid a crowd of spectators in the heart of the city. Thirteen seconds later, another bomb exploded several hundred feet away. Pandemonium erupted as panicked runners and spectators scattered, and rescue workers rushed in to care for the dozens of maimed and injured, some of whom lost legs in the blast, witnesses said.

Speaking at the White House, in response to the tragic incident, President Obama vowed to bring those responsible for the blasts to justice. He said: “We will get to the bottom of this. We will find who did this, and we will find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.”

Within few hours after the president’s pledge to hunt down the perpetrators of the ugly incident, the security apparatus of the United States simply rose to the occasion. The entire city of Boston was shut down in a dramatic manhunt that saw security officials combing the whole of the town.

President Obama was fully involved in the manhunt as he was kept abreast of the situation in Watertown throughout the period by his assistant for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, Lisa Monaco. Aside this, Obama was also watching the drama unfold on television in the White House.

Hours after the FBI released images of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, thereby narrowing the search for the suspects to two brothers Tamerlan Tsarnaev  and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, both Kyrgyz nationals living in Cambridge. They later stated that Tamerlan, age 26, had been shot and killed, but younger brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was still at large. The manhunt intensified as the night went on, and the entire Boston area woke to find itself on lockdown, with public transportation shut down and citizens advised to stay indoors.

Shortly after, shots were heard in Watertown, as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was discovered hiding in a boat in the backyard of a residence. And thus ended the nightmare of Boston residents four days after the bombing.

Now, coming home to Nigeria, there are some salient lessons for us to learn as a nation from the swift manner in which authorities in the United States responded to the Boston debacle. In the last three years, our country has plunged deep into the abyss of catastrophes resulting from the dastardly activities of the Boko Haram group and other activities of criminals who have continued to hold the country to ransom.

The tragedy, however, is really not in these acts of blood spilling; rather it is in the effectiveness of the response of appropriate authorities.  Thus far, we seem to be getting used to a stereotyped form of response. First, different people pay visits to sights of gruesome murderous acts, commiserate with those involved, promise heavens on earth until there is another incidence when the whole circle will be repeated all over again. In some instances the president and police chiefs would promise to get the culprits. If the magnitude of the tragedy is serious, the president or as the case may be, the governor, could choose to be very ‘decisive’ by setting up a committee to ‘look’ into circumstances surrounding the sad event. And you can bet that the committee would set about the job in a very ‘patriotic’ manner.

What about our people? Could our people have allowed a whole city in the country to be shut down in search of one criminal responsible for the death of ‘just a few people’ who had nothing better to do with their time than going to watch a marathon race? It wouldn’t take up to two days before traders and other ‘very busy’ people would begin to tell those who care to listen that those “that have died have died” and there is nothing we could do to bring them back to life. More so, when there is money to be made.

If there is any lesson that we have to take home from the Boston experience, it is that we have to be more serious in respect for the sanctity of the human life. This has to reflect in every aspect of our lives. The doctors in our hospitals, engineers at the various construction sites, police officers, public transporters, and other such professionals that deal directly with the people must hold human life as sacrosanct.

Another lesson we have to learn from the incident is that we need to put in place strong institutions that will ensure that criminals and crooks pay for their evil deeds in the spirit of the law of the land. What it takes for evil to triumph is for evil to go unpunished. Only God knows the number of unresolved murder cases we have had in this country. Governor Oshiomhole is currently battling with security agencies in a bid to unravel the murder of his late Private Secretary.

No matter the perspective from which we look at the issue of granting amnesty to militants and Boko Haram members, the bottom line is that we don’t have any concrete system that could decisively deal with crimes and criminals on ground. So, we would rather opt for the option that is easily available.  Similarly, where criminals are apprehended, our justice system is so absorbent that criminal cases go on for years without getting to any logical conclusion.

Perhaps more importantly, our leaders need to take a cue from the way President Obama personally got involved in the process that culminated in the nabbing of the culprits of the Boston tragedy. He did not only talk tough, he acted tough. He demonstrated the quality of a good leader. He stood by the people of Boston. He showed them he cares. He gave leadership and direction to a dejected people at a very critical period.

This is what is seriously lacking in Nigeria and that is why we are where we are. Our leaders need to empathise with the people by coming up with programmes and policies that practically demonstrate their love for the people. We must build good roads in order to stop avoidable carnage on our roads. In everything that the leaders do, they must always put the people first. This is true leadership. This is what our nation need.

By Tayo Ogunbiyi