‘We Are Not Satisfied,’ NARD Appeals Court Ruling Directing Doctors To Resume

A file photo of doctors during a protest.

 

The leadership of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has faulted the ruling of the National Industrial Court (NIC) directing its members to return to work.

A communique jointly signed by NARD President, Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, and the union’s Secretary-General, Dr Jerry Isogun, on Friday revealed that the doctors have begun the process to appeal the ruling.

“As we are all aware, especially those that were present in court today (Friday), the NIC has given a ruling on the application for interlocutory injunction filed by the Federal Government,” the statement said. “We are not satisfied with the ruling.

“After consultations with our lawyers, we have instructed our lawyers to appeal the ruling and file an application for stay of execution.”

READ ALSO: Court Orders Resident Doctors To Suspend Industrial Action

The statement is in reaction to the ruling of Justice Bashar Alkali who ordered the resident doctors to suspend their ongoing industrial action and return to work immediately, pending the determination of the substantive suit.

Justice Alkali who ruled on an application by the government had also directed parties in the matter to return to the negotiating table, saying no amount of money could compensate for the loss of lives as a result of the impasse.

 

Fair Hearing Denied?

In demonstration of its displeasure with the decision of the court, NARD instructed its lawyers to file necessary processes, rather than ask members to return to their duty posts.

It also asked the doctors to remain calm and resolute, saying “everything depends on our firm resolve.”

“We are committed to protecting your rights within the confines of the law. We believe justice shall be ours ultimately,” the union told its members.

It stated that the court had reserved ruling on which application it would take first on Wednesday, and its lawyers argued that the court ought to hear and determine the Notice of Preliminary Objection (NPO) filed by the doctors to challenge the jurisdiction of the court before taking the application for an interlocutory injunction or any other application.

The union added that the court adjourned ruling on the argument on the matter until Friday, after which it ruled that it would take the government’s application for interlocutory injunction first while its NPO would be taken and determined along with the substantive suit.

“Also, our lawyers drew the attention of the court to our application for stay of execution of the ex parte order and that the court should take that application first. The court insisted that the government application would be taken first.

“On 15/9/21, the court ordered all parties to resume negotiations. The government refused to resume negotiations in line with the order of 23/8/21. Our lawyers reported this development to the court. We have demonstrated good faith and would continue to do so,” the statement said.

NARD accused the court of denial of a fair hearing by refusing to hear and determine its NPO before taking the government’s application for interlocutory injunction.

Buhari Includes House Committee Chair In Health Reform Committee

A file photo of Dr Tanko Sununu.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the inclusion of Dr Tanko Sununu as the representative of the House of Representatives in the Health Sector Reform Committee.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement on Friday.

Sununu, who is Chairman of the House Committee on Healthcare Services, had previously served as a Secretary-General of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), as well as an associate member of the World Medical Association.

READ ALSO: JOHESU Faults Composition Of FG’S Health Sector Reform Committee

“The health sector reform committee, under the chairmanship of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has members drawn from private and public sector health care management professionals, development partners, representatives from the National Assembly, as well as the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, among others,” said Shehu.

“The committee, which is set up for a period of six months, will undertake a review of all healthcare reforms adopted in the past two decades and lessons learned and factor them into the development of the new health sector reform programme.”

The approval for Sununu’s inclusion comes a week after the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) faulted the composition of the committee.

JOHESU had in a letter dated September 9 and addressed to the President criticised the Federal Government for ignoring all other health professionals to be included in the committee.

It stressed that over 95 per cent of its membership were physicians and wondered why they were left out.

The union faulted the inclusion of the Director-General of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Council (FCCPC), while an important agency such as the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) was excluded.

According to it, NAFDAC regulates all drugs, medical devices, equipment, and chemicals, which are the essential tools and commodities that drive any credible health system.

VAT Dispute: Umahi Begs Governors To ‘Sheathe Their Swords’

 

Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, has appealed to state governors to sheathe their swords as the dispute over who should collect Value Added Tax (VAT) between the state governments and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) persists.

He believes if the FIRS is stripped of such responsibility, only a few states will be major beneficiaries while others will be left to suffer.

“Even if you have all the money in the world, you will not be able to use it. So, it is very important, and it is coming at a very bad time,” the governor said on Friday when he appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

“I’m pleading with my colleagues to sheathe their swords, let us pass through this challenging moment before we start looking at who is right or wrong.

“We have to be our brother’s keeper; we have to see how we can grow the economies of the weakest states, otherwise we will breed a lot of insecurities to those super states; this is very important.”

READ ALSO: Appeal Court Reserves Ruling On Lagos Govt’s Application For Joinder Over VAT Dispute

A series of litigations and rulings have surfaced since the Rivers State government took the decision to test the legality of the collection of VAT by FIRS in various states.

 

‘Ebonyi Should Be Pitied’

The dispute started on August 9 when a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt granted the state government the right to collect VAT – an order that affected other states.

Although the case is before the Supreme Court, the latest is the reservation of the ruling of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, on the application for a joinder filed by the Lagos State government.

But Governor Umahi proposed that before states should be allowed to collect VAT, the ‘weakest states’ must be provided with enough resources to give them a comparative advantage.

According to him, the Federal Government should be the major contributor to VAT while state and local governments should have 85 per cent and the remaining 15 per cent taken by the Federal Government.

“Now, the Federal Government and the super states will be the most beneficiaries, and a number of states will collapse and by the reason of rampant law,” the governor decried. “I am also encouraging the Federal Government to look the way of Ebonyi State, we are highly disadvantaged.

“You say we should grow the economy, with what? We don’t have money to grow the economy. We have agriculture, we have solid minerals, and our solid minerals are being stolen away. Ebonyi State should be pitied, we’re in a very difficult situation. We have a lot of our youths unemployed.”

VAT Dispute: Appeal Court Reserves Ruling On Lagos Govt’s Application For Joinder

A file photo of security operatives at the Court of Appeal in Abuja.

 

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has reserved its ruling on the application for a joinder filed by the Lagos State government as the legal tussle over the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) continues.

When the court resumed sitting on Thursday, the Attorney General of Lagos State and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Moyesore Onigbanjo, began the day’s hearing by taking his application for joinder in the suit.

He informed the panel of judges led by Justice Haruna Tsammani that Lagos was entitled to collect VAT, stressing that the VAT Act was approved by an order of the court, although it has been annulled.

According to the senior lawyer, the states that are recognised by the Constitution to collect VAT and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) recognises that fact.

He added that the principles for joinder of a party, seeking to be joined, must be a necessary party and show that its interest, legally and financially, will be affected.

Onigbanjo stated that going by the submissions of the FIRS, Lagos State has already enacted the VAT law and it would lead to another action if they were not allowed to be joined in the suit.

He, therefore, urged the court to uphold the application for joinder, arguing that the case of joinder sought to prevent multiplicity of action.

On his part, counsel to the Rivers State government and SAN, Ifedayo Adedipe, supported the application for joinder by the Lagos State government.

But counsel to the FIRS and SAN, Mahmoud Magaji, opposed the application for joinder while relying on Section 243 of the Constitution.

He explained that the Constitution does not support applications for joinder and Lagos State was not a party to the suit at the trial court.

Responding, Onigbanjo countered Magaji’s argument, insisting that Lagos was one of the 36 states mentioned in the judgement of the trial court.

After listening to the arguments of the counsels to the parties in the matter, Justice Tsammani reserved the ruling on the application for joinder to a later date to be communicated in due time.

I Was Wrong About Buhari In The Past, Says Fani-Kayode After Joining APC

A photo taken on September 16, 2021, shows President Buhari and Mr Fani-Kayode at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

 

Former Minister of Aviation, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, on Thursday said he was wrong about some of his criticisms of the Muhammadu Buhari administration in the past.

Fani-Kayode, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today, attributed his actions in the past to the fact that he did not know the President so well at the time.

“It is absolutely clear to me that the perception that we had in the past, that many people had, is clearly wrong,” he said. “We can work together, we can come together, we can build bridges, we can effect unity in this country.

“A man that I believe would not listen to anybody else in the past, I was quite wrong on that. With his receptive ears, his reception, and those around him; I have seen that definitely this is a man that one can work with provided you go through the right channels.”

The former minister spoke hours after he met with President Buhari where he was formally introduced as the newest member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He was led to the meeting with the President by the APC National Caretaker Committee Chairman and Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, as well as Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State.

 

Not An Angel, Not A Demon

Fani-Kayode, a former chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and strong critic of the President, explained his decision to return to the ruling party.

According to him, he criticised the President in the past and done that effectively when he felt it was appropriate to do so.

“However, having moved closer to him (Buhari) over the last few months, I have discovered a lot of things that I did not know before; there is a lot going on behind the scenes,” the former PDP chieftain said.

“The most important thing is this – if I believe in a certain philosophy or I believe that we should move in a certain direction, and I am getting positive responses when I act from within the family as it were, and do so behind closed doors and ensure that change is effected in terms of policy, the way in which the country is run, the way in which disputes are settled among our various people and in terms of war against terror, and I get positive results on the consequence of my personal contributions at various levels; then I have to respect that.

“Over the last few years, I spoke against him (Buhari) probably more than anybody else in this country. I am not saying Mr President is an angel and I am certainly not saying he is a demon; I am saying he is a man like every other man.”

Despite moving to the APC, the former minister insisted that he would never change in terms of his core values and principles.

He vowed to carry such core values and principles into the ruling party and owed nobody an apology for taking such a decision.

Southern Governors Back VAT Collection By States, Zoning Of 2023 Presidency To South

Governors from the southern region and their representatives pose for a photograph at the end of the meeting in Enugu State on September 16, 2021.

 

Governors from the southern region of Nigeria have declared their support for the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) by state governments, in place of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

They made the declaration on Thursday at a meeting of the governors held at the Government House in Enugu State.

Chairman of the Forum and Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, made the position of the governors known in a communique issued at the end of the meeting.

According to him, the meeting resolved to support the position that the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the states.

The governors reaffirmed their commitment to fiscal federalism and stressed the need for the southern states to pursue its inclusion in the Nigerian Constitution, through the ongoing constitutional amendment.

To achieve this, they advised the states to leverage the legislative competence of their respective State Houses of Assembly, as well as their representatives in the National Assembly.

Ahead of the general elections in 2023, the governors insisted that the next Nigerian leader must come from the South.

They commended the rate at which members were enacting the law prohibiting the open grazing of cattle in line with the uniform template and called on others yet to do so to follow suit.

Similarly, the governors lauded the Nigerian Governors’ Forum for its handling of issues around the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and ownership of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

At the meeting, they called for the total functioning of the agreed regional security outfits to ensure the security of lives and properties of the people of the region.

Read the communique issued at the end of the meeting below:

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE MEETING OF THE GOVERNORS OF SOUTHERN NIGERIA IN THE GOVERNMENT HOUSE, ENUGU, ENUGU STATE, ON THURSDAY, 16th SEPTEMBER 2021.

The Nigerian Southern Governors Forum at its meeting of today, Thursday, 16tm September 2021 held in the Government House, Enugu, Enugu State reviewed the state of the nation and the progress of implementation of the decisions reached in her previous meetings and further resolved as follows:

Expressed satisfaction with the rate at which the states in Southern Nigeria are enacting or amending the Anti-Open Grazing Laws which align with the uniform template and aspiration of Southern Governors and encouraged the States that are yet to enact this law to do so expeditiously.

Encouraged the full operationalization of already agreed regional security outfits, which would meet, share intelligence and collaborate, to ensure the security and safety of the region.

Reaffirmed its earlier commitment to fiscal federalism as resolved at the inaugural meeting of the Forum held on Tuesday, 11 May 2021 at Asaba, Delta State and emphasised the need for the Southern States to leverage the legislative competence of their respective State Houses of Assembly as well as representation in the National assembly to pursue its inclusion in the Nigerian Constitution through the ongoing constitutional amendment.

Following from paragraph 3 above, the meeting resolved to support the position that the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the States.

Expressed satisfaction with the handling of issues around the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and ownership of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by the larger Nigerian Governors Forum.

Reiterated their earlier position that the next President of Nigeria must come from the Southern part of Nigerian line with politics of equity, justice, and fairness.

The Forum thanked the host Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and chose Rivers State as the next host for the Southern Governors’ Forum meeting in November 2021.

Arakunrin Oluwarotimi O. Akeredolu, SAN

Governor, Ondo State and Chairman, Southern Governors’ Forum

VIDEO: I Am Very Much Okay, EFCC Boss Bawa Speaks From Home

 

Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, says he is well and in good shape following the incident at an event on Thursday in Abuja.

Bawa, who spoke from his residence in the nation’s capital, featured as a guest on Politics Today hours after he was reported to have slumped at the event organised by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).

“I am ok, you can see that I am very much ok,” he said on the Channels Television’s political programme. “Being the 16th of September, today is the National Identity Day and I was invited for a programme by NIMC, or specifically by the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, and while giving my goodwill message during the progamme, there was a bit of dizziness on me, and I had to excuse myself from the stage.

“Of course, I went straight to the hospital where the doctors confirmed to me that everything about me is ok, except for the fact that I am a bit dehydrated, and I need to take a lot of water.”

The EFCC chief revealed that he went straightaway from the hospital to his office to tidy up some things after which he headed home.

He thanks Nigerians for their prayers and good wishes, saying their actions meant a lot and have become a source of inspiration for him to forge ahead.

 

Bawa Is Hale And Hearty

A file photo of EFCC CHairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa.

 

Earlier, Bawa was delivering a speech titled ‘Importance of Digital Identification’ in commemoration of the National Identity Day when he was said to have become emotional suddenly.

Attributing his demeanour to the death of a member of staff of the commission, the anti-graft agency’s boss stopped the speech abruptly and walked off the stage, sat in his chair and slumped.

He was immediately rushed out of the hall, accompanied by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, he later said Bawa was already in a stable condition.

The event continued thereafter.

Following the incident, EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, corroborated the position of the minister in a statement, saying Bawa was in a good shape.

“The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Commission, EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa is hale and hearty,” the statement read.

“This clarification became necessary following an incident today September 16, 2021, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja where he was giving a goodwill message to the National Identity Day celebration, felt unwell and had to return to his seat.

“He has since received medical attention and is due back at his desk.”

UPDATED: Fani-Kayode Joins APC, Explains Role In Defection Of Three PDP Governors

 

Former Minister of Aviation, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, has officially defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The former PDP chieftain was introduced to President Muhammadu Buhari as the newest member of the ruling party on Thursday during a visit to the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

He was led to the meeting with the President by the APC National Caretaker Committee Chairman and Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, as well as Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State.

A photo taken on September 16, 2021, shows President Buhari and Mr Fani-Kayode at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

 

The Secretary to the Government of Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, was also present at the meeting to introduce Fani-Kayode.

Shortly after meeting with President Buhari, the new APC member had a session with State House correspondents where he claimed responsibility for the defection of three PDP governors who joined the ruling party – Governor Matawalle, as well as Governor David Umahi (Ebonyi) and Governor Ben Ayade (Cross River).

 

More Governors Defecting?

Fani-Kayode, a former spokesman for the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, said he was instrumental in the events that led to the defection of the three governors.

He told State House correspondents that he had been a founding member of the APC and simply returned to the ruling party for the unity of the country.

In this photo taken on September 16, 2021, President Buhari is flanked by Governor Buni and Governor Matawalle (to the left), as well as Mr Fani-Kayode and Mr Mustapha (to the right) at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

 

The former minister revealed that he was equally wooing three more governors in the main opposition party to join the ruling party.

He listed them to include Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, and Governor Ifeanyi Uguanyi of Enugu State.

He said whatever opinion anyone may have about his credibility, as a result of his constant change of parties, was up to them.

President Buhari meets with Governor Buni, Governor Matawalle, and Mr Fani-Kayode at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

 

Fani-Kayode, a lawyer, used to be a strong critic of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

He was the Special Assistant on Public Affairs to former President Olusegun Obasanjo between 2003 and 2006.

Also in 2006, the new APC member served as the Minister of Culture and Tourism for a few months before he was later appointed as the Minister of Aviation later that year.

UPDATE: Nine Civilians Killed, 23 Injured In NAF Airstrike On Yobe Community – SEMA

Yobe is situated in North-East Nigeria-yobeeeeeee
A map of Yobe, a state in north-east Nigeria.

 

Nine civilians were killed on Wednesday following an airstrike on Buwari community in Yunusari Local Government Area of Yobe State, authorities have said.

The airstrike which locals and the government believe was an accidental fire by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), also left 23 people injured.

Confirming the development, Secretary to the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mohammed Goje, said two of the victims who were critically injured have been transferred to the Yobe State University Teaching Hospital for further treatment.

Goje, who spoke to journalists on Thursday in Damaturu shortly after visiting the victims in Geidam, said all medical expenses have been taken care of by the state government.

He also revealed that the administration has provided food items for the victims’ families and has taken an inventory of the affected households for further necessary actions.

 

‘We Will Work Closely With NAF’

Earlier, Governor Mai Mala Buni commiserated with the families of those who lost their lives and pledged to join hands with the security agencies to unravel the root cause of the incident.

According to him, the government is prepared to work with all security forces to ensure the safety of the residents and to provide a conducive atmosphere for economic activities.

“The government will work closely with the security forces, especially the Nigerian Air Force to establish what actually happened,” the governor promised.

He explained that such a move was important, to forestall future occurrences.

 

NAF Makes U-Turn

When initial reports emerged on Wednesday, suggesting that a fighter jet belonging to NAF had attacked civilians in Yobe State, military authorities denied the claims.

But NAF spokesman, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, later affirmed that a fighter jet had been deployed to the region, following intelligence regarding terrorists’ movements along the Kamadougou Yobe River line.

These movements, Commodore Gabkwet said, were consistent with what is obtainable when terrorists sight a jet aircraft overhead.

Gabkwet added that accordingly, “the pilot fired some probing shots”, adding that “the area is well known for continuous Boko Haram /ISWAP activities”.

While describing the reported civilian casualty as unfortunate, he explained that the previous reports were denied because the incident was tagged ‘bombardment’.

According to the commodore, the aircraft detailed for the mission was not carrying bombs and a board of inquiry has been set up to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the incident.

Lewandowski Nets Brace As Bayern Outplay Barcelona Again

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski (9) scores a goal during the UEFA Champions League first-round group E football match against Barcelona at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 14, 2021. LLUIS GENE / AFP

 

Bayern Munich gave Barcelona a brutal demonstration of how far the Catalan club has fallen by strolling to a 3-0 win in the Champions League on Tuesday, with Robert Lewandowski scoring twice in a rout at Camp Nou.

Without Lionel Messi for a first European campaign since 2003, Barca were outplayed by Bayern, who might have scored more but in the end, settled for three thanks to Thomas Mueller’s deflected opener and Lewandowski’s double.

When Lewandowski made it two before the hour, the possibility of another humiliation in the mould of last year’s 8-2 defeat by the same opponents in Lisbon felt very real.

Instead, Bayern delivered perhaps an even louder message about the gulf in class by easing off in the latter stages, as Barca’s fans expressed their anger, dismay, and finally a sense of resignation.

Sergi Roberto was on the end of the loudest whistles from the home supporters and it was impossible not to wonder if the criticism came in part from disappointment at the lack of progress down the right flank, where Messi once created so much.

Ronald Koeman’s position has come under scrutiny in recent weeks and his 5-3-2 formation, which defies Barcelona’s attacking traditions, will not have strengthened his hand.

Yet the bottom line here was the lack of quality in the Barcelona line-up, coming after their turbulent summer of sales, which was inferior to Bayern’s in every department.

Mueller has scored seven goals in six appearances now against the Catalans while Lewandowski has scored in 18 consecutive matches.

Julian Nagelsmann’s strong start as the coach continues – this was a sixth consecutive victory – but he will know Bayern will face tougher Champions League opposition than this.

In true underdog fashion, Barca flew into Bayern early on, eager to impress themselves physically on an opponent they perhaps knew would be technically superior.

The crowd were in on it too, cheering as Luuk de Jong outmuscled Alphonso Davies and Sergi Roberto held off Dayot Upamecano.

There was then a hint of a chance when Memphis Depay slid De Jong but he lacked the speed to capitalise and Benjamin Pavard cleared.

The early enthusiasm could only sustain Barcelona so long and as the game settled, gradually Bayern took control.

Leroy Sane volleyed at Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Gerard Pique had to make a last-ditch challenge to stop Mueller.

But Bayern’s authority was set, even if their opening goal owed a lot to fortune, Mueller unleashing from 30 yards and the ball diverting off the back of Eric Garcia, wrongfooting Ter Stegen and creeping inside the post.

Barca wilted before half-time, the atmosphere turning sour as passes went astray and attacks broke down.

A renewed push after half-time saw Sergio Busquets drive wide but Bayern came again.

Sane hit the right foot of Ter Stegen from eight yards and then Lewandowski made it two, studding the ball into an open goal after the Barca keeper committed to Jamal Musiala’s shot that cannoned off the post.

Under threat of another thrashing, Koeman took off Sergi Roberto and Busquets, to a chorus of whistles from the home fans. The 18-year-old Yusuf Demir and a 17-year-old Gavi came on.

Yet Bayern spared Barca a humiliation, waltzing through for one more late on as Lewandowski danced through a sprawl of bodies and fired with five minutes left. For Barca, three felt like a relief.

Champions League: Lukaku Lifts Chelsea Past Stubborn Zenit

Chelsea’s Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku (R) heads home the opening goal of the UEFA Champions League Group H football match against Zenit St Petersburg at Stamford Bridge in London on September 14, 2021. DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

Romelu Lukaku enlivened an otherwise flat Chelsea performance with the only goal to beat Zenit St Petersburg 1-0 and get the Blues’ Champions League defence off to a winning start.

Lukaku never made a Champions League appearance during his first spell at Stamford Bridge but is quickly making up for lost time since returning to Chelsea for a club-record £97 million ($134 million) last month.

The Belgian striker now has four goals in as many games and his predatory instincts 21 minutes from time papered over the cracks of a disappointing display from Thomas Tuchel’s men.

Tuchel urged his players not to rest on their laurels after their surprise run to become European champions last season.

However, the glory of their victory over Manchester City in Porto was hard to shrug off as the German, Edouard Mendy, and Jorginho were presented with awards on the pitch before kick-off as UEFA coach, goalkeeper, and player of the year respectively.

Chelsea certainly have the squad depth to be able to challenge on all fronts this season and Tuchel made five changes from the side that beat Aston Villa 3-0 in the Premier League on Saturday.

Captain Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen, Reece James, Jorginho, and Mason Mount returned to the starting line-up, but there was still little verve to Chelsea’s attacking play throughout.

The first half came and went without the home side even registering a shot on target.

Centre-back Antonio Rudiger looked to take matters into his own hands with a rampaging run forward five minutes after the break, but the finish let the German international down as he blazed wide.

Lukaku showcased his mix of pace, power, and precision in front of the goal to score his first Stamford Bridge goal for Chelsea against Villa at the weekend.

Zenit had kept the 28-year-old quiet for nearly 70 minutes, but all he needed was one teasing cross from Azpilicueta to get off the mark in the Champions League for his new club by planting a header past Stanislav Kritsyuk.

Zenit boss Sergei Semak threw on the towering presence of Artem Dzyuba in search of an equaliser and it nearly paid off.

But even the six-foot six-inch (1.97 metre) Russian international couldn’t stretch to get a clean enough contact on Sardar Azmoun’s cross 10 minutes from time and the ball dribbled wide.

Tuchel immediately shut up shop with the introduction of Thiago Silva and Chelsea held out for a fourth clean sheet in six games this season.

AFP

FG Ready To Listen To Bandits, Settle Them Without Cost – Minister

 

The Federal Government is willing to listen to repentant bandits and settle them without cost in a bid to find a lasting solution to the security threats in the north-west and north-central regions of the country.

Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Dingyadi, stated this on Tuesday in an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

“With all pleasure, anybody willing to surrender and do it honourably and honestly; the government is ready to listen. The government is ready to see what they can do to settle them down without much cost,” he said.

Dingyadi explained that the present administration intended to reintegrate repentant bandits into the larger society, saying the government would closely monitor those who have turned a new leaf to ensure they do not return to their old way of life.

He also spoke about the ongoing military operations against bandits in Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and other states where their activities have been alarming.

 

‘When You Surrender’

According to the minister, President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration will continue to record successes against bandits as long as the security agencies continue to work in synergy.

A file photo of the Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Dingyadi.

 

On whether the window of amnesty was still open for bandits willing to surrender, he said, “When you talk of amnesty, it is a relative term and what the Federal Government is trying to say is that: ‘Let us see those who have surrendered their arms, let us listen to them, let us chronicle them, let us receive them’; we cannot just throw these people away because they are all Nigerians.

“Of course, they are criminals, they have committed atrocities, they have committed crimes, but according to the international laws, when you surrender from a war zone, you are not killed, you are not maimed, you are allowed to have your say.

“We are listening to them to see how we can integrate them into the larger society. What we are trying to do is to get them settled in their various communities, to let them have a kind of means of livelihood so that they can integrate peacefully and honourably into the society.”

Despite assurances by the government and security forces to end the menace of banditry, the criminal elements often attack in large numbers and arrive on motorbikes.

The armed forces have carried out operations and airstrikes on their camps, which are hidden deep in the forests that span Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina and Niger States, but violence has escalated.