Senegalese Referee To Officiate Nigeria, Benin Republic Clash

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The Confederation of African Football (CAF), has picked Senegalese official Issa Sy as referee for next week’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match between Nigeria and the Benin Republic in Uyo.

Sy will be assisted by compatriots Nouha Bangoura (assistant referee 1), El Hadji Abdoul Aziz Gueye (assistant referee 2) and Fatou Thioune (fourth official) at the encounter scheduled for the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, from 5 pm.

The Day 1 clash in the qualifying series will also see Munkaila Nassam Adam from Ghana as a match commissioner while Kria Samir Bouzareah from Algeria will play the role of referee assessor.

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Nigeria will welcome back skipper Ahmed Musa from injury, with defenders Kenneth Omeruo, Abdullahi Shehu and Bryan Idowu, as well as midfielder Mikel Agu and forward Samuel Kalu also returning.

The Super Eagles, bronze medallists at the 32nd AFCON finals in Egypt this year summer, will then fly to Maseru on Friday, 15th November for the Day 2 clash with the Crocodiles of Lesotho, billed for the artificial turf of the Maseru-Setsoto Stadium as from 6pm Lesotho time (5pm Nigeria time) on Sunday, 17th November.

 23 EAGLES TO BATTLE BENIN REPUBLIC & LESOTHO

Goalkeepers: Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Heartland FC); Maduka Okoye (Fortuna Dusseldorf, Germany)

Defenders: Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Chidozie Awaziem (CD Leganes, Spain); William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy); Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Bryan Idowu (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia)

Midfielders: Alexander Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Mikel Agu (Vitoria Guimaraes, Portugal); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Ramon Azeez (Granada FC, Spain)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nassr, Saudi Arabia); Victor Osimhen (Lille OSC, France); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain); Paul Onuachu (KRC Genk, Belgium); Emmanuel Dennis (Club Brugge, Belgium); Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux, France);

Standby: Leon Balogun (Brighton & Hove Albion, England); Peter Olayinka (SK Slavia Prague, Czech Republic); Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City, England)

Rohr Invites Players For 2021 AFCON Qualifiers

 

Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr has selected his squad for next month’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches against the Benin Republic and Lesotho.

Captain Ahmed Musa is making a return from injury and midfielder Ramon Azeez has been retained after seeing action in 1-1 draw international friendly match with five-time world champions Brazil in Singapore.

Goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi is called for the first time since the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt this year summer – first choice Francis Uzoho is out for several months after his horrific injury against Brazil – and defender Kenneth Omeruo is also back, while there is another opportunity for midfielder Mikel Agu to justify his place in the team.

READ ALSO: Cameroon Football Legend Eto’o Rules Out Career In Politics

France-based utility player Samuel Kalu returns after missing the prestige friendly game against Brazil. Stoke City’s Oghenekaro Etebo is on standby as a result of his injury and is being monitored.

Nigeria, who won bronze in Egypt will open their campaign for a place in Cameroon 2021 against the Squirrels of Benin Republic at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo on Wednesday, 13th November. When that is done, the team will travel to Maseru to play the Crocodiles of Lesotho on Sunday, 17th November.

23 EAGLES TO BATTLE BENIN REPUBLIC & LESOTHO

Goalkeepers: Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Heartland FC); Maduka Okoye (Fortuna Dusseldorf, Germany)

Defenders: Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Chidozie Awaziem (CD Leganes, Spain); William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy); Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Bryan Idowu (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia)

Midfielders: Alexander Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Mikel Agu (Vitoria Guimaraes, Portugal); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Ramon Azeez (Granada FC, Spain)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nassr, Saudi Arabia); Victor Osimhen (Lille OSC, France); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain); Paul Onuachu (KRC Genk, Belgium); Emmanuel Dennis (Club Brugge, Belgium); Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux, France);

Standby: Leon Balogun (Brighton & Hove Albion, England); Peter Olayinka (SK Slavia Prague, Czech Republic); Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City, England)

Buhari Meets With President Of Benin Republic

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday held a closed-door meeting with the President of Benin Republic Mr. Patrice Talon.

Talon arrived at the forecourt of the Villa on a private visit with President Buhari.

Journalists were not briefed on the outcome of the meeting which lasted over one hour thirty minutes between both leaders.

Obasanjo, Kufuor Ask AU, ECOWAS To Intervene In Benin Crisis

 

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his Ghanaian counterpart, John Kufuor have asked the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to intervene in the crisis rocking the Benin Republic.

Both leaders made their position known in a joint statement released on Thursday by Obasanjo’s spokesman, Kehinde Akinyemi in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital.

According to them, there was a need for the intervention in order to avoid escalation of the festering political crisis.

“The crisis in Benin calls for urgent action by ECOWAS and African Union (AU) to avert the escalation of the festering political unrest.”

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The former leaders believe that the country’s ongoing political crisis if not properly handled could worsen the security and humanitarian situation.

“We are of the view that all stakeholders should be carried along in the electoral process. In addition, the ongoing political crisis appears to be worsening the security and humanitarian situation which might open a floodgate to terrorist incursion that will lead to further destabilisation of the West-African sub-region, the statement read in part.”

They also want African leaders to rise to their responsibility by urgently intervening with a view to putting pressure on the incumbent administration to play the games of democracy by the rules.

The former leaders urged the AU and ECOWAS to send a strong delegation to appeal to President Talon to release his immediate predecessor who needs medical attention abroad.

Nigeria Beat Benin Republic In WAFU Cup Semis

Nigeria Beat Benin Republic In WAFU Cup Semis
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Super Eagles of Nigeria have qualified for the final of the 2017 West African Football Union (WAFU) Cup of Nations.

The Eagles defeated the Squirrels of Benin Republic 1-0 in the semi-final played on Thursday at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium in Ghana.

Kano Pillars midfielder, Rabiu Ali, scored the only goal in the 11th minute to ensure Nigeria’s passage to the final.

Nigeria face hosts Ghana on Sunday, September 24.

CAHN Qualifier: Home Based Eagles To Face Benin Republic

The home-based Eagles will face Benin Republic in the final round of qualifiers for the 2018 African Nations Championships (CAHN).

The west African side advanced to the final round of qualifiers after defeating Togo 3-2 on aggregate in the return leg of their tie.

Benin Republic will host Nigeria in the first leg in Cotonou on August 13, while the return leg will hold at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano, Nigeria a week later.

Read Also: Home-Based Eagles’ To Camp In Kano Ahead Of CHAN Qualifier 

Pinnick’s CAF Victory A Big Success For Nigeria – Dalung

Pinnick's CAF Victory A Big Success For Nigeria - DalungThe Federal Government has congratulated the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, on his success at the just concluded Confederation of African Football (CAF) Executive Committee elections held on Thursday in Addis Ababa.

Pinnick defeated the incumbent Benin Republic’s Moucharafou Anjorin by 32 votes to 17 to emerge the third Nigerian to serve on the executive seat of CAF.

Nigeria’s Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, in a statement expressed delight that a Nigerian has joined the inner caucus of CAF after many years.

A Big Achievement

“When I became Minister, I asked why there was no Nigerian representative in the Executive Committee of CAF. With a population of over 170 million people, there was no way the CAF Executive Committee will be constituted without Nigerians as stakeholders.

“I encouraged the Federation to try and ensure that they are represented hence our support for the President of the NFF. This is a big achievement for Nigeria and our re-entry into African football politics,” Dalung said.

The Federal Government also congratulated Mr Ahmad Ahmad, following his election as the CAF President, but maintained it support for regional interest.

“Nigeria’s position remains in favour of our national interest but the will of the people has prevailed and we congratulate them all,” the statement said.

Mr Dalung advised the newly elected board to be magnanimous in victory and run an all-inclusive government.

Dan-Ali Solicits Chadian President’s Support For MNJTF

Idriss Deby, Mansur Dan-Ali, MNJTFThe Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, has urged President Idris Deby of Chad to use his good office as African Union Chairman to support the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).

Mr Dan-Ali also asked President Deby to call on countries, organisations and individuals that pledge financial and material support to the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) to fulfil their promises, to enable the task force execute its mandate of ending the activities of Boko Haram in the region effectively.

He made the appeal on Wednesday when he led a team of Ministers of Defence and Chiefs of Defence Staff from troops-contributing countries of MNJTF which include Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroun and Benin Republic, to visit the Chadian leader after LCBC meeting in Njamena.

The Nigerian Defence Minister also appealed to African leaders to provide a better means of livelihood for their people, to prevent the recruitment of youths into terrorist groups across the region.

In his response, President Deby assured the visiting Ministers and Chiefs of Defence Staff of the support of all LCBC Presidents to the MNJTF operations and promised to impress on the donors to fulfil their promise.

He also paid tribute to the MNJTF soldiers and urged them to rid the region of Boko Haram terrorists as soon as possible.

Mr Dan-Ali’s appeal was made public in a statement by his spokesman, Colonel Tukur Gusau.

End Of Boko Haram Is In Sight, Buhari Assures International Community

muhammadu-buhari-in-senegalNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday assured the international community that the end of Boko Haram terrorists is in sight.

President Buhari made the optimistic expression in Dakar, Senegal, even as he hailed the increased cooperation between Nigeria and its neighbours in the fight against terrorism.

Addressing audience at a Panel of Heads of State at the 3rd Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa, the President also assured the international community that the security situation in Nigeria had improved significantly.

“About a month ago, I spoke with the President of Chad and I was pleased that a number of Chadians and Nigeriens that were Boko Haram members are surrendering to him en-masse. The good news I have is that the end of the raining season has come in the North eastern region of Nigeria.

“Members of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) are in their respective positions and at an agreed time they will move simultaneously and spontaneously for us to see the end of Boko Haram. We are now operating in the Sambisa Forest and as far as Boko Haram is concerned in the Lake Chad Basin area, I think they are done for,” the President declared.

Looking For Any Kind Of Job

Highlighting the gains of the cooperation among the Lake Chad Basin Commission countries comprising Chad, Niger, Cameroon, Benin Republic and Nigeria, the Nigerian leader told the gathering that Boko Haram is no longer holding any territory or Local Government Area (LGA) Nigeria.

“Those who live in the North East know that Boko Haram is no longer holding a single territory in the 774 LGAs in Nigeria. But they have a system of using IEDs and they indoctrinate mostly teenage girls and send them to soft targets to churches, mosques and market places. That too is becoming very rare.

“I think Boko Haram shot themselves in the foot when they gave their ideology a religious connotation by killing children in their schools, people in the mosque and churches and shouting Allahu Akbar.

“This is a major contradiction as no religion advocates hurting the innocent. You can’t kill people and say Allahu Akbar. You either do not know what you are saying or you don’t believe it,”’ President Buhari said.

Niger Republic, Boko Haram
Boko Haram has in the past seven years pushed for an Islamic State and an end to Western education in the northeast region

A statement by a spokesman for the President Buhari, Mr Garba Shehu, said the Nigerian leader emphasised that the oil-rich nation was capable of surmounting its security challenges and appealed to the international community to focus more attention on addressing piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and unemployment in Nigeria.

“In the southern part of the country, stolen Nigerian crude is being illegally transported through the Gulf of Guinea and installations offshore are being subverted. We also have the problem of unemployment in Nigeria. With a population of 180 million people of which 65 per cent are under the age of 35, young Nigerians are looking for any kind of job to survive.

“We are addressing the situation (unemployment) by turning to agriculture and solid minerals because we are lucky to be blessed with arable land, water and resources,” the President noted.

Oladapo Returns Into ITTF Africa Executive Board

Table TennisNigeria’s Olabanji Oladapo has returned as Vice President Administration in the eight-man Executive Board of the Khaled El-Salhy (EGY)-led team of ITTF Africa.

Also, the President of Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), Wahid Oshodi, added another feather, as the lawyer has been elected as the Regional Vice President of Western Region at the Bi-Annual General Assembly (BGM) held in Agadir, Morocco.

Oshodi, who is also a Member of the Nominations Committee of ITTF, will be in charge of the Western region which include Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Conakry, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

He is expected to coordinate the activities in this region with the aim of developing table tennis.

Khaled El-Salhy, who became the president of the second largest continental body under the ITTF was elected unopposed while Henry Djombo (CGO), Deputy President; Olabanji Oladapo (NGR), Vice President Administration; Hajera Kajee (RSA), Vice President Marketing; Berte Abou Bakary (CIV), Vice President Finance; Monqid Hajji (MAR), Vice President Media and Public Relations and Balla Lo (SEN), Vice President Technical were all elected unopposed.

For the regional Vice Presidents, Abdennour Kaci (Algeria) takes charge of Northern Region, Wahid Oshodi (Nigeria) is in charge of Western Region, Alfred Bagueka (Cameroon) is for Central Region, Andrew Mudibo (Kenya) to administer Eastern Region and Joe Carrim (South Africa) will take control of Southern Region.

The council members are Kamel Zaitouni (Algeria), Mahmoud Oumar (Djibouti), Jalal Hariz (Libya), Philippe Hao Thyn Voon (Mauritius), Abdelrahman El-Sallawi (Sudan) and Thomas Kiggundo (Uganda).

However, two more co-opted members are expected to be added through the ITTF-Africa Executive Council maiden meeting.

In his acceptance speech, Khaled El-Salhy pledged to uplift the fortune of table tennis in the continent, while calling for more support from national associations.

“I am highly honoured to be considered for another term in office and I want to that the congress for their trust and support.

“We are so ambitious for the future hoping that we can focus on development and marketing of the sport so that we can continue to grow the sport in Africa,” he said.

Countries that staged major competitions were also honoured for their efforts.

Over 18 national associations graced the BGM while the congress also commended Morocco for their efforts to stage a befitting ITTF Africa Senior Championships.

For 2017, Tunisia will host the African Junior and Cadet Championships in April while Congo Brazzaville is considering hosting the ITTF African Cup and Club Championship in July.

Special Court Martial Demotes Major General To Brigadier General

Patrick Falola Major General demoted to Brigadier GeneralA Special Court Martial of the Nigerian Army has demoted the Director, 68 Reference Hospital, Yaba, in Lagos State, Major General Patrick Falola, to the rank of Brigadier General.

The demotion follows the conviction of the Major General who was accused of unlawfully admitting students for clinical training without due clearance from the army headquarters.

Major General Falola is said to have admitted international students from Espan Formation University, Cotonou in Benin Republic between July and September, 2016.

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President of the Special Court Martial, Air Vice Marshal James Gbum, said the accused was found guilty of first count

Delivering judgment in the case against Major General Falola, who is also a Commander of the Armed Forces Hospital in Kano, President of the Special Court Martial, Air Vice Marshal James Gbum, sentenced the accused officer to a reduction in rank from Major General to Brigadier General on count one of the charge.

He was, however, discharged and acquitted of the second count of fraudulent misapplication of the hospital’s property.

Lawyer to Major General Falola, Wing Commander Enokela Onyilo-Uloko [Rtd], however, criticised the conviction, saying it was a premeditated attempt to taint the unblemished record of his client whom he described as a distinguished medical officer with outstanding records.

Enokela-Onyilo-Uloko-2
Enokela Onyilo-Uloko says the judgment of the Special Court Martial has no legal backing

“On hearing of this kind of conviction, we know that it is based on nothing. There is no law, no instruction put on the ground by the armed forces that the senior officer needs to take permission from the higher authority before allowing such training.

“No such law or instruction was tendered in evidence, but they are saying that he should use his initiative.

“When there is no law criminalising an act, when that act is done, it does not amount to criminal offence,” the lawyer said.

He further vowed to appeal the judgment of the Special Court Martial.

However, the judgement of the Army Court Martial is subject to confirmation by the Nigerian Army Council.

 

Nigeria Customs Service Reviews Trade Agreement With Benin Republic

Nigeria CustomsAs part of efforts to curb smuggling activities and increase revenue drive, the Nigeria Customs Service on Tuesday reviewed the trade facilitation agreement between Nigeria and the Benin Republic

The agreement, which has been in use since June 2005, was reviewed due to some challenges in its operations.

Although heads of customs in both countries agreed to the new course, they warned that sanctions awaited any country that would deviate on the terms of agreement.

Seme border, one of the towns bothering Nigeria and the Republic of Benin that gives access into the city of Lagos by land is one major route that the Nigeria Customs Service is focusing on.

Going by records, it is one of the highest revenue generation point for the Nigeria Customs different from the sea ports.

To plug revenue leakages as a result of smuggling activities, the initial agreement was reworked to chart three major courses – commence actions on formal interconnectivity, through the setting up of an ICT base station, set up a consultative framework that will meet twice a year to address all emerging issues and undertake quarterly evaluation of the implementation of this agreement.

After the reworking of the agreement, it was presented to the management teams of both countries

It took over 14 straight hours for the officials of Benin Republic Customs to come to conclusion on the terms of the agreement.

They insisted that adequate logistics must be provided by Nigeria for them to attest to the agreement.

With further consultation, both parties shifted grounds and appended their signatures to the agreement.

As the implementation of the agreement that will facilitate trade and promote economic development in the two countries is awaited, the stringent penalty that goes with the failure to comply with the decision taken was emphasised.