FG Approves N718m Contract To Secure Abuja Rail Tracks

Train services resumed on the Abuja-Kaduna route on October 23, 2021.
Some victims of the March attack are still in captivity. 

 

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved N718.19 million to secure the 45-kilometre Abuja rail tracks and stations.

This was disclosed by the Minister of the FCT Mohammed Bello during a briefing after the FEC meeting on Wednesday in Abuja.

“In the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting of today, I presented a memo and the council approved a contract to two companies for the provision of security services for the Abuja Light Rail Mass Transit System,” the minister told reporters during the briefing.

“These companies are Messrs Al-Ahali Security Guards Limited and Messrs Seaguard Security and Protective Company Limited

“They are going to provide security to the entire 45 kilometres of track including 12 stations.

“And these security services are meant to protect the key infrastructure on the rail tracks, the signaling and communication equipment as well as the electrical system.

“Al-Ahali Security Guard Limited is going to secure 27.4 kilometres of the track, covering eight stations at the cost of N407,214,000 over a two-year period, while Seaguard Securities and Protective Company Limited are going to secure 18 kilometres of the rail tracks including four railway stations and that is at a cost of N310,979,250.”

READ ALSO: [FG] It Will Be Insensitive To Recommence Abuja-Kaduna Train Operations Now

The Federal Government’s recent move followed an attack on the Abuja-Kaduna rail line which led to the suspension of operations.

In the March attack, gunmen had planted explosives and attacked the passengers (kidnapped scores). Months after the incident, the Federal Government said it cannot recommence train services for now.

Minister of Transportation Muazu Sambo said such a move will be insensitive to the plight of families whose loved ones are still in captivity.

According to him, the government is investigating the right type of surveillance equipment to procure to effectively monitor the tracks along the Abuja Kaduna route as well as concessioning it in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.

Contract Termination: Huesca Threaten Legal Action, Says Nwakali’s Claims Lack ‘Veracity’

Nwakali is a former Nigerian youth international. [email protected]

 

Spanish side Huesca have threatened legal action against Super Eagles midfielder Kelechi Nwakali over his claims that the club terminated his contract for representing Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) earlier in the year. 

The club terminated his contract on Tuesday, claiming the player reported 10 days late after the competition and gave “incredible stories” for his lateness.

Although Nwakali broke silence over the matter on Wednesday, accusing Huesca of intimidation, the Segunda side have dismissed the claims, describing them as lacking “veracity”.

“On the statements made by Kelechi Nwakali earlier today after [a] premature termination of the contract that bound him and SD Huesca, the club wishes to express its total repudiation given their complete lack of veracity,” Huesca said in a statement issued on their website, hours after Nwakali’s outburst.

“All of this is done in the conviction that the club has acted at all times with the utmost respect for the player.

“Nevertheless, in view of the seriousness of certain statements referred to in his notice, this club reserves for itself the right to take the appropriate legal action to defend its rights to protect their legitimate interests.”

READ ALSO: Nwakali Accuses Huesca Of Contract Termination For Representing Nigeria At AFCON

‘I Will Never Regret My Decision’

Nigeria won all group stage game at the AFCON. [email protected]

 

Before Huesca’s comment, the Spanish Soccer Players Association (AFE) had vowed to challenge the contract termination, arguing that the move violated labour rights.

“In the face of the numerous information that is appearing, some erroneous, AFE wants to clarify that the dismissal will be challenged – as it cannot be otherwise – before the courts of the city of Huesca with the aim of continuing to safeguard the labor rights of the footballer,” the association said in a statement.

“AFE understands that, with this unilateral resolution adopted by the club, the labor rights of Kelechi Nwakali have clearly been violated.”

Despite the debacle, Nwakali insists he does not regret representing Nigeria at Africa’s premier football competition.

Playing for the three-time AFCON champions is an honour, the former youth international said in a lengthy post in which he accused Huesca of delaying his wages.

“I will never regret my decision to represent Nigeria and all I want to do is get back to playing the sport I love,” he maintained.

“Lastly, I want to thank the fans and my teammates of Huesca who have been amazing during my time here. I have always given 100% for the club, despite my treatment over the past three years.”

Football authorities in Nigeria have not commented on the issue. FIFA and CAF have also not issued any statement on the matter as of the time of publishing this report.

Amaechi, Malami Sued Over Alleged Unlawful Award Of N91.7bn Rail Line Contract

A photo combination of Amaechi and Malami.

 

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN) have been dragged before a Federal High Court in Abuja over an alleged unlawful award of 190 km rail line construction to a Chinese firm without due process of law.

They were sued along with the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the benefitting firm, China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC).
Plaintiffs in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1426/2021 Duluidas Nigeria Limited, Duliz Dredging and Construction Limited and Consortium of Duluidas Nigeria Limited, Duliz dredging and Construction Limited/Hebbelyixin Fastener Company Limited, China.

In their writ of summons issued by their lead counsel, James Okoh, the plaintiffs are asking the Federal High Court to cancel the letter of “no objection” issued by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) in favour of CCECC for the award of the N91.5bn rail line contract in breach of procurement laws and re-issue same in their favour.

READ ALSO: Lagos Red And Blue Line Rail Projects Will Be Completed Q4 2022 – Sanwo-Olu

The disputed contract is for the reconstruction of the narrow gauge track from Minna in Niger State to Baro with an extension to the Baro River Port at a whopping sum of N91.5 billion and a completion period of 36 months.

The plaintiffs prayed the court for an injunction restraining the defendants from awarding or purporting to award the contract to the Chinese firm or any third party on the basis of the flawed bidding process.

In the alternative, they sought an order setting aside any purported award on the basis of the flawed and heavily compromised bid process by the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) with the concurrence of other defendants.

They also asked for an order restraining the minister of transportation or any of his agents from presenting the CCECC to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the purpose of the award of the contract.

In the same way, they are asking the court to set aside any purported approval received from the Federal Executive Council awarding the disputed contract to any other company during the pendency of the suit.

The plaintiffs, who claimed to have quoted a lesser amount of N76.7 billion for the execution of the same project during their successful bidding, are alleging bias against them by the minister and undue favouritism in favour of the CCECC in the contract award.

They alleged that the minister on May 19, 2021, wrote the BPP for a certificate of no objection in favour of CCECC in the sum of N91, 580, 101, 710 and that by a letter of June 9, 2021, BPP rejected the minister’s request on the claim that such certificate can only be issued to them on the basis of their quotation of N76.7b to execute the job.

They asserted that along the line, other bidding processes were manipulated and compromised leading to receipt of an acceptance letter by the NRC from CCECC for the minister to be presented to the federal executive council for the purpose of the award of the contract.

Plaintiffs, therefore, prayed the court to make a declaration that the action of the minister and his agents in interfering with due process of the bid process for the contract damaged the integrity of the process of law. They also want the court to declare that the minister and his agents were biased in their assessment of the bidding in favour of the CCECC.

Plaintiffs applied for order of injunction against the minister, his ministry and the CCECC from continuing with the award of the contract and execution of same on the basis of a flawed process.

In the alternative, they sought general damages to be quantified against the defendants on a compensatory basis and compound interest for loss of use of money.

Meanwhile, a hearing in the matter has been fixed for February 17, 2022, by Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed.

Klopp ‘Very Positive’ Over Salah Contract Talks 

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp (R) consoles Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah (L) after the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on February 20, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / POOL / AFP)

 

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says he is “very positive” over contract talks with Mohamed Salah, stating that the forward wants to stay at the Premier League club.

The Egypt international, 29, has fewer than 18 months left on his current deal and in an interview published this week said he was not asking “for crazy stuff”.

Reports have suggested that Salah, who has won the Champions League and Premier League with Liverpool, is looking for a weekly salary of more than £300,000 ($410,000).

Klopp has said in the past that the contract is not something that can be sorted quickly but he remains upbeat.

READ ALSO: Arsenal Can Still Attract Elite Players, Says Arteta

“I know that Mo wants to stay,” he said on Wednesday, on the eve of the first leg of Liverpool’s League Cup semi-final against Arsenal.

“We want Mo to stay. That’s where we are. It takes time,” he said. “I think it is in a good place. I’m very positive about it. The fans are not as nervous as you (the media) are.

“They know the club and know the people dealing with things here. We cannot say anything about it.”

Salah, who has scored 111 goals in 165 Premier League matches for Liverpool, and is on track for a third Golden Boot in five years, said in an interview with GQ magazine that he wanted to be appreciated.

“I want to stay, but it’s not in my hands,” he said. “It’s in their hands. They know what I want. I’m not asking for crazy stuff.

“The thing is when you ask for something and they show you they can give you something (they should) because they appreciate what you did for the club.”

Salah, currently playing for Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations, has made the three-man shortlist, along with Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski and Paris Saint-Germain’s Lionel Messi, for FIFA’s best men’s player of 2021.

AFP

Nasarawa Assembly Inaugurates Committee To Investigate N1bn School Projects

Speaker of the Nasarawa House of Assembly, Ibrahim Balarable

 

The Nasarawa State House of Assembly, has inaugurated an Ad hoc committee to investigate secondary schools renovation contract awarded in 2018.

This comes two years after the State Ministry of Education spent N1billion to renovate secondary schools across the state.

Speaker of the House of Assembly, Ibrahim Balarable set up the committee on Tuesday when the Secretary to the State Government, Ahmed Tijjani and the Commissioner for Education, Hajiya Fati Sabo appeared before the House.

Balarabe explained that their invitation was to explain their roles in the utilisation of the fund approved and released for the project which according to him has been abandoned.

The Speaker noted that the invitation of the SSG and the Commissioner was not to witch hunt them but to ensure that the right thing is done for the purpose of accountability and good governance.

READ ALSO: Reps Reject Bill To Establish Civil Societies Regulatory Commission

“After listening to the SSG, who was a former Commissioner for Education when the contract was awarded in 2018 without completion up till this moment.

“It is in view of this that we are setting up an Ad hoc committee to investigate the projects in the interest of our children and overall development of the state.

“The committee include the Chairman and members of the House Committee on Education, Chairmen of House Committees on Finance, Public Account and Works respectively.

“I urge the committee to do a thorough job as it is sad and unfortunate that our children in some secondary schools are learning under the trees, the Speaker said.

In his reaction, the SSG admitted that the sum was released in November 2018 by the government to the Ministry of Education for the renovation of schools.

“Yes, the renovation work is ongoing as the contract was given in 2018 when I was a commissioner for Education,” he said.

Speaking also, the Commissioner for Education revealed that N84million was given to the ministry when she assumed office in 2019 to pay contractors for the same projects.

Lewandowski Extends Bayern Munich Contract Until 2023

Bayern Munich’s Polish striker Robert Lewandowski celebrates after scoring a goal. Christof STACHE / AFP

 

Striker Robert Lewandowski has extended his contract at Bayern Munich until 2023, the defending Bundesliga champions announced Thursday.

“FC Bayern is one of the three largest clubs in the world and we have an outstanding team. I am proud to be part of this club,” said the 31-year-old, who has scored 197 goals in 246 appearances since joining Bayern in 2014.

AFP

Loftus-Cheek Signs New Five-Year Contract Extension With Chelsea

Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek during the UEFA Europa League, semi-final, second leg football match between Chelsea and Eintracht Frankfurt on May 9, 2019, at Stamford Bridge in London, England. Credit: Toyin Oshodi/AFP

 

Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek signed a five-year contract extension with the Premier League club on Saturday.

The 23-year-old made a strong impression during his first season as a regular in the Chelsea team last term and new Blues boss Frank Lampard is expected to make him a key part of his plans.

Loftus-Cheek missed out on the Blues’ Europa League final victory over Arsenal after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon during a friendly in the United States.

“I’m really happy and pleased that I get to stay here for another five years,” Loftus-Cheek told Chelsea’s website.

READ ALSO: Barty, Serena Cruise Into Wimbledon Last 16

“It’s the place where I’ve grown up playing and hopefully I’ll be playing here for a lot longer.”

Loftus-Cheek joined Chelsea as an under-eight and progressed through the youth ranks to the first team, so far making 72 appearances.

A loan spell at Crystal Palace gave the midfielder valuable top-level experience and coincided with his first full England call-up against Germany in November 2017.

With Chelsea currently operating under a transfer ban for the next two windows, keeping promising players like Loftus-Cheek is essential to their hopes of competing for a top-four finish in the Premier League.

“When I look back and see how the hard work has paid off, it’s a good feeling. That only makes me want to work harder to achieve more in the future,” Loftus-Cheek added.

“I hope to win a lot more trophies with the team and personally it’s just about trying to do as well as I can and work hard to be a key player for Chelsea.”

Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia added: “We see Ruben as an important part of the squad for many years to come and we are very pleased he also considers his future to be with Chelsea.”

AFP

Neymar’s Father Denies Contacting Barca Over Return

Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar looks on during the French Cup round of 32 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Strasbourg (RCS) at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris / AFP

 

Neymar’s father reiterated on Sunday that there has been no attempt to contact Barcelona over a possible return to Spain for the world’s most expensive player.

Neymar joined Paris Saint-Germain for a world record fee of 222 million euros ($251 million) in August 2017 but has repeatedly been linked with a move back to Barcelona.

“Barca are a huge club, we were very happy over there,” Neymar Sr told TF1 on Sunday. “It’s impossible to leave a player like him out of these (transfer market) rumours. But it’s a lie, there hasn’t been a call with Barca.”

“There are two people who speak for Neymar: himself and me. Neither of us has spoken about this intention to return to Barcelona,” he added.

“These rumours amuse us a lot. These journalists are funny. The future is in Paris, the present is in Paris.”

READ ALSO: Messi Penalty Lifts Barca As Griezmann Eclipses Torres

Neymar Sr took to social media last month to brand a report in Spain which claimed he had begged Barca to re-sign his son from PSG as “fake news”.

The Brazilian forward is currently on the sidelines after he was ruled out for 10 weeks with a metatarsal injury suffered in a French Cup win over Strasbourg on January 23.

PSG hope the 27-year-old, who suffered a fracture to the same right foot at the end of February last year, will be back in time for a potential Champions League quarter-final.

The French club hold a 2-0 lead over Manchester United ahead of the return leg at the Parc des Princes in their last-16 tie.

Neymar Sr also called on referees in France to offer his son more protection.

“It’s not the French league that is the problem, it’s the referees who must protect the players,” he said.

“If fouls aren’t whistled if unsporting behaviour goes unpunished… that’s the problem.”

AFP

Tottenham Extend Alderweireld’s Contract

Toby Alderweireld. Credit: @JabirGunner

 

Tottenham Hotspur have triggered an extension clause in veteran Belgian international Toby Alderweireld’s contract which ties him to the Premier League highflyers until the summer of 2020.

The 29-year-old central defender — capped 88 times and an integral part of Belgium’s best ever performance at the World Cup last year where they finished third — has a £25-million ($31.7m) release clause should a suitor come in for him.

“The club can confirm that we have activated the option to extend Toby Alderweireld’s contract until 2020,” Tottenham said in a statement on their website.

“The Belgium international defender has made 135 appearances for us to date since signing from Atletico Madrid in 2015.”

Alderweireld, who attracted interest from Manchester United in the close season after he rejected a long-term deal, has been the rock at the heart of the defence this term.

He has enjoyed a good run in the first team — making 26 appearances — as both compatriot Jan Vertonghen and Colombian Davinson Sanchez have been affected by injuries.

pi/lp

Brazil’s Alex Sandro Extends Juventus Contract

Alex Sandro

 

Brazilian international defender Alex Sandro has renewed his contract with Juventus, committing to the Serie A champions until 2023, the club confirmed on Thursday.

The 27-year-old Sandro has won three Serie A titles and three Italian Cups since joining from Porto in 2015, where he also won two league titles.

His five-year contract worth 26 million euros ($29 million) was due to expire in 2020.

“Today for me, my family and also for my teammates is a very happy day. To the fans I would like to say that I will always give my best, as I have done so far, and to keep improving,” said the left-back.

“In the years that I’ve been here, I learned the mentality of the club and of my teammates. Here we always work to win and this will never change,” said Sandro.

The Brazilian had been linked with a move away from Turin to an English Premier League club over the past two seasons.

“Power, control, technique and game vision. Alex Sandro has shown himself to be one of the most important elements of a team that has won three leagues and three Italian Cups since his arrival from Porto,” Juventus said in a statement.

“Here’s to continuing that commitment, going forward to earn new victories and win more trophies!”

AFP

Mane Signs New Long-Term Deal With Liverpool

Manchester City End Unbeaten Run After Shock Defeat At Liverpool
Liverpool’s Senegalese midfielder Sadio Mane (R) takes on Manchester City’s English defender Kyle Walker (L) and Manchester City’s Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho (C) at Anfield in Liverpool on January 14, 2018.

 

Liverpool forward Sadio Mane has signed a new long-term contract with the Premier League giants, the club announced on Thursday.

The 26-year-old joined Jurgen Klopp’s side from Southampton in June 2016, and has scored 40 goals for Liverpool, forming a deadly frontline alongside Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.

“I am very happy, very happy to extend my time at Liverpool,” Mane said. “It is a great day for me and now I am looking forward to everything –- to helping the team, to helping the club achieve our dreams and, especially, to win trophies.

“For me, I have made the best decision in my career.”

The Senegal international scored 10 goals as Liverpool reached last season’s Champions League final, and has started the new campaign strongly, netting six times in 11 Premier League games.

He was also named on the 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d’Or last month.

The length of his new deal was not disclosed by Liverpool.

“This is a big boost for everyone and another demonstration of how the players we have at this club are committed, not just to our present but our future also,” said Reds manager Klopp.

“I can’t think of a single club anywhere in Europe that wouldn’t want a player like Sadio available to them, so the fact he wants to remain with us says something about where we are currently.

“He is a such an important member of our team and squad. He radiates joy and I think this is reflected in his performances and impact on the pitch.”

The Anfield club put their unbeaten record in the league this term on the line against Watford on Saturday.

AFP

Salah’s New Contract Shows Belief In Liverpool, Says Klopp

We Are Strong Enough For Title Bid, Says Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool’s Manager, Jurgen Klopp                                                                               Credit: AFP

 

Egyptian international Mohamed Salah’s stunning first season with English Premier League side Liverpool earned him a long-term contract with the club on Monday.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said the fact the 26-year-old striker — who scored 44 goals in just 52 appearances last season — signed such a deal reflected his belief the club were on course for a successful era.

Salah’s goals played a large part in Liverpool reaching the Champions League final against Real Madrid.

However, that proved a rare sour note for the player as Salah was slammed to the turf by Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos, causing a painful separation of his left shoulder.

Salah returned to action for the first time in three weeks against Russia at the World Cup in their group match last month but was a shadow of the player that had dazzled for Liverpool and earned him the Africa player of the year award.

The new contract “demonstrates two things very clearly — his belief in Liverpool and our belief in him,” Klopp told the Liverpool website.

“I think this news can be seen for what it is; rewarding a person who performed and contributed greatly for the team and the club last season,” said Klopp.

“We want world-class talent to see they have a home at Anfield where they can fulfil all their professional dreams and ambitions – we are working hard together to achieve this.

“When someone like Mo Salah commits and says this place is my home now, it speaks very loudly I think.

“Equally, our commitment to him says we see his value and want him to grow even more and get even better within our environment.”

Salah registered the second-highest total of goals in a season in Liverpool’s history, just three behind Ian Rush’s record of 47 and surpassing Roger Hunt’s haul of 42.

Thirty-two of those came in the Premier League, setting a new record in a 38-game season and earning him the Golden Boot.

Salah was named as both the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and the Football Writers’ Association’s Footballer of the Year for his efforts in 2017-18.

AFP