In weightlifting, Rivers state showed class in the 49kg event as Stella Kingsley dominated the snatch, clean, and jerk class to claim all three gold medals.
In the snatch, Kingsley lifted her first attempt without struggle, failed in the second but bounced back in the 3rd to win gold. In the clean and jerk, she was outstanding, lifting the 92, 200, and 105 weight effortlessly.
She has made admirable improvement after failing to win a medal at the 2018 edition in Abuja, finishing in a disappointing 4th position in her weight class.
Ruth Nyang finished second for team Akwa Ibom while Augustina Nwokolo secured a bronze medal for team Delta.
More track & field events happened today and in the men’s 400m hurdles, Timothy Emeoghene sets a new National Sports Festival record and a Personal Best of 50.06 seconds to win gold for Team Delta
The current national champion surpassed the previous festival record of 51.07 seconds set by David Olowookere at the Abuja games in 2018.
Henry Okorie from Edo claimed silver in a season’s best of 51.73 seconds while Stephen Eloji of Niger State settled for bronze in a time of 52.12 seconds.
For the women, reigning National Champion Abasiono Akpan dominated the race crossing the finish line with a personal best of 57.63 seconds to win gold for Akwa Ibom state.
She took off 0.03 seconds from her previous lifetime best set at the 2019 African Games in Morocco where she won bronze.
Comfort Ekanem ran 58.68 seconds to secure silver for Oyo state while Sarah Ochigbo representing Ogun state set a season’s best of 58.91 seconds to claim the bronze medal.
Edo state’s shot put gold medallist, Orobosa Frank is working hard to achieve her ambition of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
She threw a distance of 16.82m to win her first gold medal at the National sports festival.
Team Delta’s Eucharia Ogbukwo won Silver with a throw of 14.02m while Aniefuna Anulika threw 13.80m to secure bronze for Anambra state.
On day 2 of the track & field events, Edo state ruled the men’s 100m winning the gold and silver medals. Enoch Adegoke clocked 10.28 seconds to win gold while Alaba Olukunle clinched silver for Edo in a time of 10.29 seconds while Jerry Jakpa finished in 10.32 seconds to win Bronze for Lagos state.
For the women, Grace Nwokocha won Gold for Delta in a time of 11.42 seconds. Joy Udo-Gabriel clocked 11.44 seconds to win silver for team Lagos while Tima Godbless ran 11.61 seconds to win bronze for Bayelsa state.
In the women’s 100m hurdles, Team Rivers clinched gold after Grace Aiyemoba clocked a season’s best of 13.65 seconds. The gold medal is an upgrade from the Silver she won at Abuja 2018.
Miracle Thompson won silver for team Lagos in 13.75 seconds, a new personal best for her while Team Delta settled for the bronze medal after Kemi Francis finished third in 14.01 seconds.
The rivalry between Edo and Delta states continued on Saturday in the cycling event with hosts, Edo overtaking Delta on the medals table.
Winning two gold medals won in the 3,000 Team Pursuit for women and 4,000 Team Pursuit for men, Edo now has 5 gold medals, one more than Delta who has won four, all through their golden girl Ese Ukpeseraye.
Bayelsa came third on the medals table with three gold medals.
In Saturday’s race, Edo women’s team finished the 3,000 Team Pursuit in a time of 4 minutes, 25.57 seconds. Their rival, Delta finished second in a time of 4 minutes, 28.38 seconds while Oyo got the bronze with a time 4 minutes, 32.32 seconds.
Edo men’s team clocked 5 minutes, 15.44 seconds to clinch gold. Delta got the silver with a time of 5 minutes, 16.68 seconds while Ogun placed third to win the bronze with a time of 5 minutes 18.30 seconds.
On Sunday, the men will contest for the 160 kilometres road race on the Benin – Ifon road.
Cycling events at the 20th National Sports Festival will be concluded next week Monday with the men and women elimination races.
Team Delta on Monday opened the gate for medal rush with gold from the 80km road race for women at the 20th edition of the National Sports Festival.
Ese Ukpeseraye beat 12 other cyclists to cross the finish line and clinch the first gold medal at the games ongoing in Benin city, the Edo state capital.
Host state Edo settled for the silver and bronze medals when Ayuba sisters – Comfort and Grace – came second and third respectively.
Elsewhere, Team Bayelsa sent a clear statement of intent after winning three gold, one silver, and two bronze medals from swimming.
Ifiemi Gagbe got the campaign going as she won the gold medal in 100 meters freestyle in swimming, while Golden Ifie made it two just as Yellow Yeighya completed the hat-trick of gold medals in the men’s 200m freestyle events.
Earlier, Doutimi Gagbe settled for the bronze medal in 200 meters Butterfly Stroke event.
Team Bayelsa also won two gold medals and a bronze in Judo to cap a memorable opening day of action at the National Sports Festival.
Ese Bassey and Selere Mathias got gold medals while Udeze Amarachi had bronze.
Team Oyo and Taraba were reinstated on Monday to participate in the games after being barred from competing.
Organisers had barred both teams from the event after they failed to produce the evidence of COVID-19 vaccination for their athletes.
The decision was later rescinded after the authorities of both states arrived with the certificates, in line with the directives of the COVID-19 protocols for the games.
Team Oyo has already featured in the swimming event.
The Delta State Government has asked the Federal Government to return the £4.2 million James Ibori loot being repatriated to Nigeria by the United Kingdom to the state.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa believes that since the money was stolen from the state, it would only be just to return the funds back to the state.
“I have spoken with the attorney-general of the federation. My attorney-general went to have a meeting with him. I think that we are working and we are likely to come on the same page. We have written a formal letter of protest to Mr President,” the Governor said on Wednesday during an appearance on Politics Today.
The protest by the state is in reaction to the decision of the Federal Government to spend the funds on federal projects.
Nigeria and the UK had signed a memorandum of understanding on March 9 for the repatriation of the funds stolen by Ibori, a former Delta State Governor.
But the development became mired in controversy shortly after the MoU was signed when the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, revealed the money will be spent by the Federal Government.
The projects it will be spent on, he said, were the construction of the second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kano road, and Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
Governor Okowa, however, expects the Federal Government to take a similar route as the UK Government by returning the money to the source it was pilfered from.
“In the same manner of the relationship created between the UK and Nigeria, we also expect that the Nigerian Government will do the same thing by being magnanimous to return the money back to the source, which is Delta State,” he said.
To guarantee that Deltans benefit from the repatriated loot, the governor said it had provided options to the Federal Government and made a compelling case for the state.
“We have made two suggestions; return the money directly to us or apply it directly to projects that we feel are of importance and are in Delta State so that Deltans can directly benefit from the repatriated funds and I don’t think anybody can fault that line (of thinking)”, he said.
The governor is not alone in his position.
A day after the news of the planned return of the loot broke, the House of Representatives passed a resolution calling on the Federal Government to ensure that it was returned to Delta State.
Lawmakers passed the resolution after their colleagues from the state moved a motion of urgent public importance.
As far as they were concerned, the funds were stolen from the state and should be returned to it.
Human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria Femi Falana also backed the calls for the return of the funds to the state.
He commended the Federal Government for negotiating and pursuing the return of the loot to Nigeria but insisted that it be returned to the source.
“Since the money left the coffers of the Delta State Government, it has to be returned once it is recovered,” Falana said during an appearance on Politics Today.
The attorney-general of the federation, however, has a different argument.
“The major consideration relating to who is entitled to a fraction or perhaps the money in its entirety is a function of law and international diplomacy,” Mr. Malami told Channels TV of the Federal Government’s decision.
“All the processes associated with the recovery were consummated by the federal government and the federal government is, indeed, the victim of crime and not sub-national.”
Ultimately, Governor Okowa believes President Muhammadu Buhari will grant the state’s request as that is the right thing to do.
“I do believe that with the approach that we have undertaken it is unlikely that they will refuse the request. It is a strong appeal,” he said.
The governor rubbished claims that if the money is returned to Delta State “it will develop wings”.
“I don’t see how the money will develop wings anyway,” he said. “That is why we have directly put down projects – three projects where this money can be applied directly to such a manner that it is something you can investigate.”
The police authorities in Delta State have arrested five suspects in connection with the kidnap and murder of one Joy Osameze who was murdered for ritual purpose.
A skull and other human parts believed to be that of the victim have also been recovered in the bush where she was killed after the culprits led the police to the scene of the crime after weeks of investigation
The victim, Osameze was reported to have kidnapped on February 5 on the way from her farm, the Abraka Farm Reserve in Obiaruku.
She was said to have been lured by her 18-year-old brother identified as Osam Ogolime, who led her by her abductors.
She was hit with a stick leaving her unconscious while her assailants cut of her sexual organs and other parts of her body while she was still alive
Days after detaining five suspects in connection to the murder, the police have arrested six more suspects and recovered a human skull and other human parts believed to be that of the victim and the mortician currently carrying out further investigations confirmed this position.
Human rights lawyer and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has called for the return of the £4.2million looted by ex-Delta State Governor, James Ibori back to the Niger Delta state.
Falana made the call on Wednesday during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, noting that the Federal Government cannot lay claim to the fund under any law.
“The Federal Government ought to be commended for pursuing this matter having regards to the fact that this case is a collabo issue between the EFCC under Malami/Ribadu and the Metropolitan Police in the United Kingdom,” he said.
Falana added, “Having acknowledged the role of the Federal Government, the fund has to return to the source. As the Attorney General has said, the money is over £100 million. So what has been released now is the first tranche of £4.2 million.
“Since the money left the covers of the Delta State Government, it has to be returned once it is recovered.”
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced the date to conduct the bye-election for the vacant seat of Isoko North State Constituency in the Delta State House of Assembly.
INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, made the announcement in a statement on Tuesday.
He noted that the electoral umpire met and deliberated on a number of issues, including the conduct of the bye-election.
Okoye explained that the vacancy was a result of the death of the member representing Isoko North State Constituency, Tim Owhefere, and the subsequent declaration of vacancy for his position by the assembly.
“Consequently, the commission has fixed Saturday, 10 April 2021 for the conduct of the bye-election to fill the vacant seat for the Isoko North State Constituency of Delta State. The official notification for the election will be published on Wednesday, 10 March 2021.
“Political parties shall conduct their primaries between 11 and 20 March 2021, while the last day for submission of list of nominated candidates is at 6pm on 24 March 2021,” the statement read.
According to the INEC spokesman, political parties are to submit the names of their polling agents for the election to the Electoral Officer of the Local Government on or before March 27 after which campaigns by political parties will stop on April 8.
He added that the access code for the nomination forms would be available for collection from March 20 at the commission’s headquarters.
Okoye advised political parties fielding candidates for the bye-election to pay close attention to the timetable and schedule of activities for the poll.
He also asked them to conduct transparent and valid party primaries, in line with the dictates of Section 87 of the Electoral Act 2010, as amended.
“We enjoin political parties to note that under section 31(8) of the Electoral Act, a political party which presents to the commission the name of a candidate who does not meet the qualifications stipulated in the Constitution and the Electoral Act shall be guilty of an offence and on conviction shall be liable to a maximum fine of N500, 000.
“The detailed Timetable and Schedule of activities has been uploaded on the commission’s website and social media platforms,” the statement added.
The Police have rescued 16 kidnapped victims and recovered arms in Delta State.
Delta State Commissioner of Police, CP Ari Muhammed Ali said the rescue effort was a way to reduce crime in the state which according to him is yielding results as the command has recorded another major breakthrough in the fight against criminals.
He said, On the 3/3/2021, acting on a tip off, some group of armed robbers/kidnappers were sited opposite Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) office Asaba, a team of Rapid Response Squad (RRS) operatives, raced to the scene and engaged the hoodlums in a gun duel.
“Two of them were fatally injured and later died, while others escaped. One ak47 rifle with breech no. 19567, and two magazines with 18 rounds of live ammunition were recovered.
“On the 3/3/2021 at about 1937hrs, a distress call was received that workers of one zion onofighe ‘m’, a hotelier, of zion compound abraka were being attacked by gun men at his site in Ogor, Ughelli”, he explained.
He added that the patrol teams dispatched to the scene engaged the hoodlums in a shootout and rescued the hotelier and sixteen (16) workers unhurt.
Also, a Toyota highlander jeep was recovered from the scene noting that the manhunt for the fleeing suspects is ongoing.
One policeman has been confirmed dead and three others injured after gunmen attacked a bullion van belonging to a new generation bank along the Ubulu-Okiti, Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta State.
The officers were said to be escorting the van when their assailants attacked and carted away an undisclosed amount of money
The Delta State Police Command confirmed the incident on Wednesday via a press statement, noting that other injured officers have been treated and discharged.
According to the statement signed by the Police Public Relations Officer, Edafe Bright, a manhunt has been launched to fish out the perpetrators of the crime.