Minister of Youth and Sport Mr. Sunday Dare has directed the immediate recall to the country of the technical director of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Mr. Sunday Adeleye over glaring administrative lapses and violation of the rules and regulations of the IAAF.
The duo of Divine and Blessing Okagbare both medal hopefuls for Nigeria escaped disqualificatio for not showing up for the 100 meters they registered for.
US and Taliban representatives held negotiations in Doha on Sunday, an American source close to the process said, as potentially decisive talks to enable Washington to drawdown its military in Afghanistan stretched into the evening.
“Talks resumed late morning today,” the US source said.
The third day of the two sides’ ninth round of dialogue, which continued until after 1900 GMT an AFP correspondent said, was described as promising by a Taliban source.
The insurgent group had earlier said that it was finalising technical points of an agreement with Washington at the talks being held in a luxury members’ club in the Qatari capital Doha.
“The agreement will be completed after we agree on these points,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told AFP on Saturday.
Any deal would be announced before the media as well as representatives from neighbouring countries and China, Russia, and the United Nations, he added.
The United States, which invaded Afghanistan and toppled the Taliban from power in 2001 after the September 11 attacks, wants to withdraw thousands of troops but only in return for the group renouncing Al-Qaeda and curbing attacks.
Washington is hoping to strike an agreement with the Taliban by September 1 — ahead of Afghan polls due the same month, and US presidential polls next year.
The Doha talks are being held against a backdrop of persistent violence in Afghanistan.
The Taliban claimed on Saturday to have killed seven members of the US military in an attack on a convoy near Bagram airfield north of Kabul. American officials dismissed the claims as “lies”.
On Wednesday, two US soldiers were killed by small arms fire in Faryab province in northern Afghanistan, the Pentagon said.
Shaheen, the Taliban spokesman, had said the deaths should have a “positive” impact on the talks in Doha.
Doha exploded in noisy celebration on Tuesday as jubilant Qataris flooded the streets and roads after their national team’s victory over bitter sporting and political rivals, United Arab Emirates.
Traffic along one of the city’s main highways, the Corniche, was jammed bumper-to-bumper with exultant fans celebrating the thumping 4-0 Asian Cup semi-final victory, many honking horns or waving Qatari flags from car roofs, and others showing four fingers to emphasise the emphatic victory.
“I am so happy, of course, because now we will play in the final,” Abdul, 24, smoking a cigarette on the side of the road and watching the celebrations.
“But for us, this match is better than the final, it’s revenge for everything bad they (the Emiratis) have said.
“They say we are not good people, we are terrorists. All Qataris are very happy.”
His Syrian friend Hattim agreed.
“This is history. Qatar has God with it. Qatar always acts the right way,” he said.
Another Qatari celebrating on the roof of a nearby car said the result was much “sweeter” because of the opposition.
Eager Indian sellers were quick to cash in on the celebrations, charging 100 Qatari Riyals ($28, 24 Euros) on the Corniche for giant flags.
Nearby, those who accidentally got caught up in the noisy celebrations held their hands over their ears as so many drivers blew their horns.
‘Qataris deserve it’
The political overtones of the last four match were impossible to ignore.
The game took place against the backdrop of the continuing, Gulf Crisis, which has pitched Qatar against a group of neighbouring former allies, including UAE.
That group of countries has boycotted Qatar for the past 19 months, accusing it of supporting terrorism, among other allegations, a charge which the 2022 World Cup host denies.
Immediately after the victory, Qatar’s prime minister and foreign minister took to Twitter to celebrate.
Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, the foreign minister and one of the leading figures during the crisis, pointedly called the victory a “wonderful performance… with high sports ethics”, after the partisan UAE crowd pelted Qatar with shoes and booed the national anthem during the match.
The semi-final was watched by big crowds throughout Doha, including at a packed and noisy Souq Waqif, in central Doha, where a giant screen showed the match live.
There, Qataris, alongside hundreds of fans from other countries including Egypt, France, Jordan and Algeria, watched the match intently.
At first, the crowd were nervously quiet but as Qatar’s dominance became apparent, fans become much noisier.
Qataris danced through the half-time break with their team 2-0 in front, and in the second half cheered every block and tackle as “Al-Annabi (The Maroons)” fought to hold onto their lead.
There were special cheers every time cameras showed despondent Emirati fans and especially when UAE’s Ismail Ahmed was sent off.
The final whistle saw the start of wild celebrations in the Souq, with more music and dance.
“Congratulations! Congratulations! They deserve it,” said one unnamed jubilant Qatari immediately after. “The Qatari people and the residents deserve it.
“We’ve hit them with four goals.”
He added that the victory was for the country’s leaders, including the Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
Nearby, an excited Algerian, Karim, said Qatar should now beat Japan in Friday’s final.
“It’s very fair, they gave a great performance, they deserve it,
Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has pulled out of January’s Australian Open warm-up event in Doha with a wrist injury, the tournament organisers announced on Tuesday.
The 32-year-old, who was the 2008 Australian Open runner-up to Novak Djokovic, is still expected to play in the opening Grand Slam tournament of the year at Melbourne Park, which starts on January 15.
World number 15 Tsonga, who won the Doha tournament in 2012, struggled with a right knee problem in October before returning to form and fitness in the final weeks of the season — winning in Antwerp and reaching the final at Vienna.
The House of Representatives has resolved to contribute the sum of 50,000 Naira each, to the Team Nigeria delegation at the Rio 2016 Paralympics as a token of their appreciation for an outstanding performance.
The resolution followed a motion sponsored on Wednesday by member of the lower chamber from Osun State, Representative Ayo Omidiran, at the National Assembly in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
Representative Omidiran said the resolve followed the team’s emergence as the best from Africa at the Paralympic Games.
To also commend them, the House has invited the team to its chamber, as a mark of honour in celebration of their performance.
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has assured the business community in Qatar that Nigeria would remove any impediment that can hinder investment in the country.
Speaking at a meeting with senior executives of Qatar Chamber of Commerce and some private businessmen in Doha on Sunday, the President said that security is essential to prosperity and development.
“Nobody invests without first knowing how secured a country is. That is why we have placed high premium on securing the country, because you cannot effectively manage a country you have not secured.
“My party campaigned on three main planks: security, employment generation and anti-corruption.
“We campaigned on zero corruption, promising that we would run an accountable government and we are keeping our promises,” the President said.
Referring to the crash in the international crude oil prices and its effect on the Nigerian economy, President Buhari informed his hosts that Nigeria is blessed with vast arable land for agriculture and rich deposit of solid minerals, which the businessmen can invest in and reap rich returns in a short while.
“Agriculture and solid minerals would mobilize youths for gainful employment. We have the capacity not to need to import food at all.
“But we need to also tackle infrastructure deficit in power, transportation, rail, road, and in other areas. We will put together an articulated plan, which would be discussed with you shortly, so that you can make investment decisions.
“All impediments like delayed processing of permits, multiple taxation, and corrupt practices, would be removed,” the President said.
Speaking on behalf of the Qatari businessmen, Vice Chairman of Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Muhammed Bin Ahmed Bin Towar Al Kuwari, said that they would be interested in the finance, oil and gas, telecommunications, tourism, agriculture and food processing sectors, among others.
“All eyes are on Africa in the next decade. Africa is the next place for growth, the rest of the world is looking towards the continent, and Nigeria is an important part of that continent,” he said.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday in Doha urged Nigerians to rekindle the spirit of patriotism and selfless service to encourage more foreign investments.
At a meeting with members of the Nigerian community in Doha, the President gave the assurance that the Federal Government would continue to create the enabling environment for investments in Nigeria. He said that most of the government efforts would be anchored on peace and security.
“We have abundant natural and human resources in the country, including huge oil and gas deposit.
“But the challenge is securing those installations and to persuade some of our countrymen to be more patriotic and stop sabotaging the installations.
“When people are being abducted and some are being murdered, when installations are being blown up now and then, the incentives for people to invest in our infrastructure is quite slim,” he told the gathering.
President Buhari also promised to look into the complaints of alleged blanket denial of visas to families and relatives of Nigerians intending to visit the State of Qatar.
“Like I tell other Nigerians living in other countries, you must be good ambassadors of the country because globally things are quite difficult in terms of security and the economy.
“If you have something doing, please hold it tight to your heart and try to improve on it because things are quite difficult all over.
“For us in Nigeria, we are trying to do our best to reduce unemployment and we realised this quite early enough, that is why we campaigned on the diversification of the economy.
“We have to go back to agriculture, like in the good old days of cocoa, palm oil, palm kernel, cottons, groundnuts, hides and skins,” he stressed.
On the fight against terrorism, the President told Nigerians living in Qatar that the military had made remarkable progress in dislodging Boko Haram terrorists from their previous strongholds in the North eastern part of Nigeria.
“When we came in May 2015, the Boko Haram were effectively holding 14 local governments out of 774 local governments in Nigeria but today they are not holding a single local government,” he stated.
He said the military and law enforcement agencies were working very hard to prevent and counter Boko Haram attacks on soft targets in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari will begin a week-long official visit to Saudi Arabia and Qatar on Monday, February 22, for talks with King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and senior officials of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
High on the agenda of discussions between President Buhari and the Saudi Monarch, is the ongoing efforts by Nigeria and other members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to achieve greater stability in the price of crude oil exports.
In a statement on Sunday the spokesperson for the President said that President Buhari would be accompanied by a high-powered Federal Government delegation. The Minister of State (Petroleum) and Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC), Dr. Ibe Kachikwu will be part of the delegation.
The President will also fly to Riyadyh on Tuesday.
“Crude oil prices and market stability would also be on the front burner when President Buhari goes on to Doha on Saturday for talks with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani,” the statement read.
The President is also scheduled to meet with leading Saudi and Qatari businessmen in Riyadh and Doha, and invite them to support his administration’s efforts to revamp the Nigerian economy by taking advantage of the great investment opportunities currently available in Nigeria’s mining, agriculture, power supply, infrastructure, transportation, communications and other sectors.
President Buhari’s other engagements in Saudi Arabia include meetings with Heads of International Financial Organisations and Multilateral Associations.
Before going on to Doha, the President will also visit Medina and Mecca to pray for greater peace, prosperity and progress in Nigeria.