EFCC Quizzes Former Immigration Boss

efccThe former immigration boss, David Parradang, has been quizzed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), for alleged corrupt practices.

The spokesperson for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed to Channels Television that the former immigration boss was interrogated earlier on Monday.

Mr Parradang was suspended by President Buhari in August, weeks after a wanted terrorist, Alhmad Al-assir secured a Nigerian visa from Lebanon.

He is however, being quizzed for his alleged role in the 2014 immigration recruitment exercise during which applicants were made to pay a thousand Naira each.

It was alleged that the botched recruitment exercise yielded about 600 million Naira, but the immigration service declared 45 million Naira only.

Several job seekers died at different locations during the exercise that was canceled by the former President, Goodluck Jonathan.

National Profile Should Be Given Pride Of Place – Prof. Dokubo

charles dokuboThe head of Defence and Strategic Analysis, of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) says National Profile should be given a pride of place while issuing passports.

On Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Friday, Professor Charles Dokubo said that the people issuing Nigerian Passports should find out cogent information about the applicants.

“Where is the person coming from, what is he coming to do?

“If he is coming from a region that has a link with our internal insurgency, can we drop a link with him?” he questioned.

Giving his opinion about the Nigerian visa issued to a terrorist wanted in Lebanon, Professor Dokubo said that the investigation should start from the gate keepers.

“The office that issued the visa should be examined because it takes time to process a visa.”

Professor Dokubo, however, said that “the jury is out, let’s find out the nitty-gritty of the case. Is it a valid visa? And if so, let’s find out who issued him the card,” he stressed.

While speaking about ways to investigate matters in Nigeria, Professor Dokubo said Nigeria had failed to develop its system to be geared towards thorough scrutiny and checks.

“The terrorist might be connected to a network to harm Nigeria.Tracing it to the conflicts happening in Lebanon and the Boko Haram sect in the country.

“He has come to see how operations of Boko Haram is taken place, how solid they are and if there would be need to send them arms or the support they need to help their attacks on the country,” he said.

Professor Dokubo maintained that some people could be on ground to receive him, making provision for those who come into the country to commit the act of terrorism.

“It has happened in other countries,” he emphasised and stressed the need to avoid a recurrence of the visa issue.

He said: “We have to make sure that the machines required to detect fraud passports are installed in our gate of entry and information is shared amongst all the security agencies. If that is done, we can have a sure way of dealing with those coming into the country in ways we don’t even know”.

Professor Dokubo, maintained that the Immigration Department should give updates on how far they have gone with the investigation.

Israeli Soldiers Injured In Shabaa Farms Missile Attack

_80571240_9747303b-71a3-4a83-be57-dc93459565ccThe Israeli army has said an anti-tank missile was fired at a military vehicle in Shabaa farms on the border with Syria and Lebanon.

Four Israeli soldiers have been injured during this attack on an army patrol near the border with Lebanon, the Israeli army says.

The Israeli army responded by firing shells into southern Lebanon.

Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the attack, saying in a statement that its Quneitra Martyrs Brigade carried it out at 11:35 a.m.

Hezbollah says the attack comes in response to last week’s killing of six of its members in Syria’s Quneitra

Hezbollah, which fought a month long war against Israel in 2006, is now fighting in Syria on the side of President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

Since that strike, the Israeli Army has been on high alert in expectation of a revenge attack. A top Iranian commander had warned Israel to prepare for a “shattering thunderbolt.”

Israeli military analysts predicted that Hezbollah would hit back against Israeli soldiers to exact revenge but that it would avoid a full-scale war — a more likely outcome if it directed attacks at Israeli civilians.

The Israel Defence Forces said they were looking into reports of attempts to abduct soldiers.

A Lebanese army spokesman said the missile was not fired from Lebanese territory, and that the artillery response by Israel was randomly falling on areas along the border, although no shells have fallen into villages with civilians yet.

“Initial reports suggest that an anti-tank missile was fired at a military vehicle near Mt Dov in northern Israel,” the Israel Defence Forces said on Twitter.

PM Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted: “At this moment the IDF responds to events in the North. We will not allow terrorists to disrupt the lives of our citizens and threaten their security. We will respond forcefully those who try to challenge us.”

Thirteen shells fired from Israel hit open farmland in southern Lebanon close to the frontier, according to the Reuters news agency.

The incident came just hours after Israel launched an air strike on Syrian army positions near the Golan Heights in retaliation for rockets that were fired into Israel on Monday.

Shabaa Farms is a small strip of disputed land at the intersection of the Lebanese-Syrian border and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Source Says Qatar Seeks To Free U.S Hostages In Syria

Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled al-AttiyahQatar is working to help free four Americans held hostage in Syria by various armed groups, a Gulf source familiar with the matter said on Monday.

This comes a day after the Gulf Arab state’s diplomacy helped free a journalist held since 2012.

The source declined to name the four or provide details, and Reuters could not independently verify the assertion, but his account was broadly supported by other sources.

The reported initiative by Qatar coincides with an effort by the tiny state to rebut accusations by some of its Arab neighbours and Western politicians that it supports the most anti-Western militant armed groups in Iraq and Syria. Those allegations followed months of criticism by human rights groups over its treatment of Asian guest workers and charges – denied by Doha – of corruption in its successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

The wealthy country, which does back some rebel factions fighting to oust Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, has mediated the release of foreign and Syrian captives on several occasions in the course of Syria’s three-year-old civil war.

Its latest foray into hostage diplomacy brought Sunday’s release of Peter Theo Curtis, an American held for nearly two years by al-Nusra Front, an affiliate of al Qaeda.

“Four other Americans who have gone missing in Syria have now been located, and Qatar is working to free them,” the Gulf source told Reuters on condition of anonymity. He said the hostages were being held by “various groups” but declined to give details.

Qatar’s foreign ministry declined to comment.

A Doha-based source close to the Qatari Government said without elaborating that Washington was working with Qatar to try to free a number of U.S. hostages in Syria.

A rebel commander in Syria reached by Skype from Beirut told Reuters that Qatar was continuously trying to secure the release of captives of all nationalities.

Under a policy of international self-promotion, Qatar has for years also played peace broker in disputes from Somalia to Lebanon, and has irritated conservative neighbors by supporting Arab Spring revolts and bankrolling Islamist influence.

Qatar this week argued its aims in the region were peaceful and humanitarian, issuing a statement condemning what it called Foley’s “barbaric” murder.

Qatari Foreign Minister, Khaled al-Attiyah, said earlier this year his country’s mediation had secured the release in March of 13 Greek Orthodox nuns after more than three months of being held by Islamist fighters. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights identified the rebels who took the nuns as the Nusra Front.

Before that, Qatar helped win the release of 11 Lebanese Shi’ites in October 2013 after 17 months in captivity in Syria.

NFF President Commends Super Sand Eagles

President of Nigeria Football Federation, Aminu Maigari has commended the coaching crew and players of the Beach Soccer National Team, otherwise known as Super Sand Eagles, following the team’s 3rd straight triumph in the COPA Lagos International Invitational Beach Soccer Tournament.

The high-flying Nigerian squad dismantled African champions Senegal 4-2 in the final match played at the Eko Atlantic City on Sunday, to win the trophy for keeps, and Maigari poured encomiums on the boys while receiving the trophy in his office on Tuesday.

“I truly and sincerely commend the Super Sand Eagles for their consistency in doing Nigeria proud. This is the third time they are winning the trophy and this makes it the 10th trophy that the present NFF administration has won for Nigeria.

“I congratulate the players and their officials, and pledge that the NFF will continue to support all our National Teams, including the Super Sand Eagles, to do Nigeria proud in international championships.”

Sunday’s triumph followed similar spectacular results in previous years, which saw the Super Sand Eagles decimate world power Brazil 9-4 to clinch the inaugural edition in December 2011 and edge a very strong Portuguese team 8-7, after a fascinating final on December 16, 2012.

In 2011, the Nigerian boys, quarter-finalists at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Ravenna, Italy prevailed over South Africa and England before overwhelming Brazil, and last year, were too strong for Lebanon and Argentina before Portugal also chewed sand at the same venue.

This year, Coach Adamu Audu Ejo and his boys blew Germany off the sands 7-1 before edging out Lebanon and prevailing over African champions Senegal.

JTF Discovers More Weapons In Hezbollah Suspect’s Residence In Kano

Joint security forces in Kano state, north-west Nigeria says it has discovered another cooler buried under a wardrobe at the same Lebanese house at No. 3 Gaya Road, where a large quantity of arms and ammunition were recovered last week suspected to be that of Hezbollah Terrorists organization.

A press statement by the JTF spokesperson, Captain Ikedichi Iweha, said the cooler contained 80 indicators, 5 PPK pistols, 334 rounds of 7.62mm special, 9 magazines, 4 pistol silencers, hand grenades caps, 4 explosive fuses and 2 explosive device.

Iweha stressed that while the house was under 24 hour JTF surveillance, the military will continue to count on the support and cooperation of the good people of Kano state.

“In the effective discharge of our duty, we want to assure you of our utmost commitment in ensuring that peace and atmosphere suitable for business continue to prevail.”

Meanwhile, all effort to speak with Mr. Taher, the owner of the house and owner of the Taher Guest Palace in Kano was not successful as he told Channels Television that he has been advised on not talk to the press.

For now, Mr. Taher appeared free but probably under surveillance by security operatives.

Former State Security Boss Calls For Support From Nigerians In Fighting Terrorism

A former Director of the Department of State Security (DSS), Mike Ejiofor has called on all Nigerians to co-operate with the security agencies in the country in stamping out terrorism.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Ejiofor said it was with the information provided by the resident of Kano, Northwest Nigeria, that security operatives were able to uncover an illegal armory with links to Hezbollah terrorist organization.

A combined force of the Nigerian military, the Police and the DSS had on Thursday uncovered an armory suspected to be that of Hezbollah organization in Kano.

The army also arrested four persons suspected to be the occupants of the house.

Mr Ejiofor said one of the problems Nigeria face is its porous borders.

“One of the greatest challenges we have is our porous borders. Our borders are so wide. The Minister of Interior told us sometimes that we have over 1, 497 illegal routes and this is not good for us,” he said.

He advocated that the agencies responsible for controlling the nation’s borders – the Nigerian Customs Services and the Nigerian Immigration Services –should be strengthened and encouraged by making formation available to them.

He said, “There is no way those weapons could have come in without the collaborations of some unscrupulous Nigerians. So we need to be vigilant; we are facing an international war and we must rise up to the challenges.”

Decisive Action

With the uncovering of a Lebanese terror group, Hezbollah in Nigeria, Mr Ejiofor said the Federal Government should rather than taking a hurried action against Lebanon, open a diplomatic channel with the country.

“In International diplomacy, you don’t just rush into issues like that but I was pleasantly surprised by the action taken by the government for security forces to have filled the premises of the terrorist suspects.

“I think a diplomatic channel should be opened between Nigeria and Lebanon alongside with Iran because Iran has been indicted two or three times now on this very terrorist act. I think Nigeria should take decisive action towards Iran,” Mr Ejiofor said.

NFF Puts Soccer Beach League In view

Football Federation Body of Nigeria; the Nigeria Football Federation is looking to start a beach soccer league  from next year to further promote game amongst Nigerian footballers so as to properly development the game and its potential players for future competitions.

This was revealed by the Technical Director of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF); Dr Emmanuel Ikpeme, after Sunday’s successful title defence of the Super sand Eagles as they beat Portugal 8-7 at the Copa Lagos Beach Soccer Worldwide.

Nigeria’s beach soccer players have always been drawn from 11-a-side football and they have featured in FIFA, CAF and invitational tournaments.

Nigeria’s Super sand Eagles have won the CAF Beach Soccer Championship twice in 2007 and 2009, and have reached the last eight of the Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup twice in 2007 and 2011 and these has been achieved with the absence of a beach soccer league.

Ikpeme said that plans are on-going to kick-start the beach soccer league for 2013.

Ikpeme who couldn’t hide his excitement yesterday added that the league will probably kick-off in the third or second quarter of 2013.

“I’m happy with the performance of the team. There are plans by the football federation to start a beach soccer league. It has been in the plan for some time but the logistics are being tied up.

“But I cannot assure you that the league will start early next year, I mean in the first quarter of next year. However, the beach soccer league should commence at the earliest in the second or third quarter of next year,” he concluded.

Sand Eagles Retain Copa Lagos Title

Nigeria’s Super Sand Eagles yesterday retained the Copa Lagos Beach Soccer Championship title as they maintained a 100 per cent unbeaten run.

Portugal was the Eagles final opponent of this year’s edition of the championship which was held at the beach stadium of the Eko hotel as the Seleccao das Quinas were beaten 8-7 after playing a fulltime of three periods at 7-7, and a clinical finish was achieved by the Eagles to emerge winners once again.

The Super sand eagles also recorded a sweet than ever journey to the finals of the championship as they cruised all the way there with unbeaten record as they won all three of their games at the four-team invitational tournament in Lagos, beating Lebanon 7-6 and Argentina 5-0 on Friday and Saturday respectively.

Yesterday final started on a least expected mode for Portugal was hit b a quick move from the Sand Eagles which Bartholomew Ibenegbu happened to be the finisher but was unfortunate because the referee blew for an infringement, even though his effort found the back of Portugal’s net.

But two minutes to the end of the first period, Ogbonnaya Okemmiri caught Portugal goalkeeper, Paulo Graca out of position to give Nigeria a 1-0 lead from a defensive challenge.

In retaliation to the Eagles goal Jose Maria scored twice via two overhead kicks to hand Portugal a 2-1 lead in the space of two minutes, but thanks Kwara United striker, Abu Azeez who did all to make the score even as that only lasted a while because Bruno Torres’ low free kick from almost the halfway put Portugal ahead of the Sand Eagles again to be 3-2.

A minute to end the first period, Portugal showed they were on fire as  a Rui Coimbra move dazzled the Eagles and  slipped the ball into a corner as Eagles goalkeeper watched the ball helplessly going into the net to make it  a 4-2 lead for Portugal.

With so much firepower taken into second period, Portugal were full of brace as Marinho Dante, Jordan and Bruno Novo pounded the Eagles to put the scores at 7-3 to nudge Portugal ahead with three goals

Three minutes to end the second period, Ibenegbu picked out Olawale on the left and he expertly side-stepped the ball past Carlos to cut down Portugal’s lead to three.

In the space of ten seconds, Nigeria closed the gap to two goals as Tale scored with over a minute left in the period off a corner kick to put the score at 5-7.

And the third period began on breakneck speed with Azeez netting his fifth goal of Copa Lagos to become the leading scorer.

Four minutes to the final period, Coimbra’s short pass led to Graca upending Badmus Babatunde, who calmly converted the resultant spot kick to put the game at 7-7 to send the game into extra time and in extra time, Ibenegbu put the icing on the cake as Nigeria went 8-7 up.

Copa Lagos: Supersand Eagles On A Jolly Ride

Nigeria’s representative in the Copa Lagos presently going on; the Supersand Eagles are sure on a jolly ride towards the lifting of the Copa title as pounced on Argentina slashing the South America country on sand 5-0 at the Copa Beach Soccer Worldwide at the Eko Atlantic Beach Soccer Stadium today.

Four seconds into the game, Victor Tale opened scoring for the Eagles thanks to a deflection and Nigeria was 1 ahead and it should not come as a surprise that Tale’s goal so far has been recorded as the fastest goal of the four-team tournament  and he will be hoping no goal comes faster than his.

On the whole, the game between the Supersand eagles and Argentina was a one-way game Tale became a thorn in the flesh of Hector Petrasso’s team as they couldn’t keep the striker at bay.

Tale continued his damaging moves including an overhead kick from close range as he was just too much for the South American to hold down with several scoring occasions.

Kwara United new boy Abu Azeez braced to second tale’s effort to put Nigeria 2-0 with an astonishing side-foot past Argentina goalkeeper, Cesar Mendoza, thanks to a solo effort of space creation.

Nigeria proved stronger of the two teams in the second period in spite of Christian Cuevas’ spirited attempts to help the South Americans back in the game.

Supersand Eagles’ captain, Isiaka Olawale made it 3-0 for the Supersand Eagles after the combination of the Hilaire brothers, Santiago and Ezequiel failed to produce a goal at the other end seconds earlier.

To make 4-0 for the Supersand Eagles, a thumping free kick from Emmanuel Ewhoferia’s shot caught goalkeeper Mendoza napping.

And towards the end of the second half of the game, the combination of In the Mendoza and Ezequiel couldn’t stop the fifth goal as they attempted to stop Ikechukwu Ibenegbu’s effort, though Ogbonnaya Okemmiri’s screamer carried the day for the Supersand Eagles as the shot hugged the top corner of goalkeeper Mendoza’s goalpost as he watched the ball go in helplessly.

With this result, the Supersand Eagles are sure ahead of Lebanon and Portugal with three points, as they are on top of the Copa Lagos with six points.

At least 50 Nigerians evacuated from Syria- Ashiru

About 50 Nigerian s have been evacuated from Syria following the ongoing crises in the country, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Olugbega Ashiru said on Monday.

Mr Ashiru said that the evacuees complied with government’s directive to leave Syria and he advised others to vacate the Middle East nation.

“We have evacuated quite a lot of Nigerians from Syria. It was not an airlift exercise like we did in the case of Libya because they are very few.

“From the report I got, those moved so far are less than 50, long before the situation deteriorated we advised them to move.

“Some have decided to stay behind but it is their choice,” he said.

The minister also said that the families of the Charge d’Affairs and officials at the embassy had been relocated to the neighbouring nation of Lebanon “and they are very safe there.”

March 15, 2011 marked the beginning of the crisis in the troubled Middle Eastern nation, with public demonstrations as part of the wider Arab spring and developed into a nationwide uprising.

Pope appoints Nigerian archbishop into vatican position

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Lebanese and Nigerian clergymen to a Vatican department aimed at countering growing secularisation in a sign of attention to two problematic regions for the Catholic Church.

The Vatican said the Archbishop of Beirut of the Maronites, Paul Youssef Matar, and the Archbishop of Jos, Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, would be joining the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization.

Despite the raging conflict in Syria, which has also raised tensions within Lebanon, the pope is expected to visit Beirut on September 14-16 with a message calling for peaceful coexistence between religions in the region.

Thousands of people have been killed in Jos in recent years in clashes between the Christian and Muslim communities including a suicide attack on a Catholic church in March in which a dozen people were killed.

Benedict created the pontifical council for new evangelisation in 2010.