World Cup Preview: Nigeria’s Falconets Target Netherlands’ Scalp In Q/Final Match

Nigeria and The Netherlands have not met at this level before now.


The Falconets take on The Netherlands in a quarter-final clash at the 2022 U-20 Women’s World Cup late Monday,  seeking to extend their perfect run in the championship. 

Nigeria, two-time finalists since the age-grade competition started 20 years ago, won all group stage games to set up the mouth-watering clash with the Europeans. Coach Chris Danjuma’s girls scored five goals in those matches, conceding just once to emerge Group C winners. That will be the first time Nigeria will amass all nine points at stake in the group stage.

READ ALSO: Drop Ronaldo And Rashford For Liverpool Tie, Rooney Tells Ten Hag

Titans Vs Emerging Powerhouse

Aside from reaching the final in 2010 and 2014 – losing on both occasions to Germany – the Falconets finished as semi-finalists in 2012. They have also featured in all editions of the competition which started in 2002.

While the West Africans are what many may call “veterans” in the age-grade tournament, the Dutch do not boast of such intimidating credentials.

This is just their second outing in the competition having reached the last eight in 2018. The Dutch, who finished runners-up in Group D with six points, have never met Nigeria at this level.

In fact, the Falconets are only the second African side they will be battling since their debut four years back.

Led by 41-year-old Coach Jessica Torny, the Dutch side defeated Ghana 4-0 in 2018 before thrashing the Black Princesses 4-1 in the ongoing championship.

They may be tagged “inexperienced”, but the Oranje Girls are a free-scoring setup built on sleek, quick movements that have produced seven goals – only behind Spain with eight.

With a flourishing attacking setup, Nigerian coach Danjuma will be banking on his side’s mean defence to keep The Netherlands –  a team he admitted as “strong” –  at bay in the intriguing clash.

“The Dutch are a super-strong squad to have survived that group where the Americans were sent packing,” he told a pre-match presser.

“In any event, any team in the quarter-final must be a super-strong squad. We will not under-rate them, just as we did not under-rate any of France, Korea Republic, and Canada”.

Despite an enviable group run, Coach Danjuma maintains his girls are not carried away.

“As I said at the beginning of the tournament, we are taking it one match at a time,”  the gaffer added. “Our overall plan for each of the games in the group phase worked well. And I believe that our overall plan for the match against The Netherlands will work as well.”

For his Dutch counterpart, reaching the second round of games is a fulfillment of their goal. But more is welcomed.

“We have reached our goal, which was the quarter-final. That pressure is off, but now we have new pressure,” Jessica said in a press conference ahead of the encounter. “We want more from this tournament. We’ll give everything to reach the semi-finals.”

Players To Watch

To reach that milestone, the Dutch will have to find a way to stop in form Esther Onyenezide and her teammates. The FC Robo Queens midfielder is Nigeria’s top scorer having struck thrice.

Topscorer in the qualifiers Flourish Sabastine is equally expected to add to her one-goal tally so far while Mercy Idoko, Deborah Abiodun, and Bashirat Amoo will run the show in midfield.

Defensive stalwart and skipper Oluwatosin Demehin will lead the backline to provide cover for goalkeeper Omini Oyono.

Time, Other Details Of Nigeria Vs The Netherlands’ Match

Match venue: Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto, Alajuela
Date: Sunday, August 21, 2022
Kick-off time: 11:30 p.m (Nigerian time/WAT)

Three EU Countries Expel Dozens Of Russian Diplomats

An Algerian pilot died when his Russian-made fighter jet crashed during a training flight in the country’s west, the defence ministry said.

The MiG-29 went down “because of a technical fault, directly after taking off from Bousfer airbase” in the province of Oran, it said late Monday.

The pilot and co-pilot were able to eject but the pilot later succumbed to his injuries, the statement said.

Armed forces chief General Said Chengriha ordered an enquiry into the crash.

The North African country’s armed forces have suffered a string of aviation disasters in recent years.

In April 2018, an Ilyushin Il-76 heavy transport aircraft crashed south of Algiers with the loss of all 257 people on board, most of them military personnel, in the country’s deadliest air accident.

In February 2014, 77 soldiers or relatives were killed when a Hercules C-130 transport aircraft crashed east of Algiers.

Most recently, three Algerian navy officers died when their MS-25 Merlin helicopter crashed into the Mediterranean west of the capital in December 2020.


Eriksen Scores On Denmark Return After Cardiac Arrest

Denmark's Christian Eriksen celebrates after scoring a goal during the friendly football match between the Netherlands and Denmark at the Johan-Cruijff ArenA on March 26, 2022 in Amsterdam. MAURICE VAN STEEN / ANP / AFP
Denmark’s Christian Eriksen celebrates after scoring a goal during the friendly football match between the Netherlands and Denmark at the Johan-Cruijff ArenA on March 26, 2022 in Amsterdam. MAURICE VAN STEEN / ANP / AFP


Denmark’s Christian Eriksen scored on his return to international football after suffering a cardiac arrest last year in a 4-2 friendly defeat against the Netherlands on Saturday.

A little more than nine months – 287 days – after his collapse at Euro 2020, Eriksen pulled off a remarkable comeback at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam.

To the resounding applause of the Dutch public and manager Louis van Gaal in particular when he came off the bench, Eriksen raised his hands to the sky in thanks.

READ ALSO: Ghana, Nigeria Clash Ends In Drab Draw

Two minutes after coming on at half-time, the Brentford midfielder then scored a superb goal with a powerful strike into the top corner, his 37th goal in 110 appearances.

Eriksen was clearly delighted with his strike which cut the Dutch lead to 3-2.

He was congratulated by his team-mates, many of whom were there when he suffered his cardiac arrest.

The 30-year-old collapsed in Denmark’s opening game of the European Championships against Finland in Copenhagen last June.

He had to be resuscitated on the pitch, lying unconscious for several minutes as the stunned crowd and millions of television viewers around the world watched on in horror.

Eriksen spent several days in hospital and had a pacemaker implanted to regulate his heartbeat.

He terminated his contract with Inter Milan by mutual consent in December as Italian league rules bar players with pacemakers.

He was signed by Premier League outfit Brentford in January, making three appearances to date.

It was also fitting he scored in the Amsterdam Arena, the home of Ajax.

Eriksen came through the ranks at the Dutch side, making 162 appearances for the club and winning five trophies, including three consecutive league titles between 2011 and 2013.



Netherlands To Go Into Christmas Lockdown – Prime Minister

A patient receives a vaccine dose in a GGD vaccination location, in Leiden, Netherlands, on December 18, 2021.  Marco de Swart / ANP / AFP


The Netherlands will go into “lockdown” over the Christmas period to try to stop a surge of the Omicron coronavirus variant, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Saturday.

All non-essential shops, restaurants, bars, cinemas, museums and theatres must shut from Sunday until January 14, while schools must close until at least January 9, Rutte said.

People are now only allowed two guests at home, except for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, December 26 and the New Year period when four guests are permitted.

“I stand here tonight in a somber mood,” Rutte told a televised press conference.

“To sum it up in one sentence, the Netherlands will go back into lockdown from tomorrow.

“It is inevitable with the fifth wave and with Omicron spreading even faster than we had feared. We must now intervene as a precaution.”

The Omicron strain would soon overtake the Delta variant in the Netherlands, said the head of the Dutch outbreak management team, Jaap van Dissel.

“Between Christmas and the turn of the year the Omicron variant will become dominant,” van Dissel told the news conference.

The scientist warned that if Omicron’s effect is as strong as Delta’s, hospitalisations could exceed those in the first wave of the disease in early 2020.

“We know that the variant can outflank built-up defences from previous infections or previous vaccinations, especially if that was some time ago,” he said.

 ‘Netherlands sighing’

Rutte’s announcement came after an emergency cabinet meeting, and just four days after the government extended its previous measures and announced that schools would start their holidays earlier.

Long queues developed outside shops earlier Saturday as people rushed to do last-minute Christmas shopping as reports of the new measures emerged.

“It’s too busy, but I’m coming before the Christmas holidays to pick up gifts, it seems like a new lockdown is coming,” Ayman Massori, 19, told AFP in The Hague.

Rutte, who earlier this week reached a coalition deal that will give him a fourth term as premier, acknowledged the effect on the national mood during the festive period.

“I can now hear the whole of the Netherlands sighing. This is exactly one week before Christmas, another Christmas that is completely different from what we would like,” said Rutte.

But he insisted that “Omicron is forcing us to limit our number of contacts as quickly as possible, and as much as possible, which is why the Netherlands will be locked,” he said.

The Dutch Covid restrictions have led to a 21-percent decline in infections in the week from December 7-14, according to official health authority data.

The Netherlands also recorded a “slight decline” in hospital admissions, but authorities insisted that Omicron was still “a cause for concern”.

Nearly 86 percent of all adults in the Netherlands have been vaccinated.

But the Dutch booster campaign has been slow to get off the ground, and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said all over-18s would now get an invitation by January 7.

The Netherlands relaxed most social distancing measures in September, but by November infections were back up to record levels of more than 20,000 a day.

The restrictions have been unpopular, with riots breaking out in Rotterdam, The Hague and other cities in late November.


Omicron Variant Was Circulating In Netherlands Before S/Africa Reported It – Dutch Authorities


Dutch health authorities said on Tuesday that the Omicron variant was present in the Netherlands earlier than previously thought, and before South Africa had first reported the new strain of Covid-19.

The variant was found in two test samples from November 19 and 23, with one having no travel history, suggesting that the variant was already circulating in the Netherlands, the RIVM public health institute said.

The first Omicron cases in the Netherlands were previously believed to have been the cluster of 14 among passengers on two flights from South Africa that arrived in Amsterdam on Friday.

READ ALSO: FG Maintains No Record Of Omicron Variant In Nigeria Yet

The Netherlands now joins other European countries including Belgium and Germany that have reported cases of the new strain before it was officially notified by South Africa to the World Health Organization on November 24.

“We found two additional cases of Omicron variant which have been sampled on the 19th and 23rd of November,” RIVM infectious diseases chief Aura Timen told AFP.

“So that points at the presence already of this variant in the Netherlands.”

‘No travel history’

Dutch authorities had informed the two new cases and carried out contact tracing, the RIVM said.

“One of those two people had no travel history, the other had recently been to the south of Africa,” an RIVM spokesman told AFP.

The airline passengers with Omicron, who were among 61 travellers on the two KLM flights from South Africa that tested positive for Covid, are now in quarantine.

With 16 confirmed cases the Netherlands has one of the highest numbers of the new strain in Europe.

But the Dutch situation was likely to be repeated in other countries when they retest samples for Omicron cases, the public health institute’s Timen said.

“I don’t think that we are in an exceptional situation or exceptional risk at this point,” Timen said.

“The moment a new variant emerges and is announced, probably the variant is already spread all over the world.”

Belgium, the first European country to report the presence of the new variant, has said that a case tested positive on November 22, and had developed symptoms 11 days after travelling to Egypt via Turkey.

Germany has meanwhile said that a person who tested positive for the variant had arrived at Frankfurt international airport on November 21.

The Omicron cases come as the Netherlands is under a virtual night-time lockdown imposed by the government after Covid cases surged to record levels.

But last week the number of new cases had finally “stabilised”, rising by just one percent to 155,152, compared to a leap of 39 percent the week before, the RIVM said.

Deaths last week rose to 367, from 265 the week before.

New hospital admissions also stabilised at 1,996 last week but the number of people admitted to intensive care continued to rise, up 22 percent to 367.

‘Quarantine couple’ freed

Meanwhile, the Netherlands is to release the couple who absconded from a quarantine hotel but were later arrested after they boarded a flight to Spain, their lawyer and Dutch prosecutors said.

Carolina Pimenta and Andres Sanz, who were caught on a plane that was about to take off for Spain on Sunday, and were then moved to “forced isolation” in a hospital tuberculosis ward.

Pimenta initially tested positive for Covid on arrival on one of the KLM flights, but tested negative after a second test was administered in the Netherlands, the country’s public prosecution service said.

Based on this information it “now has about the incident, the Public Prosecution Service is of the opinion that there is no suspicion of a criminal offence, so there will be no prosecution”, spokeswoman Ilse de Heer said.

COVID-19: Police Arrest Couple Who Fled Quarantine In Netherlands

Police patrol around the centre of the Dutch northern city of Zwolle, on November 22, 2021, where an emergency order has been issued after three nights of unrest in the Netherlands over new anti-Covid19 measures.  JOHN THYS / AFP


Dutch border police said Sunday they arrested a couple on a plane after they fled a quarantine hotel where Covid-positive passengers from South African flights were staying.

The drama came after Dutch authorities said that 61 people who arrived on two flights at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on Friday had tested positive for the coronavirus, 13 of them with the new Omicron variant.

One of the members of the couple had tested positive for Covid-19 and went into isolation, while the other person was negative but in quarantine, according to Public health authority spokeswoman Stefanie van Waardenburg.

She added that both were back in isolation, but not at the same hotel.

They are a Spanish man, 30 and a Portuguese woman, aged 28, police spokesman Stan Verberkt told AFP.

“The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee at Schiphol has arrested a couple this evening who had fled from a quarantine hotel,” Verberkt said.

“The arrests took place in a plane that was about to take off. They were on a plane that was about to depart for Spain at around 6:00 pm,” he added.

Border police are now laying charges with the Dutch public prosecutor’s office against the couple for jeopardising public safety, he said.

The pair had been handed over to the public health authority, Verberkt confirmed.

It was not known how the couple left the hotel or how the alarm was raised.

The Dutch authorities announced stricter new travel protocols on Friday as alarm mounted around the world about the new Omicron variant, which first emerged in southern Africa.

The 600 people on the two South Africa flights on Friday spent most of the day stuck at the airport being tested in conditions that one person described as “dystopia central”.

Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge had said just hours earlier that authorities in the Netherlands would ensure that people obeyed quarantine rules.

The Covid-positive passengers from the South Africa flights are almost all at the hotel while a handful have been allowed to go into home quarantine. Passengers who tested negative have also been ordered into home quarantine.

“We will control whether they keep to those rules,” de Jonge told reporters.

The health minister added that it could not be excluded that more people than the initial 13 had contracted the Omicron variant.

“We are concerned, but how much we should be at this stage we don’t know yet,” De Jonge said.

Police and security guards were on guard at the quarantine hotel, a spokeswoman for the local mayor said earlier.

“The security is there for a reason,” the spokeswoman said.


Netherlands Return To Partial Lockdown As Covid Surges

Nursing staff assist a coronavirus (Covid-19) patient in the nursing department of Maastricht UMC in Maastricht on November 10, 2021. Sem van der Wal / ANP / AFP
Nursing staff assist a coronavirus (Covid-19) patient in the nursing department of Maastricht UMC in Maastricht on November 10, 2021. Sem van der Wal / ANP / AFP


Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Friday announced Western Europe’s first partial lockdown of the winter, with three weeks of Covid curbs on restaurants, shops, and sporting events.

Protesters set off fireworks in The Hague after Rutte unveiled the “annoying and far-reaching” measures following a record spike of infections to more than 16,000 a day.

At a news conference, Rutte said the situation required a “hard blow of a few weeks because the virus is everywhere, throughout the country, in all sectors and all ages”.

“Fortunately, the vast majority have been vaccinated, otherwise the misery in the hospitals would be incalculable at the moment.”

READ ALSO: In Paris, Buhari Calls For Equitable Distribution Of COVID-19 Vaccines

Bars, restaurants, cafes and supermarkets will have to shut at 8:00 pm for the next three weeks from Saturday, while non-essential shops must shut at 6:00 pm.

People will be limited to having four visitors at home and have been advised to work at home unless absolutely necessary.

Public events will be scrapped while football matches including the Netherlands’ home World Cup qualifier with Norway next week must be played behind closed doors.

Schools will however remain open, and people will be allowed to leave their homes without restrictions.

The government will review the situation on December 3 to see if further measures are needed, Rutte added.

These could include requiring Covid passes to access the workplace, and allowing bars and restaurants to limit admittance to people who have been vaccinated or who have recovered from the disease.

Currently, such passes are needed to access all cafes, bars and restaurants but are also available to those who have shown a negative test.

Cases have soared since the Dutch government lifted most Covid measures less than two months ago on September 25.

‘Great dismay’

Fresh restrictions are however politically sensitive, with thousands of people rallying in The Hague last Sunday after the government on November 2 said it was reintroducing face masks in some public spaces.

The Dutch football association noted the plans “with great dismay” and was trying to lobby the government not to ban fans from matches.

The catering industry, which has been hit hard by closures during the pandemic, also slammed the latest measures.

“The limit has been reached. Entrepreneurs are furious,” Rober Willemsen, chairman of the trade association Koninklijke Horeca Nederland (KHN), told NOS.

Meanwhile the official arrival of Saint Nicholas, or Sinterklaas as he is known in Dutch — scheduled on Saturday in the historic central city of Utrecht has already been cancelled due to the spike in cases.

The Netherlands on Friday reported 16,287 Covid-19 cases over the previous 24 hours, 44 less than on Thursday when the figure of 16,364 smashed the previous record set in December 2020.

The nation of 17 million people has reported 2.2 million cases and 18,612 deaths since the start of the pandemic last year.

Hospitals have warned they will not be able to make it through the winter under the current conditions.

The Covid spike comes despite the fact that 82 percent of Dutch people over the age of 12 have been fully vaccinated.

Unvaccinated people account for most intensive care cases (69 percent) and hospital admissions (55 percent), but waning vaccine efficiency, particularly in the elderly, has also been blamed for the surge.

The Dutch government says it will start giving booster jabs in December.

Covid case numbers are on the rise across much of Europe with neighbouring Germany also mulling fresh restrictions.


Euro 2020: Netherlands See Off David Alaba’s Austria To Book Place In Last 16

Netherlands’ defender Denzel Dumfries (hidden) celebrates scoring his team’s second goal with his team-mates during the UEFA EURO 2020 Group C football match between the Netherlands and Austria at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam on June 17, 2021. JOHN THYS / POOL / AFP


Memphis Depay’s early penalty set the Netherlands on the way to a 2-0 win over Austria in Amsterdam on Thursday, their second straight victory at Euro 2020 securing qualification for the last 16 already as winners of Group C.

Depay made no mistake from the spot in the 11th minute after David Alaba’s foul on Denzel Dumfries was spotted by the Israeli referee only after he had come across to review the images.

READ ALSO: Christian Eriksen: Denmark Midfielder To Have Defibrillator Implanted Following Cardiac Arrest

Netherlands’ forward Wout Weghorst (C) has a shot during the UEFA EURO 2020 Group C football match between the Netherlands and Austria at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam on June 17, 2021. Peter Dejong / POOL / AFP


Dumfries, so impressive in the thrilling opening 3-2 win over Ukraine, added another midway through the second half, his second goal of the tournament.

The Dutch were comfortable at home in the Johan Cruyff Arena and Frank de Boer’s side are so far making a success of their first major tournament appearance since the 2014 World Cup.

That is great news for De Boer, whose predecessor as national coach, current Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman, was among the spectators.

Ukraine beat North Macedonia 2-1 earlier in Bucharest and, with head-to-head the first tiebreaker, the Dutch now cannot be caught at the top of the group.

They have six points, while Austria and Ukraine have three and North Macedonia nothing.

That means De Boer can rest players for the final group game against North Macedonia on Monday, safe in the knowledge that the Dutch will be going to Budapest for a last-16 tie on June 27 against a third-place finisher.

De Boer said coming into the Euro that the 1988 champions were “between the fourth and eighth-best team” and already they can see their path opening up to the quarter-finals.

They will still need to improve if they are to stand a chance of going any further, but they appear to be finding their feet in the 3-5-2 system that De Boer has controversially opted for.

Still hope for Austria

Austria players including (L-R) Austria’s defender Martin Hinteregger, Austria’s midfielder Marcel Sabitzer and Austria’s midfielder Florian Grillitsch react after the UEFA EURO 2020 Group C football match between the Netherlands and Austria at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam on June 17, 2021. JOHN THYS / POOL / AFP

Austria, after all, are a mediocre side and were not helped by the penalty carelessly given away by Alaba, their captain and best player.

Franco Foda’s side were also handicapped by the absence of Marko Arnautovic, suspended for insulting an opponent after coming off the bench and scoring against North Macedonia.

Foda had said he was in line to start here.

Austria can nevertheless still qualify for the last 16 with a game against Ukraine to come.

Whoever comes second in this group will play the Group A winners — either Wales or Italy — in London on June 26.

If the Dutch King and Queen were present at their first match, this time FIFA president Gianni Infantino was in the stands, as well as Koeman.

Depay, out of contract at Lyon, hinted on the eve of the game that he is set to team up with Koeman in Barcelona.

The former Manchester United man believes he is good enough to play for a club of Barcelona’s stature, and he confidently stroked home the early spot-kick awarded following a VAR review for Alaba’s foul on Dumfries.

He then missed a sitter just before half-time, failing to hit the target after Wout Weghorst teed him up.

It was from a Depay corner that Weghorst nodded the ball down for Stefan de Vrij to see his effort from point-blank range saved by Austria goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann on the hour mark.

Moments later De Boer shook things up with a triple change, including sending on PSV Eindhoven forward Donyell Malen for Weghorst.

And midway through the second half it was Depay who released Malen to run through and square for Dumfries, one of the stars of the tournament so far, to score.

Koeman will also have been impressed with another assured display by Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong in midfield, while Matthijs de Ligt cruised through the game in defence on his return from injury.


Heineken To Cut 8,000 Jobs As Virus Takes Fizz Out Of Sales



Dutch brewing giant Heineken said on Wednesday it would cut around 8,000 jobs worldwide as the coronavirus pandemic kept much of the hospitality sector closed.

Heineken, the world’s number two brewer, said it recorded a net loss of 204 million euros ($247 million) in 2020, a 109 percent fall in profits from the year before.

Heineken CEO Dolf van den Brink said it had been “a year of unprecedented disruption and transition” for the company.

“The Covid-19 pandemic and governments’ measures continue to have a material impact on our markets and business,” Heineken said in a statement.

Sales fell by 17 percent to 23 billion euros with bars and cafes closed in many countries, the company said.

Less than 30 percent of outlets were operating in Europe in particular at the end of January, it said.

Heineken had announced in October that restructuring was needed to reduce personnel costs but gave no figure for layoffs at the time.

“The overall restructuring programme will reduce our employee base by c.8,000 people,” Wednesday’s statement said.

This included including cutting jobs at the head office in Amsterdam while other layoffs would depend on local circumstances, it added.

Founded in the 19th century in Amsterdam, Heineken sells more than 300 brands, including its namesake plus others such as Strongbow and Amstel. It employs 85,000 people globally.


Dutch Court Orders Shell To Pay Nigerian Farmers Over Oil Spills

After 13 years of legal wrangling, an appeals court will rule on demands by Nigerian farmers for Anglo-Dutch giant Shell to clean up devastating oil spills in the Niger Delta and pay compensation


A Dutch court on Friday ordered Shell to pay compensation in a long-running case brought by four Nigerian farmers who accuse the oil giant of causing widespread pollution.

After 13 years of legal wrangling, an appeals court in The Hague ruled that Shell’s Nigerian branch must pay out for oil spills on land in two villages.

It also held the Anglo-Dutch parent company Royal Dutch Shell liable for installing new pipeline equipment to prevent further devastating spills in the Niger Delta region.

The case, backed by the Netherlands arm of environment group Friends of the Earth, has dragged on so long that two of the Nigerian farmers have died since it was first filed in 2008.

“The court ruled that Shell Nigeria is liable for the damage caused by the spills. Shell Nigeria is sentenced to compensate farmers for damages,” judge Sierd Schaafsma said.


The oil pollution lawsuit has been on for about 13 years, two of the Nigerian farmers have died since it was first filed.


The amount of damages would be determined later, the court said. It did not specify how many of the four farmers would receive compensation.

The farmers first sued Shell in 2008 over pollution in their villages Goi, Oruma and Ikot Ada Udo, in southeastern Nigeria.

A lower court in the Netherlands found in 2013 that Shell should pay compensation for one leak but that Shell’s parent company could not be held liable in a Dutch court for the actions of its Nigerian subsidiary.

But in 2015 the Hague appeals court ruled that Dutch courts did indeed have jurisdiction in the case.


(FILES) In this file photograph taken on October 11, 2012, (L/R): four Nigerian farmers, Friday Alfred Akpan-Ikot Ada Udo and Eric Dooh, Nini Okey Uche of the Nigerian Embassy, lawyer Prince Chima Williams and farmers Chief Fidelis A. Oguru-Oruma and Alali Efanga pose at the law courts in The Hague.  (Photo by ROBIN UTRECHT / ANP / AFP)


Environmental damage

On Friday, the court ruled that Shell Nigeria must pay compensation for the leaks at Goi and Oruma.

“In the Uruma cases, Shell Nigeria and… Royal Dutch Shell are ordered to equip the pipeline with a leak detection system so that environmental damage can be limited in the future,” the court said.

Shell Nigeria should have shut down oil supplies on the day of the spill in the cases in Goi, it said.

The court said it needed more time to resolve the case of Ikot Ada Udo, saying that the leak was due to sabotage but it was not clear whether Shell could still be held liable for it, and for cleaning up.

“For the inhabitants of the Niger Delta it is crucial that their land is cleaned up and their lost crops and livelihoods are compensated by the guilty party: Shell,” Donald Pols of Friends of the Earth Netherlands said in a statement ahead of the case.

Shell has always blamed all of the spills on sabotage and said it has cleaned up with due care where pollution has occurred.

At a hearing last year lawyers for the farmers showed gushing and burning oil spills as well as villagers dragging their hands through water sources, their hands streaked with the substance afterward.

Nigeria was the world’s ninth-largest oil producer in 2018, pumping out volumes valued at some $43.6 billion (37 billion euros), or 3.8 percent of total global production.

In a separate case in the Netherlands, the widows of four Nigerian activists executed by the military regime in the 1990s have accused Shell of complicity in their deaths.

Shell also faces a landmark legal bid to force it to meet emissions targets in the Paris climate accords, brought by several environmental groups in the Netherlands led by Friends of the Earth in 2019.

Alleged Drug Lord Dubbed ‘Asia’s El Chapo’ Arrested In Amsterdam

Netherlands on the map


The alleged ringleader of Asia’s biggest crime syndicate and one of the world’s most wanted men has been arrested in the Netherlands, with Australian authorities pushing Sunday for his extradition to face trial.

Police had been chasing alleged drug kingpin Tse Chi Lop, 57, for years until his arrest by Dutch police on Friday acting on a request from Australia’s federal police.

In a statement Sunday, Australian authorities said a man “of significant interest” to law enforcement agencies had been detained. A police spokeswoman confirmed his name as Tse Chi Lop.

The Chinese-born Canadian citizen has been dubbed Asia’s “El Chapo” in reference to the nickname of Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman, now serving a life sentence in a US prison.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Kill Five In Fresh Niger Attack

Dutch police spokesman Thomas Aling confirmed that “a suspect who figured on Europol’s list of the most wanted persons” was arrested on Friday morning after landing at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport.

Aling, speaking to AFP on Sunday, would not say where the flight originated.

“This person is currently incarcerated, waiting to see what will happen as it has to do with an Australian investigation,” Aling added.

“An extradition will take place at Australia’s request, and the matter will proceed like that.”

“Australia would like to have this gentleman,” he added, calling the suspect “a big boy” for Canberra.

Tse Chi Lop has been named by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as the suspected leader of the Asian mega-cartel known as “Sam Gor”, a major producer and supplier of methamphetamines globally.

Sam Gor is believed to launder its billions in drug money through businesses springing up in Southeast Asia’s Mekong region — including casinos, hotels and real estate.

Australia’s federal police said Friday’s arrest followed an operation that in 2012-13 nabbed 27 people linked to a crime syndicate spanning five countries.

The group were accused of importing “substantial quantities of heroin and methamphetamine” into Australia, long a lucrative market for drug traffickers.

“The syndicate targeted Australia over a number of years, importing and distributing large amounts of illicit narcotics, laundering the profits overseas and living off the wealth obtained from crime,” the Australian police said.

As part of the 2012-13 raids across Melbourne, police seized AUS$9 million (US$7 million) worth of assets, including cash, designer handbags, casino chips and jewellery.

– $60 billion market –
The arrest of Tse Chi Lop almost a decade after that operation’s launch is a major breakthrough for Australian authorities.

The country’s attorney-general will now begin preparing a formal extradition request for the alleged drug lord to face trial.

Most of Asia’s meth comes from “Golden Triangle” border areas between Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and southwest China which are pumping unprecedented quantities of synthetic drugs into global markets.

A UNODC study says Southeast Asia’s crime groups net more than $60 billion a year.

The production of methamphetamine — either in tablet “yaba” form or the highly potent crystallised “ice” version — as well as ketamine and fentanyl take place primarily in Myanmar’s eastern Shan state, but much of the precursor chemicals needed to cook them flows across the border from China.

Thailand in 2018 netted more than 515 million yaba tablets, 17 times the amount for the entire Mekong region a decade ago, the UNODC said.

Drug hauls feature almost daily in headlines across the region, with traffickers finding more creative ways to ship out their illicit products.


Nigeria Receives Over 600 Years Old Ife Terracotta Head, Others From Netherlands

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, and others attend the presentation of the Ife terracotta head and other artifacts from the Kingdom of Netherlands in Abuja on November 26, 2020. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.


The Nigerian government has received the repatriated Ife terracotta head and other artifacts from the Kingdom of Netherlands.

Mr Lai Mohammed, who is the Minister of Information and Culture, took delivery of the artifacts on Thursday at an event in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Harry Van Dijk, presented the valuable pieces of art to the minister on behalf of the government of the European country.

The terracotta head from Ile-Ife in Osun State, a unique and rare artifact, was intercepted by Dutch Customs at the Schiphol Airport in 2018.

The event was also attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, as well as Professor Abba Tijani.

Professor Tijani, who is the Director-General of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, stated that the Ife terracotta head was said to be at least 600 years old.

Highlights of the event are captured in the pictures below:

Read the full text of the Minister of Information at the event below:



It gives me profound joy to receive this very important antiquity, an Ife Terracotta, which is dated to be at least 600 years old.

I am even more delighted that our efforts at pursuing the return of Nigerian antiquities, which we launched last November, have started yielding fruits.

You will recall that at the World Press Conference held for that purpose in Lagos on November 28, 2019, I asserted that Nigeria will work towards the return and restitution of her cultural property wherever they may be in the world.

That assertion was not a fluke, as we have seen today.

Our resolve to seek the repatriation of our timeless and priceless artifacts was strengthened by Mr President’s marching order for Nigeria to tap into tourism and other fields, where Nigeria has comparative advantages, in order to generate income for the nation and secure jobs for our youths.

One way of generating income for the country is if our cultural properties are exhibited around the world to a fee-paying audience, on the basis of proper agreement that acknowledges us as owners and confers the right benefits on us.

But this is not possible for as long as most of them adorn the museums and private collections of others, who describe them as their properties.

Today’s event marks a new beginning. Our antiquities must work for our progress. Apart from the pecuniary benefits, these priceless objects wrought by our forebears are unifying factors.

It is heart-warming to note that the leadership of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments is showing renewed efforts at repatriation.

Regarding the antiquity that is being handed over to us today, the smuggler had obtained forged documents purported to be from a former Director-General of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments.

The smuggler ultimately passed through the airport in Ghana before getting to Europe in 2019.

The Dutch Customs at Schiphol Airport suspected that the object might be illicitly imported and alerted the antiquity protection office known as the Inspectie, which is the Information and Heritage Inspectorate of the Netherlands, to give an opinion.

The Inspectie invited Nigeria to prove her case against the suspected smuggler. The National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) acted swiftly by dispatching its lawyer, Mr Babatunde Adebiyi, who is with us here today, to present evidence and argue for the return of the object.

Nigeria was successful in this and the claim was determined in favour of Nigeria.

After all internal procedures, including the right of appeal, were exhausted, the Government of the Netherlands – at a very elaborate event – handed over the object to the Nigerian Embassy in the Hague on November 2, 2020.

The Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, made all possible arrangements to ensure the return of the antiquity to Nigeria.

He directed the Charge d’Affaires of our Embassy in the Netherlands, Mr Kabiru Musa, to bring back the antiquity, which we are receiving today.

We want to most sincerely thank the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs and his staff, both at home and in the Netherlands.

We also thank His Excellency Harry van Dijk, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Nigeria.

Our gratitude also goes to the Director and officials of the Information and Heritage Inspectorate of the Netherlands, officials of the Customs of the Netherlands as well as the National Museum of the Netherlands for rendering preservation and conservation assistance while the adjudication of the claim lasted.

The Inspectie, that is the Information and Heritage Inspectorate of the Netherlands, and the National Commission for Museums and

Monuments of Nigeria have agreed to make a joint presentation of this issue to the UNESCO Secretariat in Paris, so that other nations may

take a cue from this in finding rapprochement and common ground concerning the issue of return of antiquities

Let me state here that Nigeria believes in joint international efforts to put a stop to illicit export and import of cultural goods.

The issue of cultural property should not be a ground of rancour and discord among nations. That is if nations choose to tow the path which the Kingdom of The Netherlands has chosen by insisting on justice, fairness and amity.

I thank you all for your kind attention.