Leekens Resigns As Algeria’s National Football Team Coach

george-leekens-former-algerian-coachThe Coach of Algeria’s National football team, George Leekens, has resigned following the team’s early exit from the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon.

The Desert Foxes were among the favourites to win the trophy but crashed out on Monday after failing to win a game and gathered just two points from group B.

In a statement on the Algerian Football Federation’s website, Leekens said: “For the good of all I decided to quit even though I do it with heartache.

“I wish all the success in the world to the national side”.

With an impressive team that has current African Player of the Year, Riyad Mahrez and Leicester City’s Islam Slimani, the Belgian was expected to challenge for the AFCON title.

Algeria are also struggling to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The Desert Foxes are bottom of Group B, after two matches, recording a draw and a loss.

Only the group winners go through and they already trail Nigeria by five points.

“Given the pressure on the federation and the national team, I preferred to end my contract out of friendship for the president of the FAF (Algerian Football Federation) who deserves respect,” Leekens added.

The Algerian Football Federation is yet to announce who will take over from the vacant role.

Yobe Govt Takes Polio Campaign To Nigeria/Niger Border Communities

Yobe, cargo airport, airport, NigeriaThe Yobe State Taskforce on routine immunisation has taken the campaign against the child killer diseases to boarder communities in the state.

The team had last week launched polio outbreak response centres at selected check points across major towns in the state, with a view to tackling any case coming to the state.

The recent strengthening of the campaign is sequel to the outbreak of three cases of polio, recorded in neighbouring Borno state.

Meanwhile, the State Taskforce Abubakar Aliyu who doubles as the State Deputy Governor led the team to the Nigeria/Niger boarder Local Governments Areas of the state, to ensure that the vaccines are well served to deserving children within the communities.

Two prominent traditional rulers of the area, the Emir of Bade and Emir of Yusufari were drafted to spur the enlightenment in the areas generally referred to as hardest to reach in the state.

The team which visited several communities within the two council areas encouraged the people to always go for the routine immunization, while those who have missed out for obvious reasons should use the opportunity of the house-to-house exercise to ensure their children received the vaccine.

Mr. Aliyu commended the roles of traditional rulers, religious and opinion leaders among other stakeholders in the fight against the six child killer diseases and assured that the state government will continue to play its part in the eradication of any case in the country.

The Emir of Bade, Abubakar Umar Suleiman II, who is also the Deputy Chairman Council of Chiefs, is of the opinion that the traditional institution will continue to supervise and monitor the effectiveness of the exercise.

The traditional rulers pledged to continue to boast the morale of their subjects to ensure the oral vaccinations are administered to their children.

Ekweremadu Asks Buhari To Reshuffle His Cabinet

SarakiThe Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to reshuffle his cabinet.

Mr Ekeremadu is suggesting the redeployment of the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun and the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, from their present ministries.

The Senator made the call as the Senate begins debate on the state of the economy.

Senator Ekweremadu claimed that he was not impressed with the performance of the Ministers of Finance and Budget and National Planning.

He believes they will perform better in other ministries.

Ban Of Food Items Importation

However, some other lawmakers are also calling for caution as regards the recommendation made by the Senate president on the sale of government assets.

Lawmakers are also asking the government to increase spending and look for how to expand the country’s sources of foreign exchange.

Few other lawmakers have also asked the government to ban the importation of food items such as milk, sugar, palm oil, frozen fish and clothing.

The Senate will for two days hold debate on the state of the economy and make recommendations to the executive on measures to solve the economic challenges confronting the country.

Bukola-Saraki
Senator Bukola Saraki is hopeful that sale of assets would calm investors and stabilise the economy

Nigeria’s economy slipped into recession few weeks ago, with a report of the National Bureau of Statistics showing that the Nation’s Gross domestic Product contracted by 2.06% in the second quarter of 2016.

According to the report, the decline has caused the Naira to get weaker while lower oil prices dragged the oil sector down.

The output shrunk by 0.36 in the first quarter.

During the quarter, nominal GDP was 2.73% higher at 23.48 million Naira at basic prices.

This growth was lower than the rate recorded in the second quarter of 2015 by 2.44% points.

The situation, has become glaring to Nigerians, with the cost of food items rising, has continued to draw attention from different sectors of the economy.

The Senate President had in a message to Nigerians during the Eid-el-Kabir celebration stressed the need for Nigerians to pray for peace and accelerated recovery of the nation’s economic.

He asked Nigerians to remain steadfast and committed to the cause of one, united and developed country.

He observed that despite the current economic challenges, the country and its people had all that was required to come out better and stronger.

On Monday, however, he suggested that the executive should raise capital from the sale of government assets and other sources to shore up reserves.

Senator Saraki made this recommendation as the Senate resumed plenary after a seven weeks’ recess.

Addressing lawmakers, Senator Saraki said that the sale of assets would calm investors, discourage currency speculation and stabilise the economy.

He recommended part sale of the NLNG Holdings, reduction of government share in upstream oil joint venture operations and sale of government stake in financial institutions.

Jigawa Group Petitions NHRC Over 486 Detained Suspects In Abia

NHRCThe National Human Rights Commission said on Thursday, June 26 that it had received a petition from the members of the Jigawa Forum over the arrest and detention of 486 persons suspected to be Boko Haram members in Abia State.

In a statement by the commission’s Chief Press Officer, Fatimah Mohammed, the group, led by one Alhaji Ahmed Wanga, demanded an immediate release or prosecution of the detainees as they observed that the suspects had been detained for 10 days running.

The Executive Secretary of the commission, Prof. Bem Angwe, received the petition from the group on behalf of the NHRC.

The statement quoted Angwe as urging Nigerians to support the security agencies in their bid to combat insurgency, but also advised the security operatives “not to hide under the cover of security to infringe on the rights of the citizens.”

He also urged the security agencies to ensure that arrested persons were subjected to a screening process to separate those who for justifiable reasons were suspects, from those going about their normal businesses.

Prof. Angwe commended the group for not taking the laws into their hands but rather approached the commission which would ensure that the rights of the detained persons are enforced in line with the mandate.

The helmsman of NHRC also used the opportunity to reiterate that every Nigerian is entitled to his fundamental rights to freedom of movement and that “any attempt to breach this constitutional provision constitutes a setback to democracy” and therefore urged the relevant authorities to ensure that no citizen is detained unduly.

The Chief Executive Officer of NHRC described the current insecurity in the country as unfortunate and disturbing.

Nigeria Still Sees Growing Investors Interest Despite Challenges – Okonjo-Iweala

Ngozi-Okonjo-Iweala-#WEFAfricaAhead of the world Economic Forum on Africa holding in Nigeria, the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, says investors’ interests in different sectors of the Nigerian economy have continued to increase despite security challenges in the north east.

At a press conference on Monday, ahead of the event that will begin on May 7, Dr Okonjo-Iweala pointed out that the security challenges in Nigeria’s north east were not peculiar with the country, saying “terrorism is a global thing”.

In responses that dwelt more on security, she reiterated the Nigerian government’s commitment to ensuring adequate security in the country’s capital city within the period of the event.

“Acts of terrorism are perpetrated world over. The whole of the world and Africa are worried about the increasing trend. Apart from the short term plan of trying to strengthen security in our country, we also have to look beyond to see how we can make sure that our young people are occupied gainfully with decent jobs or decent livelihood in order for them not to become recruiting ground for people that are carrying out these attacks. The extremists in our midst,” she said.

She also said that the World Economic Forum on Africa would be focusing on how these jobs could be created.

“We will focus on the short term of strengthening security but we will also address some of the underlying causes like unemployment and that is why the title of the forum is linked to security.

“We need to build a social protection system in Nigeria and we are looking at how to expound some of the programmes that are working.

“We think we need to do all we can to ensure that the impact of the insurgency will reduce,” she said, emphasising the government’s commitment to ensuring that the insurgency in the north east comes to an end.

Recently, a bomb blast occurred in Nyanya area of Abuja, casting aspersions on the ability of security agencies to secure the town, but the Minister expressed optimism that the government had put together far reaching strategies to ensure that the participants were safe.

“We are going to do the maximum necessary to make sure that our guests are protected.

“The government has asked public servants and students to stay home between 7 to 9 May to enhance free movement, security and surveillance in the capital city.

Investment Areas To Explore

Despite these security challenges, a large number of investors are expected to be present at the World Economic Forum on Africa with the theme, ‘Forging Inclusive Growth, Creating Jobs’, holding in the country with largest economy in Africa.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala listed the areas that investors could explore in Nigeria to include agriculture, manufacturing, housing and creative industry amongst others.

“We have good indices that will attract investors and we have sources of growth,” she said

Nigeria has over 33 solid minerals that have not been exploited that are of huge commercial quantity and the government is looking to woo investors to tap these minerals.

As much as these investments would create jobs, the workforce in Nigeria seems to be lacking necessary skills needed by the private sector.

To ensure that Nigerian youths will benefit from these jobs when they come, the forum will be talking more about skills and the need to acquire the right skills that would make the unemployed Nigerians employable.

The forum will kick off on May 7 and it will attract participants, including Heads of Governments and Statesmen, CEOs of global firms, leading financiers and policy and development technocrats, from over 80 countries, providing Nigeria with an immense and unique opportunity for economic and cultural diplomacy.