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Nigeria U-23 Team Threatens to Boycott Q’final Match Over Allowances

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Nigeria’s quest to win tomorrow’s quarter final match against Denmark has suffered a major set back as players threatened to boycott the match unless their outstanding allowances are paid in Brazil.

Reports on Thursday indicate that the team skipped training in Salvador to further butteress their stand against the authority.

The country was in similar situation at the last World Cup finals in Brazil two years ago when the Super Eagles players boycotted trainning session before the crucial second round match against France insisting on collecting their share of FIFA wind fall after qualification to play at the mundial.

The U-23 team arrived Salvador in good time yesterday but chose to skip training and now left with only today to perfect their match plan for tomorrow’s tie against Denmark at *pm Nigerian time.

The team are now ready to make history for the wrong reasons by staying away from the match against Denmark unless their remaining monies are paid.

According to AfricanFootball.com competent sources disclosed that “the players said that their level of patriotism has already dwindled because of the way they have been treated by the government officials prior to the Olympic Games.

“Now they said they won’t step out to train until the remaining balance of their training and camp allowances are paid.

“Not only that, they have threatened not to play the quarter-final against Denmark on Saturday until all the monies owed them are paid.

“As we speak now, the only money that the players have received was the $150 dollars per day for 11 days, while there are more than that 11 days still to be paid and no extra money was received for the matches played so far”, the source also disclosed.

The coach Samson Siasia-led team have already been overtaken by drama and controversies in the last few weeks, from the players stopping their coach from quitting his post to the team being stranded for several days at their training base in Atlanta, Georgia.

In yet another fresh scandal, Chelsea star Mikel Obi has had to shell out $4,000 to ensure the Nigeria Olympic team caught their flight to Salvador after the hotel in Sao Paulo held the entire team to ransom over the bills incurred by additional officials.

Organisers have insisted on a team of 25 players, made up of 18 players and seven officials, and even sports minister Solomon Dalung has ordered this rule be strictly adhered to.

An impeccable source close to the team revealed that it took the intervention of the Chelsea star, who is also the team captain, who paid over $4, 0000 before the players and officials of the team were allowed to leave the hotel.

According to the source this time around it was the responsibility of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to settle the hotel bills of the extra five officials.
“We just arrived Salvador now (5.20pm Nigerian time) from Sao Paolo. We nearly missed our flight because of unpaid bills in the hotel. The hotel held us to ransom,” a team official told AfricanFootball.com

“The problem is that all the additional officials here in Brazil are the responsibility of the Nigeria Football Federation, who said they will pay for them, but they did not pay for them again.

“The affected officials included the team’s media officer, the team coordinator, the kits manager in charge of players and officials’ kits and the accompanying assistant director technical.

“A call was put across to the honourable minister of youths and sports, he said we should put the bill in the (credit) card but the card didn’t work. They tried and tried but the minister said that only 18 players and seven officials should be captured as regards payment according to the rules of the Olympic Games.

“So, the hotel bills of these other officials, about five of them cost the sum of over $4,000. They held us hostage for more than one hour and we nearly missed our flight. It was Mikel (Obi) who rescued us by paying the money.

“I can tell you honestly speaking that this incident is not the fault of the minister because the minister listed the people to be accommodated which were 18 players and seven officials”, the source disclosed last night.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

Lagos State Moves to Completely Ban Okada, Keke, Introduces Minibuses

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The Lagos State Government on Monday announced plans to completely ban the use of motorcycles (okada) and tricycles (Keke) due to rising crime and lawlessness across the state.

The announcement was made after a stakeholders’ meeting held at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa Secretariat, Ikeja.

In the meeting attended by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa; the Chief Judge, Kazeem Alogba; the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, traditional and religious leaders and members of the civil society, among others, the governor said the string of lawlessness daily witnessed from the confrontation between commercial motorcyclists and law enforcement agencies required urgent action.

Based on all that we have seen and experienced in the past couple of weeks, as well as the increasing threat posed by the activities of commercial motorcycle operators to the safety and security of lives, we will be announcing further changes to the parameters of motorcycle and tricycle operations in the state in the coming days. No society can make progress amid such a haughty display of lawlessness and criminality,” he added.

Sanwo-Olu said from next week, the state would be inaugurating the First and Last Mile buses next week, which would take the routes the motorcycles were plying.

The state Commissioner of Police, Odumosu, raised the alarm over rising security breaches from the menace of okada operations in the state.

He said between January and early this month, 320 commercial motorcycles were impounded in 218 cases of criminal incidents in which 78 suspects were detained and 480 ammunition recovered.

In the same period, the Lagos police boss said Okada accounted for 83 per cent of 385 cases of avoidable fatal vehicular accidents in Lagos.

At the end of the meeting, a 12-point resolution was reached, among which was a ban on Okada “as a means of transportation in the state.”

 

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2023 Voter’s Registration Will Be Online, Biometric To Be Captured Physically- INEC

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday unfolded plans to allow online filing during the continuous voter registration for the 2023 general election.

The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Mr. Festus Okoye, however, said only the biometric would be captured physically by INEC officials.

But the commission suffered another setback yesterday as arsonists torched its office in Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia State.

Okoye, during a stakeholders’ meeting on expanding voter access to polling units in Kano yesterday, said: “On June 28, the voter registration exercise for those above 18 years and those who have not registered before will commence with two new innovations. Those versatile with computer can register online and only visit a registration centre to capture their biometrics.”

Okoye stated that the online registration would be introduced to reduce crowd at registration centres in line with COVID-19 protocols.

The commission called on citizens, especially those willing to contest elections, whose voter cards have been defaced, whose names were wrongly spelt or addresses and locations wrongly captured to present themselves for authentication or correction.

INEC also called for valid data of all those with disabilities or physical challenges to be captured during the continuous registration for proper projections ahead of the 2023 general election.

INEC also warned political parties and politicians who have started campaigning to desist from doing so.

Okoye said: “There is a ban on political campaigns which has not been lifted yet. And I find it necessary to draw your attention for you to understand the legal implication of violating this ban.

“I have listened to comments on radio stations, which are capable of heating the polity. Media organisations should avoid providing platforms for such comments. The media should try to curtail such tensions.

“Political parties, politicians and their supporters should understand there is a legal framework for campaigns and it has not commenced yet.”

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No Plans To Relocate AFRICOM HQ To Nigeria Or Any Part Of Africa- U.S. Replies Buhari

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AFRICOM HQ

The United States has said there is no plan to relocate its Africa Command from its current base in Germany to Nigeria or any other part of Africa despite the worsening state of insecurity in the region.

The US gave the response barely two weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari appealed to the US government to consider relocating AFRICOM to Africa to assist Nigeria and other adjoining countries to combat worsening terrorism, banditry and other security crises.

The President made the plea in a virtual meeting with the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, on April 27.

Germany-based Africa Command (AFRICOM) is the US military headquarters that oversees its operations in Africa.

Buhari’s request followed a series of recent military casualties in Nigeria’s decade-long fight against Boko Haram terrorists, fresh expansion of the insurgents’ bases to Niger and Nasarawa States, and heavy waves of abductions and killings by bandits in the North.

Buhari said, “The security challenges in Nigeria remain of great concern to us and impacted more negatively, by existing complex negative pressures in the Sahel, Central and West Africa, as well as the Lake Chad Region.

“Compounded as the situation remains, Nigeria and her security forces remain resolutely committed to containing them and addressing their root causes.

“The support of important and strategic partners like the United States cannot be overstated as the consequences of insecurity will affect all nations, hence the imperative for concerted cooperation and collaboration of all nations to overcome these challenges.

“In this connection, and considering the growing security challenges in West and Central Africa, Gulf of Guinea, Lake Chad region and the Sahel, weighing heavily on Africa, it underscores the need for the United States to consider relocating AFRICOM headquarters from Stuttgart, Germany to Africa and near the Theatre of Operation.”

However, the US government on Thursday ruled out any plan to relocate AFRICOM from its current base in Germany to Nigeria or any part of Africa.

According to the United States Department of Defence’ Pentagon, previous studies have shown that the cost of relocating AFRICOM from Germany to Africa is very huge.

In an emailed response to The PUNCH, the Pentagon said although it would continue to value Nigeria and other countries in Africa as important partners, the American government would not consider relocating AFRICOM to any part of the African continent at the moment.

This newspaper had asked if the US would consider Nigeria’s request to relocate AFRICOM to the continent.

“It would be inappropriate to speculate on any future actions. However, at this time, moving this headquarters (AFRICOM HQ) to Africa is not part of any plans, but USAFRICOM’s commitment to their mission, our African and other partners, remains as strong today as when we launched this command more than a decade ago,” US Pentagon spokesperson, Ms. Cindi King, said.

King also ruled out any plan to consider Buhari’s request in an ongoing global US defence review.

She said, “Although there is an ongoing Global Posture Review, the relocation of Combatant Command headquarters is outside the scope of its assessment. In the case of AFRICOM, previous studies have concluded that the cost associated with the relocation of this headquarters is significant and likely to incur the expense of other engagement opportunities and activities that more directly benefit our valued African partners.

“We greatly value the partnership with Nigeria and appreciate President Buhari’s recognition of the United States’ positive contribution to African peace and security, as well as other regional partners that have made similar past pronouncements. The United States remains committed to continuing our close partnership with African countries and organisations to promote security and stability.”

It’s ‘near impossible’ for America to accept Buhari’s invitation –Campbell, ex-US ambassador

Meanwhile, a former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, has listed reasons why it is “unlikely or near impossible” for the US government to relocate AFRICOM from Stuttgart in Germany to Nigeria or any part of the continent.

He said aside from the fact that the cost of doing so is very huge, the Nigerian military had proved to be a difficult partner for the US over the years.

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