I believe in One Nigeria. I know, you’re going to start asking me why – with herdsman running rampage, and Oba saying ‘jump in lagoon’, and Arewa Youth giving till October 1, and Evans and co waiting for me at home; with corruption, dysfunction and discriminatory cut-off marks, bombings in the South and shootings in the North; with President promising to work according to vote, bad schools, no-light, poor hospitals, bad roads; with Dino waxing new hits every day, newspaper trials and no convictions; with billions stashed in Ikoyi apartment – what can I say? It’s home.
For one, I like the smell of suya… And that early morning drive out of Jos this time of the year, with the fog like lingerie faintly masking the topography of beauty. I tell you, I grew up here, you know, born in that maelstrom that is Mushin, drinking in the sights from…
The Technical Director, Lagos Junior League (J-League), Tunde Disu, on Sunday called for more inclusion of home-bred youngsters in the national senior team, Super Eagles to enhance their performance.
Disu made the clarion call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) while commenting on Wilfred Ndidi who was awarded the Leicester City FC’s Young Player of the Year.
Disu also commended Genort Rohr, the Super Eagles Technical Adviser, for including three home-based players – MFM FC’s duo of Stephen Odey and Sikiru Olatunbosun and Akwa United’s Alhassan Ibrahim in the national team.
Reflecting on how the youngsters could be helpful in the Super Eagles’ squad, Disu said that the blend of young bloods from the local league with experience of older players would enhance the team’s performance.
“The Super Eagles need young bloods like Ndidi in the senior team which I believe will give the necessary blend the team needs to prosecute matches and achieve better performance.
“Experience has shown that these youngsters have passion for the game and they are more resilient in their approach to national engagements.
“Overtime some of the youngsters that broke into the national teams perform better than the older ones because the level of their productivity is still high.
“I will like to see some of the home grown talents being called up to the national team. We have many of their likes in the J-League,’’ he said.
Disu said that the J-League had produced players that could be regarded to as world class adding that some of the products of the league were making waves in Europe.
“Lagos J-League is a worthy example of grassroots academy that has produced world class footballers. Some of the graduates of the league are exceptional.
“We already have players such as Ndidi, Victor Osihimien, Taiwo Awoniyi, Stephen Odey and Dele Alampasu among others who can be regarded as the standing Eagles.
“There is no need of tagging them future stars; they should start to play now because this is the time the nation needs their youthful energy to perform.
“The inclusion of these youngsters will ensure better performance and results for the Eagles,’’ he said.
Disu said that the J-League would soon start and that he expected more super talents to be discovered during the season.
“The J-League will soon start and we are already screening the footballers. I hope to see more super stars discovered when we start the league.
“Within its short time in the football stage, the league is already making waves and I can attest to the fact that the league is one of the best organised junior leagues in Africa.
“The league is solely sponsored by the Lagos State Government and we are grateful to them for allowing the league to stand. The aim is to promote grassroots football.
“We have dutiful coaches who go out of their ways in recruiting outstanding players for the league, they are the ones calling the shot. We hope to see better performance this year,’’ he said. (NAN)
US President Donald Trump has urged Muslim countries to take the lead in combating radicalisation in a major speech in Saudi Arabia.
“Drive them out of this earth,” he told regional leaders in Riyadh, as part of his first official trip abroad.
Mr Trump blamed Iran, Saudi Arabia’s rival, for instability in the region.
His speech is seen as an attempted reset with Muslims after his harsh campaign rhetoric stirred concerns in the Islamic world.
Mr Trump had previously suggested he would be open to creating a database of all the Muslims in the US. And he had also called for Muslims to be temporarily banned from entering the US over security concerns.
But, speaking in the Saudi capital to leaders of 55 Muslim-majority countries, Mr Trump called this a “new chapter”, saying he was not there to “lecture” them or impose the American way of life.
The fight against extremism, he added, was not a battle between different faiths or civilizations: “This is a battle between good and evil”.
“A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists, and drive out the extremists”.
But, he added, the countries could not wait for “American power” to act, and had to “fulfil their part of the burden”.
He singled out Iran for criticism, accusing it of fuelling sectarian conflict and supporting “unspeakable crimes” by the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
A tough message: By Frank Gardner, BBC Security correspondent, Riyadh
Behind the lavish praise heaped on his hosts, President Trump used this speech to deliver a tough message to Arab and Muslim governments: deal with the ideology that fuels terrorism now or live with it for generations to come.
He went out of his way to avoid the sort of inflammatory language he’s more usually known for. His repeated condemnation of Saudi Arabia’s regional rival Iran will have pleased the Gulf Arab leaders listening.
Unlike his predecessor, Barack Obama, this US president made no mention of human rights or democracy. But he did condemn the oppression of women.
And amongst several cynical reactions to the speech from around the region on social media, some have pointed out that here in Saudi Arabia women are forbidden to drive and there are no parliamentary elections. In Iran, the country accused by Mr Trump of being behind much of the current terrorism across the Middle East, they have just had a free election and women are free to drive.
Analysts said the speech was a change for Mr Trump, who is trying to redefine his relationship with the Muslim world after several controversial remarks, including an interview last year in which he famously said: “I think Islam hates us.”
His highly anticipated address did not include the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism”, which he had used before and is considered offensive by many Muslims. A transcript of the text published on his Facebook page included a mention of “Islamist extremism” and “Islamist terror groups”.
But in his speech Mr Trump said: “That means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamic extremism and the Islamists and Islamic terror of all kinds.” It was not immediately clear if he stumbled over the word or decided to change the script.
Islamist and Islamic: The difference
Islamist: “It’s the name of a dystopian ideology which is destructive for everyone, including Muslims,” says Soner Cagaptay, from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Islamic: “It’s an adjective for Muslims,” he adds
Meanwhile, the US and six Gulf states announced a deal to co-ordinate their efforts aimed at cutting off sources of money for extremist groups, including so-called Islamic State (IS).
The countries – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain – are involved in the fight against the militants, but have been accused of backing the group and other Sunni militants – most notably in a 2014 email by Hillary Clinton released by Wikileaks.
“The unique piece of it is that every single one of them are signatories on how they’re responsible and will actually prosecute the financing of terrorism, including individuals,” said Dina Powell, US Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategy.
In our series of letters from African journalists, novelist and writer Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani profiles the lawyer who brokered the release of 82 women captured by Nigeria’s militant Islamist group Boko Haram.
When 57-year-old Zannah Mustapha arrived for the handover of the 82 Chibok girls freed from Boko Haram after three years in captivity, a militant read out the girls’ names from a list.
One by one, the abducted schoolgirls, now women, lined up along the outskirts of a forest near Kumshe town, on the border between Nigeria and Cameroon. Each of them was covered from head to ankle in a dark-coloured hijab.
“I went ahead of the Red Cross. They [the militants] brought the girls to me,” said Mr Mustapha, the lawyer from Borno state in north-east Nigeria.
He has been mediating between the government and militants for the release of the Chibok girls and for an end to the Boko Haram insurgency.
In 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari told the media that his government was willing to negotiate with “credible” leaders of Boko Haram for the release of the girls.
More than 200 of them were abducted a year earlier from the north-eastern town of Chibok, sparking global outrage.
Previous attempts had failed, with different groups coming forward, each claiming to be the militants in possession of the missing schoolgirls.
It was Mr Mustapha who succeeded in convincing the Nigerian authorities that this particular group should be taken for what they say, presidential spokesman Garba Shehu told me.
“He had dealt with them in the past and they keep to their word,” he said.
Mr Mustapha’s role as a mediator dates back to his founding the Future Prowess Islamic Foundation School in 2007, to provide free Islamic-based education to orphans and the poor.
When the Boko Haram insurgency erupted in 2009, the school offered admission to the children of soldiers and government officials killed by the militants, as well as those of militants killed by the state.
Mr Mustapha then sought the assistance of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which began providing free meals to the pupils.
He also encouraged parents to form an association which would reach out to other widows and convince them to send their children to his school.
The ICRC soon extended its humanitarian services to the mothers, providing them free food and other items every month.
“This was at a time when the wives of Boko Haram militants were being arrested and their houses demolished, so Boko Haram saw me and the ICRC as neutral parties,” Mr Mustapha said.
During the previous government of President Goodluck Jonathan, former President Olusegun Obasanjo visited Maiduguri, the epicentre of the insurgency, to intervene in the escalating crisis.
He then set up a group to discuss peace with Boko Haram. Mr Mustapha was included in it because of the relationship he had forged with the families of Boko Haram militants.
After the Swiss ambassador to Nigeria paid a visit to the Future Prowess school in 2012, he arranged for Mr Mustapha to go to Zurich and Geneva to receive formal training as a mediator.
“We were already trying to negotiate peace with Boko Haram before the Chibok girls were kidnapped,” Mr Mustapha said.
The initial negotiation was for a batch of 20 Chibok girls to be released.
But, as a sign of commitment to their relationship, Boko Haram added an extra woman, whom Mr Mustapha said was their gift to him, hence the number 21.
When they were released in October 2016, she was chosen by Boko Haram to read out the names of the other 20 women from a list.
Mr Mustapha said the 21 women were lined up and asked by Boko Haram militants if they had been raped. They all said they were not.
When a militant approached a woman who was carrying a baby, she said that she was pregnant at the time of her abduction, having got married a few weeks earlier.
The baby girl in her arms, she said, was her husband’s child.
For some reason, Boko Haram, a group that has cultivated a reputation for brutality, wanted it to be known that it was only after the women “agreed” to get married that the militants had sexual relations with them.
Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani:
“I felt that I have done something that is worth saying to the world that I have done this,” Mr Mustapha said.
This process of lining up the women, pointing at each one and asking the same question, was repeated at the beginning of May when 82 more women were released.
One of about seven Boko Haram militants, who accompanied them, went from woman to woman asking: “Throughout the time you were with us, did anyone rape you or touch you?” Mr Mustapha said, adding that each of them replied in the negative.
None of the second batch of 82 captives came with a child.
But one had an amputated limb and was walking with crutches, an injury she sustained, according to what Mr Mustapha was told, during Nigerian military air strikes against Boko Haram.
‘They all ran’
“You are free today,” Mr Mustapha announced to the 82 women after all the names were called out.
“They all smiled,” he said.
He believes that their subdued reaction was as a result of the presence of the militants, all armed with guns, some wearing army camouflage uniforms and boots.
Mr Mustapha then took some photographs with the women. The militants also had their video camera on hand and recorded the event. ICRC vehicles eventually arrived.
“When I told them to go to the cars, they all ran,” Mr Mustapha said. “Immediately they entered the vehicles, they started singing for joy. Some shed tears.”
Mr Mustapha has received a number of accolades for his work with Future Prowess School. He was a finalist for the 2016 Robert Burns humanitarian award, given to those who have “saved, improved or enriched the lives of others or society as a whole, through self-sacrifice, selfless service, hands-on charitable or volunteer work, or other acts”. He was also given a 2017 Aurora Prize Modern Day Hero award, for those whose “life and actions guarantee the safe existence of others”.
However, he described handing over the 82 freed girls to the Nigerian government as “the highest point in my life”.
“I felt that I have done something that is worth saying to the world that I have done this,” he said.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has ordered Ethiopian Airlines to stop the collection of unauthorized charges forthwith.
The order was contained in a statement signed by Mr Sam Adurogboye, NCAA General Manager, Public Relations, on Sunday in Lagos.
Adurogboye said these unauthorised charges referred to as” refundable deportation fee” is put at between 75 dollars and 150 dollars.
According to him, all South Africa bound passengers on Ethiopian Airlines are compelled to pay this amount before boarding.
He noted that the authority had been inundated with several complaints from many passengers that have suffered this fate.
“According to investigation by NCAA, all outbound passengers to South Africa from Murtala Mohammed International Airport, (MMIA), Lagos and Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, transiting through Addis Ababa, are liable to pay 75 dollars.
“However, if your transiting time is 24 hours or beyond, the passenger will pay 150 dollars.
“While passengers are not given prior notice concerning these charges before arriving at the airports, some were made to sign undertaken to be responsible for all expenses incurred if deported,” Adurogboye said.
He said consequent upon this, the Ethiopian Airlines’ Country management were summoned by NCAA, where they claimed the fees were always refunded when a passenger was not deported.
Adurogboye said the regulatory authority however found this unacceptable and viewed it as a violation of the its extant regulations.
“The Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs) Part 18.4.1(iii) stipulates that “all air carriers should obtain approval from the authority to introduce or increase add-on charges or surcharges prior to implementation.
“Till date, the authority has not received any request for fare increase, tariff or add-ons from the airline.
“On this strength, Ethiopian Airlines has been ordered to stop with immediate effect these illegal charges,” he said.
Adurogboye noted that the Airline could take advantage of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CAR) and obtain necessary approvals from the Authority if it has genuine grounds to increase fares or obtain tariffs.
The spokesman said :”the NCAA hereby warns all operating airlines to endeavour to adhere to the regulations in all facets of their operations.
“It is part of our statutory responsibilities to protect the rights of passengers and this we shall continue to do in accordance to the law.” (NAN)
Arsene Wenger’s future is up in the air after his side finished fifth in the Premier League, leading many supporters to demand his exit
Arsenal missed out on a top four finish for the first time in 20 years under Arsene Wenger, leading many fans to call for the French manager to leave the club.
Wenger has yet to sign a contract extension at the Emirates Stadium, and many supporters feel it is time for him to leave the club. On Sunday, the Gunners failed to better Liverpool’s result in the Premier League, meaning they finish fifth and will not play in the Champions League next season.
While many fans had previously called for Wenger’s exit, those calls grew louder with many prominent supporters including Piers Morgan weighing in on #WengerOut.