12 ships with petrol, others arrive Lagos ports

A total of 12 ships laden with various products, including petrol, are at the Lagos ports waiting to berth, th e Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said on Friday.

A man carries jerrycans to search for fuel in Lagos, on May 21, 2015. Long queues formed at petrol stations across oil-rich Nigeria on May 21 following a row over subsidy payment to petrol importers as well as sale of government oil blocks to private investors, union officials said. AFP PHOTO

The NPA disclosed in its daily “Shipping Position”, made available to the
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, that eight of the vessels were waiting
to berth with petrol.
It said that another two ships each (4) would berth with bulk fertiliser and diesel.

It added that 41 others laden with petroleum products, food items and other
goods were expected at Apapa and Tin-Can Island ports between Feb. 23 and March 24.

“The expected ships are carrying buck wheat, containers, general cargoes, container,
bulk sugar, chemical bag, bulk gas, bulk salt, empty container, frozen fish, diesel
and petrol,’’ it said.

(NAN)

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Arsenal paired with AC Milan in Europa League last 16

Arsenal, the last surviving British club, on Friday drew seven-time European champion AC Milan in the last 16 of the Europa League.

Atletico Madrid drew Lokomotiv Moscow, the day after another Spanish-Russian game, between Athletic Bilbao and Spartak Moscow, was marred by violence.

Bilbao were paired with Marseille for the matches on March 8 and 15.

NDLEA destroys drugs worth N10bn in Edo

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Edo Command on Friday destroyed illicit drugs valued at more than N10 billion in Benin.

Retired Col. Mohammad Abdallah, the Chairman of NDLEA who supervised the exercise, said that the quantum of drugs being destroyed clearly called for state of emergency over drug situation in the country.

Abdallah said approximately 137,000 kiligrammes of illicit drugs were destroyed, noting that
the figure was double the total figure recently destroyed in FCT, Oyo and Kano states.

The chairman said 20 tonnes of drugs were destroyed in FCT, 14 tonnes in Oyo and 50 tonnes in Kano, while a whopping 136 tonnes destroyed in Edo.

He added that the quantity showed that drugs had become unacceptably pervasive in many parts of the country, with attendant implications on health, security and integrity of the nation.

He stressed that the connection between drugs and violent crimes was beyond any controversy, adding that this was because cannabis, tramadol and other psychoactive substances were often recovered in virtually all terrorist camps by the military.

Abdallah expressed concern over the increase in space of forest being used for the cultivation of cannabis sativa in the state.

He explained that in 2017, the state command destroyed 40.06 hectares of suspected cannabis plantations, while 37.9 hectares was destroyed in 2016.

He noted that the diversion of land to cannabis cultivation instead of food and economic crops remained a serious threat to food production in the country.

The state Commander of NDLEA, Mr Buba Wakawa, said it was sad that Edo was one of the highest cannabis producing states in the country.

Wakawa said that the problems of drugs and substance abuse in the state were of serious concern to the command.

He added that school age children were found to be using drugs even at an early age of 13, saying
this had affected the rate of school dropout, divorce, rape, as well as teenage pregnancy.

The commander said the event marked the last stage of drug enforcement circle which started with intelligence gathering, raid operations, investigation, successful conviction and finally execution of the court order for the destruction of confiscated drugs.

The quantity of drugs destroyed was the largest in the history of drug control in the country, he stressed.

Wakawa said cannabis sativa accounted for 136, 437.73 kilogrammes of the figure, while cocaine, heroin and other psychotropic substances accounted for 0.0139 kilo grammes, 0.0084 kilogrammes and 406.7 kilogrammes.

Morocco will be logical choice for 2026 World Cup – Blatter

Banned former FIFA president Sepp Blatter has put his support behind Morocco’s bid to host the 2026 World Cup finals, saying the North African country would be the logical choice.

Morocco is bidding for the fifth time to host the World Cup finals, having also tried for the 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010 tournaments.

The only other bid is a joint one from the U.S., Canada and Mexico with football’s world governing body FIFA due to choose the hosts at its Congress in Moscow in June.

Blatter said on Twitter: “World Cup 2026: Co-hosting rejected by FIFA after 2002 (also applied in 2010 and 2018). And now: Morocco would be the logical host! And it is time for Africa again!”

Blatter, who was FIFA president from 1998 to 2015, turned against co-hosting after the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, the only time the tournament has been shared.

The eighty-one-year-old Swiss quit his post and was later banned for six years for ethics violations by FIFA’s ethics committee.

The only tournament staged in Africa so far was the 2010 finals in South Africa, something Blatter is immensely proud of.

Army refutes report on suspension of offensive to aid Shekau’s escape

The Nigerian Army on Friday said troops movement under Operation Deep Punch II was temporarily halted in line with military plan and strategy and in view of the exigencies of time.

Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, made this known in a statement issued in Maiduguri.

He dismissed media report that the temporary halt of troops movement was intended to aid the escape of the faction Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, from the Sambisa Forest.

Nwachukwu said the ongoing clearance operation by troops under the operation Deep Punch II was being carried out according to official plans.

The deputy director described the media report as “frivolous”as it is capable of demoralising the troops and hampering progress of the ongoing exercise.

According to him, such misinformation does not reflect the strong character and courageous disposition of troops of Operation Lafiya Dole and it is untenable and misleading.

The army spokesman urged the public to disregard such information and cooperate with the military to enable it to succeed in its clearance campaign against the remnants of the Boko Haram insurgents.

The statement of the Nigerian Army reads:

“The attention of Theatre Command, Operation Lafiya Dole has been drawn to unfortunate mainstream and social media report insinuating that troops advance at the ongoing Operation Deep Punch II was deliberately halted to allow the escape of the purported Boko Haram terrorist faction leader, Abubakar Shekau in Sambisa forest. This is not true.

“Contrary to the mischievous allegations, no such order or directive was given by anybody to any of the units and formations in the operation.

“It is crucial to point out that there are several factors in planning and conduct of military operations, whether kinetic or otherwise.

“The ongoing Operation Deep Punch II, which is aimed at clearing Boko Haram insurgents from the Sambisa forest and the northern fringes of Lake Chad region, was planned to be executed in phases.

“It is a phase operation, therefore, requires that at a predetermined point or stage, troops will be halted either preparatory for transiting to another phase or the other depending on the threat situation.

“During the operation, troops’ movement could be put on halt when vehicles or other mobile equipment are bugged down due to the difficulty of the terrain and for recovery purposes.

“In military operations avenues are deliberately provided for troops to harbour, where they rest and carry out refitting of weapons and other equipment before resuming the operations.

“Additionally, booby traps and land mines could also compel advancing troops to halt to enable some specialized squad or scouts assess the situation before movement resume.

“These and several other factors could precipitate the halting of troops during operations.

“It is, therefore, very appalling and unimaginable that a fundamental operational procedure could be misinterpreted and be mischievously used as a psychological weapon to indirectly dampen the morale of our troops.”

Pyeongchang 2018: Nigerian athletes performance simply amazing – Elegbeleye

Nigerian Women’s Bobsled Team Ngozi Onwumere, Akuoma Omeoga and Seun Adigun pose with flowers upon their arrival in Lagos, Nigeria, as part of preparations ahead of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games, February 1, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde.

Nigeria’s Chef de Mission to the 2018 Winter Olympics, Gbenga Elegbeleye, says he was impressed with the performance of Team Nigeria that made its debut in the Pyeongchang Games.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria’s Bobsled and Skeleton teams participated in the Winter Olympics for the first time at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games in South Korea.

The trio of Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga who participated at the event took the 20th position in the women’s category.

In an Interview with NAN from Pyeongchang on telephone, Elegbeleye, however, described the performance of the athletes as “simply amazing’’.

“Being among the 20 best in the world in bobsled and skeleton is quite amazing, considering how and when the girls started preparations for the Winter Olympic Games.

“Jamaica started bobsled close to 30 years ago and they were unable to finish the race in their debut participation.

“You can remember that Reggae legend and music icon, Bob Marley composed a record for the Jamaican bobsled team (cool running) then.

“The Nigerian girls did not only finish their four races, they recorded their personal bests in two of the races,’’ Elegbeleye said.

The former director-general of the National Sports Commission, added that the Nigerian athletes were the centre of attraction in the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.

“South Korea, the host of the Games with some of the world leaders and the IOC President, Thomas Bach, said the hoisting of Nigeria’s flag at the competition was a trailblazer.

“The Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, had a special session with the team. It shows Nigeria is a country of talents and achievers.

“I hope this will spur other young Nigerians to aspire for greater heights,’’ Elegbeleye said.

He told NAN that the participation of Nigeria in the Games was also a good diplomatic feat.

“Sports participation is the greatest tool for diplomacy in building world peace and global unity.

“It shows that sports are a unifying factor and certainly what politics is unable to achieve, sports will surely do.

“This is demonstrated by the Korean people as both the North and South Korea presented a joint team to the Games,’’ Elegbeleye said.

NAN reports that the athletes had at long last attained their goal at the Games, which is to raise awareness and possibilities of Nigerian and African participants at future Winter Olympics Games.

Simidele Adeagbo, (skeleton), Adigun, Onwueme and Omeoga (Bobsled) featured for Nigeria in the 2018 Pyeonchang Winter Olympic in South Korea.

Bayelsa Govt. earmarks N100m for NLC state secretariat complex

The Bayelsa Chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), says the state government has earmarked N100 million for the construction of the state secretariat.

The state Chairman, Mr John Ndiomu, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday.

Speaking against the backdrop of the celebration of NLC’s 40th anniversary in the state, Ndiomu expressed the union’s readiness to work with the present administration to end workers’ strike in Bayelsa.

He lauded the Bayelsa Government for capturing the construction of the NLC Secretariat complex in its 2018 budget.

He assured teachers who were wrongly sacked that they would soon be called back to their duty posts.

“We are here to protect the interest of workers, not ours.

“Even when people are not our union members, we still work to protect their interest as fellow countrymen.”

He said that the anniversary would also create an opportunity to reflect on the challenges faced by the NLC and the larger labour movement and identify ways of addressing these challenges.

NAN recalls that the NLC was founded on Feb. 28, 1978.