Businessman arraigned for alleged N25m fraud (Punch)
A businessman, Kelechi Mbagwu, has been arraigned before the Lagos State Special Offences Court for N25m fraud.
Mbagwu was arraigned alongside his company, CMB Building Maintenance and Investment Limited, on three counts bordering on obtaining money under false pretences to the tune of N25m by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The EFCC prosecutor, Abdullahi Mohammed, told the court that the defendant and his company committed the offences between February 12 and September 14, 2018, in Lagos. Read more
Succour for travellers as Lagos-Ibadan highway gets ‘dedicated’ funding (Nation)
For commuters and other stakeholders in the road transport sector, last week brought some cheery news – an end to their suffering on the acclaimed busiest road in the West Africa- the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
Indeed, the reconstruction of the 126.5 kilometre road will cost the Federal Government N311 billion and has had a history of delays as a result of funding gaps. The road awarded to Messrs Julius Berger Nigeria, and Reynolds Construction Limited (RCC) Nigeria Ltd, in 2013, was reviewed in 2018 following increasing infrastructural development on the axis.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, spoke of government’s determination to ensure the delivery of the project as scheduled, by May 2022, despite dwindling financial fortunes of the government, insisting that notwithstanding the revenue shortfall due to drop in oil prices, funding would not stop the completion of expressway. Read more
Lagos seeks residents’ cooperation on road reconstruction (Punch)
The Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr Idris Salako, has urged residents to cooperate with the state on the reconstruction of Isuti road in Alimosho Local Government Area in Lagos.
He spoke during the stakeholders’ meeting for the reconstruction of Isuti road in Lagos.
While speaking on the takeoff of the reconstruction project, he said the state was making remarkable progress in the area of infrastructural renewal of the state.
Salako said, “To this end, I urge members of the Isuti, Egan, Igando and adjoining communities as well as the entire Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State to give their unalloyed support to the organisation and personnel that will be involved in the project. Read more
20 states indicate interest in ESP plan to build 300,000 houses at N2m each for Nigerians (Vanguard)
As the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), proceeds with implementation of a number of its sector specific schemes, the Social Housing element which will build about 300,000 very affordable houses for Nigerians is taking off this week, about 20 state governments have indicated interest in joining the housing plan.
This week the portal to invite Nigerians interested either as beneficiaries of the Social Housing or as delivery partners would be launched by the Family Homes Fund, the Federal Government agency designated to implement the scheme. The portal is Nshp.gov.ng Read more
2 dead, others injured as police intensify efforts to rescue abducted foreigner (Guardian)
The Police Command in Oyo State on Monday confirmed the death of a soldier and a civilian in their attempt to rescue a foreign national, Hassan Mills, from his abductors.
Police spokesman in the state, SP Olugbenga Fadeyi, said in a statement that gunmen abducted Mills on Saturday as he was getting to his Panorama Farms at Oke Alaro area of Ibadan.
He said a combined team of security operatives of “Operation Burst’’ invited to the scene of abduction found the two corpses on Sunday while combing the surrounding forest to effect the release of Mills. Read more
Kankara school attack further confirmation that service chiefs not in charge – Northern elders (Vanguard)
Again, Northern elders have expressed concerns on the worsening security situation in the region, saying Friday’s attack on Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, in Katsina State, had further confirmed their position that the region was only now at the mercy of terrorists, bandits and other criminal elements.
The elders, operating under the aegis of Coalition of Northern Elders for Peace and Development, pointed out that the continuous stay in office of the service chiefs whom they noted,have been exhausted with nothing more to offer in security service,was emboldening the adversaries in their increasing dastardly actions against the country.
In a statement,Monday, signed by their National Coordinator,Engr. Zana Goni and National Women Leader,Hajiya Mario Bichi,respectively,the elders condemned the attack on the school children, saying the development that came few days after the decapitation of over 46 rice farmers in Zabarmari Village in Borno State,was disturbing. Read more
Ogun to rehabilitate 207 rural roads in 2021 – Commissioner (Guardian)
The Commissioner for Rural Development in Ogun, Mr Oludotun Taiwo, says the State Government had concluded plans to rehabilitate 207 rural roads in 2021.
Taiwo stated this while defending the ministry’s 2021 budget proposal before the state’s House of Assembly Committee on Finance and Appropriation, on Monday in Abeokuta.
He said that the government conducted needs assessment and also considered the importance of the roads to the socio- economic development of the people. Read more
Supreme Court swears in 72 SANs begins new legal year (Thisday)
The Supreme Court on Monday conferred the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) on 72 legal practitioners.
The conferment which formed part of activities marking the commencement of the 2020/21 new legal year, was performed by Justice Bode Rhodes-Vuvour, accompanied by 16 other Justices of the Supreme Court.
Rhodes-Vivour, who noted that the new SANs emerged successful from a total of 172 earlier shortlisted urged them to be more committed to their work and the legal profession, an attitude he said earned them the rank in the first place. Read more
19 armed robbers escape from police custody in Calabar (Vanguard)
Nineteen armed robbery suspects have reportedly escaped from custody at the Cross River Police Command headquarters at Diamond Hill, Calabar.
The escape according to a police source took place on Sunday night when the robbers used a hacksaw to cut the iron key to the cell where they are detained and made good their escape.
“As I speak to you, the station guard and some other officers are being detained. This could not have happened with the SARS. Our lives are in danger” a police source which prefers anonymity told Vanguard.
He said none of the escapees has been re-arrested as at midmorning today but the authorities have despatched crack teams across the city to track the runaway robbers. Read more
US removes Sudan from ‘state sponsors of terrorism’ list amid warming Israeli-Arab ties (RT)
The US has officially removed Sudan’s classification as a state sponsor of terrorism, 27 years after Washington blacklisted the East African nation over its alleged support for Islamist militants.
President Donald Trump gave Congress a 45-day notice of the decision in October and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has now signed a cancellation of Sudan’s designation, the US Embassy in Khartoum said on Monday.
The move, effective from Monday, saw Sudan agreeing to pay $335 million to US victims of terrorist attacks and their families, and follows the country’s normalization of ties with Israel in another Trump-brokered deal. Read more
Italian writer returns French award in protest after Macron honours Egyptian leader Sisi (France24)
Italian writer Corrado Augias returned his Legion of Honour — France’s highest award — in protest Monday at the decision by Paris to give the honour to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Augias, a journalist and former member of the European Parliament, took his medal back to the French embassy in Rome, accusing Sisi of being “objectively complicit, as head of state, in the criminal behaviour committed by his men”.
French President Emmanuel Macron last week gave Sisi the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour during a state visit to Paris, sparking outrage among activists who say France should do more to raise concerns about human rights in Egypt.
“On this occasion President Al-Sisi, who at the very least has an ambiguous position, could have been received with all the state honours… but without this further recognition,” Augias told reporters. Read more
Google outage: YouTube, Docs and Gmail knocked offline (BBC)
Google applications including YouTube, email and Docs have suffered a rare service outage, with users unable to access many of the company’s services.
The outage started shortly before noon UK time, lasting more than half an hour before being restored.
Users around the world reported problems with Gmail, Google Drive, the Android Play Store, Maps, and more.
Google’s search engine, however, remained unaffected by the problems affecting its other services. Read more
Mount Etna erupts spewing plumes of ash and lava into the sky (Metro)
Mount Etna has erupted in Sicily, sending huge plumes of ash and lava into the air. The volcano is the largest in Europe and is known for frequent eruptions that send rivers of molten lava flowing down its slopes. Activity was first recorded at 9.20pm yesterday evening at Etna’s south-east crater. It took a mere thirty minutes for the intensity of the eruption to increase from medium to high. Before long, the volcano was spewing fountains of lava up to 100m high. Read more
In-person voting begins in crucial Georgia Senate runoffs (VOA) In-person early voting begins Monday in the US state of Georgia where two runoff elections will decide which political party holds a majority in the US Senate when a new term begins in January.
Democrats are challenging two Republican incumbents after no candidate earned an absolute majority in either race in the November general election.
Republicans currently stand to hold a 50 to 48 advantage in the 100-seat Senate. But with a Democrat winning the presidential election, and the vice president wielding a tie-breaker vote in a 50-50 Senate, Democrats could claim a majority by winning both Georgia seats. Read more
‘External source’ causes oil tanker blast off Saudi Arabia (AlJazeera)
An oil tanker off Saudi Arabia’s port city of Jeddah has been hit by an unidentified “external source” that caused a fire and an explosion, a shipping company said, suggesting another vessel has come under attack off the kingdom amid its years-long war in Yemen.
In a statement on Monday, shipping company Hafnia said all 22 sailors on board the Singapore-flagged BW Rhine escaped without injury. The company warned it was possible some oil leaked out from the site of the blast.
“BW Rhine has been hit from an external source whilst discharging at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia at approximately 00:40 local time on 14 December 2020 [21:40 GMT on Sunday], causing an explosion and subsequent fire onboard,” Hafnia said in the statement on its website. Read more
Covid-19: Trump rejects plan for early vaccines at White House (BBC)
US President Donald Trump says he has reversed a plan for White House officials to receive a coronavirus vaccine in the coming days.
Officials said senior members of the Trump administration would be among the first to get the Pfizer/BioNTech jab.
But Mr Trump later tweeted that people working at the White House “should receive the vaccine somewhat later… unless specifically necessary”.
The US will begin its roll out of the vaccine on Monday. Read more
Kida eyes glorious 2021 for nigerian basketball (Thisday)
President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) Musa Kida is hopeful of a better 2021 as basketball stakeholders continue to savour the new found status of its teams on the global scene.
Kida who was recently named 2020 Sun Newspaper Sports Personality of the Year recipient,said the out going year remains one many Nigerians will hope to wish away because of the global lockdown by Covid-19 that disrupted sports and other activities.
Despite D’Tigress booking its 2020 Olympics ticket and the conclusion of the Total Division One League earlier in the year before the Covid-19 global pandemic, Kida opined that the federation could have achieved more.
“By now, we should have concluded the Olympics in Tokyo and maybe return as a medalist in the Men and Women’s categories, but because of the pandemic, there was a postponement.” Read more
Ronaldo marks Juve century as late Hernandez brace rescues AC Milan (Guardian)
Cristiano Ronaldo marked his 100th game for Juventus with a pair of penalties in a 3-1 success over Genoa on Sunday, as the champions closed the gap on Serie A leaders AC Milan who were held at home against Parma.
French defender Theo Hernandez’s brace rescued a point at the death for AC Milan who came from two goals down to draw 2-2 in the San Siro.
Milan’s lead on second-placed Inter was cut to three points after Antonio Conte’s side staged a 3-1 comeback win at Cagliari. Read more
Roger Federer in ‘race against time’ to be fit for Australian Open (Metro)
Roger Federer admitted he’s in a ‘race against time’ to be fit for the Australian Open as he continues his recovery from a knee injury. Federer, the 20-time Grand Slam champion from Switzerland, has not played competitive tennis since a straight sets defeat to world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of this year’s Australian Open in January. He has since had two rounds of surgery on his right knee but it was expected he would be ready for the start of the 2021 season. Federer, a six-time champion in Melbourne, admitted the expected delay of the tournament by a couple of weeks would give him more of a chance, but said it will still be ‘tight’. Read more
Cleveland Indians baseball team to change name (Metro)
The Cleveland Indians baseball team plan to change their name after decades of criticism, US media report.
US President Donald Trump denounced the move, tweeting it was “cancel culture at work!”
In use since 1915, opponents have long said the name is racist and offensive to Native Americans.
The team announced a review of their name in July as racial justice protests convulsed the US following the death of George Floyd. Read more
Former Liverpool manager, Gerard Houllier dies at 73 (Vanguard)
Gerard Houllier, the French coach who won the UEFA Cup, FA Cup and League Cup treble with Liverpool, has died aged 73.
Two of the French clubs Houllier managed, Paris Saint-Germain and Lens, confirmed he had died.
Houllier, who managed Liverpool from 1998 to 2004, died overnight Sunday to Monday after undergoing hart surgery. His career was blighted by health problems and he had to take a break in his time at Liverpool to recover from heart issues.
He was also in charge of the French national team from 1992 to 1993, overseeing their failure to qualify for the 1994 finals in the United States
Champions League: Liverpool to face RB Leipzig (BBC)
Liverpool will face last season’s semi-finalists RB Leipzig in the last 16 of the Champions League, while Chelsea come up against Atletico Madrid.
Manchester City will face Borussia Monchengladbach, who are in the last 16 for the first time since 1978.
Holders Bayern Munich face Italian side Lazio, who are in the knockout stage for the first time in 20 years.
Barcelona face Paris St-Germain in arguably the tie of the round, a repeat of their 2017 classic. Read more
Frank Lampard reacts to Chelsea’s Champions League draw vs Atletico Madrid (Metro)
Frank Lampard believes Chelsea have been handed the ‘toughest’ Champions League draw possible as they face Atletico Madrid in the last-16. Lampard’s side finished top of Group E but have been handed a tricky test in the knockout phase against Diego Simeone’s men. Atletico have suffered just two defeats in all competitions this season, while the Spanish club dumped Liverpool out of the Champions League with a win at Anfield in March. And Lampard admits his Chelsea players could not have been given a more difficult draw. ‘I think most people will say it’s the toughest draw we could’ve had when you go on current form, how they’re doing in La Liga, European experience, quality of the team and players, I think most people would say that,’ said Lampard. Read more