Hoodlums in army uniform kidnap seven wedding guests in Ogun, demand N60m ransom (Punch)
Armed hoodlums dressed in army uniform have abducted seven wedding guests at the Isara, Ogun State end of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
PUNCH Metro gathered that the victims attended a wedding in Ibadan, Oyo State, on Saturday, and were returning to their base in Lagos State on Sunday, when one of the vehicles conveying them to their destinations broke down on the road.
One of the victims, Folahan Akinsola, who spoke to our correspondent on Monday, said they were attempting to tow the faulty vehicle when the kidnappers struck.
He said, “We went to attend a wedding in Ibadan on Saturday and lodged there after the wedding. The following day, as early as 5.30am, we started our journey to Lagos State. We moved in a convoy of three vehicles, including two Toyota Corollas and one Toyota Camry.Read more
Bode George: I’m shocked Osoba linked my criticism of Tinubu to my imprisonment (DailyTrust)
Chief Bode George, former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has expressed shock over the statement attributed to former Ogun State Governor, Chief Segun Osoba, that he is attacking Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former governor of Lagos, over his imprisonment.
Osoba had in response to George’s rejection of Tinubu’s declaration for Presidency stated that the PDP leader believes Tinubu has a hand in his incarceration.
Daily Trust reports that George was incarcerated for about two years after he was jailed by a High Court in Lagos over corruption charges relating to his tenure as the Chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
The judgment was upheld by the Court of Appeal before it was dismissed at the Supreme Court.Read more
Army busts oil thieves in Lagos, hands them over to NSCDC (Sun)
Nigerian Army has impounded four trucks and vans laden with automotive gas oil, (AGO), used by suspected vandals to siphon oil in the Oregun area of Lagos.
The military said the men were rounded up after an eight -hour operation, warning persons engaged in vandalising petroleum pipelines and stealing products within the Lagos-Ogun axis to desist forthwith, as it would not hesitate to deal ruthlessly with persons caught in illegal bunkering.
The Army, while parading the five suspects caught by operatives of Operation Awatse in Lagos, said they were busted after the operation, which commenced from 6pm on January 11, 2022, and ended by 1am.
According the operation officer, 9 Brigade, Major Tarilla Emuren, four tankers fully loaded with petroleum products and five vans with tanks inside them were also impounded after the raid, while five persons were arrested in connection with the crime.
He said: “It will interest you to know that the Ford vans have been specially modified without due recourse to safety to accommodate locally fabricated tanks for storage of stolen petroleum products. Read more
PDP NWC receives reports, petitions on Ekiti ward congress (Tribune)
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Monday received the report of the Ekiti State Three-man Ad-hoc Delegate Ward Congress conducted last Saturday.
It has also received petitions and complaints from stakeholders in Congress.
According to a statement issued by Hon. Debo Ologunagba, its National Publicity Secretary, which disclosed this in Abuja, the NWC had given assurances that the report, as well as the petitions and complaints, will be comprehensively reviewed while all concerns raised will be carefully considered for amicable resolution in the overall interest of the Party.
The NWC urged all governorship aspirants, critical stakeholders and teeming members of our Party in Ekiti State to remain calm, united and focused on the task ahead. Read more
Governors no longer use convoy of 30 to 40 vehicles – Gov Abubakar (Channels)
Jigawa State Governor, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, has said that governors no longer use convoys of 30 to 40 vehicles as measures to cut costs in governance.
Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Newsnight which aired on Monday, the governor said his colleagues were taking serious steps to minimise unnecessary spending in their respective domains.
“All the governors try to look inwards on their spendings. You don’t see governors going in a convoy of 30, 40 vehicles. You see us mostly now with three or four vehicles,” he said.
“Most of the governors have dropped unnecessary expenditure to reduce the cost of governance. That is the first step to reduce the cost of governance.” Read more
Comedian Basketmouth’s wife laments rising cost of foodstuffs (Punch)
Elsie Okpocha, wife of Nigerian comedian, Bright Okpocha popularly known as Basketmouth, has lamented over the rising cost of foodstuffs in the country.
The mother-of-three took to her Instagram page on Monday to openly question the Federal Government on the “regular price increment of foodstuffs and groceries.”
Mrs. Okpocha noted that surviving in Nigeria was getting crazier, adding that the country was supposed to be the giant of Nigeria.
Pleading to the government, the businesswoman asked that they make “live in Nigeria livable.”
Sterling Bank partners LASG, FG on free Wi-Fi at MMIA (Vanguard)
Sterling Bank creates exclusive income bearing programme for customers
As part of its continuous support of efforts to tame the spread of Covid-19 in the country, Sterling Bank Plc has collaborated with the Lagos State Port Health Authority and the Federal Ministry of Aviation to upgrade the facilities at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) arrival terminals D & E with the installation of free Wi-Fi connection and additional air conditioning units for arriving passengers.
Divisional Head, Health and Education sectors of Sterling Bank, Mr. Obinna Ukachukwu said in a statement issued by the bank in Lagos at the weekend that, “The installations are to welcome arriving travelers comfortably and allow passengers easily book the necessary COVID-19 tests on arrival from the comfort of their devices. This is in conjunction with the Lagos State Port Health Authority, Lagos State Ministry of Health and with the blessing of the Federal Ministry of Aviation.”
He said the collaboration is another exhibition by the bank as it continues to play a significant part in the nation’s efforts to combat the scourge of the coronavirus pandemic by making it easy for inbound passengers to connect to tech-focused solutions needed to book tests upon arrival and also to keep the economy open.
According to him, health is the first of the five sectors where the bank is presently concentrating investments under its HEART’s of Sterling programme since 2018. The other sectors are education, agriculture, renewable energy and transportation. Read more
Firm launches app to detect fake X-Pression braids (ThisDay)
The management of Solpia Nigeria Limited, maker of X-Pression Rich and Ultra Braids, has announced a new innovation, called: ‘Hidden Tag’ application, to help users identify genuine brands of its hair extension, and as well check the activities of fakers of its products.
The Managing Director of the company, Mr. Diamond Jeong, lamented the far-reaching effect of the unscrupulous fakers’ activity on the company, during the unveiling of the new technology in their office in Lagos recently.
He said the company pays huge taxes to the government and generates foreign exchange in exports, and employs about 8,000 workers, adding that this unscrupulous activity is affecting their production, sales and exports, and could throw the teaming workers into the labour market, if the fakery continues.
He therefore called on the relevant government agencies to assist the company fight the menace.
Gunmen abduct another Plateau monarch (Nation)
Suspected gunmen have kidnapped HRH. Da Gyang Balak Gut, the Da Gwom Rwei of Vwang District of Jos-South Local Government Area of Plateau State.
The Nation reports the incident is less than one month after the abduction of HRH Charles Dakat, who is the Paramount Ruler of Gindiri, in Mangu Local Government Area in Plateau State.
It was gathered that the paramount ruler was kidnapped on Sunday night on his way home to Vom, a few meters from the Gate of the National Institute For Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru in Jos.
Spokesman for the Plateau State Police Command ASP Gabriel Ubah Confirmed the incident.
Vwang District is where the famous National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI), Vom is located in Plateau State. Read more
FCTA locks out unvaccinated workers, others(Nation)
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) on Monday morning barred all unvaccinated workers and visitors from its premises.
Many of the workers and visitors were seen stranded at the gate grumbling and begging to gain access as early as 8am.
The administration issued a memo last week advising staff to go and take their COVID-19 vaccines to avoid the latest development.
The Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement to the FCT Minister, Ikharo Attah, who heads the surveillance team, vowed the enforcement will be sustained to ensure maximum compliance. Read more
Prince’s estate valued at £114m after earlier estimate causes uproar (Independent)
Prince’s estate has been valued at around £114m after earlier estimates caused uproar among the late musician’s family.
As reported by the Associated Press and Minnesota Star-Tribune, the “Purple Rain” singer’s estate was previously valued at £59m, which led to protests from the artist’s heirs.
Prince died six years ago. His wealth, however, is yet to be distributed because of the ongoing arguments over the value of his estate. The musician also did not leave a will.
Following an agreement between the estate’s administrator Comerica Bank & Trust, the Inland Revenue Service and the beneficiaries, the distribution of Prince’s wealth could begin as soon as next month.
The report states that the dispute over the estate’s valuation has led to tens of millions worth of legal fees being accumulated. Read more
Jamie Lynn Spears opens up about father’s struggle with alcoholism (FilmNews)
Jamie Lynn Spears has opened up about her father Jamie Spears’ struggle with alcoholism.
During an interview with Good Morning America on Wednesday, the 30-year-old actress was asked about how her father’s alcoholism shaped her life.Jamie Lynn Spears has opened up about her father Jamie Spears’ struggle with alcoholism.
“For me, it created a lot of anxiety,” the former Zoey 101 star shared. “The hardest part was like, ‘Could I trust you? Are you drinking? Are you not?’ It was something no kid should have to question.”
In her upcoming memoir, Things I Should Have Said, the Sweet Magnolias star claimed he “spent most of my life in that cycle of ruinous behavior. His bouts of drinking always caused me periods of torment and sorrow.”
The Spears family has addressed how the 69-year-old’s drinking has affected them in the past. In her 2008 memoir Through the Storm, Lynne Spears details how her ex-husband’s excessive drinking intensified after they had children. The couple divorced in 2002, a decision which the 66-year-old said was influenced by his alcoholism.
Jamie entered rehab in 2004 after his daughter Britney encouraged him to seek help. Read more
Kendrick Lamar working on movie with ‘South Park’ co-creators (HipHopDX)
2022 has been pegged as the year Kendrick Lamar will make his long-awaited return to music with a brand new album, following up 2017’s Pulitzer Prize-winning DAMN. But the Compton native’s first move of the new year finds him branching out beyond rap.
According to Deadline, Kendrick is entering the movie industry by co-producing an upcoming live-action comedy film for Paramount Pictures alongside his former longtime manager Dave Free and South Park co-creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker.
Written by Vernon Chatman, the untitled movie is about a young Black man interning as a slave reenactor at a living history museum who discovers that his white girlfriend’s ancestors once owned his.
“On behalf of Paramount Pictures and the wider ViacomCBS family, we look forward to ushering in the first theatrical collaboration from these creative visionaries, and galvanizing audiences worldwide around a powerful storytelling experience,” said Paramount Pictures’ President & CEO, Brian Robbins. Read more
Thomas Rhett is releasing a new album ‘Where We Started’ (TheTennesean)
On April 1, Thomas Rhett will release “Where We Started,” his follow-up studio album to 2021’s ?”Country Again: Side A.” It’s the sixth album in the three-time Academy of Country Music Awards Male Artist of the Year’s decade-long mainstream career that has yielded nearly 20 multi-platinum and gold-selling number-one hits.
Notably, pop superstar Katy Perry is the guest on the album’s title song and closing track “Where We Started.” It’s a roots-style duet that offers a sentimental, honest, and autobiographical reflection on the romance between Rhett and his wife of nine years, Lauren Akins. Riley Green, Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard, and Russell Dickerson will be featured as album collaborators.
In a recent Zoom conversation, the acclaimed performer noted that he’d written nearly 200 songs over the past five years. Some of them were part of “Country Again: Side A,” whereas others have found their way to his forthcoming album. Logic would state that Rhett would call his follow-up album “Country Again: Side B.” However, he highlights this album’s title track — written with his frequent co-writers Jon Bellion, Jesse Frasure, and Ashely Gorley — as “[spurring] a lot of other songs…that made the project different,” he says. “This will be a versatile record with a song for everyone,” he continues.
His marriage — which celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2022 — is a consistent theme on the record, as other tracks like current country radio single “Slow Down Summer,” plus “Bass Pro Hat,” “Bring the Bar,” “Paradise,” “The Hill,” “Mama’s Front Door,” and “Us Someday” address how his love for his partner has endured and grown. Read more
Denzel Washington wants A Man On Fire musical (Unilad)
If Denzel Washington could bring one of his films to the stage, he’d choose Man on Fire.
A man can be an artist in anything, food, whatever. It depends on how good he is at it. Washington’s art is acting, and with 2004’s Man on Fire, he painted his masterpiece.
Directed by Tony Scott, it stars the Oscar-winner as John W. Creasy, a former CIA officer hired by a wealthy family in Mexico to protect their daughter, Pita (Dakota Fanning), amid a spate of brutal kidnappings. When she’s taken, he hunts down the gang responsible. ‘I’m gonna kill ’em; anyone who was involved, anybody who profited from it, anybody who opens their eyes at me.’
Critics weren’t so warm to the film upon release, but it’s since enjoyed a reappraisal as one of Scott and Washington’s most underrated efforts – probably because it was already phenomenal in the first place. He sticks a bomb up a man’s butt and shoots an RPG into the middle of a street – if you’re not having fun, what’s wrong with you? Read more
The Ronettes star Ronnie Spector dies aged 78 after ‘brief cancer battle’ (OK!)
The Ronettes legend Ronnie Spector has passed away at the age of 78 following a “brief battle” with cancer.
The family of the icon, who formed the much-loved girl group in 1957, announced the sad news in an emotional and heartfelt statement.
They wrote: “Our beloved earth angel, Ronnie, peacefully left this world today after a brief battle with cancer. She was with family and in the arms of her husband, Jonathan [Greenfield].
“Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humor and a smile on her face. She was filled with love and gratitude.”
They wrote: “Our beloved earth angel, Ronnie, peacefully left this world today after a brief battle with cancer. She was with family and in the arms of her husband, Jonathan [Greenfield]. Read more
Euro Cinema Group predicts 75 Percent box office growth in 2022 (THR)
European cinema group UNIC is predicting a major box office bounceback this year, forecasting ticket revenue across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) could jump 75 percent to $7.8 billion.
The blockbuster success of Marvel/Disney superhero tentpole Spider-Man: No Way Home, as well as strong local titles, including French comedy Les Tuches 4 and Russian fantasy adventure drama Posledniy bogatyr 3, have raised hopes that 2022 could mark the end of the coronavirus pandemic plunge at the European box office.
Spider-Man, which became the first film released after the start of the pandemic to earn more than $1.5 billion at the global box office, brought audiences back to theaters en masse across Europe. The movie, starring Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch and Zendaya, has taken in more than $105 million in the U.K. and Ireland, some $55 million in France and more than $41 million in Russia.
“Having faced the unprecedented challenges of the COVID pandemic, 2021 saw cinemas across the globe move swiftly along the road to recovery, with all signs suggesting that 2022 will be a pivotal year for the industry,” the UNIC said Friday. “Across Europe in particular, last year saw significant gains in 2020 box office revenues as cinema audiences flocked back to an exciting and diverse slate of new releases.” Read more
Naomi Osaka accidentally hits umpire and explains superstitions in Australian Open win (Metro)
Naomi Osaka made a winning return to Grand Slam action in her first-round match at the Australian Open but it wasn’t without one moment of drama as she accidentally fired a ferocious forehand at the umpire.
The defending champion defeated young Colombian Camila Osorio 6-3 6-3 in what was just her fourth match since early September.
Osaka cut short her season after a third-round loss at the US Open last year to focus on her mental wellbeing but looked to be in good spirits as she entertained the crowd at the Rod Laver Arena.
The Japanese star did have to apologise for one accidental moment though at the end of the second set as one of her wayward return serves accidentally fired straight at the umpire’s chair. Read more
We won’t underrate Guinea Bissau, Eguavoen assures Nigerians
By Gowon Akpodonor, Garoua, Cameroun (Guardian)
Super Eagles Head Coach, Augustine Owen Eguavoen, says his already-qualified team has no reason to look down on their opponents or approach the game in a carefree manner when they take to the pitch of Stade Roumdé Adjia in Garoua against the Wild Dogs of Guinea Bissau tomorrow.
Nigeria has eased into the round of 16 as group leaders, with a match to spare, courtesy of wins over Egypt and Sudan in their two matches and the combination of other results, notably Egypt’s defeat of Guinea Bissau on Saturday.
Yet, Eguavoen says his team will deduct nothing from their consolidated one-match-at-a-time and win-all strategy adopted for the 33rd Africa Cup of Nations, even as there is no serious pressure going into that final group phase encounter.
“It is important for us to sustain the winning mentality while we keep our heads on our shoulders. Just as I told the boys after the match against Egypt, we are yet to win anything here except points. Guinea Bissau need the three points because they have only one so far and we must be prepared for a massive fight. Read more
Chelsea, Man Utd and Tottenham stars among winners at FIFA’s The Best Awards 2021(Metro)
Erik Lamela won the Puskas Award for the best goal of 2021, while Cristiano Ronaldo, Thomas Tuchel, Kevin De Bruyne and Edouard Mendy were all also celebrated at FIFA’s The Best Awards.
There was plenty of Premier League recognition, but it was Robert Lewandowski who won the award for best men’s player, beating Mo Salah and Lionel Messi to the prize.
Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas won the best women’s player gong, while it was a double win for Chelsea as Thomas Tuchel and Emma Hayes picked up the best men’s and women’s coaches respectively.
It was a strong night for the Blues as Mendy won the best goalkeeper while Jorginho and N’Golo Kante were named in the best men’s team, along with the likes of De Bruyne and Ronaldo. Read more
Burnley vs Watford postponed as COVID-19 hits Clarets squad (Punch)
Burnley’s match against relegation rivals Watford on Tuesday has been postponed after the Premier League accepted the Clarets’ request for a delay on the grounds they had fewer than the required number of players available.
Burnley manager Sean Dyche, speaking at a press conference of Monday, said only 10 first-team players took part in training that day before the club asked for the postponement.
Dyche added Covid-hit Burnley were in a worse position than they had been before the Premier League agreed to call off Saturday’s match against Leicester, with Charlie Taylor having suffered a knock in training.
“We’re at such a stretched moment in time that it’s very difficult all round,” Dyche said.
A statement released by Burnley and the Premier League late read: “The Premier League board accepted Burnley’s application with the club having fewer than the required number of players available for the match (13 outfield players and one goalkeeper), due to ongoing Covid-19 cases, injuries, and representation at the Africa Cup of Nations.” Read more
Nigeria-based players need regular games to meet global basketball standard, says Mark (Guardian)
The convener of the ongoing Mark D’Ball Basketball Championship for men and women, Igoche Mark, believes Nigeria-based basketballers need to play more regularly to meet up the standard of their foreign counterparts. This will help in developing the dunking game in the country.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the championship in Abuja at the weekend, Mark assured teams and spectators that plans were being perfected to have the Mark D’Ball Basketball Championship played regularly across the country in a format replicating the NBA regular season games.
He said the new phase of the basketball project is focused on revamping the domestic component of the game, adding that it is unfortunate that the basketball league and grassroots aspect of the game have gone under the ground for a long time.
Mark, who also declared his intention to run as president of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), while giving his opening speech at the championship, stated that the championship is among many more projects that would be unveiled by his administration when voted to office.
He added that his dream is to see basketball continue bouncing everyday in Nigeria and the young ones play as many games as possible just like in the NBA where 82 games are played in a regular season. Read more
Jadon Sancho having doubts over his role at Manchester United, claims Paul Parker (Metro)
Former Manchester United defender Paul Parker has suggested Jadon Sancho may already be having doubts over his role at Old Trafford.
United ended a near-two year long pursuit of Sancho last summer, finally bringing the England international to Old Trafford in a deal worth £73million.
The former Borussia Dortmund star has struggle to replicate the form that saw him establish himself as one of Europe’s best young talents in Germany, however.
With just two goals and zero assists in 23 appearances this season, Sancho has struggled for form and was left out of the starting XI during Saturday’s Premier League clash at Aston Villa. Read more
Lagos Marathon: Sanwo-Olu, Shaibu set to run in February (DailyTrust)
The Deputy-Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu will be joining Lagos state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to participate in the 2022 edition of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon on February 12, 2022.
Speaking while signing the entry form over the weekend, Shaibu said he has been a distant admirer of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon.
The 2022 edition which will be held in the next 25 days will feature a 42km race, a 10km race and a virtual race.
“I congratulate the good people of Lagos State, especially the Executive Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for putting together the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, the biggest one-day sports event in Africa and one of the top ten marathons in the world in terms of prize money and participants. Read more