Lagos commences construction of rail line from Agbado to Marina (Independent)
The Lagos State Government on Thursday said it has commenced work on the Lagos Rail Mass Transit Red Line project from Agbado to Marina.
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, disclosed this during the flag-off ceremony of a 37km rail route in Ikeja on Thursday.
Sanwo-Olu said the project would be implemented in two phases.
”We project that the Red Line would move its first passenger in the fourth quarter of 2022.
”In addition, we are simultaneously working on bringing the first phase of our Blue Line to passenger operation, projecting that it would be in operation by the fourth quarter of 2022,” he said. Read more
Telcos to resume SIM registration, replacement next week (Guardian)
The Nigerian Government Thursday said telecommunications companies will resume registration, activation and replacement of SIM cards on April 19, months after the process was halted.
But the registration will follow the new policy guidlines approved by the government, a spokesman for Isa Ali Pantanmi, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy said in a statement.
“We are cracking down on multiple SIM registrations and fraudulent sales carried out by corrupt vendors to facilitate fraud and other dubious activities,” the Nigerian Communication Commission said in statement in December.
The new policy makes it mandatory for anyone to be issued SIM to have the National Identity Number. Read more
56-year-old old farmer killed in Ibarapa (Nation)
A 56-year-old farmer, Babarinde Mufutau, has been found dead.
Mufutau, a native of Tapa, Ibarapa North, local government, Oyo State was said to have been attacked at Orita Meta, Konko Village, Ayete, area of the same council area around 7pn on Wednesday.
The attack allegedly perpetrated by suspected herders was carried out while the deceased was on his way home from the farm.
Confirming the development, the Secretary of Farmers (Akowe Agbe), Ibarapa North, Mr Taiwo Adeagbo said the farmer died as a result of machete cuts on his body. Read more
NAFDAC staff commence strike over unpaid welfare packages (ThisDay)
The Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) branch of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has commenced a seven-day warning strike on Thursday.
A statement jointly signed by the Vice-Chairman of the union, Idzi Is and Public Relations Officer, Ejoor Michael, said the strike started in the early hours of Thursday.
The union demanded immediate action to resolve the issues raised by the members.
Among the grievances of the workers are non-payment of promotion arrears, non-review of job specific allowance, suspension of staff training and backlog of unpaid staff financial claims.
Other grievances include the non-payment of severance package, poor work environment and lack of staff bus to ease transportation difficulties. Read more
10 dead, 500 hospitalised after drinking juice in Kano (Nation)
At least 10 persons have died and 400 hospitalised after drinking expired citric acid powdered drinks in Kano state.
Among those hospitalised are 50 patients undergoing kidney- related treatment, because of complications arising from consumption of the killer drinks, Kano Commissioner for Health, Aminu Ibrahim Tsanyawa disclosed on Thursday.
Speaking in a video, which was made available to newsmen in Kano State Thursday, the Commissioner explained that the affected persons are being treated in government hospitals. Read more
Police confirm killing of pastor in Enugu (Vanguard)
The Enugu State Police Command on Thursday confirmed the killing of a pastor of Sabbath Church, James Ugwu, at his home in Ebugwu, Ibagwa Ani, Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State by yet-to-be-identified gunmen, Tuesday night.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Ndatsu Aliyu, in a statement made available to Vanguard through the spokesperson of the Police Command, Daniel Ndukwe, charged the officers of the command to launch a full-scale investigation to unravel the circumstances surrounding the attack and equally arrest the perpetrators for prosecution.
He also enjoined the people of the community to remain calm and assist the police in their investigation, urging them to desist from any action capable of breaching peace and order.
Part of the statement reads “We got a report that on 13/4/21 at about 2315hrs, yet to be identified armed men attacked and killed one James Ugwu in Ibagwa-Ani Nsukka, while his wife and one other were injured. Read more
Fight against drug trafficking will block insurgency funding – FG (Leadership)
The federal government has said that successful fight against drug trafficking will help to deny or reduce funding for insurgency, saying it was common knowledge that drug money is being used to finance insurgency and terrorism.
Consequently, the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture will collaborate with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to launch a national campaign against drug trafficking and illicit use of drugs in the country.
The minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who disclosed this while receiving the executive chairman of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd), during a courtesy visit in Abuja on Thursday, said the war against illicit drug and trafficking was one of the most important tasks in the country today. Read more
FG begins process for full commercialisation, recapitalisation of FMBN (ThisDay)
The federal government has commenced the process for full commercialisation and recapitalisation of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) with the inauguration of an eight-member Joint Technical Committee (JTC).
Inaugurating the committee, which comprises four members each from the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and the FMBN in Abuja, the BPE Director General, Mr. Alex Okoh, said efforts to reposition the bank were dictated by the quest to bridge the country’s huge housing deficit estimated at 22 million as at 2019.
He said the terms of reference for the committee include, among others, to conduct a diagnostic review of the bank’s existing institutional framework, organisational structures and operational modality.
The committee is equally to review and harmonise all existing policies, law and regulations governing mortgage banking in Nigeria in order to identify areas that would facilitate the implementation of full commercialisation and recapitalisation of the FMBN. Read more
HIV/ AIDS Prevalence Rate In Benue Drops From 12.9% To 4.7% (Leadership)
The prevalence rate for the Human Immuno Deficiency Virus, HIV, which causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, AIDS, has dropped from 12.9 per cent to 4.7 per cent in Benue State.
Zonal coordinator, North Central Zone of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Mr Lawrence Kwaghga disclosed this during a courtesy call on Governor Samuel Ortom at the Benue Peoples House, Makurdi. While acknowledging the support of Benue State government in the fight against the spread of the scourge, Kwaghga noted that the desire of NACA and the world in general was to end the spread of HIV-AIDS by 2030.
The zonal coordinator appealed for sustained and increased funding from government at all levels, stressing that there was need for increased budgetary
allocation to the state and zonal offices of NACA, which he said, will help in achieving the set goals. Read more
Your WhatsApp account can be suspended by anyone with your phone number (Metro)
A rather worrying loophole has been uncovered on WhatsApp that means anyone can temporarily suspend your account if they know your number. Here’s how it works: An attacker installs WhatsApp on a new phone and puts in your number to activate the app. WhatsApp sends a 6-digit authentication code to your phone – which they don’t have. The attacker then inputs a wrong code too many times, which blocks the ability to log in for 12 hours. They then send an email to WhatsApp from their email address and claim that your phone (with the original number) has been lost or stolen. Read more
France advises citizens to leave Pakistan after anti-French protests (France24)
The French embassy in Pakistan on Thursday advised all French nationals and companies to temporarily leave the country, after violent anti-France protests paralysed large parts of the country this week.
“Due to the serious threats to French interests in Pakistan, French nationals and French companies are advised to temporarily leave the country,” the embassy said in an email to French citizens.
“The departures will be carried out by existing commercial airlines.”
The move came a day after the Pakistani interior ministry said it would outlaw the Tehrik-i-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), a hardline Islamist group responsible for recent anti-French protests across the country.
The TLP has been demanding that the Pakistani government expel the French ambassador and endorse a boycott of French products due to Charlie Hebdo’s republishing of the Prophet Mohamed cartoons last year. Read more
Texas students disciplined over ‘slave trade game’ (BBC)
A group of school students in Texas have been disciplined for setting up a “Slave Trade” messaging group that assigned prices to their black peers.
Messages shared on the Snapchat app at a school in Aledo said one student was worth a dollar and another “100 bucks”, the New York Times reported.
The school district conducted an inquiry and found “racial harassment and cyber bullying” had occurred.
But some parents accused authorities of failing to respond appropriately. Read more
Idris Elba speaks out amid Luther controversy as BBC boss says detective ‘lacks authenticity’ (Metro)
Idris Elba appeared to have a lot on his mind last night as he shared a cryptic message on social media amid the controversy surrounding his BBC series Luther. BBC’s creative diversity chief Miranda Wayland sparked a debate after saying that the character DCI John Luther lacks ‘authenticity’ due to his lack of Black friends and the fact he ‘doesn’t eat Caribbean food’. As the backlash unfolded, Idris, 48, shared a quote in his Instagram story without directly addressing the controversy. ‘We must not pull ourselves backwards, only push ourselves forwards. IE,’ he wrote attributing the quote to himself. Wayland shared her thoughts on the diversity in Luther, which has starred Idris as the haunted detective since 2010. Read more
French MPs approve controversial security bill restricting police images (France24)
France’s parliament passed a security bill Thursday to extend police powers despite criticism from civil rights activists who fear it threatens efforts to denounce police abuse.
The bill was approved by 75 votes for and 33 against at the National Assembly, where French President Emmanuel Macron’s party, which proposed the measure, has a large majority. The Senate has already adopted the bill.
In an effort to quell criticism, lawmakers have redrafted the most controversial article of the text. It now says helping to identify on-duty police officers “with the obvious intent of harming” will be punished by up to 5 years in prison and a 75,000 euro-fine ($89,800).
Tens of thousands of protesters marched in Paris in November to denounced the initial provision that was making it illegal to publish images of police officers with intent to cause them harm. Read more
Kanye West’s $1m Yeezy shoes are ‘most valuable to go on auction’ (BBC)
A pair of shoes designed and worn by musician Kanye West that are going up for auction are the most valuable to appear on the market, the auction house selling them says.
The Nike Air Yeezy 1 Prototypes have an estimate of $1 million (£726,000).
West first wore the shoes while performing at the Grammys in 2008.
They are now being sold by shoe collector Ryan Chang, through Sotheby’s auction house, and will be on display in Hong Kong from Friday. Read more
Semenya wins 5,000m race, but falls short of Tokyo qualifying time (Guardian)
Double Olympic 800 metres champion Caster Semenya moved closer to qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Games in a new event after defending her South African championships 5,000m title in Pretoria Thursday.
Semenya trimmed nearly 15 seconds off her personal best by crossing the line in 15 minutes 52.28 sec — 42.28 sec outside the Tokyo qualifying time of 15:10.
The race was staged at an altitude of 1,339 m (4,393 feet) and Semenya is considering running the same distance at sea level, where the air is less thin and times generally faster.
“If the guys in Durban (sea-level city) do something in May, I might run,” Semenya said after her victory. Read more
COVID-19: No spike recorded at festival, says MOC (Punch)
The strict compliance to COVID-19 protocols put in place by the Main Organising Committee of the Edo 2020 National Sports Festival, in conjunction with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, ensured that there was no spike in the spread of the dreaded virus during the festival, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Nebeolisa Anako, has stated.
Anako, who was also the Chairman, Main Organising Committee of the Games, said the festival was a huge success, adding that the fear of the spread of the virus was doused due to measures put in place by the MOC, Local Organising Committee, NCDC and other health agencies.
He disclosed that the 17 participants, who tested positive from 10 states at the beginning of the festival, were immediately isolated in line with the health guidelines, while nine Polymerase Chain Reaction tests were positive in the course of the festival, with two positive on arrival. Read more
Zinedine Zidane speaks out on facing Chelsea in Champions League semi-final (Metro)
Zinedine Zidane has warned his Real Madrid side they cannot afford to be distracted by the prospect of facing Chelsea in the Champions League semi finals while their La Liga fate hangs in the balance. The Spanish champions put the seal on a thoroughly satisfying week by advancing to the last four of a competition they have won three times already under the management of the legendary Frenchman. Leading 3-1 from last week’s first leg, Real survived an early onslaught at Anfield but ultimately qualified comfortably following a goalless stalemate on Merseyside. Read more
Man City want to build more history after reaching Champions League semi-final, says Guardiola (BBC)
The quadruple is still on.
Manchester City beat Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday. Now Paris St-Germain, with Kylian Mbappe and Neymar et al, stand in the way of a first Champions League final appearance.
City are on course to win the Premier League, are in the semi-finals of the FA Cup and will contest the Carabao Cup final later this month. Manager Pep Guardiola has called their achievements “incredible” as they try to create history by winning all four trophies in a season.
After knocking out Dortmund, Ilkay Gundogan said that City had “proved they are ready to fight for the semi-finals”, Guardiola spoke of them “building history” and City fan and former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher simply tweeted one of his ex-band’s lyrics: “I said maybeeeeeeeeeeeeee”.
BBC Sport picks through the best reaction from players, pundits and more to capture the mood surrounding Manchester City’s superb victory. Read more
Novak Djokovic blasts ‘awful performance’ in shock defeat to Dan Evans at Monte-Carlo Masters (Metro)
Dan Evans produced one of the upsets of the tennis season so far by defeating world No. 1 Novak Djokovic at the Monte-Carlo Masters. Evans, the British No. 1, has never hidden the fact that clay is his least favoured surface but that didn’t stop him beating the top seed in straight sets. A 6-4 7-5 win in little over two hours was his first victory against a top-five player and he admitted he had been ‘extra fired up’ after being kept waitin by Djokovic before the encounter. ‘He kept me waiting at the start of the match in the changing room,’ Evans told Amazon Prime. ‘It was a little annoying. That got me a little extra fired up.’ Read more
NBA: Joel Embiid scores 39 points as Philadelphia top Eastern Conference (BBC)
Joel Embiid scored 39 points as the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Brooklyn Nets 123-117 and moved into first place in the Eastern Conference.
Embiid also registered 13 rebounds as Philadelphia overcame Brooklyn, who were missing several players.
Tobias Harris added 26 points and Ben Simmons scored 17 as Philadelphia claimed their third consecutive win.
Elsewhere, Stephen Curry scored 42 points in three quarters as the Golden State Warriors beat Oklahoma City.For the eighth consecutive game, Curry scored 30 or more points to help his side to a 147-109 win. Read more