Lagos-Ibadan speed train passengers grow to 187 (Nation)
From one passenger when it started operation penultimate Monday, the newly launched Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge service now carries 187 passengers, the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has said.
This is just as the Federal Government insisted there is no going back on the train fares, which it said are fair and affordable to the commuting public.
NRC Managing Director Fidet Okhiria, who spoke at the weekend on the sidelines of the inspection of the project, said the passengers’ turnout was improving. Read more
10 arrested for attacking Lagos task force officials, 96 motorcycles seized (Punch)
Ten persons have been arrested for attacking the men of Lagos State Taskforce on Environmental and Sanitation (Enforcement) Unit during an enforcement of the state’s traffic laws on Tuesday.
The suspects were reportedly arrested during the commotion that broke out in Ojodu and Obanikoro areas while the task force men were carrying out the enforcement in different areas of the state.
A statement on Tuesday added that no fewer than 96 commercial motorcycles operating on highways and other restricted routes were impounded, adding that four motorists driving against the traffic were arrested. Read more
Lagos to residents: enforcement of protocols now on (Nation)
The Lagos State government has warned that enforcement of COVID-19 protocols is now on, asking citizens to be vigilant and to take responsibility for their actions, health and safety.
Commissioner for Information Mr Gbenga Omotoso said as part of the enforcement, some clubs were shut down last weekend.
Event centres, he added, are being monitored and motorcyclists are being arrested for carrying passengers. Read more
FG targets $200m yearly revenue from NPDC gas facility (Thisday)
The federal government said yesterday that the Integrated Gas Handling Facility (IGHF) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) processing and dispensing plants in Ologbo, Edo State, would generate $200 million in annual revenue into the country’s coffers.
“The lean gas can generate at least 267 megawatts of power per day and also ensure feedstock to gas-based industries. In total , the NPDC stands to generate revenue in excess of $200m per annum from the IGHF plant,” a documentary put together by the NPDC during the event showed.
Speaking during a partially virtual and physical ceremony to officially declare the over 200 million standard cubit feet per day project open, President Muhammadu Buhari said Nigeria has moved a step closer to the nation’s dream of full utilisation of its abundant gas potential. Read more
Residents protest, barricade road as Customs kills 3, injures many in Ogun (Sun)
Scores of residents of Ayetoro community, headquarters of Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun State trooped out yesterday to protest the alleged killing of two persons and injuring of several residents by the special anti-smuggling taskforce of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
The protesters also barricaded major roads that lead to the town.
Daily Sun gathered that the incident forced some residents to flee their homes following the house-to-house search for suspected smugglers by the combined team of the military personnel and the customs operatives.
According to a source, the victim identified as Sola Soga was killed by stray bullet allegedly fired by an officer of the NCS in Kikelomo Area of Ayetoro town. Read more
Criminals planning to bomb public facilities during Xmas – DSS raises alarm (Vanguard)
The Department of State has raised the alarm that criminal elements are planning to bomb public places during the yuletide seasons.
The alarm is contained in a statement made available to Vanguard on Tuesday by the Public Relations Officer of the DSS, Dr. Peter Afunanya.
Although Afunanya did not name the specific place earmarked for the attacks, the spokesman said the masterminds plan to use a combination of explosives, suicide bombings and other dangerous weapons.
The statement said the planned attacks were meant to create a general sense of fear and undermine the government of Nigeria. Read more
Govs lament worsening insecurity (Thisday)
Governors of the 36 states under the auspices of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) yesterday expressed worries over the deteriorating security challenges bedeviling the country, particularly in the North-west.
To stem the tide, they have, however, committed themselves to upping the ante in the war against bandits, kidnappers and other criminals.
NGF Chairman and Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, told journalists in Katsina that they were concerned that killings, kidnapping and other nefarious activities have become a daily occurrence in the country. Read more
Again, gunmen abduct passengers on Benin-Auchi Road (Sun)
Gunmen yesterday struck again on the Benin-Auchi Road and abducted unspecified number of passengers.
The gunmen were said to have attacked an Abuja bound commercial bus traveling from Benin between Ehor and Iruekpen. According to witnesses, several of the passengers “were forcefully taken into the bush.”
At press time yesterday, the police would neither confirm nor deny the incident, as spokesman of the Edo State Police Command, Chidi Nwabuzor, a Superintendent of Police, would not respond to calls and SMS sent to his mobile phone. Twenty-six passengers were similarly abducted by gunmen recently on the same route. Read more
SIM/NIN linkage applicants stranded as NIMC website crashes (Punch)
Large crowd thronging the web portal of the National Identity Management Commission for the process of obtaining their National Identity Number led to the crash of the portal on Monday.
Many people who wanted to print the enrollment form, which is a major requirement for registering for the National Identity Number were unable to do so and got stranded.
Checks showed that www.nimc.gov.ng as well as www3.nimc.gov.ng displayed error messages.
The commission reopened its enrolment centres on Tuesday for NIN registration after they were shut the previous day. Read more
Chris Pratt finally addresses being named ‘Hollywood’s worst Chris’ (Metro)
Chris Pratt has addressed the drama after being named ‘Hollywood’s worst Chris’ in a controversial debate. Back in October, an Instagram post went viral, asking fans to decide on ‘which Hollywood Chris is the best’, pitting the Guardians of the Galaxy star against Marvel co-stars Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth, as well as Chris Pine. The 41-year-old came bottom of the pile, with wife Katherine Schwarzenegger, Robert Downey Jr and Mark Ruffalo among those blasting the initial poll. He made a reference to the drama on his Instagram story, while boasting about his success in a charity fantasy football league – which he competes in alongside some of his Marvel co-stars. Read more
The Philippines and its COVID-19 lockdown baby boom (BBC)
As we talk, the 41-year-old leans at an awkward angle, leveraging all her back strength to hold her ninth child in her arms.
“Carl, Jewel, Joyce…” As Rovelie names her children, six-year-old Charlie shoots his mother a look of disapproval. “Sorry, his name is Charlie,” says Rovelie, innocently.
Rovelie had had seven children before she learnt about family planning, but this latest addition was a surprise conceived during one of the world’s strictest lockdowns, which saw soldiers patrolling the streets in armoured personnel carriers, police checkpoints restricting movement and only one family member allowed out to shop for food supplies. Read more
Ships positioned on Somalia’s coast for US troops’ drawdown (VOA)
The Pentagon has sent several naval vessels and a marine expeditionary unit to the coast of Somalia to support an operation repositioning hundreds of U.S. troops to bases elsewhere in East Africa.
The USS Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group and the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit reached Somali waters on Monday. It joined the USS Hershel Woody Williams, an expeditionary sea base that arrived on December 16, according to the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).
U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Damian T. Donahoe, deputy commanding general, Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa, center, talks…
Massive ‘Sea Base’ Ship Joins Effort to Withdraw US Troops From Somalia
Pentagon says troops will be relocated within region to continue fighting extremist groups
The vessels are supporting Operation Octave Quartz, with a mission to relocate U.S. forces in Somalia “while maintaining pressure on violent extremists and supporting partner forces,” the Pentagon said in a statement Tuesday. Read more
Woman who married best friend’s dad – 23 years her senior – says she’s ‘happier than ever’ (Metro)
A woman in a relationship with her best friend’s dad insists that, despite their 23-year age gap and the nasty comments they receive as a result, they’re thriving as a couple. Becki Price, 41, first started dating Blue Price, 64, after becoming friends with his daughter Catherine Lott. Nine years later, she married the retired carpenter. They met when Becki was 24, just a year after Blue’s previous marriage had ended. Read more
Israel heads to new elections as government collapses (VOA)
Israel’s divided government collapsed early Wednesday, triggering the country’s fourth election in under two years and bringing an unprecedented threat to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s lengthy grip on power.
Netanyahu, who is used to labeling his opponents as weak leftists, finds himself confronted by a trio of disgruntled former aides who share his hard-line ideology, led by a popular lawmaker who recently broke away from the prime minister’s Likud Party. Whether Netanyahu can fend off these challengers or not, the country is almost certain to be led by a right-wing politician opposed to concessions to the Palestinians, complicating hopes of the incoming Biden administration to restart peace talks. Read more
Sydney to keep COVID-19 restrictions for Christmas amid outbreak (BBC)
Authorities in Sydney have extended Covid restrictions on social gatherings across Christmas in a bid to curb an outbreak in Australia’s largest city.
Most Sydneysiders will continue to be able to have 10 adult visitors to their home over the holiday period.
But in a slight relaxation of rules, young children can be included on top of that number between 24-26 December.
Sydney saw just eight new cases on Thursday, fuelling optimism about efforts to contain the outbreak. Read more
Fauci receives Moderna vaccination (VOA)
The leading U.S. infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, received the initial dose of the newest COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday, alongside other federal health leaders who helped oversee its development.
Fauci received the vaccination at the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH), where he serves as the director of allergies and infectious diseases, just outside Washington, D.C. He received the vaccine developed jointly by the NIH and U.S. pharmaceutical company Moderna, which was just approved for emergency use last week.
Afterward, he told reporters how remarkable it was to be receiving a vaccine less than a year after the virus it is designed to treat was discovered. “What we’re seeing now is the culmination of years of research which have led to a phenomenon that has truly been unprecedented,” he said. Read more
COVID-19: LMC seeks PTF’s clarification over league kick-off (Punch)
League Management Company chairman, Shehu Dikko, has disclosed that the body will meet with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 for clarification on the new guidelines and how it might affect the start of the 2020/21 league season, The PUNCH reports.
The sports minister, Sunday Dare, and the LMC had earlier confirmed December 27 as the resumption date for the Nigeria Professional Football League, which had been suspended since March, due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
But with the increase in new cases of the virus due to a global second wave, the PTF on Monday outlined new COVID-19 protocols. Read more
NFF yet to clear Eaglets’ allowances (Nation)
Despite receiving annual youth development grants from FIFA, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is reportedly still owing players and officials of the Golden Eaglets to the Brazil 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
Players of the 2019 Eaglets squad lamented over the inability of the NFF to settle their bonuses they ought to have collected before the World Cup in Brazil even as they appealed to the football house to pay up the debt lest they’ll be forced to protest openly.
“We’re not surprised that the NFF has refused to pay us our reward for our labour maybe because we have not gone to the streets to protest like the girls who had long been paid,” a source who craved anonymity told NationSports. “The cry of the innocent shall continue to hunt NFF unless they clear our money of over 18 months running.” Read more
Brentford stun Newcastle to reach EFL Cup semi-finals for first time (BBC)
Brentford boss Thomas Frank said his players have “created a new chapter” in the club’s 131-year history by beating Newcastle to reach a major semi-final for the first time.
The Championship side claimed the fourth Premier League scalp of their Carabao Cup run as they dominated the Magpies, despite Frank making six changes to his starting line-up.
The in-form Bees came into the quarter-final on the back of a 13-match unbeaten run and missed a host of good chances before Josh Dasilva’s crisp, left-foot volley secured a spot in the last four.
Dasilva’s breakthrough was merited as Brentford created the better chances throughout, with Saman Ghoddos hitting the bar and Sergi Canos heading wide with the goal at his mercy in the first half. Read more
Anthony Joshua explains why we should expect a knockout victory over Tyson Fury (Metro)
Anthony Joshua is envisaging a knockout victory over Tyson Fury next year and says: ‘I want to take his head off his shoulders when that fight happens.’ The two British heavyweight world champions are set to collide in a huge unification bout next year, with both sides keen to confirm the bout for May 2021. AJ holds the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO titles, while Fury brings the WBC and Ring Magainze straps to the table. Read more
Holders Man City hammer Arsenal to book EFL Cup semi-final spot (BBC)
Holders Manchester City piled on the misery for Arsenal with a ruthless performance at Emirates Stadium to reach the Carabao Cup semi-finals.
There were barely two minutes on the clock when Gabriel Jesus nodded City ahead, the Brazil forward completely unmarked inside the six-yard area when he met Oleksandr Zinchenko’s cross.
The Gunners were desperate for the first 25 minutes, French defender Aymeric Laporte heading a great chance wide before the hosts levelled with their first serious attempt.
Nineteen-year-old Brazilian forward Gabriel Martinelli provided an excellent cross for Alexandre Lacazette to head home but City scored twice in five second-half minutes to seal victory. Read more
Mikel Arteta provides update on Gabriel Martinelli after injury vs Man City (Metro)
Mikel Arteta appeared optimistic about Gabriel Martinelli after the Arsenal attacker was forced off against Manchester City. Martinelli impressed in the 4-1 defeat to Pep Guardiola’s side and provided an assist for Alexandre Lacazette’s first-half strike but will now face a race to be fit for the Boxing Day clash with Chelsea. That proved only to be a consolation as goals from Gabriel Jesus, Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden and Aymeric Laporte dumped Arsenal out of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night. Read more
Ten-man Juventus humbled by Fiorentina (BBC)
Juventus suffered their first Serie A loss of the season as their 10 men were humbled at home by Fiorentina.
Juve’s ex-Chelsea midfielder Juan Cuadrado was sent off for a lunge on Gaetano Castrovilli in the 18th minute.
Fiorentina were already ahead by that stage after Dusan Vlahovic lifted a composed finish over Wojciech Szczesny.
Cristiano Ronaldo had a header chalked off for offside for Juventus before an Alex Sandro own goal and a Martin Caceres effort sealed a famous victory.
Defeat capped a frustrating day for Juve, who had already lost three points and dropped to fourth in Serie A, seven points off the top, after their walkover victory over Napoli in October was rescinded. Read more