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U-20 World Cup Kicks Off as Nigeria Targets Three Points against Qatar

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Two-time runners up in the U-20 football competition, Nigeria, will go all out for the three points against Qatar at the 15,300 -capacity Tychy Stadium, in their opening match of Group D of the 2019 U-20 World Cup finals on Friday as the tournament kicks off.

The captain of the side, Ikouwem Utin, has confirmed that nothing short of a win will be good enough.

“It is a big match for us, as every other match in this competition. We know the importance of picking up the three points in our first match, which is why we are determined to go all out,” he said from the team’s Vienna House Hotel in Katowice on Thursday.

“Taking the first three points will help us plan our approach better for the remaining matches in the group phase, and also boost our confidence.”

The team will leave their hotel in Katowice for the short drive to Tychy on Friday.

The game kicks off at 5pm Nigerian time. The second match of Group D, between Ukraine and USA, begins at 7.30pm Nigerian time.

Coach Paul Aigbogun and his assistants left out half of the squad members from the U-20 Africa Cup of Nations in Niger Republic in February, where the team earned the ticket to Poland, and infused a number of exciting talents in the midfield and attack.

While the choice for the number one shirt is between Detan Ogundare and Olawale Oremade (who was custodian in Niger), Valentine Ozornwafor and Igoh Ogbu are likely to keep their spots in central defence. Captain Utin would be at left back while Jamil Muhammad could be at right back.

In the midfield, there’s England-based duo Nnamdi Ofoborh and Ayotomiwa Dele-Bashiru, Perugia’s Kingsley Michael and home-based duo Effiom Maxwell and Aniekeme Okon.

Dele-Bashiru, who plays for English champions Manchester City, has been tipped by FIFA as one of the players expected to shine in Poland.

In attack, the Flying Eagles has England-based Chinonso Emeka, Jerome Adams (Norway), Tijani Muhammed (Czech Republic), Henry Offia (Sweden) and Success Makanjuola, who plays in the domestic league, vying for places.

“We have a tough history to match; silver medals twice, bronze once, and a number of quarter-final appearances. That’s why we must start very well, by taking the points against Qatar and then march on with confidence and self-assurance,” Flying Eagles coach Paul Aigbogun said.

“We are flying the flag of nearly 200 million Nigerians, as well as that of the African continent. We have put a lot of work into building a squad that will make Nigeria and Africa proud.”

 

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UN Deputy Sec Gen Condemns Gruesome Killing of Deborah, Demands Justice

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Amina Muhammed, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, has called for justice following the killing of Deborah Yakubu in Sokoto over blasphemy.

Muhammed spoke out via her official Twitter page on Tuesday, stating that religions should not be “misinterpreted to preach violence”.

“Justice must be done for the senseless, brutal killing of the young Deborah Yakubu in Nigeria. Religions should not be misinterpreted to preach violence when they promote peace.

“My prayers are with the family and for the repose of her soul,” she tweeted.

Yakubu, a second-year student of the Sheu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, was lynched on the school premises on Thursday after classmates accused her of blasphemy.

On Monday, the Sokoto Police Command arraigned two suspects, Bilyaminu Aliyu and Aminu Hukunci, before a Chief Magistrate’s Court in the state, for their alleged participation in the crime.

The suspects pleaded not guilty to the charges while the defence counsel, Prof. Mansur Ibrahim, applied for their bail on liberal terms, citing constitutional provisions and sections of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law.

The trial judge reserved the ruling on the bail application and ordered the accused to be remanded at a correctional centre.

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AfDB’s Adesina Not Contesting for Presidency – Report

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The President of the African Development Bank, Akinwunmi Adesina, will not be contesting the Presidency of Nigeria.

A support group had purchased and submitted the N100m Presidential form of the All Progressives Congress for the top banker last week.

Some had also reported that Adesina visited Mamman Daura, the influential nephew of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) last week to seek his support.

But The PUNCH confirmed that Adesina will not be taking part in the Presidential screening of the APC slated for May 23.

Adesina’s office is expected to issue a statement in a few hours distancing himself from Nigeria’s partisan politics.

The AfDB regulations bar its President from partisan politics.

Specifically, Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the agreement establishing AfDB, titled ‘Prohibition of Political Activity; the International Character of the Bank’, states that “The Bank, its President, Vice Presidents, officers and staff shall not interfere in the political affairs of any member (country); nor shall they be influenced in their decisions by the political character of the member (country) concerned.”

Paragraph 3 of the article states that “The President, Vice Presidents, officers and staff of the Bank, in discharge of their offices, owe their duty entirely to the Bank and to no other authority.”

Similarly, the AfDB code of conduct bars its executive from partisan politics. Section 10 of the Code reads: “Although Executive Directors are elected representatives of governments from their constituencies, they shall during their tenure of office as executive directors refrain from participating in active politics in their home countries or elsewhere.”

Should Adesina seek to run for the office of President of Nigeria, he would need to resign his current position permanently, a risk it was learnt the top banker was not willing to take.

There are at least 25 other aspirants running for President on the platform of the APC.

Some of them include APC stalwart, Bola Tinubu; Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; former Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi; Senate President Ahmad Lawan; oil mogul, Tein Jack-Rich; Senator Ajayi Boroffice; Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State; Governor Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State and many others.

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N80bn Fraud: EFCC Arrests Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris

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Nigeria’s Accountant-General, Ahmed Idris, has been arrested over alleged money laundering and diversion of public funds, according to a report by PREMIUM TIMES.

According to the report, Idris was intercepted in Kano by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday evening and flown to Abuja, the nation’s capital, for interrogation.

Sources said the EFCC has for sometime now been investigating a case of diversion of at least N80 billion in public funds which was allegedly laundered through some bogus contracts.

The companies used in laundering the funds have allegedly been linked to family members and associates of the accountant-general, investigators said.

The sources further said that after progress was made in the investigation, Idris was summoned repeatedly for interrogation but he failed to honour the invitations.

“We kept inviting him but he kept dodging us,” one of our sources said. “We were left with no choice than to keep him under watch and arrest him.”

However, a top EFCC confirmed the development but asked not to be named because he had no permission to discuss the matter with the media.

President Muhammed Buhari appointed Mr Idris accountant-general on June 25, 2015.

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