Manchester United will continue the push towards their 20th top flight title today when they journey to DW Stadium to take on Wigan.
United’s 2-0 win over Queens Park Rangers on Sunday, and title rivals Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat at Arsenal, leaves Sir Alex Ferguson’s team within touching distance of the trophy – leading by eight points with six games remaining.
United have been helped by the influence of veteran Paul Scholes, who came out of retirement in January to lend a hand to a depleted midfield.
The 37-year-old – who scored with a sensational long-range drive in the QPR match – has been instrumental in United’s title push, with the club claiming 34 of a possible 36 points since he returned to the fold.
Wigan’s desires, meanwhile, are far more humble – with boss Roberto Martinez’s chief concern being securing Premier League football for another season.
Wigan are second from the bottom of the table on 28 points, the same as the two teams directly above them – Blackburn and QPR.
With a tough run home against United, Arsenal and Newcastle among others, points are at a premium for Wigan, who suffered their first loss in five matches with a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge at the weekend.
But they will need a dramatic turnaround in fortunes if they are to claim a point against United – they have never beaten Ferguson’s side in the Premier League, losing all 13 matches they have played in the competition, conceding 42 goals and scoring just four.
Wigan’s squad is in good health for this stage of the campaign, with only Hugo Rodallega in doubt with a knee complaint.
Ferguson’s team, however, has fitness concerns, with Anderson (hamstring) and Michael Owen (thigh) likely miss the match, while Darren Fletcher (bowel condition) and Nemanja Vidic (knee) are long-term casualties.
But at this stage of proceedings, even a lengthy injury list does not seem to be able to derail the champions’ title defence.
Meanwhile, , city rivals, Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini faces a selection headache ahead of his side’s clash with West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday.
With Mario Balotelli suspended, thanks to his red card from Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Arsenal, Mancini will have to reform his attacking structure.
But with Yaya Toure and David Silva doubtful starters due to injury, it will not be easy for City’s boss.
Toure limped off against Arsenal with a knee injury and Silva missed out altogether, also with a knee problem.
For Mancini, the solution may be Carlos Tevez.
City have won just once in their past five Premier League games and desperately need to get back on track against West Brom.
Roy Hodgson’s side ended a four-game winless streak on Saturday, triumphing 3-0 over Blackburn.
That win included a welcome clean sheet as well, after Hodgson’s men conceded eight goals in their four games without victory.
Defence has been a problem for West Brom this season with just seven clean sheets managed.
That defensive record could allow City’s misfiring striker Edin Dzeko to break his scoring drought.
With safety pretty much secured, Hodgson’s side could provide City with the easy win they so desperately need.
Substiquently, Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie will hope to break a streak of four games without a goal when his side take on Wolverhampton.
Van Persie has not scored in 435 minutes of football with his last goal coming in Arsenal’s 2-1 victory over Newcastle on March 12.
His goal against Newcastle was his 32nd for the season in just 34 games and although his goal-per-game ratio has worsened since, Van Persie is still one of the best-performed strikers in Europe this season.
While Van Persie will be expected to break his scoring drought sooner rather than later, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will be happy with how the rest of his squad have shouldered the goal-scoring burden.
Arsenal have won three and lost one of their past four games, hitting the back of the net seven times since Van Persie’s last goal.
Theo Walcott, Thomas Vermaelen and Mikel Arteta have all scored twice in that period.
Wenger will have to plug a hole in his defence for the trip to Wolves with Laurent Koscielny suspended after the French defender picked up his 10th yellow card of the season in Arsenal’s 1-0 victory over Manchester City on Saturday.
That win was Arsenal’s seventh in eight Premier League matches and puts them on 61 points, two points clear of fourth-placed Tottenham with six games to go in the season.
90% Of Money Laundered Via Real Estate, EFCC Reveals
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says about 90 per cent of money laundering is done through the real estate sector.
The commission’s Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, stated this while featuring on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, yesterday,
According to him, although the sector is monitored via the special control unit, more needed to be done.
According to Bawa, “One of the problems we have now is the real estate. 90 to 100 per cent of the resources are being laundered through the real estate.”
He said there are so many issues involved, but that they were working with the National Assembly to stop what he called “the gate keepers” as there would be reduction in looting if there is no one to launder the money.
Bawa, the EFCC boss, gave an example of a minister who expressed interest in a $37.5million property a bank manager put up for sale.
He said, “The bank sent a vehicle to her house and in the first instance $20million was evacuated from her house.
“They paid a developer and a lawyer set up a special purpose vehicle, where the title documents were transferred into.
“And he (the lawyer) is posing as the owner of the property. You see the problem. This is just one of many; it is happening daily.”
The EFCC chairman also revealed that he receives death threats often.
Asked to respond to President Muhammadu Buhari’s frequent “Corruption is fighting back” expression, Bawa said he was in New York, USA, last week, when someone called to threaten him.
“Last week, I was in New York when a senior citizen received a phone call from somebody that is not even under investigation.
“The young man said, ‘I am going to kill him (Bawa), I am going to kill him’.
“I get death threats. So, it is real. Corruption can fight back,” he said.
On corruption in the civil service, he said there were a lot of gaps, especially in contracts processing, naming “emergency contracts” as one.
Bawa said, “A particular agency is notorious for that. They have turned all their contracts to emergency contracts.”
However, he said, EFCC has strategies in place to check corruptions, one of which is “corruption risk assessments of MDAs”.
According to him, “I have written to the minister and would soon commence the process of corruption risk assessments of all the parastatals and agencies under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to look at their vulnerability to fraud and advise them accordingly.”
Asked if the scope of corruption in the country overwhelms him, Bawa, the EFCC boss said, “Yes, and no.”
We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says his administration has spent N9billion in upgrading structures and installation of new equipment at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
He said the fact that 40 per cent of the 2021 budget of the state is dedicated to provision of quality healthcare delivery was a further demonstration of the priority placed on the sector.
Wike made the explanation at the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of a Renal Centre at RSUTH, last Friday.
The governor said he made promise to Rivers people that the best would be provided to them in all sectors of the society within his capability because of the mandate they gave to him.
“As we came on here, I just looked around and I see the changes in this teaching hospital. I can say that we have put not less than N9billion in this teaching hospital.
“If you look at the budget, the health sector alone, what it’s taking from the Rivers State Government is not less than 40 percent of the 2021 budget.”
Speaking further, Wike said the state government cannot afford to implement free medical service programme in the present economic circumstance.
While dismissing the request for a subvention for RSUTH, Wike, however, commended the chief medical director and his team for their commitment to turnaround the fortunes of RSUTH.
“I have never seen anywhere that health services can be totally free. They’re telling me that people who come here can’t pay. I have never declared that this state is going to take over the health fees of anybody.”
Also speaking, the former Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, who performed the flag-off, noted that Wike’s achievements in the health sector in particular, surpass what former governors of the state had done.
Sekibo said that the governor has given equal attention to every section of the health sector by providing complete health infrastructure that was positioning the state as a medical tourism destination in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, lauded Governor Nyesom Wike for his interest in the health of Rivers people.
He noted that the renal centre, when completed, would become another landmark development project in the health sector that would handle and manage all kidney-related ailments.
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Friday Aaron, commended Wike for approving the renal centre.
Aaron explained that chronic kidney disease was a major burden globally with estimated 14 million cases in Nigeria.
According to him, over 240,000 of these cases require renal replacement therapy in the form of dialysis and renal transplant.
The CMD said the building that would house the centre was expected to be completed in six months and consists of two floors.
The ground floor, according to him, would house the haemodialysis unit with eight haemodialysis machines.
He further explained that the first floor of the centre would house the surgical component where most of the sophisticated equipment for kidney transplant would be installed.
Aaron said Wike has released the funds required to build, equip the centre as well as for the training of personnel locally and internationally.
Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW
Power supply in Nigeria has failed to improve on last week’s performance, as it fell by 22.9 per cent from peak generation of 4,115Megawatts on Saturday to 3,172.20MW as at 5pm, yesterday, latest data from the System Operator has shown.
According to the data, most power plants were operating far below capacity due to gas shortage with Olorunsogo Power Plant 335MW capacity; and Sapele Power Plant, 450MW capacity; completely out.
Egbin was generating at 746MW; Omoku 37.20; Omotosho (NIPP) at 105MW; while Afam was generating at 80MW.
The data showed that on the average power generation in the past seven days were 4,120.9MW on Sunday, June 6; 4,249.4 on Monday, June 7; 4,000.9MW on Tuesday, June 8; 3,720.7 on Wednesday, June 9; 3,517 on Thursday, June 10; 3,765MW on Friday, June 11; and 4,115MW on Saturday, June 12.
The International Oil Companies (IOCs), had last warned that despite Nigeria’s huge gas reserves a lot needs to be done to attract investment to the sector to develop gas reserves to boost power generation in the country.
Speaking at the just concluded Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, the Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria/MD SPDC, Osagie Okunbor, said with 203trillion Cubic Feet of gas reserves, what was needed in the country is to deliver projects that would produce the gas.
“The challenge is not just growing the reserves but in producing these reserves for the benefits of our country. Essentially growing the reserves and delivering on the production is a function of two or three elements.
“I like to see infrastructure that is required for the development of these resources at two levels. Soft infrastructure is often the one that is more important than and that is the one that is actually drives most of what you see at site.”
“Soft infrastructure refers to the enabling environment and nothing pleases me as much seeing both the Senate President and the speaker of the house give very firm commitments about trying to pass the PIB this month.
“That is probably the big one of the enabling environment to provide the kind of stability we also need all sorts of other issues we need to that we have discussed severally in terms of sanctity of contract, stable policies and collaboration and I think we are well on our way there”, he added.
- Politics3 days ago
RSG To Seal Dirty Business Places, Illegal Motor Parks
- Politics3 days ago
Andoni Chairman Tasks Councillors On Capacity Dev
- Sports3 days ago
Coach Expresses Joy Over Players’ Performance
- Niger Delta3 days ago
Monarch Charges FG, Others On Abandoned Road Projects
- Politics3 days ago
INEC Registers 9,261 Online In C’River
- Politics3 days ago
Soludo: ‘INEC Must Redeem Self’
- Nation3 days ago
‘Media, Military Relations Can Be Enhanced In Conflict Reporting’
- Niger Delta3 days ago
Bayelsa Govt Approves Allowance Arrears For Ex-Councillors