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Mandela Challenge: Keshi Assures Good Football, Victory

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Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has promised that the Super Eagles will play ‘good football’ against South Africa in the Nelson Mandela Challenge.
The African champions take on Bafana Bafana at the Moses Mabhida Stadium today, and the Super Eagles coach has assured that his players will give a good account of themselves in the game that is expected to help Nigeria prepare for next months’ crucial World Cup qualifier against Malawi.
“Nigerians should pray for the boys to be in good health; if they are in good health they will be able to give Nigerians what they like to see, which is good football,” Keshi told newsmen
He went on to assure that the Super Eagles will approach the game with all seriousness, even though the match is just a friendly encounter.
“Every match is important for us, especially against an important opponent like Bafana, so we won’t travel six hours from Nigeria to South Africa not to be committed to victory.”
However, a former Super Eagles Coach, Paul Hamilton,  has  urged Nigerians based in South Africa to maximally support the Super Eagles against the Bafana Bafana
The competition is in honour of the first South African indigenous President, Nelson Mandela,.
Hamilton said that the team needs all the support and encouragement from South Africa-based Nigerians to be victorious at the one day event.
“I want to task Nigerians based in South Africa to come out massively and support the Eagles.
“Even though there isn’t much at stake, it will still be important to have Nigerians at the stadium, so that the team can play better with their support,’’ he said.
He noted that the match would be significant for both countries as it would be in honour of a man (Mandela), who had contributed immensely to the development of Africa.
“The game will be a very exciting one for both countries because they are playing in honour of a very great man.
“Mandela is a very great man of Africa and nothing is too big to be done on his behalf, because he fought not just for his country, but the African race in general.
“He is one man that deserves anything good and organising a football match against current African champions is a worthwhile event,’’ Hamilton said.
Meanwhile, Super Eagles’ midfielder, Mikel Obi has been ruled out of the South Africa international friendly, the Nelson Mandela Challenge — scheduled for Aug. 14, at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban.
The team’s Media Officer, Ben Alaiya told newsmen yesterday in Durban that his club, Chelsea FC of London has informed the National team handlers.
According to them, the player (Obi) was having stomach upset and would not be able to honour the match.
Alaiya said in spite of this, “the mood in the camp is high as all 19 players, including Victor Moses are already there and happy to have been called up for the match.
“There are no injury worries. They are ready to play to make the country proud. I want all Nigerians to expect the best from the team on Wednesday’’.
Our correspondent reports, that the international friendly, is an annual Nelson Mandela Challenge to celebrate the birthday of the global icon and to also raise funds for his charity project.
The match will hold at 8.15pm (7.15pm Nigeria time).
The Bafana Bafana coach, Gordon Igesund told newsmen that he was happy at the high spirit among his players.
“I am happy at the response of players in camp toward preparation for our match against Nigeria. Apart from the fact that the match is friendly, it is to honour Mandela.
“We also want to use it to improve on our FIFA ranking and to prepare for our last World Cup qualifying match against Botswana,’’ Igesund said.
Our correspondent  reports that in spite of the fact that six Orlando Pirates players pulled out of the match because of an Africa Champions League engagement, no fewer than 22 others were still available for the match.
The coach, however, expressed disappointment at the absence of defender, Anele Ngcongca for the match.
Ngcongca was supposed to join the Bafana camp early on Tuesday, but his Belgian club said he was injured.
Igesund said Ngcongca’s team Racing Genk, refused to release the player after initially agreeing to allow him to honour the national call.
“It is unfortunate that Ngcongca is making a u-turn. This is disrespectful.
“The team initially agreed to release the player, but on Monday night ‘fabricated’ a story that that he was injured. I have reported the matter to SAFA, so as to take up  the report to the World soccer governing body – FIFA’’.
He, then, boasted that in spite of this, “we are capable of defeating the Eagles, even though I concede the fact that Nigeria has quality players. Bafana Bafana equally have quality players too’’.

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90% Of Money Laundered Via Real Estate, EFCC Reveals

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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.”

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We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms

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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.

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Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW

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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.

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