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Nigeria Sets 2018 W/Cup Semi-Final Target

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Nigeria Super Eagles aim to make history at the 2018 World Cup by becoming the first African team ever to reach the semi-finals.
The three-time African champions have reached the Round of 16 on three of their five World Cup appearances.
“All efforts we are building now are geared towards getting Nigeria to play the semi-finals in Russia,” the Nigeria Football Federation President, Amaju Pinnick declared this week.
“We have the manpower to do that. The talent in Nigeria is amazing.”
Pinnick’s comments might come as a surprise given that Nigeria failed to qualify for this year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea.
Two years ago they won the title but their decline has been brought about by a mixture of turmoil within the NFF, the sacking and rehiring of coach Stephen Keshi and threats of Fifa bans for government interference in football matters.
Nonetheless, Pinnick, who assumed control of Nigerian football last September following protracted elections, lists a number of reasons why Africa’s largest country – with a population of 170m people – can finally deliver at the World Cup.
He believes technology, ‘capacity-building’ for coach Keshi, a better local league, the country’s natural ability and enhanced administration can provide the platform for significant growth.
The NFF boss travelled to London this week with five staff to belatedly tap into long-standing technological applications.
“Our coaches can be technically sound but technologically they were inept, because football for me is driven more by technology than anything else,” said Pinnick.
“We are in the process of acquiring match analysis software, so that when we go back home, we won’t play our matches blindly. We are starting late but we are getting it right – that’s the most important point.
“We now have the match analysis software that can analyse games for us and give us directions because normally we play matches without knowing our opponents nor their strengths and weaknesses.
“If we had used match analysis, we would have beaten France and got to the quarter-finals of the World Cup in 2014.”
Pinnick is now hoping another Frenchman, Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger, can push Keshi to greater heights.
“We’ve had a word and Arsene will be ready to take him in sometime in July,” said Pinnick.
“We are also looking at talking to other Premier League clubs and clubs in Germany to look at the various techniques – to see how we can grow and put these techniques into play whenever Keshi is playing a game.”
“Keshi is an apostle of the local players so we decided to say ‘ok, let’s see how we can build his capacity and use the technical study group’.”
Jay-Jay Okocha heads the technical study group, with Victor Ikpeba, Nwankwo Kanu and Taribo West also involved.
“These ex-players have played under some of the best coaches in the world. So if you put all this together with our technical committee and technical director, coupled with our match anaylsis technique, we don’t think we’ll go wrong,” added Pinnick.
“We think the combination is better than any foreign coach. That doesn’t mean that if he falters tomorrow, we aren’t going to get a manager who can take us to our perceived El Dorado.
“If we don’t get to the World Cup semi-finals, we’ll get very close I can assure you.”
Meanwhile, Super Eagles’ goalkeeper trainer, Ike Shorunmu, has assured Nigerians that the national team would qualify for the 2015 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) scheduled to hold in Gabon.
The Eagles are grouped with Egypt, Tanzania, and Chad in the qualifiers for AFCON 2015.
Some Nigerians have expressed apprehensiveness that the Super Eagles will repeat the 2011 and 2014 disappointing results, when it was stopped by Guinea and Congo respectively from participating in the tournament.
In an interview with journalists yesterday in Ibadan, however, Shorunmu allayed fears that the Super Eagles might not qualify for the championship.
The ex-international appealed to Nigerians to be optimistic and support the team whole heartedly in order to enhance their chances of qualification.
Shorunmu stated that the technical crew, led by Keshi, would hit the ground running as soon as the negotiation with him was concluded.
He urged Nigerians to go to bed with their two eyes closed and be rest assured of the team’s AFCON qualification,
According to him, the country has excellent players that could ensure that Nigeria secured qualification for AFCON 2015.

Nigeria Super Eagles in celebration in a recent game. They are expected to reach the semi final stage of 2018 World Cup

Nigeria Super Eagles in celebration in a recent game. They are expected to reach the semi final stage of 2018 World Cup

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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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