Friday, 4 May 2012

Arsenal visits Nigeria to play pre-season game

English Premier League club Arsenal will travel to Nigeria for a pre-season match in Abuja on 5 August.

According to the organisers, DanJan Sports, Arsenal's opposition are likely to be a leading African national team.

It will be the first time the Gunners have played in Nigeria.

"We are working on the opposition and once that is finalised we will announce it to the public in conjunction with the London club," David Omigie of DanJan Sports said.

"Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, and the club with arguably the biggest fan base in the country is visiting in August."

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This is the beginning of big things between the club and the continent of Africa
David Omigie of DanJan Sports

On their official website Arsenal said: "The club last visited Africa during a tour to South Africa in July 1993, and is returning as a result of the fantastic support which exists for the team, not only in Nigeria, but across the entire continent."

The club traditionally hosts an annual pre-season tournament at the Emirates Stadium, but they opted to postpone the event for a year because of the 2012 London Olympics.

The visit to Nigeria will conclude Arsenal's pre-season tour after playing in both China and Malaysia in July.

In July 2008, DanJan Sports brought two other English clubs, Manchester United and Portsmouth, to the Nigerian capital Abuja for a pre-season friendly.

As well as the match between the two, Portsmouth also played against Nigeria Premier League side Kano Pillars.

But DanJan Sports plan to go a step further this time around.

"We learned a lot from the 2008 tour and this one is going to be bigger," Omigie told BBC Sport.

"Arsene Wenger wanted a detailed plan and information. Facilities and other areas were well covered by the club.

"This is the beginning of big things between the club and the continent of Africa."

The organisers are confident the stadium in Abuja will be able to host the game adding Arsenal are happy with the venue after recent visits.

This despite the Nigeria Football Federation saying Thursday that Abuja will not be hosting the Super Eagles' 2014 World Cup qualifier against Namibia on the opening weekend of June nor its 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier second leg against Rwanda a fortnight later.

According to speculation in the local media Ghana, Zambia, South Africa, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Egypt are all among the potential opponents for the Gunners.

2013 Africa Cup of Nations cities revealed by South Africa after delay

South Africa has named Nelspruit, Rustenburg, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Johannesburg are the host cities for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.

The decision means that Cape Town Stadium, built for the 2010 World Cup, will not be used for the tournament.

Johannesburg's FNB Stadium, formerly known as Soccer City and the venue for the World Cup final, will host only the opening match and the final.

Bloemfontein and Polokwane had also made bids to host.

The host cities should have been announced at the beginning of April but the news was delayed by negotiations over financial issues.

A news conference to make the announcement was postponed from Thursday, with the decision being revealed on Friday by the South African minister of sport and recreation, Fikile Mbalula.

"Rather than using the whole of the republic we have reduced to a total number of about four, five stadiums so that they are close to each other," Mbalula said.

The South African government has committed to helping with covering the costs of the host cities.

"On relieving the financial burden for host cities, there's a joint task team... which will meet with the host cities individually to allay fears," the minister said.

"I don't want to speculate on what the budget would be, but I can guarantee that the government and other private sections will come to the party and we will pursue negotiations with Caf [the Confederation of African Football] to make sure local private sector come on board as sponsors."

Cape Town will host matches during the 2014 African Nations Championship, the tournament for national teams of locally-based players, along with Bloemfontein, Polokwane and Kimberley.

Three Nigerians sentenced in the US for Fraudulent Dealings

The schemes victimized thousands of Americans, including those in central Pennsylvania, according to U.S. Department of Justice.

How about a phone call from someone who said he was your grandson and that he was in prison overseas and needed to be bailed out?
Three men who helped run those types of schemes -- and more -- were sentenced in federal court last week after they victimized thousands of U.S. citizens, including residents in York County, according to Peter J. Smith, U.S. Attorney with the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
Christian Nwosu, 41, Alexander Ojiri, 53, and Kennedy Onaiwu, 42 -- all Nigerian nationals -- were charged separately, but all pleaded guilty to wire and mail fraud.
The trio was part of a large group who used MoneyGram and Western Union agents to convert money transfers into cash and distribute it among co-conspirators. Both Nwosu and Onaiwu worked as MoneyGram and Western Union agents, while Ojiri served as a middleman between the mass marketers and agents.
In total, there were 1,056 victims and $13.5 million reported stolen, the release states.
The investigation is ongoing and, to date, 28 people have been charged. Officials believe there are more victims and a substantially larger amount of unreported losses -- only an estimated 5 to 25 percent of victims have come forward, Smith said.

Kennedy Onaiwu
Between April 2004 and November 2010, Onaiwu, along with four others listed in the indictment, was involved a domestic and foreign scheme that instructed victims to send Western Union and MoneyGram transfers as an advance fee for financial awards, offers or online purchases.
The mass marketers used fake names, companies and addresses when they spoke with victims, and told them to send the money to people with fake names.
Onaiwu was involved in a variety of schemes, including sweepstakes winnings, employment opportunities and person-in-need scams to get money from the victims, according to the indictment.
The mass marketers sent fraudulent prize notifications and employment opportunities with checks through Canada Post and the U.S. mail.
In February 2008, Onaiwu identified himself as the owner of Kenizo Enterprises and applied for MoneyGram and Western Union agency agreements, according to his indictment.
He was awarded those agreements and was sent $369,417 in 122 transfers through MoneyGram and $85,229 in 37 Western Union transfers, documents state.
Of those transfers, five were received from York County residents, totaling $15,200.
Onaiwu was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and sentenced to 41 months in prison and to pay $453,221.65 in restitution.

Christian Nwosu
Nwosu was arrested in Virginia in June after he was federally indicted on charges of criminal conspiracy to commit fraud, according to court documents.
After waiving his preliminary hearing in July, Nwosu was sentenced last week to 46 months in prison and $1,520,886 in restitution -- $15,097 to be repaid on his own and the rest to be paid with two others in separate cases, documents state.
The grand jury indictment that details Nwosu's role in the organization remains sealed, according to U.S. Department of Justice spokeswoman Heidi Havens.

Alexander Ojiri
Ojiri was arrested in New Jersey in March and, after waiving his preliminary hearing, was placed under a detention order after he was determined to a flight risk. Ojiri has dual citizenship in the United States and Nigeria.
In addition, it was found the Ojiri had used multiple Social Security numbers and traveled frequently between the two countries.
Ojiri was sentenced last week after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. He will serve 46 months in prison and must pay $798,742.84 in restitution.
Ojiri's grand jury indictment also remains sealed, Havens said, which means details about his role in the organization were unavailable.

Others involved

Christian Nwosu, Alexander Ojiri and Kennedy Onaiwu were three members of a large group who ran multiple kinds of scams to bilk people out of money, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Here are the others who are named in court documents with Onaiwu:
Betty Agho, pleaded guilty to mail and wire fraud, and attempt and conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
Itohan Agho-Allen, is scheduled for trial in June.
Susan Osagiede, signed an agreement to plead guilty to mail and wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and attempt and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. A plea hearing before a judge has not taken place.
Elvis Uadiale, is scheduled for his initial court appearance March 13.
Chikelos Ejikeme, Christian Ejiofor, Chukwuemeka Nwakanma, Ikejiani Okoloubu, Prince Edosa and Christian Okonkwo all were indicted Feb. 29 on charges of mail and wire fraud. These six are in either Canada or Nigeria, and extradition proceedings are under way, according to Heidi Havens, spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Justice. (

Nigeria might collapse if the elite class fails to halt the drift - Sam Nda-Isaiah

The Chairman of Leadership Newspapers, and an Exco member of Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria, Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah, clocks 50 on Tuesday. In this interview with CHIAWO NWANKWO and JOHN ALECHENU, he speaks on his media life, the depth of corruption in the country, and concludes that Nigeria might collapse if the elite class fails to halt the drift
Congratulations on your turning 50 on May 1. Has it been golden all through?
It can’t be all golden of course; I thank God very, sincerely. The first thing I will do is to thank God. I say this because I know many close friends, my contemporaries and people in my age group including some very, very close friends that didn’t live to be 50. So, the first thing I will do is to thank God very sincerely. On whether it has been golden, I’m sure the answer is very obvious, it has not been; I also thank God for not just being 50 years, but also for giving me very good parents, who still remain good parents to me up till today; for giving me a very good wife, very good children, good family and great friends.
You trained as a pharmacist, but today you are a publisher of one of the fastest growing newspapers in Nigeria. At what point did you decide to make the transition?
I have always had interest and flair for writing. I’ve always expressed my views very strongly especially when I think those are the right views. I hate injustice, I hate when people want to do the wrong thing for the fun of it and I express them strongly. I have always loved to express myself. In fact, when I was in pharmacy school I was the Editor-In-Chief of “The Student Pharmacist,” the official mouthpiece of student pharmacists all over Nigeria. I went to the University of Ife. While also at the university, I was part of a campus magazine called “The Touch.” In fact, Sam Omatseye of The Nation was part of it at that time. All my life, I’ve been in the media, I was brought up by my father and the only job my father has done in his life is journalism. He was a pioneer member of staff of the New Nigerian, he rose to become a Deputy Editor and went to start The Triumph; he was the pioneer Managing Editor or so. And when we were small, anytime he came back from the office, he would bring all the papers in Nigeria, including foreign papers and hand them over to me. So, right from primary to the secondary school, I’ve always been in this environment.
How do you handle political pressure?
There is a lot of political pressure. I think the best way to handle it is the way I handle it. My views are usually not personal, occasionally they can be. But they are not. If you are my friend you should know that the newspaper can criticize you strongly. In some cases, I might not even know, at times my column will even criticise you. I think my friends already know that and they have accepted it but what I will not accept is for somebody to call me to say, oh, the newspaper lied against him; I will not take that even if you are not my friend. Most of the calls I get are on things that are not true. When you check it (the story), it’s true, in that case, there is nothing you can do. It is either I remain in this business and do it properly or take the money to go and do something else; maybe, to sell pure water and make more profit. But as long as it is this, people will have to do it well. The reading public knows when you are compromised, don’t under-estimate the public, they know.
Some see you as a Muhammadu Buhari apologist, just as you have been accused of having incurable dislike for Obasanjo. How do you react to this?
Well, I am not an apologist of Buhari, I support his aspiration to be president and I want to place it on record now and I still do. Since 2003, he has been the best candidate on the field. I have no problem in saying that. I am not his apologist because Buhari will be first to tell you that I’m one of his greatest critics. I think that there are a fewer people that can meet Buhari and tell him things that I do. I still believe that during the Obasanjo election and that of Yar’Adua, and the last one, he was the best candidate on the field. However, he has his own problems. He probably lacks the wherewithal of a typical Nigerian politician that will make him win, that is a different issue, but in terms of the person that would have held this country, or put it in the right direction; I believe that among those who contested, he was the best. If Buhari had been the president today, there would have been no fuel subsidy issue, corruption would have been addressed. And of course, you know this Boko Haram thing would have been handled differently. When it comes to choosing between right and wrong, I am very firm in taking a position. I’ve found out that it is the easiest way to live because if people don’t like you today, you will understand tomorrow why I took that decision. As for Obasanjo, I don’t dislike him but I dislike his ways. Most of the bad things that we have in the polity today have their roots in Obasanjo’s administration. I was the first to coin the word “third term” and people thought I was an extremist; we saw it and it came to pass. Public funds were used to bribe National Assembly members for the third term; Electoral Act was forged; I think these will be a subject of discussion another time.
Were you surprised recently when he said he never initiated the third term plot?
Of course, he wanted it. He deceived many people. I am not the only one, including people that supported him in 1999; I was not the only one.
So you did?
Oh, yes! About three or four of us thought that when he came out of prison, he was somebody who had the experience to recreate the structure for good governance that had been destroyed at the time. He was not the only one available then, but we just thought that he was the most qualified; he had been president before. Not until when I later heard from Gen. T.Y Danjuma, how he was forced to leave power in 1979, we thought he voluntarily left power then; even if there was corruption then, there was order. We had also thought that after he voluntarily left power and become a world figure, he might have fine-tuned some of his governance ideas. All these we put together and we thought that we should start re-building and the best person to come back to power was Obasanjo. Don’t forget that at that time, people were also talking about power shift. I didn’t support him because of power shift, I had never been a supporter of power shift or rotation, and I still believe that the best person should contest and let election be free and fair. I was one of those who supported him, we had a group called New Millennium Collective. I was one of them, Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim and the late Sali Hidjo Ahmed. There was also Usman Gidado, now deceased. We wrote to him; initially, he even abused us and said we did know some people that were promoting his entry into politics and that he was not available for service. But that was before he changed his mind. The problem with Nigeria is that we accept too many things. A president that will be part of a group called Transcorp that bought NITEL openly? President Nixon of the America only spied on a party, but he was a pariah till he died. I am sure that will not even qualify to be called a crime here. In fact, when he died, I thought they were too mean; they were still talking about it and abusing him in death. Crimes have no consequences here.
How will you describe the Nigerian state today?
The Nigerian state today is in serious crisis. I don’t think anybody should argue about that. There is a serious security crisis, there is a serious crisis of corruption and the kind of corruption we are talking about now, I think we should find another name for it. I think it is corruption mixed with wickedness where people will steal N1trn. Do you know how many zeros are behind one trillion? Where people are stealing pension funds and they are giving them bail; where the judiciary can discharge and acquit Ibori and the same Ibori will go to London and plead guilty to only God knows how many counts of corruption and the judiciary is not even ashamed? Yet, nobody is apologising or embarrassed. Nigeria is in real crisis, Nigeria is going the wrong way; we can’t even conduct a free and fair election.
If you were to be in Jonathan’s shoes how would you address this issue of corruption?
There is a very simple way to handle corruption. If you want to handle corruption, you will handle it. If N1trn can be stolen and the president does not know that one trillion is being stolen, then there is a serious problem. If one trillion naira can be stolen, and the president doesn’t know who did it and when, then there is a major problem. If you are not corrupt, it means you can arrest even your brother. Are you surprised that Power Holding Company of Nigeria is not working; refineries are not working; there is no water; there are no roads? Everywhere, it’s free for all stealing. Nobody is saying that the president is corrupt, but you can’t be sitting down and the whole place is like this and you’ve not declared a kind of emergency in government. Nigeria is the only oil exporter that is broke. In the last few years it used to be that we could not implement the capital budget, now even the recurrent we can’t implement in spite of the fact that the price of oil keeps going up. I think we are now hitting 2.6 million barrels of oil per day apart from the money made from gas. The tax office made N4.6 trn last year, Customs made almost a trillion and yet we can’t pay salaries. Customs made about N700bn and that excludes some paratatals that are money yielding. We’ve not even talked about oil; we cannot continue to run this country like this. The government itself has not made any serious statement, all these statements we hear are either from the House of Representatives or from activists. The government itself has not shown outrage in this pension fund thing. I’ve not seen anger from any direction. Nigeria might collapse and it is in the interest of the elite, their enlightened self-interest to sit down and see that things change. We can’t continue this way. (Source: The Punch)

S/Africa’s Zuma marries a fourth wife

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma married his fourth current wife on Friday, marking the sixth time the 70-year-old has tied the knot.
“President Jacob Zuma has today, 20 April 2012, married Ms Bongi Ngema at a traditional ceremony known as umgcagco at his home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal,” his office said in a statement.
“A wedding reception will be held this evening, and tomorrow there will be the umabo, where the bride showers the groom’s family with gifts.”
The bridal party took part in a traditional Zulu celebratory dance after tying the knot in Zuma’s rural home village where the leader’s other recent marriages have featured him dancing in leopard skins with a warrior’s shield.
The couple have a seven-year-old son and the businesswoman and long-time fiance joins Zuma’s
three other wives to become one of four first ladies with all spouses attending Friday’s marriage, the presidency said.
The wedding is Zuma’s third in just over four years and the second since coming to power in 2009 as the country’s first president with multiple wives, something that is legal under liberal post-apartheid laws.
In all, he has married six times. One of his wives has died, and another – home affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma – divorced him.
With the state having to nearly double the spousal budget to more than two million dollars after he took office, the presidency has stressed that Zuma will pay for the weekend celebrations and that his wives live in private homes.
South Africa has no legally defined “First Lady” but their benefits include a personal secretary and researcher, domestic and international travel, equipment, and a daily allowance during official trips.
“The new Mrs Zuma had already been part of the spousal office machinery in terms of administrative support so there will be no changes due to the wedding,” said the statement.
The wives have no specific roles or responsibilities but they are expected to support the president at state and official functions, with Ngema accompanying him to France last year.
While legal, polygamy is becoming less popular in South Africa where modernity and Western lifestyles have taken root.
A survey in 2010 found that nearly three-fourths of South Africans disapprove of polygamy. Among women, 83 percent disapproved.