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Alarm Over Planned Conversion of Mariam Babangida Women Development Centre To Appeal Court

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A former commissioner for women affairs in Delta State, Queen Betty Efekodha has raised an alarm over the plan to convert the Mariam Babaginda Women Development Center that was built during the tenure of former governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of the state to Appeal Court premises.

According to Efekodha, the building has been roofed and painted, while what remained is for it to be furnished.

“I have been looking forward to the day it will be commissioned by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of the state.

“This would have gone a long way in improving the lot of women all round as the edifice housed a very big hall plus smaller adjoining halls and different offices for meetings, trainings, seminars, hall of fame and skills acquisitions,” she said.

The former commissioner said in a statement she wrote on the issue that the centre also plays host to national and international women programmes and events.

She added that the importance of the women centre could not be over emphasized.

“More so, it was named after an illustrious daughter of Delta State, who made women to be seen and also heard through her Better Life Programme.

“It is definitely a big plus to women development. I have deliberately brought it to this platform so that we women of Delta State can appeal to the governor to let our centre be.

“In as much as the Court of Appeal is necessary and I appreciate the Governor for it, robbing Peter to pay Paul is not the best.

“I therefore appeal to my National President and State Chairman to please look into it. If possible, a delegation can see our Governor,” she said.

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UCL Semi-Final: Chelsea Defeat Real Madrid, Face City In All-English Champions League Final

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Chelsea qualified for the final stage of Uefa Champions League against Manchester City after beating Real Madrid 2-0 on Wednesday to seal a 3-1 aggregate victory at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues put up an impressive performance to secure a place a in the final stage of the competition. Werner’s cushioned header into an empty net on 28 minutes after Kai Havertz’s initial effort came back off the crossbar and Mount’s tap-in five minutes from time were enough to seal their place in Istanbul on May 29.

Backed by Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich, Chelsea’s £220 million spending spree last summer has been rewarded with a first Champions League final since they lifted the trophy for the only time in 2012.

A return to the biggest game in club football is also the culmination of a huge turnaround in Chelsea’s fortunes since Thomas Tuchel replaced the sacked Frank Lampard in January.

Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane welcomed back captain Sergio Ramos from injury for the first time in six weeks, while Eden Hazard was handed a rare start in an injury-hit season on his return to Stamford Bridge.

But the Belgian was again a peripheral figure as Madrid’s over-reliance on Karim Benzema to provide a goal threat was exposed.

Madrid were handed a let-off when Werner swept home Ben Chilwell’s cross only to be denied by the offside flag.

Benzema needed only a half-chance to thump home his 28th goal of the season to level the tie last week in the Spanish capital and nearly moved ahead of Real legend Raul as the Champions League’s fourth-highest ever goalscorer with a quick turn and shot from the edge of the box that Edouard Mendy did brilliantly to turn behind.

That was the close Madrid came to an away goal and moments later they were behind as Werner scored just his fourth goal in his last 39 games.

N’Golo Kante and Havertz did the hard work as the French midfielder fed Havertz, whose audacious chip over Thibaut Courtois bounced invitingly off the crossbar for Werner to head into an empty net.

Chelsea have now kept 18 clean sheets in 24 games since the appointment of Tuchel turned their season around.

However, a failure to take their chances at the other end means they are still far from guaranteed a place in the Champions League next season.

That lack of a killer touch was exposed after the break as Havertz saw a free header come back off the bar before Mount blasted over with just Courtois to beat.

The former Chelsea ‘keeper, who controversially forced a move back to Spain in the summer of 2018, kept his current employers in the tie as he then saved one-on-ones with Havertz and Kante, with the Blues’ speed on the break too much for Madrid’s aging midfield to cope with.

Tuchel was growing increasingly frustrated with his side’s inability to put the tie to bed, but could finally relax five minutes from time.

Substitute Christian Pulisic left Courtois on the floor and from his cut-back, Mount slid in to finish from close range.

Fired by Paris Saint-Germain on Christmas Eve after leading the French champions to their first-ever final in this competition last season, Tuchel is headed back to the Champions League showpiece match for a second consecutive season, unlike his former club, who were beaten 4-1 on aggregate by City in the other semi-final.


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League Cup: Man City Outclass Tottenham To Retain Title 

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Manchester City won a fourth consecutive League Cup on Sunday with a gallant display to beat Tottenham 1-0 in front of 8,000 fans at Wembley.

Aymeric Laporte’s header eight minutes from time finally ended Tottenham’s resistance as their 13-year wait to win a trophy goes on.

For the first time in 13 months, a football match in England had designated fans from both teams inside the stadium in one of a series of test events at Wembley as coronavirus restrictions are eased.

Defeat by Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals last weekend means City cannot claim an unprecedented quadruple of trophies this season.

However, they remain on course for a treble with the first leg of their Champions League semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain to come on Wednesday before possibly sealing the Premier League title next weekend.

Pep Guardiola’s men played like champions as after a slight dip in form in recent weeks, they pinned Tottenham back from the first whistle and should have won by a far more comfortable scoreline.

Spurs sacked manager Jose Mourinho on Monday amid a chaotic week as both City and Tottenham also quickly withdrew from plans to join a European Super League.

But City looked in a different league from the off as they peppered Hugo Lloris’s goal without finding the breakthrough.

Raheem Sterling saw a goalbound effort blocked by Toby Alderweireld before Lloris made a stunning save from point-blank range to turn behind Phil Foden’s shot.

A Sterling dink over Lloris then spun just wide before Riyad Mahrez twice flashed powerful efforts inches wide.

Spurs somehow held out without conceding until half-time as Lloris was called into action again to deny Joao Cancelo.

Despite Harry Kane’s recovery from an ankle injury to start, Tottenham had offered nothing as an attacking threat until Giovani Lo Celso forced Zack Steffen into a fine save a minute into the second half.

However, the majority of the chances continued to come and go at the other end.

Ilkay Gundogan sliced wide at the near post before Lloris was forced into another flying save to deny Mahrez.

When the breakthrough finally arrived, it came from an unlikely source as Laporte rose highest to head home Kevin De Bruyne’s free-kick at the back post.

Under interim boss Ryan Mason for just the second time, Spurs’ energies were spent after conceding as they failed to muster any response to try and take the game to extra-time.

Sterling and Foden were guilty of being wasteful once more in front of goal in the closing minutes, while Mahrez had a second goal ruled out for offside.

But one goal was enough to secure a seventh major trophy in Guardiola’s five seasons in charge in Manchester.


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Buratai Defends Buhari In Osun

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The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen TY Buratai has defended President Muhammadu Buhari’s policies and efforts at ensuring that the nation enjoys peace and security.
The military Chief made this known while speaking at the Osun State Government House in Osogbo during his visit to the state to commission a bailey bridge and hospital constructed by the Nigerian Army Engineers in collaboration with the Army HQ Department of Civil- Military Affairs for Owu Kuta and Asamu communities in the state.
The Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola had hosted Buratai in September 14 after the commissioning at Owu Kuta.
He said some Nigerians, whom he described as enemies of the country, have wrong perceptions about the Buhari led Federal Government and have been using the social media to spread this fake and unfounded projections.
He debunked the rumour that there might be famine in Nigeria owing to the security challenges in the North East and appealed to Nigerians to ensure they verify news before believing it.
Lt Gen Buratai was reacting to the goodwill message of Lt General Alani Akinrinade (rtd),  a former Chief of Army Staff and Chief of Defence Staff, at the State Government Banquet Hall.
In his message, Akinrinade commended the COAS for building a bridge at the Osun River that links Kuta, Ikoyi and Ede Communities of Osun State. He also appreciated Buratai for graciously complimenting the efforts of the State Government who has given public health care priority in the development of the State.  
He asked Buratai to look into some matters which he said are rampart on social media and that have throwing him into distress, of which he wnated Buratai to convey to the President Buhari.
The first matter according to him “is the pervasive public perception/believe (which does not necessarily represent the true position of Mr President) that the President was an ‘ethnic bigot, an irredeemable religious fundamentalist that firmly subscribes and promotes the possibility of his ethnic Fulani to take over the country, which was the reason why he does not interfere in curbing the brigandage of the Fulani herdsmen.
Furthermore, the elder statesman concluded that going by the perception or belief of the public, the President has performed woefully in the fight against the Boko Haram terrorists and that he cannot rise to the occasion when it comes to reflecting the heterogeneous composition of the country in appointments to sensitive positions in his government. 
He therefore called on the president to read the riot act against the perpetrators of this mischief. 
The second matter according to the former CDS is that sometimes, he hears that there are Fulani mercenaries from outside Nigeria being sponsored by some Nigerians. From what he heard, the situation is so dire that in collaboration with unexpected bad weather this year, a famine is imminent as the country is “already burrowing grains from the ECOWAS countries” because farmers are being forced to abandon their farms”. 
He therefore suggested that the President should “read the riot act to the Fulani herdsmen” adding that it is not acceptable for any foreigner by whatever name to enter Nigeria illegally and molest Nigerians because “they are not welcome”. 
According to General Akinrinade, the country should not, by mistake of omission or commission allow Nigerians to degenerate to self-help which is a sure route to anarchy and perdition that will not go away”.
The former military Chief thereafter accepted that these difficult matters cannot be addressed in abstract as the whole buck stops on the President’s table. He therefore suggested that the President “needs to shape up, read the riot act to our people and enlist them in unwavering cooperation to participate fully in the redemption of their country “. 
According to him, since he was sure the President is aware of the hues and cries from all corners and crannies of the country for secession as if the country has not been there before, there is a need for him to “stand on his table against the motley crowd of advisers and take a firm stand on the restructuring of the country, physically, politically, economically and socially”. 
He also advocated for the reorganization of the Armed Forces “which is long overdue and over flogged as if it is such an impossibility because it is what is required to move the country out of the doldrums into modernity and cannot afford to pass it on”. 
 “We may end up without a country, as no country has been known to survive two civil wars. He (Buhari) can take better counsel in the appointment to the sensitive parts of his government. There are capable loyal men and women from every village in the country,” Akinrinade advised.
Reacting, Buratai thanked Gen Akinrinade (Rtd) for identifying the negative impacts of the social media in  spreading falsehood and fake news in the country. 
The COAS also said the retired General has identified the wrong perceptions being projected by the enemies of the country noting that people should not rely on social media reports which are mostly fake and largely unfounded. 
He further advised the Retired General on the need for statesmen of his caliber to take the pains of verifying information before making  conclusions on them. 
On the perception of likely famine in the country this year, the COAS Lt Gen TY Buratai assured the gathering that there is no cause for alarm as there won’t be any famine in Nigeria because farmers have gone back to their farms. 
Gen Buratai said “I just left the North West where Exercise SAHEL SANITY is ongoing and many farmers have so far returned to their farms. Our troops are providing security to farmers and the bandits are being dealt with decisively.  From all indications we are expecting a bumper harvest this year”. 
Gen Buratai further informed that the Nigeria Army and other security agencies are doing everything possible to ensure that the terrorists and bandits are never allowed to cross over to the southern parts of the country. 
He also observed that the issue of restructuring is a political matter and he only commented on security issues raised by the retired General. He further reiterated the apolitical stance of the Nigeria Army.  
The Army boss then implored all to continue to cooperate with the Federal Government and support the ongoing efforts to rid the country of all forms of insecurity.

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