Afcon 2013: Blame me For Zambian disgrace – Renard

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Head coach  Herve Renard has said he is to blame for Zambia’s disgraceful failure to reach the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals.

The defending champions were eliminated after a 0-0 draw against Burkina Faso in their final Group C game on Tuesday. “I loved my team tonight. If there is someone who is responsible then it’s me, not my players,” said Renard.

The result ensured Zambia became the first holders to exit the competition at the group stage in 21 years.

“It’s better to have won something in your life than always qualify for the quarter-finals, but never win anything,” said Frenchman Renard. “This is not the end of the world. Before we used to go home a lot of times after the first round, and today you have to accept that this is football.

“Everybody  is sad but my players did their maximum, and I’m very proud of them. It’s not the end of the world.”

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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NIGERIA: FG signs N157bn deal with General Electric

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General Electric, GE, has signed an agreement with the Federal Government of Nigeria to invest N157 billion ($1 billion) in Nigeria over the next five years.

The funds will be invested in a factory in the South East region of Nigeria and will help pursue Nigeria’s diversification objectives.

According to the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, the investment will support the country’s industrial revolution plan.

He said, “No nation has moved from being a poor nation to a rich one by exporting raw materials without a strong industrial base. Nigeria has the raw materials and market to become not just number one in Africa but among the top 10 globally.”

Yemi Kolapo, Special Assistant to the Minister of Trade, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, in a statement, disclosed that the initial investment would be N39.25 billion ($250 million) followed by incremental spending of at least $1 billion in the following years.

She said, “The deal is expected to create 2,300 jobs and make Nigeria the regional hub for GE’s manufacturing service and innovation in Africa.

“The days for exporting raw materials and jobs are gone. This is a new Nigeria, and a new Africa.”

She, however, failed to disclose what will be produced in the factory, but noted that the factory will be built in a free trade zone in Calabar,

GE has been increasing its exposure to Nigeria, Africa’s second biggest economy, which is growing at around 7 percent, but faces major infrastructure bottlenecks.

The company signed an MoU with Nigeria in March to help beef up the West African country’s woefully inadequate power grid.
Nigeria aims to develop 10 gigawatts of additional electricity-generating capacity over the next decade, but it is estimated to need $100 billion of investment in the next decade.

A lot of MoUs are signed with Nigerian authorities that go nowhere, but the trade ministry was confident.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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NIGERIA: NNPC owes FG N1.3trn, says NEITI

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, is owing the Federal Government about N1.3 trillion ($8.3 billion) in earnings from 2009-2011, according to a report by the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative.

NEITI also stated that it will probe the NNPC’s fuel import subsidy bill, which the audit showed rose from N198 billion in 2009 to N786 billion naira in 2011.

The NEITI audit showed that the NNPC is owing N759.88 billion ($4.84 billion) in dividends and loan repayments from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) export business between 2009-2011 and a further N626.43 billion ($3.99 billion) in NLNG funds from previous years going back to 1999.

The audit further revealed that the NNPC receives 445,000 barrel per day of crude oil to refine locally but only uses 20 per cent of it because Nigerian refineries are in disrepair. The rest it sells.

NEITI also noted that the NNPC then removes subsidy from the money it earns from the crude oil sales before sending the balance to government accounts, a practise the auditor said the government should change because it left “gaps in the process”.

The audit said Nigeria was owed around $5.85 billion in underpaid taxes and royalties from oil and gas producers but did not name specific companies.

The audit added said some firms were seeking legal action on the alleged debts.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Afcon 2013: South Africa pile pressure on Mali

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BAFANA Bafana coach Gordon Igesund believes the pressure is on Mali for the Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinal at Moses Mabhida Stadium tomorrow.

Mali coach Patrice Carteron said after his side drew 0-0 draw against Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday to reach the knockout stages, that he believes the pressure is on Bafana to fulfil the hopes of a nation expectant of a tournament victory.

Igesund wrote that off as mind games yesterday and even managed to neatly turn the tables on his counterpart.

“He’s doing what most coaches do, which is take the pressure off his own team. Believe me, in every team in this competition at this stage, all the players are feeling nervous. And there’s as much pressure on me and him as every other coach,” Igesund said.

“To be really honest, we were under huge pressure in the first round. The expectations were so high, we hadn’t performed in our friendly games although our friendlies, when you really analyse them, were very tough and did us a favour. We’re so pleased and proud that we’ve made the nation happy and we’ve managed to get to the quarterfinals.

“So the pressure’s off as far as that’s concerned because it would have been an absolute tragedy if we hadn’t qualified.

“For us, the pressure’s now that we want to do well, not we have to do well.”

It says much about Bafana’s fragility at the back – which they displayed in their dramatic 2-2 draw against Morocco on Sunday – that Igesund immediately took to working with his defensive unit in his team’s first training session back yesterday.

But the coach said he believed the problem also needed to be rectified from in front of his back four.

“Against Morocco I think we didn’t defend well in the midfield. We gave them too much space. Rather than defend those balls in the area, we have to stop the supply getting in there.”

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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NIGERIA: FG releases $3m funds to address lead poison

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Nigeria has provided nearly $3 million in long-delayed financing to clean up part of an area where lead poisoning has killed hundreds of children, Doctors Without Borders said Thursday.

The lead poisoning crisis in northwest Zamfara state that first came to light in 2010 was called the worst such epidemic “in modern history” by Human Rights Watch, with an official death toll saying 400 children were killed across the state.

The government in Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, has come under mounting pressure from activists to release the funds, saying more children’s lives were at risk.

The $2.7 million (two million euros) that Nigeria has made available will be spent cleaning up the village of Bagega, one of the hardest hit areas, where up to 1,500 children are suffering from lead poisoning, Ivan Gayton of France-based Doctors Without Borders (MSF) told AFP.

Gayton said the other seven villages affected by the epidemic had been cleared of toxic material.

“The federal government, through the ministry of environment, has made available $2.7 million needed to begin the remediation in Bagega village in Zamfara state and we expect to begin the exercise on Monday,” Gayton told AFP.

In November, MSF released a report that said the contaminated soil in Bagega needed to be removed before the rainy season starts in April, warning of potentially “disastrous” consequences if rainfall caused the hazardous material to spread further.

“We’ve been sounding the alarm increasingly since November,” Gayton said.

Clean up, known as remediation, cannot be carried out during the rainy season and treatment can only begin once remediation is complete.

Lead was dispersed in several Zamfara areas by the processing of ore for gold extraction using unsafe mining techniques. Illicit gold mining is more lucrative than agriculture for the impoverished farming communities.

Local communities had initially largely concealed or denied the fatalities and illnesses from lead poisoning for fear that authorities would ban their mining activities.

Gayton said that when the cleanup is complete, additional funds will be needed to put in place safer mining practices.

Most Nigerians live on less than $2 per day despite the oil wealth in the country, which has long been held back by corruption and mismanagement.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Beckham signs five-month deal with PSG

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Former England captain David Beckham on Thursday signed for Paris Saint-Germain in a five-month deal, fuelling hopes of a celebrity boost for French football as it faces up to an exodus of top players.

The 37-year-old midfielder — one of the world’s most recognisable sportsmen with a pop star wife and an estimated net worth of 190 million pounds ($300 million, 220 million euros) — has been without a club since leaving Los Angeles Galaxy last year.

But after a day of fevered speculation, the ex-Manchester United, Real Madrid and AC Milan star was unveiled by the French league leaders at a packed news conference after a routine medical at a city hospital.

Club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi told reporters he was delighted to have secured Beckham’s services until June 30 while the player himself said he was “excited and honoured” to be part of PSG’s plans to develop into a major European force.

“I chose here because I can see what the club are trying to do, the players they’re bringing in,” said Beckham, wearing a charcoal grey suit, white shirt and grey tie, predicting PSG would have “a lot of success in the next 15 to 20 years”.

Father-of-four Beckham, whose family will remain in London, revealed that he would donate his salary during his time in the French capital to a local children’s charity.

News of Beckham’s pending arrival lit up the final day of the January transfer window, a year after the former Old Trafford playmaker was first linked with a move to the Parc des Princes.

The deal with “Becks” — who is married to the former Spice Girl turned fashion designer Victoria — gives PSG’s ambitious Qatari owners a celebrity brand with the clout to tap new markets for the club, particularly in Asia.

As a Manchester United player, Beckham was mobbed like a rockstar on visits to Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand while in the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, his distinctive mohawk hairdo sparked legions of imitators.

One Bangkok fan placed a sculpture of his idol in a Buddhist temple while a three-metre (10-foot) chocolate image of the player was even created in Japan.

“He’s more than a player. He’s a brand, a pop star,” said Leonardo in 2011 after making an initial approach to the player, who has a host of lucrative advertising and endorsement deals and is seen as much on on red carpets as in the corridors of power.

France coach Didier Deschamps on Thursday said Beckham could provide a much-needed filip to Ligue 1, which lags other major European leagues for star power and this January has seen a glut of transfers to English clubs.

Deschamps, who played for Chelsea in 1999/2000 while Beckham was at Old Trafford, described it as a “very, very good thing for the media profile of Ligue 1″.

“He’s a player whose personality goes beyond football like Zlatan Ibrahimovic. It gives a greater visibilility to our championship internationally,” he added.

Former AC Milan striker Ibrahimovic was brought to PSG in the close season last year as the club spent more than 200 million euros on the transfer market but is one of the few players of undisputed world class in France’s top division.

Beckham, capped 115 times for England — a national record for an outfielder — first came to prominence at Manchester United and in 1999 helped the club win the coveted “Treble” of the English Premier League, FA Cup and European Champions League.

Renowned as a dead-ball specialist for the quality of his delivery from free-kicks and corners, Beckham rose through the ranks as one of a crop of talented young players including Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville.

He made his United debut aged 17 in 1992 and went on to win six Premier League titles, two FA Cups and the Champions League with the English giants.

His England debut came in 1996 and two years later he was sent off during a last 16 defeat by Argentina at the 1998 World Cup in France, making him a brief hate figure for many England fans.

Beckham’s relationship with United boss Alex Ferguson soured towards the end of his time in Manchester, with the veteran manager concerned about his increasingly high profile after his glitzy wedding to “Posh Spice” Victoria.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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NIGERIA: Fire guts Ipas office in Abuja

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AN early morning inferno, Thursday, engulfed the Abuja head office of Ipas-Nigeria, an international NGO promoting issues of sexual and reproductive health and rights of women. No lives were lost in the incident but property and equipment valued at several millions were destroyed.

In a reaction to the incident, Ipas Country Director, Dr. Ejike Oji told newsmen that the fire started at about 2.00 a.m. totally destroyed the organization’s newly furnished conference room and an adjourning office belonging to a private firm.

He said that although the actual cause of the fire had not been ascertained, security men on duty had complained of frequent power fluctuation the previous night and the early hours of the day.

Noting that power surge as cause of the fire incident could not be ruled out, Oji said surges happen sometimes when electricity is restored.

He commended the officers and men of Asokoro Fire Service Station for their timely intervention, saying that the expansive four storey office building would have been destroyed if not for the gallantry of the fire fighters.

Meanwhile, Ipas is still trying to work out exactly how much was lost in the fire incident.

On whether the organization would still go ahead to celebrate its forty years anniversary, Oji said that Ipas-Nigeria would not be demoralized by the incident.

He said that the organization would continue to promote the reproductive health and rights of women to the best of its ability, adding that there were still plans to celebrate the 40 years of the existence of the organization which has offices in 40 countries across the globe.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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NIGERIA: Witchcraft, groups rescues 2 children in A/Ibom

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A team of Child Rights focused NGOs on Wednesday rescued two children accused of witchcraft at Okopedi Market, Okobo in Akwa Ibom.

Officials of the Humanist Association for Peace and Social Tolerance Advancement (HAPSTA) and Child’s Right and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN), said at the scene that the rescue was a result of their collaborative campaign to curb child stigmatisation.

Mr Ayobami Ojedokun,  Project Centre Manager of HPSTA told reporters that the organisations were also collaborating with the Police and traditional rulers to reconcile the stigmatised children with their families.

“The children we rescued today (Jan. 30) from the market, aged nine and 13, were abandoned and they were sleeping at the market in Okopedi area of Okobo Local Government of Akwa Ibom.

“We have commenced the process of reconciling them with their families, the Police Division in Okobo and the traditional rulers have been very supportive.

“Our aim is to use advocacy to sensitise the communities on the ills of stigmatising children and educate them that it is also illegal to brand children as witches in Akwa Ibom since 2008.

“When advocacy fails we shall then resort to prosecuting the parents and those responsible for the stigmatisation,” Ojedokun said.

He also said that the activities of the NGOs were driven by a network of community volunteers who report incidences of child-witch stigmatisation and abandonment.

“We have a network of volunteers who often feed our field officers in areas with high prevalence of child witch cases, we got such a distress call and we visited the market and the children have received temporary relief,” he said.

He noted that one of the victims accused of witchcraft was said to have injured a fellow child while playing, saying that belief in witchcraft practices by children was merely superstitious belief.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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NIGERIA: Security guard sentenced to 5 months imprisonment for fraud.

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Senior Magistrate Rosemary Kanyip of the Kubwa Senior Magistrates’ Court in FCT, on Thursday sentenced 35-year old security guard, Innocent Adoga, to five months imprisonment for fraud.

Kanyip, however, gave the convict an option of N4,000 fine and ordered that he should refund N58,700 to the complainants.

She also warned him to desist from fraudulent activities henceforth.

“Be warned that hardship is no defence for the commission of a crime.

“You claim to have a wife and children, what example do you intend to show your children as they grow up?.’’

Police prosecutor, Arziki Kaura, had told the court that the case was reported at the Dutse Police Station on Jan. 19 by John Cole, Augustine Oneje, Sunday Akogwu and Ajido Samson.

Kaura said the convict, who claimed to be a security guard with a company named “Nigeria Private Intelligence’’, collected various sums from the complainants under the pretence of getting them jobs.

“He collected a total sum of N58,700 from the four complainants, promising to get them employment in his company and in the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.

“He subsequently issued them fake employment letters and during investigations, refused to give information about his employer.’’

Kaura said the convict committed the offences of cheating, forgery and failure to give information to a public servant.

He said that the offences contravened the Penal Code.

The convict had pleaded guilty to the charges, adding that the financial challenges he faced at the time led him to commit the crimes.

“My wife was pregnant and it resulted in an operation, and I had no money,’’ he said.

He begged the court to temper justice with mercy.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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NIGERIA:Yobe conducts local council polls June

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The Yobe Independent Electoral Commission (YOSIEC) said on Thursday that it has obtained updated voter register from INEC, preparatory to the local government council elections in the state in June.

Alhaji Muhammad Jauro, the Chairman of the commission, disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in Damaturu.

Jauro explained that “the commissioners and other staff of the commission will, from Feb. 4, visit local government areas to enlighten the people on the proposed local government elections”.

He said that “the laws guiding local government elections will be strictly complied with for equity, fairness and to give every one a sense of belonging”.

The chairman said the commission would organise a stakeholders conference after the enlightenment tour to deliberate and suggest a timetable, “so as to give all political parties the constitutional 90 days notice.”

“The commission has also acquired additional knowledge and experience from other states that recently conducted council polls to enhance its preparations for a free, fair and acceptable elections in Yobe.”

He said the commission would build on its success in the last election to ensure that adequate manpower, materials and logistics were provided and deployed to all centres in good time.

“The commission is reviewing its success in the last election in which nobody complained against, to improve the standard of the forthcoming election,” he assured.

Muhammad called on politicians and all other stakeholders to support the commission towards conducting a free and transparent election into the local government councils.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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