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Saturday, 25 January 2020

Nigeria professional footballer, Kelechi Iheanacho has set a personal record as his fourth-minute effort gave Leicester City the victory in Saturday’s FA cup match against Brentford.

Iheanacho handed Leicester City a fourth-minute lead and lifted the team to the fifth round of the FA cup after receiving a cross from James Justin and his left-footed shot from inside the six-yard box beat goalkeeper Luke Daniels.

The 23-year-old has now scored nine goals in his nine FA Cup starts, including from his days as a Manchester City player.

The Nigerian striker would also be hoping to extend his goal tally to eight this season when Leicester visit Aston Villa for Tuesday’s English League Cup semi-final return leg.

However, despite dominating possession against Thomas Frank’s team, it ended 1-0 in favour of the King Power Stadium outfit.

The former English champions are third in the English top-flight log with 48 points from 24 outings.

After the match, Iheanacho took to Twitter to celebrate the victory, he wrote: “Great work out there, on to the next round. Thanks to our fan for there support.”

Published in World
Saturday, 25 January 2020 08:05

Powerful earthquake kills 18 in Turkey

A powerful earthquake, measuring 6.8 magnitude struck eastern Turkey on Friday, killing at least 18 people and collapsing buildings in affected towns near the centre of the tremor.

The quake shook Elazig province, about 550 km (340 miles) east of the capital Ankara, and was followed by dozens of aftershocks.

Thirteen people were killed in Elazig and five more in the neighbouring province of Malatya, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said after rushing to the region with other ministers to oversee the rescue operation.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said emergency workers were searching for 30 people under the rubble, and more than 500 people were injured.

State broadcaster TRT showed footage of police and emergency workers searching a partly collapsed building in Elazig. Windows were smashed and balconies had crashed to the ground.

At another collapsed building, teams worked with their hands to remove bricks and plaster from the ruins. Elsewhere emergency workers used drills and mechanical diggers to clear the debris, while injured people were carried on stretchers to ambulances.

Soylu described the earthquake as a “Level 3” incident according to the country’s emergency response plan, meaning that it called for a national response but did not require international help.

He said Turkey, which straddles seismic faultlines and is prone to earthquakes, had learnt lessons from previous disasters which helped it address Friday’s incident. Drones were deployed in search operations and communication between provinces.

Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD)warned residents not to return to damaged buildings because of the danger of further aftershocks. It said beds, blankets and tents were being sent to the area, where the overnight temperature was below 0 degrees Celsius.

“Our houses collapsed … we cannot go inside them,” said a 32-year-old man from the town of Sivrice, epicentre of the quake which struck shortly before 9 p.m. (1800 GMT).

“In our village some people lost their lives. I hope God will help us,” said the man, who gave only his first name, Sinasi. “Our animals died. Our families gathered around the fire to spend the night, covered with blankets,” Sinasi said as he and a relative tried to warm themselves by a small fire.

State media in Syria and Iran both reported the earthquake was felt in those countries. Local media in Lebanon said the cities of Beirut and Tripoli also felt the quake.

Turkey has a history of powerful earthquakes. More than 17,000 people were killed in August 1999 when a 7.6 magnitude quake struck the western city of Izmit, 90 km (55 miles) southeast of Istanbul. About 500,000 people were made homeless.

In 2011 an earthquake struck the eastern city of Van and the town of Ercis, some 100 km (60 miles) to the north, killing at least 523 people.

Published in World

Nigeria’s apex bank, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has increased the Cash Reserves Ratio, CRR, of banks from 22.5 per cent to 27.5 per cent.

The alteration was done by the Monetary Policy Committee of the CBN.

The Cash Reserve Ratio is the share of a bank’s total deposit that is mandated by the CBN to be maintained with the latter in the form of liquid cash.

The CRR is used by the CBN to ensure that a part of Deposit Money Bank’s cash is with the Central Bank and is hence, secure.

Godwin Emefiele, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN’s Governor, while addressing journalists shortly after the committee’s meeting said the move was aimed at mopping up excess liquidity from the banking system which had become a threat to inflation.

According to him, nine members of the committee voted to alter the CRR from 22.5 per cent to 27.5 per cent.

He explained that apart from the CRR that was increased, the committee decided to retain the Monetary Policy Rate at 13.5 per cent.

Also retained are the Liquidity Ratio which was left at 30 per cent; and the Asymmetric Window which was left at +200 and -500 basis points around the MPR.

Published in Bank & Finance
British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has signed agreement for the nation to leave the European Union next week Friday.
 
Johnson, on Friday hailed “a new chapter” in Britain’s history as he signed its divorce deal with the EU, clearing another hurdle ahead of the country’s departure from the bloc next Friday.
 
Johnson signed the agreement in Downing Street in front of European and British Foreign Office officials who had brought it from Brussels.
 
EU chiefs Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel had put their names to the treaty at a ceremony held behind closed doors in the dead of night.
 
“The signing of the withdrawal agreement is a fantastic moment, which finally delivers the result of the 2016 referendum and brings to an end far too many years of argument and division,” Johnson said in a statement.
 
“This signature heralds a new chapter in our nation’s history,” he added on Twitter.
 
AFP reports that the treaty would now return to Brussels, where the original would be kept in EU archives along with other international treaties, while three copies would be dispatched back to London.
 
On Wednesday next week, the text will go to the European Parliament for ratification and on Thursday diplomats from the EU member states will approve the deal in writing.
 
Then, on Friday, January 31, Britain spends its last day in the EU before leaving the bloc at 2300 GMT as clocks strike midnight in Brussels.
 
“Charles Michel and I have just signed the agreement on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, opening the way for its ratification by the European Parliament,” European Commission president Von der Leyen tweeted.
 
In a separate tweet, European Council president Michel said: “Things will inevitably change but our friendship will remain. We start a new chapter as partners and allies.”
 
The former Belgian premier, whose council represents EU member governments, added, in French: “I’m keen to write this new page together.”
 
In another move to prepare Brussels for relations with Britain as an outside power, the European Commission named an ambassador — veteran diplomat Joao Vale de Almeida — to London.
 
Johnson signed with a Parker fountain pen, as is traditional for ceremonial signings in Downing Street, with staff including the prime minister’s chief Brexit negotiator David Frost present.
 
Earlier in Brussels, the signing was conducted before dawn in the European Council’s headquarters, as chief EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier looked on.
 
No reporters or photographers were allowed to witness the low key ceremony, despite news agencies offering to organise a pool.
 
British voters backed leaving the European Union in a June 2016 referendum, and after lengthy negotiations and several delays Johnson’s new government plans to “get Brexit done” next week.
 
Queen Elizabeth II gave her formal assent to the British withdrawal legislation on Thursday and the EU is now expected to complete the final formalities in the coming days.
Published in World

Despite privatising the power sector, the Federal Government has spent over N1.7tn on the sector in the last three years, an interim report submitted to the National Economic Council indicated on Thursday.

The Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, chairs a Committee of NEC mandated to investigate the ownership structure of power distribution companies in the country.

The governor had briefed an expanded session of NEC comprising state governors, ministers and other stakeholders on the preliminary findings of the committee.

He said after meeting for five times, the committee found that the problems of the power sector were enormous and required declaring a “national emergency” to find solutions.

Speaking with State House correspondents after the meeting, which was presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, the governor said in the last three years alone, N1.7tn of public funds had been pumped into a privatised sector.

“That is certainly not privatisation,” he stated.

According to him, the various stakeholders the committee met with admitted that there were problems because Nigerians had really not enjoyed improved power supply.

He said, “The full report will be ready soon, hopefully in February. The power sector is complicated and requires enormous time to really go to the root of the problems.

“Nigeria will go nowhere unless we have stable power. Right now, we shall invite members of the general public to also give their views by sending in memoranda to the committee. The owners of the power companies too, we will get their views.

“The objective is: how do we fix the power sector?”

El-Rufai said the committee informed NEC that the problems ranged from lack of capacity, tariff issues to poor funding.

He added, “The problems in electricity are many, capacity is one, perhaps. There are some that have shown lack of capacity; it is true but there are many that are fantastic. So, it is very difficult to pass a quick judgment.

“There are other issues. The entire sector is broken. The tariff is an issue. The way the privatisation was done is an issue to many.

“What we have agreed on is that there are fundamental problems in the electricity supply industry. You cannot privatise an industry and then over three years since privatisation, you pump in N1.7tn of government into it. That is not privatisation.

“So, solutions must be found; those solutions are not going to be nice. They may be painful but the only way to solve the structural problems in the industry. It is to take some very difficult decisions.”

The governor also said NEC gave a nod to the proposal to pull N2tn from the pensions fund for investment in infrastructure development.

He explained that the money would be set aside to be accessed by the private sector to invest in road and rail infrastructure on a long-term basis.

However, he said all the legal requirements would first be worked out before the money would be pulled out in line with the 20 per cent ceiling approved by the Pension Reform Act for investment.

“We have N10tn in the contributory pension fund today, and it keeps growing because more young people are coming into the workforce”, he added.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State, Budget, Mr Clement Agba, gave an update to NEC on the balances in the Excess Crude Account; Stabilisation Account; and the Natural Resource Fund for Development.

Agba said as of January 21, the balance in the ECA was $321.3m, while the stabilisation account had N21.8bn.

Published in World
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