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Carlo Ancelotti: Alex Iwobi fit, available for Everton’s trip to Watford

Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti is ready to call on fit-again Alex Iwobi for their Premier League encounter against Watford on Saturday.

Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti is ready to call on fit-again Alex Iwobi for their Premier League encounter against Watford on Saturday.

Iwobi is yet to play for the Goodison Park outfit since he suffered a hamstring injury during a league match against former club, Arsenal in December, and he has missed their last seven games across all competitions.

Ahead of their weekend trip to Vicarage Road, Ancelotti confirmed Iwobi is in contention to make his 17th league appearance of the season against the Hornets but Ivory Coast’s Jean Philippe Gbamin is yet to recover fully from a thigh injury that has kept him out of action since August.

“Richarlison is okay and has trained all week. This week we had only Gbamin out, the others are all fit and in good condition,” Ancelotti told Everton TV.

“Richarlison and Iwobi are available [to face Watford]. Gylfi Sigurdsson is available.

“So it will be difficult to choose my line-up.”

Everton, placed 12th in the Premier League table, will be looking to secure maximum points at Watford after settling for back-to-back draws in their last two away games.

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IPPIS: ASUU threatens no-pay-no-work action

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) University of Agriculture Makurdi (UAM) chapter, has resolved to down tools should the Federal Government fail to pay it’s members their monthly entitlements on account of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

ASUU UAM Chairman, Dr. Ameh Ejembi, disclosed this to newsmen shortly after their emergency meeting with which held at the Science Lecture Theatre of the university on Thursday evening.

He said if the Federal Government stops their salaries because of IPPIS, they will “down tools the following minute because the principle is if there is no pay there won’t be work.

‘We will not continue with work if nothing is paid to us for what we have already done,” Ejembi said while reacting to last week’s directive by the Federal Government to withhold funds to federal universities, polytechnics and colleges of education that have not enrolled on IPPIS.

He noted that such a directive violates the principle of collective bargaining because “every worker has right to his welfare.”

According to Dr. Ejembi, lectures enrolling on IPPIS is a violation of the autonomy of universities and a contradiction of the superiority of the Governing Councils in the control and management of university funds, employment, discipline and promotion of staff.

Meanwhile, Comrade Alex Odiyi, a resource person at the national secretariat of ASUU, who met with the union at UAM “to get them prepared in response to any action of government with respect to its decision not to pay on account of refusal to enrol in IPPIS” says the national secretariat of the union has “decided to invoke no- pay-no-action,” rule.

He said in rejecting the Federal Government’s IPPIS, ASUU had presented a “workable alternative,” adding that the university system has a way of running its things.

“Our alternative is full proof and will protect the autonomy of the university. It is called Universities Transparency and Accountability Solution. While it ensures accountability in the university, it will also do same for government so that government will know how much it is spending and check the excesses,” Comrade Oniyi says.

Last year, ASUU-Nsukka Zone comprising ASUU branches from Benue State University (BSU) Makurdi, Enugu State University of Technology (ESUT), University of Agriculture Makurdi (UAM), Federal University Lokoja (FULokoja), Federal University Wukari (FUWukari), Kogi State University Anyiagba (KSU) and University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), warned that the extant legal provisions and negotiated agreements arising from the peculiarities of Nigerian universities had made the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) of the Nigerian Government inappropriate for the country’s universities.

The union therefore, requested the Federal Government to allow it “develop an alternative to IPPIS which can take care of the peculiarities of the university system with different levels of control and can be accessed periodically to monitor compliance with regulations on transparency and accountability by each university as is practised in other African universities especially in Legon, Ghana.”

According to c of optimal functioning of Nigerian universities can be done “by addressing the perennial shortfall in the funding of universities. This can be done by releasing funds for the capital projects on quarterly basis to enable proper planning in the university system.

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CAN: National Assembly’ve confirmed Nigeria is under siege

Christian Association of Nigeria | CAN
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Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has aligned with the call by the National Assembly (NASS) for the immediate removal of the Service Chiefs, saying the federal lawmakers have confirmed that the country is under siege.

Kwamkur Vondip, CAN’s Director of Legal and Public Affairs, said the Church was excited that the NASS had come to terms with the need for urgent steps to be taken towards addressing Nigeria’s security problems.

He lambasted the Federal Government for denying that Nigeria’s security situation is on a nosedive, and called on the international community to support the country to take necessary steps towards improving the situation.

He said: “The statement by the National Assembly confirms that fact that something is wrong with the nation.

“Unlike the abusive stance of those in the Presidency, the National Assembly has come to terms with the reality Nigerians face on a daily basis.

“We know the current leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives were handpicked by the Presidency but because the lawmakers were elected by the people to legislate on their behalf, their consciences did not let them shy away from speaking truth to power on the need to sack the Service Chiefs for obvious reasons.

“But, in all, the call by the National Assembly also confirms what the Church has been saying concerning the heavy state of insecurity that needs urgent attention.

“We suspect that the Federal Government either has its hands soiled in the worsening security situation or is bereft of ideas and solutions for tackling the security challenges facing Nigerians.

“But it is a shame that the Presidency has not accepted the fact that it needs to act fast and be open to help from the international community towards tackling insecurity.

“The National Assembly has also confirmed the fact that some of the Service Chiefs have overstayed in office. Some of them are due to retire, but you can see he is not even ready to let them go.

“The Federal Government should only reward rose doing well but the President commends them for a job well done but Nigerians are not feeling the impact of their work.”

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Man contracts coronavirus from wife in US

Disinfecting a street in Wuhan on Thursday. Hector Retamal-Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

US health officials on Thursday said they have identified the first case of a person who had caught the 2019 Novel Coronavirus from another person on American soil, a man who contracted the illness from his wife.

“The second person in Illinois testing positive for the Novel Coronavirus is a Chicago resident and is the spouse of the first confirmed travel associated case in Illinois,” said Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The first confirmed case concerned a woman in her sixties who had recently traveled to Wuhan. Her husband did not travel to China.

Jennifer Layden, the state’s chief medical officer, said the man’s condition was “stable” and that his situation was exacerbated by some underlying medical conditions.

Both federal and state officials, however, stressed that the pathogen is not spreading widely in communities and the overall risk to Americans remains low.

The latest case brings to six the overall number of confirmed patients with the virus in the US.

As of Thursday, some 7,700 cases have been confirmed in China, its country of origin, with at least 170 fatalities.

The virus has spread from the city of Wuhan across China to more than 15 countries, with about 60 cases in Asia, Europe, North America and, most recently, the Middle East.

No deaths have been attributed to the virus outside China.

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President Buhari meets Goodluck Jonathan, assures ex-president of protection — in pictures

Former President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday paid an unscheduled visit to the Presidential Villa, Abuja, where he briefly met with President Muhammadu Buhari.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday paid an unscheduled visit to the Presidential Villa, Abuja, where he briefly met with President Muhammadu Buhari.

Newsmen report that the meeting between the retired general and Jonathan, which was held behind closed door, lasted about 10 minutes.

Newsmen report that Jonathan’s mission to the villa was unknown as he did not speak to newsmen.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday paid an unscheduled visit to the Presidential Villa, Abuja, where he briefly met with President Muhammadu Buhari.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday paid an unscheduled visit to the Presidential Villa, Abuja, where he briefly met with President Muhammadu Buhari.

Newsmen, however, gathered that the former president was on a “thank you” visit to the president, who recently consoled him over an attack on his country home, Otuoke, Bayelsa, by unknown gunmen last December.

Buhari reassured Jonathan of his safety and security.

The President had put a call through to his predecessor to sympathise with him over the attack.

During the attack, three of the gunmen were killed, while a soldier also died.

The former president last visited the presidential villa on October 10, 2019.

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Coronavirus: Nigeria issues China travel advisory

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The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has said Nigeria will not be stopping passengers from China from entering the country once they have been screened at the airport, in the wake of the outbreak of Coronavirus.

He, however, advised Nigerians and non-Nigerians planning to travel to China to suspend their trips, if possible, until further notice.

Mr Ehanire, while briefing journalists after the Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja on Wednesday, said the government is issuing the caution due to the spread of new virus across countries.

He said it has become necessary to issue a travel advisory to Nigerians “as this is one of the ways to prevent the exportation of the disease into the country.”

The minister advised all intending travellers to China to delay their travel plans “except it is extremely essential for them to do that trip”.

He also added that “all persons arriving from China or any country that has a major outbreak, even if they have no symptoms at all, to self isolate, meaning that they stay indoors in their homes for at least two weeks”.

“… and if they develop any symptoms, like cough, catarrh, sneezing, breathing difficulties within this period, to report to the nearest health facility,” he added.

Meanwhile, the minister asked Nigerians to remain calm as the NCDC is coordinating surveillance activities in the country.

He said “we are also advising all airlines to report any case of a passenger falling sick on-board before the plane lands.

“That is a requirement in the agreement. Nigerian Port Health Services, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control are on alert at our airports and other points of entry.”

Ehanire said though the government does not have statistics on the number of Chinese returning to this country, “those returning are free to come into the country to work if they have met with the conditions stated earlier.”

“… but what I can tell you is that for those who traveled and meet the conditions we mentioned can come back to their work.

“I also want to remind you that there are very many Nigerians in China who will be coming home, not only Chinese and other people who have work to do in Nigeria from that area. We are not using your nationality as a criterion, we are using your state of health,” he said.

Public health agencies around the world has been on high alert since the report of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in China.

The outbreak, which started from Wuhan province in December and as at January 28, has spread across all provinces except one in the country.

The disease has also been exported to about 15 countries and there are uncertainties as to how many countries would be reporting confirmed cases of the disease any time soon.

Based on the ferocity of the spread of the disease, most cities in China are already on lockdown and millions of people in the country have been quarantined.

As at last count, the death toll from the disease in China has risen to 106 and more cases are still being reported.

The sporadic spread also made many countries intensify surveillance at the various borders and points of entry, especially airports.

Although there is still lack of adequate information on the pattern of the disease, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed that the disease can be transmitted from person to person.

It was at first thought that the disease could only be transmitted from animals to humans, but new evidence is proving otherwise.

The status of the disease has raised concerns among the public and health workers across the globe as many have been clamouring for WHO to declare the disease a global threat.

WHO Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, on Wednesday said he would be reconvening an emergency committee on Thursday to determine the status of the outbreak.

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My husband loves alcohol more than his children – woman tells court

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A middle-aged woman, Mrs Adigun Aina, on Wednesday prayed for the dissolution of her marriage to Mr Adigun Oluwaseun, in a Grade “C” Customary Court, sitting in Iseyin, over her husband’s alleged addiction to alcohol.

Aina who told the court that she could no longer cope with her husband’s drinking habit, said, “My husband loves alcohol more than me and his two children.

”He spends all his money on alcohol. He has refused to change, in spite of interventions from his family.

”I am sick and tired of this situation and I want a divorce my lord, “ she said.

The President of the Court, Chief Adelodun Raheem, summoned Oluwaseun to appear on Feb. 17.

Raheem adjourned the matter untill Feb 17, for further hearing.

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Boko Haram: It’s uncharitable for anyone to diminish sacrifices of military – Yoruba group

The Nigerian Army has said that its troops have again successfully dislodged Boka Haram-Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists at Malam Fatori in Abadam Local Government Area of Borno.

The Progressive Yoruba Youth Congress (PYYC) says it is uncharitable for any individual or group to diminish the Nigerian military leadership as well as the enormous sacrifices of officers and soldiers in the war against terrorism.

According to the south-west socio-political group, the Nigerian military has turned the tide against the Boko Haram/ISWAP since 2016 hence deserve maximum support from Nigerians.

PYYC made this known at a press conference on Monday, accusing the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) of heating the polity through unguarded utterances laced with ulterior motives.

In a statement jointly signed by Kola Salawu and Majekodunmi Omolola, president and secretary respectively, PYYC commended President Muhammadu Buhari for providing the necessary succour to the military’s top shots, visible in troops’ morale.

However, the Yoruba youths were critical of some groups, engaged in acts to divide the nation and demoralise the gallant troops.

PYYC accused the Christian umbrella body of partisanship, making unguided claims counter-productive in the fight against terrorism and capable of pitching the Christians against the Muslims.

The Yoruba group, therefore, concluded that CAN and its likes who have failed to recognise the remarkable sacrifices of the military’s leadership and troops in the frontline does not have the interest of the country at heart.

“The Progressive Yoruba Youth Congress, a socio-cultural organization, consisting of youth from southwest Nigeria, put together this press conference to shed light on some of the challenges facing the country with regards to the fight against terrorism.

We wish to state that the issue of terrorism in Nigeria has taken centre stage since the advent of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. This much is evident in the level of commitment exhibited by the quality of appointments in the critical security sector.

As we are all aware, the Boko Haram/ISWAP agenda is indeed a politically motivated one in the sense that it has been established that there are willing collaborators that have continued to provide them with logistical support to aid their nefarious activities.

There is also another group that has elected to serve the interest of Boko Haram/ISWAP through the propagation of propaganda aimed towards giving the Boko Haram/ISWAP group the needed psychological support through their actions manifest in unguarded utterances in the public space.

The Progressive Yoruba Youth Congress wishes to state that despite the level of commitment displayed by the political leadership in Nigeria in the fight against terrorism, the Boko Haram/ISWAP group has continued to be emboldened to confront the Nigerian Military in the theatre of war in North-East Nigeria because of the activities of some groups.

The war against terrorism in Nigeria has received wide commendation from numerous quarters. However, some groups that ideally ought to be engaged in acts that would promote peace have been engaged in acts that divide us rather than unite us.

Their utterances in recent times have been counter-productive in the fight against terrorism, and concerned stakeholders in Nigeria have highlighted this much. Despite overwhelming evidence of political colouration and the involvement of the leadership of CAN in partisan politics, they have carried out with reckless abandon and bringing the Christian faith into disrepute.

The leadership of CAN has continued with their agenda of pitching the Christians against the Muslims by painting the Boko Haram/ISWAP activities as an agenda against the Christian faith in Nigeria.

The Christian Association of Nigeria has fallen below expectations because it has instead elected to play politics at the detriment of providing sound counsel to the Christian adherents in Nigeria. If this is not the case, then one wonders how and why such an organisation would label the threat posed by the Boko Haram/ISWAP group as a religious war.

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US visa restriction against Nigerians, commendable – Ex-Lagos deputy governor

Sinatu Aderoju Ojikutu

A former Lagos State Deputy Governor, Alhaja Sinatu Ojikutu, has said American President Donald Trump deserves commendation for extending his visa restriction policy to Nigeria.

Ojikutu said with the American visa restriction, Nigerians would now learn to sit at home to develop and invest in their country rather than junketing around the world, searching for greener pastures.

The former Lagos deputy governor also commended the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for blocking all the channels through which people used to steal public funds.

Ojikutu spoke on Tuesday in Lagos at a town hall meeting organised by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project in collaboration with UKAid to “sensitise and encourage citizens to participate in and embrace the war against corruption”.

Speaking during the general comments session, Ojikutu said Nigerians must support anti-graft war because corruption was ruining the country.

She said, “Nigeria is a great country; we have no other place to go to. I have lived in England, I have lived in America. Those are the greatest nations but I was a stranger there. When I come to Nigeria, I’m a queen; I’m a princess. So, we should build our country such that people will love to stay here and not exit.

“If we don’t build our country, we are in trouble and it’s getting to that. And I’m very happy with this President Trump for one issue; this issue of staying back home and make your home homely. Why are you coming to where we have made homely? And then, you not only come to where we have made homely but you also come to spoil it for us. The kind of things we buy in their shops, they always wonder where we get that kind of money from. Now, Trump is telling you, whatever you have stolen use it in your country.”

Ojikutu said to end corruption in Nigeria, the fight must start from the homes where parents negatively influence their children who then grow to hold public offices.

“We must start from the source; from the mother and the father, who need to make ends meet and are doing things that are not right in the presence of their children. These are the children who become policemen, judge, governors, legislators because right from home, they were shown that nothing is wrong in stealing,” she said.

Commending the Buhari anti-graft war, Ojikutu said, “In those days, there were ways in which you could get by and take care of yourself because of the loopholes in the system. Then here comes this great man, President Buhari; and he started blocking all the loopholes where all of us were able to wriggle – if you don’t get it on the right, you get it on the left. Now, there is nowhere to get it except you do the right thing. And that is why everybody is now trying to say let us fight corruption.”

The Executive Director, SERAP, Adetokunbo Mumuni, said the town hall meeting became necessary because SERAP had realised that the anti-corruption fight would not go far without Nigerians owning the process.

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