Real Madrid Without Ronaldo Unimaginable – Zidane

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane on Wednesday dismissed media speculation linking superstar Cristiano Ronaldo with a move away from the Bernabeu.

“I can’t imagine a Madrid without Cristiano,” said the Frenchman, a World Cup winner as a player.

“He’s in his club. Everyone, the club, the fans, want him.

“We know what can be said outside but within, what Cristiano must do is just think about playing as he has been doing, and that’s what I want, to talk only about his attitude and what he can bring us.”

With the January transfer window open, speculation has been rife over a possible exit for Ronaldo from the Spanish capital, with former club Manchester United a rumoured eventual destination.

Some have been trying to read an intent to leave into his attitude but Zidane insists Ronaldo has only one focus.

“I speak with Cristiano about the pitch and when he comes here he only talks about the pitch and that’s best for everyone,” added the coach who has led Real to back-to-back Champions League victories as well as last season’s La Liga title.

Real, though, have struggled this season and are down in fourth in La Liga following Saturday’s shock 1-0 defeat at home to Villarreal.

That left them a mammoth 19 points behind eternal rivals Barcelona. They have a Spanish Cup clash against Leganes on Thursday and having finished second in their Champions League group to Tottenham and with a last 16 clash against Paris Saint-Germain to come, the domestic cup looks their likeliest route to silverware this season.

“It’s not a final but we know that every match we have now is hugely important,” added Zidane.

AFP

Gaidam Signs 2018 Budget Into Law

The Yobe State, Governor Ibrahim Gaidam, has signed the 2018 budget into law.

Assenting to the bills at the Government House in Damaturu the Yobe state capital, Governor Gaidam said the bills provide for a total expenditure of N92,182,336,000 and remain the same as presented except for some internal adjustments made thereby decreasing the allocation for recurrent services and increasing allocation of the funds earmarked for the execution of capital projects.

The recurrent expenditure of the assented bill according to the governor has been raised to N46, 753, 805, 000, 00 by the state assembly while the sum of N45, 428, 531, 000, 00 is an earmark for capital expenditure and thanks members for the adjustments and expeditious work on the bills.

“This implies that the budget size as presented remains the same except for some internal adjustments made thereby decreasing the allocation for recurrent services and increasing the allocation of the funds earmarked for the execution of the capital programmes”

The budget he said is geared towards service delivery assuring that his administration will continue to evoke ways that will enhance the development of the state.

“During the 2018 fiscal year, we will continue to implement our planned programme to build on the successes recorded in the previous budgets since our assumption of office nine years ago”

Governor Gaidam also said his administration will step up efforts in revenue generation and remittance to ensure the budget is effectively financed.

“In order to ensure greater successes in the mobilisation of funds, we will give renewed emphasis to our drive for enhancing revenue generation through effective monitoring of internal Revenue collection and remittance,” the governor said.

The Speaker of the State Assembly Adamu Dala-Dogo applauded the focus of the budget which according to him is aimed at addressing the pathetic problems of the internally displaced persons as well as provides more infrastructure, job and wealth creation for the people.

“We expeditiously worked on this budget to ensure its implementation in view of the fact that it will address the problems of the IDPs as well as provides more developmental projects to the people of the state,” the Speaker said.

The asserting of the bills was graced by some members of the National Assembly from the state and beyond as well as politicians and top government functionaries among others.

BREAKING: Niger Delta Avengers Threaten To Resume ‘Deadly’ Attacks

The Niger Delta Avengers has on Wednesday announced its plan to resume deadly attacks on oil installations and facilities in Nigeria’s oil-rich region.

Spokesperson of the militant group Murdoch Agbinibo in a statement which was published on the group’s website said the round of attacks will be the “most deadly and will be targeting the deep sea operations of the multinationals.”

Calling for the restructuring of Nigeria, the group said their plan to attack oil facilities in the oil-rich region of the country is due to killings and division happening in some parts of the country.

“On the 15th of January 2018, being the 62nd historic Remembrance Day of the 1956 discovery of commercial oil by Shell Darcy in the now forgotten and dejected Oloibiri Community in the Niger Delta; the high command of the ND Avengers summoned a meeting of all our operatives from across the Niger Delta to review the progress of our operations so far and deliberate on the planned actions for the future.

“It was agreed in that meeting that the killings and division presently playing out in Nigeria along divergent grounds makes this the perfect time to restructure this country. Our demand unambiguously is for the government to restructure this Country,” the statement read in part.

The group said after announcing a ceasefire in November 2017, some of the elders in Niger Delta intervened and appealed that they should ceasefire. The Avengers, therefore, said they are disappointed because the elders have not achieved any result.

“On the 3rd of November 2017 we promised to reactivate “operation red economy” but as usual some over patriotic elders intervened and appealed as they have done twice before then for us to avail them some more time to attend to the demands of the Niger Delta as championed by the Niger Delta Avengers.

“That we have not achieved any meaningful results despite the opportunities we have availed the Niger Delta elders means that they are either irresponsible or the Nigerian government is not sincere with them as it is their trade in stock.”

The group said they have resolved not to listen to the Niger Delta elders and all they wish for is Nigeria’s restructuring and a control the resources of oil-rich Niger Delta.

“We wish to state in plain terms that anybody against restructuring is an enemy of this country and particularly an enemy of the Niger Delta Avengers. We want to control our resources and directly use them to better our lot instead of been enslaved and made to beg before crumbs are released in a dress rehearsal-like manner to intervention agencies that are ineffective.

“While 1 Billion Dollars from the excess crude account is been released to fight a Boko Haram in the North; successive government acts blind to the very bold array of challenges our region from which this wealth is generated is facing.”

The group also accused the Nigerian Army of releasing 244 members of the Boko Haram sect to Borno state government while thousands of innocent Niger Delta youths suffer in various prisons across the country and demanded the release of Niger Delta activists held captive.

“It is on the above premise that we are demanding the immediate release of all Niger Deltans Activists and Freedom Fighters that are held captive by the Nigeria Armed Forces.”

“Buhari Has Left Governance In The Hands Of Cabals In Aso Villa”

Senator representing Bauchi Central Senatorial district has taken a swipe at President Muhammadu Buhari, saying, he was never in charge of governance, but has left the nation in the hands of cabals in the Villa.

In his contribution on the floor of the Senate, Misau wondered at the composition of the executive, saying that Ministers have failed woefully in discharging their responsibilities.

“Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, President Buhari is not in charge, but the cabals. They determine who and who to be appointed.”

“During our New year holiday, cabals in the Presidency became suspicious that the Senate President may defect to PDP, so they have made up their minds to initiate impeachment moves against him’, Misau alleged.

Calling names, he said: “The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami was almost a nuisance.”.

He faulted the recent appointment of a Director General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

According to him, the newly appointed DG has failed his career exams twice but got appointed as Senior Special Assistant, foreign matters before the development.

The lawmaker was saddened that government was derelicting in the implementation of policies that would have better the lot of Nigerians.

Meanwhile, Senator Abdullahi Adamu representing Nasarawa South Senatorial district differed strongly that all arms of government were a subset of each other.

He explained that failure of the executive was also the failure of legislative arm.

He urged decorum rather than making sweeping statements by Senators, adding that Senators as statesmen should not be antagonistic to the executive.

BREAKING: Gunmen Kill Two Policemen, Abduct Canadian, American In Kaduna

Gunmen suspected to be kidnappers have killed two policemen and abducted two foreigners – an American and a Canadian – in Kaduna State.

Spokesman for the Kaduna State Police Command, Mr Mukhtar Aliyu, confirmed to Channels Television on Wednesday that the incident took place in Kagarko Local Government Area of the state.

Mr Aliyu said the gunmen ambushed the vehicle of the two foreigners along the Jere-Kargao Road at on Tuesday night while they were returning to Abuja from Kafanchan.

According to him, the two policemen who were attached to the vehicle were shot dead during an exchange of gunfire with the kidnappers who later took away the foreigners to an unknown destination.

The Command’s spokesman, however, said operatives of the Anti-Kidnnappimg Unit have been deployed to rescue the American and Canadian, as well as apprehend and arrest their abductors.

BREAKING: Six Killed In Fresh Attacks On Benue Communities

Suspected herdsmen have killed six people in fresh attacks on Benue communities.

The attacks were said to have been on communities in Logo, Guma and Okpokwu Local Government Areas of Benue State.

Governor Samuel Ortom confirmed the attacks on Wednesday when he received a former military administrator of the state, Brigadier General Dominic Oneya (retd), at the Government House in Makurdi.

Oneya (rtd) had led a delegation on a condolence visit to the governor.

Day Old Baby Of Deaf/ Dumb Mother Disappears From Kaduna Hospital

A day old baby, whose parents were deaf and dumb has allegedly been stolen by a woman hours after delivery in Kaduna State.

The State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Hafsat Baba revealed this on Wednesday, saying investigation has commenced on the disappearance of the baby from Yusuf Dantsoho General Hospital.

Baba said her ministry was liaising with that of Health to unravel the circumstances that led to the disappearance of the baby.

“We are working to ensure that the baby is traced and returned to her mother,’’ she said. We are appealing to the ministry of health to thoroughly investigate all personnel on duty at the time.

“We are also involving the Nigeria Civil Defence Corps Child Protection Desk to conduct their investigations on the matter.

“This not the first this is happening at Yusuf Dantsoho , and this has given us a bad image as a government in the eyes of the public ,’’ the commissioner added.

The mother of the baby, Salamatu Kabir, went through Cesarean section at the hospital and was recuperating when the baby girl was stolen.

( NAN )

Man Docked For Slapping Another In Osun

By Nofisat Marindoti

A 47-year old man, Osho Adewale has been arraigned before a Magistrate Court in Osogbo, State of Osun capital over alleged assault.

Prosecutor Fagboyinbo Abiodun told the court that the accused on the 11th of January at Lake Side Hotel in Dada Estate, assaulted one Oguntayo Awodele when he (Adewale) slapped him on the face, adding that the offence contravened section 351 of the Criminal Code Cap 34, vol. II, Laws of Osun State of Nigeria 2003.

The accused however pleaded not guilty of the charge preferred against him.

In his ruling, Magistrate Fatimo Sodamade granted the accused bail of N50,000 with one surety in like sum and adjourned the case till February 5, 2018.

Police Threaten To Impound Vehicles With Concealed Number Plates In Niger

The Niger State Police Command has said that it will soon commence impounding vehicles with concealed number plates, adding that the drivers of such vehicles will be arrested and prosecuted.

The police, in a statement, said the illegal concealment of vehicle number plates had been traced to increasing cases of kidnapping and other criminal acts in the state.

The statement signed by the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mohammad Abubakar, an assistant superintendent of police (ASP), added that: “The police command will not hesitate to arrest any person or group of persons seen to be driving vehicles with concealed plate numbers and whoever is arrested will be charged to court in accordance with the provisions of the Road Traffic Act.”

He expressed dismay that members of the public including top government officials drove their vehicles with covered number plates in the state.

Abubakar said that the command had directed all Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) to enforce the provisions of the Act.

Victor Umeh Receives Certificate Of Return

The winner of the Anambra Central Senatorial election and former National Chairman of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, (APGA), Victor Umeh has received his Certificate of Return.

Mr Umeh who visited the office Headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in Abuja on Wednesday was presented with his certificate by National Commissioner in charge of South East, Prof. Ibeanu.

Umeh swept to victory in Saturday’s poll by a landslide, securing 64,879 votes. None of the 13 other contestants in the election got up to a thousand votes.

Consequently, INEC returned him as the winner of the rerun election on Sunday morning.

See full result as below:

1. Oyeh Mercy Uche – A – 35
2. Hon. Oby Kate Okafor – ACD – 33
3. Chief Anayo A. Nweke – ADC – 57
4. Sen. Chris Ngige – APC – 975
5. Chief Sir Victor Umeh – APGA – 64,879
6. Christopher A. Chukwendu – GPN – 48
7. Okafor Ikechukwu – ID – 14
8. Chief Denis Oguguo – KOWA -12
9. Kingsley Chukwuma Nwofor – LP – 95
10. Ekweozo C. Nkem – MPPP – 111
11. Ubakamma J. Ikenna – NCP – 72
12. Rev. Charles O. Ekwueme – PDC – 5
13. Igwilo Michael C. – PPA – 116
14. Ikechukwu F. Obiekwe – UPP – 55

Flanagan Sentenced For Assault

Liverpool defender John Flanagan was sentenced to rehabilitation and 40 hours of unpaid work on Wednesday, having pleaded guilty to attacking his girlfriend.

The 25-year-old full-back admitted an offence of common assault by beating at a hearing on January 2.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that he kicked his partner Rachael Wall in a central street in the northwest English city in the early hours of December 22.

District judge Wendy Lloyd sentenced Flanagan to a 12-month community order, which includes 15 rehabilitation activity days, 40 hours of unpaid work, £85 court costs ($117, 96 euros) and an £85 victim surcharge.

“You are, of course, a young man of previous good character and therefore it’s undoubtedly sad that you have brought yourself here by your behaviour,” she said.

“It was a matter of this lady going to the floor twice and you used your foot on her on one occasion.”

The court saw security camera footage which showed Flanagan hitting his girlfriend before pushing her against a wall twice and then kicking her.

His lawyer Lionel Grieg told the court: “He deeply regrets his behaviour and there is genuine remorse.

“They are back together and working very hard at the relationship.”

Liverpool-born Flanagan has made more than 50 first-team appearances for the Reds since making his debut aged 18.

He has captained Liverpool and made an appearance for England as a substitute in 2014.

Flanagan spent last season on loan at Burnley after 20 months out due to knee surgery.

He has featured only once for Liverpool this season.

© AFP