Mediterranean Sea Death: FG Demands Persecution Of Culprits

Nigeria has requested the Italian government to identify and prosecute those involved in the death of young 26 Nigerian girls on the Mediterranean sea.

The request was made by the Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Dame Julie Okah-Donli, in a presentation at the International Conference on “Women Empowerment and the Fight against Trafficking in Persons – The Partnership between Italy and Nigeria,” organised by the President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, Laura Boldrini.

A statement by Head, Press and Public Relations of NAPTIP, Josiah Emerole, quoted Okah-Donli as frowning at the haste with which the girls were buried without full disclosure of their proper identities and nationalities

She expressed sadness that the remains of the girls were buried on November 17, 2017, just a day after Italian Embassy in Nigeria had communicated to her during a meeting with the Ambassador and through an email that the remains would be buried on November 26, 2017.

The NAPTIP boss spoke in Italy at various fora with officials of the Nigerian Embassy in Italy, officials of some sister Agencies and the Nigerian community in her attempt to unravel the mystery behind the recent deaths of Nigerian migrants at the Mediterranean Sea.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara led the Nigerian delegation to the conference.In her presentation, Okah-Donli conveyed the anger and sadness of the Nigerian people over the news of the death of the young girls especially without proper profiling of their identities and circumstances of their death.

”We demand that those who are involved in the gruesome death of these girls be properly identified and prosecuted,” she said. she challenged the Italians and other destination countries to equally show good faith by prosecuting their own nationals engaged in the obnoxious trade, adding, “if there is no buyer the trade will die off’.”

She also asked the Italians to always engage in full disclosure when their nationals are involved. She requested them to implement to the letter the Palermo Protocol especially with victims care and support rather than treat the victims especially those from Nigeria as criminals.

The Director-General explained that while a good number of Nigerian victims voluntarily opt to migrate for the purpose of seeking better living conditions, others were lured into being trafficked without knowing the consequences of their decisions. She however, added that the desperation has led to the colossal loss of lives of would-be migrants in the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea.

To stem the tide of such dangerous journeys, she explained that the Government of Nigeria has introduced a number of economic and social measures to reverse this unfortunate trend with a view to ameliorating the living conditions that force young Nigerians to migrate.

During her meetings, she was informed that out of the 26 dead girls, only three were positively identified as Nigerians while the other 23 were from other nationalities. She was also informed that two persons have been arrested in connection with the incident.

As at the time she left Italy, the Nigerian Embassy was still awaiting a formal response to the request for a proper report on the matter from the Italian authorities especially with regard to the number of identified Nigerians and their identities.


Alex Ekwueme: Nigeria Has Lost A True Architect Of Democracy – Aregbesola

Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has described the demise of former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, as the end of an era for one of the finest politicians the nation has produced.

Aregbesola, in a statement signed by his Media Adviser, Mr.  Sola Fasure, said Ekwueme’s exit is a big blow to the nation, which wounds will linger for a very long time.

Aregbesola stated that until his death, the former Vice President served the country in the highest capacity with such untiring gusto uncommon among politicians of his age bracket.

The statement also averred that though Dr Ekwueme finally succumbed to death after battling with old age related illness, he had a glorious exit, having lived for 85 fulfilling years.

The Governor noted that Ekwueme was one of the architects of the democracy we now enjoy, being a prominent member of a group of 38 elders who stood firmly to confront military dictatorship and demanded the exit of the soldiers from government.

According the governor, the deceased politician believed in the oneness of the country and exhibited the coolest of temperament never expected of a politician during the power struggle in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) when the nation returned to democratic rule in 1999.

The statement said inter alia: “The death of Dr.  Alex Ekwueme is a huge loss to the country.  The former Vice President was a sound academic and politician who stood for the highest ideal in politics.

“A complete gentleman, urbane,  well-read, temperate and good-natured politician,  Dr.  Ekwueme would never play politics of bitterness.

“He cherished and preferred dialogue to politics of do-or-die. This he exhibited almost to a fault in the ensuring power struggles to select the presidential candidate in his party in 1999 and 2003.

“He was a politician with a large heart and spirit of sportsmanship. He would never rock the boat of his party but would rather forego his ambition in order to have peace.

“Dr.  Ekwueme was also a team player. His working relationship with President Shehu Shagari in the Second Republic was a clear testimony to this.

“He was a stabilising force of uncommon hue, who was always ready to mend fences with anyone willing to associate with him.

“It is this same conciliatory approach he employed in all his political dealings and to the nation’s problems as well. His wealth of experience and erudition in social and political affairs and participations will certainly be missed by the entire country.

“On behalf of my family, the government and good people of the State of Osun, I send heartfelt condolences to the immediate and extended family of Chief Ekwueme, the government and people of Anambra State and the Federal Government of Nigeria through President Muhammadu Buhari.  May the good Lord grant the repose his soul in his next estate.”

Ex-Nigerian VP, Alex Ekwueme Is Dead

Nigeria’s former Vice President, Alex Ekwueme, has passed on.

According to a statement from his family said he died at a London clinic on Sunday.

The statement, signed by his brother and the traditional ruler of Oko in Anambra State, Igwe Laz Ekwueme, said Mr. Ekwueme died at 10:00 pm.

The statement reads in part: “Ekwueme family regrets to announce the peaceful passing away of their patriarch, the former Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme GCON.

“The sad event occurred at the London Clinic at 10:00 pm on Sunday 19th November 2017.”
The former vice president, who turned 85 in October, reportedly collapsed in his Enugu residence few weeks ago.

He was immediately taken to the Memfys Neurosurgery Hospital, Enugu, where he relapsed and went into a coma.

President Muhammadu Buhari subsequently directed that he be immediately flown abroad for urgent medical treatment.

Mr. Buhari authorised the trip after being briefed on Mr. Ekwueme’s condition.

Born October 21, 1932, Mr. Ekweme was the first elected Vice-President of Nigeria.

He served as deputy to former President Sheu Shagari between 1979 and 1983.

Demystifying The Cock President

By Tunde Odesola

Where on earth is good, old Bongos Ikwue? Yes, Bongos Ikwue, the Idoma crooner, who was both profound and simple in his soulful, folksy and instructive songs such as ‘Amen’, ‘Mariama’, ‘Still Searching’, ‘What’s gonna be, gonna be’, ‘Something Good’, among others. I love his five-minute monster hit, ‘Cock Crow at Dawn’, which shook the airwaves, heralding the United Bank for Africa-sponsored soap of the 1980s, Cock Crow at Dawn, on the Nigerian Television Authority network. Almost like Bob Marley’s Redemption Song, Bongos, with the use of the acoustic guitar takes the listener on a journey to a sane Jos Plateau, the setting of the docudrama in these words:

‘You can hear the bird sing in the morning,

You can hear the water splashing down the hill,

Kind of roaring,

You can see the sun going down

And the people as they go by

Without a frown…’

Drama mirrors life. Cock Crow at Dawn was a Nigerian drama offering. But another drama played out in faraway South Africa a few days ago when a Nigerian living in the Jacob Zuma country gifted the husband of a woman he impregnated a Mercedes G-Wagon for the atonement of his sin. I had thought that a recent online wisecrack, “Politicians are like sperm…one in a million turns out to be human,” was typical of Nigerian political leaders alone. The axiom, ‘like leaders, like followers’, cannot be truer. Unarguably, Nigerian politics is melodramatic; absurd, exaggerated, sensational and overemotional.

As a student of literature, I know that drama and folklore are intertwined. A Yoruba folklore that parodies Nigeria’s political leadership is the myth of the cock and the fox. A very long, long time ago when morality had not become a vice, the cock ruled the animal kingdom. All animals feared the cock because of its red comb, which they took for fire. Then, the fox did not only respect the cock, indeed, it feared the feathery one with the blazing fire on its head. Yes, the fox was in funereal fear of the cock.

Like every mortal with their tragic flaws, the cock eventually dug its own grave by befriending the fox, telling the canine that the fire on its head was just a fleshy piece of red meat, and not fire. Mr Cock broke the Fourth Law of Power as defined by Robert Greene, who warns, ‘Always say less than necessary’.

When he rode into power on May 29, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari had a ball of fire on his head. Everybody feared him, even beautiful Aisha, his wife, never had the guts to criticise his government in public. In the first few months of his reign, many Peoples Democratic Party foxes fled the Nigerian political jungle while those who stayed back were too terror-stricken to whimper. With great expectations, Nigerians looked forward to Aso Rock to open the floodgates and let the cascading river of justice flush the Goodluck Jonathan Augean stable clean. “Ha, Buhari don come! Mr Integrity go catch and jail all those who don thief our money,” was the common expectation of millions of Nigerians whose lives had been ruptured by the misgovernance of the preceding administration.

Politics and drama have the same hue. “Ha, the level of corruption by the ousted Goodluck Jonathan government is sinful! Thank God Nigerians elected Mr Integrity this time round, if not, Nigeria cannot survive the next six months,” said the all-powerful media machinery of the All Progressives Congress when Buhari assumed power with pomp and circumstance. Then came a futile list of the PDP leaders accused of corruption. The list was endless as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission pointed the forefinger at the former First Lady, Patience Jonathan; Senate President Bukola Saraki, and former governors Ali Modu Sheriff (Borno), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Saminu Turaki (Jigawa), Ahmed Yerima (Zamfara), Gabriel Suswam (Benue), James Ibori (Delta), Martin Elechi (Ebonyi), Danjuma Goje (Gombe), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Ikedi Ohakim (Imo), Peter Odili (Rivers), among others.

The anti-corruption agency also levelled corruption charges against a former Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke; a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki; former PDP spokesperson, Olisa Metuh, a former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode; and some ministers and aides of former President Goodluck Jonathan, whose most popular quote, “stealing is not corruption”, stuck out like the sinister horn on a rhinoceros.

Upon the cock’s ascension to power, the foxes watched the red comb from afar and cringed deeper into what Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, once described as a “nest of killers”. What else could foxes look for in a nest, if not something to devour? Days turned into weeks, weeks turned to months, months turned into a year, yet, the fire on the cock did not burn, despite its crowing daily at dawn. Pitiably, the cock also surrounded itself with ostriches, a species of birds reputable for hypocrisy – for the day-to-day running of the kingdom. Because they are coy, ostriches are, naturally, believable. But the cock’s ostriches appear worse than the foxes as revealed in the corruption morass emerging in the kingdom.

Then, audacity fuelled impunity. Foxes are wise animals, you know. Some soon devised a means to move closer to the white cock, mouthing fake allegiance and repentance. Crushing climax! At a close range, they discovered that the cock could not burn! They found out, to their shock and ultimate relief, that the cock’s beak was broken and its legs, without talons. To their delight, they discovered that the cock’s primary concern was the protection of its feathery ilk and would care less if calamity befell any other member of the animal kingdom. The cock and the ostriches and the foxes now live ever happily after.

And the members of the animal kingdom watch in utter disbelief. What can they do? Forgive or revenge. Forgiveness is a complex factor. A psychological explanation of an absurd type of forgiveness is called the Stockholm Syndrome. In faraway Minneapolis city of Minnesota, USA, a 59-year-old black woman, Mary Johnson, displayed a rare degree of forgiveness when she invited her only child’s killer, Oshea Israel, to not only move into her neighbourhood, but encouraged him to live next door.

Israel, who is now 34, was just 16 when he killed Mary’s son, Laramium Byrd (20), in February 1993, following an argument that occurred at a party. Oshea was tried and convicted as an adult even though he was still a minor as of the time he committed the crime. He received a 25-year jail sentence, but served 17 years before he was released. “Unforgiveness is like cancer, it would eat you from the inside out,” Mary said. “I haven’t totally forgiven myself, I’m learning to forgive myself,” a remorseful Oshea said.

Every four years is the year of accountability in the animal kingdom. It is the year when each animal leader would give an account of how it used its potential. 2019 is another four years. Would the animal kingdom allow the cock another four-year term of inertia? It is unlikely the foxes and ostriches would develop a fresh fear and respect for the cock, anyway. Who is the messiah to salvage the animal kingdom from imminent atrophy? Have the members of the kingdom learnt the lesson not to mistake appearance for reality again? Would the animals, like the South African husband, whose wife was impregnated, forgive and vote the cock again? And what would the members of the animal kingdom collect in atonement for sin, a Mercedes G-Wagon or a measly plate of ‘tuwo’?

The kingdom does not know the reason why this cock, unlike his predecessors, does not have a middle name.

It sure knows, however, that the wind has blown, and the rump of the cock is exposed.

Odesola, a former PUNCH journalist, is now based in the United States.

Denmark Gives Tips On How To Tackle Corruption In Nigeria

The Danish Ambassador to Nigeria, Torben Gettermann, has said that it was important for Nigerians to understand that eradication of corruption would not happen overnight.

While speaking in Lagos on Tuesday, Gettermann said that the fight to end corruption in any country would be gradual and continuous.

According to him, the fight to end corruption anywhere will require the understanding and commitment of the citizenry.

“I am not going to say that Denmark is the least corrupt country in the world, but we have, for five years now, been number one on that index.

“Nigerians must know that corruption is a problem that has been ingrained; so, they must know that fighting against corruption should be worked on continuously with a focus that you are going to eradicate it,” he said.

Gettermann said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts at fighting corruption would succeed with the determination of Nigerians to desist from corrupt practices in public and private engagements.

The ambassador commended the Federal Government’s commitment to creating the right environment for ease doing business.

He said that more Danish companies had indicated interest in doing business and increasing investment in Nigeria.

“The way the Nigerian Federal Government is currently focused and deliberately working at changing the way business is done is quite encouraging.

“We are really working at making more Danish companies export to the Nigerian market what Nigerians really need.

“We would like to see a trade balance between the two countries,’’ he said.


Nigeria Among 10 Economies With Ease Of Doing Business

Nigeria was named among the 10 economies showing the most notable improvement in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business list published on Tuesday. It rose 24 places in the ranking of countries to 145th place. Nigeria this year introduced initiatives aimed at improving the business environment, such as new systems to speed up the processing of visas for executives.



Local and foreign business leaders have long complained that red tape, mismanagement and corruption have made it difficult to operate in Africa’s most populous country, which has the continent’s largest economy.



“Three Sub-Saharan African economies – Nigeria, Malawi and Zambia – made it to the list of 10 top improvers in 2016/17,” stated the report.



It said Nigeria made the process of starting a business faster by introducing the electronic approval of registration documents, improved access to credit information and introduced a centralized electronic system to pay federal taxes.



President Muhammadu Buhari said the report “reflects our efforts to make it easy for foreign business visitors to obtain visa on arrival, pass through our airports and do their businesses with ease and speed”.



The annual World Bank report covered the period from June 2 last year to June 1 this year.

Nigerian Gets Loud Standing Ovation From Obama Over Speech

A Nigerian, who is the co-founder of Debola Lagos was given a standing ovation after ending his remarks at the Obama Summit Held in Lagos Recently.

The Nigerian who harped on the need for those in positions of authority to remember that the Highest office in Nigeria is not of the country but of the citizen.

Extemporating from this angle, Debola Lagos argued that the citizens are important and they are the major needed component of the society.

He maintained that the time has come for powerful men and women in the nation to come to terms with the fact that the Citizens are those who determine the fate of Politicians.

The speech goat a loud ovation during the audience who cherished his prowess and intelligence to delivering such a speech including the Immediate Past President of the United States, Mr Barack Obama.

The development has also spanked a high level of attraction on Social Media or Instagram Page with many seeking an audience to meet with the speaker.

Accelerating Nigeria’s Progress By Rasak Musbau

Who is denying that Nigeria has structural problem? It is quite evident that the major issues with our country revolve round our disheveled structure, weak institutions and scrawny values. The country has proved too large and inefficient for the centralized management of many of our institutions. Central control of many vital institutions and major sources of revenue have stifled the democratic context within which federation thrives best.



 It is this anomaly that defines the mismanagement of our institutions and infrastructure. To correct the anomaly and ensure efficient working of the nation’s institutions, every patriotic Nigerian wants a true federal system, where each component unit or region is imbued with attributes of a semi-autonomous entity.



 At this point in time, however, beyond restructuring and true federalism, there are certain attitudinal problems which have to be addressed simultaneously if we want real growth and development. All too often we show no sign of understanding that we are, each and every one of us, relevant and important to the fate of our country. Instead of drawing on our own resources, we are forever looking up to someone else, forever searching for good leaders to see us through.



 Our bane is our resignation to being eternally passive objects of other people’s will, begging on our knees for our rights and entitlements. We want government to stop corruption and yet continually urging motorists to settle corrupt police officers on the road because we cannot sacrifice five minutes delay. We beg, induce and compromise public institution for all form of things and yet still wonder why things are not changing.



Second, we need serious and practical commitment to sharing the burdens and the rewards of citizenship with equity. We often think we are getting justice only when persons from our region are in a position to dominate and oppress others. Once in that position, we hardly ever muster the discipline and objectivity to allow that others have rights. Those who complain vociferously that they are oppressed by the regional distribution of power have no qualms about being oppressive in states that they control; those who complain about being oppressed in their state dish out oppression in generous doses in local government areas under their jurisdiction.



The implications of these tendencies are very grievous. Since for us, political relations invariably reduce to domination and subordination, defeat in political competition is unthinkable, and by the same token, restraint in the pursuit of political power is anathema. Consensus-building and peaceful coexistence are impossible for they demand a disposition to share and a willingness to submit to the demanding discipline of justice.



Thirdly, we must do away with parochial loyalty if we want the country to move forward. Many are more committed to lobby the political executive to ensure that their sons and daughters in the public service get undue favour. Also erring public officials are sometimes protected on the basis of connection with highly placed personalities. This practice therefore has not only served as an incentive for unethical conduct in the public service, but has also de-emphasized the issue of competence and merit. This accounts for lopsidedness in appointment into crucial national institutions and agitation for restructuring.



Fourth, we have to beat the habit of preying on others and consuming without producing. Most politicians view politics as a major industry and a main route to power and wealth. How to make the state or local government under them viable economically is of less concern to them. Invariably, the ruling class is committed to the decadent existing social order which though furthers their class interest, marginalizes the people.



It has now become imperative for us to have renewed education and new attitude to overcome our national problems. We have been turned into perpetual blamers. We blame government, them ‘up there,’ over us ‘below.’ No matter how much less power we feel we have, we are not utterly without power. What we need now is for every one of us to become a leader. We have to start doing the right things and insisting public officers adhere to basic tenets of ethics.



We must educate ourselves that democracy is not just about election but what we do every day. It is not about what is done for us, or done to us, but what we do daily. We must discard all dangerous tendencies of mutual distrust and total lack of confidence in our nation and seemingly inbuilt attitude by many to hate the country. It is dismaying seeing fellow citizens putting up dispositions that show absolute hatred for the country in the guise of fighting those in government. One is not saying that identifying with one’s nation is synonymous with blind followership, but we must embrace basic patriotic inclinations.



26th President of United States of America, Theodore Roosevelt once explained that: “Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country.”



The solution to Nigeria’s problem is neither in sabotaging its economy under any guise, nor in blind loyalty to kinsmen or brethren in faith at the helm of public administration. These are unpatriotic acts. It is however important for one to admit that it is not possible to ignite fire of commitment from citizens whose welfare has become nobody’s business.



This is why Nigerians should always insist on good governance while also putting on creative cap of self-empowerment. The family unit, social organisations, schools and colleges and the media must help people to overcome the shackles of helplessness in the face of our daunting problems.



The media should start projecting models of real powerful people in their news reporting. Here, one is not referring to celebrities, or politicians and CEOs of the corporate world, but real entrepreneurs who started small and grow progressively. These are what will ignite power of, if he can, I can rather than sustaining culture of powerlessness arising from celebration of looters, political and social impostors.



Finally, the following words of anonymous Chinese poet are quite instructive: ‘Hope cannot be said to exist, nor can it be said not to exist, for it is like the roads that cross the earth. In the beginning, there were no roads, but when many people pass one way, a road is made.’ In our case, when many are ready to let the change begin with them, we shall see real change. We should all be the man that will be proud of this country, and the man that this country will be proud of. This is how to move the country forward.

What You Must Know About New SGF Boss Mustapha

Boss Gida Mustapha is a lawyer, management consultant, politician and businessman who has spent several years in Nigeria’s public service.

Born in Adamawa State, Mr. Mustapha attended Hong Secondary School, in Hong Adamawa State and North East College of Arts and Sciences, Maiduguri, Borno State, before sitting for the WASC and HSC in 1976. He earned his Bachelor of Law, LL.B from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1979 and was called to bar in 1980.

Mr. Mustapha did his mandatory service year at the Directorate of Legal Services, Army Headquarters where he was in charge of review of Court Marshall Proceedings.

After service, he joined Sotesa Nigeria Limited, an Italian consultancy firm, as an Executive Director in charge of Administration, and in 1983, he left to join a law firm, Messrs Onagoruwa & Co in Lagos.

With his law practice fully taken off, he was appointed Principal Counsel in the firm, Messrs Mustapha & Associates. One of Mr. Mustapha’s career highlights was his appointment as a member of Interim Management Committee IMC of the defunct Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund (PTF), where he served from 2000 to 2007.

Mr. Mustapha also played leadership roles at the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA serving as Social Secretary and Chairman at the Yola branch.

After his stint at the PTF in 2007, Mr. Mustapha was appointed Principal Partner of the law firm, Adroit Lex.

At various times, he was member Federal Republic of Nigeria Constituent Assembly (1988-1989); Chairman, People’s Solidarity Party – Gongola State (1989-1990) and state chairman, Social Democratic Party-Gongola State (1990-1991).

He was a gubernatorial candidate for SDP in Adamawa state in 1991. He was the Deputy National Chairman of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, from 2010 to 2013. In 2007, he served as the Deputy Director General of the party’s Presidential Campaign Organization. He was a member of NCC and Secretary, APC Presidential Campaign Organization Mobilization (2015) and member, APC Transition Committee (2015). He is also a member, APC Board of Trustees.

He is a member of various professional bodies including African Bar Association, ABA; Commonwealth Lawyers Association; International Bar Association, IBA; and Human Rights Institute (HRI) to mention a few.

Mr. Mustapha’s accomplishments go beyond politics and the Bar; he is respected boardroom guru, having been appointed into the boards of several companies in the manufacturing financial services as well as oil and gas sectors. He is the National Vice President, Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship international Nigeria.

Algeria Assembles Best Players For Nigeria Clash

Algeria with nothing to gain from their last Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier against Nigeria, Coach Rabah Madjer is still bent on assembling the best of the country’s players for the last qualifying game against the Super Eagles.

Nigeria is the only one to have picked the only ticket from Group B of the African qualifying series, which means that the November 10 game is inconsequential as far as qualifying for the competition is concerned.

Yesterday, Madjer, who assumed leadership of the team following Milovan Rajevac’s resignation as manager of the Fennecs, announced a 23-man roster for the match scheduled for the Mohamed-Hamlaoui Stadium in Constantine next week.

Algeria has lost four of their five qualifying matches in Group B, which also houses Cameroun and Zambia.

In the team listed by Madjer are three goalkeepers, nine defenders, five midfielders and six strikers.

Notable among the players are former English Player of the Year, Riyad Mahrez of Leicester City and his teammate, Islam Slimani.

Nabil Bentaleb, who scored in the Algerians’ 1-3 loss to the Eagles in Uyo, is also in the squad alongside Porto midfielder, Yacine Brahimi, RSC Anderlecht’s Sofiane Hanni and Napoli defender, Faouzi Ghoulam.

Algeria Squad
The goalkeepers in the team are Faouzi CHAOUCHI (MC Algiers, Algeria), Chamseddine RAHMANI (CS Constantine, Algeria) and Abdelkadir SALHI (CR Belouizdad, Algeria).

To vie for positions in the defence are Mohamed Khouthir Ziti (ES Setif, Algeria), Youcef Attal (KV Kortrijk, Belgium), Faouzi Ghoulam (SSC Napoli, Italy), Houari Ferhani (JS Kabylie, Algeria), Aissa Mandi (Betis Sevilla, Spain), Liassine Cadamuro -Bentaïba (Nîmes Olympique, France), Rami Bensebaïni (Stade Rennais, France), Ayoub Abdellaoui (USM Alger, Algeria) and Carl Medjani (Sivasspor, Turkey).

The midfielders are Abderraouf Benguit (USM Alger, Algeria), Nabil Bentaleb (FC Schalke 04, Germany), Ismael Bennacer (Empoli FC, Italy), Yacine Brahimi (Porto FC, Portugal) and Abdelmoumen Djabou (ES Setif, Algeria).

Joining MAHREZ and Slimani in the attack are Zinedine Ferhat (Le Havre AC, France), Baghdad Bounedjah (Al Sadd Sport, Qatar), Hilal El Arabi Soudani (Gnk Dinamo Zagreb, Croatia) and Sofiane Hanni (RSC Anderlecht, Belgium).

Immediately after the dead rubber game against Nigeria on November 10, Algeria will meet the Central African Republic in a friendly four days later.

Argentina, Nigerian Match Not Under Threat – NFF

Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has pushed aside a media report that the proposed World Cup international friendly matches on November 14 between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and La Albiceleste of Argentina in Russia have come under a serious threat from the Islamic State (Isis).

However the report yesterday said a group posted a picture of Argentina top star, Lionel Messi in prison. The warped image has Messi in prison attire and depicts the global football icon crying tears of blood. The caption next to his face according to the report reads, “You are fighting a state that does not have a failure in its dictionary.”

Dr. Mohammed Sanusi the Secretary-General of the NFF, told reporters yesterday that such story might be the imagination of some individuals. “We have not seen such story anywhere,” Sanusi said. “It is just imagination of some individuals and I urged Nigerians to take it as a false alarm.”

The report stated that this is the first time a match involving Nigeria will be under a threat by any militant group.

The threat, it further stated, has forced the Argentina Football Association (AFA) to demand special security for Messi and other members of the national team.

But despite this threat, Sports Village Square gathered from the Moscow Times that Argentina’s ambassador to Russia, Ricardo Lagorio, reiterated that the 2018 World Cup would be safe to visit next summer. The ambassador was responding to the terrorist attack threat.

“The aim [of the latest pro-ISIS propaganda] is to frighten people but all the Argentineans that intend to come should come to the World Cup and do so without fear,” Lagorio said.

“I would like to call for calm and to ask people that will come from all over the world to do so without concerns.”

President of AFA, Claudio Tapia, on Thursday, met the Russian ambassador to his country, Victor Koronelli, to discuss the threat posed by ISIS, after the group also published an image alluding to next year’s World Cup in Russia, warning those who visit Russia that they will face attacks.

Before the match with Nigeria, Argentina will play a friendly game with Russia on November 11. The game is billed for Krasnodar in Russia, at the Krasnodar Arena Stadium.

Meanwhile, the 32 national teams competing at the 2018 World Cup will share $400 million in prize money, a 12 percent increase from the 2014 tournament, Fifa said yesterday.
The purse at the previous edition in Brazil was $358 million – $35 million of which was awarded to champions Germany, with runners-up Argentina pocketing $25 million.

By contrast, countries who failed to advance beyond the group stage received $8 million. So, Nigeria stands to make N4.3billion participation at the World Cup in Russia.