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Transfer: James Rodriguez takes final decision on Arsenal move

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James Rodriguez is staying at Bayern Munich until the end of the season “at least,” sources close to the player have told ESPN FC.

The Colombian playmaker has six months left on a two-year loan from Real Madrid, although he has not always been a regular starter since Niko Kovac took over as Bayern coach last summer.

This led to speculation in the British and Italian press, that clubs including Arsenal and Napoli were looking to take advantage of the situation and offer a short term exit as soon as January.

However, the 27-year-old will stay at Bayern for the remainder of his loan deal, with the possibility he would remain in Bavaria for 2019/2020 and beyond.

The 2017 agreement between Madrid and Bayern, includes an option for the Bundesliga giants to make the deal permanent in July 2019, if they pay a reported €42million to add to the €13m loan fee.

2019: Gov. Ortom attacks Buhari, Dambazau over claims on herdsmen

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The Government of Benue State has reacted to a statement credited to Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, in which he said it was impossible to stop the unregulated movement of cattle across Nigerian borders and within the country.

The Minister had said that regulation of herders and their animals was not possible because, according to him, “Nigeria is a signatory to ECOWAS Protocol on free movement.”

In a statement signed and made available to Veloxnews by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Samuel Ortom, Terver Akase, the Benue Government said, “We find the said statement strange coming from a senior member of the current administration.

“Curiously, the Interior Minister’s comments corroborate those of President Muhammadu Buhari a few days ago, when he appeared on a live television programme, The Candidates’.

“The President, who specifically berated Benue State Governor for making a law to ban open grazing, also made the following comments during the programme:

‘I expect a state government to insist on the routes to be re-established in the grazing areas. But to say that cattle cannot move is very difficult.’

“While we do not intend to join issues with the Federal Government on the feasibility of re-establishing cattle routes or its planned ‘implementation of the ECOWAS Protocol’, we will not fail to state that in Benue State, the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017 has provided the needed solution to herders/farmers crisis.

“It is important to emphasize that the Benue State law does not stop the movement of cattle or other livestock. The law only prohibits open grazing of livestock. This provision holds that livestock can be moved from place to place within Benue State but only by vehicles.

Section 19(1) of the law states:

‘No individual or group shall, after the commencement of this law, engage in open nomadic livestock herding or grazing in the State outside the permitted ranches.
Subsections (4 and 5) add that “Movement of Livestock on foot from one destination to another in the State is hereby prohibited. Such movement shall only be by rail wagon, truck or pick-up wagon.

‘Any person(s) found moving livestock on foot within or across urban centres, rural settlements or any part of the State commits an offence…’

“The above provisions of the Ranching Law of Benue State are clear on movement of livestock within Benue and need not be misrepresented as it is currently being done by officials and agents of the Federal Government.

“The Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of Benue State also makes precise provisions on ranching in place of open grazing. The procedure for establishing a ranch is equally stated in the law.

“We wonder why the President and his lieutenants are hell-bent on ensuring that cattle routes are established across the country in the 21st Century when developed nations have long embraced ranching.

“Even if gazetted routes were still in existence, the global best practice of ranching would have necessitated de-gazetting of such routes in Benue as the current population of the state had made the ancient practice of animal husbandry untenable.

“Governor Samuel Ortom had earlier recommended a review of the ECOWAS Protocol to make it more effective, and now that the Federal Government is considering implementation of the protocol, we think it is the best time for the review.

“The current protocol has provisions on procedures for trans human movement within ECOWAS member countries and the provisions should strictly be followed.

“It must be pointed out that the ECOWAS Protocol permits free movement of human beings but not free movement of cattle and other livestock. It certainly does not include the indiscriminate movement of livestock across national boundaries nor does it include the indiscriminate movement of armed gangs masquerading as herdsmen.

“Provisions for quarantine services for livestock and prohibition of movement with arms as well as regulations that apply to human beings must therefore be enforced for improved security in the country.

“Ghana is a member of ECOWAS but cows are not only banned from grazing openly in that country but authorities there order that such cattle be killed. Here in Benue State, our law only provides that livestock which infringe on provisions of the legislation should only be impounded and fines paid, failure of which they are auctioned.

“It is also pertinent to stress that the Open Grazing Prohibition Establishment Law 2017” was enacted by the elected representatives of the people, the Benue State House of Assembly in exercise of its powers as provided for by section 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended). Part 2 of the Second Schedule to the Constitution reinforces the House of Assembly’s power by providing that “a House of Assembly may make Laws for that State with respect to industrial, commercial or agricultural development of the State.”

“With regards to ownership of Benue Lands and the natural resources therein, the Preamble to the Land Use Act which is also a Constitutional provision “… Vests all Land compromised in the territory of each State (except land vested in the Federal government or its agencies) solely in the Governor of the State, who would hold such Land in trust for the people and would be responsible for allocation of land in all urban areas to individuals resident in the State and to organisations for residential, agriculture, commercial and other purposes while similar powers will with respect to non urban areas are conferred on Local Governments. The Benue State Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law is therefore Legal and valid.

“The All Progressives Congress, APC-controlled federal government ought to show greater concern about the frequent attacks and killing of hundreds of Benue people by Jihadists who openly declared their conquest and occupation agenda on the state. The Buhari administration should be bothered that it failed to give the people justice when they demanded it. The Federal Government should be concerned that more than one year after Miyetti Allah groups threatened to attack Benue and carried out their threats, no one has been arrested for interrogation.

“We wish to restate that Benue State Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law has come to stay and no amount of blackmail or intimidation can make the State Government to repeal or suspend the law.”

EPL: Sarri gives latest update on Higuain’s transfer ahead of Arsenal clash

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Chelsea manager, Maurizio Sarri, has said the club’s director, Marina Granovskaia, was “working very hard” to conclude a deal to sign Gonzalo Higuain on loan.

The Blues are close to signing Higuain from Juventus on an initial six-month loan deal, with an option to buy.

Confirmation of the deal has not come in time for Higuain to be eligible to feature against Arsenal on Saturday, but Sarri said he has faith in Granovskaia’s ability to get it over the line after suggesting he recommended that Chelsea sign him at the beginning of January.

“I don’t know [how close it is].

“I want to be clear, because I cannot help you. I spoke with Marina two weeks ago, so Marina knows my opinion on how to improve the team. Then I decided to focus on the pitch, on matches and training.

“I am confident because I know Marina is working very hard, but I don’t know the market at all. I want to be focused on the matches. So I don’t call her every evening, otherwise I spend all my mental energy on the market. I think it’s better if I spend all my mental energies on the pitch. So I can’t help you. I don’t know,” Sarri said during his Friday press conference.

Nigeria to experience total lunar eclipse on Monday – NASRDA

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The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) on Friday said Nigeria will join other countries of the world to experience total lunar eclipse on Monday.

The information was contained in a statement issued to NAN by Dr Felix Alle, the Head, Media and Public Communications of the agency in Abuja.
According to Alle, lunar eclipse is one in which the moon appears darkened as it passes into the earth’s shadow.

He stated that “lunar eclipse occurs only when the sun, earth and moon are exactly aligned with the earth between the two.
“There will be a lunar eclipse over Nigeria on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019.
“The eclipse, expected to be total, will begin in the evening of Sunday and end on Monday.

“The eclipse will start across Nigeria in the early hours of Monday at approximately 3.36 a.m. to reach its maximum
at 6.12 a.m. and end at about 6.51 a.m.
“The total duration of the occurrence over Nigeria will be three hours and 15 minutes.”

The media head said that the lunar eclipse would by 4.33 a.m. become partial eclipse, where the moon would start getting red.
He added that “at exactly 5.41 a.m., a maximum eclipse of the moon which may be visible to human sight will be witnessed, while the moon eclipse is expected to end at 6.43 a.m.”

The communications officer stated that the eclipse was expected to take place across North, South America, Western Europe, North and West Africa and Asia.
He said that the year’s total lunar eclipse would be the last eclipse to be experienced until 2021.

Saraki’s camp reacts as Buhari calls APC flagbearer ‘presidential, senatorial, governortorial’ candidate

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The Special Adviser on International Relations to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Bankole Omisore, has reacted as President Muhammadu Buhari flopped during his presidential campaign in Warri, Delta State.

Buhari had on Thursday referred to the All Progressives Congress, APC, flagbearer in Delta, Great Ogboru, as “presidential candidate”.

While handing over the flag to Ogboru, Buhari had said: “I have this pleasure of handing over this flag of honour to our Presidential candidate.”

Reacting to the development at the rally, Omisore said President Buhari was tired.

Sharing a video of the rally on his Twitter handle, Omisore wrote: “President @MBuhari IS TIRED. He has handed over the @APCNigeria Presidential flag to someone else to be the candidate. Lol.”

2019 presidency: Buhari’s camp reveals how Atiku got American visa

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The Buhari Media Organisation, BMO, has revealed how specially recruited and heavily paid American lobbyists facilitated the US trip of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

According to BMO, the trip would not remove the fact that Atiku was indicted by a congressional report that named him in a money laundering case.

The BMO statement was signed by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke on Friday.

It said, “The former Vice President’s eventual entry into the country after a 12-year travel ban cannot negate the US Congressional report that named him in one of four notorious cases of money laundering in the world.

It added: “The 2010 report entitled ‘Keeping foreign corruption out of the US’ clearly linked the convicted American Congressman Williams Jefferson to Atiku Abubakar who was described as ‘a high-ranking official in Nigeria’s executive branch who had a spouse in Potomac, Maryland’ in a bribery scheme meant to influence business contracts with African countries

“It also noted that Atiku’s fourth wife, Jennifer Douglas Abubakar helped her husband bring over $40m in suspect funds into the US including at least $1.7m in bribe payments from Siemens AG, a German corporation, and over $38m from little known offshore corporations.

“Jefferson and Siemens who were technically the former Vice President’s co-conspirators in the deal were convicted and Jefferson went to jail while his sealed indictment had been intact since 2010.

“It is a fact that the US President Donald Trump with his ‘America First’ mantra has not been too comfortable with Africa’s booming relations with China with Nigeria as arrowhead and may be willing to do business with anyone that will boost his country’s interest even to the detriment of their own country.

“The world has seen how Trump had been reluctant to take a hard-line stance against Saudi Arabia over ‘Kashoggi murder’ because of his close business link with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman,” it said

The group said it was not surprised by the visit as it had revealed in November last year that the PDP and its Presidential candidate had secured the services of Brian Ballard, a US lobbyist with close links to President Donald Trump, to facilitate the entry visa for millions of dollars.

“We said back then that even if Trump’s friend convinced the US authorities to clear the path for Atiku to finally enter the US, it won’t clear the former Vice President of the corruption scandals that have over the years stuck to him.”

Rivers guber: Let Amaechi be – Senator Abe calls for peace

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The lawmaker representing Rivers South East Senatorial district, Magnus Abe, has called on his supporters not to use derogatory languages against the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi.

Abe said Amaechi believed he can save his candidates, he should be allowed to pursue his options in peace.

He warned against the use of abusive words on the social media by aggrieved party faithful.

The lawmaker said this in a statement by his spokesman, Mr. Parry Benson, in Port Harcourt on Friday.

Abe said this that derogatory statements being paraded on social media by aggrieved party faithful regarding eligibility of the party’s candidates in the forthcoming general elections in Rivers were not in the best interest of the party.

He added that such comments on the social media would not in any way help to resolve the crisis at the state chapter of the party.

He added, “I have read through a lot of comments on this platform and do not consider them helpful.

“It is true that there are those who feel that the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, was wrong and there are equally those who felt that I, Sen. Abe, was wrong.

“I appeal to you all to please stop abusing yourselves on this platform.

“It’s enough! If the minister still believes he can save his candidates, he should be allowed to pursue his options in peace.”

Abe said that the in-fighting in the party was unnecessary, especially as it was orchestrated by saboteurs who wanted to rise by bringing others down.

“I remember that Hon. Loolo Ibieneye correctly predicted that the current road on which we (Rivers Chapter of the party) were being led will lead to disaster.

“And I believed that, that road was wrong ab initio, and I said so, we must continue our quest for peace,” he said.

Abe queried the role most party members played and their contributions when the party was derailing.

“Those who are interested in saving the party should quit the blame game and name calling.

“Let us focus on what we can do to gather ourselves together,” Abe said.

The lawmaker charged party faithful on a renewed mindset so as to restore confedince and hope to the party.

“We must preach and act forgiveness and tolerance. Rightly or wrongly, we are in a quagmire before the entire country.

“It is clear that no one person, not myself nor the Minister for Transportation have answers, but I am committed to the party, let us talk constructively and look for ways forward,” Abe said.

Why Atiku travelled to US -Peter Obi

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Peter Obi, the running mate to the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, on Friday said that his principal’s visit to Washinton was not to prove any point to anyone.

The former Governor of Anambra State expressed surprise at the dust generated by Atiku’s trip.

Obi, speaking to reporters at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, noted that Atiku travelled to Washington DC because it was necessary for him to do so.

Obi said: “Though, he does over 90% of his consultations at home and among Nigerians, now and then, he has to travel to meet different groups, especially those that will be of assistance in the new Nigerian project.

“ Atiku was pre-occupied on how to create jobs, reduce unemployment in Nigeria, abolish poverty and re-create the Nigerian economy in order to make Nigeria start working again.

“His trip is about engaging partners because he wants to hit the ground running without wasting unnecessary time.”

Ben Bruce reacts as Lai Mohammed says Atiku’ll be probed when he returns from US

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The Senator representing Bayelsa East, Ben Murray Bruce, on Friday reacted to Federal Government’s plan to probe the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar over alleged fraud.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had said Abubakar would be investigated over his alleged role in the collapse of former Bank PHB.

Speaking with State House Correspondents at the Presidential Villa on Abuja, Mohammed disclosed that Abubakar would be question when he returns from the United States, US.

Reacting to the development, Bruce expressed disappointment, saying such disclosure was “pathetic.”

In a tweet, the business mogul wrote: “Bank PHB has been defunct for a decade, but it is the day after @atiku proved them wrong by coming to America that they suddenly remember that he has a case to answer?

“This is such a disappointment. I thought their fight back would be something smart. But this? This is pathetic!”

NEPP protests exclusion of political parties from national debate

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Comrade Ishaka Paul Ofemile, the presidential candidate of Nigeria Elements Progressive Party (NEPP) has condemned the discrimination of many political parties from participation in the national debate organized by the Broadcasting organization of Nigeria.

Lamenting over the none-inclusion of over seventy registered political parties in the country in Gusau on Friday, Ofemile explained that there was no reason to exclude most of the registered political parties.

According to him, it was never an over sight, noting that the of the whole political parties could be obtained at the office of the Independent National Electoral commission.

He noted that the selection was based on the fact that those political parties that were chosen have financial muscles and could dole out millions of naira to the organizers.

Speaking further, the presidential hopeful stated that his party was not ready to reel out money before any body could recognize it adding that his party was formed to bail Nigeria out of the current predicament that had befell the country.

Ofemile stated that he has sixteen points agenda that would regain the lost glory o Nigeria, noting that restructuring was not a solution to the problems facing the oil rich country.

The presidential candidate explained that his party was ready to provide the nation with a government that is caring, responsive,law abiding, democratic, people and service oriented .

He said that his party would implemente N50,000 minimum wage within the first few months of his government if voted into office, assuring that the organized labour need not to go on any industrial action before increasing their monthly salaries.

Comrade Ofemile also promised to rebrand Nigeria through the approval of the national Assembly, which he vowed to pursue by every constitutional power within his reach.

Continuing, the flag bearer of the party said he would demystify unemployment in the country by creating over five million jobs in the military and paramilitary sectors to solve the issue of security challenges in the country within six months of assumptions of office as the commander in chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

According to him, the whole activities will cost the country about three trillion naira, stressing that the employees would equally earn the same N50,000 per month as civil servants, saying that the funds would be borrowed internally, noting that a minimum of one trillion naira would be generated to repay the loan and built up funds for the second year and subsequent years.