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Champions League: Valverde speaks on Messi’s performance as Barcelona thrash Lyon

Barcelona manager, Ernesto Valverde, has said Lionel Messi was “incredible”, as the Blaugrana booked a Champions League quarter-final spot by beating Lyon 5-1.

Messi opened the scoring from the spot, before Philipe Coutinho doubled their advantage.

Lucas Tousart pulled one back for the visitors, before Messi took the game away from the Ligue 1 side.

The Argentine dazzled defenders with a stunning solo run before squeezing a low shot past substitute goalkeeper Mathieu Gorgelin and then set up late goals for Gerard Pique and Ousmane Dembele.

“We are all very focused for this competition and Leo too, he has had an incredible match.

“It was extraordinary, we dominated the game, we had chances, we scored two goals and we were able to get one more.

“In the second half, Lyon risked more, they pushed us up looking for the 2-1 that got them in the game, but our people in attack have finished solving the result.

“It was a Champions League match and in this type of game it is normal that we have moments of tension and pressure because they tend to be very fair results.

“In the Champions League you cannot relax because 2-0 was not a definitive result,” Valverde told reporters after the match.

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Fuel pricing: Oil marketers make fresh demand, blast NNPC

The Depot and Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPMAN) says the rise in landing cost of petroleum products has renewed calls for full deregulation.

The body also blasted the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for “monopoly” and high cost of petrol it sells to marketers.

Executive Secretary of the group, Mr Olufemi Adewole, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos, that deregulation of the downstream remained the best option as the ongoing subsidy by the NNPC was not sustainable.

Adewole said that as private marketers continued to stay on the sidelines in terms of petroleum products importation, depot owners had reiterated the need for the Federal Government to fully deregulate the fuel market.

He said that NNPC had been the sole importer of petrol into the country for two years and that private oil marketers stopped importation due to shortage of foreign exchange and increase in crude oil prices, which made the landing cost of the product higher than the official pump price of N145 per litre.

According to him, if fully deregulated, it will also help the government to use the subsidy money to develop other sectors.

The DAPPMA scribe, however, lamented NNPC’s decision to sell Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) to them at N117 per litre, admitting that the price was not only outrageous but not cost effective.

He added that the N111 per litre price, which NNPC was selling fuel to them was at an insignificant margin, wondering what would happen when the state-run oil firm had increased the price to N117.

Adewole said NNPC’s monopoly of fuel importation had compounded their woes.

He said: “By the time depot owners, who are mostly marketers, add other costs incurred in the course of buying fuel from NNPC and later sell the product at the pump price of N145 per litre to consumers, they will be left with little or no profits.

“More worrisome is the fact that NNPC controls fuel importation, a development which has compelled marketers to sell the product at a particular price. That is the situation we find ourselves in.

“We are praying for solutions to problems inhibiting the growth of the industry, especially the downstream sub-sector,’’ Adewole said.

He said, NNPC sold fuel only to depot owners, who had Pro-foma Invoice, a development which implied that any depot owner or marketer, who does not have a Pro-foma Invoice would not be able to buy fuel.

He said diesel price was deregulated, noting that marketers were selling the product at between N220 to N230 per litre.

“No depot owner or marketer, he said, can say he or she is making profit under the new price regime.

“More worrisome is the fact that NNPC controls fuel importation, a development which has compelled marketers to sell the product at a particular price, that is the situation we find ourselves in,” he said.

Adewole, admitted the fears expressed by depot owners over the new price regime.

According to him, the fears stemmed from the fact that depot owners made very little profit because of the current price system.

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EFCC reacts to orders stopping probe of Saraki, Okorocha, moves against judge

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has kicked against court orders stopping it from probing Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha.

The EFCC, in a letter to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, accused Justice Taiwo Taiwo, who made the orders, of bias.

In the letter by EFCC’s Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, the commission requested the transfer of the cases from Justice Taiwo

Magu also prayed the Federal High Court Chief Judge to also transfer all cases involving the EFCC from Justice Taiwo’s court.

His letter reads: “Your lordship, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is the 4th defendant in the respective cases stated above which are pending before Honourable Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo of your lordship’s court.

“The commission respectfully requests your lordship to re-assign the above-stated cases and all other cases pending before Honourable Justice O. Taiwo in which it is involved to other judges of your lordship’s court.

“This application has become very necessary because of the commission’s lack of confidence in his lordship’s impartiality to dispense justice in any matter concerning it.

“Particularly more worrisome is that the said orders were made ex parte contrary to the acclaimed judicial depreciation of abuse of ex parte orders by court’s and Rule 3.5 of the Revised Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which states: ‘A judicial officer must avoid the power of issue interim injunctions ex parte.”

He said the EFCC was conducting investigation on “allegations of corrupt practices by the Senate President, Olubukola Saraki, whilst as the Executive Governor of Kwara State and also as the Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“It is also investigating Owelle Rochas Okorocha, the outgoing Executive Governor of Imo State for the same allegations of corrupt practices as the Executive Governor of the state.”

Magu recalled that Justice Taiwo had in the past “demonstrated obvious bias against the commission” in a matter involving former Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose.

“On June 24, 2016 the EFCC applied and secured an interim freezing order from the Federal High Court, Lagos Judicial Division wherein his Lordship, Hon. Justice M.B. ldris ordered the Manager of Zenith Bank Plc to freeze bank accounts numbers 1003126654 and 9013074033 among others operated by Mr Ayodele Foyose pending the investigation and possible prosecution of the criminal case involving the accounts.

“Your Lordship, Mr. Ayodele Foyose subsequently instituted another suit in suit number. FHC/AD/15/2016 at the Federal High Court, Ado Ekiti Judicial Division praying the court for an order directing the EFCC and Zenith Bank Plc to wheeze and make operational the said accounts.

“Shockingly, His Lordship. Honourable Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo, despite being aware of the pendency of the mower before Honourable Justice M .B ldris and his said order which were duly brought to his notice, proceeded to set it aside, thereby sitting as an appellate court over the decision of a court of coordinate jurisdiction.

“It was, however, not surprising that the Court of Appeal, on appeal, held that Honourable Justice Toiwo O. Taiwo ought not to have done what he did.

“The judgment of the Court of Appeal in the appeal no. CA/EK/8C12017. EFCC V MR. AYODELE FAYOSE is attached 03 Annexure E.

“Furthermore, when the commission was conducting investigation on acts of corruption allegedly perpetrated by some officials of the Ekiti State Government. the Attorney General of the State filed suit no. FHC/AD/CS/32/2016 against it and other persons.

“His Lordship, Honourable Justice Toiwo O. Taiwo, on January 30, 2018 in his judgment in the said case no. FHC/AD/CS/32/2016 granted wholesale all the eight reliefs sought by the plaintiff in the suit which included perpetual injunctions restraining Ekiti State officials , Ekiti State House of Assembly and banks in which the accounts of the Ekiti State Government were maintained from disclosing or making available to it any document, financial statement or information relating to the public funds and accounts of Ekiti State.

“This undoubtedly frustrated its investigation. A copy of the said judgment is attached as Annexure F.

“Though the commission is not by any means positing that His Lordship, Honourable Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo should always decide cases in its favour, even when it does not deserve it. the trend of His Lordship shows unbridled bias against it which has made it difficult for it to believe in His Lordship’s impartiality.”

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Zamfara commissioner resigns, gives reason

Zamfara State Commissioner for Higher Education, Professor Kabir Jabaka has resigned.

Jabaka resigned on Tuesday, Daily Trust reports.

Jabaka said he took the the decision to save his face from what he called imminent disgrace from some top government officials in the state.

“There are allegations against me that I’m supporting a governorship candidate in the February elections popularly known as Group 8.

“Based on this, they withheld my salaries and other entitlements for about five months now,” he added.

He, however, applauded Governor Abdulaziz Yari for finding him worthy of the appointment and giving him the opportunity to serve the state.

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