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[Just In] National Sports Festival: Ministry Considering Abuja To Replace Edo As Host

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… As Edo Complains Lack Of Fund

As part of its determination to ensure the National Sports Festival holds, the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has swung into action to use Abuja as an alternative venue for the 20th edition of the National Sports Festival, should the need arise, The PUNCH has exclusively learnt.

The festival, which has suffered several postponements due to COVID-19 and paucity of funds, is scheduled to hold in Benin City, the Edo State capital, from April 2 to 14.

Edo State had complained of lack of funds in hosting the festival, with the sports ministry writing the Federal Government to assist with funds to host the event.

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READ ALSO: Edo 2020: Osinbajo To Declare 20th National Sports Festival Open

However, a top official of the sports ministry, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told our correspondent that not willing to be caught napping, the ministry was considering Abuja as alternative venue for the 20th edition of the sports fiesta, following alleged dithering by the current hosts Edo State.

Checks by our correspondent on Monday confirmed that the ministry had started sourcing for camping venues to host athletes from participating states, while the sports festival will hold at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.

Athletes were originally billed to arrive camp in Benin City, Edo State on April 2, while the opening ceremony was scheduled for April 6.

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According to the ministry official, the Edo State Government indicated its desire to back out of hosting the Games at the last moment unless the Federal Government provided the financial support to offset the cost of previous postponements of the sports fiesta.

READ ALSO: National Sports Festival To Hold In Edo February 14, 2021 – Minister

“All necessary boxes have been ticked and what remains now is the assurance (from the FG),” our source said.

When our correspondent asked the media aide to the sports minister, John Joshua-Akanji, for clarification, he declined comments on the issue.

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However, the Chief Press Secretary to the Edo State Deputy Governor, Musa Ebhomian, said the state was willing to host the event, and was expectant of funds from the FG.

“We are hopeful of hosting the festival but we haven’t received the funds promised us to host the festival, from the FG.

READ ALSO: National Sports Festival: Edo Govt Dissolves All Sub – Committees

“But we trust the President, we trust the sports minister, they are honourable men and we take them by their words.”

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(PUNCH)

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Man, 38 Escapes Assassination Attempt In Benin

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Innocent Omoruyi

By Omokha Andrew

A 38-year-old activist, Innocent Omoruyi, narrowly escaped assassination in the early hours of Wednesday, July 19, 2023 as his residence at Obe Community,Sapele Road in Benin city was attacked by yet to be identified gun men.

The attack which eye witnesses say was viciously executed on Wednesday, July 19, 2023 bore the markings of a dreaded cult group terrorizing Benin City, the state capital.

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The Obe, Sapale Road incident, it was learnt, happened soon after Omoruyi left the house to attend to matters of interest some few metres away from his home.

The assailants were said to have shot sporadically in their frustration as residents scampered for safety.

However, Omoruyi escaped unharmed.

One of the eye witnesses who craved anonymity said: “The felons apparently went for the kill, weilding guns and other dangerous weapons. “We are shocked that they didn’t see Innocent Omoruyi who was just some few metres away from home when they arrived”.

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“How that happened, only God knows and it was obvious that it wasn’t his time to die yet and just before that not long ago his business place on Lagos Street, Benin City was burnt down in the middle of the night by unknown arsonists.

“This sequence of events is not ordinary. We know it’s politically motivated due to the role he played in the last general elections. He has been advised to go into hiding at the moment for his personal safety”, he concluded.

When contacted, the police Public Relations Officer Chidi Nwabuzor said he was yet to get any information as regards the latest incident. He promised to feed our correspondent with relevant details as soon as they become handy.

Our information source however revealed that the matter has already been incidented at the Love World Police station on Sapele Road, Benin city.

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Nigeria To Earn Over $4bn Revenue As FEC Okays Concession Of Abuja, Kano Airports

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Nigeria will earn over $4 billion in nominal revenue as the Federal Executive Council, FEC, on Wednesday okayed the concession of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, and Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Kano, to the Corporacion American Airport Consortium, a Luxembourg-based company.

James Odaudu, the Special Assistant on Public Affairs to the Minister of Aviation, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.

According to him, the Council also approved that the Federal Ministry of Aviation would be renamed the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace.

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READ ALSO: ATMs To Be Upgraded For Loans Services As CBN Gives Banks Ultimatum…

The statement noted that the company would make combined upfront payments of $8.5 million for the concession of NAIA and MAKIA.

He added that the development would spur evidential growth within the Nigerian aviation industry.

In alignment with the Aviation Roadmap, approved by Mr President on 18th October 2016, the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace is delighted to inform all stakeholders, both local and international, and the media, that the concession of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, and Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Kano has been approved by the Federal Executive Council,” the statement said.

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READ ALSO: Peter Obi, LP Must Pay N1.5million To Access Documents – INEC

In December 2022 and January 2023, Corporacion American Airport Consortium was announced as the preferred bidder for the airport’s concession after scaling through a series of evaluations of technical and financial bids.

Nominal revenues mean income not adjusted for inflation and decreasing purchasing power.

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Russia Expelled From Council Of Europe Amid War With Ukraine

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The Council of Europe says it has expelled Russia with immediate effect after 26 years of membership because of the Ukraine war.

The Committee of Ministers took the decision in a special session, the rights body announced in the French city of Strasbourg on Wednesday.

Earlier, Russia had already declared its withdrawal from the Council of Europe after it had taken steps to exclude it.

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On Tuesday evening, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe voted unanimously in favour of Russia’s exclusion.

Russia joined the Council of Europe on Feb. 28, 1996.

Together with the formal notification of the withdrawal, the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe also received information from the Russian Federation on Tuesday about its intention to denounce the European Convention on Human Rights.

In a statement on Tuesday evening, the leaders of the Council of Europe once again condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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READ ALSO: Ukraine: Horror As Russian Forces Shoot People Queuing For Bread

They expressed their solidarity with the Russian people, who continue to belong to the European family and share its values.

The body said it would continue to stand by Ukraine in the fight against the aggressor.

The Council of Europe monitors the observance of human rights in its 46 member states and is not part of the European Union.

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The body reacted to the Russian invasion of Ukraine two weeks ago by suspending Russia’s membership, this decision was considered historic.

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