Panafrican News Agency

Justice for terrorist, Super Eagles' shoddy performance at AFCON reported in Nigeria

Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - The life jail slammed on Edmund Ebiware, found guilty of complicity in the 1 Oct., 2010 independence day twin-bombings in the capital city of Abuja, and the below-par performance of the Super Eagles at the ongoing 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in South Africa dominated front pages in Nigeria this week.

The NATION, with the headline "October 1 bombings: Okah’s associate bags life jail", reported that a Federal High Court in Abuja Friday sentenced Edmund Ebiware, an associate of the leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger-Delta (MEND), Henry Okah, to life imprisonment after finding him guilty of complicity in the 1 Oct., 2010 twin-bombings in Abuja.

According to the paper, Ebiware's conviction was based not on his active participation in the bombing, but because he failed to report the plot to the President or the police.

Ebiware, who broke down in tears after Justice Gabriel Kolawole pronounced judgement, was specifically accused of withholding information on the planned attack by not using reasonable means to leak the information to the President and Peace Officer to foil it.

“With all my struggle for the Niger Delta, this is what they are using to pay me back. God is the greatest judge,” the convict said.

While the INDEPENDENT headlined its story "Independence Day bomber gets life sentence", the GUARDIAN's headline read, "October 1, 2010 Bombings: Life Sentence For Ebiware, Okah’s Accomplice".

Still on terrorism, the papers reported, during the week, government's disclosure that the ultimate target of terrorists currently operating in northern Mali was Nigeria.

"Nigeria is prime target for Malian terrorists - FG" was the headline of the TRIBUNE which reported that the Federal Government Thursday declared its preparedness to do all that is within its power to contain their (terrorists') ambition.

The paper quoted the Minister of Foreign Affairs Olugbenga Ashiru as saying, on the sidelines of the ongoing preparatory meetings of the African Union Summit (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, that the deployment of Nigerian troops in Mali was to ensure the survival of Nigeria.

According to him, “the events in Mali, if we don’t quickly stop it, will have effect on the whole of West Africa and Nigeria is their prime target. So, we need to act quickly, forcefully in Mali to stop them, to contain them, to destroy their capability to be able to launch any counter offensive within the sub region.”

He said that Nigeria was grateful to France for seizing the initiative to intervene but that Africans must now take charge henceforth to “ensure that we safeguard the territorial integrity of Mali and to make sure that we are able to stop the terrorists from advancing further because they are a threat, not just to Mali but to Nigeria and all countries in the sub region.”

Confident that the troops already on the ground in Mali would soon advance from the central part of the country to curtail the terrorists in the northern part of the country, the minister vowed that no place would be made available for criminals, armed gangs and terrorists to exploit in the West African sub region.

The NATION, with the headline "Jonathan: Malian rebels linked to Boko Haram", quoted President Goodluck Jonathan as saying "The Malian insurgents must be contained, or they could threaten the security of Africa."

THISDAY's screaming headline, "Ezekwesili: Yar'Adua, Jonathan Frittered $67bn Obasanjo Left", reported the recent comments made by a former Minister of Education during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili.

According to Ezekwesili, the squandering of US$45 billion in foreign reserves and US$22 billion in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) by the Yar’Adua-Jonathan administration is “the most egregious” instance of Nigeria’s failure to make the right developmental choices.

Ezekwesili, also a former Vice-President (Africa) at the World Bank, said Thursday at the convocation lecture of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), in South-eastern Nigeria, that Nigerians had lost dignity because of the ravaging poverty arising from poor choices of the elite, corruption and lack of investment in education.

Ezekwesili, a founding director of Transparency International (TI), said: “Six years after the administration I served handed over such humongous national wealth to another one, most Nigerians especially the poor continue to suffer the effects of failing public health and education systems as well as decrepit infrastructure and battered institutions.”

She queried: “One cannot but ask what exactly symbolises this level of brazen misappropriation of public resources? Where did all that money go?''

On the ongoing AFCON in South Africa, the GUARDIAN reported, under the headline "It Was Not Easy Playing Zambia, Keshi Admits," that the Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi, has admitted that Friday’s 1-1 draw against Zambia was a fair result, saying it was not easy playing the defending champions.

Speaking at the post-match briefing, Keshi commended his players, but said that the 1-1 draw was a fair result against a Zambian team, which has been together for the last four years.

On the penalty kick missed by John Obi Mikel, the Eagles’ tactician defended the midfielder, saying, “If you watch our game against Liberia in Calabar in the last game of the qualifiers, one of the goals was through penalty scored by Mikel. So, in penalty, there is no specialist and I believe if he had converted the kick, we would have praised him. We have to just forge ahead and get ready for the next game.”

The Nigerian coach was, however, silent on the penalty awarded to Zambia, saying, I don’t want to comment on the referees because it is just left for people to judge the referees in the championship.

But Goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama blasted the centre referee, describing his decision to award the penalty to the Zambians as the worst ever.

On the last group tie against Ethiopia, Keshi said: “I want to say that every game is difficult and each game has its own spirit. We just have to win by preparing mentally for the game. Ethiopia is a good team and we respect them as well. But we will ensure we win the match for us to remain in the competition.”

The INDEPENDENT headlined its story on AFCON "Nations Cup: Egyptian Ref denies S’Eagles victory".

The paper said that poor officiating that has become the hallmark of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations reared its ugly head in the match between Super Eagles and the Chipolopolo of Zambia on Friday, with the referee awarding a controversial penalty to Zambia on the 83rd minute for the defending champions to draw level against Nigeria.

Super Eagles had taken the lead through a 57th-minute strike from Emmanuel Emenike, who got a through pass from Mikel Obi. Emenike rounded off a defender in the area before unleashing a right footer that sailed into the net.

But Referee Ghead Grisha‎ from Egypt would ensured that Zambia leveled up with a controversial penalty that goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene converted.

The result means that two-time winner Nigeria and defending champion Zambia have drawn their opening two games and will need outright win in their last group matches on Tuesday to ensure qualification into the knockout stage.

This is more so with Burkina Faso hammering Ethiopia 4-0 in the second group C match to top the group with four points.

According to the SUN, with the headline, "Eagles walk tight rope", Nigeria’s Super Eagles will have to play the match of their lives Tuesday when they confront battered Ethiopia in their last Group C game and would need to win convincingly.
-0- PANA VAO/SEG 26Jan2013