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Joshua defeats Ruiz

 

British boxer, Anthony Joshua has defeated defending champion, Andy Ruiz Jr to reclaim his world heavyweight titles which he lost in June.

Joshua won by unanimous decision as the three judges gave him the fight.

Two cards have it 118-110, the other 119-109 – all three in are favour of Anthony Joshua.

He is the heavyweight champion of the world once more!

Joshua reclaimed WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight world titles in front of 15,000-capacity Diriyah Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The Mexican had knocked out Joshua in seventh round in June 2019 to claim the WBA, IBF and WBO titles, but a determined Joshua fought excellently well in Saudi Arabia to reclaim his titles from Ruiz.

Six months on from the night where Ruiz stunned boxing, Joshua risked his career being left in tatters with a second defeat but served up 36 minutes of movement and well-timed punching to take the IBF, WBA and WBO titles back to Britain.

After cutting his Mexican rival inside the first round he simply never looked back and picked out smart jabs and right hands throughout before being serenaded with chants of “AJ, AJ, AJ” by the 14,000 or so fans in the largely full Diriyah Arena.

Ruiz never looked close to landing a knockdown and when scores of 118-110 118-110 and 119-109 were read out, Joshua jumped up and down in the ring in celebration, just as the man who had wrecked his US debut did in June

 

Round-by-Round analysis 

 

 

An elated Joshua said after the fight that he remains humble in victory and also praised his opponent Ruiz, for being a great fighter.

“A man like me don’t make no excuses, my boy (Dereck) Chisora said I am ready to win this if I am ready to D.I.E. This is about boxing, I am used to knocking people out, but last time I got hurt, so I gave the man his credit, said I would correct myself again, I respect Andy so much.

“The sweet science of this sport is about hitting and not getting hit. Never a change in mentality, you know the saying ‘stay hungry, stay humble’ – I am hungry and I am humble.”

He added: “I said I didn’t want to get too carried away but it is emotional. This is about the public, and about British boxing. They won tonight and we created history by opening the floodgates.

“To Andy Ruiz and his family and team, love and respect and I want to see him in the ring again because he is very talented. l can box but I like to fight. I’m a warrior at heart, and sometimes when you’re used to knocking a man out, it can happen to you.

“I’m a man that has made mistakes and when I was on losing path in life, I matured and bounced back. After I took my loss I had to mature as a fighter. Life is in boxing and that is why I love it because they go hand in hand.”

“This is a purpose-built stadium for a purposeful night. Shout out to the travelling fans. I’m just appreciative of the journey and for the fans that witnessed history. It’s about everyone involved and I’m just humbled. I know certain people had doubts but I didn’t.

 

Here is a round-by-round analysis of the bout, courtesy of USA Today:

FIRST ROUND: Ruiz leading with jab. Joshua counters with his own jab. Ruiz looks a full 283 pounds — even without the sombrero. Not much action yet. Fighters carefully assessing. But Ruiz is the fighter moving foward, albeit measuredly. Joshua throws a right that lands. Joshua more active now. Joshua appears intent to box rather than brawl. Joshua lands a big right and draws blood from around Ruiz’s left eye. Joshua 10, Ruiz 9.

SECOND ROUND: Ruiz stalking, but he has yet to land big. Now Ruiz does land, a left. Two jabs, in fact. Joshua reopens the cut with a hard right to Ruiz’s face. Joshua looks to be in control. An exchange of punches. Solid. Ruiz still stalking and Joshua on the move. Now Joshua lands another big righthand. But Joshua has suffered a cut over his left eye. Ruiz connects again. Joshua 20, Ruiz 18.

THIRD ROUND: More of the same: Ruiz pressing the action, and Joshua content to punch and move. Ruiz throws a big left and a right. Whiff, whiff. Boxers measuring each other. A lull in the fight here. Not much action. Joshua now firing jabs. And lands. Another stinging jab. And a hook to the body. Joshua 30, Ruiz 27.

Anthony Joshua dodges a punch from Andy Ruiz Jr during their heavyweight title fight between in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
FOURTH ROUND: The 6-foot-6 Joshua keeping the 6-foot Ruiz at bay with that long jab. For now, anyway. More jabs from Joshua. Potentially racking up points here. Big right by Joshua. Misses. But the jabs still landing. Ruiz lands a notable jab. Then a right. Joshua landing jab after jab. Now throwing bigger punches, but they miss. Ruiz nails Joshua with a right. Feeling generous with Ruiz here on the scorecard. Joshua 39, Ruiz 37.

FIFTH ROUND: Joshua still looks in control by leading with the jab. But Ruiz sitll moving forward. Ruiz eating again — jabs from Joshua. Joshua just teeing off with that lefthanded jab. But Ruiz looks like he’s got plenty of energy left to unload if given a chance. Which is a big “if.’’ Joshua 49, Ruiz 46.

SIXTH ROUND: Ruiz moving foward, but it’s more of the same — moving into Joshua’s jab. Well, now Ruiz lands a hook. And back fires Joshua. Can Joshua resist brawling? For now, he still looks like the disciplined boxer and Ruiz looks, well, very heavy. Big hook from Joshua. Ruiz felt that. Snap went the head. Joshua 59, Ruiz 55.

SEVENTH ROUND: Ruiz comes out with a very swollen face. Taking a beating from those Joshua jabs. Joshua lands a strong left hook and follows with a right. More of the same from Ruiz, and it’s not working. Plodding, plodding, plodding forward. Might need to start opening up. Joshua lands a couple of big punches. Looks like he might get drawn into a brawl again, and that could spell trouble. Another good right frm Joshua. Ruiz lands too. Joshua 69, Ruiz 64.

EIGHTH ROUND: Fighters in a clinch. Ruiz will need to take advantage of these situations — close quarters. No luck this time. Joshua showing he’s about more than the jab. Throwing bigger punches too — lefts and rights. Ruiz throws a signature chopping right hand to the top of the head. Ruiz lands a hard right to head. Follows up with a couple of other big punches. Ruiz at last makes presence felt. Ruiz now throwing big punches. Boxers exchanging words as round ends. Best round yet for Ruiz. Joshua 78, Ruiz 74.

NINTH ROUND: Let’s see if Ruiz can capitalize on his big finish to the last round. Doesn’t look to be in a hurry. Joshua looks more tentative now. Knows Ruiz has pop in those punches and is dangerous when they’re close. Now Ruiz landing some jabs. Back comes Joshua with his jabs. And Ruiz counters with a big right. Joshua 88, Ruiz 83.

 

10TH ROUND: Ruiz lands a right. Looks more comfortable now. Appears to be finding more openings, which were nonexistent in the early rounds. Joshua back to his early strategy — stick and move behind that jab. Ruiz gets in close and fires twice. Nothing big landing. This round is getting away from him. Joshua appears to be talking trash again as the round ends. Joshua 98, Ruiz 92.

11TH ROUND: Ruiz seems to understand he’s going to need to score a knockout in these last two rounds — or give up those belts to Joshua. Throws an awkward right. Nada. Another big right, awkward right. Nada, again. Joshua clearly not interested in brawling with Ruiz like they did in their first fight — certainly not that he’s now obviously leading big on the scorecards. Ruiz looks tired of chasing Joshua. And Joshua looks likes the Energizer Bunny. Joshua 108, Ruiz 101.

12TH ROUND: Ruiz looking to close the distance and get close enough to brawl. Looks desperate. And Johsua lands a big right. But he’s back to the same, jabbing and moving. Appears content to win this fight via scorecards. Blood leaking from above Ruiz’s eye — that cut never closed. Blood even running down his belly. Ruiz throws a big right. Looks way too late. Pleading to get Joshua to center of ring. Joshua 118, Ruiz 110.

 

Below are photos from the bouts

Ruiz attempts hit Joshua

Joshua goes for Ruiz

Joshua pummels Ruiz

Ruiz hits Joshua

Joshua lands another crushing blow on Ruiz

Ruiz dodges from Joshua blow

Joshua on Ruiz

 

Joshua the champ

Joshua regains his belts

 

See full video of the fight below:

 

Saturday, 07 December 2019 15:13

Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke dies at 79

Popular international gospel preacher, Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke is dead.

According to family sources, Bonnke passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, on Saturday, December 7.

A post on his official Facebook page explained that he passed away peacefully and was surrounded by his family.

“It is with sorrow that the Bonnke Family would like to announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, and grandfather, Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke,” the statement read.

“He passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, on December 7, 2019. For the past 60 years, he has preached the glorious Gospel of Jesus throughout the entire world.

“We want to thank you on behalf of him and our family, for your kind love and unwavering support, which enabled him to preach the matchless message of salvation to countless people.

RIP Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke!”

Cardi B might have, earlier in the week, gone through some drama with her husband Offset, but the 27-year-old social media sensation is not letting that hold her down as she is living her best life in Lagos. After a full day of media rounds and fan meet-ups, Cardi took to the streets of Lagos taking lots of photos and videos. The Grammy Award-winning rapper also visited a strip club with Nigerian-American artiste, Jidenna, in tow.


VANGUARD

Fellow Nigerians, just yesterday, the University of Oxford organized a worthwhile conference on 20 years of Democracy in Nigeria. The one-day conference which took place at two venues Oxford University, at St Anthony’s College and at the Blavatnik School of Government was organised by the African Studies Centre of the University of Oxford. The Convener of the Conference was the highly cerebral and erudite Professor Wale Adebanwi, the Rhodes Professor of Race Relations, who heads the Centre. The Conference Administrator was Brenda McCollom a recently graduated Master’s degree holder from the Centre.   

 The event which featured several notable speakers from both the academics and the public of private sector in Nigeria and internationally could not have come at a more auspicious time when the nations nascent democracy is seemingly under threat. The conference was broken into 3 sessions with the highlight of the conference being the evening session when two of Nigeria’s 36 Governors were invited to deliver addresses to wrap up a thoroughly interesting day in which speakers and participants sought to assess how far democracy had progressed in the 20 years of the 4th Republic.  Governors Kayode Fayemi and Aminu Tambuwal, Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Governors’ Forum respectively acquitted themselves very well as they were frank and honest in their assessment of democratic progress in the country. In short, Oxford University and Professor Adebanwi, in particular, could not have made better choices in those to present special guest speeches at the conference. Both Governors are relatively young, smart, experienced and exposed and they gave very good accounts of themselves. 

The well-attended and brilliantly organised conference afforded us the opportunity to listen attentively and interact closely with distinguished politicians and famous scholars alike. I’m glad I attended. Unfortunately, as we savoured the well-researched presentations, bad news flew across the oceans from Nigeria. The terrible videos even made matters worse. I didn’t know when tears welled up in my eyes as I watched with mouth agape and ajar, one of the greatest rapes of democracy ever witnessed in any civilised country. The brutalization of our hapless outspoken Brother and colleague Omoyele Sowore was not just an attack on a notable member of the Fourth Estate of the realm, it was an assault on one of the fundamental pillars of our democracy, freedom of speech and expression. But what was worse was the violent, unbridled and damaging continued onslaught on one of the tripods of any democratic nation, the judiciary. I had thought that the carnage being wreaked on the seemingly defenceless judiciary and its personnel had reached a crescendo with the removal of the Chief Justice of the Federation just before the 2019 elections, in the government’s rabid bid to silence all opposition and take control of all the appurtenances of government and law enforcement. I did not believe that any government, would stoop so law as to allow security operatives to shatter the myth and invincibility of the judiciary by taking its battle with a weak political opponent, a tyro in politics and a minnow now made a giant of the democratic struggle by the government’s crass handling of what has now snowballed into a calamitous crisis, into the sacred and hallowed chambers of a courtroom. The stories of the Judge, Ijeoma Ojukwu scurrying dishevelled, with her tail between her legs, into the presumed safety of her private chambers in the Court premises was too much for me to bear. The whole world was confronted with the shocking images of the manhandling beating and choking of the helpless Sowore and those seeking to assist him in the courtroom. It was like a macabre dance of juggernauts as both the hunter and the hunted were locked and joined in a frenzied, frenetic dance of lunacy. I wept for my dear country as the revered and sanctified recesses of a court was being violated and desecrated. Eventually, all I could do was sigh, as always. Whenever I thought we can never go lower, something happens to dampen my spirits, shock my sensibilities and teach me the lesson never to say never. I await the reaction of lawyers and Judges in particular to this latest act of insanity by government goons. If ever there was contempt in the face of the Court, this was a brazen example. Let us see wither democracy!  

It seemed apt that the circumstances in which this appalling news came to me was at a time when we were at this conference. Here we were at Oxford University, one of the oldest, most unique and respected citadels of learning discussing Democracy and all we were getting was opposite news from home about civilian dictatorship and autocracy. Interestingly, the keynote speaker, the widely acclaimed and respected scholar, Professor Larry Diamond, of Stanford University, gave kudos to Nigeria for promoting Democracy despite its imperfections. He spoke about the salutary efforts of fighting corruption by the Buhari administration. His submission did not write off  Buhari but said he can do much better. How I wished the President and his people resisted the temptation of this sporadic descent into brash trampling on fundamental human rights and the pillars of democracy and democratic institutions. I have good news for him, it is not too late to embrace true Democracy and return to the path of peace and jaw jaw rather than that of high-handedness and war war. There is so much to gain. I confess that I have been strident in my criticism of the Buhari administration in recent times. I have been concerned about the debasing of most, if not all of our democratic institutions. Professor Diamond, a foreigner made me stop to think that despite all the failings of this administration, all is not lost because we have indeed made some gains in the democratic sphere. We have had uninterrupted civilian rule for the longest period in our history, the fear of another military intervention has receded although for the most part of this latest democratic dispensation we have been ruled with an iron fist by military generals. Nonetheless, we must not consider that all is lost, even if some of the gains have been tarnished, we must still admit that we remain on the right path and we must salute ourselves and our civilian leaders, past and current for this feat.  A true democrat and critic must be willing and prepared to make concessions where appropriate and I do so in this regard not because I believe that what is happening is good for our democracy, but because I appreciate that we are at least still paying lip service to  that democracy and ultimately whenever this government leaves, it is my hope and prayer that a better government will be properly elected.

One of my favourite papers at the conference was presented by Professor Eghosa Osaghae, former Vice Chancellor of Igbinedion University, under a panel session titled “The Nigerian State: Structure, Agency and Institutional.” His own paper was titled “Reconstructions, Resilience and Relevance: Political Elites and Ethnic Mobilization, 1999-2019.” He was simply brilliant. He later spoke to me about writing a paper to develop my theory of why people steal in arrears and in advance, the first as reparations for years of suffering and the latter as consolidation for the unknown future.

Rotimi Suberu of Bennington University, Vermont, USA, spoke on “Federalism, Constitutional and the Elusive Quest for ‘Political Restructuring’ in the Fourth Nigerian Republic. Next was the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Aliyu Modibbo Umar, of The African Studies Centre, University of Oxford, UK. His paper was well applauded for the way it broke down the giddiness of power and how the people can advertentlý or inadvertently make a leader swollen headed and begin to misbehave. The other seminal papers in this panel session made for sombre thought and reflection on why things have gone wrong and how they may be redressed. Thus, Professor Adigun Agbaje of the University of Ibadan, spoke on the topic “A Republic of Dashed Hopes? Party Politics and 20 years of the travails of Democracy in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic. The last paper for that panel session was a poignant reminder for those of us who had been in the trenches in the dark days of the Abacha administration and the stark and startling resemblance of those heinous days with events unfolding in our polity today. The paper, delivered by Matthew T Page of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington DC, was aptly titled “Today’s Nigeria resembles Abacha’s Nigeria. Why does the international community treat it so differently”?   

The second Panel session dealt with the economy and Nigeria’s economic mainstay, oil. It seems apposite to me that majority of the speakers in this session were expatriates. Our oil resources have been much denuded and filtered away by the International oil companies and multinationals.  They have not done us a favour but fleeced and impoverished us because our communities have been laid to waste and there has been hardly any technological transfer. Much of our economic woes have been caused by the manner in which foreigners have dealt with our oil. Most of them are responsible for the blight that oil has caused on our political, social and economic landscape. The first paper in the session was from Peter Lewis of John Hopkins University in America and it was titled “Politicians and Oil” in keeping with the theme of the impact of 20 years of democracy. The second paper titled “The Political Economy of Nigerian Oil Trading” was delivered by Ricardo Soares de Oliviera of the University of Oxford, whilst the third speaker was Dr Zainab Usman of the World Bank and her topic was “From Diversification to Decentralisation: The Sub-National Roots of Transforming Nigeria’s Oil Economy”. The last paper of the Session was one which portends grave danger for our economy if we do not shift our focus and reliance on oil to other productive and financially rewarding sectors of the economy. It was gloomingly and fittingly titled “Nigeria: No Longer an Oil State” and was written by Oliver Owen and Sarah Burns, both of the University of Oxford.

The Third Panel session in the late afternoon dealt with Electoral Governance, Civil Society and (In)Security. Papers were delivered by Okechukwu Ibeanu of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on “Theorizing Electoral Democracy in Nigeria: Elections, Representation and Accountancy”; Jubrin Ibrahim of the Centre for Democracy and Development, Abuja “The 2019 General Elections in Nigeria: An Assessment”; Ebenezer Obadare, of the University of Kansas “Resistance in the Age of Democracy: The Changing Parameters of Civil Society in Nigeria”; Idayat Hassan of the Centre for Democracy and Development, Abuja, “From Human Rights Movement to Civil Society: A Review of Twenty Years of Democracy in Nigeria”; Nic Cheeseman of the University of Birmingham, “Political Communication in Nigeria: From Radio to WhatsApp”; and Adam Higazi of the Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola and the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands “The Political Economy of Insurgency and Counter-Insurgency in North-East Nigeria”.  

The Fourth and Final Session was the evening Panel Session which featured the political gladiators and big masquerades, Governors Fayemi and Tambuwal. Both spoke ardently and fervently about the Nigerian Nation. Both were concerned about Constitutional reform and the structural re-adjustment and re-alignment of the Nigerian nation. Both of them indicated their preference for resource control by the States and a clear need for the decentralisation and dismantling of power at the centre. Tambuwal stress the need for enduring institutions as one of the practical solutions to seemingly intractable political conundrum.

At the end of the conference, it was clear that all the participants believed that though democracy was becoming entrenched in the Nigerian psyche, it is not yet Uhuru because a lot still remains to be done before we can truly consider the country a democratic country in terms of principle and practice. It was certainly kudos for a job well done to the organisers and the speakers who came from diverse and disparate backgrounds. It was obvious that they all had one thing in common, the desire that Nigeria should take its deserved place in the comity of democratic nations being one of the biggest and most populous countries in the world.

At least 17 people have been hacked to death in two attacks near the city of Beni in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a local official has said.

On Thursday afternoon, the rebels killed 14 people in Mantumbi, a village 17km (11 miles) west of the city of Oicha, said Donat Kibwana, administrator of the Beni territory.

Earlier that day, they had killed two and beheaded a third in Kolokoko, a suburb of Oicha, he told the Reuters news agency.

"Everybody has fled the village (Mantumbi). There are only soldiers here, who are in the process of helping to remove the bodies of the people who were all killed with knives," he said

The violence has been blamed on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an armed group officials say is responsible for a string of massacres since the start of November.

 

Separate violence

Also on Thursday, three more civilians were wounded in Beni town by an explosive device, an official source said, in a new tactic in a region beset by violence for decades.

Two passengers on a motorbike later threw an explosive device which blew up in the market, said Alois Mbwarara, administrative chief of Rwenzori, one of the four districts of the town.

"The ADF, on the run from the Congolese army, now uses their stooges in the town for acts of sabotage," he said. "The army is analysing debris to determine whether it was a homemade bomb or a hand grenade."

The last time an explosive device was used in Beni was in 2007, the official added.

The Congolese army has discovered "a factory for large-scale production of homemade bombs" at a seized ADF camp, military spokesman General Leon Richard Kasonga said on Wednesday.

Scores of militias operate in eastern DRC despite the presence of foreign troops in one of the United Nation's largest peacekeeping operations.

DRC forces launched operations against the ADF in the eastern region at the end of October. In response, the ADF has carried out massacres in an apparent bid to discourage civilians from helping the military.

At least 100 people have been killed since November 5 in attacks blamed on the ADF.

No military sources would officially confirm Thursday's report, but the Congolese army and UN troops deployed to the vast country have announced joint operations against ADF forces in the Beni region.

Militia violence has also complicated efforts to combat the second worst outbreak of the Ebola virus that has killed more than 2,200 people so far.

Attacks by the ADF and insecurity have sparked deadly protests against UN MONUSCO mission forces in the east of the country who locals say have failed to protect their communities.

 
 
AL JAZEERA

National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) yesterday  received another  batch of 168  Nigerians  deported from Libya.

The  deportees described as distressed and stranded Nigerians were among the Voluntary Returnees who were assisted back to Nigeria by the  International Organisation for Migration (IOM) with the support of European Union (EU) as a special intervention were received at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Cargo Wing on arrival by Ibrahim Farinloye, the Acting Coordinator of NEMA Lagos Territorial Office on behalf of Director General of NEMA, Mr. Mustapha Maihajja.

 The Returnees who arrived the country aboard Al Buraq airline landed about 5 : 42 am on Friday  after 12 hours delay.

After profiling, the 38 adult females,  five female children were brought back while 109 adult males, six male children and 10 infants were among the new Returnees.

Those so far returned from Libya according to NEMA  in the last few years comprise 8,096 males and 5,788 females alone.

The NEMA official said the number of Returnees brought to Nigeria from 16 countries  include 15,731 since April, 2017 till date.

Farinloye while quoting the summary of the special EU-IOM and Federal Government intervention since 2017 till October, 2019 said Libya has the highest number of Returnees .

He said :” Libya has the highest number of returnees with males number comprising 8,096 and  female 5, 788; Niger Republic 1,043 males and 556 females; Morocco males 42, female 37; Liberia males eight and females four , Burkina Faso males six and females 18; France males three and females one while Ireland had only one female but countries like Poland ,Austria, Gambia, Mauritania, Ethiopia had one male each assisted back Chad had one male and two females and Cote D’ivoire had only two females brought back within the periods.

“Estimately, adults males formed 54 per cent  and 37 per cent  are for females while male and female minors are  four per cent  each.

In the same vein, the distressed migrants brought back per state of Origin show that Edo State topped the list with 40.6 per cent ; Delta 13.3 per cent, Ogun 6.2 per cent, Imo 4.7 per cent, Lagos 4.3 per cent, Oyo 4.1 per cent, Yobe 3.6 per cent, Kano  3.1 per cent and Osun with 2.9 per cent while other states completed the rest.”

According to NEMA: “Those that suffered various degrees of torture in males were 31and females were 21; Unaccompanied minors that were assisted back in males were 66 and females were 67; those who were kidnapped out of Nigeria but assisted back in males were 79 and females were 31; single parents males 41 and females are 616; total number of pregnant women brought back so far are 439 while those with various medical issues males 592  and females  804 and migrants assisted back with psychosocial needs are males 523 and females 470 as the summary of the special intervention exercise.”

 

THISDAY

Saturday, 07 December 2019 09:28

FG Uncovers New Fraud in P&ID Contract

The federal government has said it uncovered new evidence of fraud in the Gas supply and process agreement entered with the Irish firm, Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) currently locked in legal battle in the United Kingdom.

 Consequent upon the new evidence against the firm, the government said it had filed a fresh suit against the Judgment of a London Commercial Court which entered a $9.6 billion award against Nigeria.

The disclosure was made in a statement issued by theAttorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Media Assistance, Dr. Umar Gwandu.

 In the statement dated December 6, Gwandu said, “The Federal Republic of Nigeria has today filed a new and substantive challenge in the English Courts in the ongoing fight against the vulture-fund-backed P&ID”.

The fresh suit, he noted was a major step forward in the government’s bid to overturn the injustice of the US$9.6 billion award.

“The filing challenges both the underlying arbitral award and its enforcement, and lodges a fresh appeal against the subsequent High Court judgment,” the statement said.

It added that, “Based on new evidence that has come to light in recent investigations, it is clear that the original contract was a sham commercial deal and designed to fail from the outset. The fraud was only recently discovered as a result of President Buhari’s anti-corruption efforts spearheaded by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission”.

 In the fresh suit Nigeria argues that the Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (GSPA) was procured on the basis of fraud and corruption, while the subsequent arbitral process was riddled with irregularities and deliberately concealed from the rest of the Government.

The statement described the filing as a significant step forward in the Federal Government fight to secure justice for the people of Nigeria.

The Federal Government has recently expanded its legal team, to include leading London law firm Mishcon de Reya and the team is led by Shaistah Akhtar, Partner, and Mark Howard QC of Brick Court Chambers.

 “The expansion will enable the FGN to launch in full its investigations and challenges,” the statement added.

 The Media aide said it was important to note that clear and concrete evidence of fraud and corruption were only recently discovered due to President Buhari’s increase efforts in the well-regarded anti-corruption war.

 “The new administration’s efforts have brought to light the fraudulent nature of the P&ID contract. President Buhari has established several initiatives aimed at tackling corruption. This includes the Presidential Advisory Committee Against

Corruption and the Whistle Blowers Policy in 2016, as well as the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) 2017-2021 in 2017”, the statement added.

 

THISDAY

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United remain a bigger club than Manchester City despite their rivals' recent rise.

All eyes will be on the Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening as the blue and red halves of the city collide in the 179th Manchester derby.

United are 11 points behind reigning champions City, who have finished above their Manchester rivals in the league every season since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, winning three titles in that time.

But asked if United continue to be a bigger club than City, Solskjaer said without hesitation: "Yeah."

That response was to the point and shorter than an earlier answer that saw the Norwegian poke fun at City.

Solskjaer joined United as a player months after their near-neighbours dropped out of the Premier League in 1996, with City only returning to the top table in 2000 after falling as far as the third tier.

It meant the striker had to wait five years to get his first taste of a Manchester derby in April 2001.

"At least we play every year now! It took many years before I played a Manchester derby myself," Solskjaer said.

"But it's changed in a way. Of course Man City are a better team now than when I was playing.

"I think football has changed quite a lot. I think it allowed a few more proper tackles - with every little angle, everything being scrutinised now, it's more of a technical, tactical game than physical and mental one.

"But, still, a derby should be played as a derby. We don't play basketball, so we're ready for that if that happens."

To bridge that gap Solskjaer believes they need to continue on this current path, although predecessors David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho suggested City's spending power made it an uneven fight.

"Don't agree," he said. "What are you going to do? Are you going to give up and not challenge them? That's what we've got to get back to."

Solskjaer knows United need to rebuild and change the culture to one with "that hunger and selflessness that most of these players are showing".

The Norwegian is confident there are the resources and know-how to do that, although there remain other issues that are harder to solve.

Paul Pogba's future is arguably chief among them on the playing side after the midfielder brought back for a world-record fee in 2016 expressed his desire to leave over the summer.

The World Cup winner worked diligently during pre-season but has endured a difficult campaign, with the 26-year-old out since September with an ankle injury as speculation swirls about his future.

"Of course Paul's going to play when he gets his fitness," Solskjaer said. "He's one of the best players in the world when he's in form.

"We just need to give him time to be 100 per cent fit. It might be 45 minutes, the first game. It might be half an hour, it might be 90.

"It depends on what game he comes back in and I'm looking to get Paul back to where I had him a year ago."

 

SKYSPORTS

Anthony Joshua must face his demons; he will have to take a punch, throw back without hesitation and he might even have to climb off the floor to reclaim the gold and the glory that he maintains is "rightfully his".

This was never part of the AJ masterplan but here we are, the first world heavyweight championship fight in the Middle East is just hours away, with Joshua reduced to challenger against the only man to have beaten him, Andy Ruiz Jr. It is Joshua's aura and how he will be remembered that is truly at stake in this compelling examination of boxing's poster boy.

 We have heard the conspiracies and debated the reasons for Joshua's awful night in midtown Manhattan but these are the hours of peace, before the fight breaks out, where both men are tortured by their own thoughts.

Quietly, a new Joshua has emerged after weeks of sleepless nights and soul searching. This is not the over-confident champion who let his challenger touch the belts at a pre-fight meeting last time, before Ruiz Jr picked his pocket and went home with those prizes.

The man that steps into the ring tonight, at 8.45pm live on Sky Sports Box Office, is a totally different individual to the one who crashed to the canvas four times in the first fight. Outwardly he is slimmer and less polished, not fussed by his scruffy hair or unshaven beard, while inwardly there is obvious intensity that was absent last time.

He is the result of a revamped training camp featuring a crop of "championship-level sparring partners" that mimicked Ruiz Jr's dimensions and skills, and two new pad-men who helped hone new punching routines. The focus has been finesse not fitness. It is, essentially, a complete 180 from his preparation to face Ruiz Jr the first time. He is lighter than any of his previous world title fights which "can be detrimental", according by Dillian Whyte.

The way to avenge his shocking defeat to Ruiz Jr six months ago is simple, depending upon who you ask.

Joshua has to be careful and stick to his jab, or he must bully and overpower Ruiz Jr. The changes in his preparation are either a masterstroke or a sign of instability.

The truth is, nobody truly knows.

This version of Joshua must be rock-solid in his own beliefs of how to win the rematch of a fight that has given him nightmares since that awful night on his US debut. There cannot be any deviation from whatever plan was hatched, there must be no emotion inside those ropes, Joshua needs to be cold and calculating.

The battle is two-fold, mental and physical - Joshua must address the ghosts of the first fight, and also needs to trust in his technique.

 For three rounds Ruiz Jr will be a wrecking ball, picking up straight from where he left off. The big clues to watch out for: how does Joshua react to being clipped? Can he quickly knock some of the bravery out of Ruiz Jr?

Before then, it will be fascinating to watch the ring-walk for clues of Joshua's mood - six months ago, his entrance left clues as to what was coming. The advice after the first round from Rob McCracken, the trainer that Joshua staunchly defended, is a subplot worth following.

Both fighters have visited the Diriyah Arena, the 15,000-seat purpose-built facility that was constructed within two months and will be deconstructed and vanish back into the desert much quicker. They have visualised, they know history is at their fingertips.

At its core this is a fight where Joshua and Ruiz Jr could both hit the deck, blood will spill, composure will surely be overtaken by heart and guts. The world heavyweight championship and, more importantly, Joshua's legacy are on a knife-edge.

 

SKYSPORT

Elon Musk did not defame a British caver who helped in last year's rescue of trapped Thai schoolboys by calling him a "pedo guy", a US jury has found.

Vernon Unsworth sought $190m (£145m) in damages from the Tesla founder, arguing that the tweet damaged his reputation.

A public row broke out between the two men over the rescue of 12 boys trapped in a Thai cave in June 2018.

Mr Musk told the court this week the phrase "pedo guy" was common in South Africa, where he grew up.

Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom after the jury reached its decision, Mr Musk said: "My faith in humanity is restored."

Mr Unsworth's lawyer Lin Wood said their side would leave the court "with our heads held high" but that the decision was "not a good verdict for society".

"This verdict sends a signal, and one signal only - that you can make any accusation you want to, as vile as it may be and as untrue as it may be, and somebody can get away with it," he said.

The case had been closely watched as it was seen as testing the legal threshold in the US for defamatory material on social media.

Appearing dejected, Mr Unsworth himself added: "I respect the jury's decision. I'd just like to say my legal team have been absolutely awesome. I came here for a verdict, unfortunately it's not gone the way I expected but I respect the jury's decision and thank them for that."

Jurors took less than an hour to return their unanimous verdict, following a four-day trial at a federal court in Los Angeles.

Jury foreman Joshua Jones said Mr Unsworth's legal team were unable to prove their case and should have focused more on the evidence.

"I think they tried to get our emotions involved in it," he was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.

 

What was the row about?

Mr Unsworth, an experienced 64-year-old cave explorer, splits his time between the UK and Thailand.

During the rescue of the young football team, which captured the world's attention, Mr Unsworth helped recruit expert cave divers who were instrumental in freeing the boys safely.

Mr Musk sent Tesla engineers and a small submarine to northern Thailand to help with the rescue effort, but the vessel was never used.

Instead, he and Mr Unsworth got into a public war of words after the diver branded the offer of help a "PR stunt".

During an interview with CNN, the diver suggested the billionaire "stick his submarine where it hurts".

Mr Musk, who now has nearly 30 million followers, responded with a series of tweets about Mr Unsworth - including the one calling him "pedo guy". It was later deleted.

 

Reporting from the courtroom

One of the smartest moves by Elon Musk's defence was in introducing the concept of "JDart", an acronym to describe their client's conduct on Twitter in relation to the infamous "pedo guy" tweet.

A JDart, lawyer Alex Spiro explained, meant: a Joke that was badly received, therefore Deleted, with an Apology and then Responsive Tweets to move on from the matter. JDart.

It's clumsy, for sure, but it meant Mr Spiro could offer the jury here a degree of structure around what before seemed senseless: Mr Musk may have acted foolishly with the J, but he soon "darted", which is how you know he wasn't being serious about the allegation.

Expect the JDart "standard" to be applied again and again, not just in libel trials, but in any arena where social media behaviour is under scrutiny - a parachute for anyone who, in the heat of the moment, says something idiotic online.

 

What else was said at court?

Testifying over two days on Tuesday and Wednesday, Mr Musk told the court he did not expect the "pedo" tweet to be taken literally.

He said that at the time he thought Mr Unsworth was "just some random creepy guy" who was "unrelated to the rescue".

Mr Musk apologised on Twitter and in court for his outburst.

Contesting this, Mr Wood cited another now-deleted tweet the billionaire sent to his followers saying: "Bet ya a signed dollar it's true."

He also cited an email exchange that Mr Musk had with a Buzzfeed reporter who contacted him for comment on the threat of legal action, where the entrepreneur said: "Stop defending child rapists."

Mr Wood said Mr Musk was a "billionaire bully" who had "dropped a nuclear bomb" on his client, and that the tweet had affected his career and relationships.

On Thursday, Mr Unsworth told the court that Mr Musk's tweet had left him feeling "humiliated".

Reporters in court said the diver appeared on the verge of tears as he told jurors: "It feels very raw. I feel humiliated. Ashamed. Dirtied. Effectively, from day one, I was given a life sentence without parole. It hurts to talk about it."

He added: "I find it disgusting. I find it very hard to even read the word, never mind talk about."

Alex Spiro, Mr Musk's lawyer, argued that the "pedo guy" tweet was an offhand comment made in the course of an argument between the two men, which no-one could be expected to take seriously.

"In arguments you insult people," he said. "There is no bomb. No bomb went off."

 

BBC