Victor Osimhen Becomes Highest-Ranked African Player in Ballon d’Or 2023 Rankings

Victor Osimhen Becomes Highest Ranked African Player In Ballon D'or 2023 Rankings

In a historic achievement, Nigerian footballer Victor Osimhen has secured the eighth position in the prestigious Ballon d’Or 2023 rankings, making him the highest-ranked African player in the men’s category this year. The 24-year-old striker has garnered immense recognition for his exceptional performances with Napoli and the Nigerian national team during the assessed period.

Osimhen’s inclusion in the esteemed rankings marks the first time a Nigerian player has ever finished inside the top 10 of the Ballon d’Or rankings, solidifying his status as one of the continent’s most talented footballers. His remarkable season has propelled him to new heights, earning him well-deserved acclaim on the global stage.

Throughout the 2022/23 season, Osimhen showcased his prowess on the field, netting an impressive 28 goals and providing 10 assists in 49 appearances across all competitions for Napoli. His contributions played a pivotal role in Napoli’s triumphant campaign, culminating in the club’s Serie A title victory after a 33-year drought.

Osimhen’s performances have not only elevated his own stature but have also brought immense pride to Nigerian football. His skill, speed, and goal-scoring ability have made him a force to be reckoned with, captivating fans and pundits alike. His impact extends beyond the club level, as he has been an integral part of the Nigerian national team, representing his country with distinction.

The Ballon d’Or recognition is a testament to Osimhen’s dedication, hard work, and unwavering commitment to his craft. It serves as an inspiration to aspiring footballers across Africa, highlighting the immense talent that the continent possesses. Osimhen’s achievement also underscores the importance of providing opportunities and nurturing young talent in developing football nations.

As Osimhen continues to make his mark on the global stage, his success serves as a reminder of the immense potential within African football. It is hoped that his achievements will pave the way for more African players to be recognised and celebrated for their outstanding contributions to the sport.

The Nigerian football community, fans, and the entire nation celebrate Victor Osimhen’s incredible accomplishment, which further solidifies his place among the footballing elite. As he continues to excel, the spotlight on his remarkable talent shines brighter, and the expectations for his future performances soar to new heights.

Ethiopian Airlines Reveals Its Reluctant Involvement in Nigeria Air Project

Nigeria Transport Aviation

In a surprising turn of events, Ethiopian Airlines has broken its silence regarding its participation in Nigeria’s controversial Nigeria Air project, initiated by the previous administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. The airline’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Mesfin Tasew, disclosed that Ethiopian Airlines had initially contemplated withdrawing from the deal but was ultimately persuaded by the federal government to stay on board.

This development occurred despite a pending court case initiated by the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), which had obtained an injunction halting the project. The project, spearheaded by former Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, was launched on May 27 but faced numerous setbacks when it was discovered that an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft had been used for a demonstration flight, in violation of the establishment process for a new airline.

In an interview with Nigerian journalists in Addis Ababa, Mr. Tasew clarified that Ethiopian Airlines had never harboured any intention to establish an airline in Nigeria. According to him, the Nigerian government had formally requested Ethiopian Airlines’ participation in a bid to assist in the creation of a national carrier, Nigeria Air. Despite initial reservations due to ongoing commitments in other countries, Ethiopian Airlines ultimately agreed to respect the Nigerian government’s request, citing its service to the Nigerian public and government through flights to four cities in the country.

Mr. Tasew further revealed that Ethiopian Airlines had submitted a proposal after being informed that it had been selected by the Ministry of Aviation as the partner for establishing the airline. The proposed structure would see Ethiopian Airlines holding a 49% stake, the federal government retaining 5%, and the remaining 46% being allocated to Nigerian investors. However, there were discrepancies between the two parties regarding the composition of Nigerian investment institutions and the government’s insistence on retaining only a 5% share.

Addressing another point of contention, Mr. Tasew explained that Nigerian authorities had requested the display of Ethiopian Airlines aircraft painted with the Nigeria Air logo for inspection. Ethiopian Airlines obliged and temporarily painted one of its aircraft with the Nigerian logo, which was later repainted with the Ethiopian logo after the inspection.

While discussing the objectives of Nigeria Air, Mr. Tasew stressed that the Nigerian government aimed to establish a reliable and dependable national carrier to address issues of flight punctuality, cancellations, and high airfares charged by foreign airlines. However, this revelation has sparked mixed reactions within the industry, with some stakeholders accusing the government of undermining local airlines.

Mr. Olumide Ohunayo, Secretary General of Aviation Roundtable, expressed his disappointment, labelling the Nigeria Air case as an embarrassment for the nation. He criticized the government for disregarding domestic airlines, claiming that Nigeria possessed the highest number of airlines in Africa, although they may not have as many aircraft as their counterparts.

The involvement of Ethiopian Airlines in the Nigeria Air project, coupled with the revelations made by its CEO, has shed new light on the complexities and controversies surrounding the initiative. As the project undergoes further scrutiny and the aviation industry awaits the court’s decision, the future of Nigeria Air remains uncertain.

Glasgow Design Studio Collaborates with Nigerian Artist Lemi Ghariokwu to Create Vibrant Craft Beer Project

Glasgow Design Studio Collaborates With Nigerian Artist Lemi Ghariokwu To Create Vibrant Craft Beer Project

Pim-Pam, a creative design studio based in Glasgow, has embarked on an exciting new venture with Nigeria’s first craft brewery, Bature Brewery, by incorporating the renowned artwork of international artist Lemi Ghariokwu into their innovative design project.

The aim of the collaboration is to honour West Africa’s rich and colourful heritage while promoting the region’s emerging craft beer movement.

Having worked closely with Bature Brewery for several years, Pim-Pam’s award-winning creative team has gained global recognition for their contributions to the brewery’s branding and beer can designs. Their creations, such as the Lagos Lager, Founders Pale Ale, and Black Gold Stout, have recently received acclaim, with the latter winning Gold at the prestigious World Beer Awards.

Given that craft brewing is still in its early stages in Nigeria, Pim-Pam has always sought partnerships with Nigerian artists to establish a connection with the brewery’s audience. Their latest collaboration is with Lagos-based Lemi Ghariokwu, renowned for his album artwork designs for Fela Kuti, the ground-breaking pioneer of the Afrobeat genre.

Luke McCarthy, founder and creative director of Pim-Pam, explained the motivation behind their artistic collaborations, stating, “Lagos is brimming with talent, culture, and creativity. With the brewery’s commitment to producing the best-tasting beers using locally-sourced ingredients, we have consistently sought to harness that same energy by collaborating with Nigerian artists and creatives.”

McCarthy further emphasized the importance of understanding the target audience when launching brands in the West African market. He highlighted the uniqueness of Lagos and the need for a tailored approach to resonate with consumers. Recognizing the cult following of the craft beer movement in West Africa, Pim-Pam believes that collaboration and storytelling, through partnerships with artists, creatives, and musicians, can celebrate Nigerian talent while expanding the reach of Bature Brewery’s beers and cultivating brand advocates.

As part of Bature Brewery’s rapid expansion plans over the next year, Pim-Pam forged a partnership with Lemi Ghariokwu. Together, they created the artwork for Bature’s new beer, Shakara, and developed a captivating brand identity for the brewery’s Felabration, an annual music and art festival commemorating the life and legacy of the iconic Fela Kuti.

Shakara, named after one of Fela Kuti’s songs, is a vibrant pink beer infused with popular Nigerian botanical zobo, boasting flavors of strawberry and pomegranate. The beer serves as a fitting tribute to the lively and colourful culture of Lagos, the brewery’s hometown.

Working closely with Lemi Ghariokwu, Pim-Pam collaborated on the design of the artwork, packaging, and related materials for Shakara. The packaging design draws inspiration from the colours and themes prevalent throughout Lemi’s illustrious career, aligning harmoniously with the product, its essence, and the beer’s vibrant hue.

France and Nigeria Launch Joint Operation to Combat Piracy and Trafficking in Gulf of Guinea

France And Nigeria Launch Joint Operation To Combat Piracy And Trafficking In Gulf Of Guinea

France and Nigeria have recently joined forces in a collaborative effort to tackle the persistent issues of piracy and trafficking in the Gulf of Guinea. This strategic partnership aims to enhance maritime security in the region and protect the interests of both nations.

In a show of strength, the French carrier Mistral, accompanied by five Nigerian navy ships, embarked on a four-month mission to safeguard the Gulf of Guinea from illicit activities. The Mistral, a naval vessel continuously deployed by the French since 1990, serves as a vital asset in combating maritime threats.

Captain Olivier Roussille, Commander of the Mistral, highlighted the importance of the mission, stating, “The heart of our mission is maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea, where France has both interests and strong partners, including Nigeria.” The collaboration between France and Nigeria signifies their shared commitment to maintaining stability and ensuring the safety of the region’s waters.

For the Nigerian Navy, these joint naval exercises align with their dedication to the Yaoundé Protocol. Signed in 2013 by 25 West and Central African governments, as well as regional blocs ECOWAS and ECCAS, the protocol was designed to effectively address illicit activities in the Gulf of Guinea. Over the past decade, the implementation of the protocol has resulted in a notable reduction in piracy and armed robbery incidents.

Despite these achievements, Nigeria continues to face security threats such as crude oil theft and unlawful oil bunkering. To counter these challenges, the Nigerian Navy emphasizes the necessity of ongoing joint drills to combat piracy and maintain a secure maritime environment.

The collaborative efforts of France and Nigeria in this joint operation signify a significant step forward in the fight against piracy and trafficking in the Gulf of Guinea. By combining their resources, expertise, and strong partnership, the two nations aim to further improve maritime security and protect the economic interests of the region.

France And Nigeria Launch Joint Operation To Combat Piracy And Trafficking In Gulf Of Guinea (2)

Nigerian Sprinter Divine Oduduru Receives Six-Year Ban for Doping Violations

Nigerian sprinter Divine Oduduru has been handed a six-year ban after being found guilty of two doping violations. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) announced the decision on Thursday, stating that there was “overwhelming evidence” against the former world junior silver medalist.

The violations committed by Oduduru include the possession of prohibited substances and attempted use of a prohibited substance or method. The case of Oduduru is linked to that of his teammate Blessing Okagbare, who received an 11-year ban for doping in 2022.

Brett Clothier, the head of the AIU, expressed satisfaction with the outcome, highlighting the gravity of the offenses committed and the collusion between athletes and others involved in corrupting athletics at the highest level.

Oduduru had been provisionally suspended on February 9 pending the investigation. The case of Okagbare came to light after therapist Eric Lira was charged by US prosecutors for supplying performance-enhancing drugs to athletes during the Tokyo Olympics. Lira has pleaded guilty to the charges and faces a prison sentence of 10 years.

Okagbare, 34, was expelled from the Tokyo Olympics just before the women’s 100m semi-finals after testing positive for human growth hormone in an out-of-competition test conducted in Slovakia before the 2020 Games. Her phone was seized by US Customs and Border Protection upon her return to the United States, and incriminating text and voice messages with Lira were discovered during an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The AIU banned Okagbare for the use of multiple prohibited substances and for failing to cooperate with the investigation. In Oduduru’s case, significant evidence was presented, including WhatsApp messages between Okagbare and Lira that revealed Okagbare soliciting prohibited substances on behalf of Oduduru.

Throughout the investigation, the 27-year-old Oduduru maintained his innocence. Despite having a personal best time of 9.86 seconds in the 100m event, Oduduru was disqualified in the heats at the Tokyo Olympics but reached the semi-finals in the 200m event. He won a silver medal in the 200m at the 2014 World Junior Athletics Championships.

The AIU emphasized its commitment to uncovering doping offenders and dismantling their networks. They expressed gratitude for the assistance provided by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and the United States Department of Justice, whose collaboration and evidence were instrumental in both the Oduduru and Okagbare cases.

Photographic evidence obtained during the investigation revealed the presence of multiple prohibited substances in Oduduru’s Florida apartment. Among the items discovered were two boxes of Somatropin (labeled as “Xerendip” and “Humatrope”), identified as human growth hormone, a plastic bag labelled “IGF LR3” containing three vials, which abbreviates synthetic Insulin Growth Factor, and two boxes of erythropoietin (EPO).


Source: BBC

Combatting Diphtheria in Nigeria: A Call for Vaccination and Vigilance

In December 2022, Nigeria found itself grappling with a harrowing diphtheria outbreak, a contagious disease primarily affecting the nose, throat, and skin, which had already claimed the lives of more than 600 individuals, primarily children. This grim statistic surpasses the 2011 outbreak, which saw a mere 98 reported cases, casting a shadow of concern across the nation.

Kano state, situated in the northern region, became the epicentre of this health crisis, bearing the brunt of the outbreak with over 500 recorded fatalities. However, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon, as the number of active cases has recently started to decline.

Diphtheria, a highly contagious and preventable disease, spreads through coughs, sneezes, and close contact with infected individuals, with severe cases often proving fatal. Regrettably, many of the affected children were unvaccinated, making the situation all the more heart-wrenching.

Dr. Faisal Shuaib, the head of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, witnessed the dire consequences of this entirely preventable disease during a visit to a diphtheria isolation centre in Kano city. He emphasized the need for vaccinations, stating, “Witnessing the young children suffering from this entirely preventable disease at the centre today was profoundly heart-wrenching.”

As of 24 September, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) reported 453 fatalities and 11,587 suspected cases. Nevertheless, the World Health Organization (WHO) has raised concerns that the actual fatality and infection rates might be higher due to inadequate testing and some patients not reporting their symptoms. Despite this, measures such as contact tracing have contributed to a decline in case numbers.

This devastating outbreak has cast its dark shadow over 19 of Nigeria’s 36 states and the federal capital, Abuja. The hardest-hit states are all located in the north, including Kano, Yobe, Katsina, Borno, Jigawa, and Kaduna.

Health authorities are now urgently appealing to parents with unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children to ensure they receive immunization. They emphasize that vaccination remains the most effective means of controlling the ongoing crisis.

The World Health Organization (WHO) underscores that only 57% of Nigerians have received the pentavalent vaccine, which guards against five life-threatening diseases, including diphtheria. To avert future diphtheria outbreaks, Nigeria must increase vaccination coverage to reach at least 80% of the population, according to the WHO.

The last significant diphtheria outbreak in the country occurred in 2011 when 21 people lost their lives, and 98 were infected in Borno state, as reported by the WHO. In the wake of this latest outbreak, it is evident that vaccination is not just a crucial preventative measure but a lifeline to safeguard the health and future of Nigeria’s children.


Source: Africa News

Microsoft and Flutterwave Partner to Drive Payment Innovation and Empower African Businesses

Microsoft and Flutterwave, a leading payments technology company, have joined forces in a five-year strategic technology partnership aimed at revolutionizing payment innovation in Africa. The collaboration will see Flutterwave build its next-generation platform on Microsoft Azure, with the goal of accelerating the growth of small businesses across the continent and promoting financial inclusion. This partnership comes at a crucial time when small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are recognized as vital contributors to Africa’s progress and development.
SMEs play a pivotal role in Africa’s economy, providing employment opportunities for about 90 percent of the continent’s population. These businesses are also at the forefront of innovation, addressing societal challenges and driving progress. However, SMEs face significant obstacles, with research indicating that around five out of seven businesses fail in their first year. Access to financial services and seamless payment methods are among the key challenges faced by these enterprises.According to reports from the African Union Development Agency, approximately 90 percent of transactions in Africa are still cash-based, while nearly half of small businesses lack access to credit. Flutterwave has been dedicated to overcoming these challenges by connecting businesses to financial services and enabling various payment modes, including local and international cards, mobile wallets, and bank transfers. The partnership with Microsoft further strengthens Flutterwave’s mission to democratize payments in Africa and fuel business growth.By transitioning to Microsoft Azure, Flutterwave can process high-volume payments at scale, ensuring a secure and seamless payment experience for its clients. Azure’s advanced capabilities and infrastructure provide the technology foundation needed for Flutterwave to expand and revolutionize payment services across Africa. Additionally, through Azure OpenAI Service, Flutterwave has the opportunity to scale its product offering globally, empowering millions of merchants worldwide.Ola Williams, Country Manager of Microsoft Nigeria, emphasized the importance of digital financial inclusion for sustainable growth in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Enabling small businesses to participate actively in local and global marketplaces is crucial for building resilience and prosperity. The partnership between Microsoft and Flutterwave aims to provide businesses with the digital financial services they need to not only survive but thrive. Olugbenga ‘GB’ Agboola, Founder and CEO of Flutterwave, expressed excitement about the partnership, highlighting its transformative potential. He emphasized that the collaboration is not just about transactions but about transformation, as Flutterwave and Microsoft work together to create an inclusive digital Africa. The partnership will enable Flutterwave to expand its reach through transactable solutions on Azure Marketplace, including its SMB finance-as-a-service offering, further empowering businesses across the continent.

Microsoft and Flutterwave Partner to Drive Payment Innovation and Empower African Businesses

Microsoft’s strategic technology partnership with Flutterwave marks a significant step toward fast-tracking payment innovation in Africa and empowering small businesses for growth. By leveraging Microsoft Azure’s capabilities, Flutterwave aims to revolutionize payments, address financial inclusion challenges, and connect African businesses to the global stage. This collaboration aligns with Microsoft’s mission to empower individuals and organizations worldwide and holds the key to building stronger economies and a brighter future for Africa.


Source: ITNewsAfrica

Nigerian Broadcasting Commission Proposes Bill to Tackle Social Media Challenges

In a bid to address the evolving landscape of media and communication, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has sent a bill to the National Assembly seeking to repeal and reenact the existing NBC act. The proposed bill aims to equip the NBC with the necessary tools to regulate social media platforms and effectively manage the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting.

During a meeting at the NBC headquarters, Balarabe Ilelah, the Director-General of the NBC, expressed his concerns about social media by referring to it as a “monster.” He emphasized that the current legislation does not grant the NBC the authority to regulate social media platforms, which has become one of the major challenges faced by the commission and the country as a whole.

Ilelah explained, “We are pleased to inform you that a bill for an act to repeal and amend the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) act has been introduced in the national assembly. This bill has been drafted to address various important aspects, including the transition to digital broadcasting, enhancement of audio and video quality, efficient spectrum management, establishment of the Nigeria Broadcast Institute, social media regulation, and other related matters that are not adequately covered in the existing act. Social media poses a significant challenge, and without appropriate legislation empowering the NBC to address these issues, it will continue to negatively impact our daily lives.”

While the NBC aims to maintain a collaborative approach with broadcasters and stakeholders, prioritizing negotiations and understanding, Ilelah disclosed that in 2023, the commission had to issue 1,238 warnings and impose penalties on six different stations due to violations. The proposed bill seeks to establish a comprehensive regulatory framework that enables the NBC to effectively address social media-related concerns while upholding responsible broadcasting practices.

This bill reflects the NBC’s recognition of the transformative power and influence of social media in Nigeria’s media landscape. By seeking to regulate social media, the NBC endeavours to strike a balance between freedom of expression and the need to protect against misinformation and hate speech, among other potential challenges associated with online content dissemination. The bill will now proceed through the legislative process in the National Assembly, where it will be reviewed and debated before any potential amendments to the regulatory framework are made.

Davido and Chioma Reportedly Blessed with Twins in Joyful Surprise

In a delightful surprise, reports have emerged that Nigerian superstar singer David Adedeji Adeleke, widely known as Davido, and his wife Chioma Rowland, welcomed twins in the United States on Tuesday, 9th October, 2023.

The news was initially shared by Evangelist Gospel Agochukwu, who excitedly uploaded his conversation with Davido on the official Facebook page of his church on Tuesday morning, 10th October 2023.

While Davido and Chioma have not personally confirmed the news yet, the virtual world has been buzzing with congratulatory messages on various social media platforms. Fans and well-wishers alike have eagerly expressed their joy and excitement for the couple.

The arrival of twins would mark a momentous occasion in Davido and Chioma’s lives, adding double the happiness to their growing family. As one of Nigeria’s most beloved musical talents, Davido has captured the hearts of millions with his infectious music and charismatic personality. Similarly, Chioma has garnered admiration for her grace and support as Davido’s partner.

Although further details about the twins and their names are yet to be disclosed, the news has undoubtedly sparked widespread celebration among fans of the couple and the music industry as a whole.

As the anticipation builds for an official announcement from Davido and Chioma, the online community continues to share their warm wishes and messages of love, eagerly awaiting more information about the newest additions to the family.

The reported arrival of twins for Davido and Chioma is a moment of great joy and blessings, and it reinforces the love and support they receive from their dedicated fan base.

Super Falcons Announce Squad for Paris 2024 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Qualification Fixture Against Ethiopia

The Nigerian Super Falcons have revealed their squad for the upcoming Paris 2024 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament qualification fixture against Ethiopia. Goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie, defender Osinachi Ohale, and forward Asisat Oshoala headline the list of 22 players invited to the national team’s camp.

Ethiopia will host the first leg of the second-round fixture in Addis Ababa on Wednesday, 25 October, with the second leg taking place in Nigeria on Tuesday, 31 October. Ethiopia advanced to this round after eliminating Chad, while Nigeria received a bye as a nine-time African champion.

The Super Falcons recently participated in the 32-team FIFA Women’s World Cup finals in Australia and New Zealand, finishing in 8th place. They also received a bye to the third round of the 2024 Women Africa Cup of Nations qualification series after Sao Tome and Principe withdrew from the tie.

Next year’s Women’s Olympic Football Tournament will be held in Paris, France. The Super Falcons have previously competed in the Olympics in 2000, 2004, and 2008.

The invited players for the Super Falcons’ camp include goalkeepers Chiamaka Nnadozie, Tochukwu Oluehi, and Monle Oyono. The defensive lineup features players such as Osinachi Ohale, Comfort Folorunsho, Oluwatosin Demehin, Michelle Alozie, Nicole Payne, Jumoke Alani, and Rofiat Imuran.

In midfield, the team includes Halimatu Ayinde, Peace Efih, Christy Ucheibe, Rasheedat Ajibade, Toni Payne, and Regina Otu. The forward line comprises Omorinsola Babajide, Ifeoma Onumonu, Asisat Oshoala, Uchenna Kanu, Gift Monday, and Opeyemi Ajakaye.

The Super Falcons aim to secure victory over Ethiopia to progress in the qualification process for the Paris 2024 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament.


Source: Premium Times Nigeria