Sunday, 21 January 2018
Business and Economy

Business and Economy (743)

Timo Werner netted twice as Germany set up a Confederations Cup semi-final against Mexico with a 3-1 win on Sunday against 10-man Cameroon, who initially had the wrong player sent off.

Germany midfielder Kerem Demirbay opened the scoring just after the break before Werner struck either side of Vincent Aboubakar’s consolation effort for Cameroon on 78 minutes.

But the video assistant referee system was again thrust into the spotlight when Cameroon defender Ernest Mabouka was sent off just past the hour for a dangerous tackle on Liverpool’s Emre Can.

Colombian referee Wilmar Roldan of Colombia initially sent off Sebastien Siani by mistake, before the decision was rectified and Mabouka was dismissed instead.

The victory in Sochi meant Germany finished top of Group B ahead of Chile, who drew 1-1 with Australia in Moscow.

The Germans face Group A runners-up Mexico in Sochi next Thursday in their semi-final, while Chile will face Portugal on Wednesday in Kazan.

Joachim Loew, who claimed his 100th win in his 150th international as Germany’s head coach, maintained his impressive record of steering the national team to the semi-finals of every tournament over the last decade.

Loew made four changes from the side which drew 1-1 with Chile on Thursday.

Centre-back Antonio Ruediger came in for Arsenal’s Shkodran Mustafi and Werner, the top-scoring German in the Bundesliga last season, took Lars Stindl’s place up front.

After a strong season with Hoffenheim, Demirbay slotted into attacking midfield alongside captain Julian Draxler and Hertha Berlin’s Marvin Plattenhardt, who came in for Jonas Hector on the left wing.

Cameroon fielded the same team for the third game in a row as midfielder Arnaud Djoum kept his place after Georges Mandjeck injured himself in the warm-up.

The first half was a poor reflection on both teams and was blighted by stray passes, an absence of precision and a lack of tempo.

But the world champions broke the deadlock when Draxler exchanged passes with Demirbay, who blasted past Cameroon goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa from distance on 48 minutes.

Aboubakar and substitute Moumi Ngamaleu then sighted the Germany goal, but the African champions were reduced to 10 men when Mabouka raked his studs down Can’s knee.

Roldan initially sent off midfielder Siani, drawing furious Cameroonian protests with coach Hugo Broos incensed on the sidelines, and even Germany boss Loew got involved.

The video referee stepped in and amended the decision with Mabouka eventually handed his marching orders instead.

The dismissal rattled the Africans and Germany scored a minute later when Werner headed beyond Ondoa.

A fumble by Marc-Andre ter Stegen gave Cameroon a glimmer of hope on 78 minutes as Aboubakar’s header flew through the German goalkeeper’s fingers.

But Werner put the result beyond doubt when he fired home substitute Benjamin Henrichs’ pass on 81 minutes.

Werner could have finished with a hat-trick as he drilled a late effort straight at Ondoa.

 

Posted On Sunday, 25 June 2017 19:23 Written by

The passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) by the Senate, the other day, represents a good starting point in the effort to re-position Nigeria’s oil and gas industry. Though, it is not yet clear what the details of the content of the new bill is after the original Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) was renamed PIGB, it is, nevertheless, commendable that the bill, which languished in the parliament for many years, has finally been passed to address some problems plaguing the oil industry.

There is no doubt that the original bill was watered down to satisfy some sectional interests. For instance, while the PIB’s fundamental objective was to “Vest oil and gas resources in the sovereign state of Nigeria” which is tantamount to changing the existing order, whereby foreign interests are feeding fat on Nigeria’s oil while Nigerians languish in poverty, the PIGB merely seeks to unbundle the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). That, effectively, removes the issue of sovereignty of Nigeria and her oil while focusing on the NNPC governance and corruption.

The Senate passed the PIGB 14 years after the original PIB was drafted and presented to the National Assembly. A Joint Committee on Petroleum (Upstream, Downstream and Gas) on the PIGB made the recommendation which was adopted by the Senate at the plenary.

Chairman of the committee, who is also the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Petroleum, Senator Tayo Alasoadura, said some subsidiaries of the NNPC had also been merged into an entity to be known as the Nigerian Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NPRC). What is NPRC out to do?

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, lauded the passing of the bill, saying it would put a framework that will ensure transparency and accountability, and create an enabling environment for the petroleum sector to stimulate growth. He expressed hope that Nigerians would be able to benefit more from the petroleum sector.

The National Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Bolaji Abdullahi, also commended the Senate for passing the bill and called on the Yakubu Dogara-led House of Representatives to follow the example of the Senate by also promptly passing the bill.

It would be recalled that the PIB was first presented to the National Assembly in 2003 under the Olusegun Obasanjo administration for passage into law. The first legislative assembly, under Obasanjo, actually passed the bill but the president refused to sign it into law.

The bill was re-presented under the Umaru Yar’Adua administration, and ever since then has lingered in four legislative assemblies which sat over it without doing much.

It was disheartening that at a point, the Federal Government renamed the PIB Petroleum Reform Bill (PRB), which seemed to foreclose the prospect of having the bill passed in its original formulation. It then became worrisome which version of the bill was being renamed since there were many of such flying around.

The re-awakened interest in the bill under the Muhammadu Buhari administration was therefore a welcome development and the Eighth Senate under Bukola Saraki deserves kudos. Senator Donald Alasoadura’s had earlier assured that the bill would be passed latest by March or April this year without fail as passing the PIB was seen as one good thing to happen to the oil and gas subsector that has been mismanaged.

While it is heartening that the Senate finally pass the PIGB, it needs to be acknowledged that, perhaps, no other piece of legislation has been so politicised, which is why the bill was delayed and tinkered with.

Some pertinent questions now need to be asked. For instance, what is the purpose of the bill since from all intents and purposes what was passed is not what was originally presented? What is remaining to be passed and how long would that take? What does the unbundling of the NNPC imply?

From experience, the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) never made the organisation more efficient. What is the guarantee that the same problems won’t arise in the case of the NNPC?

One problem that plagues the NNPC is opaqueness. To what extent is it guaranteed in the new bill that the NNPC would henceforth be transparent and accountable in operations and accountability? Finally, how would the new bill be of benefit to ordinary Nigerians?

It needs to be stressed, at this juncture, that although the bill has been passed as a way forward, it should in no way be a substitute for fiscal federalism. Not until the country is restructured along the lines of federalism that would give sections of the country power to fully exploit their resources would there be peace, stability and progress. Certainly, the centre can no longer have the controlling power over resources and expect Nigeria to move forward.

Posted On Saturday, 24 June 2017 20:53 Written by

Brighter days may lie around in the corner for prospective homeowners, following plans to introduce a public private partnership initiative that seeks to increase access to housing finance in Nigeria through mortgage guarantee insurance and microfinance scheme.

The scheme, ‘My Own Home’ comes as an offshoot of the Nigeria Housing Finance Programme (NHFP) set up by the Federal Government and implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with the support of World Bank’s $300 million loan.

NHFP is creating the enabling environment for strengthening the nation’s housing sector by setting up sustainable framework by mortgage originators to access long-term refinancing. The new scheme is expected to scale-up mortgage and housing finance awareness.

Under the ‘My Own Home scheme, eight micro finance banks have been selected to stimulate housing finance for low-income earners in the formal and informal sectors. They will benefit from a $15 million technical assistance, which LAPO Microfinance Bank is piloting in the housing sector.

Specifically, the eight micro finance banks are expected to facilitate access to flexible housing finance for low-income earners for incremental construction or home improvement. “It could be financing to buy a piece of land for building or laying foundation on an existing land and commence building stage by stage.

“After every stage of building, and with a good history of repayment, the microfinance bank keeps financing the customer until the building is completed. Housing microfinance is not a mortgage and is not for the purchase of homes.

“Housing microfinance is closer to our traditional sense of incremental construction. Not everyone has money to finance mortgage but under the microfinance scheme, a homeowner can stretch his building plan in such a way that he takes different tranches of loan as he builds,” according to Mr. Adedeji Adesemoye, CBN’s Head, Project Administration Team of the National Housing Fund Programme.

He revealed in Lagos that the technical assistance would be provided in partnership with the Frankfurt School of Management and AFC Consultants International, Germany. “The objective is to catalyse the growth of the housing sector through de-risking the housing finance value chain and improving access to finance,” he said.

Adesemoye stated that the programme is targeted at inspiring the younger generations of Nigerians on the need to key into mortgage process and start owning homes. “We need to educate our people that owning a home with a mixture of equity and debt is not a negative thing; having a home that you will live in the next 50 years does not require you to spend all your life savings,” he said.

Posted On Tuesday, 20 June 2017 01:57 Written by

Wife of billionaire kidnapper, Evans, arrested recently in Lagos has begged the authorities to temper justice with mercy and give her husband a second chance.

The wife, Precious, who is based abroad said she was not privy to the exploits of her dare-devil husband Chikwudubem Onwuamadike, a.k.a. Evans.

In a recent interview with Vanguard newspaper, Precious revealed that she could not believe all that she had heard about her husband, she said she did know he was a criminal because he presented himself as a God-fearing man who always led the family in prayer. In fact, his favorite bible verse is Psalm 23.

“I feel very bad because I did not know if he was doing all these or not. Even if he was into all these, why did he not stop because of me and his children? All the time when we pray, he used to promise God that he would tell Him his story later in life. Here reads psalm 23 a lot. Even his phone, he sets alarm for 12 noon to read psalm 23. He took part in our daily prayers in the morning, evening and night. He used to lead us in prayers. We attend Anglican Church. He has never given them money to show off. We used to give N5000 or N10,000 and the highest we have given so far was N50,000 when we baptized one of our children,” she told Vanguard newspaper.

Evans, after he was captured

She also asked for forgiveness on behalf of her husband, saying his wealth should be distributed back to his victims.

She also said she would be willing to come and see the Lagos state governor to explain her own part of the story.

“I am appealing to the powers that be to spare his life (crying), as I speak now, I am kneeling down with my children, crying and begging for forgiveness. Have mercy on us. He did not know what he was doing. He did not know what came over him. I am ready to come back to Nigeria and plead on his behalf. What I am reading in the news is shocking. Though, I have not heard that he killed anybody but all those he injured or took their money should please forgive him because of me and my children.

Happier times. Precious with Evans’ children

”They should kindly forgive him, he will repent. God knows I will not be alive and see my husband doing bad thing and keep quiet. All his wealth should be sold off and given to his victims. I am ready to come back and testify on his behalf. I will also like to see the Governor of Lagos state and explain the whole thing to him.”

 
 
Posted On Sunday, 18 June 2017 14:24 Written by

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has declared wanted, Dr. Ngozi Olojeme, the Deputy Chairman, Finance Committee of the Goodluck Jonathan Presidential Campaign Organisation in 2015.

Olojeme, who was Chairman of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund from 2009 to 2015, was accused of cornering $48,485,127 from the NSITF, Daily Post reports.

The accused and some directors in the company allegedly siphoned billions of naira, including funds meant for the payment of allowances of its staff as well as compensation to contributors.

It was learnt that several directors and contractors were invited to explain their own side of the story, many of whom had since returned funds to the EFCC.

An EFCC report, made available to newsmen alleged that the funds were said to have been traced to the accounts of some consultants and contractors, who were believed to be fronts for Olojeme and other directors in the NSITF.

The anti-graft agency report said, “It was discovered that the NSITF accounts in First Bank of Nigeria and other banks have witnessed a total turnover of over N62,358,401,927 between 2012 and 2015 from the Employee Compensation Scheme contributions.

“That out of the N62bn, the Federal Government contributed N13,600,000,000 while the sum of N48,758,401,927.80 was contributed by the private sector. That there were several payments to individuals and companies from the NSITF bank accounts for purported contracts or consultancy services.

“That some individuals and companies that received these payments, in turn, transferred part of the monies directly to the NSITF officials while others transferred huge sums to bureau de change operators who changed them to dollars.”

The report added that Olojeme sent her account officer at FBN to collect $48m from some NSITF contractors through a BDC operator.

It stated, “That through this process, Dr. Ngozi Olojeme, the then NSITF board chairman, has collected a total sum of $48,485,127 from Mr. Chuka Eze (her account officer at FBN), which cash he collected on her behalf being the dollar equivalent of monies paid to BDCs by NSITF contractors.

“That she has refused to honour invitation and all efforts to get her to come and tell her own side of the story have proved abortive hence her arrest warrant has been obtained from court.

“We ask for the EFCC chairman’s approval to declare the suspect wanted.”

The spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said Olojeme had been declared wanted.

He urged members of the public to offer information that could lead to her arrest.

“Yes, she has been declared wanted. Members of the public are advised to give us information that would lead to her arrest,” he said.

Posted On Saturday, 17 June 2017 01:08 Written by

After 52 goals in 83 matches, two EPL titles, one EFL Cup and plenty of memorable moments, it seems that Diego Costa’s time at Chelsea has come to an end. The enigmatic Brazilian-born Spaniard has revealed that Antonio Conte, Chelsea’s Italian manager, sent him a text message to tell him his time with the English champions was up. A lot has been said about how better the parting of ways could have been handled, but at the end of the day, the inevitability of the breakup had been there all along.

As Costa’s legend is being consigned to the annals of the Pensioners’ history, another man who left Stamford Bridge as a boy some time ago is ready to come back and fulfil all the promise he showed at a young age at the London club. That man is Romelu Lukaku. See five reasons Chelsea fans should be excited about the big, burly Belgian’s return!

1. Romelu Lukaku has never been short of confidence in his own ability, he’s been banging in goals for fun at the top level since the tender age of sixteen. He was the top scorer in the Belgian league in his first full season as a pro with Anderlecht as they won the title in 2009/10 and he also scored four times in Champions League qualifying. He had already scored 41 goals in 98 games for Anderlecht as an 18-year-old before Chelsea came calling in 2011.

2. The Belgian has fully matured in the EPL and is ready to take the next step and lead the Chelsea attack six years after he was brought in as a teenager. After spending two seasons on loan to West Brom and Everton and scoring a total of 33 league goals in 66 games for both teams, Everton forked out a club record £28m to have him permanently on their books and he duly delivered as he became the Toffees top scorer in the Premier League era and twice broke the record for goals scored by an Everton player in a Premier League season. Chelsea know they will be getting a proven goal scorer in the league with his capture.

3. Romelu Lukaku has outscored Diego Costa in the last two seasons and very importantly converted a greater proportion of his clear-cut chances and created opportunities for his team-mates more frequently. However, Antonio Conte is a stickler to hard work and likes to press teams from the front, if he wants to continue in that form with Lukaku, the Belgian will have to change his game as stats and optics have shown that he isn’t that kind of striker. Over 60 forwards made an interception last season and Lukaku wasn’t one of them and he also made only nine tackles last season. In fact, Romelu Lukaku has managed just one interception and 33 tackles over the past three years in the league, so Chelsea fans should not expect to see the big Belgian harrying opposition defenders.

4. He also isn’t the kind of striker that will run down the channels as his running numbers do not make for impressive reading. Among all the strikers to have played over a thousand minutes in the league last season, his average of 8.84km distance covered per game places him bottom of the list, while his 44.77 sprints per match put him forty-second out of forty-eight forwards. What you can expect from him is great positional play and awareness inside the box, so once the chances are created and presented to him, he is most certain to finish them off. 

5. One of the most important things that Lukaku will be bringing to Chelsea when he joins them will not be able to be measured and that is a chip on his shoulder. The big Belgian has a burning desire to be a success at the London club and has said in the past that he wants to be a ‘legend at Chelsea’ which was one of the reasons he chose to leave and prove himself elsewhere, instead of languishing in the reserves or sitting on the bench at Stamford Bridge and that belief in himself has paid off as Chelsea are about to break the bank to get him back. Returning to the club will be a homecoming and he would surely want to have a huge party in London by painting the city with goals.

Posted On Friday, 16 June 2017 00:27 Written by
  • Folarin, who is one of Folorunsho Alakija's four sons, married Iranian beauty Nazanin Jafarian Ghaissarifa
  • Folorunsho Alakija, 66, is one of the richest black woman in the world with estimated fortune of $2.1 billion
  • Event at Blenheim Palace had one million roses, surprise performance from Robin Thicke and A-list guestlist
  • Father-of-one is an entrepreneur, investor and cinematographer who lost his first wife to cancer
  • Folarin's new wife studied Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Manchester

His mother is the world's richest black woman so it's little surprise that Folarin Alakija's wedding was a lavish, no-expense spared, fairytale affair.

Folarin, who is one of 66-year-old oil tycoon Folorunsho Alakija's four sons, married Iranian beauty Nazanin Jafarian Ghaissarifar in an extravagant bash at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire over the weekend, which is estimated to have cost around £5m.

The father-of-one, who is in his late 30s and lost his first wife to cancer, tied the knot to his stunning wife in front of friends, family and celebrities, including Victoria's Secret Angel, Shanina Shaik.

While Folarin makes his money as an entrepreneur, investor and cinematographer, it's his mother who has an estimated fortune of $2.1 billion. Forbes rank her as the 14th richest person in Africa but the richest woman in the country. She is number 80 on its global Power Women list and overtook Oprah Winfrey as the richest woman of African descent in the world in 2014.

It is thought the family flew hundreds of close friends and family members over from Nigeria, who were no doubt put up in the lavish hotel for the weekend.

The Woodstock venue, which is the ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill, was kitted out with one million white roses, a lavish cake decorated with hundreds of ornate white roses and even hosted pop star Robin Thicke at an estimated cost of £150,000.

Wedding planners believe the venue hire was exclusively hired at a cost of £150,000 with the bespoke marquee and bespoke marble floor with their initials etched in gold costing around £200,000 on top.

Folarin Alakija, who is the son of Folorunsho Alakija, the richest black woman in the world, married Iranian beauty Nazanin Jafarian Ghaissarifar in a lavish bash at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire over the weekend

Folarin Alakija, who is the son of Folorunsho Alakija, the richest black woman in the world, married Iranian beauty Nazanin Jafarian Ghaissarifar in a lavish bash at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire over the weekend

Folarin's new wife studied Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Manchester, has a graduate Diploma in Law and has also worked as a model and marketing consultant. The happy newlyweds are pictured walking down the aisle after tying the knot

Folarin's new wife studied Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Manchester, has a graduate Diploma in Law and has also worked as a model and marketing consultant. The happy newlyweds are pictured walking down the aisle after tying the knot

According to the venue's website, the cost of hiring the whole venue is on application but hiring just the palace and state rooms costs £33,000.

Searcys are the approved caterer for the Orangery at Blenheim palace and three course meals start at £52 per head - excluding alcohol - but it's believed they had a much more expensive bespoke package with catering company, rhubarb.

The breathtaking flowers were the work of Jeff Leatham, who is known for his elaborate decorating of the Kardashian's homes.

Bringing over 30 staff members to the UK for the ceremony, Jeff adorned every inch of the venue with copious amounts of roses and white orchids.

Guests were treated to a lavish five-course menu - printed on a golden menu card

Guests were treated to a lavish five-course menu - printed on a golden menu card

Jeff, who can command up to £250,000 for flowers, has worked for Madonna, Oprah and Tina Turner. He was also the man behind the flowers at Eva Longoria and Tony Parker’s wedding.

Guests were also treated to a surprise performance from Blurred Lines singer Robin Thicke, who reportedly costs around £150,000 to hire and would have been flown over from the US, as well as a magnificent firework display in the hotel grounds later in the evening.

Folarin's new wife, who once dated Rob Kardashian, studied Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Manchester, has a graduate Diploma in Law and has also worked as a model and marketing consultant.

The stunning brunette is the daughter of businessman Mr. Khosro and Mrs Nooshin Ghaissarifar, who are from Iran. It is believed that Naz, as she is known among her circle, was born in Iran and lived in London in her youth before moving to Manchester to study.

She has also spent time in Los Angeles, where much of her modelling work was based, and regularly mingled with celebrities, including the Kardashians.

Folarin, who studied Geography at Imperial College, London, was previously married to a lady named Chena, with whom he had a daughter. She tragically lost her life to cancer six years ago. It is believed that Folarin met Naz through friends in London.

The stunning bride, who has worked as a model, changed outfits for the reception and the pair were seen enjoying their first dance as man and wife in the lavish surroundings 

The stunning bride, who has worked as a model, changed outfits for the reception and the pair were seen enjoying their first dance as man and wife in the lavish surroundings.

The new Mrs Alakija has previously featured in a campaign for Monkee Jeans, an organic denim brand, and dated Rob Kardashian in 2013.

She stunned in a traditional strapless white gown with lace embellishment as she was walked down the aisle by her father. She accessorised her look with a dazzling diamond necklace and white Manolo Blahniks.

She later changed into a racier, floor length white gown with sheer panelling. Beaming before her friends and family, she let her hair down as she danced the night away with her new husband and glamorous wedding guests.

The pair became engaged last year and had a traditional Nigerian wedding in Lagos in November.

A FAIRYTALE ROMANCE: HOW FOLARIN AND NAZANIN MET

Folarin, who studied Geography at Imperial College, London, was previously married to a lady named Chena, with whom he had a daughter. She tragically lost her life to cancer six years ago.

The new Mrs Alakija dated Rob Kardashian in 2013 and it was reported at the time that the Kardashian women 'loved her'.

The stunning brunette is the daughter of businessman Mr. Khosro and Mrs Nooshin Ghaissarifar, who are from Iran. It is believed that Naz, as she is known among her circle, lived in London in her youth and moved to Manchester to study.

Naz studied Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Manchester, has a graduate Diploma in Law and has also worked as a model and marketing consultant.

She has also spent time in Los Angeles, where much of her modelling work was based, and regularly mingled with celebrities, including the Kardashians.

It is believed that Folarin met Naz through friends in London. The pair became engaged last year and had a traditional Nigerian wedding in Lagos in November.

 The event was planned by Sade Awe of The Bridal Circle. Sade’s impeccable taste and selective eye for the exquisite make her a trusted resource for an elite clientele

 The event was planned by Sade Awe of The Bridal Circle. Sade’s impeccable taste and selective eye for the exquisite make her a trusted resource for an elite clientele

The bride was seen walking down the aisle on the arm of her father and she donned some glittering jewels for the occasion

She later let her hair down on the dancefloor with her new husband, who proposed last October

The bride was seen walking down the aisle on the arm of her father and she donned some glittering jewels for the occasion. She later let her hair down on the dancefloor with her new husband, who proposed last October

Elaine Coles was the celebrant who performed the ceremony. Elaine, of UK Ceremonies, told MailOnline: 'It was a pleasure to hand write a bespoke and personalised ceremony for the couple'

Elaine Coles was the celebrant who performed the ceremony. Elaine, of UK Ceremonies, told MailOnline: 'It was a pleasure to hand write a bespoke and personalised ceremony for the couple'

The cake, which was adorned with hundreds of roses and ornate doves, was created by Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium. Elizabeth's clients include British, European and Middle Eastern Royalty, celebrities and high net worth individuals.

With eight tiers on their cake, topped with elaborate iced flowers and doves, it is estimated that their cake could have cost up to £10,000.

SOME OF THE MOST EXPENSIVE ELEMENTS OF THE WEDDING

Wedding venue: £150,000

Marble floor and marquee: £200,000

Flowers: £200,000

Robin Thicke: £150,000

Cake: Up to £10,000

(Prices are all estimates)

Elizabeth is also the only three times winner of The Great Cake Bake, a show which featured the best wedding cake makers in the country.

The event was planned by Sade Awe of The Bridal Circle. Sade’s impeccable taste and selective eye for the exquisite make her a trusted resource for an elite clientele and luxury partners alike so it was little surprise she was called upon.

Other famous faces at the event included Starboy Records artist Mr Eazi and Nigerian fashion blogger Temi Otedola, who were recently revealed to be dating.

Hamish Shepard of Bridebook.co.uk, said: 'The preparations and construction of their custom clear marquee, including a bespoke marble floor with their gold initials, would have required up to a week of exclusive hire of the Palace, with the cost of the marquee on top."

'Venue hire would likely be up to £150,000 with the bespoke marquee with marble floor and production around £200,000 on top.

'The spectacular endless flowers by Jeff Leatham are likely to have cost at least £200,000. With food and drink, Robin Thicke (at £150,000) and all the other items for the big day, including the dress, on top, the wedding will have no doubt cost more than £1million and potentially several million more.'

Guest Manny Kess uploaded this snap with the happy couple that was captioned: 'The most amazing wedding I will ever attend outside of my own (one day). Beyond grateful to be able to celebrate these 2 wonderful beings tying the knot'

Guest Manny Kess uploaded this snap with the happy couple that was captioned: 'The most amazing wedding I will ever attend outside of my own (one day). Beyond grateful to be able to celebrate these 2 wonderful beings tying the knot'

The lavish bash was attending by the most glamorous society guests and their Nigerian friends and family who flew over
The floor of Blenheim Palace was engraved with the couple's initials

The lavish bash was attending by the most glamorous society guests and their Nigerian friends and family who flew over. The floor of Blenheim Palace was engraved with the couple's initials

The cake, which was adorned with hundreds of roses, was created by Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium; prices start at £300 per tier

The cake, which was adorned with hundreds of roses, was created by Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium; prices start at £300 per tier

Folarin is the son of Folorunsho Alakija's, pictured, left, with her husband
Folarin is the son of Folorunsho Alakija's, pictured, left, with her husband. In 2014, she knocked Oprah Winfrey off her post as the richest woman of African descent in the world.
In 2014, she knocked Oprah Winfrey off her post as the richest woman of African descent in the world
 

Blenheim Palace, which is the ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill, was kitted out with one million white roses

THE WOMAN WHO OUSTED OPRAH WINFREY FROM THE TOP SPOT AS THE RICHEST BLACK WOMAN IN THE WORLD

Nigerian oil tycoon Folorunsho Alakija, 66, is the richest black woman in the world with an estimated fortune of $2.1 billion.

Nigerian oil tycoon Folorunsho Alakija, 66, is the richest black woman in the world with an estimated fortune of $2.1 billion

Nigerian oil tycoon Folorunsho Alakija, 66, is the richest black woman in the world with an estimated fortune of $2.1 billion

Starting her career as a secretary in a bank in the mid 1970s, Alakija, 62, then studied fashion in London and returned to Nigeria to start a label, Supreme Stitches. But her biggest break came in oil.

In 1993, her company, Famfa Oil, was awarded an oil prospecting license, which later became OML 127, one of the country's most prolific oil blocks, by then-president Ibrahim Babangida.

The company owned a 60 per cent stake in the block until 2000 when the Nigerian government unconstitutionally acquired a 50 per cent interest without duly compensating Alakija or Famda Oil.

In May 2012, Alakija, a married mother-of-four, challenged the acquisition and the Nigerian Supreme Court reinstated the 50 per cent stake to her company.

She also has a charity called the Rose of Sharon foundation that helps widows and orphans by empowering them through scholarships and business grants.

In 2014, she knocked Oprah Winfrey off her post as the richest woman of African descent in the world.

Forbes rank her as the 14th richest woman in Africa and she is number 80 on its Power Women list.

Glamorous guests donned their gladrags for the occasion

The lucky men and women who attended the nuptials posted images on their social media from inside the lavish bash

Glamorous guests donned their gladrags for the occasion. The lucky men and women who attended the nuptials posted images on their social media from inside the lavish bash

His model wife has featured in a campaign for Monkee Jeans, an organic denim brand, and dated Rob Kardashian in 2013

His model wife has featured in a campaign for Monkee Jeans, an organic denim brand, and dated Rob Kardashian in 2013

Over the weekend, Australian model Shanina Shaik (pictured) attended the wedding of Nigerian billionaire Folorunsho Alakija's son at Blenheim Palace
 
The cake, right, was adorned with doves and thousands of handcrafted roses

Over the weekend, Australian model Shanina Shaik (pictured) attended the wedding of Nigerian billionaire Folorunsho Alakija's son at Blenheim Palace. The cake, right, was adorned with doves and thousands of handcrafted roses

THE LAVISH VENUE: INSIDE BLENHEIM PALACE

Located in Oxfordshire, the historic Blenheim Palace has played host to some of the biggest films in Hollywood over the years.

Regularly used as a film location the grand country house, which is the principal residence of the Duke of Marlborough, has been seen in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Rogue Nation, Cinderella and the upcoming Transformers: Revenge of the Knight.

It even doubled up as Palazzo Cadenza in Rome for the latest James Bond film SPECTRE.

Available to hire for the big day prices start from £4,800 to hire the Orangery and you can hire the Marlborough Room for the ceremony at £960 as well as six different locations to host a reception.

Standing in all its Baroque splendour near the pretty village of Woodstock, just a few miles from Oxford, it is ideally placed for weekend visitors and attracts them in high numbers with its fascinating history and Churchill connections.

Although better known for its links to Winston Churchill, Blenheim has an interesting history of its own and culture-vultures will love the collection of tapestries, paintings and works of art throughout the palace.

Built as a gift for the First Duke of Marlborough by Queen Anne following his triumph in the Battle of Blenheim in 1704 the palace definitely shows the Queen’s appreciation of his efforts.

Available to hire for the big day prices start from £4,800 to hire the Orangery and you can hire the Marlborough Room for the ceremony at £960 as well as six different locations to host a reception

Available to hire for the big day prices start from £4,800 to hire the Orangery and you can hire the Marlborough Room for the ceremony at £960 as well as six different locations to host a reception

The couple tied the knot in a traditional affair at the Grand Ballroom of Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, in November.

The star-studded guestlist included the likes of Aisha Buhari, wife of the president, Gimbiya Yakubu Dogara, wife of the Speaker, Federal House of Representatives, and Aliko Dangote, deputy Governor.

Known for his floral arrangements and elaborate decorating of the Kardashian's homes, it was no surprise that Jeff Leatham was in charge of the flowers

Known for his floral arrangements and elaborate decorating of the Kardashian's homes, it was no surprise that Jeff Leatham was in charge of the flowers

Other famous faces at the event included Starboy Records artist Mr Eazi and Nigerian fashion blogger Temi Otedola, who were recently revealed to be dating

Other famous faces at the event included Starboy Records artist Mr Eazi and Nigerian fashion blogger Temi Otedola, who were recently revealed to be dating

Jeff flew 30 staff members to the UK for the ceremony and he was not only working with copious amounts of roses but white orchids as well

He made bouquets for the bridal party, the tables and the fireplaces

Jeff flew 30 staff members to the UK for the ceremony and he was not only working with copious amounts of roses but white orchids as well. He made bouquets for the bridal party, the tables and the fireplaces

Glamorous guests included models, fashion designers and famous bloggers, who all donned their best outfits for the occasion 

Glamorous guests included models, fashion designers and famous bloggers, who all donned their best outfits for the occasion

Guests included actress Rio Fredrika and fashion designer Becka Indigo

Dapper male models, entrepreneurs and politicians were also in attendance

Guests included actress Rio Fredrika and fashion designer Becka Indigo, left, and dapper male models, entrepreneurs and politicians

Guests took to social media to share snaps from inside the event, including a surprise performance from Robin Thicke Guests took to social media to share snaps from inside the event, including a surprise performance from Robin Thicke

The bar was stocked to the brim with expensive wines, with rows and rows of glasses lined up for guests to help themselves to

The invitations were embossed with the couple's initials in the same style as the gold initials etched onto the marble floor

The bar was stocked to the brim with expensive wines, with rows and rows of glasses lined up for guests to help themselves to. The invitations were embossed with the couple's initials in the same style as the gold initials etched onto the marble floor

Guests took to social media to upload snaps of the wedding's beautifully ornate details

They included blush pink gift bags embossed with white flowers, as well as matching invites and menu cards

Guests took to social media to upload snaps of the wedding's beautifully ornate details. They included blush pink gift bags embossed with white flowers, as well as matching invites and menu cards

The Kardashian's most trusted florist was tasked with adorning the venue with beautiful roses and orchids

The Kardashian's most trusted florist was tasked with adorning the venue with beautiful roses and orchids

There was also an impressive firework display in the hotel's stunning grounds after the event

The stunning flowers not only adorned the main hall but also the entire outdoor entrance

There was also an impressive firework display in the hotel's stunning grounds after the event. The stunning flowers not only adorned the main hall but also the entire outdoor entrance

Posted On Thursday, 15 June 2017 04:30 Written by

*Ag. President meets North’s leaders

*Okorocha slams Biafra agitators

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday read the riot act to purveyors of hate speeches, saying they won’t be allowed to destabilise the country.

The Federal Government, he said, would ensure the country’s unity, adding that nobody would be allowed to get away with seditious speeches.

“As a government, we are determined to ensure the unity of the country along the lines of our constitution and I want to say that hate and divisive speeches or divisive behaviour where it is illegal will be met with the full force of the law,” the Acting President said at a meeting with some elders from the North at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Some members of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), among other groups, were at the meeting.

It was the first in the series of meetings with leaders from the six geo-political zones over the brewing discontent between the North and the Southeast.

Last week, the Coalition of Northern Youths (CNY) gave easterners in the North 90 days to quit.

The ultimatum followed the May 30 sit-at-home observed by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the east to mark the 50th anniversary of Biafra.

Also yesterday, Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha described as nonsensical agitations for Biafra.

Osinbajo  said those pushing for disintegration by ordering other Nigerians in their domains to quit would face the law.

The government, he said, would not fold its arms and allow peace and order to be disrupted in any part of the country.

The Acting President said: “Every form of violence, every form of hate speech, any stone that is thrown in the market place will hit targets that are going to be deadly. So I need us to be fully conscious of that and the Nigerian people must be made to be fully conscious of that so that we do not create a crisis that is not intended.

“As part of living together I know that misunderstandings and frustrations will always arise and people will always want to get the best part of the deal but we must be careful to recognise that we can only begin to talk about any part of anything if we are together in peace.

“These days, wars do not end and I am sure that those who have seen or experienced war in any shape or form will not wish it on their worst enemies.

“This is not a time to retreat behind ethnic lines, moments like this are not for isolating ourselves, I want to urge all of us here and the entire Nigerian populace to come together and work together.”

He added: “And I want to ensure that there is no doubt at all that it is the resolve of the government that none will be allowed to get away with making speeches that can cause sedition or that can cause violence especially because when we make these kinds of pronouncement and do things that can cause violence or destruction of lives and property we are no longer in control. Those who make those speeches are no longer in control.

So, I want to emphasise that government will take very seriously any attempts to cause violence or disrupt the peace of this country. And that is very important because you cannot control violence once it begins.”

At the meeting were ACF leader Ibrahim Coomassie, NEF leader Prof Ango Abdullahi, who gave his backing to the Arewa youths’ threat,   former Sokoto State Governor  Aliyu Wamakko, former Plateau State Deputy Governor Pauline Tallen,  Second Republic Minister and Benue State elder  Dr. Paul Unongo, Leadership publisher Sam Ndah-Isaiah, Liberty Radio/Television Chairman Tijani Ramalan and Editor-in-Chief of Daily Trust Dan Ali, among others.

The acting President was supported by the Senate President Bukola Saraki, House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara and Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olanishakin.

Today, Osinbajo will meet with leaders from the southeast; the region’s traditional rulers will take their turn on Friday. On Sunday, the acting president will meet with traditional rulers from the North.

Posted On Tuesday, 13 June 2017 23:42 Written by

Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday signed the 2017 appropriation bill of N7.44 trillion into law.

He described the event as “an important milestone’’ in President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

The budget christened; “Budget of Economic Recovery and Growth’’ has projected revenue of N5.08 trillion with deficit of N2.36 trillion.

A total of N2.98 trillion was earmarked for recurrent non-debt expenditure, while N2.17 trillion was earmarked for contribution to the development fund for capital expenditure exclusive of capital expenditure in statutory transfers.

A total of N434.41 billion was earmarked for statutory transfers; N1.84 trillion for debt service and N177.46 billion for sinking fund for maturing bonds.

The acting president said the appropriation act was an important milestone in the administration’s economic recovery and growth plan.

He thanked the Senate President and Speaker, House of Representatives and the entire leadership of the National Assembly for completing the work on record time.

He said that the process of passing the 2017 appropriation bill in the National Assembly was smoother than that of 2016, as there were no allegations of errors or mistakes.

He added that there was improvement in the quality of interpretation and presentation.

Osinbajo also commended the Ministry of Budget and Planning on the “remarkable improvement over a single budget cycle.’’

He lauded the collaborative spirit between Ministries, Departments and Agencies and the various committees of the National Assembly and their leadership during the budget defence process.

He noted that there were few reported cases of acrimony or hostile wrangling during the budget defence process.

He said that reports indicated that the sessions were done in a friendly atmosphere, an indication that the nation’s democracy was maturing well.

The acting president said that the final presentation and signing of the budget was delayed due to disagreements between the executive and the NASS on changes made in the proposal.

According to him, the executive took the view that the changes fundamentally affected some of its priority programmes and would make implementation extremely difficult and in some cases impossible.

He said that the leadership of NASS “adopted a commendably patriotic and statesmanlike approach on engagement in resolving these critical issues.’’

Osinbajo said that the leadership of NASS had promised to re-instate budgetary allocations for all the important executive projects.

He listed the projects to include the railway standard gauge project, Mambilla power project, the second Niger Bridge and the Lagos-Ibadan expressway among others.

Osinbajo said the reinstatement would be through an application for virement by the executive which NASS had agreed to expeditiously consider.

“It is as a result of that understanding and the outcome of our detailed engagements that we are able to sign the 2017 appropriation bill into law.

“I am also pleased to mention that in our discussion with the NASS we have jointly resolved to return to a predictable January to December fiscal year.

“It is a particularly important development because this accords with the financial year of most private sector companies, underscoring the crucial relationship between government and the private sector,’’ he said.

Accordingly, Osinbajo said that the 2018 budget will be submitted in by October 2017 while the leadership of NASS has committed to work towards passing it by before the end of the year.

The appropriation bill was submitted to the acting president on May 17, after it was passed by the National Assembly.

Posted On Tuesday, 13 June 2017 00:20 Written by

Less than one week after armed men killed a personnel of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), and in the process abducted his principal, who is a Chinese national, armed men suspected to be Fulani on Friday evening reportedly killed 39-year-old Mrs. Magdalene Tunar in Uluoke, near Auchi in Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo on her way from farm alongside her husband and two children.
  
Narrating the incident, her husband, Wilson Tunar, said the two armed men, he suspected to be Fulani herdsmen had accosted them on their way from farm.He said: “I usually park my car somewhere along the farm route because of the terrain. So, we were moving towards where I parked, when two men suddenly came out of the bush and moved towards us with gun pointing at us.
 
“On sighting them, my wife inquired to know what was happening and the next thing I heard was the sound of gun. They shot her on the stomach.“When she fell, they pointed the gun at my children, but I shielded them by pushing them behind me.

 “It was a miracle, when I heard the click of the trigger, but nothing happened. I grabbed a wood close by and fought them with it and I got injured on the neck by a knife from one of them. They, however, fled when I overpowered them.
  
“I rushed my wife, who was still alive, to Iyamoh Health Centre, but we were advised to go to Faith Foundation hospital close by, as they were incapable of taking care of her.
 
“Again at Faith, we were referred to Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH). It was on our way there that she died.”Tunar said activities of herdsmen have become increasingly problematic in the area and appealed to security agencies to help protect lives and properties of people in the area.

“Three persons were abducted in the same area, same Friday, by these people. Though two cars were snatched in the process, but the vehicles have been recovered, while the persons were yet to be found.”
  

As at filing this report, The Guardian could not get confirmation from police on the abduction, as the Police Public Relations officer, Moses Nkonbe, said he was yet to get details from the area, where the incident happened.

Posted On Sunday, 11 June 2017 14:58 Written by
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