BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari says he will be stepping down when his second term in office ends in 2023.
In a New Year message, Mr Buhari said he would not attempt to exceed the constitutional mandate.
The president said he was determined to help strengthen the electoral process both in Nigeria and across the region, and cited his primary concerns as the security of the nation and the safety of Nigerians.
A BBC correspondent says speculation that Mr Buhari planned to remain in power has been rife in recent days.
Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki has reacted to Thursday’s demolition of his father’s Ilorin, Kwara State house.
The Kwara State Government had on Thursday morning demolished the late Olusola Saraki’s house, popularly called Ile Arugbo (House for old persons), after the state government revoked the title of the landed property.
Reacting to the development, Saraki assured that justice would prevail in no distance time.
“Following the development this morning in Ile Arugbo, I want to commend the women and men, old and young, who displayed their affection, love and staunch support for my late father and the family. I appreciate the genuine support of the women and youths who stood firmly in the face of aggression and naked show of force.
“Your action throughout the night gave full expression to my belief that what Ile Arugbo represents to all of us is etched in our hearts. It goes beyond the physical structure. I am happy that you were not intimidated as you stood your ground.
“This day will go down as the day you reciprocated the love and affection my father and family have for you. You have displayed a gesture of goodwill and passionate love. We assure you that justice shall prevail in a not too distant future,” he said on his Facebook wall.
The Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers are set to square off in a Pacific Division matchup at 10:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday at the Staples Center in the final game on the New Year’s Day NBA schedule. Los Angeles is 26-7 overall and 11-4 at home, while Phoenix is 13-20 overall and 7-8 on the road. The Lakers have the second-best record in the NBA. Los Angeles is looking for its third consecutive win after getting past a four-game losing streak. The Suns have won two straight after snapping an eight-game losing streak. Los Angeles is favored by 11.5 points in the Lakers vs. Suns odds, while the over-under is set at 226.5. Before entering any Suns vs. Lakers picks, you’ll want to see the NBA predictions from the model at SportsLine.
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Los Angeles wrapped up 2019 with a 108-95 victory over Dallas. Anthony Davis had 23 points along with nine rebounds. The Lakers held the Mavericks to a season low in points and limited Dallas to 36 percent shooting from the field.
LeBron James had 13 points and 13 assists against the Mavericks. He leads the league in assists with 10.8 per game.
Phoenix didn’t have too much breathing room in its game with Portland on Monday, but still walked away with a 122-116 win. They overcame a 19-point first half deficit and outscored Portland in the final quarter, 39-27.
Devin Booker scored 33 points to go with seven assists and made all 15 of his free-throw attempts. Kelly Oubre Jr. had 29 points, hitting a career high seven 3-pointers. Ricky Rubio had 18 points and 13 assists.
Deandre Ayton returned from a five-game absence because of an ankle injury and grabbed 12 rebounds. The Lakers won the first meeting between the teams,123-115 on Nov. 12.
The Lakers enter the contest with a 48.2 field goal percentage, good for second best in the league. Less enviably, Phoenix has allowed opponents to shoot 47.8 percent from the floor on average, which is the fourth highest shooting percentage allowed in the league.
David Moyes is back at the club again and will take charge of West Ham United on New Year’s Day when Bournemouth visit the London Stadium.
The former Manchester United manager, who was deemed an unworthy candidate to take the club forward only 19 months ago, has been recalled after a dreadful spell under Manuel Pellegrini that saw the Hammers being consigned to 19 points after 19 games, a point and a place above the drop zone.
After picking up only two wins in their last 13 games, the Hammers board finally ran out of patience with the Chilean. It is up to Moyes now to turn the tide, and take the club back to a respectable position at the end of the season.
Moyes has a more talented squad at his disposal. However, they have underperformed and Moyes will have to inject a sense of belief to drag the club away from danger.
The former Everton boss doesn’t have to deal with too many injury issues when assessing his squad, with Andriy Yarmolenko and Jack Wilshere being the two major absentees.
The Scotsman is expected to make five changes to the side that lost 2-1 against Leicester, with the likes of Angelo Ogbonna, Aaron Cresswell, Robert Snodgrass, Mark Noble and Michail Antonio all expected to return.
Antonio, 29, has battled with fitness and has managed only five starts this season. He is an important player and Moyes will be looking to get the best out of him.
Predicted West Ham starting XI vs Bournemouth: Fabianski, Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Rice, Snodgrass, Noble, Anderson, Antonio, Haller.
The England captain thought he had scored the equaliser at St Mary’s only to have the goal chalked off for offside and injuring himself in the process
With around a quarter of an hour to play at St Mary’s and Jose Mourinho’s side trailing 1-0, Kane side-footed a tidy finish in for what looked like the equaliser – but the linesman had his flag immediately up for offside.
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Kane felt his left hamstring straight away, and was promptly replaced by Erik Lamela.
According to Consequence of Sound, comebacks will be the order of the day at the California festival as Gerard Way’s returning emo icons gear up to take top billing alongside Rage – who previously self-confirmed the show in a list of mysterious reunion shows.
Travis Scott will take the third headline slot at the April event, joined by an eclectic line-up which also reportedly includes the likes of Lana Del Rey, Flume, and Thom Yorke.
The report cites unnamed “industry sources” and comes ahead of the official line-up reveal – which is expected to take place in early January.
After confirming their reunion in October, MCR played their first comeback show in Los Angeles earlier this month.
Reviewing MCR’s live return, NME’s Kevin EG Perry wrote: ” Towards the end of their triumphant, cathartic performance, frontman Gerard Way turned to the crowd and said he saw ‘a lot of familiar faces, so thanks for waiting around all these years.’
“He seemed genuinely taken aback when he asked how many people were seeing MCR for the first time, and it looked as if 90% of the crowd raised their arms and cheered in joy and disbelief. This is a whole new generation of fans who never got to see MCR live the first time around, and who now can’t believe their luck.”
An attempt to rob the bank was foiled by policemen and soldiers when one of the robbery suspects was killed and four others arrested.
Officials of the bank on duty on the fateful day are being held by the police for questioning.
The policeman on duty, who the robbers unsuccessfully tried to tie down, gunned down one of the invaders and called for security reinforcement.
According to Ehizo, who was paraded by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command, the mastermind of the robbery, one Ernest (still at large), had threatened to kill him, his girlfriend and his family if he did not facilitate the robbery.
Ehizo, who has worked with the bank for about two years, said he drove the five robbers into the bank premises in his vehicle.
The 30-year-old graduated of Political Science from the University of Abuja, said Ernest promised to give him the proceed.
He said: “I met a friend (Ernest) in November and we had a discussion where we used to hang out and I said something after he complained about our services in the bank and we almost got into a serious argument and I told him that the only thing he would do is get angry and maybe not bank again with us.
“He (Ernest) said he was going to hurt someone and I told him not to do that. That the highest he could do was to maybe rob the bank to make them feel bad. I did not know he had that on record and he used that to threaten that I must take the people that he would bring into the bank.
“He threatened my family, me and even the people around me – even my girlfriend. After that, I was afraid to go to the police because he said even if I went to the police he had already informed his colleagues and because he is a cultist.
“That is when he brought them. I still begged him and he went as far as my family house and threatened to kill them. He brought them on that day that I should take them in and tell them what to do.
“He even followed us to the bank but escaped when they caught them. He insisted I took them inside the place in my car and that was the only thing I was supposed to do and leave the rest for them to do.
“I didn’t report to the police because of the threat. He brought his fellow cultists to my house and threatened me and my girlfriend. He said he was going to give them N7 million. He said I was going to get 20 per cent and I told him I did not want anything. He said I must collect it. I am a Customer Service Officer. I have been with the bank for over two years.
“If I had gone to the police I would not have been here talking now. Members of my family also would not be. He knows my family house and knows where I stay personally at Mpape. I did everything out of fear of being killed.
“Ernest is a customer at the bank. He comes around. There is a place I go to hang out in Mpape. He is a barman there. He sells drinks. On normal situations, we have sat down to have drinks. We discuss about football, family and how to move forward.”
Also 24-year-old Princewill Obinna, who led the robbers, said they did not expect any difficulty as they were assured by Ernest and Ehizo that it was going to be an in-and-out operation.
He described Ernest, was a friend of his.
Obinna said: “I was among those people that robbed the bank. It happened that Mr. Larry invited us. Mr. Ernest met us and told us there is a job we wanted to do, but he would connect us to the person that had the work.
“I asked him who the person is. So he called me and introduced us to Mr. Larry, who told us that there is an event that he wants us to carry out that Ernest has been troubling him.
”I said what was the deal about and he said it was a bank. I was shocked and said I have never done such before. He said we should not worry that there is a vehicle that is tinted and nobody would see us and that everyone would be okay.
“The message came to me on Tuesday and the operation was on Saturday; so, we were just thinking about what they told us that it would be easy and they would give us money. They promised to give us N7 million to share. I coordinated the other boys.
“The ammunition we took there was a local pistol that our late friend (robber who was shot) brought. He said he would be the one to stand at the gate and that I should hold this one and threatened the mobile policeman.”
Obinna said he went for recruitment into the Army in 2017 and just a few weeks to their passing out parade, he was dismissed for medical reasons.
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Commissioner of Police (CP), Bala Ciroma, said no money was lost in the robbery.
Ciroma said 985 suspects were arrested last year for various offences inclcuding armed robbery, kidnapping, cultisem/drugs, car theft, petty theft and fraud.
Also recovered during the period were 88 firearms, 118 ammunition and 63 cars.
The CP said: “I want to sound this note of warning to criminals that they have no place in the FCT. The Command has deployed proactive security measures to beat them at their game.
“The only option available to criminals nursing any thought of coming to FCT is to either repent and turn a new leaf or be prepared to face the full wrath of the law.
“As we advance into the New Year, I want to assure the public that the Command is making concerted effort to build on its numerous successes of 2019 and provide FCT residents with better service delivery in 2020.”
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has confirmed the arrest of the former senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani.
“He is now being quizzed in our Jabi headquarters in Abuja”, the source told P.M. News today.
According to the source, Sani collected money from the chairman and CEO of ASD Motors, his namesake Sani Dauda, under the pretence of passing it as bribe to EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu.
Sani Dauda was a former chairman of Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Limited(PAN). His ASD Motors is a major car dealer in Abuja.
P.M.News could not confirm the amount he collected. But some reports said it was $20,000.
“The case has been on for some time. He was granted administrative bail and told to report weekly. But he breached the terms of the bail. Hence his arrest today”, the EFCC source said.
Shehu Sani, a human rights activist, was elected senator in 2015, under the All Progressives Congress platform. When he could not get the party’s ticket in 2019, he ran on the ticket of the Peoples Redemption Party but lost to Uba Sani of the APC.
He has been a trenchant critic of the APC government, both in Kaduna and Abuja, since then.
Some of the offences the EFCC may slam the senator with are extortion, name dropping, and financial crimes.
Senator Sani is expected to spend the New Year in EFCC’s custody as the complainant is expected to take up issues with him on Thursday, January 2, 2020.
Besides this, EFCC operators are reportedly quizzing him over the allegations of scamming some other people and allegedly dropping the name of the EFCC boss before suspects who have cases with the commission,” a top official said on Tuesday night in Abuja.
Lorna is 62 and lives in Edinburgh where she works as a PA. She is a divorcee with children and grandchildren and is still looking for love.
“You come home from work, you want to be talking to someone about your day, it’s good for your mental health,” she explains. “It’s the reason why I’m still dating at my age.”
But it becomes harder to meet potential partners as you get older, she says. “For women of my generation you can’t just walk into a pub by yourself, because that sends a certain message.”
She became an early adopter of dating apps like Tinder, drawn to the way you can build up a rapport privately through messaging, before committing to meet in person.
It was exciting rather than frightening, publishing her profile for the first time, she remembers.
She has met some lovely people, but the experience also left her feeling uncomfortable.
“I was often approached by people much younger than me, people that are the age of my children. I found that creepy and unsettling. I didn’t even like the thought that they’ve looked at my profile.”
So the idea of a dating app that was age-restricted appealed to her. She tried signing up to one called Lumen, which is for over-50s. It’s just one player in a growing market for mature daters.
Online dating is a billion dollar global industry that has enjoyed huge growth in recent years thanks to mobile phones. The industry is expected to grow by as much as 30% over the next two to three years, according to research group eMarketer.
Tinder brought online dating into the mainstream after it launched in 2012, helping to remove any stigma around it. In the USA the number of people using dating apps shot up from 15 to 25 million between 2015 and 2018.
Matchmaking companies used to cater primarily for people in their late 20s to early 40s, who were looking to get married or meet a long-term partner. The big growth now is at either end of the spectrum: the 18-24 market and those over 50.
In the 2013-15 period, when Tinder was taking off, online dating tripled for that younger demographic; and in the same period it doubled for those aged 55-64, according to the Pewresearch centre.
Lumen stands out because, like Tinder it only exists as an app. It is designed first and foremost for the mobile phone.
“If you look on social media sites like Facebook, the audience is getting older, so it’s a natural extension that they would meet people online for dating,” says Charly Lester, founder of Lumen.
She founded it in London in 2018, believing she had spotted a gap in the market. She knew lots of people in their 50s and 60s who were just as phone-fixated as the younger generation.
Her app has attracted more than 1.5 million users in less than a year.
It’s free to join, but the company makes money by charging users for “premium” features. These include the ability to search potential partners with “advanced filters” like “height, children, smoking, politics and star sign” and the chance to see who has saved you as a “favourite”.
More established companies also cater for mature daters, like OurTime and Silver Singles. They began as website platforms but have now developed apps. OurTime says it has seen a 146% increase in active users in the past two years, with 63% of joiners registering by mobile.
Some dating apps wouldn’t let you sign up if you were older than 50, so people lied about their age, says Ms Lester. “Another reason we started the app is that a lot of women were complaining that men their own age didn’t want to date them any more, they wanted to date significantly younger.”
You do find men in their eighties chasing the “youngsters” in their 50s, she says, but you can use age-range filters to set who can see your profile.
So do mature daters behave differently to younger ones?
There is a divergence in what men and women want in later life, says Nicola Fox Hamilton, who lectures in cyber-psychology at Dublin’s Institute of Art, Design and Technology.
Women are looking for companionship but without a caring role, because often they are just escaping from that and value freedom, she says.
Men are more focused on committed relationships at this age, she thinks. And they are often struggling with more narrow social networks in real life, so online dating is a lifeline for them.
It’s also a myth that people are not interested in sex at this age, she says, with women placing only a slightly lesser value on it than men.
However, this age group is more prone to “catfishing” and romance scamming, she warns.
Catfishing involves people creating fake profiles to lure people into a relationship. When this is a scam, the goal is to extract money from the unsuspecting person.
People have lost anything from £50-£800,000, with many losing more than £5,000, says Ms Fox Hamilton.
A typical scam account might involve an attractive man serving in the military – or any kind of scenario that explains why they struggle to meet in person.
Many victims don’t believe it has happened until the police tell them, she says, and even then they struggle to take it in. Many who do realise it has happened don’t report it out of shame.
Lumen acknowledges that scamming is an issue in this market. It combats it with artificial intelligence software, and a “selfie” registration system which makes users take a photograph of themselves when they register, and compares it to the profile photos they then upload to ensure they are genuine.
A team of just 15 look after a site where 1.5 million are looking for love, and human intervention is sometimes required to spot people joining in bad faith.
Back in Edinburgh, Lorna says she is always careful to follow the sensible safety precautions recommended by dating sites – she thinks would-be mature daters shouldn’t be deterred.
Many of her friends have found successful relationships through online dating, including marriage. She hopes she will be next and in the meantime she enjoys the excitement, she says.
“Each time someone sends a message, my heart lurches,” she confesses. “It’s like when you see someone across the dance floor.”
According to the PDP, the President and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), would have no other option than to exit office at the end of this tenure.
In a statement on Wednesday by the spokesman for the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party described President Buhari’s new year message as completely uninspiring, tasteless, repetitive, vacuous, and that it not galvanise any form of hope for a despairing nation like Nigeria.
“The PDP holds that Mr. President should have the courage to issue a fresh new year message to show remorse for the corruption, incompetence and misrule of his administration as well as admonish his disintegrating APC against its crass insincerity, violence and divisive machinations that have brought so much pain, anguish and despondency to our nation.
“Indeed, President Buhari should stop presenting a picture as if he has the option to continue in office beyond 2023.
“The PDP holds, in total submission to the letter and spirit of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), that it is not an issue of ‘standing down’ or not being ‘available’ for future election, but a decided and inevitable position as contained in the constitution that he must quit office after two terms, which will end in 2023.
“Mr. President, therefore, does not have any other choice before the law. Whether President Buhari likes it or not, he and his APC will exit the arena at the end of this tenure. History is replete with lessons from those who sought to stretch our nation beyond her limits.
“Moreover, President Buhari and his extinguishing APC ought to have known by now that Nigerians have moved ahead and cannot wait to see them go.
“The citizens are no longer swayed by empty promises and false performance indices as replete in Mr. President’s new year message”, the PDP said.
The party called on the President to end what it described as “showboating” by issuing a fresh new year message to demonstrate a commitment to electoral reforms by returning the 8th Assembly Electoral Act amendment bill, which he refused to sign, to the present National Assembly without any further delay.
It also called on the President to waste no time in signing the bill into law after it might have been retooled to meet current exigencies and passed by the current National Assembly.
The President was also called upon to order the immediate prosecution of his party leaders who allegedly perpetrated violence in the 2019 general election.
Specifically, the main opposition party charged the President to ensure the arrest and prosecution of persons involved in the killings that characterised the governorship elections in Ekiti, Osun, Bayelsa and Kogi States, where APC used thugs and security agents allegedly unleashed mayhem and killed innocent persons who came out to perform their civic responsibility at the polls.
“Mr. President should apologise for the violation of human rights, attacks on institutions of democracy, disobedience to court orders and constitutional violations under his administration as well as order an immediate investigation and prosecution of all those who played roles in these ugly episodes.
“Furthermore, the PDP charges President Buhari to use the opportunity of a fresh New Year Message to apologise for his administration’s failure to secure the nation and for plunging our country into a biting economic recession occasioned by the incompetence, corruption and unbridled treasury looting in his government which led to the degrading of our nation from one of the world’s fastest growing economies to world’s poverty capital with an excruciating unemployment rate, decayed infrastructure and accumulated $83 billion debt.
“Such course of humility in showing remorse, seeking help and getting competent hands to manage our economy and security system should be the legacy which Mr. President is expected to pursue without which history cannot be kind to his administration and his APC”, the party stated.