England’s game of year draws attention from across pond – Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN


ESPN moves English club soccer game to flagship station for first time in history
Manchester Derby pits city rivals against each other for national championship
Pubs bolster staffs, as Americans plan to skip school, work for Monday match
ESPN announcer expecting lively crowd, “might bring a tin helmet,” he jokes
(CNN) — It’s no Super Bowl. Heck, it’s no Monday Night Football, but for an American audience, Monday’s Manchester Derby — that is, the English club soccer game between Manchester’s two Premier League teams — is about as big as it gets stateside.
Sure, many American sports fans call the sport boring and complain there’s not enough scoring. It moves too slowly, they say, and is marred by prima donnas who flop to the ground if you breathe on them.
Haters aside, the United States is taking notice. ESPN moved the game from ESPN 2 to its flagship station, a first for a weekday Premiership game. Pubs across the nation are anticipating big crowds, and some Americans are doing something very British for match day: skipping out of work early.
“You’ll definitely want to see this. It’s as high a stakes game as you’ll see in any soccer league in the world,” said Sports Illustrated senior writer and soccer guru, Grant Wahl.
Wahl likened the match between No. 1 Manchester United and No. 2 Manchester City to the New York Jets and New York Giants playing in the Super Bowl, or perhaps the Iron Bowl, which pits cross-state rivals Auburn and Alabama against each other at the end of the college football season.
He’s never seen a Manchester Derby this important in the 15 years he’s been covering soccer, said Wahl, who authored the book, “The Beckham Experiment: How the World’s Most Famous Athlete Tried to Conquer America.”
ESPN announced this week it moved the game to take advantage of the live edition of “SportsCenter” that will lead into the game, which begins at 3 p.m. ET. In an e-mail, spokesman Mac Nwulu said the paid programming on ESPN2 prior to the game typically draws about 221,000 viewers, where “SportsCenter” will have an expected audience of 482,000. The live lead-in is key to sports programming, he said.

The network’s English Premier League offerings on ESPN2 this year are 50% percent higher that last year’s games, so English soccer’s popularity is increasing in the U.S., Nwulu said.
“Best matchup of the season,” Nwulu said of Monday’s game. “So far, 20 teams have each played an average of 36 matches. And with two match-days to go, EPL has one game that is akin to a title game in a league series not decided by knockouts.”
We’ve come a long way
British sports commentator Ian Darke, who will be calling the game for ESPN, predicts a “turbo-charged occasion” and said he has noticed America’s growing interest in soccer since ABC hired him to call games for the U.S.-hosted World Cup in 1994.
“Producers (back then) said to explain what offsides was and explain the laws of the game as we went along,” he recalled. “Now, there’s been a complete changes of emphasis.”
Today, more Americans — many of whom played the sport in school and youth leagues — have a better grasp on the basics, and commentators cover games in a more “authentic way, as if it were being broadcast for a European audience.”
ESPN isn’t the only one sensing the game taking off in the states. Hugh Folkerth, a bartender at Horse Brass Pub in Portland, Oregon, said that not so long ago Horse Brass was the premier place to watch English soccer in the city.
As the game has become more popular, more bars carry the matches and more people get the games at home, so the number of patrons coming to watch soccer at Horse Brass has taken a hit.
As for the derby Monday, Folkerth said he’s received a few calls from people asking if he’s showing it, and he expects a few more patrons than usual during the lunchtime rush.
A CNN Facebook page asking if fans were planning to skip work or school Monday drew plenty of the aforementioned haters, but a handful of fans said they’d be playing hooky.
“Will be skipping class at University and have already re-scheduled couple meetings already,” wrote Tejash Patel, a United fan.

“Work? School? Bills? Life? All of it stops when the Derby is in play!” wrote fellow Red Devil Parker Smith.
Added Oladeji Thompson, “I’m coming home very early from work.”
Continue the conversation on Facebook here
Fado Irish pubs in Austin, Texas, and Atlanta say they’re expecting plenty of people to forsake their professors and employers. Both are tripling their staff. Austin general manager John O’Brien is expecting about 200 people for the game, which airs there at 2 p.m.
In Atlanta, general manager Brian Russell said he is expecting a similar crowd. Though he’s bringing in the doorman who generally works only on weekends, he’s not anticipating any problems with the crowd, he said.
“We’ll just make sure the volume is loud, the TVs are on and we have enough staff to get everyone food and drinks,” Russell said.
What’s the big deal anyway?
So, the unitiated may be asking, why all the fuss over this particular game? Well, there are many storylines.
The first is that it’s a derby, so there’s the longstanding city rivalry in addition to the championship implications. United’s Old Trafford and City’s Etihad Stadium are separated by about five miles, so you can imagine how the game divides friends, family, coworkers and neighbors.
Sara Tomkins, assistant chief executive for the Manchester City Council, called it “one of the most anticipated derbies this city has seen for a decade” and said those not lucky enough to get tickets, which are commanding £1,300 ($2,115) online, will be filling up the city’s pubs or gathering around the TV at home.
Police aren’t expecting problem, according to a statement from Superintendent John O’Hare, but they’ve asked local businesses to “take extra safety measures such as using plastic glasses, employing more door staff and keeping an eye on the front of house. … People will see extra patrols. This is not because we are expecting trouble; it is to make sure people feel safe to come and watch the match.”

ESPN’s Darke, who has been covering English derbies for almost 40 years, said he is expecting a rowdy and raucous atmosphere.
“Manchester’s going to be quite a lively place, no matter the outcome. I might bring a tin helmet like the soldiers wear,” he said with a chuckle.
Another reason for the hullabaloo is that both teams are insanely wealthy. For United, the reigning English champs, this is nothing new. Founded in 1878, the team boasts 19 English championships and three European crowns. City, on the other hand, hasn’t won the English title since 1968 and played unremarkably for the better part of four decades until Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan of the Abu Dhabi royal family bought the team in 2008.
United has always been the “glamour team” with the big players, where City have been the forgettable step-relatives, and “City fans are wearily philosophical about it,” Darke said.
“City fans are sick to death of United ruling their roost, and here’s their chance,” he said. “They will celebrate like there’s no tomorrow if they pull it off.”
Both teams are now among the most loaded clubs in the world. The professional services firm, Deloitte, reported that with €367 million ($487 million), United was No. 3 in revenues last year, behind Spanish powerhouses Real Madrid and Barcelona. City came in at 11th with €170 million ($225 million).
To give you an idea what these figures mean, Forbes reported that average revenue among NFL teams in 2010 was $261 million.
City and United have used their fortunes to acquire some of the biggest soccer names in the world: Wayne Rooney, Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Rio Ferdinand among them. The five dozen players on the two teams represent stars from 23 countries.
“(City) bought a lot of talent,” said Sports Illustrated’s Wahl. “The question is whether they bought a great team. The questions are going to remain until they win a title.”
Also stoking interest in the match is soap-opera-like drama surrounding it. Not only has the injection of Middle Eastern cash made City more competitive, the Blues thrashed United 6-1 during their first meeting, a result Wahl called “the most shocking result we’ve seen all year.”

City stood atop the Premier League for months until March, when United seemed to find its form and took the lead. From there, it seemed a United repeat was inevitable, but in recent weeks, the tables have turned again. United has a win, loss and tie in its last three matches, while City is undefeated.
Each team’s coach has engaged in a bit of psychological banter ahead of the fixture. United’s Alex Ferguson has prohibited his team from making statements about the game, calling it the most important Derby since he took over the club in 1986. City’s Roberto Mancini has cheekily fired back that the 6-1 drubbing earlier this year was more important. In a strange twist, he has also said his team has no chance of winning the title. He even went so far as to congratulate United on their championship with three games remaining.
Mancini simply knows his team performed better as underdogs this season than they did when they sat atop the table, Darke said.
“He knows how big this game is. Everything he’s been saying in the last few days, he’s trying to take pressure off his players,” he said. “It’s the lousiest piece of psychological warfare ever.”
United will have to go into Etihad, where City hasn’t lost all season, and snatch three points to ensure their second championship in as many years. City is three points behind United, but with a win, can take the Premiership lead. They’ll be tied with United in the points column but will take first place because they have scored one more goal than United and given up five fewer than the Reds this season.
Though City is the favorite in the betting houses, no one seemed comfortable offering a prediction. Darke said his thoughts on the outcome were meaningless.
“Anything could happen. I’d just urge people to watch it,” he said.

Reality Catching Up With Northern Nigeria, Says Bishop Kukah By SaharaReporters, New York

Reality Catching Up With Northern Nigeria, Says Bishop Kukah By SaharaReporters, New York




Activist and head of Catholic Diocese of Sokoto State, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, has declared that the reality of undervelopment is catching up with Northern Nigerian in comparison with the South.

Kukah was speaking on “Power without authority: Leadership crisis in Nigeria”, at a Nigerian Leadership Initiative (NLI) lecture in Abuja.

In a summary of his speech SaharaReporters obtained in Abuja, Kukah said that the North has so many challenges of development and it is “daybreak because the reality of the situation is obvious.”

He said while Nigeria has consistently produced office-holders, it has not produced leaders, as different people have assumed control by accident, and without preparation. 
He also observed that while the problems of this nation were not caused by President Goodluck Jonathan, it is remarkable that the rot that is being dug out in the National Assembly is happening during his time.

Turning specifically to the North, he said, “Clearly, my message for my brothers and sisters in the north is to ask ourselves, ‘what is happening?’” he said.  “And the north must also appreciate the fact that the return of government to the north in whatever shape or form is not going to solve our problem, and will not be the solution to the problem. And it’s daybreak, because the reality of the situation is obvious. This is where I feel quite disappointed by some of the utterances I have heard. I heard somebody like Alhaji Adamu Ciroma saying that the problem now is that: ‘we need a Danfodiyo to come.’”

He urged Nigerians not to give up.  “There is hope in Nigeria. I am a Bishop, I market hope. But let us be realistic, what I have seen in the Southwest. The Southwest states have developed a roadmap of where they are heading- a critical question I ask myself is: where is northern Nigeria? The north has literally and increasingly perceived to be a liability to the rest of Nigeria.

“The whole notion that somehow, by some dysfunctional philosophy, we can still line up and say: it is our turn to govern Nigeria, that is not the way the rest of the world is going. I appeal to us to appreciate the fact that the problems of this nation were not caused by President Goodluck Jonathan. But I think what is also quite fascinating is that the rot that is being dug out in the National Assembly is happening during his time.”

“Nigeria has consistently produced office holders but not leaders. Nigeria has produced through different processes, men and women who came to power and office largely by accident. Check out the list: Tafawa Balewa-Ironsi-Gowon-Murtala-Obasanjo-Shagari-Buhari-Babangida-Shonekan-Abacha-Abdusalam-Obasanjo-Yar’adua-Jonathan. None of these great men came to office with any degree of preparation or experience in governance.

Analysing the patterns of ascent to power in Nigeria, he noted that only four of the eight Nigerian Heads of State have been civilians. “The others have come to power through military conspiracy and coups. There is hardly anyone who has not come to power through very controversial circumstances, framed in allegations of electoral fraud and so on. If truth were told, these circumstances of accident and chance in coming to power have taken a toll on issues of authority and legitimacy. Good governance relates to the strategies and mechanisms adopted by state for the delivery of public, social and political good. The duty and responsibility of every state is to deliver these services to its citizens or those who legitimately enter its territories.
Bishop Kukah then offered the following questions about the nature of the Nigerian polity today.  “Can the nation’s apparatus of security contain internal threat and dissent? Do citizens feel secure as individuals, families or communities? Do they feel secure in their homes, their places of work or worship? Are their properties protected either by the state or other mediating agencies? Do the security agencies enjoy respect and co-operation among the citizens? Do citizens enjoy protection under the Constitution? Has a culture of transfer of power by constitutional means become acceptable in the country? How does the country’s legal system work? What again, is the cost of justice and do citizens generally feel that the law protects them? How do individuals, families and communities assess the rule of law? How much does justice cost the weakest members of society? Are all citizens equal before the law? Do citizens understand the constitution as a secular document with a sacred ring to it? Does the government respect Court judgment?”

Alison-Madueke Promises to End Graft in Oil Sector, Articles | THISDAY LIVE

Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke

By Chika Amanze-Nwachuku

The federal government is putting in place far-reaching reforms that will address malpractices in the oil and gas sector, Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, said at the weekend.

Alison-Madueke, delivering a memorial lecture on The Strategic Importance of Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Industry to Global Security and World Global Economy, at the Howard University in Washington D.C., United States of America, anchored her optimism on the reforms enshrined in the Petroleum Industry Bill, which is in the works.

According to her, the bill, when passed into law, would address the endemic corruption that has characterised the sector over the last five decades.

The minister, an alumnus of the university, noted that the oil and gas industry has been accused of not being transparent over the years, but assured the gathering that reforms will bring sanity to the industry and make it more viable for investment.

She said: “With the PIB, which is going through its final review, major reforms will come into the oil and gas sector, which has severally been accused of not being transparent.

“I think that over the years, there have been many filthy practices not only in the oil and gas sector, but also in many sectors. But there are also many reform initiatives that are digging deep and are beginning to take root.

“I think it takes a little time for them to become fully enshrined. But I must say we are already seeing some very good results and I am hopeful that over the next three four years, we will see a much broader sense of transparency within the sector at least in Nigeria.”

She added that Nigeria’s oil industry has the potential to alleviate global supply issues if fully developed.

She said the country’s oil and gas reserves were estimated at 37 billion barrels and 187 trillion cubic feet respectively, and Nigeria’s leading role on the regional and continental sphere placed it in a vantage position to provide a low-hanging mechanism to address global security challenges.
The minister said Nigeria currently aspires to grow its 37.2 billion barrels crude oil reserves to 40 billion barrels and increase production capacity from the current figure of over 2 million barrels per day to 4 million barrels per day by 2020.

“Nigeria’s deep water and shallow offshore fields have proved to be highly prolific. With capacity expansion by almost 1 million barrels per day over the next few years, Nigeria can significantly contribute to global supply and diversification, thereby alleviating the challenge of supply concentration around the Middle East,” she said.

According to her, the federal government was also leveraging on the nation’s abundant gas reserves through gas infrastructure development to stimulate rapid domestic and regional economic growth and grow liquefied natural gas exports.

In addition to building a gas-based domestic industry, through gas to power, petrochemical and fertiliser plants, she said Nigeria will expand its liquefied natural gas capacity from current 26 million tonnes per annum, (MTPA) by an additional 20 MTPA through the Brass LNG project, for which the final investment decision, she said, was fast approaching.

Alison-Madueke added that with energy at the heart of every economic, environmental and development issue, it has inextricably become linked to global security and the economy.

She identified rising energy demand and increasing concentration of supply, high oil and gas import bills, rapidly progressing climate change, food security and global terrorism as some of the issues that have compounded the situation.

She said the government plans to ensure equity participation in areas such as the gas pipeline projects and it will also ensure that over time, the private sector will play a more active role in areas such as pipelines, tank farms, and depots, among others.

“When that happens, as it certainly will, we will find that it will also begin to address some of the issues of transparency and underlying corruption,” she said.

Oshiomhole’s Convoy in Ghastly Crash, 3 Journalists Killed, Articles | THISDAY LIVE

By Adibe Emenyonu

Disaster struck yesterday in Edo State as four persons – three journalists and a driver – were reportedly killed in a ghastly motor accident involving the motorcade of the governor of the state, Adams Oshiomhole.

Confirming their deaths, the state government identified the dead journalists as Olatunji Jacobs, George Okosun both of Independent Television (ITV) Benin City and Fidelis Ohani of African Independent Television (AIT) while the bus driver was simply identified as Samson.

The four were in the motorcade of Oshiomhole when the accident, involving the press crew bus and a tipper lorry, occured on the Afuze-Auchi Road in Edo North Senatorial District of the state.

The governor had gone to receive defectors from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, to his party the Action Congress of Nigeria, in Afuze, the headquarters of Owan East Local Government of the state.

According to a statement signed by the director of Media and Publicity of his campaign organisation, Prince Kassim Afegbua, Oshiomhole was returning to the state capital, Benin, where the Edo South senatorial campaign was due to hold by 3 pm Saturday.

The convoy was on its way to Auchi from Afuze when a tipper truck emerged from the opposite direction and rammed into the advance vehicle of the governor’s motorcade before crashing into several other vehicles, leaving four people dead and others seriously injured.

Oshiomhole’s back-up vehicle was badly affected, so also were a Toyota Land Cruiser conveying the security detail, which immediately somersaulted, and a bus that had members of the Government House press crew. However, the governor’s vehicle escaped by a whisker.

Other journalists invo-lved in the accident were Rosemary Obayuwana of Bronze FM, David Acha, Eubadus Enahoro, assistant editor and a photojournalist with Observer News-papers, Edo Government House PRO, Mike Aghioma, DBN Television cameraman, Paul Ezenwa, and the chief detail to Oshiomhole.

They were said to be in critical condition in hospitals around the area.

The journalists, who were said to be 12 in number, rode in the Gover-nment House press crew bus.

Those who sustained injuries were said to have received medical attention in various hospitals around Auchi and Irrua. Oshiomhole, who was also visibly shaken by the accident, personally supervised the ferrying of the casualties to the hospital.
He later paid condolence visits to the bereaved families. The planned rally to kick off Oshiomhole’s re-election campaign in Edo South Senatorial Zone scheduled for yesterday was put off as a result of the incident.

The driver of the truck was said to have made an attempt to escape but he was quickly apprehended by sympathisers.
The governor immediately ordered a full-scale investigation to unravel the cause of the accident.

Caption: Governor Godswil Akpabio
South-South Seeks Policy Review on Power, Gas
By Victor Efeizomor
The South-South geopolitical zone has called for a review of policies and regulations on power and gas production to enable states to generate, transmit and distribute electricity to complement the efforts of the federal government.

The governors of the six states in the zone stated this in a communiqué issued at the end of the second edition of South-South Economic Summit, convened by BRACED Commission, an acronym for Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross Rivers , Edo and Delta States.

The south-south states also called for a new approach to security that will focus on safety, food and job security to encourage investment while harnessing the untapped energies and creativity of the youth population through job creation.

The governors, in the 13-point communiqué, noted that if the policy on power and gas is reviewed, they would facilitate the utilisation of moribund capacity in the region as well as promote and accelerate economic development in the geopolitical zone.

They also canvassed the development of a Niger Delta energy corridor, a project with potential for connecting the people, industry and natural resources and creating jobs.
They stressed the need to accelerate the implementation of agricultural development initiatives as the “region’s priority focal area” to complement the federal government’s transformation agenda on agriculture.

The governors further called on the federal government to develop integrated transport facilities in the region, through a balanced development of railway infrastructure, roads, waterways and airport facilities, adding that there was need to collaborate with the federal government and the private sector in the development of the Lagos-Calabar railway line project.

They urged the federal government to expedite work on the East-West highway to ease the transportation pangs being experienced by motorists and commuters on the road.

The governors stressed the need to ensure quality education in the region and the adoption of ICT and collateral equipment for all levels of education while paying more emphasis on curriculum development, teacher preparation, re-certification and a holistic training approach.

The summit also recommended the convocation of a regional education conference to encourage research and development and the use of technology to promote the desired accelerated development of the geopolitical zone.
They advocated political restructuring that will lead to a reduction in the power of the federal government to enable it to focus on security.

They also stressed the need to review the current revenue allocation formula, to give more funds to states and local government areas to meet their expected greater responsibilities under the restructured political system.

More Condemnation Trails Attack on THISDAY Offices, Articles | THISDAY LIVE

Thisday bomb attack
By Chuks Okocha, Ndubuisi Francis, Wale Ajimotokan and Muhammad Bello

By Chuks Okocha, Ndubuisi Francis, Wale Ajimotokan and Muhammad Bello

More condemnation and outrage have followed Thursday’s bomb attacks on THISDAY’s offices in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, and Kaduna.

Senate President David Mark and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Abdukadir Mohammed, Friday denounced the bomb attacks on THISDAY offices, describing them as dastardly.

The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) urged THISDAY not to be deterred by anybody from performing its professional duties to humanity while opposition Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) said the attack was “an arrow to the heart of free speech.”

The offices of The Sun and Moment newspapers in Kaduna were also affected in the bombings which were the first direct attack on media houses since the inception of the Boko Haram insurgency.

The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Alhaji Muhammad Dikko Abubakar, said some arrests had been made in respect of the attacks.

Mark was represented by the Spokesman of the Senate, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, at a sympathy visit to the Abuja office of THISDAY.

The Senate President said: “I am here to represent the Senate President and indeed the National Assembly. We came to commiserate with THISDAY Newspapers and the Nigerian press in general. This is a dastardly act. Nobody who has seen this will have any doubt that it is designed to cow the press. It is designed to ensure that the press in Nigeria is rushed into submission, not remain vibrant and true to its purpose. The media will continue to report matters concerning Nigerians and that will be in their best interest.

“We are also appealing to all these elements that violence will never solve whatever misgivings they have about the Nigerian state. In any part of the world where you have problems, violence has never solved anything. We also condemn the fact that innocent citizens are those that are being targeted. Those who are working with THISDAY Newspapers have absolutely nothing to do with their issue with the Nigerian state.
“We condole with the newspaper and commiserate with the newspapers and the families of those who have lost their loved ones in this heinous act. We know we are going to surmount this problem. We also appeal to well-meaning Nigerians that everybody is a target. If you have any information, you should bring it to the security agencies.”

Mark urged the Federal Government to implement last week’s resolution of the Senate on how to tackle the insecurity posed by Boko Haram.

The FCT Minister, in a condolence letter personally signed by him and addressed to the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of THISDAY Nduka Obaigbena, said the news of the bomb explosion came as a rude shock.

The minister said the FCT was exceedingly pained by the “needless spilling of innocent blood and the anguish brought to families by this cowardly act”.

Members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of PDP who also visited the THISDAY office Abuja urged the newspaper not to be deterred in its duties.

The PDP NWC was led by the party’s National Secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and had in the delegation the National Woman Leader, Ambaasador Kema Chikwe; National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metu; National Auditor, Chief Bode Mustapha, and the National Legal Adviser, Kwon Victor.

Oyinlola said during the visit: “We will like to encourage you not to be deterred in performing your duty to the public”.

He called on security agencies in the country “to step up their operations in curtailing the activities of the sect”.

Oyinlola advised Nigerians to see security as everybody’s duty, as “security matters should not be left for government alone. Any information, no matter how minute should be passed on to the security agencies to help control this kind of incident”.

ACN National Publicity Secretary Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a statement in Lagos, said nothing in the world could justify such attacks against the media.

”Unfettered flow of information is the lifeblood of any society and a necessary ingredient for a successful democracy, and the media in Nigeria have largely carried out their role in this regard with rare courage and uncommon determination.”

Muhammed said to now “seek to scuttle this constitutionally-guaranteed role of the media on the basis of some nebulous justification is totally abhorrent and unacceptable. Any society that stifles the media asphyxiates itself”.

Also, the pioneer chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Chief Onyema Ugochukwu also condemned the attacks, and urged the Nigerian press not to be intimidated..

Ugochukwu, a former editor of Daily times said the Nigerian press was vibrant and cannot be cowed by such attacks.
Meanwhile, IGP Abubakar has said those who perpetrated the attacks on the newspaper house were criminals and hoodlums, adding that some arrests have been made.

The IGP who was on his maiden visit to the Rivers State Police Command said the perpetrators of the blasts at THISDAY and The Sun offices were criminals and hoodlums.

He said the police had made arrests and useful information was being taken.
The IGP said he was in Port Harcourt to re-evaluate the security situation of the state and to tell his officers and men the direction of his administration.

Bukola Saraki surrenders, to hands self over to police Monday – Emmanuel Ogala

image Embattled Senator Bukola Saraki


The senator capitulates, says he is now ready to subject himself to police interrogation over an alleged N21billion loan scam




Bukola Saraki, a  former governor of Kwara State, who was declared wanted earlier Saturday  by the special fraud unit of the police, has agreed to turn himself in  to the police on Monday by 9 a.m.

The senator said in a statement Saturday night (read full statement below this story) that he had opened dialogue with investigators and would personally appear before them on Monday morning. 

Mr Saraki had in the past week long played  hide and seek game with the police over his invitation on account of an alleged N21billion loan scam. 

In apparent frustration, the police declared him wanted Saturday, threatening to use maximum force to arrest him.

To legalize the action, the police sought and secured a court order to   arrest him on Friday.

It was  a sharp contrast to Mr Saraki’s claim last Tuesday when he misled the media that  he had obtained a court order restraining the police from investigating and  arresting him.

Detectives from the special fraud unit of the Nigerian police, on  Friday, told Premium Times they were running out of patience with the   lawmaker and  considering use of “maximum force” to bring in for questioning over the loan scam.

They said Mr. Saraki appeared to be abusing his position to elude police invitation.

Over the past two weeks, the former governor, now a senator, has   consistently evade invitations to answer questions in the investigation of the loan scam in which   police say he is a key actor in – a crime the police say was committed   during his time as governor of Kwara state.

Police believes Mr. Saraki illicitly obtained the loan from the   defunct Intercontinental Bank through a proxy company, Joy   Petroleum, owned by his late aide, Matthew Obahor.

“SFU may not hesitate to apply maximum force to bring him (Mr Saraki)   in for questioning,” Joy Isinume, the special force’s spokesperson  told Premium Times.


Mr. Saraki, through his counsels, Saka Isiaku and Lawal Rabana, had filed a suit seeking to restrain the police from arresting him but Justice  Gladys Olotu ruled against him, while agreeing with the argument of the   police counsel, Femi Falana, that regardless of Mr Saraki’s rights to   liberty, the police has the power to arrest, investigate, and  prosecute him upon reasonable suspicion that he has committed a  criminal offense.


In press statements, Mr Saraki had repeatedly claimed he had no hand  in the said scam and that he had no relationship with the company, Joy  Petroleum, used to move the money in contention.


Mr Saraki also argues that he has been over-investigated in the case.

The police, however, insist that records point in the direction of Mr  Saraki as a key character in the scam.

The police say they are after Mr Saraki to solve the puzzles in the  case, particularly the revelations from Joy Petroleum’s account  which indicate credit transfers made after the sole operator of the  account, Mr Obahor, a former aide of Mr. Saraki, was long deceased.

The police also seeks to understand how a debt of N9.7 billion was  dramatically written off the same account that in turn was closed by  one Abdul Adamu, who they found out to be an aide of Mr Saraki.

While Mr. Saraki consistently claims he holds no relationship with Joy  Petroleum, the police say one of the puzzles he will resolve when in  their custody is how the head office of the company on No. 30 Saka  Tinubu street, Victoria Island, Lagos belongs to Mr Saraki.

Among other puzzles the police say Mr Saraki will be grilled for is  why the names in the bank documentations for the loan included his  wife’s, Toyin, and his former commissioner of Finance and  current governor of Kwara state, Abdufattah Ahmed.

Mr. Saraki apologists claim he is a victim of state persecution on  account of his alleged stance against the removal of fuel subsidy and  his presumed ambition to contest for presidency in 2015.

They, however, say nothing of his role in the loan scam and  the alleged criminal implications of his role.



Read Senator Saraki’s press release below


Abuja Nigeria- Today Senator Saraki received the report that despite the court proceeding that was adjourned by Honorable Justice Gladys Olotu on Thursday 26th of April 2012 officers of Special Fraud Unit have declared him wanted.


Senator Saraki had earlier established dialogue with the SFU of the Nigeria Police Force in response to their request to assist them in their ongoing investigations into a transaction between Intercontinental Bank and a company, Joy Petroleum. While he has no connection with the aforementioned company, Senator Saraki has consistently assured of his willingness to avail the investigative agency of any information they feel will assist their task, provided the agency furnishes him with the basis on which they want to keep inviting him as he had already gone through these procedures on numerous occasions previously.


Senator Saraki will like to remind the public he has not done anything wrong and was only exercising his constitutional rights by asking the court to intervene in defining whether the force was following the regular police procedure in line with the manner with which they are handling the investigation.

Senator Saraki assures Nigerians that he maintains that he has not contravened the laws of Nigeria, and while awaiting the decision of the Abuja High Court on May 22nd 2012, he will nonetheless be making himself available to assist the SFU at the appropriate office 9am Monday morning on 30th April 2012.