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Reigning world footballer of the year, Crisitano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have both bid farewell to the World Cup after losing both their last 16 matches and could have set up a quarter-final tie with each other.

Russia bids a sad farewell to both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who crashed out of the World Cup at the last 16 stage on the same day.

Had Argentina and Portugal both won their ties against France and Uruguay, respectively, they would have set up a quarter-final meeting, which would have meant that Messi and Ronaldo were to face each other at a World Cup for the first time in history.

Messi’s Argentina, however, were unable to quell a rampant France side who had finally found their feet at the World Cup and could only watch as Kylian Mbappe scored two goals in an eventual 4-3 thriller of a win.

Les Bleus opened the scoring through an Antoine Griezmann penalty before Angel Di Maria levelled the scoring – and briefly led before France hit back through Benjamin Pavard and a Mbappe masterclass.

The loss meant that Messi has never been able to score in the knockout phase of a World Cup.

Sergio Aguero netted in stoppage time to make the score 4-3, but it wasn’t enough, leading Messi to experience heartbreak with his national side yet again.

Ronaldo had the opportunity to stake his claim as the GOAT at the World Cup following Messi’s elimination but he, too, is being sent home after Portugal lost 2-1 to Uruguay courtesy of a dazzling Edinson Cavani display.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward opened the scoring early on to make it 1-0 before Pepe equalised after half-time. Cavani struck again soon after, however, to take his tally up to three for the tournament and to end Ronaldo’s hopes of winning a World Cup with Portugal.

Portugal missed a crucial shot in stoppage-time and there were calls for a handball against Uruguay in the penalty area after goalkeeper Rui Patricio went up for a corner in stoppage time, but it was not given.

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PDP Condemns Alleged Attack On Atiku, Says Buhari Presidency Pushing Nigerians To The Wall

Peter Okunoren

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned in the strongest terms “the unleashing of a special security squad of army, police and paramilitary agencies by the Muhammadu Buhari Presidency to physically harass our Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, at the Abuja airport, upon his return from Dubai.”

The party in a statement by its publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said that “it was shocking when the deadly squad, in a Gestapo-style attack, and acting on ‘orders from above’, rushed our candidate immediately he landed and attempted to physically manhandle him before invading his aircraft with dangerous weapons to conduct a violent search.”

PDP added: “While they did not find anything incriminating on our Presidential candidate, this deadly squad, violently tampered with certain personal documents and gadgets belonging to him, including some of his campaign documents.

The PDP completely rejected such violence against the person of Atiku by the Buhari Presidency who has been jittery over Atiku Abubakar’s soaring popularity since his emergence as PDP candidate.

“We invite the world to note that having failed to drag down our Presidential candidate with spurious allegations and smear campaign, the APC has now resorted to state-backed violence against him and must be held responsible should any harm befall him or any member of his campaign team.

“The PDP is for peace, but we will not accept this recourse to violence, which we believe is orchestrated to directly harm our Presidential candidate, foist a siege mentality on the system and set the stage for series of coordinated violence, ostensibly to truncate a peaceful conduct of the 2019 general election.

“The Buhari Presidency and the APC should bear in mind that this is an attack on our democracy and the collective sensibility of the overwhelming majority of Nigerians, across board, who have accepted the choice of Atiku Abubakar as Nigeria’s next President and they will vigorously deploy every means available in a democracy to defend him and our democratic process.

“Today, Atiku Abubakar, as a Presidential candidate, has the highest demography of supporters and volunteers across our nation and we will not hesitate to call them out in defence of democracy if another such attempt is made against our candidate.

“Nigeria is not a conquered territory and anybody that wants to foist a totalitarian regime on our land will be firmly resisted,” the spokesman said.

PDP, however, stated that President Buhari to recall that as a Presidential candidate, he had occasions to travel out of the country and the government in power never besieged or harassed him in any way. His administration should therefore not introduce such violence in our democratic space.

The party, however, counselled APC and the Buhari Presidency to know that power belongs to God and that the time has come for Nigerians to choose a new President, for which they have collectively rallied around Atiku Abubakar and that their resort to violence, smear campaign, character assassination and rigging will not change this resolve.

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Diezani To Be Extradited From UK —– EFCC

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has confirmed that the process for the extraditing former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke from the United Kingdom has begun.

Acting Spokesman of the commission, Mr Tony Orilade, disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.

There have been calls from different quarters for the extradition of the former minister over several allegations of impropriety against her.

According to Orilade, EFCC’s Operations Department has made a presentation to the Legal Department to commence the process, and that process has commenced.

He, however, said that the action had to be processed through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, explaining that it was not something the commission would commence and conclude on its own.

“It is ongoing. Within the next few weeks, the extent to which we have gone will be made known to the public.

“It is not a fresh case; it is not a fresh petition that is just being looked into; the whole process is a total package.

“This extradition is just an aspect of Diezani’s investigation and commencement of trial,” he said.

In 2017, a Federal High Court in Lagos ordered the final forfeiture of N7.6 billion alleged loot recovered from the former minister to the Federal Government.

Justice Abdulazeez Anka granted an application by the EFCC seeking the final forfeiture of the money to the government.

Granting the application, the judge had said: “I have read the motion on notice seeking the final forfeiture of the sum of N7.6 billion reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity.

“I have also gone through the affidavit in support of the application.

“In the circumstances, I am of the view that the application has merit and is hereby granted as prayed. Parties have a right to appeal.”

In October 2017, the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, had said that Nigeria had no immediate plan to bring Alison -Madueke back home to face trial.

Alison -Madueke, who is being investigated in the UK, had urged the Federal Government to bring her back to the country to face corruption charges against her.

But, Malami said that bringing her back to the country would jeopardize the investigation being carried on her in the UK.

“Steps have been taken by the United Kingdom authorities on issues bothering on corrupt practices involving Nigerians.

“If Nigeria feels strongly that there is a need to bring Mrs Diezani Alison -Madueke here to face charges of corruption, the government will not hesitate to do that.

“As things stand now, there is no need for that since the UK Government is already investigating her,’’ he had said.

The EFCC spokesman could not, however, say the point at which it became necessary to seek extradition of the former minister.

(NAN)

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Imo APC Governorship Candidate Arrested At Abuja Airport

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The National Working Committee backed governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress for Imo State and representative of Imo West Senatorial District, Senator Hope Uzodinma, has been arrested by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel For Recovery of Public Property, The PUNCH reports.

The candidate was arrested on Sunday at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.

The PUNCH said this was revealed to it by the Chairman of the panel, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, in a short message service on Sunday.

Uzodinma was said to have been arrested for failure to complete a contract awarded to his company.

His company was awarded a contract of $12m for the dredging of Calabar channel by the Nigerian Ports Authority.

Obono-Obla said Uzodinma had been evading arrest for about a year but was arrested at about 8.20pm at the Abuja airport.

The statement read: “This evening, at about 8.20pm, operatives of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel For Recovery of Public Property at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport arrested the APC governorship candidate in Imo State, Hope Uzodinma, after disembarking from an Air Peace P47324 flight from Lagos.

“The panel is investigating economic sabotage against Senator Uzodinma arising out of the failure of his company to execute a contract of $12m for the dredging of Calabar channel awarded by the NPA.”

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