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Ferran Torres double sweeps Spain past Italy and into Nations League final

Ferran Torres

Ferran Torres double sweeps Spain past Italy and into Nations League final

So this is how it feels. After three years in charge, having claimed a European Championship and set a new world record, Roberto Mancini finally tasted defeat. After 37 games unbeaten going back to Portugal in September 2018, Italy lost at last. Two first-half goals from Manchester City’s Ferran Torres set Spain on course for a win at San Siro and Sunday’s Nations League final against France or Belgium on this same stage. “Historic,” midfielder Koke called it.

It is not the same, sure, but it was revenge of sorts. Defeated in a semi-final at Wembley, Spain beat Italy back in their own home. Mancini had reminded people that Spain were the team they had most struggled with and it had to happen sometime, somewhere, but few expected it here and now. Luis Enrique’s side came with injuries and absences, debates raging, and with teenagers too, the 18-year-old Yeremi Pino and 17-year-old Gavi making their debuts. Yet, if they were assisted by Leonardo Bonucci’s red card just before half-time, they were superb.

They were also built in the image their manager – often questioned, often proven right – had demanded. “We’re going to go out there and attack because we don’t know how to do anything else,” Luis Enrique had said. The risks remained, he knew, and to start with Italy’s press laid a trap that Spain fell into. Three times they lost the ball in compromising positions in the opening six minutes, Unai Simón having to make a sharp save from Federico Chiesa’s and then an easier one from Nicolò Barella.

Spain’s manager is nothing if not stubborn, though. Bold too, shown by the inclusion of Gavi, who has played only 279 senior minutes in La Liga. The teenager and his new teammates started to get a hold of the game, and soon they were flowing. They took the lead early, Marcos Alonso finding Mikel Oyarzabal on 15 minutes. His wonderful cross found Torres. Leaping, he guided a side-footed volley into the corner.

Time to take the word “false” out of his job description: Torres is running at better than a goal every other game for Spain. That was his 11th international goal in his 21st game. Just before half time he had his 12th.

By then, Alonso’s shot had slipped through Gianluigi Donnarumma’s hands and against the post at one end, while a cleverly disguised Federico Bernardeschi shot was pushed against the post at the other. More important were the moments when Lorenzo Insigne missed a clear chance alone by the penalty spot on 34 minutes, and when Bonucci led with his arm on Sergio Busquets 10 minutes later, earning a second yellow card. That the balance had tilted was confirmed when a wonderful move involving Alonso, Pablo Sarabia and Oyarzabal set up Torres to head the second.

Torres only lasted four minutes of the second half, replaced by another teenager in Yeremi Pino, who was introduced as Torres made his way to the bench where ice was applied, but his job was done and Spain dominated still. Oyarzabal, outstanding throughout, had a shot blocked and then provided for Koke to have a go before Pino stood up a lovely cross from which he nodded just past the post.

Pino was making his debut and making the most of it, providing incision. He was enjoying himself on the right, teeing up Alonso with a brilliant pass that left the Chelsea full-back alone in the area only for Donnarumma to save.

That kept Italy in it and they weren’t going to give up their record easily. A break eight minutes from time made a match of it, Pau Torres making an error from a Spain corner and Chiesa running half the length of the pitch to lay on an easy finish for Lorenzo Pellegrini and set up a tense finale, but the end eventually came, three long years later.

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Bauchi pays N3.418bn in outstanding gratuities

The Bauchi State Pensions Board has announced that, from May 2019 to date, the state government has paid N3,418,288,11.68 in outstanding gratuities owed to retired civil servants.

The Chairman of the Board, Senator Bala Adamu Kariya, made the disclosure at the ongoing ministerial press briefing in Bauchi, held at the State Secretariat.

Although Senator Kariya did not specify the total gratuity backlog, he noted that it exceeds N20 billion.

He stated that since the inception of the current Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led administration in 2019, a total of 4,273 people have retired, and 677 have died while in service, out of 4,948 files processed.

“The Board processes the files of civil servants due for retirement. We are the custodians of the processed files of all state civil servants who have retired,” the chairman stated.

Senator Adamu, however, said that in order to avoid further accumulation of pension and gratuity liabilities, the state government intends to commence the implementation of the proposed contributory pension scheme on June 30, 2021.

“As a sign of commitment, His Excellency, the Executive Governor, Sen. Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir, appointed a 20-member committee, including a staff member of Messrs Premium Pension Ltd for technical guidance under the chairmanship of Mr. Abdon Dalla Gin (Special Adviser on Civil Service Matters).”

“In line with the Terms of Reference to the Committee, a final report with a draft bill has been carefully produced, tapping from the 2004 Act, 2014 revised Act, and previous efforts of successive state administrations like the 2005 and 2017 draft bills, and was presented to His Excellency, the Executive Governor, Sen. Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir, as appropriate.”

He recalled that Governor Bala Mohammed had presented the report to the State Executive Council for consideration and approval, following which a draft bill was forwarded to the State House of Assembly for further legislative process in line with the laid down constitutional procedure.

“After gathering the necessary stakeholders’ input, the State House of Assembly then ratified the draft and returned the same to the Executive Governor for assent. Consequently, on August 5, 2022, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Bauchi State, assented to the bill enacted by the State House of Assembly.”

“It was named the Bauchi State and Local Government Contributory Pension Scheme. The law also provided for the establishment of the Bauchi State and Local Government Contributory Pension Commission.”

“The state governor approved the constitution of another high-powered committee under the chairmanship of Ibrahim Muhammad Kashim, the Secretary to the State Government, to facilitate the full implementation process of the new scheme in the state.”

Kariya further explained that prior to this development, the state government appointed two firms of Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs), who have now engaged stakeholders in a massive sensitization, advocacy, and enlightenment of the scheme across the state.

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Two-storey building collapses in Abuja

A two-storey residential building in Phase 2, site 2, Kubwa Abuja has collapsed

The building collapsed on Saturday morning at about 7:00am.

It was learnt that the building was formerly a hotel, Al-Hilal, but was converted to a residential apartment.

It was gathered that several people are currently trapped in the rubble.

As at time of filing this report, emergency responders and security personnel were at the scene.

 

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Police to enforce e-CMR compliance from July 29

The Nigeria Police Force have given all motor users 14 days to register their vehicles with the newly-introduced digitalized Central Motor Registration (e-CMR), which will end on July 29, to begin the enforcement of its compliance in order to checkmate the rate of vehicle-related crimes and other offenses.

In a press release, the Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, informed that the move is part of the efforts of the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Kayode Egbetokun, to enhance the security of lives and property and significantly boost the nation’s safety.

The release further stated that the exercise is an advanced form of helping security agencies, mostly the Police Force, in their investigations and operational activities to combat vehicle-related crimes, including terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, and other social vices.

It also stated that the introduction of the e-CMR digitalized system will help streamline the documentation and verification process for vehicle ownership and related transactions.

“Following the directives of the IGP, services such as change of ownership, change of license number, change of engine, and change of chassis/body would become seamless as the e-CMR system would ensure the validation of vehicle genuineness and ownership, enhancing the ability to track and recover stolen vehicles effectively, and preventing the purchase of stolen vehicles by innocent buyers.

“Prior to the enforcement itself, the IGP has ordered full publicity of the e-CMR and its enforcement to all members of the public, intimating them of the requirements, processes, and the enforcement procedures. Members of the public are urged to obtain the digitalized CMR certificate online at https://cmris.npf.gov.ng.

‘For further inquiries, individuals can contact the CMR Command Centre at FHQ Abuja (08117777666, 09169892000) and FHQ Annex Lagos (08117777555, 09169891000). Technical support is also available at cmftech@npfcmr.ng,” the release partly stated.

Following this new development, the Nigeria Police have enjoined members of the public to participate in the exercise by ensuring that all vehicle users comply with the new directive, maintaining that the initiative, which is in line with modern technology, remains a strategic approach to enhance public safety and national security.

ACP Adejobi further stated that the enforcement of the e-CMR is necessary to ensure a safer and more secure environment for vehicle ownership and to decimate the trend of vehicle theft by greatly reducing the possibility of selling stolen vehicles in the country.

“We therefore urge all vehicle owners and users to embrace and participate in this initiative promptly for optimum safety and security,” he stated.

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