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19 players fit for Morocco clash

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There is cheering news in the camp of the Super Eagles in Morocco as 19 players have been given a clear health bill to play in today’s African Nations Championship (CHAN) against Morocco.

SportingLife reports that four players have been ruled out of today’s game due to injuries, sickness and suspension.

The Super Eagles skipper Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Sunday Faleye were out due to injuries. Daniel Itodo has not been involving in the team’s game after two matches due to sickness while Ifeanyi Ifeanyi was suspended due to the red card he picked up in the game against Sudan in the semi-final clash.

The team’s media officer, Toyin Ibitoye confirmed to SportingLife that all the 19 players who participated in the team’s training session yesterday will be available for Morocco’s clash.

“I don’t think we need to worry about the team because we have enough players to prosecute the match. Apart from the four payers who have been automatically ruled out of the game due to injury, sickness and suspension, all the remaining 19 players are fit for the game,” Ibitoye told SportingLife.

“Emeka Atuloma, Peter Eneji participated in the team’s training session on Friday. This is a good news to us in the camp and I know Nigerians will be happy to hear this too. Everything is good and we are ready for the game.”

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Foreign

Saudi Crown Prince Ordered Khashogghi’s Murder – CIA

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The US Central Intelligence Agency has concluded Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was behind the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, US media reported Friday, citing people close to the matter.

The US assessment directly contradicts the conclusions of a Saudi prosecutor one day prior, which exonerated the prince of involvement in the brutal murder.

But The Washington Post, which broke the story, said the CIA found that 15 Saudi agents flew on government aircraft to Istanbul and assassinated Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate.

Queried by AFP, the CIA declined to comment.

Khashoggi, a Post columnist, had gone to the consulate to obtain documents necessary to marry his Turkish fiancee.

Saudi Arabia — which quickly dismissed the reported CIA findings — has repeatedly changed its official narrative of the October 2 murder, first denying any knowledge of Khashoggi’s whereabouts and later saying he was killed when an argument degenerated into a fistfight.

In the latest version presented by the Saudi prosecutor on Thursday, a 15-member squad was formed to bring Khashoggi back from Istanbul “by means of persuasion” — but instead ended up killing the journalist and dismembering his body in a “rogue” operation.

The CIA examined multiple intelligence sources, the Post said, among them a phone call between the prince’s brother — the Saudi ambassador to the United States — and Khashoggi.

The ambassador reportedly told the late journalist that he would be safe to go to the consulate in Istanbul and get the papers he needed.

– ‘Some things you can’t do’ –
But a Saudi embassy spokesperson said that Ambassador Khalid bin Salman had never discussed “anything related to going to Turkey” with Khashoggi.

“Amb Prince Khalid bin Salman has never had any phone conversations with (Khashoggi),” the statement posted on the ambassador’s Twitter account said.

“The claims in this purported assessment is false,” it said.

The US intelligence agency also said in determining the crown prince’s role it considered him a “de facto ruler” of Saudi Arabia: “The accepted position is that there is no way this happened without him being aware or involved,” the Post quoted an official as saying.

That official dubbed Prince Mohammed a “good technocrat” — but also someone unpredictable who “goes from zero to 60, doesn’t seem to understand that there are some things you can’t do.”

The New York Times later reported that the CIA findings were also based on calls from the kill team to one of the crown prince’s senior aides.

But the paper said that while the intercepts showed Prince Mohammed was working to lure Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia, the crown prince had not said in the calls that he wanted Khashoggi killed.

The Times cited officials as saying US and Turkish intelligence so far have not found direct evidence connecting the prince to Khashoggi’s killing.

Following the reports, US Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday said Washington “is determined to hold all of those accountable who are responsible for that murder.”

On the sidelines of an APEC summit in Papua New Guinea, Pence described the Saudi journalist’s killing as an “atrocity” and an “affront to a free and independent press” but declined to comment on classified information.

The CIA conclusions threaten to further fray relations between Washington and longtime ally Riyadh, which has sought to end discussion of the murder and rejected calls for an international investigation.

“We are going to follow the facts,” said Pence.

But he added the US wanted to find a way of preserving a “strong and historic partnership” with Saudi Arabia.

On Thursday, the US Treasury imposed sanctions on 17 people, including close aides of Prince Mohammed, suggesting a coordinated effort between Riyadh and Washington to pre-empt the threat of harsher actions from an outraged US Congress.

US President Donald Trump has shied away from directly blaming the Crown Prince but on Friday agreed with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that “any cover-up of the incident should not be allowed.”

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President Buhari To Attend Peace Forum In France

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President Muhammadu Buhari will today (Friday) leave Abuja for Paris, France where he will be participating in the first edition of the Paris Peace Forum, taking place between November 11 and 13, 2018.

This was disclosed in a statement on Friday by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.

According to the statement, President Buhari is expected to join the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres and other world leaders in discussing contributions towards global peace while underscoring the imperative of collective action.

He will also join other world leaders to commemorate the centenary anniversary of the Armistice signed on November 11, 1918, between the Allied Forces and Germany in the forest of Compiegne in France to end the First World War.

Also, the President will attend a luncheon hosted by his French counterpart, President Emmanuel Macron, in honour of visiting heads of delegations.

Organised by the French Government and a number of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), the Forum is based on the “simple idea that international cooperation is key to tackling global challenges and ensuring durable peace.”

Before returning to Abuja, the President and his delegation will have an interactive session with the Nigerian Community in France.

Accompanying the president on the trip are the Governors of Katsina, Anambra and Ekiti States Aminu Masari, Willie Obiano and Kayode Fayemi, respectively.

Others include the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; the National Security Adviser, Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd); and the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Abubakar.

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Politics

Saraki Reshuffles Senate Committees, Axes Buhari’s Loyalist

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Senate President Bukola Saraki, on Wednesday, announced the reshuffling of heads of four standing committees in the Senate.

Saraki who made the announcement at the end of plenary on Wednesday, stated that the Chairman, Senate Committee on Police, Abu Ibrahim (APC, Katsina State) has been redeployed to the Committee on Labour, while Tijjani Kaura (APC, Zamfara) takes his stead.

Ibrahim is seen as a staunch loyalist of President Muhammadu Buhari and confidant of the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, who has been having running battles with the Senate recently.

The Senate President also announced that the immediate past Senate Majority Leader, Ali Ndume (APC, Borno) now heads the Committee on Establishment while the newly sworn-in APC senator from Bauchi State, Lawal-Yahaya Gumau heads the Committee on Federal Character.

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