By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Justice Adedayo Akintoye of a Lagos State High Court sitting in Igbosere area of the state has ordered the arrest of former Super Eagles captain, Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha.
The judge gave security operatives the directive to apprehend the former Bolton Wanderers player over tax evasion charges.
It was reported that the former Nigerian playmaker had repeatedly failed to appear before the court to answer why he allegedly failed to pay his income taxes to government.
The warrant of arrest for Mr Okocha was issued by the judge on January 29, with the matter thereafter adjourned till February 19.
However, on February 19, the prosecution had not effected the arrest forcing the judge to, again, adjourn till April 15 and ordered that the warrant is executed by then.
The football star is facing a three-count charge instituted by the Lagos State Ministry of Justice bordering on failure to furnish his income returns and nonpayment of tax.
The state filed the charges through its prosecutor, Jide Martins, in June 2017 and the suit began four months later.
The defendant, however, had failed to appear in court.
After several adjournments without Mr Okocha appearing despite having been served the court papers, Mr Martins prayed the court to issue a bench warrant for his arrest.
According to the prosecutor, Mr Okocha had failed to furnish his income returns for tax purposes to the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service.
Mr Martins also said that the defendant had failed to pay his income taxes.
He said the offences contravened Sections 56 (a) and (b) of the Lagos State Revenue Administration Law No. 8, 2006 and Section 94 (1) of the Personal Income Tax Act Cap P8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
Saudi Plans Acquisition of Inter Milan After Newcastle Fallout
By Adedapo Adesanya
Following a setback suffered from the failure to acquire English top-flight side, Newcastle United, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has reportedly moved its sight to Italian giants, Inter Milan FC.
Italian media are reporting that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) – among the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world with total estimated assets of at least $500 billion is moving its focus on a takeover of the struggling Italian champions.
Saudi Arabia has been making attempts to secure the European football market and is said to be looking to complete a flagship deal with the purchase of the Nerazzurri so it can compete with its Gulf neighbours, the UAE and Qatar have been in the footballing business for over a decade through their purchase of Manchester City and PSG respectively.
Under Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman, Saudi Arabia has embarked on a similar economic development strategy which includes multi-billion-dollar investments in sports.
Inter Milan’s current owners, the China-based Suning group, are looking to sell at least half of their shares in the club as it faces financial difficulties since completing their own purchase of a controlling interest in the club from an Indonesian businessman, Mr Erick Thohir five years ago.
Inter is reportedly losing around $14 million a month, and even though they raised around $152 million in transfer fees in the summer, primarily through the sale of Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku and Moroccan Achraf Hakimi, the Chinese firm is looking to significantly reduce its shareholding.
Meanwhile, after the failed Saudi bid, owner of Newcastle United Mike Ashley filed an anti-competition claim against the Premier League due to its failure to make a timely decision on the approval of the proposed $447 million takeover last year.
Reps Summon Sports Minister Over Funds for Doping Tests, Others
By Sodeinde Temidayo David
The House of Representatives has mandated its committee on sports to investigate the immediate and remote cause of the failed doping test in order to prevent the future occurrence of such an incident.
The House also called for an investigation into the activities of the Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development on failed doping tests by Nigerian athletes at the recently concluded Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
In competitive sports, doping is the alleged use of banned athletic performance-enhancing drugs by athletic competitors or to illegally improve athletic performance in competitions.
Nigeria is set to examine and prevent the wrong drugs used by athletes in a bid to meet the regulations set by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the independent anti-doping arm, Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).
This followed the implementation of a gesticulation by a member of the house, Mr Lawrence Ayeni, on the floor of the House on Wednesday in Abuja, where he noted that the Nigeria delegation to the Olympic games progressed well in terms of performance, thereby raising the country’s rating the in the comity of Nations.
He denounced the incident of July 20, where the Athletics Integrity Unit of the International Association of Athletics Federations barred 10 Nigerian athletes.
It could be recalled that this included the highly-rated Ms Blessing Okagbare, from the Tokyo Olympics for failing to meet requirements for out-of-competition drug testing.
The Nigerian sprinter, who won the opening heat of the women’s 100m, had tested positive for human growth hormone as alleged by the Athletics Integrity Unit, and the allegation affirmed that the affected athletes failed to comply with the rules.
According to Mr Ayeni, countries deemed to be at high risk of doping were meant to undergo three no-notice out-of-competition tests in a 10 months’ period leading up to a major event.
He added that despite the huge funds being made available yearly for the regulatory agencies in the sports sector, adequate efforts have not been made to get Nigeria into the category.
This category, according to him, is where they would be deemed to have made significant improvements in anti-doping tests.
The Minister of Sports and Youth Development was, therefore, summoned to brief the Committee on Sports.
The House also urged the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to put necessary measures in place to ensure compliance with extant regulations at both local and international competitions.
Rite Foods to Refresh Athletes at Abeokuta 10km Marathon
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Athletes participating in the Abeokuta 10km Marathon scheduled for November 13, 2021, will be refreshed, one of the sponsors, Rite Foods Limited, has assured.
The international event, specifically for Nigerians within the country and in the diaspora will start from Oba Alake’s palace and end at the M.K.O Abiola International Stadium, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
It will have five water points at the 2.5km, 5km, 7.5km, and the finishing area, likewise two refreshing points along the route, Rite Foods, makers of the popular Bigi brand, disclosed.
It was learned that the winning prize for the elite category would be $2,000, while the first runner-up and second runner-up will receive $1,500 and $1,000, respectively.
In addition, the overall winner of the special category will go home with N500,000, while the first runner-up and second runner-up will receive N300,000 and N100,000, respectively.
Speaking ahead of the event, the Brand Manager of Rite Foods, Ms Boluwatife Adedugbe, stated that, “The Bigi Table water will be available at all water points to rejuvenate our runners.”
“As we market our products, we have to demonstrate the Bigi brands’ closeness to them; hence Bigi is sponsoring the competition,” Ms Adedugbe further said at a press conference held in Abeokuta on Tuesday, September 14, 2021.
She also noted that the company was ready for the big sporting event, adding that this year’s edition would be different because it will serve as a platform for promoting Nigerian talents that would make the nation proud at the international level.
She stated that since consumers are at the core of the Bigi brand, sponsoring a worthy initiative like the Abeokuta marathon shows Rite Foods care about their wellbeing, disclosing that the brand was the refreshing sponsor in 2019 and has taken the step further as the title sponsor for this year’s event.
Also speaking, the Ogun State Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Mr Kehinde Oluwadare, expressed Governor Dapo Abiodun’s goodwill message of commendation to Rite Foods, applauding its gesture of nurturing skills in athletics.
He said the Ogun State government was proud to identify with the sponsors, especially Rite Foods, in creating a platform of social value that would not only build talents but also youth engagement.
“The race will not only discover budding talents but will develop them to greatness, as it is another golden opportunity for youths to engrave their names on the world map,” the Commissioner affirmed.
On his part, Mr Bukola Olopade, the CEO of Nilayo Sports Management Limited, the organisers of the race, extolled Rite Foods’ Bigi for promoting a Nigerian cause and urged other organizations to follow suit.
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