Maternal mortality rate in Nigeria still high – UNICEF

Nigeria is one of the youngest countries in the world – not in terms of when it was founded but in terms of the age of its population.

According to the 2017 revision of the World Population Prospects, there are 19.9 million children in Nigeria and 44% percent of the population is below the age of 15. To put this in perspective: 11 out of every 25 Nigerians are children.

UNICEF cites more than 20,000 children are born every single day from Borno to Lagos; that come to make up the massive below age ten population of this country. And for all 20,000 births, 821 women die during childbirth.

Currently, Nigeria is the highest contributor to maternal mortality in Central and Western Africa and accounts for 14% of the global maternal mortality rate.

The country is currently ranked 187th out of 191 countries in healthcare delivery. It is also the second largest contributor to maternal mortality worldwide, after India. One Nigerian woman dies every 13 minutes – that is 109 women dying each day – from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Add that to Northern Nigeria’s increasing child marriage rate and you have an atomic bomb.

According to GirlsNotBrides, a non-profit organization trying to eradicate child marriage, 17% of girls are married before the age of 15 and 44% are married before the age of 18. UNICEF predicts, in the North-West, figures are as high as 68% for child marriages. As a result of such high child marriage rates, pregnancy-related complications are the leading cause of death among young women aged 15-19 years in Nigeria.

Di Maria and Mbappe among the goals as PSG win big again

Angel Di Maria scored a sumptuous free-kick and Kylian Mbappe was also on target as Paris Saint-Germain continued their relentless march towards another French title by hammering Montpellier 5-1 on Wednesday. With Neymar and Edinson Cavani still absent, Layvin Kurzawa also scored for PSG at the Parc des Princes, while two own goals completed the rout.

Florent Mollet had equalised at one point in the first half for the visitors before they crumbled in a rearranged fixture that had initially been postponed in early December due to disruption caused by “yellow vest” anti-government protests in France. As they warm up for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Manchester United on March 6, PSG are now a huge 15 points clear of second-placed Lille, and still have a game in hand as they race to a sixth Ligue 1 title in seven seasons. “It came down to patience, and quality, and a bit of luck as well,” said PSG coach Thomas Tuchel after his side maintained their perfect home record in the league this season. It was also their ninth win by a margin of at least four goals in the current campaign. Mbappe hoping everything into place’ for PSG in Champions League “It was not our best peformance, but with our attacking quality it was a deserved victory,” added Tuchel. He was missing a host of players for this game, with skipper Thiago Silva suspended. French international left-back Kurzawa was making his first start in the league in an injury-hit season and he opened the scoring in the 13th minute with a header from a Daniel Alves cross. However, Montpellier recovered well from that and claimed a deserved leveller just after the half-hour mark from a Mollet free-kick. Gianluigi Buffon thought he had kept it out, but goal-line technology confirmed the ball had just crossed the line. Nevertheless, Di Maria restored PSG’s lead in first-half stoppage time with a stunning dead-ball strike from 30 yards that went in off the underside of the bar for his sixth league goal of the season. PSG then ran away with the game in the closing stages, although only after both Mbappe and substitute Eric-Maxim Choupo Moting had efforts disallowed for offside. – Two own goals – It was 3-1 in the 73rd minute when Christopher Nkunku, on a rare start, saw his header deflect in off Petar Skuletic, and Mbappe then took centre stage. The young World Cup winner turned in a Kurzawa centre in the 78th minute, but the goal was attributed to Montpellier’s 41-year-old defender Hilton. From the restart, PSG won possession back and Mbappe beat Montpellier goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte with the aid of a huge deflection off Hilton. This time the goal was given to Mbappe, who now has 20 goals in 19 league appearances this season, and 25 in all competitions. Montpellier remain sixth, while PSG now host mid-table Nimes on Saturday before a French Cup quarter-final against Dijon and then a visit to Caen, as their busy schedule continues before the visit of United. The other game in France on Wednesday saw bottom side Guingamp draw 0-0 at Bordeaux.BENGBENRO SPORT

Manchester United better team than one Liverpool beat – Wijnaldum

Manchester United are a much more confident outfit under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer compared to the team that lost 3-1 at Liverpool earlier this season.

Manchester united midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum said ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash.

United’s loss at Anfield in December resulted in manager Jose Mourinho getting the sack and Solskjaer was appointed as United’s interim boss.

Manchester united have not lost in the league since, winning eight while drawing once to move up to fourth.

“I think it is going to be a real big change (from December),” Wijnaldum told reporters after Liverpool’s 0-0 draw against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

“Since the new manager came in there is a new flow, they played good games and have won a lot and that is building confidence in the team.

“It’s also a home game for them so they will have a lot of confidence as they don’t have the problems they had before. It is going to be a difficult game but I’m looking forward to it.”

Liverpool are second in the standings, behind Manchester City on goal difference, but the Merseyside club have a game in hand over the defending champions.

Free visa for election observers

As Nigerians go to the polls for the presidential and national assembly contest, the Federal Government has approved visa fee waiver for accredited observers and monitors of the elections.

The Comptroller-General Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mr Muhammad Babandede, said in a statement in Abuja.

He said that the waiver was sequel to the re-scheduling of the general elections to Saturday for Presidential and National Assembly, from Feb. 16, and March 9 for Governorship and House of Assembly, from March 2.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) gave logistics and operational problems as reasons for shifting the polls.

Babandede said that waiver was in consideration of the plight of accredited observers and monitors who were caught-up by the re-scheduled elections.

He urged all affected individuals and organisations wishing to extend their stay or travel back to their countries and return for the next elections to visit NIS Visa Desk at INEC Headquarters.

“The desk officers will attend to those requiring extension of their visas issued Gratis (No Fee Charge).

“This provision became necessary to afford those affected, the opportunity to travel out or return without violating the immigration provisions that relates to entry and exit with valid visa and document.”.

UEFA: Barca, Liverpool held to goalless draw by Lyon, Bayern

FC Barcelona were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw at Olympique Lyonnais in their UEFA Champions League last 16 first leg tie on Tuesday.

The result ensured both sides remained unbeaten in this season’s competition.

The La Liga leaders dominated the match at the Groupama Stadium but lacked accuracy upfront and were grateful to their goalkeeper Marc Andre ter Stegen who made two great saves.

Lyon were lively in the first half but ran out of steam after the break.

They were holding on in the closing stages as Lionel Messi tried in vain to open up the home defence.

Barca had a total of 25 shots but only five on target and their best chance came in the last minute.

That was when Sergio Busquets’s 18-metre attempt was tipped over the bar by Anthony Lopes.

The second leg will be at the Nou Camp on March 13, a game where Lyon will welcome back France striker and captain Nabil Fekir, who was suspended on Tuesday.

“We could have done better in the first half and converted our chances, but we did not concede a goal. So, our chances are intact,” said Lyon defender Leo Dubois.

Lyon coach Bruno Genesio sprung a surprise by fielding Martin Terrier on the left wing instead of Maxwell Cornet, and the 21-year-old did not disappoint.

Barca dominated possession early on, but Lyon had the first two shots on target.

It took a couple of superb saves from Ter Stegen to deny the hosts, who never came that close again.

He stretched to his left to parry a vicious low shot by Hassem Aouar in the fifth minute.

The German later made a one-handed save to tip a 25-metre Terrier missile onto his crossbar.

Barca forward Ousmane Dembele came close in the 19th minute when he dribbled past Dubois on the left flank, only for goalkeeper Anthony Lopes to deny him in a one-on-one.

The visitors had the upper hand but were uncharacteristically wasteful as they spurned several counter-attacking opportunities.

A Dembele attempt shaved Lopes’s post, before Terrier skied his shot over the bar.

That was after a superb series of one-twos tore the Barca defence apart as both sides tried to break the deadlock.

Lyon were under siege early in the second period but their defence was perfectly marshalled by Jason Denayer, with Dubois also proving decisive against Luis Suarez.

Lopes beat Messi’s angled shot away to keep his side level before Dembele was replaced by Philippe Coutinho.

The Brazilian had a clear chance in the 76th minute, but he was denied by in-form Lopes.

Barca have now failed to win any of their last six away games in the UEFA Champions League knockout stage, with their last victory coming at Arsenal in February 2016.

Elsewhere, Bayern Munich showed all their UEFA Champions League experience and quality organisation as they held Liverpool to a 0-0 draw at Anfield on Tuesday.

The result from the first leg game of their last 16 pairing leaves it all to play for in the second leg in Munich on March 13.

However, the German side will be without defender Joshua Kimmich who will be suspended after picking up a yellow card.

Osaka beaten in first match after Australian Open

World number one, Naomi Osaka stumbled badly in her first match since winning the Australian Open, as she went down in a flurry of errors to exit the Dubai Championships on Tuesday.

Dubai-based Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic claimed a 6-3, 6-3 victory to reach the third round as Osaka made 25 unforced errors.

The rout, which featured seven breaks of the Osaka serve, took barely an hour, sending Mladenovic into a Wednesday contest with Carla Suarez Navarro.

“This is my home tournament, I live here,” world number 67 Mladenovic said. “It’s great to get a win like this in front of a big crowd.

“Beating the number one is always special.”

The second set was riddled with seven consecutive breaks of serve before Mladenovic finished off the job with a winner to the empty court on match point.

Osaka stunned the tennis world last week by announcing her split from coach Sascha Bajin despite winning back-to-back Grand Slam titles at the US and Australian Opens.

She said earlier this week that she would not prioritise “success over happiness” when asked about the sacking, and she never looked like winning in Dubai as she also served five double faults.

Earlier on Tuesday, Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova both won their opening matches, while Elina Svitolina made a strong start to her bid for a third straight title.

Kvitova, the 2013 winner, recovered from losing a first-set tiebreak to defeat Katerina Siniakova 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 6-4 and squeeze into the third round.

Halep said she is still feeling the effects of her weekend final defeat in Doha by Elise Mertens.

“It was a good match because I won it. I tried to finish the points faster because I’m a little bit tired,” Halep said.

“She played well, the level was pretty good. At some points I really ran very well. I’m confident. I feel good on court even if I’m tired.”

A third former world number one also advanced as Angelique Kerber beat Dalila Jakupovic 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.

Kvitova, Wimbledon champion in 2011 and 2014, said she was unfazed about the early midday start to her match.

“I don’t really care if I play the first match,” the Australian Open runner-up said. “Now I’m done, so I have a free afternoon.

“I’m not sure what I’m pleased with… maybe with my comeback at the end.”

Local favourite Ons Jabeur was forced to retire with the Tunisian trailing Svitolina 7-6 (7/4), 4-0.

Jabeur took a fall late in the opening set, rolling her ankle while also hitting her shoulder.

She took a medical timeout out but was only able to carry on in the second set for four games.

Third seed Svitolina is hoping to become the first women to win three Dubai titles.

“That is a big motivation for me here,” the Ukrainian said. “Today I didn’t really feel in a match mood, I don’t know why.

“I was struggling a bit, I had a very slow start. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

“I told myself that I’m here to make history of the tournament.”

Elsewhere, Hsieh Su-Wei defeated Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-1, 6-2 while Viktoria Kuzmova accounted for seventh seed Kiki Bertens, beating this month’s St Petersburg champion 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (8/6).

American Jennifer Brady downed French 14th seed Caroline Garcia 6-4, 7-5 as her compatriot Sofia Kenin defeated Russian 11th seed Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.

A third US player, Alison Riske, advanced 6-2, 6-3 over Alize Cornet

Bird flu hits Plateau, 3,900 birds die

An outbreak of Bird flu also known as Avian Influenza has hit Plateau state, killing at least 3,900 birds.

Dr Spak Shaset, the Chief Veterinary Officer of the State told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Jos, that the outbreak has affected two farms in Jos North and Jos South Local Government Areas of the state.

“Sometimes in January, when we heard of an outbreak of the dreaded disease in some part of Bauchi state, we knew Plateau is at risk.

“I immediately summoned our divisional health officers in the 17 councils, and in less than 72 hours after we met, report got to us of suspected cases in some farms in the state.

“We immediately swung into action and took sample from the farms to our labs and it was confirmed it is bird flu.

“Without hesitation, we went and depopulated the farms to avoid further spread of the disease to other farms.

“More than 3,900 birds were destroyed; 2,900 from the farm in Jos South and 1,000 in the farm in Jos North,” he said.

Shaset said the two farms were decontaminated, disinfected and quarantined to avoid further spread to nearby farms and have other poultry farmers incur loses.

The official said the government had taken positive and stringent steps to avert the further spread of the disease to other areas of the state, which if left unattended to, could also transmit into human beings, which according to him, could be very disastrous.

Shaset charged poultry farmers and live bird marketers to step up bio-security and hygiene measures within and around their farms and markets.

He advised Plateau residents to avoid the sale, slaughtering and consumption of sick and dead birds to avoid being infected.

Man City must win Champions League to be among elite — Gundogan

Manchester City must win the Champions League to be considered one of Europe’s elite clubs, midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has said.

City have won the Premier League three times since the Abu Dhabi United Group bought them in 2008, but have never gone past the semi-final stage of Europe’s premier club competition.

“If you want to be in the international elite … you need to clinch this trophy,” Gundogan told UEFA.com ahead of Wednesday’s last 16 tie at Schalke.

“I think that, if we were to win it someday, the club would enter a new era, the same level as Real (Madrid), Barca, Bayern or Juventus, clubs that are maybe a step above us.

“Maybe not in the way they play football, but as a club at least.”

City were knocked out in the last 16 three times in the last five seasons, while their only semi-final appearance came in 2016, when they were knocked out by Real Madrid 1-0 on aggregate.

“We’ve experienced a lot in the Champions League in recent years, not all of it positive, of course. We should’ve won it at least once,” Gundogan added.

“The biggest low was probably being knocked out by Liverpool last season. For that reason, the motivation to go far in this competition is huge and I think we have the quality required.” BENGBENRO SPORT.

Plane of Missing Soccer Player Emiliano Sala Is Found in the English Channel

A search boat hired privately by Sala’s Argentinian family – thanks partly to a crowdfunding appeal – located the wreckage on Sunday morning.

The crew passed the details of the location on to government investigators, who used a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) to examine the spot.

There was no immediate official confirmation of what was found but the shipwreck specialist leading the private investigation, David Mearns, said the plane had been discovered.

No information about whether any bodies were in the plane was given. Two seat covers from the aircraft washed up last week on the coast of France.

UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) will probably make a statement on Monday.

The Piper Malibu N264DB carrying 28-year-old Sala and the pilot, David Ibbotson, 59, disappeared over the Channel on 21 January after leaving Nantes in France at about 7.15pm for Cardiff.

Italian football club loses 20 – 0, kicked out of division

An Italian third division club which lost 20-0 on Sunday has been thrown out of the competition by Lega Pro, the governing body of Serie C.

The club, Pro Piacenza, which has financial problems and hadn’t paid its players or staff, patched together a seven-man team for the game to avoid being kicked out.

Pro Piacenza had a last chance to present a team for the match, having already forfeited three previous matches due to its financial and staff crisis.

Pro Piacenza’s first team squad and coaching staff refused to travel for the game at Cuneo due to unpaid wages, leaving the team to start with six teenagers and a 39-year-old physiotherapist – the only players they could find.

After ruling on Monday that some of the players were not registered for the match, Lega Serie C’s disciplinary committee disqualified the team from the competition and handed Cuneo a walkover 3-0 win.

The Italian football federation (FIGC) later said the club had been disaffiliated due to “the serious regulatory violations which occurred at the Cuneo-Pro Piacenza match added to the other numerous documented irregularities.”

Pro Piacenza were bottom of the North and Central West group of Serie C, which is split into three 20-team regional groups.