Monday, 27 February 2017 06:51

GOD IS SO PARTIAL TO ME - OBASANJO

in News

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says President Muhammadu Buhari has not disappointed him since he assumed office  in 2015.

Obasanjo, who stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria at his hilltop residence in Abeokuta, added that God had been partial to him as he did not deserve the favour He bestowed on him.

While reflecting on the Buhari administration since 2015, Obasanjo said the President had done his best to move the country forward.

“Whatever anybody says, President Buhari has not disappointed me from what I know of him", he said.

He said Buhari had delivered on his core areas of strength and ability, particularly in the  anti-corruption crusade and the war against insurgency.

Obasanjo stated, “In my book, I have said Buhari is not strong on the economy and I did not write this to run him down.

“I also used to think that he is not strong in the area of foreign affairs, but I have realised that he has improved very well.

“He has actually done his best in the areas where we know him to be strong.”

The elder statesman urged Nigerians not to relent in their support for Buhari and not to give up on Nigeria.

Obasanjo added, “Whatever you might see as bad in Nigeria, other societies have gone through the same at some period in their history.

“It is not for us to begin to condemn but to begin to join hands together and consider how we can make the best out of our present situation.

"Our present situation is a passing phase and we need to be resilient to ensure that we are not consumed by it.

“I will be the first to admit that we have not been where we should have been, but note that we have also been far from where we could have been because it could have been worse.

“It is the height of ingratitude for people to say Nigeria has not achieved anything or much as a nation.”

Obasanjo also decried the call for national conferences or assemblies to negotiate the continued unity of Nigeria.

The former President, who described such conferences as distractions, said he did not bother to read the report of the last one organised by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

“We Nigerians need ourselves and if anyone thinks he does not need another person, good luck to him. What I see in all those groups trying to break away is that they want more of the national cake.

“But I think that rather than engage in violence, they should think of how to build on the sacrifices of the generations before them", he said.

Also, on Sunday, Obasanjo said God had been partial to him, arguing that he did not deserve all the favour God had shown him.

He stated this in his remarks at the thanksgiving service organised in his honour by the Christian Association of Nigeria, Ogun State chapter, ahead of his 80th birthday scheduled to hold on Sunday, March 5.

The thanksgiving service was held at the Treasure House of God, Agbeloba, Abeokuta.

The former President said given the village where he hails from, Ibogun Olaogun, and the illiterate parents that gave birth to him, he never thought his name would even be known in the next village let alone the whole of Nigeria, Africa and the world in general.

The elder statesman, who turns 80 on March 5, said he had no regrets at such an age.

He said his hope that Nigeria would still be a great nation was still intact.

Obasanjo also recounted his ordeal after he was alleged to be involved in planning a coup against the regime of the late dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha.

He said it was due to divine intervention that he came out of prison alive.

He said, “God has been partial to me by showing me so much favour that I do not deserve.

“If you don’t know anything about me at all, go to the village where I was born. I was born by parents that were illiterates. There was no road to the village then. One could not boast of even being known in the next village.

“God has done so much more than I deserve. I thank God for this.”

Obasanjo said he was confused when he came out of the prison and people were mounting pressure on him to come out and contest the Presidency in the run-up to the 1999 general elections.

Bishop Wale Oke, in his sermon, urged the former President to forgive all who had wronged him, so as to have a right standing with God.

Dignitaries at the event included the Ogun State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga; Chairman, Ogun State Council of Obas, who is also the Olu of Ilaro and Paramount Ruler of Yewaland, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle; Alake and Paramount Ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo; Olubara of Ibara, Oba Jacob Omolade; Olowu of Owu, Oba Adegboyega Dosumu; Osile Oke Ona Egba, Oba Adedapo Tejuoso; and Dr. Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu among others.

Punch

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Monday, 27 February 2017 06:40

DSS STATES WHY IT SWOOPED ON EX-GOV SUSWAN, SEIZES ARMS, CARS, OTHER ITEMS

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DSS Press Release

Department of State Services (DSS) wishes to inform the public that on 24th February, 2017, between 2100 hours and 0242 hours, the Service executed a search warrant, at the property of Dunes Investment and Global Properties Ltd, located at No 44 Aguiyi Ironsi Way, Maitama-Abuja. 

The operation was informed by intelligence that some incriminating items were stashed in the boots of cars parked at the property, particularly a Mercedes Benz S550 (BWR 135AH), and Masarati 4.7 (BWR 207 AJ), which were subsequently confiscated.

Consequently, on 25th February, 2017, about 1000hours, in the presence of two (2) private security officers employed by Dunes Investment, the cars were searched and the following items were recovered:      

Weapons:

(i)Glock pistol with two (2) magazines and a total of Twenty-Nine (29) rounds of ammunition;

(ii)Mini-Uzi with two (2) magazines containing 10 rounds and 4 rounds respectively;

(iii)Forty-two (42) extra rounds of ammunition contained in a pack; and      

(iv)One (1) AK-47.

Other items recovered include:

i.Twenty-one (21) Certificates of Occupancy (C of O) and one (1) Offer of Statutory Right of 

Occupancy;

ii.Twenty-three (23) Luxury designer watches; and

iii. Forty-five (45) keys to various exotic cars.

Following this discovery, the Service launched further investigation which revealed that the cars and the recovered items belong to the former Governor of Benue State, Gabriel SUSWAN who has already been invited by the Service and presently helping in the investigations. 

It is in the light of this latest development that the Service wishes to sound a note of warning to persons and groups that it will no longer tolerate any acts of lawlessness by those who ought to be law abiding and responsible citizens. The Service has also observed with total dismay the inciting utterances of some political actors whose activities heat-up the polity. 

It also wishes to express its disappointment with these politicians who, in their desperation, are engaged in hate speeches and even sponsorship of radio campaign jingles when the electoral umpire has not authorized such campaigns in line with the Electoral Act. More worrisome is the unpatriotic involvement of some media outfits in these divisive tendencies which negate their constitutional role as the fourth estate of the realm.

In line with its statutory mandate of maintaining the peace and internal security of the country, the Service hereby restates its commitment to go after anyone no matter how highly placed who engages in acts capable of causing the breach of peace in the country.

Thank You.

 

Tony OPUIYO

Department of State Services,

Abuja.

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Sunday, 26 February 2017 18:39

INEC FINALLY CONCLUDES RIVERS RERUN ELECTIONS WITH PDP VICTORY

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Peoples Democratic Party’s candidates in Saturday’s rescheduled Etche elections have defeated their All Progressives Congress, APC, counterparts, ending the bloody and much-condemned Rivers legislative rerun.

Returning Officers appointed by Independent National Electoral Commission made the returns for Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency and Etche II State Constituency elections Sunday afternoon in Port Harcourt, after the collation exercise in Okehi, headquarters for the constituencies.

INEC moved the declaration of results to Port Harcourt amid threats of violence.

For the Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency, PDP’s Jerome Eke received 15,221 votes to defeat APC’s Ogbonna Nwuka with 6,220 votes.

PDP also defeated APC in the Etche II poll with its candidate, Tony Ejiogu, scoring 4,162 votes to defeat Golden Chioma who contested on behalf of APC.

The results were sums of the outcomes of the Saturday’s supplementary elections and the December 10 polls.

INEC had, on December 10, conducted rerun polls in three senatorial districts, eight federal constituencies and 10 state constituencies in Rivers State, after the court annulled the March 2015 legislative elections in the volatile oil-rich state.

When the elections were first organised earlier in 2016, the exercise was marred by bloody violence that forced INEC to end the exercise mid-way before it was rescheduled to hold December 10.

Despite deployment of 28,000 security operatives for the rescheduled on December 10, it was attended by widespread irregularities and violence that claimed lives.

Apart from Etche where INEC just concluded election on Saturday, it took the commission more than five days to announce results in some of the other 20 constituencies.

PT

 
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Sunday, 26 February 2017 18:34

I WILL NOT BRUSH ASIDE THE ASPIRATION TO RULE NIGERIA -TINUBU

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A National Leader of All Progressive Congress (APC) and former governor of Lagos state, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has said that he can not rule out the possibility ruling Nigeria as president.

Tinubu speaking on Friday during the inauguration of Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) as governor of Ondo state said vying for any office in Nigeria is an opportunity to serve his country, and that such ambition is dependent on other political factors.

“You see”, he said “there is nothing wrong with such ambition,” he said. “It depends on the timing and the environment and what political leadership dictates. I will not brush aside such an aspiration” Tinubu said.

”It has been historical even that Buhari tried first, second, third, and forth before he got it. Resilience, determination, and clarity of purpose. Maybe as a senator, maybe as a president, you cannot rule it out. How can I rule such a thing out, the opportunity to service my country but you only do that when there is a vacancy”, he said.

On Buhari’s health

Tinubu said; “an honest man disclosed to you that he is going to leave, he is going to have a medical check-up, he has disclosed that he needed more time.

“He has told you, he has told us honestly that he needed medical attention. What his doctors will discuss after that is subject to experts who should not be discussed until he is ready to disclose it. He told us that he cannot return now, what else do you want him to do.”

“Only God gives life, and only God can take it. The man that I have seen is well, alive. we should promote welfare, praying for the wellbeing of our leaders”, the former governor said.

He also spoke about All Progressive Congress (APC), stating that there is no rift whatsoever amongst party leaders. He accused the press of concocting stories to suggest the contrary.

He said: "Everything has always been alright in APC camp. I credit the Nigerian creativity in journalism, they create stories, and if you have to respond to every one of it, you will be in trouble”.

 

Vanguard

 

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Sunday, 26 February 2017 18:31

EX-GOV KALU, ANANABA WRITE ABIA GOV IKPEAZU OVER ENTITLEMENTS

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A former governor of Abia State Chief Orji Uzor Kalu and a former Deputy Governor, Sir Emeka Ananaba have written Governor Okezie Ikpeazu over their entitlements as former governor and deputy governor of the state.

Kalu and Ananaba who served at different periods wrote in their capacity as former democratically elected governor and deputy governor, respectively, of the state in lieu of their entitlements as contained in the Abia State Governor/Deputy Governor's Pension Law 2001.

According to a press release by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ikpeazu, Enyinnaya Appolos, the Governor has directed relevant officials of the state to commence the process of verification of their entitlements as former elected officials of the state in accordance with relevant state and federal laws.

It will be recalled that Kalu, while serving as governor of the state between 1999 and 2007, signed into law the Abia State Governor/Deputy Governor's Pension Law of 2001.

Kalu's demand letter, dated January 23, 2017, titled "Re: My outstanding unpaid entitlements: Reminder" reads in part: "This is to remind Your Excellency of my outstanding unpaid entitlements under S.5 (a) of the Abia State Governor/Deputy Governor's Pension Law 2001.

"The outstanding balance covers the period from 2009 to date, including my severance fee and personal vehicles.

"I would appreciate it immensely if Your Excellency would direct the immediate payment of all my outstanding entitlements to date as provided by the aforesaid law into my account."

Kalu was governor of Abia state from 1999 to 2007 when his eight years tenure ended. He was paid all his entitlements by the immediate past governor of the state, Senator T.A Orji, until 2009.

Section 3 of the law provides that; "A person who had held office as a democratically elected Governor or Deputy Governor of Abia State of Nigeria and was not removed from office as a result of impeachment shall be entitled to such pension, allowances and privileges in accordance with this law."

Section 4 reads: "There shall be charged on and paid out of the consolidated revenue of the state such sums of money as may from time to time be granted by the state government by way of pension, allowance and privileges in accordance with this law.

Section 5 reads: "A person who has held office as Governor in accordance with Section 3 of this law shall be entitled to: (i) pension for life at a rate equivalent to the salary of the incumbent Governor. (ii) An official car with a police driver, two state security services agents, two armed policemen for the security of his house and provision of adequate security comprising, at least, two armed policemen for his person during his lifetime at the expense of the state government. (iii) allowances for a cook, steward, driver and gardener to be determined from time to time by government. (iv) provision of medical attention for his person subject to approval of the incumbent governor."

The same law is applicable to a democratically elected deputy governor of the state who has successfully completed his/her tenure. 

The immediate past Governor of the state, Chief T A Orji, and former Deputy Governor, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe who are currently representing Abia Central and Abia South Senatorial Districts respectively at the Senate are not yet entitled to pension from the state and have not made demands for payment.

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Sunday, 26 February 2017 18:22

FOREX: CBN DISBURSES $221.37M FOR BTA, SCHOOL FEES. OTHERS

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has sold 221.37 million dollars to 16 banks through the interbank foreign exchange (forex) market.

The apex bank disclosed this in its Forex Forward Sales Report on the second wholesale intervention.

It said that the move was to enable the banks meet demand for Basic Transport Allowance (BTA), school fees and medicals by customers and to ease the stress of genuine customers in obtaining foreign currencies.

The bank said 10 banks accessed 162.8 million dollars at a qualified bid for the United States dollars, ranging from N330 to N360 per dollar on a 30 days tenour, adding that it would mature on March 27.

‘’For the 60 days tenour, six banks qualified to access 58.52 million dollars with bids for the United States dollars ranging from N315 to N320.5 per dollar meant to mature on March 25, 2017.

‘’CBN recently unveiled a new policy action to make forex readily available for personal and business travels, medicals and school fees", it said.

CBN further said that it injected 370.9 million dollars into the interbank market, through forward sales to 23 banks at a qualified bid ranging from N315 to N360 per dollar.

The apex bank also disclosed that it made spot sales of 6 million dollars to four banks and sold 35 million for the payment of school fees, medicals and BTA.

24 hours after the announcement of the new policy, the naira firmed up at the black market from about N520 to a dollar down to the current exchange rate of N440 to a dollar as at Sunday.

Market analysts believe that the dollar will continue to fall until it stabilises at an average exchange rate of about N400 to a dollar.

Mr Emmanuel Ukeje, Special Adviser to CBN Governor on Financial Markets, said the new foreign exchange policy would help strengthen the value of naira in the market.

Ukeje further said that to make foreign exchange readily accessible to customers, CBN had also eliminated stiff conditions in applying for BTA in banks.

“The central bank has waved tax clearance provision in accessing these funds,however, your journey must originate from Nigeria.

“You cannot live overseas and buy BTA to travel. You must have a valid ticket to travel with and a bank account as well as BVN to be recognised as a bank account holder.

“A person is entitled to basic traveling allowance every quarter and not more than 4,000 dollars and it is only those who are 18 years and above that can access it", he said.

NAN

 
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Sunday, 26 February 2017 18:18

MMM CLONE: ANOTHER PONZI SCHEME, YUAN DONG, SHUT DOWN, MASTERMINDS ARRESTED

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Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says it has sealed up the premises of Yuan Dong (YDEC) for unacceptable investment operations in the country.

Head, Corporate Communication of SEC, Mr Naif Abdussalam, in a statement on Sunday in Abuja, said the closure was to end unlawful activities of the company against unsuspecting investors.

“Investments in the scheme range from a minimum deposit of N10,000 to a maximum deposit of N240,000.

“The investment period of the scheme is pegged at a minimum of 30 working days to a maximum period of 10 months with offer of interest rates on short and medium term basis.

“The company promises a daily profit of N80 and N2,400 depending on the category of investment,” he said.

Abdussalam said the commission’s investigations showed that the company also enticed its customers with payment of bonuses should they convince more investors to invest in the scheme.

He said that the commission had established that the company’s activities also constituted a breach of the Investment and Securities Act (ISA), 2007.

“Furthermore it was discovered that contrary to their supposed existence in over 20 locations across the country, the company only has functional offices in Asaba, Kano and Abuja.

“Promoters of these illegal operations have been arrested by the Nigeria Police Force and are undergoing interrogation.

“The Commission wishes to notify the investing public that the company is not licensed to carry out investments business of any type and as such its operations are illegal", he said.

Abdussalam advised the public to exercise due diligence and caution in the course of making investment decisions.

He said valid licence of lawful operators could be obtained on the commission’s website by members of the public to confirm the licences of firms they intend to carry investment activities with.

Yuan Dong claims to be be part of the Yuan Dong A Mart, a Far Eastern group, that claims to be involved in  textiles, petrochemicals and energy, polyester and synthetic fibre, cement and building materials, retail and department stores, financial services, sea/land transportation, communications and Internet, construction, hotels and philanthropies. It claims 60 years of business experience.

It also claims to have  nine public listed companies in the Group which has total assets exceeding US$80 billion, with annual revenues surpassing US$18.7 billion and over 600,000 VIP and shareholders.

For a company that claims a Far Eastern pedigree, the telephone contacts that it listed were all Nigerian lines: +2349094841399 and +2349093074954. It’s office address is also the 2nd Floor, Othni Plaza, Zone 1 Abuja, clearly contradicting its Far Eastern origin and indicating that the website was created to fool unsuspecting Nigerians.

NAN

 
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Sunday, 26 February 2017 18:15

TWO KIDNAPPED GERMANS FREED

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Nigerian security agents have freed two German archaeologists kidnapped by gunmen from a remote dig, the governor of northern Kaduna state said Sunday.

Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai "commended the security agencies for their efforts in securing the release of the Germans," said a statement. It gave no details of the rescue or where the Germans are now. Nor did it say whether anyone has been arrested.

Gunmen had been demanding a ransom of 60 million naira (about $200,000) for the release of Professor Peter Breunig and his assistant, Johannes Behringer. The two were abducted at gunpoint Wednesday and walked into the bush from an archaeological dig near Jenjela village in Kaduna state. Two villagers who tried to help the Germans were shot and killed by the kidnappers, the police said.

Breunig, 65, and Behringer, in his 20s, are part of a four-person team from Frankfurt's Goethe University. The other two members, women, were not touched by the kidnappers. The Germans were collaborating with Nigeria's National Commission for Museum and Monuments to recover relics of the Nok culture. The early Iron Age people, considered the earliest ancient civilization of the West African region that is now Nigeria, are famous for their terracotta sculptures.

Kidnappings for ransom are common in Nigeria, with ordinary residents and even schoolchildren targeted as well as foreigners. Victims usually are freed unharmed after a ransom is paid, though security forces have rescued a few high-profile abductees.

Nigeria's acting President Yemi Osinbajo had summoned the federal police chief on Thursday for a briefing on efforts to find the Germans.

AP

 
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Sunday, 26 February 2017 18:10

TO BECOME VICE PRESIDENT, SOME PERSONS WISH BUHARI DEAD, SENATOR SANI ALLEGES

in News

The Senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, has alleged that some officials wish ailing President Muhammadu Buhari dead so they can become the vice to Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

Osinbajo has been Nigeria’s Acting President since Buhari travelled to the UK last month on vacation. The president has since remained in the UK for health reasons with no official date of return announced. Osinbajo would emerge President should Buhari leave office before the end of their tenure. 

The president is however expected to return to office soon after his bed rest, according to his spokesperson.

Senator Sani made his allegation against the unnamed persons on Sunday.

“Those peddling rumours of Buhari’s death are not distance enemies who by hook or crook want to be Vice President to Osinbajo but unfortunately they woefully failed because Buhari is coming back safely and healthy,” he said.

The senator who was speaking to reporters shortly after inspecting artefacts of Mallam Aminu Kano at Mumbayya House Centre of Democracy, Kano, said such aspiring persons would fail.

“Unfortunately for them, neither the Vice President, Professor Yomi Osinbajo, nor Buhari trusts them.

“Osinbajo is a trusted ally to his boss and he dislikes anything that would make him compromise the trust he enjoys."

Sani said he was worried that some of those who are the president’s men are not sincere in their tasks.

“Buhari has a daunting task of fumigating his government, cleanse it and flush out these hyenas who eat from the nation’s treasury without pains", he said.

The lawmaker said “it is open fact that today, politicians are only interested in getting power to use as launching pad of their personal businesses”.

He said despite the economic diversification agenda of the government, the economy was still being dictated by foreign interests “making the nation still an imperialist dominated economy”.

PT

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Sunday, 26 February 2017 07:38

CHELSEA SURGE 11 POINTS CLEAR, LEICESTER INTO BOTTOM THREE

in Sports

Chelsea's processional march towards the Premier League title continued at Swansea City's expense on Saturday as reigning champions Leicester City dropped into the bottom three.

Antonio Conte's side were not firing on all cylinders against a resolute Swansea side managed by their former assistant coach Paul Clement but second-half goals by Pedro and Diego Costa made sure of a 3-1 victory.

They are 11 points ahead of Manchester City who have 13 games left and while Italian Conte is too cagey to start preparing the Prosecco yet, only a monumental loss of form looks like denying him the title in his first season in charge.

Tottenham Hotspur, the only other top-four side in league action this weekend, could trim Chelsea's lead to 10 points if they win at home to Stoke City on Sunday.

"It's important to continue this way. We need 29 points to be sure of winning the league," Conte told reporters.

Chelsea's victory made it mathematically impossible for Leicester to catch them as they are 42 points behind the leaders going into their home clash with Liverpool on Monday - their first fixture since the sacking of manager Claudio Ranieri.

Leicester will start that game third-bottom after Crystal Palace's 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough at Selhurst Park on Saturday took them out of the relegation zone.

Patrick van Aanholt's 34th-minute goal was enough to lift Palace to 17th place with 22 points, one ahead of Leicester and Hull City, who drew 1-1 at home with Burnley.

"The three points are important as it puts us in amongst the pack, out of the bottom three and a bit closer to Bournemouth," Palace manager Sam Allardyce said.

Boro also have 22 points but are sliding towards the drop zone after nine league games without a win.

Bournemouth, too, are being sucked into the relegation battle after a 2-1 defeat at West Bromwich Albion despite taking a fourth-minute lead through Josh King's penalty. Craig Dawson and Gareth McAuley replied for West Brom, who are eighth.

In-form Everton continue to harbour hopes of catching the top four and beat bottom club Sunderland 2-0 to move within six points of fourth-placed Arsenal.

Romelu Lukaku made the points safe for Everton with 10 minutes remaining, taking his tally for the season to 17, level at the top of the scoring charts with Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez.

Sunderland's fourth defeat in six left them on 19 points.

"There is a gap between us and the teams above us but there are still 12 games to go," Everton manager Ronald Koeman said.

"You need to continue and get the momentum."

Watford host West Ham United in the day's late kickoff.

Chelsea were made to work hard to dispatch a much-improved Swansea side despite taking a 19th-minute lead when Cesc Fabregas scored on his 300th Premier League appearance.

Fernando Llorente scored from Swansea's first real chance on the cusp of halftime, heading in after Gylfi Sigurdsson found him with a quickly-taken free kick.

Swansea were denied a penalty midway through the second half when Cesar Azpilicueta got away with a clear handball.

"That was a big moment. Who knows what would have happened?" Swansea boss Paul Clement, returning to the club where he was assistant coach, said as he reflected on the defeat.

Shortly afterwards Pedro's shot squirmed past keeper Lukasz Fabianski before Diego Costa, the fourth Spaniard of the day to hit the target, made the points safe with a volley for his 16th league goal of the season.

Reuters

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