Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities, SSANU, will today, commence three-day nationwide protest over the Federal Government’s disobedience to court judgment on staff schools and also the inability of government to keep to agreements especially on Earned Allowance.
The resolution to embark on the protest was reached at the 35th regular National Executive Council, NEC, meeting held at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology.
SSANU in the resolution signed by its National President, Comrade Samson Chijioke Ugwoke and the National Public Relations Officer, Comrade Abdussobur Salaam, accused the Federal Government of disobeying judgment of the National Industrial Court, Abuja, that had two years ago asked that teachers in University Staff Schools that were sacked by government should be reinstated.
The union accused the federal government of being adamant in honouring the judgment to recall the sacked teachers of staff schools.
SSANU President, Comrade Ugwoke, further said that the government has not released the N8 billion Earned Allowance it promised to them.
Recall that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige had as part of the resolution reached at a conciliation meeting on March 13, 2018, announced that the Federal Government will pay the three non teaching staff N8 billion as their Earned Allowance.
But several months after the agreement was reached, the money was yet to be released and SSANU said that the delay in the payment had become a source of discomfort and agitation by members of the three unions, and has also become a source of embarrassment for the leadership.
The resolution read, “The Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Education had informed the Chairman of the Joint Action Committee of NAAT, NASU and SSANU via a letter dated 9th August 2018, that approval had been given for the release of Eight Billion Naira being payment of Earned Allowances for Non- Teaching Staff in the Universities and requested for templates for the payments to the unions.”
Continuing, it said, “it appears that the letters being sent to the unions are a delay ploy by the Federal Ministry of Education as the letters in themselves are needless, because the unions had always made their positions known since the irregular disbursement of N23 billion to ASUU in 2017.”
On the technical dismissal of members in the University Staff schools, it said “the status of the workers in the University Staff Schools remained the same despite the National Industrial Court ruling of December 5, 2016 which had ruled that the workers in the University Staff Schools are employees of the Federal Government as the Staff Schools remain an integral part of the University system.”
SSANU, said it was unfortunate that the federal government has continued to show apathy and disinterest in all other aspects of the Memoranda of Understanding reached between it and the union.
“Members have been fully mobilised to participate in the protests, while branches are advised to carry along the media and the security agencies accordingly,” it stated.
The union in the resolution stated that it had comprehensively reviewed the status of the various MoU’s signed between it and the Federal Government in respect of the actualization of the 2009 agreement reached by the duo.
Noting that another letter was received dated 24th October 2018 from the ministry requesting for a schedule of payment from the unions, it said, “SSANU in particular and JAC (Joint Action Committee) in general, had always maintained that disbursement of funds for allowances are not within the purview of unions and that the Government rather than request for templates or schedules from the unions, should rather rely on the submissions of the Universities on Earned Allowances as earlier sent to the Ministry and the NUC.
According to the union, “This is because only the University authorities (Councils and Managements) can determine which staff is entitled to what allowance, as that is what makes it earned.”
SSANU said that the delay in the payment had become a source of discomfort and agitation by members of the three unions, while it had also become a source of embarrassment for the leaderships.
It also said that the Federal Government has continued to show disdain and contempt for Court Rulings, the case of the Staff School workers being an example and that the members of staff domiciled in the University Staff Schools, numbering over two thousand, have been subjected to trauma, insecurity and denials of salaries, some going to upward of a year, a situation that the union cannot continue to accept.
Meanwhile, Workers of the National Assembly under the auspices of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria have said there is no going back on their planned strike scheduled to begin today.
President Muhammadu Buhari wrote to the National Assembly last week to notify the legislature of his intention to lay the 2019 Appropriation Bill on Wednesday.
As the budget would be laid on Wednesday, the National Assembly has planned to go on Christmas and New Year break on Thursday.
PASAN has, however, vowed to embark on the industrial action, warning that workers would not be on duty when the President would lay the budget.
The workers on December 4, 2018 shut down the National Assembly by picketing the chambers and paralysing legislative activities.
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, in their intervention, had issued a three-day ultimatum to the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mr Mohammed Sani-Omolori, to address the issues.
The House of Representatives on December 6, 2018, summoned the Minister of Finance, Aisha Mohammed, over the non-release of funds appropriated to the National Assembly, part of which would be used to finance the new Consolidated Salary Structure approved for its workers.
Mohammed was expected to explain the delay on the non-implementation of the 2018 Appropriation Act which captures the 28 per cent increment of salaries under the new structure.
But on December 7 when the ultimatum issued to the clerk expired, PASAN threatened to paralyse activities of federal legislature again, if the management failed to meet their demands.
The Chairman of PASAN, Mr Musa Bature, had said, “We hereby reiterate that the proposed indefinite industrial action that will ground all legislative activities of the National Assembly (will hold),” adding that the workers would down tool from December 17.
The minister on Friday appeared before the Committee on Finance where she said no specific date could be stated for the release of the legislature’s allocation.
Speaking with our correspondent on Friday after the meeting between the minister and the lawmakers, Bature said issues raised by the workers had been partially addressed.
Asked to confirm when the strike would begin, Bature said, “It is Monday; we are starting on Monday. Four days warning strike.”
When asked if he was aware that the President would be at the National Assembly on Wednesday to lay the budget, the PASAN boss replied, “We are not stopping him from coming. But the staff of the National Assembly will not be available. We are not going to work. The legislators can go to work but there will be no staff to work for them.”
When asked if the issues had been addressed, he said, “Not really. Half of them have been attended to while others have not addressed. Some have been attended to but the main ones have not been attended to.”
Bature said, “The condition of service (bill) has been attended to (passed) but the Senate and House have different versions but at least they have passed it and they will meet at the conference to harmonise it. The nomination of the NASC board, they have done their part and transmitted (it) to the President for assent. Those are the two issues that have been attended to.”
Also Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP, has called on members of the National Assembly, to boycott presentation of the 2019 Appropriation Bill on Wednesday by President Muhammadu Buhari.
In a statement by its first national spokesman, Imo Ugochinyere, yesterday, the coalition said the step was necessary to show resentment to the Buhari administration, which it accused of impunity, non-implementation of past budgets, abuse of state institutions and refusal to sign the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, among others.
Ugochinyere said the call for a boycott of the session was hinged on the President’s refusal to substantially implement previous budgets from 2015 to 2018, “which led to rise in poverty;” and “his refusal to sign the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill that will guarantee free and fair elections.”
The statement read, “The opposition coalition holds the view that sitting down and listening to a man who has led several assaults on the institutions of our nation’s constitutional governance is tacit support to his many sins against our nation.
“This is a man who has refused to implement previous budgets passed since 2015 till date; a man who has committed gross misconduct and obstruction of justice by refusing to obey judgments of courts, including ECOWAS Court; a man who disrespects and treats like tissue paper resolutions of parliament.
“This is a man who promised to fix the economy but turned Nigeria into the poverty capital of the world; a man who commands security forces that have no respect for the lives of the citizens; a man who has failed to fight corruption squarely and fairly but rather protects the biggest looters of our nation’s treasury under his watch.
“He does not deserve the company of pure democrats found in the midst of the opposition because such attendance will be abiding and supporting the reign of impunity of Mr. President, who deserves an impeachment notice for his many acts of gross misconduct, incompetence and obstruction of justice and not attendance at his budget speech.”
Serial Killings In Rivers: Police Confirm Eight Young Women Killed In Hotels …Nab Two Suspects, Seal Two Hotels, Arrest Staff …Rivers Security Council Intensifies Crackdown On Culprits
Miffed by the over-reaching reports in both social and conventional media on the serial killing of women in hotels in recent times, the Rivers State Police Command has confirmed that only eight cases of such murders occurred that were verifiable in Port Harcourt City, the state capital.
The police also denied the media reports making the rounds that two women were killed, last Monday, in an undisclosed hotel along Peter Odili Road axis in Port Harcourt, adding that such reports were orchestrated by their sponsors to over-reach the command.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Dandaura stated this while briefing newsmen at the command’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, yesterday, on the rising cases of murder in hotels, adding that the two suspects that have already been arrested in connection with the killings would be charged to court when investigations are concluded.
He explained that the victims were always rapped with white cloth material around the neck or waist region, which he alleged signified cult action, adding that the suspects usually drugged their victims before strangulating them to death.
According to him, without such action, it would be difficult to kill the victims as the act may attract attention of people nearby.
He further hinted that the Department of State Security Service (DSS) and other security operatives in the state have been placed on red alert to apprehend the suspected cultists and ritualists.
Mustapha insisted that forthwith, all hotel customers would be profiled, with their valid identification cards placed at the reception unit.
“All hotel customers will be profiled. Those with swimming pools will also have expert divers in case of any emergency”, he said.
“We now have a task force, no more short-time service in hotels. Every customer must book full time”, he added.
Dandaura said the essence the briefing was to express the command’s concerns over the mindless killings in hotels in the state, which he said, were giving the command bad image, adding that measures have been put in place to arrest the disturbing situation.
According to him, in the wake of the development, a meeting under the aegis of Nigerian Hotels Association (NHA), being the umbrella body of hotel owners in the state, was called, and a one-month ultimatum was given to all hotel and motel owners to install closed circuit television (CCTV) within the specified period, warning that failure to adhere to the mandatory resolution would attract severe punishment.
The state CP averred that the meeting also took an action to constitute a nine-member task force drawn from the police, DSS, hotel association and the state Ministry of Culture and Tourism, which would be headed by the ACP Operations at the command.
“The task force will, among other things, enforce compliance on the installation of functional CCTV in all hotels, guest houses and motels to cover the reception, corridors and entrances, strict compliance to check-in and check-out procedures, guest identity cards, phone details, registration of visitors, training of hotel staff on security and safety tips in partnership with the police and other security agencies”, he stated.
The CP, however, regretted that despite the huge efforts being made by the command to nip in bud this criminal tendency, some hotel owners were yet to comply with the directives on the installation of CCTVs in their various hotels.
“Regrettably, it has come to my notice and utter shock that some hotels are yet to comply with my directive, hence, my order to arrest the manager, receptionist and desk officers in the two hotels where two separate murders were recorded, and they will be investigated, and if found culpable, will be charged for culpable homicide”, Dandaura said.
“Today, I want to reinforce our commitment towards tackling this menace, and assure you that we have come to the end of these monstrous acts by desperate cultists and ritualists”, he added.
Dandaura appealed to the good people of the state to remain calm as the command was on top of the situation, and would spear no efforts in dealing with perpetrators of the inhuman act, even as he linked the killings to cultism.
“This serial killer will strangle his victim to death and a white handkerchief will be tied to her waist or neck without any part of the body removed. This proves to be cultism”, he added.
He disclosed that two hotels have been closed in defiance to the directives, and urged parents to advise their female daughters to shun prostitution.
The Tide learnt that some women groups in the state, including the National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) and others have concluded plans to stage protests against the ugly development in the state, today.
Similarly, the Rivers State Police Command has confirmed that the lifeless body of another middle-aged woman allegedly killed by serial murderers has been found in a hotel near Rumuola in Obio/Akpo Local Government Area of the state.
The police explained that the corpse of the victim was discovered in one of the rooms at the facility located near the Rumuola flyover, when the cleaners went for house-keeping.
However, the police have sealed the hotel following the incident, which they claim, was being investigated.
The identity of the victim, whose body has been deposited in the morgue of an undisclosed hospital, is yet to be ascertained as no form of identification was found on her.
An official of the hotel, who did not want his name in print, told newsmen that the man who took the lady to the room may not have given his real identity at the reception, as it was later discovered that he wrote down an invalid phone number before checking in.
The source further said that all details, including customer register, have been handed over to the police.
Spokesperson of the Rivers State Police Command, DSP Nnamdi Omoni had told The Tide, last Monday, that measures were being put in place to stop the disturbing trend.
“The command is seriously worried about this development, that is the killings in hotels and we are putting measures in place that will curtail these criminal activities.
“It is a disturbing trend. The last incident was the one that happened in certain hotel in Rumuola. It is still being investigated. We have invited the manager and the desk officer and receptionist and they are helping us in our investigations.
“This killing of middle-aged women with the story we are working on now, I think it is likely to be a syndicate, and I can assure you that we are going to bring them down because it has been always the same style of killing,” Omoni said.
He further said that the police is open to speaking with stakeholders with a view to putting an end to serial killing of young girls in hotels in the State.
Speaking on the development, Secretary of the NHA, Theophillus Koko, who disclosed this when he appeared on a life radio programme in Port Harcourt, last Monday, said already a task force has been constituted to visit hotels and enforce compliance.
Koko also disclosed that the association is talking with security agencies to arrest those behind the killings in hotels.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Security Council says it was working round the clock to ensure that the recent disturbing killing of young women was stopped, and the perpetrators made to face the full weight of the law.
The Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo, stated that over the last few weeks, the State Security Council under the leadership of Governor Nyesom Wike, has put in place measures to secure the lives of young women who have been targeted by serial killers.
He stated that the security agencies have been mandated to work with hotels and their managements to implement security measures that would end the ugly trend.
Danagogo said that the Rivers State Government remains committed to the security of lives and property, assuring that in no distant time, the Rivers State Security Council would end the ugly trend.
He added that the government through relevant agencies was embarking on mass sensitization of the people on security measures, and assured Rivers people that the Wike administration would continue to work for the promotion of security.
Reacting to the incident, the Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo has advised young people, especially women to exercise extreme caution in their social lives,
In a statement in Government House, Port Harcourt, last Monday, Banigo said ”as a mother who has gone through the three trimesters of pregnancy and labour, she understands how it feels to lose a grown up child in such a gruesome manner”.
She also warned them not to follow friends or strangers to any destination or business meeting without notifying family members of their movement, stressing that they must resist the temptation of accepting lifts, food or drinks from strangers to avoid being drugged, abducted, raped or killed.
The statement further advised people to ensure that there is a little air time in their phones to call or send SMS for help in the event of an emergency.
Akujobi Amadi & Dennis Naku
Tribunal Reserves Judgement On Rivers Guber Petition …INEC, Wike, PDP Seek Dismissal Of Case …AAC Collation Agent Confirms Wike’s Victory
The Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has reserved judgment in the petition filed by the defeated Governorship Candidate of Action Democratic Party (ADP), Mr Victor Fingesi against the re-election of Governor Nyesom Wike.
The Chairman of the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal, Justice Kingsley Orjiako said that the tribunal would inform the parties when judgment would be delivered.
The tribunal reserved judgment after all the parties adopted their final written addresses following the hearing of the petition.
However, lawyers to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have asked the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal to dismiss the petition filed by the Governorship Candidate of Action Democratic Party (ADP), Mr Victor Fingesi because the petitioner failed to lead evidence to prove his petition.
In his final written address, INEC’s lawyer, Garba Tetengi, stressed that the electoral commission presented the accurate and authentic results.
He said that the 2019 Governorship Election was conducted in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act and INEC guidelines, and noted that after the collation of results, Wike emerged victorious.
In his final written address, Counsel to Wike, Emmanuel Ukala (SAN) urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition because the ADP Governorship Candidate failed to prove the three grounds on which his petition is premised upon.
Ukala told the tribunal that the petitioner failed to prove his case beyond reasonable doubt as required by law.
Ukala said: ”One of the grounds requires he proves that illegal votes were credited to the winner of the election, which the petitioner is asking the court. There is nowhere that the petitioner showed that Wike obtained illegal votes. He couldn’t show that the results were not in line with the Electoral Act and INEC guidelines”.
Ukala said that the petitioner, in line with the Supreme Court judgment, ought to have called witnesses from the 4,442 polling units to prove that voting did not hold.
He said: “The allegation of non compliance in voting process needed to be proven beyond reasonable doubt. The Supreme Court had already provided a standard of proving no voting and the petitioner would have called voters in each of the pulling units in the entire state.
“There are 4,442 polling units in the governorship election, how many witnesses did they bring before the tribunal to prove their petition as required by law? They brought only two witnesses, one from Okrika LGA and the other from Etche LGA. This means they did not comply. It falls below the standard of the law”.
The counsel said that the petitioner led no evidence to prove that there were corrupt practices during the governorship election, adding that the petitioner’s evidence was lacking in quality and quantity, and so, should be dismissed by the tribunal.
Counsel to the PDP, Chief Godwin Obla said that the ADP failed to prove during the hearing of the petition that the election was marred by irregularities.
He said as long as collation of results was carried out, the petitioner has no locus standi to challenge the victory of the governor, and urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition.
Obla stated that the petitioner tendered certified true copies of the collated results for the 2019 governorship election and made no attempt to prove that the results were not the true reflection of the election, adding that the petitioner failed woefully to prove his case.
Similarly, the African Action Congress (AAC) State Collation Agent for the 2019 Rivers State Governorship Election, Mr Nenye Kocha has confirmed that Governor Nyesom Wike emerged victorious on the strength of the governorship collation between April 2 and 3, 2019.
Kocha, who appeared as star witness of AAC at the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal, last Monday, said all through the collation of results, there was no time that the defeated AAC governorship candidate led in the race.
Kocha, who is also the secretary of AAC, said that he was a registered member with party card registration number: AAC8016ONL, adding that he joined the AAC in August, 2018.
The AAC state collation agent told the tribunal that the party had only 418 agents across the 4,442 units in the state, emphasising that as a new party, they were able to clear only four House of Assembly candidates and one governorship candidate for the March 9, 2019 elections.
He revealed during cross examination by counsel for 2nd respondent (Wike), Emmanuel Ukala (SAN) that one Donatus Barikor from Gokana LGA and Henry Iyala from Degema LGA, who testified for Awara as the party collation agents, were imposters and not AAC members.
He further noted that there were no results collated for Gokana and Abua/Odual local government areas during the State Collation of the Rivers State Governorship Election.
The AAC witness said: “We had just four House of Assembly candidates and one governorship candidate. Out of the 32 seats in the Assembly, we only had four candidates. No candidate for National Assembly. We had collation agents in only 418 polling units across the 4,442 polling units in the state.
“No result was declared for Abua/Odual and Gokana LGAs as at the time of collation. INEC conducted the election in strict compliance of the Electoral Act and INEC guidelines”.
The AAC collation agent declared that he would not dent his integrity because of mere politics, emphasising that he was at the tribunal to declare the truth.
He said: ”Donatus Barikor for Gokana and Henry Iyala for Degema were not AAC party agents.
“This is the first time I am in politics, coming from industry I am in politics for integrity. APC adopted our governorship candidate two days to the election”.
Kocha admitted that at the party no longer has a deputy governorship candidate following the withdrawal of Chief Akpo Bomba Yeeh from the ticket.
He said that the AAC won in only two local government areas – Akuku-Toru and Oyigbo LGAs as clearly declared by INEC during the collation of results.
Nenye added that most of the witnesses presented in court by Biokpomabo Awara initially were not members of AAC, stressing that the AAC started in August, 2018 and only prepared for the election two days to the polls after it was adopted by the leadership of the APC.
Also, last Monday, a certified video clip presented by the African Action Congress through its subpoenaed witness, an African Independent Television (AIT) staff, Osademe Joseph, proved Governor Nyesom Wike as the winner of the 2019 Governorship election in Rivers State after the collation of results between April 2 and 3 of 2019.
Osademe told the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal that he was one of the producers of the live broadcast of the Rivers State Governorship election results collation held between April 2 and 3, 2019, at the state headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in Port Harcourt.
In the video clip played in court, INEC declared Wike winner of the poll with 888, 264 votes ahead of the AAC Gubernatorial candidate, Biokpomabo Festus Awara, who came second in the list with total of 173, 859 votes.
The video also confirmed the collation and declaration of Obio/Akpor LGA election results and non-declaration of Gokana and Abua/Odual LGAs by INEC.
Meanwhile, a serving Assistant Commissioner of Police in Rivers State, ACP Victor Onugbo, yesterday, tendered a document before the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, authenticating the electoral victory of Governor Nyesom Wike during the March 9, 2019 election.
Onugbo, who serves at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Port Harcourt, appeared before the tribunal based on the court subpoena on the state commissioner of police.
Responding to questions from counsel to African Action Congress (AAC), Henry Bello, Onugbo told the tribunal that the document he presented was the incident reports of all that occurred during election, and added that the report was sealed by the Rivers State police command.
Onugbo also told the court that the then commissioner of police, CP Usman Belel, signed the documents of the results sheets after declaration of the winner of the March 9 election.
Also responding to questions from counsel for Governor Wike, Emmanuel Ukala (SAN), on whether it was a practice in the police that certified copies of the documents are kept in the custody of the command, Onugbo said all the documents were certified and kept in the custody of the Officer in Charge of Legal Matters at the command.
Onugbo also told the court that he was an observer during the election, and dismissed evidence that the police wwere indicted in the alleged electoral violence in the state.
Also, the AAC has closed cross examination of its witnesses with appearance of the ACP in court.
The tribunal adjourned till, today, for the Independent National Electoral Commission to present its witnesses.
However, speaking with newsmen outside the courtroom, the AAC counsel, Henry Bello, noted that his client has closed its case with the cross examination of the police officer who tendered evidence documents before the Tribunal.
He said: “It is not the number of witnesses you call that is important but the materiality of the evidence given by the witnesses. I am an advocate for change of a lot of things concerning the conduct of election litigation in Nigeria. Most of the things we do in election are basically documentary.
“It is my considered opinion that AAC as with these vital witnesses demonstrated a lot of things before the tribunal. We will await the decision of the tribunal on the points we have made before the tribunal.
“I had 1650 witnesses, I donated some of them to the 1st petitioner and they were able to call 20 out of the 500 we gave them”.
On his part, counsel to INEC, Woyike Livingstone, said “Today, the court has heard evidence from the PW23 in the capacity of the Assistant Inspector General of Police who was subpoenaed to come and give evidence in this regard and he has given evidence to the effect that the report which he tendered as an exhibit which was marked as Exhibit X1 were reports authenticating the victory of the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike
“He has also given evidence to the effect that the report never in anyway indicted the security agencies or even INEC as an agency.
“And so today the 2nd Petitioner has closed their case and we optimistic by tomorrow when the tribunal reconvenes, INEC which is the commission which I represent will open their case for witnesses”.
Also speaking, one of the counsels representing the second respondent, Governor Nyesom Wike, Dike Udenna, noted that: “The 2nd Petitioner, AAC, a political party, they have closed their case today after calling a total of three witnesses, which has brought the total number of witnesses called by the petitioner to 23. So, it is now for the 1st respondent (INEC) to open and conduct their own defence’.
Coutinho To Spark Bayern’s Champions League Charge
As Bayern Munich launches its Champions League campaign against Red Star Belgrade tonight, Bavarian hopes of reclaiming European club football’s top prize to a large extent on the shoulders of Philippe Coutinho.
Following seven semi-final appearances in the last decade, the former Liverpool’s midfielder has been hailed as the man who can take Bayern the extra step in European football’s flagship competition this season.
Last season’s defeat to Liverpool in the last 16 sparked fears that Bayern’s Champions League aura was fading.
The departure of veteran stars such as Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben seemed to confirm the end of an era, but Coutinho’s arrival on loan from Barcelona has prompted fresh hope that Bayern can be restored as one of the continent’s most feared sides.
“There are always big expectations at Bayern and of course the Champions League is a goal,” said Coutinho at his unveiling in August.
Many believe that the 27-year-old can inspire Bayern to their first Champions League title since 2013.
Earlier this month, his Brazil team-mate and Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson told German newspaper Bild that Coutinho’s arrival put Bayern among the title favourites this season.
Fellow Bayern midfielder Corentin Tolisso echoed that sentiment in an interview with Sky last month, saying that the loan signings of Coutinho and Croatian winger Ivan Perisic would be decisive for Bayern.
“Before those two arrived, we didn’t necessarily have a team that was capable of winning the treble,” said Tolisso.
“With this team, we can go very far in the Champions League. I think the title is possible.”
Such expectations could weigh heavy on Coutinho, who is looking to reboot his career after struggling to hold down a first-team spot in a year and a half at Barcelona.
His price tag is also a potential burden. Though Bayern paid a loan fee of just 8.5 million euros ($9.5m) to secure his services, German media estimate Coutinho’s wages at around 13 million euros a year after tax, which would make him the highest-paid player in the Bayern dressing room.
“Those things don’t bother me. I want to enjoy being on the pitch, play in big games and win titles. The numbers are just a side note for me,” Coutinho told TideSports source last week.
The Brazilian has charmed the Munich press so far, promising to learn German and speaking in glowing terms of the welcome he has received at Bayern.
He told Sport Bild that he hoped to emulate the sort of form which once made him a fan favourite at Liverpool.
“I have noticed in my first few games for Bayern that football here is very intense like it is in England. Much more so than in Spain and Brazil. That is good for me,” he said.
Coutinho even claimed he could imagine staying longer at Bayern if the club were to win the Champions League this season.
“That is a big dream for me, similar to winning the World Cup,” he said.
Yet it remains early days for Coutinho, who has made just one start for Bayern in three Bundesliga appearances so far.
He played just 10 minutes in last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at RB Leipzig, with Thomas Mueller preferred in the starting line-up.
Coach Niko Kovac insisted that Coutinho needed time to recover after returning from Brazil following the international break.
“He only had 72 hours recovery time. He will definitely play in the next few games,” said Kovac.
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