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African Games: Egypt’s Saleh says defeating Nigeria in t/tennis team events sweet revenge



An excited Ahmed Saleh of Egypt says defeating Nigeria in the male and female categories of table tennis events at the ongoing 12th African Games was important to them and a revenge against the country.

“I am so happy that we were able to achieve our dream of avenging the 2015 loss in 2019, and I think this is the most important match for us because we had prepared very well for it in the last five months,’’ Saleh said after the defeat late on Friday in Rabat.

“We expected that we will meet Nigeria in the final and we were really surprised with the doubles’ line-up of Nigeria when they paired Aruna Quadri and Segun Toriola because they have been playing with the pair of Toriola and Olajide Omotayo since the start of the tournament.

“This is very important for us picking the gold medals and securing our place in Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.

“I am personally so excited and for the team we are so excited winning the gold medals and, most especially qualifying for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.

“We really prepared for this match and we knew it was going to be tough even when we were leading 2-0. We had thought we could win the match at 3-0, but we had to fight till the end.

“Nigeria team is not a pushover and we prepared very well for the match because we had expected it to be though. I am so happy that we have now secured our place in Tokyo.’’

Meanwhile, team Nigeria have booked semi-final slots in the male and female football events of the 12th African Games, as the Flying Eagles stopped the host Morocco in the last group match.

The Nigerian team needed a draw to stop Morocco who need to win to advance to semi-finals stage.

Emeka Chinonso in jersey 11 made the difference with the second goal late in late in the second half to break the heart of the Moroccans.

The England Brooke House Football Academy striker’s 85th minute goal was all Nigeria need to book a place in the semi-finals.

The Moroccans took the lead after a defensive error the first half.

The Flying Eagles fought hard to get the equaliser through a penalty scored by the captain, Abubakar Ibrahim to end the first half.

The Moroccans got their own share of penalty when the referee ruled that Samuel Zaruma handled the ball in the box and the resultant penalty was scored by Ismail Moutarajji.

But the fighting spirit of Nigeria came to fore when the Flying Eagles came back through the goal scored by Chinonso to end the game 2-2.

The female team had earlier qualified for the semi-finals from Group B.


(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)


S. African gov’t to appeal court ruling invalidating some lockdown regulations




The South African government announced on Thursday that it has decided to appeal a court ruling which declares some of its COVID-19 lockdown regulations invalid and unconstitutional.

The government will ask that its appeal be heard on an urgent basis so that it can obtain certainty on the regulations, spokesperson Phumla Williams said in a statement after a virtual cabinet meeting in Pretoria.

The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma will be joined in this appeal by President Cyril Ramaphosa and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, according to Williams.

The cabinet wishes to assure the nation that all interventions introduced since the declaration of a state of national disaster in March 2020 by Ramaphosa have been directed primarily at saving lives, Williams said.

In implementing these interventions, the government has consistently consulted all sectors of society, as the fight against COVID-19 is a national effort that requires unity in action between the government and all South Africans, said Williams.

On Tuesday, the North Gauteng High Court ruled against the COVID-19 lockdown regulations in the country.

“Some of the regulations promulgated by the government simply did not meet the rationality test in preventing the spread of COVID-19,” the court said in its ruling.

The court suspended the declaration of invalidity for a period of 14 days, meaning that the current Alert Level Three regulations remain in operation for now so as to allow Dlamini-Zuma, in consultation with relevant ministers, to review, amend and republish the regulations with “due consideration to the limitation each regulation has on the rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.”

Williams said that after obtaining legal advice and listening to numerous comments made by members of the legal fraternity in reaction to the judgement, “we are of the view that another court might come to a different conclusion on the matter.”

“While government appeals the court judgment, current regulations remain in force and we appeal and urge all our people to observe all the health protocols that have been put in place including washing of hands, social distancing, wearing of masks in public as well as screening and referral for testing where necessary,” Williams said.

She said the cabinet has approved the extension of the National State of Disaster by another month from June 15 to July 15.

The law allows for the National State of Disaster to last for 90 days which necessitates the extension, Williams said.


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African govt to appeal ruling declaring some COVID-19 measures invalid



The South African government will appeal a court ruling that declared some of its coronavirus lockdown regulations invalid, a senior official said on Thursday after a cabinet meeting.


A high court ruled earlier this week that some of the rules governing levels three and four of the country’s five-level coronavirus lockdown were “unconstitutional and invalid”.


It said they should be reviewed and amended, giving consideration to their impact on individual rights, but suspended its order for 14 days, which means the rules remain in place for now.


“We are of the view that another court might come to a different conclusion on the matter,” Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu told a news conference, reading a cabinet statement.


“Cabinet has therefore decided to appeal the North Gauteng High Court decision.”


Mthembu said the government would ask for its appeal to be heard on an urgent basis.


He added that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet had also approved an extension of a national state of disaster for a further month until July 15.


South Africa introduced one of the world’s most restrictive COVID-19 lockdowns in March – including a ban on alcohol and cigarette sales – but has gradually eased restrictions down to the third of five levels.


Ramaphosa and his government initially enjoyed broad support for their decisions but after weeks of serious damage to an already shrinking economy, criticism has started to grow.



Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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COVID-19 lockdown shrinks S. African economy




The COVID-19 induced lockdown will cause a loss of over 5.5 billion U.S. dollars to the country’s economy following the cancellation or postponement of the events in the creative industry, said the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) on Thursday.

The SACO conducted an online study on the impact of COVID-19 induced lockdown to the sector.

Of the 595 usable responses from performing arts, heritage, publishing, music, film, video, and design and support activates, 95 percent had their activities cancelled or indefinitely postponed, while 45 percent of the respondents did not continue with any normal business activities during lockdown.

“We are hopeful that the report provides relevant insights about the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic and will jolt both decision makers in the public and private sector as well as the society at large to think deeply about the role we can all play to contribute in supporting the sector,” said Unathi Lutshaba, SACO executive director.

The SACO is a national research project of the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture. They conduct economic researches and provide policy and sector relevant information about the economic value of the cultural and creative industries.


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People protest over African American George Floyd’s death in Dallas, Texas




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People protest over African American George Floyd‘s death during a peaceful rally held in downtown Dallas, Texas, the United States, June 3, 2020. (Photo by Song Qiong/Xinhua)

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Artiste hosts maiden virtual drama festival to sensitise on virtues of African culture



Anthony Oluwabiyi, Chief Executive Officer, Theatre Centrik, on Wednesday urged Nigerians to imbibe strong African  moral values that are capable of making the  continent great.

Oluwabiyi made the call during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.

He said  that the promotion of African culture and theatrical performances would spur hidden talents to display their creativity.

He told NAN that he would be presenting a virtual drama festival that wouod educate Nigerians, as part of his efforts to enlighten citizens on the essence of embracing African cultural values.

According to him, the maiden virtual drama festival would  hold  on June 17 in commemoration of the 2020 edition of Green African Arts Festival (GAAF2020).

He said that the festival tagged:  “Dance from Dusk to Dawn” would  bring to the public the fantasy of stage performance and the beauty of African Theatre.

” The play will  centre on the theme of love; the intrigue and passion of love, the purpose and value of love and the true essence of love.

” It intends to re-enact in us the power of love as a veritable tool for self-discovery and fulfilment in Africa Arts  and Culture.

”  it will expise the strong hope that love brings and the unity it creates in the family, community, nation and the world at large.

Theatre Centrik has the vision to nurture and utilise poetry lines along with dance and drums to entertain, educate and create awareness through stage performances on virtual screens,”he said.

Oluwabiyi said it was of paramount importance to still promote African culture even while the COVID-19 ravaged the would as culture had huge role to play in successfully combating the virus.

He said that Agnes Olayemi and Kingsley Bassey would be the supporting Directors while Halimath Alabi would be  the Dance Director with other renowned actors and dancers .

He noted that the festival would be like the ancient exhibition of theatrical beauty of the Greco-Roman world.

” I believe that the  stage in a drama  itself is like the pulpit where the true message of unity and development can be spread abroad and my works are centered on positive change through theatre.

” I urge every art lover to link up with us on Theatre Centrik Facebook page on June 17, from 12 p.m. to 3p.m., it promises to be enlightening,” he said.


Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Peter Dada (NAN)



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Maggi launches novel website for African dishes, embellishes Yelo Pèppè drama



The Nestlé brand, MAGGI, has launched a first-of-its-kind website in Central and West Africa (CWAR), offering fresh new twists to well-known African dishes.

It is also serving up a second season of Yelo Pèppè , its popular online nutrition education drama series , on YouTube from June 8, 2020.

At a virtual media briefing on Wednesday, the company said the brand’s latest launches were just a few of the innovative ways MAGGI is meeting its consumers’ digital and nutritional appetites.

According to it, it is also adding to Nestlé’s purpose of enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future.

The MAGGI website,, provides over 40 African recipes on an easy-to-use platform and can help families cook balanced and nutritious meals.

Dominique Allier, Business Executive Officer for Culinary at Nestlé Central and West Africa, said: “MAGGI innovates once more by providing different variations of beloved African dishes that offer something for every food lover.

“We are proud to be the first region worldwide chosen by MAGGI to launch this unique website,” he added.

Also, Akua Kwakwa, Nutrition, Health and Wellness Manager for Nestlé Central and West Africa, said that the new website was built in collaboration with top African chefs, expert nutritionists and local food influencers.

According to her, it also provides helpful tips in some recipes on how to boost your iron intake and balance dishes.

“As well as highlighting the importance of including nutritious diets in our daily lives with well-known family favourites; people across the globe now have easy access to traditional African recipes we know and love.

“For people who are more concerned about sodium, saturated fat and added sugars,the website features the unique ‘MyMenuIQ’guide that illustrates how nutritionally-balanced each recipe is.

“The higher the score, the more balanced the meal is,” she said.

The websites comes at a very appropriate time when many people are spending more time cooking at home, and they can get some inspiration from the Recipe of The Day or the With A Twist section.

There are recipes for kids, adventurous cooks, those who love a classic dish and time-saving one pot meals, all available in English and French.

Following the success of Yelo Pèppèseason one, which recorded over 20.3 million online views, MAGGI is excited to present the new second season of the popular show to its fans, bringing back its beloved characters from the first season.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that notable celebrities including: Ade Laoye, who is now one of the best-known food bloggers in the region, Anita Erskine, Shirley Manso and Sophy Aiid were part of the cast.

The brand aims to boost the nutrition of families by improving the nutritional profile of its bouillons and other products through reducing salt and increasing micronutrients such as iron, to help tackle iron deficiency.

MAGGI pledges to use more familiar ingredients that people know and can find in their kitchens, ingredients such as smoked fish, shrimp, onions, garlic, ginger and chilli pepper.

Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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UNECA projects COVID-19 could push 29 million Africans into extreme poverty




The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) on Wednesday projected that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic could push 29 million people into extreme poverty across Africa.

“Africa was already witnessing the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis even before its impact on public health and may see its growth slow down by 1.8 to 2.6 percent of GDP, which could push 29 million people into extreme poverty,” the UNECA said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

The ECA further stressed that the containment measures established in 42 African countries to protect populations from the COVID-19 pandemic “have already cost the region some 69 billion U.S. dollars per month and are expected to have a negative impact on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the region.”

Vera Songwe, UN Under Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the UNECA, also on Wednesday stressed the urgent need to set COVID-19 recovery milestones across the continent in an efforts to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

“We are yet to know how long the COVID-19 crisis will last, but we need to set the milestones for recovery now,” the ECA chief told a webinar on “Rethinking the economy and academic paradigms in post-COVID-19 Africa.”

The ECA chief also elaborated on a number of issues that are critical for the development of post-COVID-19 crisis exit strategies, which include improving economic governance to ensure funds benefit those who need them the most, developing the digital economy, mitigating the impact of climate change, redesigning financial systems for better use of domestic financial resources such as African pension funds and reviving regional consumption through the African Continental Free Trade Area.

The webinar also provided participants with an opportunity for an initial discussion on how to rebuild African economies and re-design the study of economics to make it fit for purpose to African countries.

Some African economists argued for monetary integration of the continent as a pivotal measure for moving forward.

Various challenges were discussed such as the informal sector, where workers have been particularly negatively impacted by the crisis. Additionally, discussions touched on access to the Internet and its impact, in a continent where only a minority of the 330 million children unable to go to school have been able to study online as only 20 percent of Africans have access to stable internet connectivity. Participants also called for the redistribution of value chains and the development of African pharmaceutical industries. In this regard, panelists said it was necessary for the African diaspora to lead on technology transfer to the continent and for countries to master it.

Other topics raised during the webinar also include opportunities to digitize African economies and to rethink the architecture of African universities so that students can enjoy better access to quality education from home.

On Wednesday, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) disclosed that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the African continent surpassed 158,318 as the death toll from the ongoing pandemic surged to 4,508 as of Wednesday afternoon.

The continental disease control and prevention agency also disclosed that some 67,630 people who have been infected with the COVID-19 have recovered across the continent so far.


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Majek Fashek promoted African values, rhythm through music — Art council



Enugu State Council of Arts and Culture says African reggae Icon, Majek Fashek promoted African values and rhythm through his danceable and philosophical music.

The Executive Secretary of the council, Chief Edward Okolo, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Enugu.

NAN recalls that the African Reggae Legend whose real name was Majekodunmi Fasheke’s death was confirmed by his manager, Omenka Uzoma on the late singer’s official Instagram handle on Tuesday.

According to Okolo, Fashek is a great musician, who used his musical art to propagate African culture and value to the rest of the World.

The executive secretary noted that his brand of music deepened the understanding of African culture and life-style to the rest of the world.

“Fashek also popularised reggae music, which is a brand of indigenous music originating from Africa.

“His brand of reggae brought out the original African rhythm in music and makes such music danceable.

“The rhythm of his music such as “Send down the Rain’’ in the Rain Maker Album created an inner reflection and retrospect to the listener,’’ he said.

Okolo, vast in African arts and culture, said that Majek Fashek promoted African drum and  rhythm in his rich and philosophical music.

“African rhythm and rhyme comes from our indigenous drums and the drum makes African music unique and beautiful,’’ he said.

He added that the African music icon gave the world that natural African sound tailored in modern musical instruments.

Edited By: Cecilia Odey/Ese E. E. Ekama (NAN)


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S. African court declares lockdown regulations “unconstitutional”




A South African court ruled on Tuesday that the COVID-19 lockdown regulations in the country are “unconstitutional” and “invalid.”

“Some of the regulations promulgated by the government simply did not meet the rationality test in preventing the spread of COVID-19,” the North Gauteng High Court said in its ruling.

The court gave the government 14 days to amend and republish the regulations to avoid infringing on people’s rights.

The court decision followed an application by the Liberty Fighters Network, which asked the court to declare the national state of disaster, established under the Disaster Management Act, “unconstitutional and unlawful.”

South Africa imposed the lockdown on March 27 to curb the spread of COVID-19. The lockdown was lowered from level five to level four on May 1, and again eased to level three on June 1.

Critics said some of the lockdown regulations such as the ban on alcohol and tobacco products, the shutdown of business and strict restrictions on people’s movement “violate the rights of almost every citizen in the country.”

In response to the ruling, the government said in a statement it will study the judgement.

“Cabinet will make a further statement once it has fully studied the judgement,” the statement said.


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