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NBA coaches prepare for possible intriguing playoff matchups

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With NBA games indefinitely on hold there has been a lot of discussion about postseason possibilities — including by coaches around the league.

They’re preparing for what a resumption of the season that was shut down on March 11 could look like in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Toronto coach Nick Nurse said he’s trying to prepare for every possibility that would allow the Raptors a chance to defend their title.

“We’re ready for whatever is thrown at us,” Nurse said recently during a conference call with reporters.

“I don’t think it really matters. What matters is that we attack the title in whatever format it’s going to be presented in and we go for it.”

No one knows what will be thrown at the NBA or the rest of the sports world. Looking at guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if NBA games do resume this season the calendar will play a major factor in how the league proceeds.

The ideas are many, from a shortened version of the remaining schedule played without fans to the very real possibility of jumping straight to the playoffs to ensure a season is completed before the end of summer.

Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer said he has spent part of this hiatus studying the Orlando Magic and Brooklyn Nets — the Bucks’ two most likely first-round playoff foes — as well as other Eastern Conference teams.

Nurse had already begun thinking postseason before the season was suspended.

“When we hit March 1, we’ve got a kind of playoff prepping plan thing that kicks in,” the Raptors coach said.

“We spread the teams around our staff members and they prepare a pretty detailed couple of hour video sessions.

“They would normally come into my office and start showing that to me one-on-one. It’s a two-hour video that we go through probably in about three hours on certain teams in the East and then a handful of them in the West as well.

“The coaches were started in on that already and they’ll continue on that. The only difference is there’s no real one-one-one time with me yet.

“They’ll probably just have to send me their edit and then I’ll just have to watch them and talk to them on the phone.”

There would be several intriguing matchups if the NBA resumes the season with the start of the postseason. Nurse and Toronto would be the No. 2 seed in the East and would host No. 7 Brooklyn.

Other matchups would be: No. 1 Milwaukee vs. No. 8 Orlando; No. 3 Boston vs No. 6 Philadelphia; No. 4 Miami vs No. 5 Indiana.

In the West: No. 1 LA Lakers vs No. 8 Memphis; No. 2 LA Clippers vs No. 7 Dallas, No. 3 Denver vs No. 6 Houston; No. 4 Utah vs No. 5 Oklahoma City.

As good as the matchups look on paper there could be some sloppy postseason basketball.

Celtics center Enes Kanter estimates it would take a minimum of two to three weeks for players to get their bodies in game shape. Part of the reason, he said, is the shear time players have had away from the court.

Kanter believes a second training camp-like period would probably be needed.

“You can’t just say ‘OK, we’re going to play the games a week later.’ Some players are doing some things.

“Some players are in their apartments not doing anything,” Kanter said during a conference call. “We need to make sure everybody is doing their stuff and is in good shape to go out there and compete if we jump straight into playoffs.”

Kanter said a training camp setting would also help players refocus. He said while he’s staying in shape, he’s also taken up other endeavors to avoid going stir crazy such as reading, watching documentaries and teaching himself to cook and play the piano.

It is clear time is not the NBA’s friend.

Monday marked the 26th day of the shutdown, a stoppage that has already cost the league more than 100 games.

And the CDC is recommending that all in-person events involving 10 or more people be extended through the end of April as the U.S. fights the spread of the pandemic.

That extends beyond the 30-day shutdown the NBA put in place March 11.

Kanter said if a decision is made to jump straight to the postseason, he hopes the length of the series won’t be affected.

“We’re competitors, man. We want to go out there and push through and finish the season,” he said.

“It’s crazy because we have a really good chance to go out there and get a championship. So, it’s like for sure you want to go out there and compete.”

(
Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Peter Ejiofor)
(NAN)

Emmanuel Okara: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Metro

NBA hails Gov. Uzodimma over repeal law on payments of pensions to Ex govs., Speakers

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The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Orlu Branch, has lauded Gov. Hope Uzodimma of Imo for the enactment of the law revoking payments of pensions to former governors, Speakers of the state and their deputies.

Mr Celestine Agbordike, Chairman of NBA, Orlu Branch, who made the commendation in an interview with newsmen in Awka on Sunday also applauded members of the Imo state House of Assembly.

Agbordike said the new piece of legislation had liberated the people of the state from the humongous financial burden of servicing past governors, Speakers and their deputies.

He said the outlawed pension law which also provided that the former leaders got new vehicles every three years was anti people in view of the paucity of funds which made payment of salaries and pensions to retirees a challenge.

Agbordike expressed regrets that the same administration that enacted the ex governors and speakers pension law was the one which could not pay workers and pensioners as and when due on the claims that there was no money.

“The government of Imo state under Sen. Hope Uzodimma has written its name in gold in our history.

“It has saved Imo state over N1 billion annually with the signing into law the bill which revoked the payment of pensions to former governors and speakers and their deputies.

“This anti people law was passed by the Eighth Assembly assented to by the Sen. Rochas Okoroacha administration in the most clandestine manner.

“It was done in a bid to exploit the people of Imo especially the senior citizens whose pensions are not paid as and when due because of paucity of fund according to the state government.

‘It is unfortunate that the same elements who claimed there was no money will turn back to pay a heavy amount monthly to themselves after serving the state for just four or eight years.”

He said that some previous Imo administrations were also being accused of massive corruption.

“We give kudos to Gov. Hope Uzodinma for doing the unexpected in spite of the distractions by ensuring speedy assent to the bill,” he said.

The NBA chairman who said Gov. Uzodimma had demonstrated uncommon political will, called on other states where that type of law existed to take a cue.

He commended the lawmaker who proposed the bill and the entire members of the House of Assembly who ensured that it received the required support to scale through.

The NBA chairman said, Imo state is now free from the exploitation of the former governors and the speakers and their deputies.

“On behalf of my branch, I want to commend the entire members of Imo Assembly for doing a good job in the interest of the entire people of Imo state.

Edited By: Benson Iziama/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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5.1-magnitude quake hits 3 km northwest of Do Gonbadan, Iran — USGS

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An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.1 jolted 3 km northwest of Do Gonbadan, Iran at 09:11:28 GMT on Sunday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The epicenter, with a depth of 10.0 km, was initially determined to be at 30.3873 degrees north latitude and 50.7777 degrees east longitude.

(XINHUA)

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Judiciary

NBA mourns late Justice Karibi-Whyte

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The President of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Paul Usoro, has expressed condolence to the family of late retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Adolphus Karibi-Whyte, who died on Friday.

He was aged 88 years.

In a statement signed by NBA Spokesman, Mr Kunle Edun, the association described the late justice as a quintessential jurist whose impact in the Nigerian legal system could not be forgotten in a hurry.

“The NBA hereby expresses its deep condolences to my Lords, Honorable Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the entire Nigerian judiciary, government and people of Rivers State, families and friends of our departed noble Lord.

“Justice Karibi-Whyte left behind sterling legacies and delivered landmark judgments that continue to define the Nigerian legal jurisprudence,” it said.

The NBA described the late Supreme Court jurist “a judicial colossus and one of the greatest jurists that Nigeria ever had.

“Hon. Justice Karibi-Whyte was a retired Justice of the Supreme Court and an erudite Professor of Law.

“He served in other capacities as Chairman of several high-powered Commissions of Inquiry and Tribunals.

“Justice Karibi-Whyte also served as a Judge and Vice President, International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (sitting at the Hague) on November 7, 1993, and Chairman Nigerian Constitutional Conference between 1994 to 1995.

“He authored thirteen books and 55 academic publications in reputable local and international journals, and was highly sought after speaker on legal issues,” the NBA said.

Karibi-Whyte was conferred with the National Honours of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) (1998), and Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR) (2008).

The NBA said Karibi-Whyte was a gentleman of indisputable stellar accomplishments and prayed God to bless his soul and grant him a peaceful rest.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Judiciary

NBA mourns Justice Karibi-Whyte

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The Ikorodu branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has mourned former judge of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte, who passed away on May 22 at the age of 88.

Expressing sadness over the passing of the famed jurist, Mr Bayo Akinlade, the Chairman of the Ikorodu branch of the NBA, told the News Agency of Nigeria that the country had lost an eminent jurist who was a “rare breed.”

“Another legal icon is gone and it just goes to show that there is a need for persons in the legal community to be unafraid to do what is right.

“We need more individuals like the late Karibi-Whyte who will analyse issues properly and do what is fair for all,” he said.

The NBA Ikorodu Branch Chairman, who described the late jurist as very knowledgeable and bold, said the Nigerian legal community was running out of icons that younger generations of lawyers could look up to.

“The nation has lost a brilliant mind, may his soul rest in peace,” he said.

NAN reports that late Karibi-Whyte was a professor of law who hailed from Abonnema in Rivers.

He was judge of the Federal High Court from 1976 to 1980, judge of the Court of Appeal from 1980 to 1984, and justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria from 1984 to 2002.

He wrote 13 books and 55 academic publications in local and international learned journals.

He was conferred with the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) and Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR) in 1998 and in 2008 respectively.

Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Salif Atojoko (NAN)

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Foreign

Germany remains committed to Open Skies treaty: Kramp-Karrenbauer

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German Minister of Defense Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told the German broadcaster n-tv on Friday that her country will make an effort to salvage the international Open Skies treaty.

The U.S. administration revealed on Thursday its intention to withdraw from the Treaty on Open Skies, which allows its states-parties to conduct short-notice, unarmed reconnaissance flights over the others’ entire territories to collect data on military forces and activities.

“I deeply regret the U.S.’s announcement on abandonment of the treaty,” said Kramp-Karrenbauer, adding that in close coordination with Germany’s Foreign Office, “we will do everything we can to ensure that at the end of the day everyone will be able to stick with this contract.”

The Treaty on Open Skies, which aims at building confidence and familiarity among states-parties through their participation in the overflights, was concluded in 1992 and entered into force in 2002. Currently, 35 nations, including Russia, the United States, and some other members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, have signed it. Kyrgyzstan has signed but not ratified it yet.

Germany’s Foreign Office stressed that the treaty “contributes to transparency and confidence-building and the cooperative security” of all 34 participating states.

According to the Foreign Office, the treaty created the “only arms control regime that covers the entire territory of both the U.S. and Russia.” Since its entry into force, over 1,500 reconnaissance flights have been conducted under the Open Skies treaty.

On Thursday, Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also stressed that the treaty had contributed “to peace and security in almost all of the northern hemisphere,” and added that he understood that there had been difficulties. “However, from our point of view that does not justify withdrawing from the treaty.”

Together with its like-minded partners, Germany would use the remaining six months before the U.S. planned withdrawal to “encourage” the U.S. administration “to rethink its decision,” stressed Maas.

(XINHUA)

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Economy

Osinbajo presides over first ever virtual NEC meeting

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday, presided over the first ever virtual meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The meeting anchored from the Yellow Room, Office of the Vice President, was the fourth for the year as the nation strives to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minister of Finance featured at the meeting while the governors joined the virtual NEC from their states.

Constitutionally, the vice president is the chairman of NEC which meets monthly to deliberate on the coordination of economic planning and programmes of various levels of government.

NEC comprises the 36 state governors, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Minister of Finance, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation,  Secretary to the Government of the Federation and other relevant government officials whose duties hinged on the economy.

Edited By: Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

 

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General news

Healthcare tops agenda as Osinbajo chairs virtual NCP meeting

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday, presided over a virtual meeting of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), anchored from the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Vice President is the Chairman of NCP.

NCP is a Federal Government’s think tank, tasked with determining the political, economic and social objectives of the privatisation and commercialisation of Nigeria’s public enterprises.

Mr Alex Okoh, the Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), who is also the Secretary of the Council, spoke with State House correspondents after the meeting, which was NCP’s second for the year.

“Certain memos with respect to critical sectors of the economy were considered from the power sector, also from the health sector.

“Council also took a major decision to adopt the report with the regards to the reform of the healthcare delivery system in the country.

“The report of the consultant was deliberated upon by council and council took a decision that we should continue with the stakeholder engagement in various sectors, with specific regards to the health sector reform.

“What is very clear is the COVID-19 pandemic situation globally has revealed certain lapses and challenges as far the healthcare delivery system in Nigeria is concerned.

“Council in its wisdom has actually started to consider a total review of the health sector about a year ago pre the advent of the COVID-19 crisis,’’ Okoh said.

According to him, the council took a decision that the stakeholder engagement should continue since the reform would impact positively on Nigerians.

The director-general said the reform promised a major universal coverage of healthcare delivery to the generality of Nigerians.

“What we are looking at essentially is a situation where the citizens of this country do not have to pay to receive quality healthcare because ailments and health issues are not what anybody will wish upon himself.

“So, we should not leave people to their own fate once they have a health challenge.

“It is far-reaching and radical reform and we hope that with the continued engagements with all the stakeholders, we should be able to deliver this as a legacy reform programme of this current administration.’’

Also, Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a tweet, said that the NCP approved the preparation and presentation, to the President and Federal Executive Council (FEC), a draft legislative instrument to enact the Health Sector Reform Bill and associated legislation.

“The critical point here is that the President Buhari administration’s proposed reforms will ensure that several millions of Nigerians who can’t afford to pay for it, would begin to receive efficient healthcare services once the new system takes off,’’ Akande twitted.

NCP membership also comprises federal ministers and the Central Bank Governor.

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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General news

COVID-19 fallout: Osinbajo highlights FG’s palliative for MSMEs

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, says the Federal Government has setup palliatives to assist Micro Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs) survive the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The vice president said that the palliatives reflected the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s determination to support MSMEs and the priority the Federal Government placed on small businesses.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement, said the vice president performed the virtual launch of palliatives for MSMEs by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Friday in Abuja.

Osinbajo listed the Federal Government’s palliatives as, “E-Registration of MSMEs/products at 80 percent discounted rate over a period of six months.

“Zero tariff for the first 200 micro and small businesses to register on the E-platform.

“Waiver on administrative charges for overdue late renewal of expired licenses of micro/small businesses products for a period of 90 days.’’

According to the vice president, businesses across the world confront the disruptions caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

He said that the Federal Government would continue to adopt and implement practical measures to ensure that the projected growth in the MSMEs sector was not seriously affected by the development.

“Of importance to the government’s response was to find ways of not just giving succour and assistance to existing MSMEs but also ensuring that there is practical and active fillip to new MSMEs.

”So that the growth of this sector is not discouraged by the current economic trauma.

“This is our moment and the government of Nigeria and its regulatory agencies are prepared to back MSMEs and other businesses that are prepared for the innovative and interesting times that lie ahead of us.”

Osinbajo also spoke on some of the steps taken by the Federal Government to protect private investments especially small businesses in the country.

He said that President Buhari had, from the onset of the health cum economic crisis, taken strategic decisions aimed at insulating businesses from imminent collapse.

“Just after the first index case of the disease was discovered in Nigeria and before the lockdowns began, the President put together strategic teams to immediately determine the impact of the disruptions likely to be caused to the economy.

”What our immediate and medium to long term approach should be. The vulnerability of MSMEs to the severe shocks that were to follow was priority at every consideration of the issues.

“ But perhaps even our best projections could hardly have predicted the massive economic disruptions, the unprecedented number of business failures, job losses of what began as a health challenge and the ensuing lockdowns would cause especially to MSMEs, who, of course as you know, are the backbone of our entire economy.

“As the president has repeatedly urged, we have no excuse not to be one of the most productive and prolific economies in the world; our hope is to achieve this aim in the incredible numbers of MSMEs that we have.”

According to the vice president, the launch of NAFDAC palliatives for MSMEs is a thoughtful and strategic response to the devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Osinbajo said that the e-registration assistance for MSMEs through the Automated Product Administration and Monitoring System (NAPAMS) was timely.

“These are all indicators of the new spirit of NAFDAC and foretaste of the support MSMEs stand to enjoy in wading through these trying times.  But this is not a new undertaking for us.

“It is merely an extension or intensification of the Federal Government’s long-standing commitment to MSMEs.”

“We expect to see from them in terms of innovation, adaptability in the next few months and through the challenges that we will be seeing in business environment.”

“I am sure that NAFDAC, SMEDAN, BOI and all of our MDAs concerned with the MSMEs see this period as one when we must work with the MSMEs, identify with them, and must be quick on the job to ensure we are able to resolve all of the problems that they have,” he said.

Prof. Moji Adeyeye, the Director General of NAFDAC, alongside representatives of federal regulatory agencies in the MSMEs sector also participated in the virtual event.

Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Ifeyinwa Omowole (NAN)

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Judiciary

NBA sets up committee to monitor mobile court activities in Kaduna State

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The Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Kaduna State Branch, has set up a four-man committee to monitor activities of mobile courts in the state

Mr Samson Audu, the NBA chairman, in a statement issued on Friday in Kaduna and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria , said the committee would ensure that activities of courts were in line with the law.

He listed the members of the committee as:  M.T. Mohammed, Chairman, Maxwell Kyon, Secretary, Mike Nwakanma,  Ex-Officio Member and Onajite Saidu Ogedengbe, member.

He said that members of the association were aware that the state government has set up mobile courts to try offenders of the quarantine orders.

The NBA chairman stated that to ensure compliance with the rule of law, administration of criminal justice and ensure that fundamental human rights of such offenders were not violated, the association constituted the committee.

”The function of the committee is to monitor proceedings in accordance with the rule of law, observe the rules of natural justice, equity and fair play,” he said.

Audu added that this would be in line with the state’s Administration of Criminal Justice Law, 2017 and the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

He further stated that Justice MTM Aliyu of the state High Court would sit on Wednesdays to hear urgent matters during the period of the lock down.

He said that the association was engaging the judiciary and executive on modalities to ensure that the court reopened as soon as the lockdown was lifted.

The chairman, however, appreciated members of the committee for accepting to serve the association in this time of pandemic and assured them of his full support.

He also commended the leaders of the bar for their donation of funds and food to vulnerable members in this time of pandemic.

He urged the members to comply with all notices and directives issued by the state government to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Obike Ukoh (NAN)

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General news

COVID-19 pandemic opportunity to reset Nigeria’s critical sectors—Osinbajo

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the  COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity for the Nigerian people and government to reset the critical sectors of the economy and social services.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Thursday in Abuja, said the vice president featured, from his office, in a virtual launch of the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund (NSSF).

NSSF is an initiative of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), the Global Citizen, and other partners.

The NSSF is designed to provide additional support for Nigeria’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fund will enable Nigerian Citizens resident at home or in the Diaspora as well as international donors to come together and directly contribute to Nigeria’s fight against the pandemic.

Osinbajo said that the pandemic had affected lives and livelihoods of Nigerians in different ways.

The vice president noted that the NSSF would support the creation of a stronger, more resilient, more inclusive political economy and healthcare system.

“This is a creative, forward-looking and thoughtful response to what is perhaps the most profound global and domestic challenge to health and the economy in human history.

“We need not belabour the point that the COVID-19 challenge is also an unprecedented opportunity for us as a nation and people to reset in critical sectors of the economy and social services.

“The deep plunge in oil earnings, the disruptions to business and commerce on account of lock-downs, has meant that we must develop a comprehensive economic response.

“There are several initiatives in place now to attempt an effective response to the COVID-19 disaster.”

He spoke on the efforts being made by the Federal Government to ensure that Nigeria is properly positioned to deal with the fallouts of the pandemic.

Osinbajo added  that the government was spearheading the drive to re-engineer and rethink the healthcare delivery systems in the country.

According to him, resetting the healthcare is a massive undertaking that will involve the states, local governments and the private healthcare community.

He said he was excited to hear that Global Citizen already had in mind a project to build healthcare centres across every local government in Nigeria.

“In the past few years, I am sure those of you familiar with the activities of government probably note there’s been quite a bit of effort around creating a Social Investment Programme.

“The precise purpose of that is not just to provide safety nets for several of the vulnerable and poor in our midst, but more importantly to provide jobs.

“To provide credit to several informal traders, smallholder farmers, several others in our economic value chain who are usually ignored or untouched by several other credit facilities and other economic initiatives of government.

“This fund will support that and I have noticed that this is one of the objectives – to support the Social Investment efforts of the government, especially the protection of the vulnerable and provision of assistance to many in that huge informal sector that we have,” he said.

The vice president commended the NSIA, Global Citizen and other partners involved in the creation of NSSF.

Other participants at the online event included Hajia Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning,  the Chairman of the Board of Directors of NSIA, Mr Jide Zeitlin and the Managing Director, NSIA, Mr Uche Orji.

Also featured were the Chairman of Global Citizen Nigeria, Mr Babatunde Folawiyo and the Vice Chairman Global Citizen Nigeria, Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede.

Edited By: Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Judiciary

Kaduna NBA chairman lauds members for observing COVID-19 preventive measures

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The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Kaduna State Chapter, has applauded the support and adherence of members to the precautionary measures taken by government toward the containment of the coronavirus disease in the state.

NBA Chairman in Kaduna State, Samson Audu, commended members in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Kaduna on Thursday.

NAN reports that the Kaduna State Government had, on March 26 imposed a lockdown in the state as part of measures in curbing the spread of COVID-19.

He said NBA members deserved commendation for their patience, dedication and perseverance during the trying period of coronavirus.

According to Audu, there has been total compliance with the order of lockdown by members of the NBA as no one has been arrested for violating the lockdown in the state.

The chairman also noted with gratitude the efforts of the public, health workers, journalists, security agencies and other emergency response team in observing the measures.

Audu assured all members that in these trying times, the association had the members’ welfare and interest at heart and also ready to assist any member in need.

“Based on our several calls to members to indicate interest in assessing the Palliative Welfare Scheme (PWS), 200 members have so far received various sums from the PWS.

“With the latest donation from the ‘Leaders of the Bar’ we now have some funds in the PWS.

“Any vulnerable or deprived member, who is affected by the lockdown should send his or her account number to get palliative,” he said.

The chairman expressed his gratitude to leaders of the bar who had donated funds to the association during the pandemic, saying that the PWS had the sum of N1.25 million to help members who were in need.

He, however, urged all members to live an exemplary life by being law abiding by complying with all notices and directives issued by the state government.

He further advised members to continue to intensify the maintenance of personal hygiene, use of hand sanitiser, social distancing and the wearing of face mask when in public.

Audu also urged members to observe the safety tips and continue to comply with the curfew and the social distancing order aimed at enhancing public safety and public health in the state.

He added that any member experiencing any symptom of the disease, should contact any member of the executive as soon as possible in order to be attended to.

Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

 

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Sport

Report: NBA gaining ‘momentum’ toward return

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Following a Board of Governors call with commissioner Adam Silver on Tuesday, the NBA is “increasingly positive about the league’s momentum” toward resuming the 2019-20 season, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported.

NBA-Commissioner-Adam-Silver-300×225.jpg 300w, https://portal.nannews.ng/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/NBA-Commissioner-Adam-Silver-768×577.jpg 768w, https://portal.nannews.ng/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/NBA-Commissioner-Adam-Silver.jpg 800w” data-lazy-sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” data-lazy-src=”https://portal.nannews.ng/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/NBA-Commissioner-Adam-Silver-300×225.jpg”>NBA-Commissioner-Adam-Silver-300×225.jpg” alt=”” width=”300″ height=”225″ srcset=”https://portal.nannews.ng/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/NBA-Commissioner-Adam-Silver-300×225.jpg 300w, https://portal.nannews.ng/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/NBA-Commissioner-Adam-Silver-768×577.jpg 768w, https://portal.nannews.ng/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/NBA-Commissioner-Adam-Silver.jpg 800w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px”>
FILE PHOTO: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks during a news conference before the NBA preseason basketball game between Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan October 8, 2019, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

Per the report, owners and executives were encouraged about the league’s steps toward returning safely amid the coronavirus pandemic and about positive conversations with the National Basketball Players Association.

The report added that Silver emphasised that in order for a return to occur, all parties would need to accept that a single positive test for COVID-19 would not derail the season.

If a positive test would “shut us down, we probably shouldn’t go down this path,” Silver said, per Wojnarowski.

The report added that it remains unclear at what point numerous positive tests would impact the schedule.

Wojnarowski also reported that the format for the return play remains unknown, in terms of regular-season or playoff structure.

The NBA also reportedly continues to vet the possibility of holding all games in neutral sites, with Orlando and Las Vegas the leading candidates, in what Silver referred to as a “campus environment.”

Both Wojnarowski and The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the NBA aims to decide within two to four weeks whether to restart the season.

A potential roadblock to the proposed resumption is that the league doesn’t believe “rapid response testing” will be readily available inside of a month.

Earlier Tuesday, the NBPA informally polled players to gauge where they stand on restarting the season, Wojnarowski reported.

NBPA regional representatives began asking players to respond to a “yes or no” question about their desire to return to the court during the coronavirus pandemic, sources told Wojnarowski.

Some teams were asked the question in group texts, per the report, and names of the players and their individual responses will be kept confidential.

However, in a statement to The Athletic, the NBPA said it “is not engaging in and has not authorized any formal poll of its players.”

NBPA executive director Michele Roberts, executive committee members including President Chris Paul and other players held a conference call Friday with Silver to discuss various topics related to resuming play, chiefly health and finances.

Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reported Paul held a private conference call with superstars across the league on Tuesday, with all wanting to resume the season at some point.

Per the report, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard and Russell Westbrook were all on the call, and “all parties were in agreement to take the court with proper safety measures” once that proves possible.

The NBA suspended the regular season on March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Silas Nwoha (NAN)

 

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Science & Technology

No licence yet to switch on 5G, says Danbatta

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The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) , Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, says that there are no Fifth Generation (5G) of mobile technology licence issued by the commission to be switched on in some parts of the country.

Danbatta said this in a statement signed by Dr Henry Nkemadu, Director, Public Affairs, NCC, and made available to newsmen on Monday in Abuja.

The statement noted that the clarification was made following some mischievous statements on the social media that the telecommunication industry was going to switch on 5G between May 10 and May 12.

It recalled that the commission unequivocally stated that there was no deployment of 5G in Nigeria at the moment.

The statement added that NCC had in November 2019 approved trial test for 5G which lasted for a period of three months.

It affirmed that the trial had been concluded and installation decommissioned.

The statement explained that the trial among others was to study and observe any health or security challenges the 5G network might present.

It said that relevant stakeholders including members of the security agencies were invited to participate during the trial.

The statement announced that NCC would maintain its policy of technology neutrality and would encourage service providers to deploy the best technology to meet the needs of society.

According to it, NCC had provided clarifications on frequently asked questions on 5G.

The statement said this was in view of the recent developments in which misleading materials with no proven evidence were being circulated to link COVID-19 with 5G technology.

It explained that 5G was a fifth generation of mobile technology, which was an improvement on today’s 4G technology.

The statement noted that 5G had enhanced capabilities and provided the platform for new and emerging technologies such as Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Big Data in living and work areas.

It called on Nigerians to always get accurate informations from the commission rather than relying on information emanating from the social media by some individuals out of ignorance to misinform the public.

Edited By: Razak Owolabi/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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General news

Aide dismisses claims on Osinbajo’s whereabouts

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Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, has urged Nigerians to ignore fake claims regarding the whereabouts of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Akande in a reaction on Saturday in Abuja, said he made an Instagram post in which he gave an insight on the vice president’s activities in the past few weeks.

Akande said that Osinbajo has been attending to official matters on how to improve Nigeria’s economy.

He said that the Vice President on Thursday met with the Governor of Central Bank(CBN), Kaduna State Governor, and some ministers via video conferencing.

Akande Instagram posts reads: “with my boss, the Vice President last night in his office, reviewing some of the events of the week.

“By the way, continue to ignore professional fake news conduits who share fictions about the whereabouts of the president and his Vice.

“The critical mass of our people sees both the President and the Vice President regularly on television, hear about them regularly on radio, read from them in the press and observe their activities regularly on the social media.

“For instance, on Thursday the Vice President held a videoconferencing meeting that included the Governor of Kaduna, Power and Finance Ministers, the CBN governor and other government officials on how to expand electricity in the country.

“The work goes on, and Nigeria will surely prevail. We will do it together.”

Lately, some reports have raised concerns about the whereabouts of Osinbajo since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, had recently  explained that Osinbajo had been busy working with the Economic Sustainability Committee(ESC).

The ESC was constituted by President Buhari on March 30 to  develop a clear economic sustainability plan until 2023.

The committee was tasked with identifying fiscal and monetary measures to enhance oil and non-oil revenues in order to fund the plan; develop a stimulus package and come up with measures to create more jobs while keeping existing ones.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

 

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Judiciary

COVID-19: Kaduna State NBA chairman tasks members, residents on safety guidelines

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The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Kaduna State Chapter, has advised members and residents to strictly adhere to safety guidelines to curb further spread of the coronavirus disease in the state.

The Chairman of the state chapter, Mr Samson Audu, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Kaduna on Friday.

Audu said it was important that people adhere strictly to the guidelines given by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), World Health Organisation (WHO) and the state government to stay safe.

“The people need to understand the importance of staying safe and the purpose of wearing masks to protect themselves and others.

“It is important to know that each time you expose yourself to others, you are at risk to yourself and everyone else in the community.

“If you must leave the community, it is recommended that you wear a mask and use all precautionary measures to keep yourself safe,” Audu said.

He further said that washing of hands regularly, practising social distancing and avoiding social gatherings were keys to staying safe amid COVID-19.

He urged members of the association and residents to bear a little more of the hardship that trailed the COVID-19 battle, as it would soon be over.

Audu said that the state government was doing everything possible to mitigate further spread of the virus in the state and would not do it alone except with the cooperation of the people.

“Government needs the cooperation of the people to obey the stay-at-home order and adhere strictly to the safety guidelines to reduce the spread of the pandemic,” he said.

He also urged residents to cooperate with the task force teams that had been stationed at strategic points in the state to ensure compliance and to also avoid harassment.

Audu, however, commended compliance with the lockdown order and the willingness of residents to acquire the nose masks, which was announced as one of the guidelines if people must venture out of their homes to buy food or medicines.

He applauded stakeholders in the state who had supported the government in its battle against further spread of the deadly virus.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Adeleye Ajayis (NAN)

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Judiciary

COVID-19: NBA distributes palliatives to 250 members in Kaduna State

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The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Kaduna State Chapter, has distributed food items to over 250 members as palliatives to cushion the effect of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown in the state.

The Chairman of the state chapter, Samson Audu, made this known in interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Kaduna on Wednesday,

He noted that the current curfew had brought untold hardship on some of their members, especially the junior ones who relied on only appearance allowances.

According to him, the association has a welfare committee called the “palliative welfare scheme” and this welfare committee called on members who were in need to forward their names and account details and money was sent to them.

“Over 250 members sent their names and they were given rice ranging from 25kg to 50kg, groundnut oil, maggi and they were also given money as part of the palliatives,” Audu said.

He said that some of the association’s senior and eminent members also contributed in goods and kind to members in need, who were informed through our platform since the state was on lockdown.

Audu explained that this would in no small way forestall the economic effect on their members.

He gave an assurance to further extend the gesture to the senior lawyers if the lockdown continued in the state because their means of their livelihood would also be adversely affected.

He further stated that the gesture of help toward members in need was still ongoing as he was in the office always to ensure that the welfare of members and their families were well taken care of.

The chairman said that in line with the NBA national body directive on palliatives to young lawyers, the association had complied and forwarded over 120 names of young lawyers with evidence of payment of Bar practising fees and their account details.

He urged the members to strictly adhere to the medical and government guidelines and directives on social distancing, hand washing and social gatherings as the only precautionary measures against the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Audu commended the state government’s efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

 

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Osinbajo’s aide preaches peace in C/River

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Mr Philip Obin, the Technical Assistant to Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo on New Media, has urged warring communities in Erei, Biase Local Government Area of Cross River, to sheathe their sword and embrace peace.

Obin said this in a statement, made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Calabar on Wednesday.

He appealed to people in the area to bury their differences and chart a new course that would ensure peaceful co-existence among them.

According to him, unity is what the world needs now to confront the Coronavirus that has become a common enemy to humanity.

Obin said that efforts were being made to return the soldiers who had earlier left Erei with a view to foster peace and maintain law and order in the area.

“I want to appeal to the good people of Erei to remain calm and stop carrying rumours of attacks and war.

“Let us also challenge ourselves to forgive one another, practice good neighbourliness and live peacefully again, as we did for over 200 years without presence of soldiers.

“It would be a thing of shame for the world to hear that we are fighting ourselves again at a time when the entire world is united against a common enemy, the dreaded COVID-19.

“Which is one of the greatest pandemic in the history of mankind.

“It should be a time for sober reflection, even as I challenge every Erei leader to rise to the occasion once again, and put their respective communities in order.

“Let us take our destinies in our own hands and be willing and ready to hand over anyone who ferments any kind of trouble in Erei, moving forward, without fear or favour,” the statement urged.

Edited By: Nkiru Ifeajuna/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Judiciary

NBA chairmen laud Lagos virtual court sittings, highlight challenges

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The Chairmen of the Ikeja and Ikorodu branches of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on Tuesday lauded the virtual court sitting initiated by the Lagos State Judiciary.

The virtual court sitting is  part of social distancing measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the maiden virtual court sitting via the Zoom App was held on Monday with Justice Mojisola Dada of an Ikeja High Court sentencing a driver, Olalekan Hameed, to death by hanging,  for murder.

The proceedings were approved by Lagos State Chief Judge, Justice Kazeem Alogba, in line with the Lagos State Judiciary Remote Hearing of Cases COVID-19 Pandemic Period Practice Direction.

Lauding the initiative, the Chairman of the Ikorodu branch of the NBA, Mr Bayo Akinlade, described it as a giant step in the right direction.

He, however, noted that the maiden virtual proceedings took a long time..

“The reading of the judgment took a  long time,  it was over two hours, and we cannot afford to waste too much time because we are online. We have to save costs.

“A ruling or a judgment online should not take more than five minutes so that other businesses can be attended to.

“You cannot have online meetings for four hours. Zoom meetings are straight to the point, most people have online meetings for 40 minutes or an hour,” he said.

 

The NBA chairman said that in order for the judiciary to be technologically strong, some old traditions must be jettisoned.

Akinlade also urged that the virtual court sitting technology should be extended to magistrates courts which, he said, handled more cases than high courts.

 

Commenting, the NBA Ikeja Branch Chairman, Mr Dele Oloke, also  lauded the virtual court sitting.

He said that it was in line with the evolving times, but said that the NBA was not properly briefed by the judiciary.

He said that the virtual hearing was not extensively planned, adding that  it was not a process that could be done through a “fire brigade” approach because of the equipment required and  number of participants.

“The facilities for the remote or virtual hearing must be available not only to the judiciary but to individuals;  it takes two to tango as they say.

 

“There is also the need for the judiciary to carry the bar along;  it should have heard from members of the bar and not just select few because three or five trees do not make a forest.

 

“The remote hearing is the way to go but there is a lot to be done before it is institutionalised; otherwise, most of the judgments that will emanate from it will be tested on appeal.

“We should do things that will stand the test of time; there is nothing you will do by innovation that people would not complain about.

” Humans do not like change, but to have effective change, all critical stakeholders must be carried along, ” he said.

He said that to be able to proceed successfully with the virtual court sitting, there must be stable supply of electricity.

 

According to him,  physical courtrooms should not be neglected by the judiciary since there are proceedings that cannot be conclusive by virtual court hearings.

 

“The physical courts have to be also well-developed in this era of the COVID-19 pandemic so that the wellness and safety of our judicial officers can be guaranteed,” Oloke said.

Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)

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Judiciary

NCS,Court decongestion: NBA Chairman urges states to borrow leaf from Lagos Gov’t.

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Mr Bayo Akinlade, Chairman, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Ikorodu branch, has called on other states to borrow a leaf from Lagos government by adopting the Police Duty Solicitors Scheme (PDSS) and Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) approach  in decongesting the courts.

The PDSS sought to reduce the excessive use of pretrial detention by providing free legal advice to suspects at police stations, while the office of the DPP issues legal advice on case files sent to the courts by the police, including prosecuting accused persons.

Akinlade, who made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Lagos, said these two innovations were impacting positively on the administration of criminal justice in Lagos State in recent times.

“Not only do they decongest the courts, these initiatives go further to decongest the Nigeria Correctional Centres.

“While PDSS operates as a filtering intervention at the police station level, the office of the DPP has its officers in selected magisterial districts filtering the charges brought by the police to court.

“This filter allows the Attorney General (AG) to have full control over his prosecutorial powers, as well as curb the dangerous trend of trumped-up charges that have clogged our justice system and congested our correctional facilities.

“Whatever PDSS misses at the police station level is taken care of by the DPP filtering system.

“This has brought perfect working synergy between lawyers in private practice and lawyers in government for a better society.

“We encourage other states to adopt PDSS and the DPP filtering systems,” Akinlade advised.

According to him, the Attorney-General of (A-G) of Lagos State had early this year, put a team together to resolve the issue of whether or not police officers who are not lawyers be allowed to prosecute cases in the magistrates’ courts.

He said the team finished its assignment and offered its recommendations, which the A-G received and wasted no time in implementing the most important aspects of the recommendation.

He said the two innovations were the adoption of a DPP filtering system and the official recognition of the PDSS

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu (NAN)

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Judiciary

Lockdown ease: Count cost before going out – NBA chairman tells lawyers

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The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikorodu Branch, Lagos, has advised lawyers to count the cost before hitting the streets, as the Federal Government gets set to ease lockdown.

The branch Chairman, Mr Bayo Akinlade, gave the advice in statement in Lagos on Sunday.

He noted that gradual ease of lockdown of Lagos, Ogun and Abuja  would begin on Monday.

He said that some lawyers, like other Nigerians affected by the five-week lockdown, might be  eager to go out as from Monday, to do their jobs.

He advised lawyers to contact court registrars through phone calls to find out the status of their cases before going out.

He said: “I urge all members to count the cost before they leave their homes from Monday, May 4.

“My advice is that you first contact the court registrars to find out the status of your cases.

“Under no circumstances should you go to court to make inquiries; the less the number of people who move out, the better.

“If you want to file a fresh matter or file a process, make sure you take all precautionary measures – wear your face mask and ensure you have a personal hand sanitiser.”

Akinlade said that the branch had planned a zoom webinar with a Canadian judge to educate its members on how to use  technology to advance their litigation practice, with specific focus on issues around ‘access to justice’.

He advised state governments to give more attention to the magistrates’ and customary courts and provide necessary infrastructure for remote hearings, “as justice is for all people”.

Akinlade said that the  NBA, Ikorodu Branch, was willing to support the judiciary with technical support where required.

Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye/Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)

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