The Proprietor of Blind Football in Nigeria, Ifeoma Atuegwu, says Nigeria is hosting the African Blind Football Championship to win the sole continental ticket for the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
She said this on Monday after Nigeria National Blind Football team, Star Eagles, defeated their Cameroonian counterparts 2–1 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu, venue of the competition.
Atuegwu, who is the President of Bina Foundation Blind Football Academy, said that the outfit was recruiting the best blind footballers from every part of the country.
According to her, the academy has the mandate of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports to produce both male and female blind national teams for the country.
Atuegwu said: “Since our male and female national football teams did not make it to the Olympics; there was a need for the country to make appearance using the blind football.
“I must appreciate the Ministry of Youth and Sports that has always encouraged the academy with technical support but the financial support presently comes from my family and friends of Bina Foundation’’.
She expressed gratitude to Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state for approving the usage of Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium for the championship free-of-charge.
Atuegwu declined to state how much it cost the foundation to organise the championship but expressed joy that it took off smoothly.
Nigeria News Agency reports that eight African countries are currently participating in the championship.
The countries include Morocco, the current African champions, Niger, Ivory Coast, Cameroon. Libya, Egypt, Mali and host, Nigeria.
Each of the teams had five players, plus the goalkeeper, and they are assisted to know the direction of play by the “talking ball’’.
The weeklong championship, which started on November 22, will end on December 2.
(Edited & Vetted By: Sam Oditah)
United States court allows publication of John Bolton’s book, in blow to Trump
A United States court on Saturday ruled that the publication of a tell-all book by former national security adviser John Bolton can move forward, denying an attempt by President Donald Trump’s administration to prevent its release.
In his decision Judge Royce Lamberth said that the government failed to prove “irreparable harm” by halting the book’s publication, since much of its contents have already been disclosed through media reports.
“With hundreds of thousands of copies around the globe – many in newsrooms – the damage is done,” Lamberth said in his decision. “There is no restoring the status quo.”
But Lamberth also slammed Bolton saying he “gambled with the national security of the United States” and has exposed himself to possible forfeiture of profits and criminal liability in future court proceedings for failing to fully comply with the government’s classified information review.
The book, titled “The Room Where It Happend,” is scheduled to be released this Tuesday. It depicts Trump’s foreign policy as feckless and driven by personal interest.
He also told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he could intervene in a law enforcement probe to aid a Turkish bank, according to experts published in media reports.
The court’s decision will likely ensure a wider readership of the bombshell book, which comes roughly four months before the US presidential election.
Trump called the decision a “BIG COURT WIN against Bolton” despite losing the injunction request and referred to Bolton as a warmonger who “likes dropping bombs on people, and killing them.”
“Bolton broke the law and has been called out and rebuked for so doing, with a really big price to pay,” Trump said. “Now he will have bombs dropped on him!”
Lamberth said Bolton’s allegation that the White House classification review process was politically motivated did not hold up and he should have allowed more time for review of his 500-page manuscript.
“Many Americans are unable to renew their passports within four months, but Bolton complains that reviewing hundreds of pages of a National Security Advisor’s tell-all deserves a swifter timetable,” Lamberth said.
In his conclusion, Judge Royce Lamberth wrote that Bolton had also “exposed his country to harm and himself to civil [and potentially criminal] liability.”
Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)
Expert says COVID-19 provides Nigeria opportunity to invest, improve health sector financing
He said that for over a decade Nigeria had invested less than five per cent of its annual budget to the health sector.
The financial expert said that with improved health sector financing, strengthening accountability mechanisms and public-private partnerships, Nigeria would be better prepared for future emergencies.
“Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided us with an avenue to evaluate the way we have been doing things.
”It has also provided us with an opportunity to re-assess the government’s preparedness to address future pandemics,” he said.
Eziukwu said it was imperative that health policymakers took advantage of the pandemic to improve health financing mechanisms, correlation between health and economic growth and increased attention to disease prevention.
He said larger impact of the pandemic could be broadly grouped a national health emergency.
He said that this was because of its rate of spread and the diversion of human and financial resources from other critical health challenges such as Ebola, Malaria and .
Eziukwu said that coronavirus could overwhelm the health system in little time as was currently the case in Nigeria and other affected countries.
He further said that the neglect of other health challenges could lead to loss of already gained grounds in the fight against them.
He said that the economic challenge presented by the pandemic could be quite devastating particularly for emerging economies in Africa.
“However, the continent can be said to be worst hit considering other factors.
“One key factor is the mono-primary commodity export in most African countries, of which price falls will lead to a great loss of income in these countries.
“Another factor is the dominant informal sector in the economies.
“Contrary to what is obtainable in Western economies, African economies are still very nascent with the majority of its citizens operating in the informal sectors,” he said.
Eziukwu, said that the approach of locking down the economy had caused hardship to many citizens, adding that the limited fiscal policy had also contributed to the hardship the citizens were experiencing.
“Many African countries have high debt to revenue ratios, of which a reduction in commodity prices will be unable to meet the basic operating and administrative costs.
“Also, there is limited health insurance in emerging economies which leads to high out-of-pocket health expenditure and these have further increased poverty rates,” he said.
Eziukwu said that some of the most hit areas of the economy during this pandemic were foreign reserves and currency values.
“Many emerging countries’ 12 months forward price is trading at approximately 50 per cent reduction when compared with the United States dollars and other currencies.
“It is reported that the Naira is currently trading at over N500 to a dollar in the foreign exchange market.
“This is an over 42 per cent reduction when compared with the currency’s trading average of N360 before the pandemic,” he said.
Eziukwu said that the epidemic preparedness and health sector funding models had also been seriously tested at this time.
He said that African countries that religiously followed the 2001 Abuja Accord were better positioned to withstand the economic impact of the pandemic.
The financial expert said that the countries that failed to meet the Abuja Accord target were more vulnerable as a result of the pandemic which was already over stretching frail health systems.
“This pandemic has provided a critical juncture for policymakers to review all possible approaches to better health financing.
”There is no better time to understand and agree that health is indeed wealth and should take precedence in all budgetary and financing decisions of the government.
“It is expected that going forward, there must be a convergence between the private sector, donor agencies and the government.
”This convergence will be important in addressing the weaknesses the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified,” he said.
Eziukwu said that in April, Nigeria’s Finance Minister had rolled out several interventions to address the pandemic.
He said that the interventions among other things included N500 billion intervention fund to build and maintain various primary health care facilities across the country.
“While this is a welcome development, an enabling environment should be created and sustained.
”This enabling environment is necessary to assist the private sector to further invest in the revamp and management of primary healthcare facilities across the country.
“Doing such will bring Nigeria closer to achieving universal health coverage (UHC),” he said.
Eziukwu said that investing in infrastructure only would not be sufficient to address the weaknesses in Nigeria’s health sector.
He said that there was a need to reduce the burden of care for basic ailments on secondary and tertiary health facilities by improving and sustaining PHCs.
The expert said that during a pandemic, improving micro and medium scale enterprise investments would have to be another approach for all Central Bank’s development finance investments.
He said that on March 27, CBN rolled out several interventions aimed at assisting businesses facing challenges as a result of the lockdown, which was welcome.
Eziukwu, however, othebserved that review of the requirements from the CBN revealed certain requirements that small-scale businesses would not be able to meet to access the funds.
To address this, he said, the CBN should lower the requirements for accessing the funds and target high-impact job-generating sectors during the lockdown and after.
Eziukwu, however, said that while this might have short term positive impact as a considerable amount of the funds would go into food purchases, in the long run, it might lead to inflation.
He said that targeted interventions should be critically encouraged at this point.
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
Late Sen. Osinowo displayed unwavering commitment to better Nigeria- Folarin
Sen. Teslim Folarin (APC-Oyo Central) has described the death of Sen. Adebayo Osinowo (APC-Lagos East) as a loss of a patriot, who displayed unwavering commitment to a better Nigeria.
This is contained in a tribute he signed and made available to newsmen in Ibadan on Tuesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the late Sen. Osinowo died on Monday.
“Distinguished Sen. Osinowo was unwavering in his commitment to a better Nigeria. He made a huge difference in the lives of millions of people in Lagos East Senatorial district and Nigeria at large,” he said.
Folarin, a former Senate leader, recalled late Osinowo’s great impressions on him as regards religious tolerance, efficacy of prayers and service to humanity during the 2019 Hajj they performed together.
He said that Osinowo’s demise was a bitter pill for members of the 9th National Assembly, the people of Lagos, Southwest Nigeria and All Progressives Congress (APC).
“The sudden demise of my colleague and brother, Sen. Sikiru Adebayo Osinowo is, undoubtedly, a bitter pill for members of the 9th Assembly, the people of Lagos, Southwest Nigeria and APC,” he said.
Folarin expressed his condolences to Osinowo’s family, the Nigerian Senate, APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the good people of Lagos and Ogun States.
“My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and associates worldwide as we grieve over the loss of such an extraordinary individual.
“I pray that in this difficult time, God give us the strength and courage to bear the irreplaceable loss.
“The wonderful memories of Sen. Osinowo’s unique personality will be celebrated by all for a very long time. May Allah grant him Al-Jannah Fridauz,” he said.
Edited Edith Bolokor/Adeleye Ajayi
Nigeria records 573 new COVID-19 cases, infections hits 16,658
Nigeria recorded 573 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the total number of Infections to 16,658.
The Nigeria Centre For Disease Control (NCDC) announced this official Twitter handle.
It said that as at June 15, Nigeria recorded four deaths while no new state reported any case in the last 24 hours.
The NCDC said that Lagos reported the highest number of cases with 216 new cases and Rivers was second with 103 new infections.
“The 573 new cases are reported from 20 states, Lagos (216), Rivers (103), Oyo (68), Edo (40), Kano (21), Gombe (20),FCT (17), Delta (13), Plateau (12), Bauchi (12), Niger (10), Kebbi ((9) Ogun (8), Ondo (8), Abia (7), Nasarawa (5), Borno (1), Kwara (1), Benue (1), Anambra (1)
The NCDC said that till date, Nigeria has 10,885 active cases while 5,349, patients have been treated and discharged.
It added that Nigeria recorded 424 deaths in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
The agency said that the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases across states, calls for Nigerians to TakeResponsibility, especially with the use of masks, avoiving mass gatherings and hand Washing.
“The health of each of us depends on our collective action,“ it said.
The health agency disclosed that it got samples with fictitious names and fictitious addresses.
“We can only vouch for the results of the samples.
“There’s no reason whatsoever to doubt the reality of COVID-19 in Nigeria. In fact we believe there are more cases out there than we’ve found.
“Behind each of those numbers we announce daily are people. Four Governors have themselves announced they’ve been infected.
“We have to make it socially unacceptable to be seen outside the home without face masks.
“We must also discourage unnecessary mass gatherings,”NDDC said.
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/ Sadiya Hamza (NAN)