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EPL will continue despite new UK lockdown, says PM



The English Premier League will not be affected by a new lockdown set to come into force across the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.

Coronavirus cases have been increasing at a rapid pace in the past few weeks, with the nation reporting an average of more than 20,000 daily positives over the last 10 days.

In response to the growing ‘second wave’ Johnson announced in a press conference on Saturday that the UK would re-impose a national lockdown, closing non-essential businesses and restricting the movement of the population in a bid to reduce infections.

England’s top flight fell victim to the pandemic in March, with the 2019-20 season suspended for almost four months before the campaign’s remaining fixtures could be completed.

But Johnson affirmed that for the time being the current term was in no risk of similar measures.

“I can say yes to the Premier League, I think, with authority,” the PM told reporters when announcing the new lockdown rules, due to come into place from Thursday until December 2.

Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, confirmed that top-level sporting activity would not be affected.

“The changes mean people should work from home where possible,” Dowden explained on Twitter.

“But where this is not possible, travel to a place of work will be permitted – e.g. this includes (but not exhaustive) elite sport played behind closed doors, film & tv production, telecoms workers.”

In a statement on Twitter, the FA acknowledged that it was still unclear how the lockdown would affect non-elite football.

“We acknowledge the government’s announcement today regarding Covid-19 restrictions and are awaiting further information before we can confirm how this may affect non-elite football across England. We will communicate any necessary updates in due course,” the tweet read.

As well as the Premier League, several top European divisions have moved to act in the face of mounting cases across the continent.

France’s Ligue 1, which was concluded without completing the 2019-20 season back in March, will continue , as will the Bundesliga, although German football authorities have issued a new ban on fans attending games in order to reduce the risk of infection .

Jurgen Klopp, whose Liverpool side squeezed past West Ham at the same time as Johnson was addressing the nation, affirmed that he was pleased to see the sport continue.

He said, “It’s obviously what we want. We proved that we can go on and keep the bubble kind of safe,” the manager told reporters after the Reds’ 2-1 victory.

“Yes we have cases, everybody does, but we can isolate these cases pretty quickly. Things never happen at the training ground, they happen with travelling, national teams, new players into the club and things like that.

“We proved that we can do it, and in a lockdown I think it’s important that the people can do things they like to do, and watching football is obviously something they like to do. I’m obviously happy we can continue.”


Terrorists will be crushed, Buhari tells residents in Kaduna



President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has reassured residents of Kaduna of the resolve of the Nigerian Armed Forces under his watch to crush terrorists and other criminal elements operating in the state and other parts of the country.

The President stated this at a state banquet to commemorate his official visit to Kaduna State on Friday.

The President commended the support Kaduna State being given to security agencies especially through the establishment of a ministry dedicated to internal security.

He said, “I wish to assure the people and government of Kaduna State that the Federal Government is doing its utmost to contain and crush the terrorists that have been menacing our citizens and their property in parts of the country.

“On behalf of the Federal Government, I commend the efforts of the Kaduna State Government to respond to the demands of development.

“The relationship between our tiers of government represents an instance of successful collaboration between the national and state governments for progress, peace and prosperity.

“I urge Malam Nasir El-Rufai to push on and not relent in his efforts to accelerate change and progress in Kaduna State.”

Reviewing his programme in the State since he arrived on Wednesday night, Buhari said he was delighted to have commissioned projects undertaken by the State Government led by Malam Nasir El-Rufai.


He said: “I have been most impressed by the consistent efforts of the Kaduna State Government to develop the state, to seek progress on so many fronts and to boldly confront challenges.

“Most of my visits to Kaduna State since 2015 have been in connection with clear strides of progress.

“I was here in 2017 to commission the hatchery and feed mill project of Olam, a multinational agribusiness company that has sited a major factory in Kaduna.

“In August 2019, I had the honour to commission Phase 2 of the Zaria Water Project and a road project.

“Therefore, I am not surprised that Malam Nasir El-Rufai and his team have undertaken such a major investment in infrastructure development.

“I am glad to say I have seen with my own eyes the remarkable changes across all the three Senatorial zones.”

Declaring that he looks forward to commissioning more and more projects in the State, the President lauded the Kaduna State Urban Renewal Programme “for its sheer audacity, breadth of imagination and quality of project execution.

“Projects under this programme have been described as an unprecedented investment in urban infrastructure in the state.

“When completed, these projects will define the city of Kaduna for the next 50 years.

“State Governments have direct responsibility for the quality of life of the residents of their state.

“Kaduna State is providing an example of how this can be done.”

Highlighting other achievements of the Kaduna State Government, the President said it was noteworthy that the hardwork of the present administration attracted $2.8 billion in foreign investment to the state since 2015.

He added: “This was further confirmed by Kaduna State being ranked as the Number One state for ease of doing business in the last published World Bank Doing Business Report for sub-nationals in Nigeria.

“We have also seen the El-Rufai government increase the internally generated revenue of the state by almost four times in five years, from N13 billion in 2015 to N50.7 billion in 2020.”

On health, the President recalled the strong response of Kaduna State in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria early in 2020, welcoming the completion of the 136-bed Infectious Disease Centre inaugurated on Thursday.

On education, the President noted that the State had also demonstrated commitment to equality of opportunity at the basic and senior secondary levels.

He said: “The policy of making education free and compulsory up to the completion of secondary school is a significant contribution to human capital development, and I commend it wholeheartedly.


“I have been told that back in 2015, you inherited a school in the Rigasa area with reportedly over 20,000 pupils instead of the planned 1,500 pupils. We are impressed that Kaduna State Government has built more schools to accommodate these students.”

In his remarks, Governor El-Rufai called for further military action to stop the activities of terrorists in the State.

He said: “We have spent considerable sums to support federal security agencies in the State in order to promote the safety and wellbeing of our people.

“We are implementing a Safe City project, created a Vigilance Service to provide community level security services and established a Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs to improve coordination among security agencies and intelligence sharing.

“We believe that further military action and more boots on the ground are needed to stop the terrorists that menace our people. But as we tackle security, we must also move forward with the things that our resources and planning enable us to do to make life better for our people.”

On ongoing road projects in the State, the Governor informed the President that the Nnamdi Azikiwe Way (the old Western bye-Pass) is being reconstructed into a six-lane concrete highway by the Dangote Group under the President’s innovative Tax Credit scheme.

He, therefore, appealed to the President to direct the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to end the two-year delay suffered by this project and give Dangote the go ahead to start the construction and completion of the earthworks before the onset of the rainy season.

He added that vital projects to reconstruct the Kaduna-Birnin Gwari Road up to the boundary with Niger State and Birnin Gwari-Dansadau Road, which passes through Katsina State and terminates in Zamfara State, are also stalled at the Federal Ministry of Works, despite the expressed readiness of the Dangote Group to work on them.

He said: “With the rapid progress in the construction of the Eastern Bye-Pass by the Federal Government, our government has completed plans to begin the construction of a new Western Bye-Pass to link with the Eastern Bye-Pass to create the Third Ring Road of Kaduna from the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway behind the Rigasa Train Station and the Kaduna International Airport and terminating at the Kaduna-Zaria highway.

“We need the commitment of the Federal Government to support this laudable project that will further expand economic opportunities for the people of Kaduna State and Nigeria at large.”

The Kaduna State Governor thanked the President for the working visit to Kaduna State as well as his unflinching support toward the development State.

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Alabi named new police commissioner for Lagos



The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, has appointed Mr Abiodun Alabi as the new Commissioner of Police for Lagos State.

This followed the retirement of the former CP, Mr Hakeem Odumosu, who was recently promoted.

Alabi is the immediate past Commissioner of police for Bauchi State.

He was a Squadron commander for many years. Also DPO for Lion Building and Ikeja police stations.

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PVCs: Tinubu apologises to Nigerians over misleading comment



The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu, has apologised for his misleading comment on the Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs).

The former Lagos State governor, had on Tuesday, told some of his supporters in Abuja to register ahead of the 2023 presidential election because their PVCs had expired.
While hosting the supporters in the nation’s capital, the APC stalwart urged them to “take one family member, two family members, knock on all doors and make sure that the new registration… Because they may not announce to you on time. The PVCs you have has expired. Yes!”
Many Nigerians took to the social media to lambast the presidential aspirant for misleading the general public.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) also countered the claim, warning Nigerians against heeding his advice.
But the Tinubu media outfit, in a statement, apologised to Nigerians over the comment, saying it was a mistake.
The statement read in part, “On Tuesday night in Abuja, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu granted audience to a delegation of women from Lagos and across the country attending the All Progressives Congress Women Conference.
“While charging the women to check the status of their voting cards and mobilise supporters to vote, he mistakenly used the word ‘expire’ instead of stating that the cards may have to be updated.
“Immediately upon being apprised of this, Asiwaju apologised for the incorrect statement and felt sorry for any confusion it may have caused.
“Asiwaju Tinubu also stressed that he appreciates the patriotic and necessary work of INEC and its personnel in assuring a free and fair electoral process for all Nigerians in all political parties”.

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