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.”
Obasanjo worries about depreciating economy, govt appointments based on favouritism
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed concern about the current state of affairs in the country, especially the continued drop in living standard.
He lamented that government’s appointments were based on “favouritism” and not merit or competence.
The former president said this in a statement while felicitating the Federal Government College, Kaduna, on its 50th anniversary.
He said the economic situation in the country had increased hardship, insecurity, and affected the quality of leadership.
According to him, leaders are more concerned about their selfish interests than the country’s survival, adding that the religious tensions in the country have been intentionally instigated by politicians.
“Once again, our nation is dancing on the precipice and some of us are truly worried about the state of affairs today. I expressed that worry in my open letter to Nigerians and Nigerian youths on New Year’s Day,” he said.
“As I stated in the letter; ‘If we fall prey again, we will have ourselves to blame and no one can say how many more knocks Nigeria can take before it tips over. To be forewarned is to be fore-armed.’ Of course, I pray that Nigeria will never tip over. We must constantly work at it and pray.
“My worry is premised on a number of issues. First, I am concerned that the current state of our nation’s economy has widened the gulf of inequality and left many people in despair. Inflation is on the rise; poverty and hardship have returned to many households. The last decade has reversed many of the economic gains that were made in the first decade of the century. There is a general sense of hopelessness across the nation with seemingly uncontrollable insecurity.
“In addition to the economic hardship is political mischief. Never have we been so politically divided along religious, ethnic and other fault lines and deliberately so. Appointments in government are skewed and lopsided on basis of nepotism and mediocrity and disregard of merit and competence.
“Elections are here and may compound the problem. Political parties and politicians have now been emboldened to discard some of the things that were put in place to give all groups a sense of belonging. Exclusion is being taken as normal. Disunity stares us in the face and many of our leaders are more concerned about their selfish interests than the survival and health of our nation.”
Speaking further, Obasanjo urged Nigerians to change the political course of the country by participating actively in the forthcoming elections.
The former president said the concerns raised about the presidential candidates are real, adding that Nigerians would have themselves to blame if they do nothing about the situation.
The statement read, “Let me reiterate that the concerns being raised about the nature of the options before us in the presidential elections for instance are real and should not be trifled with.
“Nigeria belongs to us all and no part of the country should be left in doubt about their place in this union on any basis whatsoever; ethnic, religious, language, region, culture or social standing.
“The beauty of democracy is that the options before us cannot be imposed on us if we all do what we need to do to send a message to those who have had the audacity to present those options to us with little or no interest for the 225 million Nigerians.
“If we choose to do nothing, we will only have ourselves to blame. If we choose to do the right thing, we will by so doing return this country on the right track; one which gives all our people a sense of belonging and a sense of unity of purpose and a stake in the project Nigeria; a project that will give all of us peace, security, stability, shared prosperity, hope and progress and a place within the comity of nations.”
Updated: Postpone visit to Kano, Ganduje advises Buhari over fuel, new naira anger
Governor of Kano State, Abdulahi Ganduje, has made a request to President Muhammadu Buhari to put on hold his planned visit to the state.
Ganduje’s reason, according to a statement by his media aide, Abba Anwar, is to avert possible embarrassing breakdown of law and order by the ordinary citizens over the complications arising from the fuel scarcity and scarcity of the newly redesigned naira.
Ganduje was quoted to have stated this before some professionals who visited him at the Government House on Friday.
He was quoted as telling his visitors, “As we are waiting for this important visit, we find ourselves in this situation, which puts citizens into untold hardship. For security purposes, we wrote to the Presidency that President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Kano be postponed.
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“We got an acknowledgement copy of the letter. People are really suffering because of this policy.”
Among the visitors were said to be two serving senators from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Barau Jibrin and Kabiru Gaya, 20 members of the House of Representatives and 30 legislators from the State House of Assembly.
The governor quoted as saying that it has become difficult to transact businesses even with the Point of Sale (POS).
The situation is said to have led to many traders closing their businesses.
“This problem affects all of us.Therefore, our voice must be heard in all nooks and crannies. We are a commercial hub. As such, our position must be loud and clear,” Ganduje said.
The governor also reportedly called for an extension of the deadline for returning old naira notes.
“There are no banks in most of our rural communities. How these people get new naira notes is of great concern. Just look at what is happening in our urban areas; people go and spend hours upon hours in banks without any assurances of getting the new notes,” Ganduje lamented.
I’m alive by God’s grace, I saw many colleagues during civil war fall before me – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has recounted a part of experience during the civil war in which he saw many people including his colleagues die right before him.
He also revealed how he ran away from home to join the Nigerian army to escape family pressure of getting married.
The President revealed this during a visit to the Emir of Daura, Faruk Faruk, after inaugurating two roads in Katsina State.
A presidential aide, Femi Adesina, highlighted Buhari’s narrative of his battle during the Nigerian Civil War and some personal challenges faced as told by the President duy the visit.
The statement read, “President Buhari said that he secured his first job early after school to manage a co-operative in Daura, but had to escape and join the army when there was pressure that he should get married.
“I told Governor Aminu Masari the story of how I left Daura to join the army. That was how God planned it. We make choices in life, but eventually destiny is before God.
“I was at the war front during the civil war, and saw how many died. Some fell right beside me. God kept me.
“Many bridges were blown just before we arrived at some places, and after we crossed. I arrived at some places to see bodies of my own colleagues that we were fighting together. I am alive today only by God’s grace.
“This opportunity to serve the nation comes from God. All over the world, Nigeria is known for its diversity, with different religions and cultures.
“We are also known because we have a huge population of millions of people. For the President of Nigeria, at this time, to come from Daura is the grace and mercy of God.”
Buhari also told the emirate that he would return and settle in Daura after handing over on May 29, 2023.
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