Al Ahly Punish Kaizer Chiefs To Win CAF Champions League For 10th Time

 

Egyptian club Al Ahly won a record-extending 10th CAF Champions League title on Saturday with a 3-0 final victory over 10-man South African rivals Kaizer Chiefs in Casablanca.

Mohamed Sherif scored his sixth goal of the competition after 53 minutes to put the Cairo Red Devils ahead at an empty Stade Mohammed V because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A brilliant goal from Mohamed ‘Afsha’ Magdy on 64 minutes left little doubt about the outcome in a disappointing finale to the marquee African club competition.

Amr el Sulaya rubbed salt into the wounds of Chiefs with a third goal in the 74th minute, slamming a back-heel past Nigerian goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi.

Chiefs were struggling to contain Ahly late in the first half when they suffered a massive blow with the red-carding of Happy Mashiane.

The forward stamped on the right leg of full-back Ahmed Tawfik and, after initially flashing a yellow card, the Burundi referee checked the foul on a monitor and changed his decision.

It was a historic victory for Ahly, who became the first club to win the title back-to-back three times.

South Africa-born Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane, who supported Chiefs as a child, became the first African coach to win the competition three times.

He succeeded in 2016 with South African club Mamelodi Sundowns, and again with Ahly last season in an all-Egyptian final against fierce rivals Zamalek.

Ahly pocket $2.5 million for winning the Champions League and are guaranteed at least another $3.5 million when they compete in the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan.

Before travelling to the Far East, the Egyptian club that have won 22 African titles will play CAF Confederation Cup winners Raja Casablanca of Morocco in a one-off match for the CAF Super Cup.

It was a bitterly disappointing first appearance in the final by Chiefs, whose lone CAF title came 21 years ago when they won the now-defunct African Cup Winners Cup.

The Soweto outfit matched Ahly early on and had the lone shot on target in the opening half with an effort by Serbian forward Samir Nurkovic that Ahly goalkeeper and captain Mohamed el Shenawy comfortably saved.

Starting the second half with 10 men, Chiefs packed their defence in the hope of snatching victory through a breakaway goal or a penalty shootout.

But the resistance lasted just eight minutes before being undone by a superb pass from Tawfik that Sherif chipped over Akpeyi.

AFP

Major Oil Producers Seeking Output Boost To Meet On Sunday

OPEC

 

 

Major oil producers seeking to boost output will meet on Sunday, OPEC said, after negotiations earlier this month became deadlocked over plans to gradually ease production cuts.

The OPEC+ grouping, which includes Saudi Arabia and Russia, will meet via videoconference at 1000 GMT on Sunday, the Vienna-based OPEC Secretariat said in a statement.

The group’s 23 members cancelled a meeting on July 5 that was supposed to overcome an impasse over crude output levels.

Since May, the group has raised oil output bit by bit, after slashing it more than a year ago when the coronavirus pandemic crushed demand.

At stake is a proposal that would see the world’s leading oil producers raise output by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) each month from August to December.

That would add two million bpd to markets by the end of the year, helping to fuel a global economic recovery as the coronavirus pandemic eases.

A further proposal seeks to extend a deadline on capping output from April 2022 to the end of 2022.

But holding out against the new deal was the United Arab Emirates, which criticised the terms of the extension as unjust.

Oil prices, which had already been sliding owing to concerns about the global economy, plummeted in April 2020 as coronavirus spread around the world and battered global consumption, transport and supply chains.

OPEC+ decided to withdraw 9.7 million bpd from the market and to gradually restore supplies by the end of April 2022. Benchmark oil prices rebounded as a result.

AFP

Main Winners At The Cannes Film Festival

Main Winners At The Cannes Film Festival
French director Julia Ducournau (C) poses on stage with (fromL) Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Israeli director Nadav Lapid, French actress Agathe Rousselle, French actor Vincent Lindon and US music composer Russell Mael after she won the Palme d’Or for her film “Titane” at the 74th edition of the Cannes Film Festival on July 17, 2021. Valery HACHE / AFP

 

 

The Cannes film festival ended Saturday in the south of France with the awarding of its top prize, the Palme d’Or.

Here is a list of the main winners:

– Palme d’Or: Julia Ducournau for “Titane” (France)

– Grand Prix: Shared by Ashgar Farhadi for “A Hero” (Iran) and Juho Kuosmanen for “Compartment No.6” (Finland)

– Best director: Leos Carax “Annette” (France)

– Best actress: Renate Reinsve for “Worst Person in the World” (Norway)

– Best actor: Caleb Landry Jones for “Nitram” (US)

READ ALSO: French Shocker ‘Titane’ Wins Palme d’Or

– Best screenplay: Hamaguchi Ryusuke and Takamasa Oe for “Drive My Car” (Japan)

– Jury prize: Shared by Nadav Lapid for “Ahed’s Knee” (Israel) and Apichatpong Weerasethakul for “Memoria” (Thailand)

– Best first film: Antoneta Kusijanovic for “Murina” (Croatia)

– Best short film: Hong Kong’s “All The Crows In The World” Tang Yi

UK Health Minister Tests Positive For COVID-19

Britain’s Health Secretary Sajid Javid is now required to self-isolate for 10 days unless a PCR test comes back negative and he no longer has symptoms. Stefan Rousseau / POOL / AFP

 

British Health Secretary Sajid Javid said on Saturday he had tested positive for Covid-19 and was self-isolating — just as his government prepared to jettison most pandemic restrictions in England.

Under his government’s rules, Javid is now required to self-isolate for 10 days unless a PCR test comes back negative and he no longer has symptoms.

Any of his “close contacts” — potentially including others in the government — would have to self-isolate too if they receive instructions from the state-run National Health Service (NHS).

Javid was reportedly at 10 Downing Street on Friday, but there was no immediate comment from spokespeople as to whether he met face to face with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who nearly died of Covid last year.

Javid also appeared alongside ministers in parliament last week, and one government source told The Telegraph newspaper: “I don’t see how half the cabinet doesn’t end up in isolation by the end of the week.”

Javid has only been in the job since June 26, when former health secretary Matt Hancock resigned following revelations he had broken coronavirus restrictions during an affair with a close aide.

After feeling “a bit groggy”, Javid said he had taken a lateral flow test on Saturday morning which came out positive, and he was now awaiting the result of a confirmatory PCR test.

But he stressed he has received both doses of a Covid vaccine and his symptoms were “very mild”.

Javid said any member of the public feeling symptoms should get a test too.

“If everyone plays their part, you’re not only protecting yourself and your loved ones, but you’re also safeguarding the NHS and helping to preserve our way of life,” he said.

However, with coronavirus cases again surging, many scientists say the government is endangering the NHS with its plan on Monday to scrap most legal pandemic requirements in England.

For the first time since mid-January, Britain’s daily Covid caseload now exceeds 50,000, and Javid has warned the figure could double from that in the coming weeks.

But the government insists that with two-thirds of the adult population now fully vaccinated, the risk can be managed, and Monday has been dubbed “freedom day” by many UK media.

Munira Wilson, health spokeswoman for the opposition Liberal Democrats, said Javid’s test result “shows no one is safe from this deadly virus”.

Urging the government “to rethink its reckless plans for Monday”, she said: “By easing all restrictions with cases surging, they are experimenting with people’s lives.”

AFP

French Shocker ‘Titane’ Wins Palme d’Or

French Shocker 'Titane' Wins Palme d'Or
French director Julia Ducournau reacts on stage as she receives the Palme d’Or for her film “Titane” from US actress Sharon Stone during the closing ceremony of the 74th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on July 17, 2021. CHRISTOPHE SIMON / AFP

 

 

Shock-fest “Titane” took home the top Palme d’Or prize at Cannes on Saturday, revealed early at the closing ceremony in an embarrassing slip-up by jury president Spike Lee.

French director Julie Ducournau is only the second woman to scoop the prize, for a movie that was one of the wildest, sexiest and most violent ever shown at the Cannes film festival.

It tells the story of a young woman who has sex with cars, kills without a care, and pretends to be a boy despite being pregnant by a vintage Cadillac.

Lee, the first black man to lead the jury, read out the winner at the very start of the prize section, rather than introducing the first award of the night for best actor.

After an awkward pause and regrouping, the best actor award was given to US actor Caleb Landry Jones for his chilling performance in “Nitram” about Australia’s worst mass shooting.

Making a film about the Port Arthur massacre in 1996, in which 35 people died, triggered harsh criticism of director Justin Kurzel in Australia.

But critics were won over at the Cannes premiere, with Variety calling it a “devastating study of atrocity” that shows “quiet respect for the victims’ dignity”.

It was a huge night, too, for the previously unknown Norwegian actress Renate Reinsve, who was rocketed to stardom by her role in “Worst Person in the World”.

Her role as a twenty-something searching for her identity and pinballing through relationships was a sensation and caught the 33-year-old totally unprepared.

“No one has seen me in anything,” she told AFP after the premiere. “The other day I woke up and I puked. And today I woke up and I cried.”

French Shocker 'Titane' Wins Palme d'Or
French director Julia Ducournau poses on stage with her trophy for the Palme d’Or.
Valery HACHE / AFP

Sorry for ‘messing up’

When it finally became time to announce the Palme d’Or for real, Lee said: “I apologise for messing up.”

But then he almost fluffed the presentation again by announcing the winner rather than presenter Sharon Stone, by which point Ducournau was giggling in the audience.

She still broke into tears when the official announcement was made, and told the crowd: “This evening has been perfect because it’s been imperfect.

“Thank you for letting the monsters in.”

The only other woman to win the top prize is Jane Campion for “The Piano” in 1993.

Other winners on the night included Leos Carax for “Annette”, the flamboyant rock opera starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard, and written by eccentric Los Angeles pop duo Sparks.

The second-prize Grand Prix was shared between Iran’s two-time Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi (“A Hero”) and Finland’s Juho Kuosmanen (“Compartment No.6”), while best screenplay went to Japan’s Hamaguchi Ryusuke and Takamasa Oe for “Drive My Car”.

The race had been wide open this year, with critics pointing to many possible successors to “Parasite”, the South Korean hit which took home the last Palme in 2019 before making history by triumphing at the Oscars.

Last year’s festival was cancelled because of the pandemic.

The jury members watched a lot of sex this year, from lesbian nuns in Paul Verhoeven’s salacious “Benedetta” to a porn star returning to small-town Texas in “Red Rocket”, which scored well with critics.

Spit tests

There were doubts early in the festival about the Covid logistics, with some festival-goers grossed out by the spit tests required every 48 hours, and criticism on social media over unmasked attendees in the cinemas at early premieres.

Restrictions were tightened, partying scaled back, and even though the stars couldn’t quite keep themselves from hugs and kisses on the red carpet, the festival appeared to pass without a major outbreak.

But there was still plenty of star power.

Tilda Swinton was ubiquitous on the red carpet, appearing in five films of the official selection.

She starred in “Memoria” by Thailand’s former Palme winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul, which shared the third-place jury prize with “Ahed’s Knee” by Israel’s Nadav Lapid.

But Swinton was clear that her proudest moment was receiving the Palm Dog award on behalf of her three spaniels, who appeared with her in “The Souvenir Part 2”.

“Honestly, this is the prize to get,” she said at Friday’s canine ceremony, as she tied the red collar prize around her neck.

AFP

Europe Reels From Worst Floods In Years As Death Toll Nears 130

A picture taken on July 15, 2021, shows cars piled up by the water at a roundabout in the Belgian city of Verviers, after heavy rains and floods lashed western Europe, killing at least two people in Belgium. François WALSCHAERTS / AFP

 

 

Devastating floods have torn through entire villages and killed at least 128 people in Europe, most of them in western Germany where stunned emergency services were still combing the wreckage on Friday.

Unsuspecting residents were caught completely off guard by the torrent dubbed the “flood of death” by German newspaper Bild.

Streets and houses were submerged by water in some areas, while cars were left overturned on soaked streets after flood waters passed. Some districts were completely cut off.

“Everything was underwater within 15 minutes,” Agron Berischa, a 21-year-old decorator from Bad Neuenahr in Rhineland-Palatinate state, told AFP.

“Our flat, our office, our neighbours’ houses, everywhere was underwater.”

Europe Reels From Worst Floods In Years As Death Toll Nears 130
A man takes pictures of cars and rubble piled up in a street after the floods caused major damage in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, western Germany, on July 16, 2021.
Christof STACHE / AFP

 

 

In nearby Schuld, Hans-Dieter Vrancken, 65, said “caravans, cars were washed away, trees were uprooted, houses were knocked down”.

“We have lived here in Schuld for over 20 years and we have never experienced anything like it. It’s like a warzone,” he said.

Roger Lewentz, interior minister for Rheinland-Palatinate, told Bild the death toll was likely to rise as emergency services continued to search the affected areas over the coming days.

“When emptying cellars or pumping out cellars, we keep coming across people who have lost their lives in these floods,” he said.

With five more dead found in the state by Friday evening, the nationwide death toll mounted to 108.

Adding to the devastation, several more people were feared dead in a landslide in the town of Erftstadt in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) triggered by the floods.

In neighbouring Belgium, the government confirmed the death toll had jumped to 20 — earlier reports had said 23 dead — with more than 21,000 people left without electricity in one region.

Calling the floods “possibly the most catastrophic our country has ever seen,” Prime Minister Alexander De Croo declared Tuesday a day of national mourning.

Luxembourg and the Netherlands were also hammered by heavy rains, inundating many areas and forcing thousands to be evacuated in the city of Maastricht.

People stand in a devastated street in an area completely destroyed by the flood in the Blessem district of Erftstadt, western Germany, on July 16, 2021. (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP)

Fearing the worst

In Germany’s hard-hit Ahrweiler district in Rhineland-Palatinate, several houses collapsed completely, drawing comparisons to the aftermath of a tsunami.

At least 24 people were confirmed dead in Euskirchen, one of the worst-affected towns.

“I fear that we will only see the full extent of the disaster in the coming days,” Chancellor Angela Merkel said late Thursday from Washington, where she met with President Joe Biden.

“My empathy and my heart go out to all of those who in this catastrophe lost their loved ones, or who are still worrying about the fate of people still missing.”

In Ahrweiler, around 1,300 people were unaccounted for, although local authorities told Bild the high number was likely due to damaged phone networks.

Lewentz told local media that up to 60 people were believed to be missing, “and when you haven’t heard from people for such a long time… you have to fear the worst”.

Soldiers of the German armed forces Bundeswehr search for flood victims in submerged vehicles on the federal highway B265 in Erftstadt, western Germany, on July 17, 2021 (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP)

Billions in damage

Gerd Landsberg, head of the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, said the cost of the damage was likely to run into “billions of euros”.

In Belgium, the army has been sent to four of the country’s 10 provinces to help with rescue and evacuations.

The swollen Meuse river “is going to look very dangerous for Liege”, a nearby city of 200,000 people, warned Wallonia regional president Elio Di Rupo.

In Switzerland, lakes and rivers were also swelling after heavy overnight rainfall. In Lucerne in particular, Lake Lucerne had begun to flood the city centre.

Some parts of western Europe received up to two months’ worth of rainfall in two days on soil that was already near saturation, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

But there was some improvement Friday as the water level began to fall back.

Aerial view taken on July 15, 2021 shows the flooded village of Schuld, near Adenau, western Germany. Christoph Reichwein / dpa / AFP

Climate change?

The severe storms have put climate change back at the centre of Germany’s election campaign ahead of a September 26 poll marking the end of Merkel’s 16 years in power.

Speaking in Berlin, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Germany would “only be able to curb extreme weather situations if we engage in a determined fight against climate change”.

The country “must prepare much better” in future, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said, adding that “this extreme weather is a consequence of climate change”.

Because a warmer atmosphere holds more water, climate change increases the risk and intensity of flooding from extreme rainfall.

In urban areas with poor drainage and buildings located in flood zones, the damage can be severe.

North Rhine-Westphalia premier Armin Laschet, the conservative running to succeed Merkel, called for “speeding up” global efforts to fight climate change, underlining the link between global warming and extreme weather.

AFP

‘Hollywood Ripper’ Sentenced To Death

'Hollywood Ripper' Sentenced To Death
In this file photo taken on August 6, 2019, Michael Gargiulo, 43, also known as the Hollywood Ripper, listens during closing statements in his capital murder trial in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Lucy Nicholson / POOL / AFP

 

 

A man known as the “Hollywood Ripper” was sentenced to death Friday for the gruesome killings of two women in their homes in the early 2000s.

Michael Gargiulo, 45, was convicted in 2019 of two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

Among his victims was 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin, who was found in her Hollywood home with 47 stab wounds in February 2001. On the night of her murder, Ellerin had been due to go on a date with actor Ashton Kutcher, who testified at the trial.

The second murder victim was Maria Bruno, a 32-year-old mother of four and neighbor of Gargiulo who was attacked in her sleep in December 2005 and “quite literally butchered,” prosecutors said.

“In this case, everywhere that Mr. Gargiulo went, death and destruction followed,” Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler said Friday as he announced the sentence.

Prosecutor Dan Akemon said Gargiulo targeted women who lived near him and waited for the perfect opportunity to attack them at night in or near their homes in “totally planned killings.”

Gargiulo again insisted he was innocent at Friday’s sentencing session.

He was arrested in 2008 following an attack on a woman in her apartment in Santa Monica, near Los Angeles. She survived and testified at the trial.

Gargiulo also faces murder charges in Illinois stemming from an attack in 1993.

But Gargiulo will not be executed, at least not for now. California is famously liberal and Democratic and Governor Gavin Newsom declared a moratorium on executions in 2019.

Prior to that, the death penalty was last carried out in California in 2006, when it was halted by a federal court order.

AFP

NAFDAC Approves Moderna And Sputnik Vaccines For Use

 

A health worker prepares a dose to inoculate a woman with the Covaxin Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine at a school-turned-vaccination centre.
Tauseef MUSTAFA / AFP

 

The National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control has approved two more COVID-19 vaccines for use in Nigeria.

They are the Moderna and Sputnik vaccines.

Both vaccines were approved for emergency use, according to the Director-General of NAFDAC, Professor Moji Adeyeye, who announced the news on Thursday at a news conference in Abuja.

The agency had earlier approved the Oxford-Astrazeneca and Pfizer jabs, also for emergency use.

Professor Adeyeye explained that although the Sputnik vaccine, produced in Russia, has not yet been approved by the World Health Organisation, NAFDAC has carried out independent checks on the vaccine and found that the benefits outweigh the risks.

The approval comes as fears of a COVID-19 third wave in Nigeria continues to loom.

On Wednesday, the University of Lagos ordered students to vacate hostels on campus after a number of students reportedly contracted COVID-19.

The possibility of a third-wave has heightened after the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reported the Delta variant of the virus in Nigeria.

The variant is believed to be more contagious and deadlier than its predecessors.

 

 

PIB: Nigerian Governors Fault Proposed Ownership Structure For NNPC

The Nigeria Governors Forum wants the Petroleum Industry Bill amended to change the ownership structure proposed for the NNPC.

 

 

Nigerian governors have faulted the ownership structure of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation proposed in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

They made their position known in a communique issued at the end of the 32nd Teleconference meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, which was held on Wednesday.

“The Forum is in full support of the unbundling and commercialisation of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) but concerned with the proposed ownership structure of the NNPC which places ownership on the Federal Government,” the communique read in part.

This proposal, the governors argued ignores the fact that the NNPC is owned by the three tiers of government.

Rather than place the ownership of the NNPC on the Federal Government, the Governors’ forum recommended that the new entity (NNPC Limited) proposed in the PIB should be owned by a vehicle that holds the interest of the three tiers of government.

“For now, the institution that is positioned to carry out this mandate is the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA),” the NGF said.

They plan to take up the requested amendment to the PIB as well as the proposed three percent share of oil revenue to host communities and 30 percent share of profit for the exploration of oil and gas in the basins with the relevant channels including the National Assembly and the National Economic Council (NEC) subsequently.

Apart from the PIB, the NGF also discussed several other issues including the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, financial autonomy for state judiciary and legislature.

Read the full communique below:

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE 32ND TELECONFERENCE MEETING (9TH IN 2021) OF THE NIGERIA GOVERNORS’ FORUM HELD ON WEDNESDAY, 14TH JULY 2021

We, members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), at our meeting held today, deliberated on issues of national importance and resolved as follows:

1. Executive Order #10 and Financial Autonomy for the State Legislature and Judiciary
The Forum has approved a common template for the implementation of the Memorandum of Action signed with the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASUN) on the implementation of financial autonomy for the State legislature and judiciary. The template was developed following a meeting of the State Attorneys General and Commissioners of Finance which held on the 25th of June 2021 at the directive of the Forum.

2. Nigerian Postal Service Bill, 2021 & Stamp Duties Collection
The Forum expressed concern with certain proposed amendments to the Principal Stamp Duties Act by the Nigerian Senate which seeks to remove the powers to administer and collect stamp duties from the relevant tax authorities (Federal Inland Revenue Service or State Internal Revenue Service, depending on the nature of the transaction) to the Nigeria Postal Service. The provisions of Section 163 of the 1999 Constitution requires that Stamp Duties on transactions between a company and an individual should be paid to the FIRS and returned to the State of derivation. The Forum resolved to engage with the National
Assembly on the matter.

3. The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB)
The Forum is in full support of the unbundling and commercialization of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) but concerned with the proposed ownership structure of the NNPC which places ownership on the Federal Government. The NGF recommends that given that the corporation is owned by the three tiers of government, the new incorporated entity (NNPC Limited) should be owned by a vehicle that holds the interest of the three tiers of government – for now, the institution that is positioned to carry out this mandate is the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA). This amendment as well as the proposed 3% share of oil revenue to host communities and 30% share of profit for the exploration of oil and gas in the basins will be responded to at relevant channels including the National Assembly and the National Economic Council (NEC).

4. Sale of Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) Assets
The Forum will take a position on the planned privatisation of assets of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) which were listed by the Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE) without due consultation with State governments who are shareholders of the company. NDPHC is incorporated under the
Companies and Allied Matters Act as a private limited liability company with shareholding fully subscribed to by the Federal, State and Local Governments with a mandate to manage National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP) in the country.

5. Launch of the NGF Peace and Inclusive Security Initiative
The Forum put its weight behind the launch of its Peace and Inclusive Security Initiative (PISI) set up to tackle insecurity, conflicts and violence in the country. The launch of PISI which took place on 8th July 2021 heralded an important milestone for NGF as it seeks to build a more inclusive and collaborative platform to drive an urgent country-wide response to security challenges in the country.

UPDATES & PRESENTATIONS
6. The Chairman of the Forum, Governor Kayode Fayemi informed members of the inauguration of the National Steering Committee (NSC) of the National Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy (NPRGS) chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo with a mandate to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in ten years. State Governors have been enjoined to nominate focal persons who will consolidate policy strategies put in place by State governments to end poverty in the country. The focal persons will be inducted into a technical working group chaired by the Governor of Nasarawa State, H.E Abdullahi Sule and co-chaired by the Honourable Minister of State for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba.

7. The Forum received an update from the Governor of Lagos State H.E Babajide Sanwo-Olu on the recent rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases and call for consensual action to prevent a third wave in the country. Following the update, the Forum called on all State Governors to revive their COVID
protocols and collaborate with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to take appropriate and immediate actions to flatten the transmission curve. The Forum will interface with the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 to accelerate processes required to fast track the delivery of additional vaccines for the country.

8. An update on the States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability, and Sustainability – Program-for-Results (PforR) was made by Mr. Olanrewaju Ajogbasile, the NGF SFTAS Programme Manager, who informed State Governors of the ongoing verification exercise for the SFTAS disbursement linked indicators and debt reconciliation exercise carried out with the Federal Ministry of Finance,
Budget and National Planning (FMBNP), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Debt Management Office (DMO). The Forum commended the SFTAS programme office and welcomed the reconciliation exercise which will be seen through by the State Commissioners of Finance.

9. Following an update on the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus – Programme for Results (Nigeria CARES), from Mrs. Firo Elhassan, NGF Programme Manager, the Forum resolved to interface with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (FMBNP) and the Federal Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to ensure speedy approval and commencement of the programme in line with the 2021 budgets of States.

10. Sequel to a presentation by Rt. Hon. Princess Miriam Onuoha, Chairman, House of Representatives, Committee on Disabilities on the adoption of the Discrimination against Person with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act (2018), the Forum committed to actively support, through the NGF Secretariat, the domestication of the disability law in States where it has not already been passed. Since 2018, at least twelve (12) States have passed disability laws, including Ekiti, Lagos, Kwara, Kogi, Plateau, Jigawa, Ondo, Bauchi, Anambra, Niger and River State.

11. The Forum received a presentation on the Roadmap for Successful Digital Transformation Execution in States from the Chief Executive Officer of Suburban Fiber Company, Mr Bruce Ayonote. The proposal which sought to build both hard and soft digital infrastructure for State governments was welcomed by State Governors. The Forum mandated its Secretariat to facilitate the planning and partnership process with interested State governments.

12. Lastly, the Forum received a report on the Diversification and Non-oil Export Opportunities for States Post-COVID-19 from the Policy Development Facility (PDF) Bridge Programme. The Forum welcomed the study and noted that findings of the report will help strengthen the diversification agenda of States.

Governor Kayode Fayemi
Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum
14th July, 2021

Abducted Zamfara College Provost Regains Freedom

A map of Zamfara in North-West Nigeria.

 

 

The abducted provost of College of Agriculture and Animal Science Bakura, Mr Habibu Mainasara, has regained his freedom.

Mr Mainasara’s elder brother, Nasiru Mainasara, told Channels TV that he was freed on Wednesday night, three days after bandits abducted him from his official residence in the institution.

Details about his release remain sketchy and his brother did not disclose whether a ransom was paid.

On Monday, a day after he was taken, the bandits demanded a ransom of N5 million from his family with negotiations commencing for his release.

His brother, however, said prominent members of the community told the family to stop the negotiation and assured them that he will be rescued safely.

Following his abduction, the Police Command in the state deployed a search and rescue team in the area to hunt down the bandits and ensure his safe return.

Spokesperson of the Command Mohammed Shehu, however, said on Monday that the command was not aware of any negotiation between the family and the abductors.

Rampaging bandits

Zamfara is among states in the North battling to halt the activities of rampaging bandits that have engaged in killings abductions and other crimes.

Only last week, bandits killed 35 persons during an attack on five communities of Faru District in Maradun Local Government Area of the state.

The communities – Gudan-Baushi, Gidan-Adamu,Gudan-Maidawa, Tsauni, and Wari – were attacked by motorcycle-riding bandits in the late hours of Thursday,  July 8.

They stormed the village with their guns blazing, murdering many of the villagers as they tried to flee to safety before going on to destroy properties.

The state of the roads leading to the village contributed to the casualty suffered as the police could not reach it easily, according to the Zamfara Command’s spokesperson.

“The police personnel tried their best to reach the affected communities on receiving the information that the bandits were there but unfortunately they could not reach the places because of the bad roads,” Mohammed Shehu said.

While the attack on the communities is one of the most deadly in recent weeks in terms of killings, the abduction of 317 females students from a government school in February is one of the most brazen cases of abductions in the country.

 

Bandits Abduct Emir of Kajuru, 13 Family Members 

 

Bandits have kidnapped the Emir of Kajuru and 13 of his family members, including two of his grandchildren, in a late-night attack in Kajuru Local  Government Area of Kaduna State. 

The bandits swooped on the Emir in the early hours of Sunday morning, just six days after the abduction of 121 students of Bethel Baptist school in neighbouring Chikun Local Government Area.

It was gathered that the bandits numbering over 200 stormed the emirate, firing gunshots, before proceeding to the Emir’s palace and taking him and 13 members of his family away.

Three women, two of his grandchildren, three of his aides and five others were abducted.

 

 

Spokesman of  Kaduna State Police Command,  Mohammed Jalige, who confirmed the incident, said the 85-year-old second-class traditional Ruler was kidnapped from his palace.

READ ALSO: School Abduction: Bandits Demand Foodstuffs From Parents

He said that a combined team comprising members of the Police Mobile Force, Operatives of  Operation Puff Adder and Anti-kidnapping squad of the Kaduna State Police Command have launched a manhunt for the kidnappers, with a view to rescuing the victims and arresting the criminals.

The abduction is the latest in the LGA, which is 30 kilometres away from the state capital, and has become notorious for kidnappings.

McGregor Suffers Horrific Leg Injury In TKO Loss To Poirier

 

 

American brawler Dustin Poirier overpowered Conor McGregor on Saturday in Las Vegas, winning their lightweight UFC trilogy fight by a TKO after the Irishman appeared to snap his left leg in the waning moments of the opening round.

The fight was officially ruled as a “doctor’s stoppage” at the end of the first round after a bloodied McGregor swung and missed a punch then stumbled backward, his lower leg grotesquely buckling under him near the edge of the octagon.

Poirier then pounced on a helpless McGregor, raining down a series of punches and elbows until McGregor was saved by the bell in front of the capacity crowd at the T-Mobile Arena.

“This guy was saying he was going to murder me and kill me. I am going to leave here in a coffin,” said Poirier.

“Murder is something you don’t clown around with. You don’t talk to people like that. I hope this guy gets home safe to his beautiful family.”

Promoters said afterward that McGregor’s injury was to his lower tibia and that he was expected to undergo surgery on Sunday to repair the damage.

The scheduled five-round rubber match was expected to settle the score and complete the trilogy between the former two-weight UFC champ McGregor and his longtime rival Poirier, who now looks set to get a shot at an undisputed title and establish himself as one of the sport’s superstars.

There was plenty of bad blood between the two in the lead up to their third fight. McGregor insulted Poirier’s wife in a tweet and told Poirier he was going to leave the ring in the box.

Instead, McGregor had to be carted out on a stretcher after doctors stabilized his leg.

“He fractured it on one of the checks at the beginning, then broke it with the punch,” Poirier said. “I felt something. He was kicking me hard. It was probably cracked then on the twist and punch [it broke].”

Poirier said his payback was karma. “This guy is a dirtbag,” Poirier said. “Sometimes these things happen.”

In an expletive-laden interview inside the octagon as he waited for the stretcher to take him out, McGregor insisted he was winning the fight when the freak accident happened.

“I was boxing his bleeding head off. Kicking his bleeding leg off. This is not over,” said McGregor, who has had just one win in four and a half years.

In 2014, McGregor knocked out Poirier in under two minutes and Poirier returned the favour in January, demolishing McGregor with a second-round KO.

It was the first time a capacity crowd has attended a UFC fight in Nevada since the Covid-19 pandemic. With the United States lifting restrictions across the country, fans are returning to sporting events.

Trump booed

Saturday’s crowd included former US President Donald Trump, who was booed by a large contingent of the MMA crowd, while others chanted “U-S-A.”

The first round started with both fighters exchanging kicks and blows, with Poirier getting the better shots in, and it didn’t take long for McGregor to start bleeding from the mouth.

Poirier landed a vicious left hand, a few more long kicks and then they went to the ground for about two minutes of grappling. Poirier let McGregor get up and they both threw a punch at the same time but missed, and that’s when McGregor’s leg buckled.

“When I was walking away and he stayed down, I looked down at his shin and I saw the bone. It was disfigured a little bit. I said, ‘Oh man.'” Poirier said.

Promoter Dana White said he hoped there was a fourth Poirier-McGregor fight.

“You can’t have a fight finish that way,” White said.

Poirier had his own take on another fight.

“We are going to fight again whether it’s in the octagon or the sidewalk,” Poirier said.

AFP