Djokovic, Halep Named 2018 ITF World Champions

Simona Halep                                                                                 Novak Djokovic


Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep were Thursday named as the 2018 ITF world champions by the governing body of global tennis.

World number one Djokovic receives the honour from the International Tennis Federation for the sixth time, while it is the first year that Romania’s top-ranked Halep has been recognised.

“I am very honoured to be named ITF world champion again,” said Serbia’s Djokovic, who stormed back to the top of the rankings after injury, winning Wimbledon and the US Open.

“I am particularly proud of this achievement after all that I’ve been through physically this year, but part of me always believed I could make it back to the top. It is very satisfying to join Pete Sampras by winning my sixth award.”

Halep also enjoyed Grand Slam success in 2018, claiming her maiden major title at Roland Garros and reaching the final at the Australian Open.

“It’s a great honour to be named as ITF world champion for the first time,” she said. “I had an incredible year, winning my first Grand Slam at Roland Garros and finishing the year as world number one.”

US pair Mike Bryan and Jack Sock won the men’s doubles award while the women’s doubles world champions are Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova.

The ITF uses an objective system that considers all results during the year but gives special weight to the Grand Slam tournaments and two ITF international team competitions, the Davis Cup and Fed Cup.

“Congratulations to our 2018 ITF world champions who have demonstrated immense skill, talent and dedication on their way to achieving great success on the court,” said ITF president David Haggerty.

“They are a credit to our sport and have all contributed to another memorable year for tennis.”


ITF Trains 11,000 Osun Youths In Skill Development Programme

The Director-General of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Joseph Ari, has said that no fewer than 11,100 young Nigerians have been trained and equipped nationwide with working tools by the organisation under the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP).

He stated that the development was part of “ITF contribution to the Federal Government’s policy of job and wealth creation, including poverty reduction by equipping as many youths as possible with skills for employability and entrepreneurship”.

Ari made this known on Wednesday in Osogbo, the Osun state capital during the presentation ceremony of start-up packs to 300 beneficiaries of NISDP. He emphasised that Nigerians must strive to acquire hands-on skills, which he described as universal currency of the 21st century.

“The trainees we are graduating today were trained for three months in tailoring and fashion design, welding and fabrication and plumbing and pipe-fitting”.

According to the ITF boss, “The selection process for beneficiaries across all the local government was thorough and meticulous based on potential value added to the individual trainees and to the growth and development of Nigerian economy”.

While explaining that the closing ceremony of NISDP and presentation of working tools to beneficiaries were staggered to hold in designated states in Nigeria,  “Since we commenced implementation of the programme, we have taken a step further from merely training and equipping the youth with knowledge and skills, to providing them with start-up packs to enable them to set up their businesses and hit the ground running”.

“The decision to provide the packs was informed by our tracking and monitoring of trainees of earlier phases, which revealed that were supported with start-up packs, 90% of the trainees went on to be successful entrepreneurs or even employers od labour. Conversely, where they were not, they were not as successful”, he remarked.

“The start-up packs that are being distributed today should be viewed as our practical example and message to stakeholders, especially State Governors and other members of Organised Private Sector (OPS) that training without corresponding support will not lead to expected outcomes”.

In his remark, Osun State governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, noted that the future of our nation depends on the youth underscored the need for Nigerians to embrace productivity, and “no society survives on dependence. Any unearned income is a rent and it is a curse”.

Describing work as “An engagement that enriches self and the society, the governor expressed the readiness of the state government to collaborate with the ITF in monitoring the beneficiaries, just as he tasked them not to succumb to any urge of selling their working tools.

Tennis: Italy’s Sara Errani Banned For Doping Violation

Italian tennis player Sara Errani has been suspended for two months for an anti-doping violation, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) confirmed on Monday.

The 29-year-old former French Open finalist failed the out-of-competition test in February after a urine sample was found to contain letrozole – a substance used in the treatment of breast cancer which is also on the banned drug list of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

It is described as an aromatase inhibitor that can act as a hormonal and metabolic stimulant.

An ITF statement said Errani was charged with an Anti-Doping violation on April 18 and had promptly asked for a hearing before an Independent Tribunal.

House To Probe ITF Over Non-disbursement Of Funds

House To Probe ITF Over Non-disbursement Of FundsThe House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the operations of the Industrial Trust Fund (ITF) between 2010 to date over the alleged non-disbursement of funds to students.

Speaking on the floor of the Lower Chamber on Wednesday, Honourable Michael Chinda noted that it was unpatriotic for any government agency to deny students who have undergone industrial attachments what was due to them.

Honourable Chinda, a lawmaker from Rivers State, observed that the trend would continue if nothing was done to check the alleged non-payment of industrial allowances to students by the agency.

In another development, Honourable Afe Olowokere from Ondo State stressed the need to allow the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to enforce its powers.

He argued that the breach of the procurement laws by Ministries, Departments and Agencies without any sanction by the BPP renders its existence a waste on the finances of government.

The House consequently mandated its Committee on Gas and Petroleum Resources to meet with relevant government agencies, to investigate government policies towards the actualisation of the 2020 Gas Flaring Exit. and submit its report in eight weeks.

The Committee has been asked to submit its report to the lawmakers in eight weeks.

Osinbajo To Launch MSME Clinic In Kwara

MSME Clinic, Yemi Osinbajo, KwaraActing President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, is set to launch a three-day Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) clinic on Thursday, February 23 for viable enterprises in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.

Recall that Acting President Osinbajo commissioned the Aba MSME clinic on January 26.

Aba is the commercial hub of Abia State in southeast Nigeria.

The Chief Operating Officer of the Kwara State MSME Bureau, Mr Segun Soewu, who made the disclosure in a statement on Monday, informed that the event would hold at the Banquet Hall, Ilorin by 10:00AM daily.

He described the clinic as an opportunity for MSME operators in the state to discuss the opportunities and challenges confronting their businesses.

The MSME Bureau boss added that business owners can also make inquiries about policies and regulations regarding their businesses from the Federal agencies that would be present at the programme.

He listed the agencies to include the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, Nigeria Export Promotion Council, Nigerian Export-Import Bank and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

Others are Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Bank of Agriculture, Bank of Industry, Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), Projects Development Institute, Raw Materials Research and Development Council, and the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure.

Mr Soewu asked intending participants to contact the office of the Chief Operating Officer of the Kwara State MSME Bureau at the Ministry of Commerce and Cooperatives, Gambari Road in Ilorin.


Buhari Appoints New Heads For 13 FG Agencies

Muhammadu-Buhari-UNGeneral-AssemblyPresident Muhammadu Buhari on Monday approved the appointments of Chief Executives for 13 Federal Government agencies.

A list of the new Chief Executives was contained in a statement by the Director of Press in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF), Bolaji Adebiyi.

The appointments are:

Joseph Ari, Director-General, Industrial Training Fund (ITF).

Dr. Isa Ibrahim, Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

Simbi Wabote, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Monitoring Board.

Aboloma Anthony, Director-General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).

Mamman Amadu, Director-General, Bureau of Public Procurement.

Sharon Ikeazor, Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate.

Princess Akodundo Gloria, National Coordinator, New Partnership for Africa’s Development.

Mr Ahmed Bobboi, Executive Secretary, Petroleum Equalisation Fund.

Umana Okon Umana, Managing Director, Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority.

Sa’adiya Faruq, Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons.

Usman Abubakar, Chairman, Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC).

Dr. Bello Gusau, Executive Secretary, Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF).

Yewande Sadiku, Executive Secretary, National Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC).

Sharapova Provisionally Suspended For Failing Drug Test

sharapovaFormer world number one tennis player, Maria Sharapova, is provisionally suspended from March 12 pending further action.

The Russian revealed she failed a drugs test at the Australian Open after testing positive for meldonium, a substance she has been taking since 2006 for health issues.

“I did fail the test and take full responsibility for it,” said the five-time Grand Slam champion.

“For the past 10 years I have been given a medicine called mildronate by my family doctor and a few days ago after I received the letter from the ITF (International Tennis Federation) I found out it also has another name of meldonium, which I did not know.

“It is very important for you to understand that for 10 years this medicine was not on Wada’s banned list and I had been legally taking that medicine for the past 10 years.

“But on 1 January the rules had changed and meldonium became a prohibited substance, which I had not known.”

She added; “I received an email on 22 December from Wada about the changes happening to the banned list and you can see prohibited items – and I didn’t click on that link.”

Serena, Djokovic Emerge ITF World Champions

Djokovic-serena- ITfSerena Williams and Novak Djokovic have been named the women’s and men’s players of the year by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

Both players won three of the four Grand Slams in 2015 and are well clear in the world rankings.

Williams, who was named ‘ITF World Champion’ for the sixth time, won five titles throughout the year, finishing with a 53-3 win-loss record.

Djokovic, who finished the year as men’s number 1 for the fourth time, won the award for a fifth time.

He managed a career-best 11 titles and finished with an 82-6 record.

2015 Elections: Naval Officers Tasked On Political Stability

Nigeria Navy on ElectionsOfficials of the Nigerian Navy have been asked to guard against aligning with politicians to avoid being used as tools of political instability during the general elections that are few days away.

The demand was made on Saturday by the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, at the passing out parade of Direct Short Service Commission Course 22 Cadets into the Navy at the Nigerian Naval College Onne.

Air Chief Marshal Badeh reviewed the officers at the passing out parade which had the full complement of senior officers of the Nigerian Navy led by the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin.

The Chief of Defence Staff told the officers to stay committed to the call to uphold the ideals of national security, especially as the nation prepares for elections.

Other persons at the event were family and friends of the newly admitted naval officers and guests.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Navy has expressed its commitment to ensuring adequate security of lives and properties of Nigerians travelling by sea, to exercise their franchise during the elections.

The Navy gave the assurance, just as the Eastern Naval Command embarked on a show of force along the Calabar water ways, in preparation to support the Independent National Electoral Commission in handling and distribution of electoral materials.

Speaking to reporters after the seven kilometre exercise on the high sea, the representative of the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Rear Admiral Atiku Abubakar, said, the essence of the trip before the elections was to allow personnel practice the act of providing security in the nation’s waters.