LeBron Passes Durant For Lead In NBA All-Star Balloting

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 12: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers is fouled by Dillon Brooks #24 of the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center on February 12, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.  Meg Oliphant/Getty Images/AFP

 

 

LeBron James says playing an NBA All-Star Game this season would be a “slap in the face” for players but a lot of fans want to see him do it.

Los Angeles Lakers playmaker James overtook Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant for the overall lead in Thursday’s latest voting returns announced by the league for the NBA All-Star Game.

Despite his criticism of the idea, James surged into the lead in worldwide voting totals with 4,369,553 to 4,234,433 for Durant.

In initial voting returns announced last week, Durant set the pace with just over 2.3 million votes to 2.288 million for James.

The league has not yet confirmed there will even be an elite showdown of the Eastern and Western Conference superstars, but multiple reports say the NBA and players union agreed on staging it March 7 in Atlanta during a one-week break in the campaign.

James said last week he didn’t want to lose his mid-season break after leading the Lakers to the NBA crown on October 11 following the longest canmpaign in NBA history due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

NBA clubs then started pre-season training camps on November 10 and began the 2020-21 season December 22, a much shorter off-season than usual.

 

LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 12: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots the ball during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies on February 12, 2021 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California.  Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images/AFP

 

“I have zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star Game this year,” James said last week. “I am not happy about it. If I am selected I will be there physically but not mentally.”

James, 36, noted players were told there would not be an All-Star contest when they agreed to start the season so soon after deciding the title in an Orlando Covid-19 quarantine bubble.

“It is pretty much a slap in the face,” he said.

Among other players who criticized the idea of staging an NBA All-Star Game were James Harden, Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

James is averaging 25.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.9 assists a game for the Lakers while Durant is averaging 29.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.2 assists a contest.

James set the pace for Western Conference forwards followed by Denver’s Nikola Jokic, a Serbian center, with 3,006,981 votes and Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers on 2,462,621 with Anthony Davis of the Lakers a close fourth on 2,329,371.

Among Eastern Conference forwards, Durant was followed by Greek big man Antetokounmpo on 3,282,478 and Cameroon star Joel Embiid of Philadelphia on 3,022,105.

 

 

LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 12: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives to the basket during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies on February 12, 2021 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California.  Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images/AFP

– Curry leads all guards –
Among guards, NBA scoring leader Bradley Beal set the pace for Eastern Conference guards on 2,528,719 with Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving second on 2,104,130 and his backcourt partner on the Nets, Harden, third on 1,829,504.

In Western Conference backcourt voting, Golden State’s Stephen Curry led with the third-most total votes on 4,033,050 with Slovenian Luka Doncic of Dallas second on 2,484,552. Portland’s Damian Lillard was third on 2,095,157.

All top-three players remained in the same order at their positions as they enjoyed last week.

Worldwide fan voting will conclude on Tuesday. Starting lineup selections will be announced next Thursday and All-Star reserves chosen by NBA coaches will be named on February 23.

Fan balloting will count for 50% of a player’s total with current player voting and a media panel each contributing 25% to decide a final ranking for each individual.

 

NBA Sues Buhari Over Extension Of IGP’s Tenure

File photo of President Muhummadu Buhari decorating IGP Mohammed Adamu.

 

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has filed a suit to challenge the extension of the tenure of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Suit with number FHC/L/CS/214/2021 is filed against the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Police Service Commission, and Mr Mohammed Abubakar Adamu.

READ ALSO: New Service Chiefs: We Are Operating In An Atmosphere Of Impunity – Falana

The NBA in a statement signed on Friday by its President Olumide Akpata said it is seeking a judicial determination of the constitutionality of the President’s extension of Mr Adamu’s tenure as the Inspector-General of Police for three months after Mr Adamu had, on 1 February 2021, attained 35 years of service as a member of the Nigeria Police Force.

The NBA said in its view, the President’s extension of Mr Adamu’s tenure by three months is unconstitutional.

 

 See the full statement by the NBA below…

 

INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF POLICE – EXTENSION OF TENURE OF OFFICE

Distinguished Colleagues,

In fidelity to the motto of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) which is Promoting the Rule of Law, on Thursday, 11 February 2021, the NBA-Public Interest Litigation Committee (NBA-PILC), on behalf of the NBA, commenced legal action at the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/214/2021 (the “Suit”) against the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Police Service Commission, and Mr Mohammed Abubakar Adamu.

In the Suit, the NBA seeks judicial determination of the constitutionality of the President’s extension of Mr Adamu’s tenure as the Inspector-General of Police for three months after Mr Adamu had, on 1 February 2021, attained thirty-five years of service as a member of the Nigeria Police Force.

The NBA’s decision to take this extraordinary line of action is underpinned by an urgent need, and a sacred duty, to reassert the supremacy of the rule of law in the face of growing impunity and the seeming reluctance of Law Officers in Government to give proper counsel.

The NBA’s position in the Suit is that Mr Adamu ceased to be a member of the Nigeria Police Force when he attained the milestone of thirty-five years of service. Therefore, the President’s extension of Mr Adamu’s tenure by three months, in the NBA’s respectful view, is unconstitutional.

In the grand scheme of things, the NBA is wary that the more government officials casually violate the law, the harder it would become to expect citizens to be compliant. Citizens take their cues from their leaders and public office holders who flout the laws of the country that they are meant to uphold will discover sooner or later that their examples will be followed by those that they purport to govern.

The ubiquity of acts of impunity, especially by those in high public offices, portends an existential threat to the survival of this country and her hard-won democracy. The NBA, now more than ever, is firmly committed to changing this narrative.

As the outcome of the Suit is awaited, the NBA will continue to condemn and confront lawlessness in any form and from all quarters.

OLUMIDE AKPATA

President NBA

Lebron Passes Durant For Lead In NBA All-Star Balloting

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on February 10, 2021 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images/AFP Adam Pantozzi / NBAE / Getty Images / Getty Images via AFP

 

LeBron James says playing an NBA All-Star Game this season would be a “slap in the face” for players but a lot of fans want to see him do it.

Los Angeles Lakers playmaker James overtook Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant for the overall lead in Thursday’s latest voting returns announced by the league for the NBA All-Star Game.

Despite his criticism of the idea, James surged into the lead in worldwide voting totals with 4,369,553 to 4,234,433 for Durant.

In initial voting returns announced last week, Durant set the pace with just over 2.3 million votes to 2.288 million for James.

The league has not yet confirmed there will even be an elite showdown of the Eastern and Western Conference superstars, but multiple reports say the NBA and players union agreed on staging it March 7 in Atlanta during a one-week break in the campaign.

James said last week he didn’t want to lose his mid-season break after leading the Lakers to the NBA crown on October 11 following the longest campaign in NBA history due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

NBA clubs then started pre-season training camps on November 10 and began the 2020-21 season December 22, a much shorter off-season than usual.

“I have zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star Game this year,” James said last week. “I am not happy about it. If I am selected I will be there physically but not mentally.”

James, 36, noted players were told there would not be an All-Star contest when they agreed to start the season so soon after deciding the title in an Orlando Covid-19 quarantine bubble.

“It is pretty much a slap in the face,” he said.

Among other players who criticized the idea of staging an NBA All-Star Game were James Harden, Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

James is averaging 25.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.9 assists a game for the Lakers while Durant is averaging 29.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.2 assists a contest.

James set the pace for Western Conference forwards followed by Denver’s Nikola Jokic, a Serbian center, with 3,006,981 votes and Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers on 2,462,621 with Anthony Davis of the Lakers a close fourth on 2,329,371.

Among Eastern Conference forwards, Durant was followed by Greek big man Antetokounmpo on 3,282,478 and Cameroon star Joel Embiid of Philadelphia on 3,022,105.

Curry Leads All Guards

Among guards, NBA scoring leader Bradley Beal set the pace for Eastern Conference guards on 2,528,719 with Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving second on 2,104,130 and his backcourt partner on the Nets, Harden, third on 1,829,504.

In Western Conference backcourt voting, Golden State’s Stephen Curry led with the third-most total votes on 4,033,050 with Slovenian Luka Doncic of Dallas second on 2,484,552. Portland’s Damian Lillard was third on 2,095,157.

All top-three players remained in the same order at their positions as they enjoyed last week.

Worldwide fan voting will conclude on Tuesday. Starting lineup selections will be announced next Thursday and All-Star reserves chosen by NBA coaches will be named on February 23.

Fan balloting will count for 50% of a player’s total with current player voting and a media panel each contributing 25% to decide a final ranking for each individual.

Pele’s Tribute To Late Maradona, Diop’s Death And The Biggest Sports Stories Last Week

Diop scored the country’s winning goal against France at the 2002 World Cup. Photo: [email protected] Online.

 

Barely a week after the death of Argentine legend, Diego Maradona, the football world was once again, thrown into mourning with the demise of Senegalese World Cup hero, Bouba Diop, aged 42. 

He netted three goals for the Teranga Lions as they cruised to the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup in their maiden appearance in the competition, kicking off a week that saw Brazilian legend, Pele penning an emotional farewell to Maradona, a winner of the 1986 World Cup.

Even though activities are picking up in most parts of the world following the halting of events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sports personalities are still testing positive for the disease with Formula 1 champion, Lewis Hamilton and 48 NBA players the latest in the long-list to have contracted the virus.

On First Eleven, a recap of the biggest eleven stories this week, the EPL and EFL are also mulling measures to combat the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic while organisers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are saying there is a financial adjustment to the games billed for next year in the Asian nation.

 

1. Senegal World Cup Hero Diop Dies At 42

Barely a week after the demise of legendary soccer star, Diego Maradona, the football world was thrown into another bout of mourning. Bouba Diop, the former Portsmouth star who scored Senegal’s lone goal in the famous defeat of the then-world champions, France in the opening game of the 2002 World Cup died on Sunday from a long illness.

“FIFA is saddened to learn of the passing of Senegal legend Papa Bouba Diop,” the world football governing body said in a statement confirming the death of the 42-year-old player who was popularly called ‘The Wardrobe.’ “Once a World Cup hero, always a World Cup hero.”

Diop also played for French club Lens, Fulham, West Ham United and Birmingham City and was part of the Senegal side that lost to Cameroon on penalties in the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations final.

2. Pele Pens Message To ‘Great Friend’ Maradona

 

In this file photo taken on June 09, 2016 former Argentinian football international Diego Maradona (L) and former Brazilian footballer Pele pose after a football match organised by Swiss luxury watchmaker Hublot at the Jardin du Palais Royal in Paris, on the eve of the Euro 2016 European football championships. PATRICK KOVARIK / AFP

 

A week after the death of Maradona, Brazillian legend, Pele wrote an emotional farewell message to his “great friend” and “genius who enchanted the world”.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Pelé (@pele)


“The world would be much better if we could compare each other less and start admiring each other more,” Pele posted on Instagram alongside a series of photos with him and the Argentine maestro. “So, I want to say that you are beyond comparison,” said the three-time World Cup winner.”

Both did not play at the same time but they have always drawn comparisons from football fans. At the turn of the millennium when Pele was crowned “Player of the (20th) Century” by FIFA while Maradona won a public vote.

3. Tokyo Olympics To Cost $2.4b More

 

The Olympic Rings are pictured in front of the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne on March 21, 2020, as doubts increase over whether Tokyo can safely host the summer Games amid the spread of the COVID-19. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP.

 

Organisers of the Tokyo Olympics have said the postponed games will cost an extra $2.4bn, ballooning an already controversial budget.

They said the Tokyo 2020 Games will need an additional $1.5 billion for operational costs, with another $900 million to be spent on countermeasures against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The cost may equally move up with the organisers on Friday noting that more $250 million in “contingency” funds will be released to help cover the expenses.

4. Lewis Hamilton Tests Positive For COVID-19

Formula One World Drivers Champion Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP celebrates in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of USA at Circuit of The Americas on November 03, 2019, in Austin, Texas. Dan Istitene/Getty Images/AFP

 

Multiple Formula 1 champion, Lewis Hamilton has joined the long list of sports personalities to have contracted  COVID-19, meaning he missed this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

“He woke up on Monday morning with mild symptoms and was informed at the same time that a contact prior to arrival in Bahrain had subsequently tested positive,” a statement from Hamilton’s Mercedes team said, explaining that the British man is isolating in line with COVID-19 protocols and health guidelines in the Asian nation.

The team noted that Hamilton who had been tested thrice the past week had returned negative.

5. 48 NBA Players Contract COVID-19

 

In this file photo taken on March 12, 2020, an NBA logo is shown at the 5th Avenue NBA store in New York City. (Photo by Jeenah Moon / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP).

 

From Hamilton to the US, more sportsmen and women have continued to test positive to COVID-19. The NBA on Wednesday said after its latest round of testing, 48 players had contracted the virus, a dramatic increase over the zero positive tests reported during last season’s quarantine bubble in Florida.

The league said the positive tests are the result of 546 tests carried out between November 24-30 as the NBA gets set to begin preseason games in nine days. The zero positive tests were from the beginning of last season’s quarantine bubble to the end of the season in mid-October.

Under the league’s new COVID-19 protocols, a player who tests positive has to refrain from workouts for at least 10 days and more if he is showing symptoms. The NBA’s first preseason games are December 11 with the regular season scheduled to begin less than two weeks later.

6. EPL, EFL Roll Out COVID-19 Package

 

premier-league-fixtures-today
The Premier League was put on hold since mid-March due to COVID-19 outbreak. Photo: Twitter/Premier League.

 

The Premier League and the English Football League agreed a £250-million rescue package on Thursday, ending months of uncertainty for lower-league clubs struggling financially during the coronavirus pandemic.

The EFL said clubs in Leagues One and Two — the third and fourth-tiers — would receive grants worth £50 million ($67 million). The Premier League will provide a further financial commitment to help the EFL secure a £200-million loan facility for clubs in the second-tier Championship.

It follows months of negotiations between the two governing bodies, who had been criticised for their failure to reach an agreement.

7. IOC Presidency: Bach To Go Unopposed

 

In this file photo taken on January 10, 2020, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach attends a press conference in Lausanne.  Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

 

Thomas Bach will stand unopposed to serve a second term as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) president.

Bach, a 66-year-old German lawyer, is set to be confirmed for a second and final four-year term at an IOC session in March in Athens. He was initially elected for an eight-year term as Olympic chief in September 2013, taking over from Belgian Jacques Rogge. If re-elected, Bach’s term will end in 2025, a year after the Paris Olympics.

The next term for the IOC presidency will start after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which will now take place from July 23-Aug 8, 2021, having been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

8. LA Lakers: LeBron James Extends Contract

 

In this file photo taken on October 11, 2020, LeBron James (C) of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates with teammates after winning the 2020 NBA Championship in Game Six at AdventHealth Arena in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Douglas P. DeFelice / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP
In this file photo taken on October 11, 2020, LeBron James (C) of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates with teammates after winning the 2020 NBA Championship in Game Six at AdventHealth Arena in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Douglas P. DeFelice / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

Reigning NBA finals MVP LeBron James, who will turn 36 this month, has agreed to a two-year, $85 million contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers, his agent Rich Paul confirmed on Wednesday.

The extension means James will make $39.2 million next season and will be a Laker through the 2022-23 season, American sports broadcaster ESPN reported Paul as saying.

James will also make $41.1 million in 2021-22 and $44.5 million in 2022-23. By the time his contract ends, he will have played two decades in the NBA. Last season, James averaged 25.3 points and led the NBA in assists with 10.2 per game.

9. Champions League: Woman Makes Refereeing History

French referee Stephanie Frappart gives a yellow card to Dynamo Kiev’s Ukrainian midfielder Nicholas Shaparenko (C) during the UEFA Champions League Group G football match Juventus vs Dynamo Kiev on December 2, 2020 at the Juventus stadium in Turin. Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

 

Stephanie Frappart became the first woman to referee a men’s Champions League game on Wednesday as Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 750th career goal in a 3-0 win for Juventus over Dynamo Kiev.

The 36-year-old Frappart has already made history as the first woman to referee in Ligue 1, and took charge of the 2019 UEFA Super Cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea. She also made her Europa League debut in October.

Meanwhile, Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain suffered mixed fortunes as the group stage of Europe’s elite competition enters its latter phase.

 

Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar celebrates after he scores his team’s third goal during the UEFA Champions League group H football match between Manchester United and Paris Saint Germain at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England, on December 2, 2020.
Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Dortmund was held 1-1 by Lazio while Brazillian star, Neymar bagged a brace to hand PSG a 3-1 win over English giants, Manchester United. A depleted Liverpool side beat Ajax 1-0 to move to the next stage of the competition.

Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid have their hopes of reaching the knockout phase of the Champions League hanging in the balance after going down 2-0 away to the Ukrainian side, Dynamo Kiev.

 

10. UEFA Mulls 10-Game Model For Champions League 

 

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 28, 2020 shows the UEFA logo at the organization's headquarters in Nyon. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
In this file photo taken on February 28, 2020 shows the UEFA logo at the organization’s headquarters in Nyon. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

 

UEFA is to hold talks over proposals that would see the Champions League group stage transformed to guarantee 10 matches for each side in the competition, according to a report on Tuesday.

Champions League reform is expected from 2024 onwards as European football’s governing body aims to ward off the threat of a breakaway super league from the continent’s biggest clubs.

British newspaper The Times reported that a “Swiss system” that would see all sides in the competition compete in one league and play 10 different opponents, selected by a draw, is now UEFA’s favoured model for reform.

11. Women’s Rugby W/Cup Teams Increased

 

A file photo of World Rugby logo.

 

World Rugby has announced an increase in the number of teams in the women’s edition of the Rugby World Cup, expanding the number of sides to 16 teams from 2025 onwards.

The decision, taken by the Rugby World Cup Board in 2020, is a confirmation of World Rugby’s resolve to speed up the women’s game globally via its transformational women’s strategic plan of 2017-25. Women’s rugby has experienced record growth in recent years, with women and girls now accounting for 28% of the global playing population.

Your Biggest Sporting Story? 

In a week that saw action from the Champions League, the Europa League, the death of Senegalese World Cup hero, Diop, and other thrilling events, sports enthusiasts undoubtedly had an exciting week.

From football, and tennis, to basketball and athletics, what could you describe as your biggest sports story this week?

 

 

 

 

Police Act 2020 Full Of Prescriptions, Lacks Accountability Framework, Says NBA President

The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Olumide Akpata, has called for better ways to hold erring police personnel accountable for their actions in the country.

He made the call on Thursday during his appearance on a Police Reform Townhall organised by the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), in collaboration with Channels Television.

Akpata believes while the efforts to pass and sign the Police Act 2020 into law are commendable, the Act lacks some vital components.

“In this new Act, there does not appear to be a clearly laid out accountability framework, and that for me is a major concern.

“The Act is full of prescriptions; it is loaded with prescriptions as to what standard operating procedures should be regarding policing,” he said.

The NBA president added, “There are no consequences for bad behaviours and rules that govern how a policeman will be held accountable for their actions.”

He stressed the need for grassroots policing, saying it was important for the police to gain the trust of the citizen who they protect.

NBA President, Mr Olumide Akpata, speaks during a townhall on police reform on Channels Television on December 3, 2020.

 

Akpata advised the police authorities to lead the enlightenment campaign aimed at educating the people as to what their rights were, as contained in the Act.

He stated that this was important in gaining the people’s trust, as the implementation strategies for the Police Act 2020 would determine its success.

The legal practitioner said, “The ever-widening trust deficit between the police and the citizens that they are meant to be protecting; speaking as a lawyer, I also know that this cynicism is a function of even just the relationship between the police and lawyer, you will be shocked to find out how abysmal that relationship is at the moment.”

“The trust between the police and even the lawyers has broken down, not to talk about police and the citizen.

“I am hoping that if we get those implementation strategies right, we should be able to arrive at our promise land,” he added.

NBA President, Mr Olumide Akpata, answering questions from Channels Television political correspondent, Seun Okinbaloye, during a townhall on police reform on December 3, 2020.

48 NBA Players Test Positive For COVID-19

(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 12, 2020, an NBA logo is shown at the 5th Avenue NBA store in New York City. PHOTO: Jeenah Moon / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

 

The NBA announced on Wednesday that 48 players have tested positive for the coronavirus, a dramatic increase over the zero positive tests reported during last season’s quarantine bubble in Florida.

The league said the positive tests are the result of 546 tests carried out between November 24-30 as the NBA gets set to begin preseason games in nine days.

The zero positive tests were from the beginning of last season’s quarantine bubble to the end of the season in mid-October.

READ ALSO: Brexit Accelerated UK’s COVID-19 Vaccine Approval – Govt

One team, the Golden State Warriors, has already delayed the beginning of their individual workouts by a day this week because of players testing positive.

This was the initial round of tests for players as they returned to their teams ahead of the start of individual workouts on Tuesday. The NBA says it will be testing all of its players daily throughout the season.

The infection rate number is also higher than the 46 players that tested positive for Covid-19 in the weeks ahead of the start of the pandemic-disrupted season. The new results show the league has a positivity rate of 8.8 percent, which is high.

Under the league’s new COVID-19 protocols, a player who tests positive has to refrain from workouts for at least 10 days and more if he is showing symptoms.

The NBA’s first preseason games are December 11 with the regular season scheduled to begin less than two weeks later.

AFP

LeBron James Extends Contract With LA Lakers

 In this file photo taken on October 11, 2020, LeBron James (C) of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates with teammates after winning the 2020 NBA Championship in Game Six at AdventHealth Arena in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Douglas P. DeFelice / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP
In this file photo taken on October 11, 2020, LeBron James (C) of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates with teammates after winning the 2020 NBA Championship in Game Six at AdventHealth Arena in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Douglas P. DeFelice / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

Reigning NBA finals MVP LeBron James, who will turn 36 this month, has agreed to a two-year, $85 million contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers, his agent Rich Paul said on Wednesday.

The extension means James will make $39.2 million next season and will be a Laker through the 2022-23 season, American sports broadcaster ESPN reported Paul as saying.

James will also make $41.1 million in 2021-22 and $44.5 million in 2022-23. By the time his contract ends he will have played two decades in the NBA.

Last season, James averaged 25.3 points and led the NBA in assists with 10.2 per game.

READ ALSO: Van Bronckhorst Quits China After One Season

James was named playoff MVP after the Lakers beat the Miami Heat in six games for the NBA championship.

He became the first player in NBA history to win the award with three different teams. He also was finals MVP with the Heat in 2012 and 2013 and with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.

James enters his 18th NBA season in 2020-21 ranked third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 34,241 points, behind only Karl Malone (36,928) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387).

 

AFP

Judicial Discrimination: NBA President Says He Expects NJC To Do The Right Thing

NBA president-elect, Olumide Apata. Photo: [email protected] Akpata

 

Ahead of Monday’s interview by the National Judicial Council (NJC) Committee for the appointment of a Chief Judge for the Gombe State Judiciary, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Olumide Akpata has declared that he “expects the NJC to do the right thing”.

Akpata made the declaration in a telephone interview with Channels Television on Sunday,

Akpata was reacting to news reports that the Gombe State Government had excluded the name of the most senior judge in the state, Justice Beatrice Illiya from the list of names forwarded to the NJC for consideration as appointment for Chief Judge.

Justice Illiya herself had written a petition to the NJC to complain about this exclusion and had copied the NBA in the petition.

In her petition, the most senior judge said that after the retirement of Hon Justice Hakila Herman, she was appointed as the Acting Chief Judge of Gombe State but after the mandatory 3 months provided by the constitution, Governor Inuwa Yahaya refused to extend her tenure.

Instead, another judge of the State, Justice Muazu Pindiga was appointed and his three months tenure as acting Chief Judge has been renewed for the fourth time because the executive has refused to do the right thing.

In August 2020, when the NJC directed the Gombe State Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to re-submit the names of the nominees for appointment as substantive Chief Judge of Gombe State by doing the right thing and including the name of the most senior judge, Justice Beatrice Illiya, the State JSC defied the directive, arguing that seniority is not a factor to be considered in the appointment of a Chief Judge of a State.

Justice Beatrice Illiya says she is being discriminated against because she is female and Christian.

The NBA President who was copied in the petition has however declared that the NJC at its meeting on Monday would do the right thing and insist on the appointment of the most senior judge of the state.

‘The Timing Is Suspicious’: NBA President Faults Moves To Regulate Social Media

The NBA President believes social media is already regulated in Nigeria.

 

The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata has faulted moves by the Federal Government to further regulate social media and believes the timing is wrong. 

“I struggle with the terms that we bandy around. Like I said, I think the social media space is regulated already, ” the NBA President said on Sunday Politics when asked if social media need further regulation.

“Are we saying regulate or shutdown? What are we saying because we hear them using regulate? We hear the minister of Information use the word ‘sanitize.’ I just say to myself, ‘what are we trying to do?’ The timing is suspicious.”

While admitting that there are people who are “irresponsible” in their usage of social media, he said the country has laws to deal with such kind of persons.

“And if we need to tweak the laws here and there, as we amend our laws every day to meet with issues that may come up that were not previously contemplated, we are all well and good,” he argued.

“But it is not throwing out the baby and the bathwater approach like I suspect that is in contemplation by those who are handling the levers of power today. That is not going to work.”

—Well Within Their Rights—

On the setting up of panels of enquiry into the activities of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), the legal practitioner noted that despite arguments on their legality, the governors have the right to do so.

“I think the governors are well within their rights or the power of the law to set up those panels of enquiry for the purpose of determining whether or not the now-disbanded SARS went beyond their remit; whether or not the claims that we have from various Nigerians as to how they were mistreated or illegally treated by SARS are correct,” he noted.

Violence: Rights Of Arrested Nigerians Must Be Respected – NBA

NBA president, Olumide Akpata. Photo: [email protected] Akpata

 

The Nigeria Bar Association has called for the respect of the rights of Nigerians arrested on suspicion of taking part in the looting and destruction of public buildings and private businesses among others.

This was contained in a statement issued on Friday by NBA President, Olumide Akpata.

He argued that the 1999 Constitution “presumes all suspects and defendants innocent until proven guilty; prohibit the detention of citizens beyond 24-48 hours; forbid the subjection of Nigerian citizens to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment, and mandates the Police and other law enforcement agencies to bring such persons to court within 24-48 hours.”

While noting that the association condemns acts of violence, vandalism or destruction of properties, Akpata asked the authorities to respect the rights of the suspects, especially their right to the presumption of innocence.

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE

#ENDSARS PROTESTS – A CALL FOR THE RESPECT OF THE LEGAL AND

FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF NIGERIAN CITIZENS

  1. I have in the past 24 hours received several calls and complaints from Lawyers and Nigerians generally, about the recent public parade of hundreds of persons arrested and detained by the Nigerian Police on the suspicion of taking part in the looting and destruction of public buildings and private businesses and/or for contravening the curfew declared by various State Governors in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests that unfortunately turned violent.
  2. As I have continuously maintained, the Nigerian Bar Association (“NBA”) is completely opposed to any act of arson, vandalism, destruction of public or private assets, or other forms of force or violence. However, the legal rights of citizens who are arrested on account of such allegations must be respected, especially their right to the presumption of innocence.
  3. In many, if not most of these cases, these people, who it must be noted are first and foremost Nigerian citizens, have been held incommunicado for days without access to their families or legal practitioners of their choice and under inhumane or deplorable conditions in brazen breach of the express provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) which presumes all suspects and defendants innocent until proven guilty; prohibit the detention of citizens beyond 24-48 hours; forbid the subjection of Nigerian citizens to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment; and mandates the Police and other law enforcement agencies to bring such persons to court within 24-48 hours.
  4. It beggars belief that this conduct by the Nigerian Police is coming on the heels of the #EndSARS protests which were precipitated by the historical abuse of citizens by men and officers of the Nigerian Police especially those of the now-defunct Special AntiRobbery Squad (SARS), and the aftermath of which is yet to fully die down.
  5. It is highly regrettable that the Police in particular continues to carry on business as usual despite being in the eye of the storm in recent times and in disregard of the wide outpouring of condemnation by Nigerians at home and abroad as well as foreign nationals and international organisations about the misconduct of some of their officers.

This gives the indication that the Police hierarchy has failed to get the message and/or is paying lip service to the calls for holistic Police reforms.

  1. The NBA once again calls on the Nigerian Police and the Attorneys General of the various States to immediately charge the suspects before courts of competent jurisdiction in accordance with contemporary requirements of the law, or to release them unconditionally. The wanton destruction of public buildings and private businesses witnessed in the past week is highly regrettable. However, the cure for illegality cannot be illegality.
  2. I have asked the Chairpersons of NBA Branches across the country to immediately monitor Police Stations within their jurisdictions to ascertain the extent of compliance of the Police with the fundamental rights provisions of the Constitution to enable us take or facilitate adequate enforcement actions.

DATED THIS 29th DAY OF OCTOBER 2020

________________________

OLUMIDE AKPATA

PRESIDENT

Reveal Soldiers Who Shot At Lekki #EndSARS Protesters, NBA Tells Military

A combination of photos from the scene of the Lekki #EndSARS protest on October 20, 2020.

 

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has condemned the shooting of #EndSARS protesters by soldiers in the Lekki area of Lagos State.

NBA President, Olumide Akpata, faulted the incident in a statement personally signed by him on Tuesday hours after the incident.

A team of armed security personnel had stormed the Lekki toll gate – where a series of protests had held peacefully – and fired live bullets at a crowd of youths there.

“The Military High command is hereby requested to immediately identify and name the officers involved in this gross professional misconduct for immediate prosecution and dismissal in line with extant laws,” Akpata said.

He added, “The NBA shall immediately commence legal proceedings at all relevant fora – both locally and internationally – against the Nigerian Military and other relevant authorities, on behalf of the families of the victims, for abuse of power, disregard of rules of engagement and the infringement of the fundamental rights (including the right to life) of the affected citizens.”

Akpata explained that given the degenerating nature of the crisis, an emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee of the NBA would be convened within the next 48 hours.

According to him, the meeting is to review the state of the nation and take other appropriate steps to decisively deal with the situation and prevent Nigeria from further going adrift.

The NBA president described the shooting as an act of recklessness and lawlessness by the security apparatus of the government.

He stressed that based on reports available to the lawyers, it appeared to have been a carefully calculated and premeditated attack.

Akpata argued that even if the Lekki #EndSARS protesters were in breach of the curfew imposed by the Lagos State government, such a misdemeanour did not warrant the use of live ammunition by the military to confront peaceful, unarmed and defenceless protesters.

He stated that Tuesday’s events should never be seen or considered as normal in any democracy in any country.

“The NBA believes that the current situation in the country calls for dynamic leadership and, as critical stakeholders in the Nigerian project, invites the President of Nigeria and others in authority to show uncommon leadership in saving the situation, instead of deploying troops against defenceless citizens whom they swore an oath to protect,” the NBA president said.

#EndSWAT: Reps Partner NBA To Address Police Brutality

 

A file photo of Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
A file photo of Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

 

 

The Speaker of the House of Assembly, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that the lawmakers will partner with the national leadership of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) to address police brutality on Nigerian youths and other issues.

Hon. Gbajabiamila stated this on Wednesday when the NBA president, Olumide Akpata paid him a courtesy visit.

During the visit, Mr. Akpata, gave the assurance of his association to ensure a good collaboration with the House with a view to coming up with good legislation to address the matter.

The House had last week passed some far-reaching resolutions to address the issue of police brutality against Nigerians, one of which is to amend the constitution and come up with other legislation to curb the excesses of the police.

Gbajabiamila said the provision of Section 215 (5) almost gives the police absolute immunity against their excesses, hence the need to amend that section.

Gbajabiamila, who said the House could not do it alone, sought for the support of the NBA to achieve its set goal on addressing police brutality.

“I want to use this opportunity to congratulate Nigerians out there, who have been part of this struggle, and I want to appeal at the same time that we should apply the brake, perhaps, a little and see what will be done.

“In the House, before the protest, we made a statement, I made a statement on the floor of the House. We made far-reaching resolutions. We’ve been very proactive on this issue. We’re determined to pursue the resolutions of the House forcefully, for want of a better word.

“Our resolutions included that we discovered section 215 (5) almost gives absolute immunity to the police over what they do. So, for a start, we feel we should begin with amending the constitution and delete that offensive section.

“I believe it was well-intended but now it’s obnoxious. From that, we can raise any other reforms to look at the complaints from the public, from the NBA, the civil societies etc.

“We’re waiting for the IGP to send us the list of policemen that had complaints against them in the last five years. We’re also waiting for the list of the victims so that they can be compensated. We’re beginning the budget process, and we want to make sure that there’s a line item that ensures they’re compensated.

“The resolutions also talked about police reform. We already passed the Police Reform Act, but we need to do more. We need to look at the conditions of service, etc.

“Suffice it to say that this House is determined to bring this to fruition. We gave ourselves 30 days to come up with a piece of legislation. We’re working assiduously to achieve the timeline we set for ourselves,” Gbajabiamila said.

The Speaker announced that the House would raise an Adhoc panel that would interface with the NBA on the issue of police brutality and others.

The NBA President, Akpata, had earlier told the Speaker that the visit was to discuss the issue of police brutality and see how the contentious issues could be addressed.

He expressed delight that the House was already doing a lot on the matter, saying Nigerians were eager to see how the matter would be resolved.

“We at the NBA are resolute to collaborate with you on the issues,” he said.

Akpata raised the issue of some Nigerians being detained at different police stations unnecessarily, calling on the Speaker to intervene.

In his response, Gbajabiamila asked the NBA president to identify all the police stations where people were detained for the House to raise a delegation that would meet with the NBA and get them released.

“I think you should identify the stations where people are being held. I will be more than happy to set up a crack team of members to go with you and pursue vigorously those issues. This should be part of the collaboration. We’ll expect your response on this,” Gbajabiamila said.

Meanwhile, the Speaker also hosted the leadership of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) led by the Executive Secretary, Tony Ojukwu, where he raised the same issues relating to police brutality and what the House is doing about it. The Speaker also sought a partnership with the commission as part to efforts to find lasting solutions to human right abuses.

On his part, Ojukwu informed the Speaker that it was important to come up with an investigative panel that would consider the cases of human rights violations by the police and listen to victims of police brutality.