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… Super Eagles striker discharged from hospital

Napoli have confirmed that Osimhen has been discharged from hospital following his successful surgery to the injury he suffered in the Serie A match against Inter Milan on Sunday evening.

Osimhen fractured his left cheekbone and orbital in the game against Inter following a clash against Milan Skriniar.

The 22-year-old went through a successful surgery on Tuesday, and he is expected to be out for three months, which rules him out of next year’s Africa Cup of Nations.

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Osimhen did not leave the hospital following the surgery, but Napoli has confirmed that the former Lille star is now back home and will be re-evaluated in 10-15 days.

A statement on their official social media pages read: Victor Osimhen was released from the Ruesch clinic this morning and has returned home. He will rest for 10 to 15 days before being reassessed. Stay strong, Victor.

The club also thanked Inter Milan director Giuseppe Marotta and their medical staff for their help in making sure he received proper treatment in Milan before leaving for Naples.

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Osimhen is likely to return to action for Napoli in February.

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World Bank charges Nigeria to tax alcohol, cigarettes to improve primary healthcare

 The World Bank Group has called on the Federal Government to impose special taxes on alcohol, cigarettes and sugar-sweetened beverages to improve primary healthcare.

“If we want to improve healthcare in Nigeria, we need to tax the things that are killing us.

“The economic rationale for taxing these products is strong if we want to save lives and make a better and healthier Nigeria,’’ Mr Shubham Chaudhuri, Country Director for Nigeria, World Bank Group, said.

He made the call on Friday in Abuja at a special National Council on Health meeting organised by the Federal Ministry of Health.

Chaudhuri noted that taxes on tobacco, alcohol, and sugar-sweetened beverages would reduce the health risks associated with their consumption and expand fiscal space for universal health coverage post-COVID 19.

The country director stated that investing in stronger health systems for all would contribute to tackling rising poverty and inequality.

He added that health tax increases would have the additional advantage of reducing future healthcare costs by curbing the growth of the non- communicable diseases that tobacco, alcohol, and sugar-sweetened beverages cause.

In his goodwill message to the meeting, Dr Walter Mulombo, WHO’s representative in Nigeria, said he could attest to the enormous health needs of Nigerians and efforts made so far in meeting the needs.

He said his attestation was based on the fact that he had visited half of Nigeria’s 36 states in less than two years in the country.

Mulombo noted that while COVID-19 exposed weaknesses in global economy including health, he considered it a unique opportunity for a thorough evaluation of existing resources and mechanisms to prepare better for a more resilient future.

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He pledged that the WHO would continue to lead technical support for Nigeria in the development and implementation of its home-grown policies and plans.

This, he explained, would be in the context of the global health agenda as reflected in the country’s Cooperation Strategy.

“This we have taken into consideration, even as we currently review our operational plan and budget for the next two years,’’ he said.

Mulombo said the duty of achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through building resilient health systems, was a collective responsibility requiring incremental steps in the right direction and continuous improvement.

“Tracking implementation of the resolutions of this Council in line with Nigeria’s and global health agenda will strengthen on-going journey towards promoting health, keeping the world safe, and serving the vulnerable,’’ he said.

In his contribution, UNICEF’s Chief of Health, Dr Eduardo Celades, noted that it was optimistic that the meeting would arrive at recommendations to drive tangible, equitable and sustainable results for Nigeria.

This, he stressed was particularly for women and children in line with the SDGs vision of “leaving no one behind’’.

Celades said that achieving the desired outcomes would require the match of deliberations with the needed actions.

“Accordingly, I urge Council members and delegates to reflect on how best to address the chronic obstacles between Nigeria’s great potentials and her aspirations in the health sector.

“Notable among these challenges is a persistent decline in health expenditure as a proportion of GDP from 1.2 per cent in 2004 to only 0.58 per cent in 2018

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“Inadequate financing of primary healthcare services at service delivery points and the current suboptimal allocation of 1.5 million naira per ward under the Basic Health Care Provision Fund.

“Inadequate human resources for health – there are fewer health workers for Nigeria’s population, skewed distribution towards urban centres, skills gaps, poor motivation, weak regulation and poor visibility.

“Suboptimal primary healthcare infrastructure and equipment, erratic availability of essential commodities and supplies and poor maintenance culture.

“Weak coordination and accountability mechanisms resulting in duplication, inefficiencies and lack of value for money, are the others, he said.

“Working together, we can tackle the problems using tried and true strategies and available best practices,’’ Celades stressed.

He assured that UNICEF was committed to continued partnership with Nigeria to protect and promote the right of everyone to survive, thrive and transform.

He added that UNICEF was determined to apply its comparative advantage as an agency to support Nigeria’s development efforts within the health sector and beyond.

“We are finalising the next Country Programme Document for 2023 to 2027 at the heart of which is an increased emphasis on coordinated, multi-sectorial action.

The theme of the 2021 National Council on Health meeting is: “The journey to attaining sustainable development goals: Applying lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic towards building a resilient national health system”. (NAN)

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Bandits ambush Kaduna community, kill 2, abduct several others

From Noah Ebije, Kaduna

Bandits on Friday night ambushed Unguwan Gimbiya community on the outskirts of Kaduna metropolis, killing two persons and abducting unspecified number of residents in the area.

A source said, “it was like the bandits were hiding somewhere in the community and in the night, they started shooting sporadically in the direction of their targets.

“Two persons were killed in the community and many others were abducted”.

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Another source who pleaded anonymity, said: ” the bandits struck on Friday evening, invaded Ungwan Gimbiya Community of Sabo Tasha area of Chikun local govt area of Kaduna state and abducted many people and killed two.”

“A total number of 13 families were visited by the bandits. The attack lasted for about 2 hours with heavy gunshots.”

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Meanwhile, residents have started fleeing the community to places considered safer, even as security agents have intensified patroll and vigilance in the neighbouring areas.

However, as at the time of filing this report, no official statement from relevant authorities on the incident.

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Fake news: NOA trains over 180 on fact-checking

The National Orientation Agency (NOA) said on Friday in Abuja that it has trained no fewer than 180 people on how to discern fake news through fact-checking

Director-General NOA, Dr Garba Abari, said this at the closing ceremony of the 3rd session of training for fact-checkers

He said the training was part of federal government’s efforts to tackle the menace of fake news, misinformation and disinformation.

Participants were drawn from the Nigerian Navy, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Federal Island Revenue Service (FIRS) and Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA).

Others were from the Department of State Services (DSS), Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMAN) and Nigeria Financial intelligence Unit (NFIU).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NOA will train 37,000 Nigerians on fact-checking in the 36 states and FCT over the next five years.

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Abari said the training was part of the agency’s core mandate, adding that it was collaborating with news outlets, including radio, television and newspapers on fact-checking.

He described as worrisome the prevalence of fake news, misinformation and disinformation in the country.

“We need to make efforts to combat the menace of fake news, misinformation and disinformation, which is also link to a large extend with hate speech.

“I am mostly concerned about the impact of fake news, misinformation and disinformation in Nigeria. Although fake news and hate speech are global phenomenon the degree varies from country to country.

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“Nigeria, as a country with peculiar diversity, we must have to develop and manage our diversities.

“What defines us as a Nigerian is our love for each other, respect, integrity, honesty, dignity of labour as well as other values,’’ he said.

Abari urged the participants to work towards defeating fake news, stressing the need to emphasise on things that unites rather than those that divide us as a nation.

“You have a vital role to play in fact-checking because it is obvious that fake news is devastating,’’ he said. (NAN)

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Gov. Matawalle restates commitment to the fight against GBV

 Gov. Bello Matawalle of Zamfara has restated his administration’s commitment to the fight against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the state.

This is contained in a statement issued in Gusau on Thursday by the Director Press in the Office of the Governor’s wife, Zainab Shua’ibu.

Matawalle spoke while receiving the State Steering Committee on GBV chaired by Hajiya Aisha Matawalle, his wife, who paid him a courtesy visit in his office.

The governor applauded the work of the committee for ensuring that violence was not unleashed on women and children in the state.

“I am satisfied with the effort of my able wife who is always there for me, especially in uplifting the lives of vulnerable groups in the state.

“I am aware of your strategies and activities to eradicate GBV in the state. Your effort is indeed laudable and appreciative.

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“This visit is timely and a welcome development. I consider every member of this committee as a great partner for the success of my administration.

“I appreciate your kind contributions in complementing my administration’s policy to move our dear state forward,” Matawalle said.

The governor also said the government would soon come up with new laws against GBV in the state.

“We are working with the House of Assembly to enact various laws against GBV,” he added.

Earlier, Hajiya Matawalle said she led the committee to the Governor’s Office to appreciate his contributions to the eradication of violence against women in the state.

“We came to you as a father of the state on a courtesy visit and also to seek your fatherly blessings and advice towards promoting our activities, to ensure a GBV-free society.

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“Your Excellency, with your kind support and contributions, various achievements have so far been recorded by our committee in fighting violence against women and children in the state.

“We are here to inform you of the 16 days of activism against GBV in the state and our 2021 annual programmes and activities against GBV,” Hajiya Matawalle said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the governor’s wife had earlier flagged off the 16 days activism against GBV in the state.

The international event for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Children is aimed at focusing on massive awareness campaign against violence against women and children. (NAN)

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District Head of Dambatta in Kano state dies @ 95

Alhaji Mukhtar Adnan, the District Head of Dambatta in Kano state, died on Friday at the age of 95, one of his sons, Alhaji Ado Mukhtar has said.

Ado said that Mukhtar, also Sarkin Ban Kano, died at a hospital in Kano where he was receiving treatment for an ailment.

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He said that the deceased left behind four wives, 26 children and grandchildren.

He said that his funeral prayer would be conducted by 2p.m. in Dambatta on Friday.

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The deceased was a former Commissioner for Education in the old Kano State. (NAN)

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Osun APC eulogises late Sen. Joseph Wayas

The All Progressive Congress (APC) in Osun State on Friday in Osogbo described the death of former Senate President, Dr Joseph Wayas, as a loss to the country.

Dr Wayas died in the early hours of Tuesday at a London hospital at the age of 80 years. He was born on May 21, 1941.

He was Nigeria’s senate president in the Second Republic between 1979 and 1983.

APC’s spokesman in Osun State, Mr Kunle Oyatomi, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that Wayas was a peace-loving fellow at the Senate during the Second Republic.

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“He made great impact and left a vacuum that had been difficult to fill.

“The senate was so interesting when as a journalist you are covering him and his colleagues.

“It was politics without bitterness because of the love and support he enjoyed from other senators,’’ Oyatomi said.

He said Wayas was loved by the majority, especially journalists because of his exemplary qualities.

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“He was a man full of wisdom and knowledge, making newsmen to always want to hear him speak at the senate.

“He was full of wisdom and knowledge, making him a special person,’’ he said.

Oyatomi prayed to God to grant the deceased eternal rest and his family the fortitude to bear the loss. (NAN)

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Maize farmers get 25 units of hand driven planter to boost production

 Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) has received a donation of 25 units of Hand Driven Planters from Corteva Agriscience to further support and boost maize production in Nigeria.

Dr Bello Abubakar, National President, MAAN, made this known on Friday in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

The statement stated that MAAN received the machines on the sideline of the just concluded seed connect Africa 2021 conference and exhibition in Abuja.

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The hand held planter would ease the stress maize farmers go through while planting, save time as it is faster and also save cost for farmers to pay workers.

The President of the Association said the company recognizes MAAN’s effort in the sub sector in recent times and decided to encourage maize farmers by donating the machines.

“They donated these planters to MAAN in order to encourage our Farmers and to complement what MAAN is doing now in production, to enhance means of production in Nigeria. That’s why they contributed their own quarter to maize production in Nigeria.”

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While appreciating Corteva Agriscience for the donation, Abubakar said MAAN would continue to partner them to enhance maize production in the country.(NAN)

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One dies in lone accident on Lagos-Ibadan expressway

The Federal Road Safety Corps(FRSC) in Ogun on Friday said one person died in a lone accident involving a Nissan pickup around Sagamu interchange on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

Mr Ahmed Umar, the Sector Commander, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abeokuta that the accident occurred at 2:30 a. m.

Umar said that the crash was caused by excessive speed, which caused the vehicle to lose control and skidded into the bush leading to the death of the driver, who was the only occupant.

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He said that the corpse of the victim had been deposited at the morgue of Idera hospital, Sagamu.

The sector commander said that the vehicle with registration number AA 240 ZY had been towed off the road.

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Umar cautioned motorists against speed violation especially this period of high vehicular movement, advising them to always obey traffic rules and regulations.

He commiserated with the family of the deceased and enjoined them to contact FRSC, Sagamu for more information about the crash.(NAN)

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NACCIMA Women advocates 30% public procurement for women entrepreneurs

 The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) Business Women Group (NAWORG), Thursday urged the Federal Government to ensure 30 per cent of all procurement sum is given to women businesses.

Hajiya Aisha Abubakar, Chairperson, NAWORG, made the call at a press briefing after a roundtable advocacy event for the Implementation of the Presidential Executive Order on the Consideration and Allocation of Quota to Women Owned Businesses in Public Procurement in Abuja.

The theme of the advocacy is “Enhancing Women’s Economic Empowerment through inclusive Government Procurement Processes”.

Abubakar said channelling some percentage of the procurement sum to women entrepreneurs would ensure their inclusion in public procurement processes and enable them contribute to the nation’s economy.

According to her, in spite of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Executive Order 003; instructing all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to grant preference to local manufacturers in their procurement of goods and services, a little percentage goes to women-owned businesses.

“The case for gender equality is founded in both human rights and economic arguments. As such, closing gender gaps must be a central part of any strategy to create more sustainable and inclusive economies and societies.

“We, therefore, advocate specifically for improved market demand for products and services of women-owned businesses by leveraging on the Presidential Executive Order 3 published in 2017, titled, Executive Order on Support for Local Content in Public Procurement by the Federal Government.”

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Abubakar said that the case for gender equality is founded in both human rights and economic arguments.

“While gender parity in education attainment is improving, women still remain severely under-represented in key growth-enhancing fields of education such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“Women are less likely to work for pay, and do more unpaid housework than men. Given this backdrop, it is no surprise that women’s position in business leadership and entrepreneurship needs to be strengthened,” she said.

The Chairperson also called for increased access to support networks, including professional advice on legal and fiscal matters, apart from importance for improved market demand for products and services of women-owned businesses.

Also, Mrs Vera Ndanusa, President, Nigerian Association of Women Entrepreneurs, said inclusiveness, transparency, competitiveness and professionalism in Nigeria’s public procurement would improve participation of women businesses.

Ndanusa, who is also the National Coordinator, Partnership for Advancing Women in Economic Development (PAWED), said the Executive Order 003 and 005 provided an opportunity for women businesses to thrive.

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“In Nigeria, women businesses accounts for only 1% of all procurements at the federal and state levels.

” This is due to lack of access to information about the opportunities, legal and regulatory challenges, and other barriers preventing women from having access to this critical sector of national growth.

“While globally procurement is estimated to be $5.5billion, Nigeria spends $1.1billion on procurement. This equivalent to N473billion. Only N4.73billion goes to women businesses.

“Let us, therefore, work together to ensure that the commitment by Nigeria’s stakeholders to ensure 30% of all procurement is given to women businesses by 2026 becomes a reality,” she said.

Also, Deputy Registrar, UNWomen, Mr Lansana Wonneh, stressed the need for the government to strengthen women owned business to move the naion’s economy, create job opportunities and bridge gender gap.

On his part, Mr Ayoola Olukanmi, Director General, NACCIMA, reiterated their commitment to the success of the implementation of the Executive Order so that the 30 per cent procurement sum for women businesses would become a reality. (NAN)

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PENGASSAN calls for removal of VAT on gas

By Bimbola Oyesola

Against the backdrop of the recent high cost of Liquified Natural Gas (LPG), known as cooking gas, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has charged the Federal Government to abolish the Value Added Tax (VAT) on gas importation. 

The union, in a statement jointly signed by its President, Festus Osifo, and General Secretary, Lumumba Okugbowa, said it is disheartening to note that the price of refilling 12.5kg cylinder of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (cooking gas) has risen by almost 100 per cent percent over the past one year.

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“This is one singular product that is used by several households in the country. Currently, the cost of cooking gas has continued in steady climb from average of N4,500 at the beginning of 2021 to the current price of between N8,750 and N10,000 for the popular 12.5kg cylinder,” the union said. It lamented that most middle to upper class homes, especially in the urban areas, are feeling the pinch, adding that the poorer families are going through harrowing experience trying to cope, moreso as the price of kerosene had long taken flight in addition to being scarce in many places. 

“We hereby call on the president to immediately abolish the VAT on gas importation.

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Zaidu transfer: Porto dismisses FIFA ban

FC Porto have dismissed reports that they have been banned by world football governing body FIFA for not paying train- ing compensation to a Nigerian club in respect of defender Zaidu Sanusi.

Media reports in Portugal suggested Porto have been banned by FIFA from the transfer market after they failed to pay Jega United $42,500 being their share of training compensation in the develop- ment of Zaidu.

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However, the Portuguese giants have since denied this.

“It is not true that FC Porto have been banned from transferring players and it is also not true that FC Porto owe Jega United from Nigeria,” Porto reacted in a statement.

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“FC Porto never knew of the existence of this club, let alone be aware of a training compensation by that club in respect of the player Zaidu.

“When we were notified, we made the payment.”

Zaidu signed for Porto in the summer of 2019 from another Portuguese club Santa Clara.

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Infantino, NFF Board felicitate with Pinnick

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino has showered encomiums on the President of Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Melvin Pinnick as he marked his birthday anniversary on Wednesday, December 1, 2021.

“This past year, which has presented us with many challenges, has nevertheless shown and highlighted the exemplary unity and solidarity of the football world, and I can only reiterate my sincere thanks to you for your efforts, work and contribution within the FIFA Council,” Infantino wrote in a letter personally signed by him to Amaju.

Similarly, the Executive Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation, has also heaped plaudits on Amaju.

General Secretary of the NF, Dr Mohammed Sanusi, said Pinnick has demonstrated exemplary leadership and remains one of the most innovative and energetic leaders that Nigeria football has seen in a long time.

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“The past year has been quite challenging but we are happy to have a leader like Mr Pinnick who has never been shy to lead from the front and courageously confront odds, hurdles and obstacles in the way of Nigeria football. He is an altruistically visionary leader who never looks back once he decides on the best path- ways forward.”

In the past year, the NFF and the national teams have accomplished tremendous gains in a number of areas, including qualification of the Super Eagles for the 33rd Africa Cup of Nations, qualification of the Super Falcons for the final round of the 2022 Women AFCON and qualification of the Super Eagles for the play- off round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals. The NFF also organized a first –ever international women’s invitational tournament that had the top African women teams on parade (Aisha Buhari Cup) and the Super Falcons and Super Eagles have fullu utilized FIFA windows for friendly matches and camping progammes.

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At the end of last year, globally –renown auditing firm, Price water house Coopers (PwC) awarded the NFF a ‘clean opinion’ in its financial accounting and governance procedures.

He said despite pandemic –imposed squeeze on businesses worldwide, the NFF continues to attract corporate partnership, with Dettol, Revolution Plus, Air Peace, MTN and Premier Lotto (Baba Ijebu) all signing up to support the NFF and the National Teams.

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Rohr’s sacking: Sports Minister, Amaju, Sanusi in close door meeting

NFF president, Amaju Pinnick and General Secretary, Sanusi Mohammed yesterday held a closed door meeting with the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, in his Abuja office.

Also in the meeting were the Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Isma’il Abubakar and Chief of Staff to the Minister, Abba Yola.

The meeting, which was called by the Minister, was an opportunity to have first hand information on coach Gernot Rohr’s contract situation and also to review the technical report on Nigeria’s World Cup qualifiers submitted only recently by the football house.

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FIBA stands firm on 2019 NBBF constitution

Signed by the FIBA President, Hamane Niang and Andreas Zagklis (FIBA Secretary), the letter stated that, “We hereby inform you that FIBA’s Central Board has approved a deadline extension for the celebration of the Nigeria Basketball Federation’s (NBBF) Electoral Congress up until 31 January 2022. In doing so, FIBA reiterates and confirms the contents of our letter dated 2 November 2021, including that FIBA will not recognise any changes to the NBBF’s statutes prior to the celebration of the Electoral Congress.

Regarding the participation of the national teams in the FIBA 2023 World Cup African Qualifiers, FIBA confirmed that the NBBF holds the obligation to manage the affairs of the national team independently and without the influence of third parties.

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Bet9ja Lagos SWAN Cup commences today

This year’s event is proudly sponsored by Bet9ja with Lagos State Sports Commission, Owu, Nestle Nigeria, Nigerian Breweries, Intercontinental Distillery, Redbull, La Liga, Guarantee Trust Holding Company and Multichoice as partners.

The opening ceremony which will commence by 4pm will be graced by distinguished members of the society and friends of the association with the Director General of the Lagos State Sports Commission, Gafaar

Shakiru Oluwatoyin performing the ceremonial kick off.

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Lagos SWAN Chairman, Debo Oshundun said the unique event is a celebration of friendship, healthy life- style and camaraderie as people are gradually getting their lives back after the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We will be coming together once again as a unit to demonstrate how much we value and appreciate the vi- sion of our founding fathers on whose shoulders we stand

today. These great men and women of vision not only founded the SWAN Cup, but also conceived it as a platform to promote brother- hood, love and togetherness amongst Lagos State sports journalists”.

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