Governors’ Forum donates N200m to Abule Ado blast victims (DailyTrust)
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has donated N200 million to the Abule Ado/Soba Emergency Relief Fund set up by the Lagos State. The NGF Chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi disclosed this when he led the delegation comprising his colleagues from Edo, Godwin Obaseki and Kano, Abdullahi Ganduje to the site of the incident in Lagos. Fayemi expressed surprise at the level of destruction, noting that more lives would have been lost if there was no prompt response. The Ekiti State Governor said N200 million donated by the NGF was meant to cushion the effect of the loss by the victim. Read more
COVID19: Lagos State Judiciary bars public from courts (Nation)
The Lagos State Judiciary has restricted courtroom population to 20 persons per court sitting in all its High and Magistrates’ courts.
Chief Judge Justice Kazeem Alogba said from Monday, the public will be restricted from gaining entry into courtrooms.
Only litigants with urgent matters or applications will be allowed entry from Monday.
Alogba gave the directive on Friday in a statement titled: Entry into court premises guidelines’, signed by his Chief Registrar, Mrs D.T Olatokun.
The directive is part of measures to curb the spread of Coronavirus (COVID19) and “safeguard the health of court personnel and users.” Read more
FG shuts Lagos, Abuja airports Monday as coronavirus cases hit 22 (Punch)
The Federal Government says the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos; and the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja will be shut effective Monday, March 23, The PUNCH has learnt.
The PUNCH reports that Nigeria’s cases of the ravaging coronavirus pandemic increased geometrically from 12 to 22 on Saturday.
The Lagos and Abuja airports are the two major entry points into Nigeria.
In a statement signed by the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Capt. Musa Nuhu, the closure of international flight operations at the Lagos and Abuja airports are in addition to the three other international airports in Kano, Enugu and Port Harcourt shut for flight operations on Saturday. Read more
FCT restricts gatherings at churches, mosques, night clubs (DailyTrust)
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has restricted the number of worshipers at churches and mosques to a maximum of 50 persons as part of measures to halt the spread of coronavirus. The coronavirus pandemic has affected at least 12 people in Nigeria since it broke out in mainland Chinese province of Wuhan late last year. The first death from the virus in Sub-Saharan African had alerted governments at various levels to taking far reaching measures to stem the fatal impact of the virus. A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the FCT Minister on Media and Strategic Communications, Malam Sani Abubakar, implored religious leaders and worshipers to comply with laid down health protocols as stipulated by the relevant health authorities for the control of the Coronavirus disease while intensifying prayers for the safety of all Nigerians. Read more
CBN devalues naira as market defies interventions (Punch)
The Central Bank has technically devalued the naira to exchange to the dollar at N380.
The apex bank took this decision after all interventions in the market, such as imposing sanctions on errant operators and use of moral suasion to curb illegal forex operations did not sustain the exchange rate of N360.
In a circular to the operators in the sector, the CBN merged the rates at both the Bureau De Change rate and Import & Export window at N380.
Under the new dispensation, the CBN would make the dollar available to the BDCs at N378, which would be sold at N380. Read more
Nigerian Railways shuts train services nationwide (DailyTrust)
The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has announced the shut down of all passenger train services with effect from Monday. Spokesman of the NRC, Mr. Yakub Mahmood, said the board and management of the corporation approved the shut down as a measure to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. The statement attributed the shut down to the “already known COVID-19 outbreak.” “Further information on passengers’ train services will be made available in due course to our esteemed passengers,” the statement said. Read more
Suspected robber who shot a police chief confesses (Guardian)
An armed robbery suspect, Abiodun Frances, 31, has made startling revelations on how his gang shot a retired Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), Robinson Aregari, at Markvins Supermarket in Agbara area of Ogun State on January 11, this year.
The officer had attempted to disrupt their operation by deploying his training skills and throwing down one of the suspects, but was unlucky, as another suspect opened fire on him.
Narrating what transpired, Abiodun, who was arrested some days ago, said: “When the police officer wanted to enter the supermarket, he met my second, Taheeb, at the door, while I was busy robbing inside. Taheeb told him that the owner of the supermarket, one Makuochukwu Hycient Obi, and over five customers were laying face down, signifying that there were robbers on duty. Read more
Senate proposes pension fund for road construction (Guardian)
Senators have called on the Federal Government to consider using money from the pension fund for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of roads in the country.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Works, Sen. Adamu Aliero made the call when he led members of the committee on a courtesy visit to the Akwa-Ibom Governor, Emmanuel Udom on Saturday in Uyo.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the roads inspected included the Calabar-Itu road, Construction of Ikot-Ekpene border-Aba-Owerri road among others. Read more
US Catholic priest offers drive-thru confessions (Guardian)
The United States has long loved its drive-ins and drive-throughs: for movies, fast food, pharmacies and banking. Now the coronavirus pandemic has added a new one: Catholic confessions.
With his church closed due to the outbreak, Scott Holmer turned to the tried-and-tested method in this nation of car-lovers.
Every day except Sunday, and if the weather permits, he sits on a wooden chair in his priestly robes in the parking lot outside his Maryland chapel and does a contact-free confession and blessing. Read more
Coronavirus: Police take action on Bondi Beach crowds (BBC)
Sydney police have temporarily closed Bondi Beach after crowds exceeded Australia’s outdoor gathering limit.
The country has banned outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people in a bid to tackle the spread of coronavirus.
However large crowds of people are still flocking to beaches across Sydney, flouting advice to stay inside.
Images from Bondi Beach on Friday showed swimmers, surfers and sunbathers packed in huge numbers onto the sand. Read more
Coronavirus crisis: Chinese authorities begin to remove Wuhan checkpoints (NYPost)
Fireworks were set off in at least one section of Wuhan on Saturday as authorities began removing checkpoints used to enforce a strict lockdown since January in the Chinese city considered the origin of the coronavirus pandemic.
The checkpoints started coming down after no new cases of COVID-19 were recorded for a third straight day. Other parts of China are also easing restrictions, the South China Morning Post reported, as Wuhan and other cities start returning to work. Routes out of Wuhan will remain blocked, the paper reported.
While Wuhan celebrated, the number of confirmed infections worldwide neared 285,000 and deaths climbed toward 12,000, leading governments to take ever more drastic measures to contain the spread. Read more
Spain’s virus death toll shoots past 1,300 (Guardian)
Spain on Saturday reported a 32 per cent spike in new deaths from the coronavirus, bringing the country total to 1,326 fatalities, the second highest in Europe after Italy.
The number of infections across the country also shot up to 24,926, the health ministry said in a statement.
The capital Madrid remains the hardest hit in the country, according to the tally reported by the ministry.
The new numbers follow a fresh spike in both deaths and infections on Friday. Read more
New York State coronavirus count tops 10K as Cuomo warns young people (NYPost)
The number of new coronavirus cases in New York surged by 3,250 on Saturday, lurching the statewide total to 10,356, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who flatly told young people who think they have some special immunity to the deadly bug: “You are wrong!”
“You’re not superman and you’re not superwoman, you can get this virus and you can transfer the virus and you can wind up hurting someone who you love or hurting someone wholly inadvertently,” the governor said.
Cuomo did not announce a statewide death total; that tally stood at 56 on Friday. Read more
Trump says US on top as outbreak shuts largest cities (Guardian)
New York and Illinois followed California Friday in locking down to stem the coronavirus pandemic as President Donald Trump declared the United States was already “winning” the war despite a rapid rise in confirmed cases and deaths.
The move effectively seals off America’s largest cities New York, Los Angeles and Chicago with the states of New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Nevada following suit.
But Trump insisted there was no need for a national lockdown, arguing that other parts of the US weren’t hurting as much as its most populous states.
Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered non-essential businesses to close and banned gatherings in New York state, a day after his counterpart Gavin Newsom told California’s 40 million residents to stay home. Read more
Dolly Parton shares tearful tribute to singing partner Kenny Rogers after death: ‘My heart is broken’ (Metro)
Dolly Parton has shared an emotional tribute to her singing partner Kenny Rogers, tearing up as she addressed his death.
Posting a video on Twiter, Dolly sat next to her piano as she remembered the iconic country musician.
‘Well, I couldn’t believe it when I got up this morning, turned on the TV, checking to see what the coronavirus was doing, and they told me that my friend and singing partner Kenny Rogers had passed away,’ she said. Read more
Chelsea ‘ready to spend £200m on Serie A trio’ (Nation)
Chelsea will reportedly target moves for AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic and Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez during this summer’s transfer window.
The Blues are expected to be active ahead of the 2020-21 campaign as a transfer ban meant that head coach Frank Lampard was unable to bring any new players to the club last summer.
According to reports in Italy, Pjanic, who has recently been linked with a move away from Juve, is a £55m target for Chelsea, while Donnarumma is wanted from Milan in a £47m deal.
The Blues are also allegedly willing to spend a further £101m on Inter striker Martinez, although the Argentina international is also believed to be a leading target for Barcelona. Read more
Gunners angry at Barcelona over Aubameyang (DailyTrust)
Arsenal have fired a barrage of angry words towards Barcelona regarding what they see as a blatant attempt to upset their star forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Spanish newspapers and online sport websites have made claims that Arsenal’s leading scorer wants to join Barca so he can play with Lionel Messi. Gunner’s boss Mikel Arteta has made it perfectly clear that he does not want to lose the talented Gabon striker but the negotiations over his new contract have been difficult and Barca seem to be taking advantage of this. Only Leicester’s Jamie Vardy has scored more Premiership goals this season. Read more
Coronavirus: USA Track and Field call for Olympics delay (BBC)
USA Track and Field, athletics’ US governing body, has called for this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo to be delayed because of the ongoing coronavirus situation.
The federation has asked the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee to advocate to the International Olympic Committee for the postponement of the Games.
It follows a request from USA Swimming for it to be delayed by 12 months.
The Olympics are scheduled to take place from 24 July to 9 August. Read more
Manchester United eye Coutinho (Nation)
Manchester United are reportedly firmly in the running to sign Barcelona winger Philippe Coutinho.
The Brazil international has failed to make an impact at Camp Nou since his £142m transfer from Liverpool in 2018 and has spent this season on loan at German champions Bayern Munich.
The 27-year-old has fared slightly better in the Bundesliga, registering eight goals and six assists in 22 league outings for Bayern during the 2019-20 campaign.
Read Also: Ighalo predicts tougher tests for United after derby win
According to Mundo Deportivo, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are in the hunt for a new creative player and have identified the former Liverpool attacker as a potential signing. Read more
Lewis Hamilton: Formula 1 world champion allays coronavirus concerns (BBC)
Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton says he has undergone a period of isolation after recently being pictured with actor Idris Elba, who has tested positive for coronavirus.
Hamilton, 35, was at an event in London earlier this month with Elba.
Sophie Grégoire Trudeau – wife of the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – was also in attendance and has been diagnosed with coronavirus.
“I want to let you know that I am doing well,” Hamilton said in a statement. Read more
Man Utd, Man City unite to help Manchester foodbanks (Guardian)
Manchester United and Manchester City have joined forces to donate a combined £100,000 ($117,000) to help local foodbanks affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Collections are normally made at home games for both Manchester giants by fans’ groups supporting foodbanks, but football in England is suspended until at least April 30 due to restrictions on mass gatherings due to coronavirus.
“We are proud of the role our supporters play in helping local food banks and recognise the increased strain likely to be placed on these charities by the impact of coronavirus,” the clubs said in a joint statement. Read more
Coronavirus: How might 2019-20 season play out? (BBC)
It will be some time before we see another trophy lifted, promotion achieved or relegation confirmed, but that does not prevent us offering some educated predictions about the outcome of this season.
Elite football in Britain and across Europe’s major leagues has been suspended, with all football in England on hold until at least 30 April because of the coronavirus outbreak.
But with over three-quarters of 2019-20 having been completed, the numbers are there to be crunched to produce a confident simulation model for what the future may have in store. Read more