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Shoprite Set To Leave Nigeria After 15 Years

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Africa’s biggest grocery retailer, Shoprite, is exiting the continent’s most populated country, Nigeria, after 15 years.

The Cape Town-based retailer has started a formal process to consider the potential sale of all or a majority stake in its supermarkets in Nigeria, it said in a trading statement for the 52 weeks to end June released on Monday.

South African retailers have struggled in the Nigeria market and most recently Mr Price has exited the market after Woolworths did the same six years ago.

In the statement, Shoprite said the results for the year do not reflect any of their operations is Nigeria as it will be classified as discontinued operation.

International supermarkets (excluding Nigeria) contributed 11.6% to group sales, and reported  1.4% decline in sales from 2018. South African operations contributed 78% of overall sales and saw 8.7% rise for the year.

As a result of lockdown, customer visits declined 7.4% but the average basket spend increased by 18.4%.

https://www.news24.com/fin24/Companies/shoprite-exits-nigeria-after-15-years-20200803

Ekiti Workers Begin Warning Strike Today

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The organised labour in Ekiti state, on Friday , said that there was no going back on its planned commencement of a three -day warning strike from August 3 .

The strike, according to the Nigerian Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and the Joint Negotiating Council , is to compel the state government to pay the outstanding salaries , allowances and pension arrears of their members.

They, therefore , directed workers across the state to proceed on the warning strike, after which , they said, a full -blown strike would follow if government failed to accede to their demands.

The directive was made known via a statement jointly signed by the Chairmen of NLC , TUC and JNC, Kolapo Olatunde , Sola Adigun and Kayode Fatomiluyi respectively in Ado Ekiti .

Their demands also included unresolved issues surrounding unpaid benefits and non -implementation of the N30, 000 minimum wage across board.
Others are non -payment of leave bonus from 2015 till date as well as the arrears of promotions for workers at all levels .
“This warning strike, called by the organised labour in Ekiti , will commence on the midnight of August 3 .

“The state government has yet to attend to any of our requests , such as financial promotion for 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
“There is no commitment to all the outstanding deductions , such as cooperative money , loan repayment to banks, housing fund and others .
“Our demands also include five years leave bonuses, hazard allowances of COVID -19 to health workers , salary arrears and deductions , all yet to be paid .

“Based on the above , the strike will commence from 12 midnight of Aug. 3 , except government attends to our demands.
“We warn that no worker should go to work or listen to any directive from any quarters , except from the leadership of the organised labour , ” the statement said.

Immobile leapfrog Lewan to win European Golden Boot

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Ciro Immobile was able to secure the European Golden Boot on Saturday without even having to play after Maurizio Sarri opted to leave Cristiano Ronaldo out of Juventus’ squad for the final match of the Serie A season.

This is the first time that the Lazio striker has won the award, which was held by Barcelona forward Lionel Messi after his 36 goals in the 2019/20 campaign.

Immobile has scored 35 goals in Serie A this season, four ahead of Cristiano, and he could now add to that tally when Lazio face Napoli on Saturday night.

The Italian will now be determined to try and break the Serie A record for goals scored in one season, which is held by Gonzalo Higuain after he found the back of the net 36 times in the 2015/2016 season.

Immobile’s successes in front of goal mean that the European Golden Boot has returned to Italy, something that hadn’t happened since Francesco Totti won it in 2007. Now it has fallen on the other side of Rome.

The European Golden Boot is awarded by the ESM (European Sport Media), the organisation that presents the trophy, with MARCA as its Spanish representative.

10 Passengers Reportedly Died In Lagos Boat Accident

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At least 10 persons have died while four others went missing when a boat capsized in Lagos.

Five other passengers were rescued from the accident by emergency responders.

According to a statement by the Lagos State Waterways Authority, the boat was heading to Badagry from the Kirikiri area of the city late on Wednesday when the incident occurred.

 

The statement reads, “LASWA has apprehended the boat captain and has handed him over to marine police for further investigation and sanctions.

“The emergency and regulatory authorities are still on a search and rescue operation.”

The passengers were said not to be wearing life vests when the incident occurred.

JUST IN: Another 212 stranded Nigerians arrive from Egypt

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Another batch of 212 Nigerians stranded in Egypt arrived the country on Friday, The Nation learnt.

According to a tweet by the Nigerians In Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), the evacuees arrived the Nnamdi Azikwe Internatuonal Airport, Abuja at exactly 1350 hours on Friday.

The latest evacuation brings to about 7,000 the number of Nigerians that have been successdully brought back home under the emergency arrangment since the global lockdown in March as part of the measures to contain the spread of the Covid-19.

Two batches of evacuees – 156 from Niger Republic and 98 had arrived the country on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.

According to the tweet, the latest evacuees arrived the Federal Capital via Egypt Air.
Thw tweet reads, “EGYPTAIR conveying 212 Stranded Nigerians arrive Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at exactly 1350HRS today 31st of July, 2020.

“All Evacuees tested Negative to #COVID19 before boarding and will now proceed on a 14 day SELF-ISOLATION as mandated PTF on #COVID-19.”

Official: Napoli announces striker Victor Osimhen move from Lille

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Napoli have signed striker Victor Osimhen from Lille in a £74million deal.

The Serie A side fended off competition from Arsenal and Chelsea to sign the Nigeria international.

Osimhen was in demand after he scored 13 goals in 27 Ligue 1 appearances for Lille this season.

Napoli, who confirmed the signing on their official website, will finish in seventh place in Serie A, and will be involved in the Europa League next season.

Osimhen commenced his senior career at Wolfsburg and was sent out on loan to Charleroi, who then activated their option to sign him permanently prior to sanctioning a transfer to Lille last year.

The 21 year old has scored four goals in nine appearances for Nigeria.

Napoli forward Arkadiusz Milik has been linked with a move to Juventus, while there have been suggestions that Lille could replace Omishen with Rangers’ Alfredo Morelos, although such a deal has yet to materialise.

Bread Price Increase Looms As Wheat Cost Rises 33%

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The price of Nigerian grown wheat has risen by 33 per cent due to the low production volumes of the product.

The rise in the cost of wheat may lead to increase in the prices of bread and other pastries. Wheat is the major raw material for flour used in baking.

It was gathered from the Wheat Growers Association of Nigeria that the projected price of the product was N180,000 per metric tonne at the beginning of the planting season.

However, due to the COVID-19 containment measures that affected the harvest process and led to the loss of the product by farmers, the price had increased to N240,000 per metric tonne.

The President of the association, Salim Muhammad, who spoke with The PUNCH explained that the spread of the coronavirus started during the harvest period of wheat planted by farmers.

“We set a price of N180,000 per metric tonne but the market demand raised the price to N240,000 per metric tonne, which the off-takers are not willing to accept,” Muhammad explained.

According to him, the inability of farmers to harvest products on time led to losses.

He added that farmers were unable to meet market demand for the product.

Muhammad said, “The virus started spreading during our harvest period and it could not allow farmers to have access to their farms due to restriction in movement and lockdown.

“It did not allow the farmers to get the labour they needed because of the social gathering restriction put in place.”

He explained that birds, insects and the weather had destroyed some of the ripe wheat that couldn’t be harvested on time.

“The farmers who were able to harvest successfully did not have access to market because of the lockdown,” Muhammad said.

He said the association had made projections for 34,000 metric tonnes of wheat based on 11,185 farmers approved by the CBN but unfortunately due to the restricted movement, the group could not ascertain the volume of harvested wheat.

Muhammad said from all indications, the hike in price would trickle down to millers, bakers and consumers.

Wheat is important to the diet of many Nigerians as it is a major component of wheat flour, pasta, bread, dough, noodles and spaghetti, among others.

Meanwhile, the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers in Lagos State are also complaining of a hike in the rates of baking materials, including flour, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the group, a bag of flour that cost N9,000 before COVID-19 crisis, now goes for N13,000.

The association explained that the instability of foreign exchange, high cost of diesel and other baking materials, were reasons given by flour millers for the hike in the prices of baking materials.

The hike in price of wheat-based staples also pushed up food inflation rate as seen in the inflation figures for June 2020.

In June, the year-on-year food inflation increased by 0.14 per to 15.18 per cent while the monthly component rose by 0.06 per cent to 1.48 per cent as the highest price increases were recorded for bread and cereals, potatoes, yams and other tubers.

Data obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that durum wheat flour and seeds were some of the major agricultural products imported in the first quarter of the year.

The data showed that durum wheat valued at N127.85bn was imported from the United States, Latvia, Canada, Argentina, Russia and Lithuania.

This is an indication that the value of wheat imports grew by 22 per cent between January and March 2020 compared with Q1 2019 imports from Argentina, Canada, Russia, United Arab Emirates and US valued at N105.113bn.

Forecast made by the Food and Agricultural Organisation indicated that wheat imports by Nigeria this year could reach 4.8 million tonnes but could be affected by the sharp depreciation in naira and falling foreign exchange reserves.

Arteta hopes FA glory convinces Auba to stay

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Mikel Arteta believes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s future at Arsenal could be influenced by the outcome of Saturday’s FA Cup final against Chelsea as the Gunners try to convince the Gabon international to extend his contract.

Aubameyang, 31, has just one year left on his deal at the Emirates and given Arsenal’s financial predicament, it would make sense to sell in the close season if he cannot be convinced to prolong his contract.

Despite his strike rate as one of Europe’s deadliest forwards over the past six years, Aubameyang has just two major trophies to his name with cup wins at St Etienne and Borussia Dortmund.

Arteta captained Arsenal to two FA Cup wins during his playing career and believes experiencing that success could convince Aubameyang to trust the club are going in the right direction.

“No, I don’t have that feeling,” said Arteta on Friday when asked if Saturday’s clash could be Aubameyang’s final game for the club.

“It’s a package at the end. You need to have a lot of ingredients on the table to persuade a player of his level to be at this football club.

“Don’t forget that he still has a contract here with us. We want to do it in a long-term, at the moment he’s with us and he should be really proud of where he is.

“Winning a trophy helps to really believe and feel ‘wow’, I want more of these moments. If you are wearing the armband and able to lift that cup, it is such a moment. This is going to help for sure.”

Winning a trophy in his first season in management would also be a huge bonus for Arteta to prove he can restore Arsenal’s former glories.

“It generates trust when you win titles,” he added. “It generates moments when together you go through some good emotions.

“It brings everybody together, you have memories, there is a lot of things about winning a trophy that is so positive for any group and when you are in a process of (development) that makes it even more important, so we have a great opportunity tomorrow, let’s go for it.”

Beating their London rivals behind closed doors at Wembley would also ensure Arsenal do not miss out on European football next season for the first time since 1995/96 by qualifying for the Europa League.

“It’s a final, the only focus is on winning that trophy tomorrow,” said Arteta.

“Financially it would be really helpful and on the sporting side, to play European football for this club is a must.”

 

President Buhari mourns Fasanmi, describes him as fearless and consistent

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President Muhammadu Buhari has described the death of a leader of the Yoruba sociocultural group, Afenifere, Pa Ayorinde Fasanmi, as a great loss to the nation.

The President said the late Pa Fasanmi served as a moral compass for the nation across administrations, noting that in his many counsels and well-considered opinions.

The President through a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, on Thursday, described him as fearless and consistent, saying the progressive ideals he projected impacted greatly on government at all levels.

“President Muhammadu Buhari joins Yoruba socio-cultural and political organisation, Afenifere, in mourning the passing of Pa Ayorinde Fasanmi, describing his death as a big loss to the nation.

“The President condoles with people and government of Osun and Ekiti States, family members, friends and associates of the elder statesman, who served as a legislator in both House of Representatives and Senate, and distinguished himself politically by always standing for the truth, especially on issues related to the uplifting of the downtrodden.

“President Buhari affirms that Chief Fasanmi’s wise counsels, borne out of humility, deep reflection, diligent studies and experience will be sorely missed by governments at different levels, as he regularly and willingly listened to leaders, and always had a good advice on going forward.

As an ardent follower and prodigy of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the President believes the fearless and consistent leader of the Yoruba socio-cultural and political organisation lived to serve his people and the nation, and the progressive ideals that he projected impacted greatly and provided a road map on development at state and federal levels.

“President Buhari notes, with commendation, that the efforts of Chief Fasanmi in the founding and sustenance of Nigeria’s democracy will be remembered, and posterity will be glad for his great sacrifices.

“The President prays that the Almighty God will receive the soul of the departed leader, and comfort his family,” the statement said

Boko haram killed two in fresh attack at borno

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No fewer than two persons have been confirmed dead and over a dozen injured as Boko Haram terrorists fired mortars in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State.

A source told PRNigeria, that the terrorists’ attack occurred on Thursday, as Muslim faithful in the town were making preparation for Friday’s Eid-el-Kabir festival. Loud explosions sent many residents to scamper for safety.

Mortars were rocketed at innocent civilians in Gwange, Customs Area near Mansur Motors, and Marri, all in Maiduguri metropolis.

The Explosive Ordinance Detection (EOD) unit of the Police has been moved ro the areas to investigate the incidents and to determine whether it was an Improvised Explosive Device (IED).

Borno Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Aliyu said the actual cause of the explosions was yet to be ascertained as Police teams had been dispatched to the areas.

Members of Security and Response agencies including the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Army, Police, Rapid Response Squad, Civilian Joint Task Force(CJTF), and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) have also moved to the scene to restore normalcy.

Report Says Barcelona vs Napoli tie could be moved away from Nou camp

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The coronavirus outbreak in Catalonia could have an impact on Barcelona’s Champions League match with Napoli.

The second leg of the last-16 tie is due to be held behind closed doors at the Camp Nou on August 8.

According to RAC1, the match could be moved to another venue due to the growing number of cases of COVID-19 in Catalonia.

UEFA have asked the Catalan government’s Department of Health for details about the situation regarding COVID-19 in the region.

A decision on where the match will be held will be made on the basis of the response they receive from the Catalan government.

Barcelona have received no news on the matter as of yet.

FIFA Agrees $1m grant for NFF

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FIFA has ratified a $1m grant to the Nigerian Football Federation “to protect and restart its football,” The NFF and other member associations across the globe are all expected to benefit from FIFA’s $1.5bn groundbreaking COVID-19 relief plan after the bureau of the body approved the plan on Wednesday.

The NFF led by Amaju Pinnick can also access interest-free loans of up to $5m, according to a statement issued by FIFA on Wednesday.

It added that each member association would receive an additional $500,000 grant for women’s football during the plan’s third phase.

The massive spending plan aims to help men and women’s professional football, as well as youth and grassroots football through a system of grants and loans. Each of the six football confederations will also receive a grant of $2m.

“This relief plan is a great example of football’s solidarity and commitment in such unprecedented times,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said.

“I would like to thank my colleagues of the Bureau of the Council for approving the decision to move forward with such an important initiative for the benefit of all member associations and confederations.”

FIFA expects to make the funds available by January 2021.

4 Policemen killed Armed Robbers In Ebonyi, Others Injured

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Four Policemen have been killed by armed robbers in Ezzamgbo, Ebonyi State.

According to an eyewitness who shared the report to us, the armed robbers blocked a van conveying a huge amount of money to a new generational bank and started shooting sporadically.

“They blocked the van but the driver refused to stop.”

“The armed robbers started shooting sporadically and also exchanged gun shots with the policemen leading to the death of four Policemen while others were injured”.

“They couldn’t steal the money as the driver of the vehicle was able to escape with money but with a wound on his hand”, he said.

As at the time of filing this report, their bodies have been evacuated to a nearby hospital.

Ronaldo chasing Lewandowski and Immobile in European Golden Shoe race

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s list of personal accolades is as long as your arm and it suggests he really hates missing out on them.

But the Juventus star is playing catch up when it comes to this season’s European Golden Shoe award, presented to the continent’s leading goalscorer.

It’s a trophy he’s won four times previously, but Ronaldo now has it all to do to make it five.

That’s because Lazio striker Ciro Immobile has leapfrogged him on the leaderboard with his hat-trick in their 5-1 win at Hellas Verona on Sunday night.

It means the Italian is now in the box seat to catch Bayern Munich’s prolific Robert Lewandowski and take home the Golden Shoe.

The award counts league goals only and multiplies the goal tallies by a coefficient based on the relative strength of that league to its European counterparts.

In the case of Europe’s major leagues, that means multiplying by a factor of two.

So with Lewandowski and Immobile both registering 34 league goals for the season as it stands, they’re joint top on 68 points.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, finds himself in third with 31 goals and just 62 points with time running out to catch up.

Of course the advantage lies squarely with Immobile because Lewandowski’s Bundesliga season has finished already and so he can’t add to those 68 points.

But Lazio have two Serie A fixtures left to play – at home to Brescia on Wednesday and at Napoli on Sunday – and Immobile would need just one more goal to take the award.

That’s unless Ronaldo can conjure four or more goals in Juve’s two remaining matches away to Cagliari on Wednesday and at home to Roma on Sunday.

Should Lewandowski and Immobile remain level-pegging, the trophy is awarded based on the ratio of goals scored per minute played.

That favours the Bayern man because he played in 31 of their 34 Bundesliga games, while Immobile has played in 35 of Lazio’s 36 so far and will undoubtedly play in their final two matches.

But it’s only Immobile’s highly impressive scoring form since Serie A returned from lockdown that has made this into a contest.

Lewandowski was seven goals ahead even when the Bundesliga season finished on June 27 but Immobile has scored precisely that amount since.

Ronaldo has scored 10 in 10 Serie A matches since the restart, hauling himself into contention and also ensuring Juventus won their ninth consecutive Scudetto.

What is for certain is that Lionel Messi’s three-year winning streak will be snapped.

Returns of 37, 34 and 36 goals respectively in the past three seasons for Barcelona have seen the Argentine take his personal tally to six Golden Shoes.

It’s little wonder Ronaldo will be desperate to finish the season with a goal glut.

270 Nigerians Stranded In US Arrive In Abuja

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270 Nigerians who had been stranded in the United States have arrived in Abuja.

The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), announced this on Wednesday.

The returnees arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at about 13:10 pm via Ethiopian Air.

According to NIDCOM, the flight is the fourth evacuation from the US since series of repatriations commenced following the COVID-19 pandemic.

It also noted that all the evacuees tested Negative to COVID-19 before boarding the flight and will also commence a 14-day self-isolation as mandated by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

FG should stop banks from selling airtime

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A former aide to President Goodluck Jonathan, Doyin Okupe wants Federal Government to ban banks from selling telecommunication airtime, which according to him creates jobs for Nigerians.

Doyin in a tweet said that the sector is a N10billion/day in terms of volume. He stated that banks involvement in the retails segment is strangulating small individual traders.

Through the use of mobile banking app and shortcodes, people can purchase airtime through their mobile phones.

Okupe argued that the government has a responsibility to protect the weak in the society.

“Government must stop Banks from selling of RECHARGE cards. This business is worth about N10B/day& can provide jobs for 5m youths nationwide and reduce unemployment. Banks should not be in the retail business where they strangulate small individual traders. The government must protect MSMEs.

Even under “Capitalism”

The government still has the responsibility to protect the weak in the society against the strong and mighty. Secondly, the banking license does not cover Retail business. Any society that is not regulated is close to a jungle where might us right which is undesirable.”

Kevin De Bruyne wins Sky Sports Premier League Power Rankings 2019/20

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Which players shone brightest in the Premier League, Championship, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 this season? Here’s what the Sky Sports Power Rankings say…

Premier League

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has topped the Premier League Power Rankings this season to claim his crown as king of the stats.

The Belgium international was involved in a league-high 33 goals during the extended campaign and produced a string of breathtaking performances, creating 20 assists to equal Thierry Henry’s 17-year league record.

A Liverpool quartet rallied in the Belgian’s wake, with right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold top of the chasing pack in runner-up spot, having completed a league-high 81 crosses and notched 13 assists.

Sadio Mane (No 3) and Mohamed Salah (No 5) were among the elite with 37 goals combined, split by captain Virgil van Dijk (No 4) – who topped the Premier League with 2,903 completed passes.

Andy Robertson (No 9) also got in on the action with a top-10 finish after another stellar campaign at left-back, finishing with 12 assists – just one shy of fellow full-back Alexander-Arnold, who also takes set-pieces.

Outside of the top two clubs, Southampton striker Danny Ings (No 6) is the league’s most form player with a career-high 22 goals to help the Saints stave off their relegation battle and shore up 11th spot.

Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling (No 8) soared into the top 10 on the final day after extending his season tally to 20 during the 5-0 win over Norwich at the Etihad.

Meanwhile, Burnley centre-back James Tarkowski (No 7) boosted his chances of an England recall with a solid campaign, while Raul Jimenez (No 10) finished among the elite – ahead of fellow Wolves forward Adama Traore (No 17).

In terms of each club’s top performer, Jack Grealish proved to be Villa’s talisman in their successful bid to avoid the drop, while Lewis Dunk proved defensive solidity was key at Brighton.

In total, 11 of the 20 top players at respective clubs were English, with midfield maestros Grealish, James Maddison, Declan Rice and Jonjo Shelvey among the contenders vying for selection in Gareth Southgate’s squad.

Top performances

The top performance this season was Michail Antonio’s four-goal haul for West Ham against the Canaries earlier this month – a catalytic result in Hammers’ battle to avoid the drop.

It may come as no surprise that the next four players represent goalscoring juggernauts Manchester City: Sergio Aguero (vs Aston Villa, January), Kevin De Bruyne (vs Norwich on the final day), Raheem Sterling (vs Brighton, July) and Bernardo Silva (vs Watford, September).

The table below ranks all 10,602 performances this season (excluding any ‘pointless’ run-outs) and – to save you scrolling through 1,061 pages – David Luiz’s ‘disasterclass’ cameo for Arsenal against City in June ranks as the worst performance by an outfield player this term.

Championship

Brentford missed out on automatic promotion on the final day and lost 1-0 at Swansea in the semi-final first leg play-off after Rico Henry was dismissed in the 66th minute, but the Bees have two table-toppers among their ranks.

According to the rankings, Said Benrahma was the most form player this season, shortly followed by prolific centre forward Ollie Watkins, who finished on 25 goals – just one shy of the league’s top scorer, Aleksander Mitrovic (No 6).

QPR prospect Eberechi Eze (No 3) topped the chart for much of the season and has reportedly attracted interest from Premier League clubs, while Matheus Pereira (No 4) shone for promoted West Brom down the wing.

La Liga

It was the Lionel Messi show once again in Spain. Real Madrid may have edged Barcelona for the league title, but the Argenine’s dominance and sheer brilliance is epitomised by his 42,871-point lead over runner-up Karim Benzema.

To put that into perspective, Messi’s form was 66 per cent above his closest rival, and it was a similar tale last season. With 25 goals and 21 assists in La Liga this term, the 33-year-old shows no signs of slowing.

Serie A

For many, one player is missing from the table above: Cristiano Ronaldo. But the former Real forward is still topping the charts in Italy, finishing in pole position as the league’s top player and winning the Scudetto to boot.

Lazio trio Ciro Immobile, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto followed suit, while former Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku landed No 6 spot after his 23 goals powered Inter Milan’s title tilt.

Bundesliga

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski topped the pack after scoring a league-high 34 goals, but Chelsea fans will take keen interest in new signing Timo Werner in runner-up spot and transfer target Kai Havertz at No 10.

Meanwhile, Manchester United are chasing Borussia Dortmund and England winger Jadon Sancho (No 3), who topped the Bundesliga form chart last season and shone once again this term with his electric pace and silky skills.

Ligue 1

We finish the Europe wrap in Ligue 1, where the league was curtailed after the pandemic outbreak – one of the few things that could stop Kylian Mbappe in his tracks.

The Paris Saint-Germain winger was bursting clear atop the form chart with a league-topping 18 goals, with fellow PSG midfielder Angel Di Maria and former West Ham playmaker Dimitri Payet in pursuit.

The summer transfer window will run for 10 weeks from July 27 and close at 11pm on October 5. A domestic-only window for trades between the Premier League and EFL then runs from October 5 and closes on Friday October 16 at 5pm.

567,000 Ogun residents suffering from Hepatitis B

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The Ogun State Government says no fewer than 567,000 residents of the state are suffering from Hepatitis B.

The government explained that viral hepatitis “is an inflammation of the liver that causes a range of health problems, including liver cancer, and is said to be the second killer infectious diseases after tuberculosis.”

Addressing journalists on Tuesday in Abeokuta to commemorate this year’s World Hepatitis  Day, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Tomi Coker, whose statement was read by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr Adesanya Ayinde, raised the alarm over the rising number of hepatitis patients, adding that the disease received no attention in past.

Coker said Nigeria was one of the countries with the highest burden of the virus with about 29 million patients.

She, however, said the 567,000 statistics recorded for the state was equivalent to 8.1 per cent of the state’s total population of seven million.

House of Rep. raises alarm over Chinese loans

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The House of Representatives has raised the alarm over loan agreements being entered into by the Federal Government with China.

According to the lawmakers, Nigeria will concede some of its sovereignty if the country defaults in the repayment plan.

The House Committee on Treaties, Protocols and Agreements, which raised the alarm in Abuja on Tuesday, expressed its resolve to review loan facilities already taken by the country from China and other countries.

The Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, who appeared before the committee on the $500m loan taken on the Abuja-Kaduna and other rail line projects, however, warned the lawmakers against sending a wrong signal to China.

He said this might lead to abandonment of ongoing projects if the Asian country calls off the agreement.

Chairman of the committee, Nicholas Ossai, faulted non-involvement of the National Assembly in loan negotiations by the Federal Government and its officials.

He cited the loan obtained for the Galaxy Backbone to build and operate the National Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone, a cross-country optical fibre backbone, from the China-Exim Bank in September, 2018 as an example of such loans.

The committee specifically cited Article 8(1) of the agreement, which states that, ‘the borrower hereby irrevocably waives any immunity on the grounds of sovereign or otherwise for itself or its property in connection with any arbitration proceeding pursuant to Article 8(5), thereof with the enforcement of any arbitral award pursuant thereto, except for the military assets and diplomatic assets.’

Ossai said, “I have also seen from the Ministry of Communications where Nigeria signed off some certain level of its sovereignty if part of the clauses is breached.

“So, when the National Assembly reacts in this manner, to question some level of agreements being entered into by any ministry of this country with any other nation, we have every right to question that; because anything that is going to happen will happen to our generations unborn.”

Responding, Amaechi however disagreed with Ossai, saying the Federal Government could not be sending all its international deals to the lawmakers for scrutiny before they are signed.

Meanwhile, the committee asked Ameachi to reappear on August 17 along with more details on the loans and projects.

It also summoned the Minister of Communications, Dr Ali Isa Pantani; and Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, to explain the $500m loan and provide details on the agreement signed between the Federal Ministry of Transport and the CCECC.

The Director-General of the Debt Management Office, Ms. Patience Oniha, was also summoned.

Eid-el-Kabir: FG declares Thursday, Friday public holidays

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The Federal Government has declared Thursday, July 30 and Friday, July 31, 2020 as public holidays to mark this year’s Eid-el-Kabir celebrations.

This was contained in a statement on Tuesday signed by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Interior, Georgina Ehuriah.

The statement was titled, ‘Federal Government Declares 30 and 31 July, 2020 Public Holidays To Mark Eid-el-Kabir Celebration’.

According to the statement, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, while making the declaration on behalf of the Federal Government, congratulated Muslim faithful and all Nigerians both at home and abroad on the occasion.

“He called on Muslims to continue to imbibe the spirit of love, peace, kindness and sacrifice, as exemplified by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) and to also use the period to pray for peace, unity, prosperity and the stability of the country especially as the world is witnessing global health challenges caused by Covid-19 pandemic,” the statement added.

The minister, who assured Nigerians that the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), is “committed to battling the scourge with the cooperation of all Nigerians, emphasised that the government would continue to foster peaceful coexistence, national cohesion and stability in its march towards actualizing the full potentials of the country”.

Aregbesola, while wishing Muslim faithful happy celebrations, advised all Nigerians to take responsibility against the spread of the virus by observing social distancing, personal and respiratory hygiene, as well as other regulations issued by relevant authorities.