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Osaka pulls out of French Open

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World number two Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the French Open after the controversy over her refusal to speak to the media at the tournament.

In a tweet announcing the move, Japan’s Osaka also said she had “suffered long bouts of depression” since winning her first Grand Slam title in 2018.

The 23-year-old said last week she would not do news conferences at Roland Garros to protect her mental health.

“I never wanted to be a distraction,” the four-time major winner said.

On Sunday, Osaka won her opening match against Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig in straight sets and was fined $15,000 (£10,570) for not doing post-match media.

Later that day, a joint statement from Grand Slam organisers said Osaka could face expulsion from the tournament if she continued to avoid them.

That led to the player announcing her withdrawal on Monday, saying she was going to “take some time away from the court now”.

“When the time is right I really want to work with the Tour to discuss ways we can make things better for the players, press and fans,” she added.

French Tennis Federation president Gilles Moretton said the withdrawal of the second seed was “unfortunate”.

“We are sorry and sad for Naomi,” Moretton added. “We wish her the best and quickest possible recovery, and we look forward to having Naomi at our tournament next year.

“As all the Grand Slams, the WTA, the ATP and the ITF, we remain very committed to all athletes’ wellbeing and to continually improving every aspect of players’ experience in our tournament, including with the media, like we have always strived to do.”

“This isn’t a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago. I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my wellbeing is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris.

“I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. More importantly, I would never trivialise mental health or use the term lightly.

“The truth is I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that.

“Anyone that knows me knows I am introverted and anyone that has seen me at tournaments will notice that I’m often wearing headphones as that helps dull my social anxiety.

“Though the tennis press has always been kind to me (and I want to apologise to all the cool journalists who I may have hurt), I am not a natural public speaker and get huge waves of anxiety before I speak to the world’s media.

“I get really nervous and find it stressful to always try to engage and give you the best answers I can.

“So here in Paris I was already feeling vulnerable and anxious, so I thought it was better to exercise self-care and skip the press conferences. I announced it preemptively because I do feel like the rules are quite outdated in parts and I wanted to highlight that.

“I wrote privately to the tournament apologising and saying that I would be more than happy to speak with them after the tournament as the Slams are intense.

“I’m going to take some time away from the court now, but when the time is right I really want to work with the Tour to discuss ways we can make things better for the players, press and fans.”


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NSCDC dismisses viral video on ‘bandit personnel’

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The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has dismissed a viral video purporting that a member of the corps confessed to being a bandit.

The suspected bandit, Mr Abdullah Saidu, in the viral video called himself personnel of the Corps.

This is contained in a statement issued by the NSCDC Spokesperson, Mr Olusola Odumosu, in Abuja.

Newsmen report that Saidu was arrested in connection to a group of armed bandits terrorising some parts of Koton Karfe Local Government Area of Kogi.

The spokesperson said that the NSCDC has set up a team to investigate the available records to confirm the authenticity of Saidu’s claims that he was the corps personnel.

“The general public shall be adequately briefed on subsequent findings.“Based on the aforementioned, the purported video where the alleged suspect openly confessed to the crime did not in any way give credence to or affirm his membership to the Corps.

“Experience has shown that criminals are fond of impersonating security operatives in order to divert attention, subvert investigation or get away with the crime,” he said.

Odumosu further noted that the NSCDC was saddled with the responsibility of protecting lives and property amongst others.

“The Corps will not in any way condone any saboteur of national security or sponsorship of criminals.”He reiterated the Corps’ zeal to discharge its statutory mandates without compromise but with humility and integrity.

He said the NSCDC will continue to synergise with sister agencies to combat crimes in the country.

Source: (NAN)


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Federal government to incorporate NNPC board in six months

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President Muhammadu Buhari
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President Muhammadu Buhari said on Sunday he had appointed a board for the NNPC and directed that it should be incorporated within six months, a move that could allow it to sell shares in the future.

The President signed the petroleum bill into law last month which has been in the works for nearly two decades, aiming to overhaul the sector and turn the state-owned oil company into a private firm.

The new oil law requires NNPC to be incorporated within six months, Buhari said in a statement, appointing Ifeanyi Ararume as NNPC chairman and its current Chief Executive Mele Kyari to lead the firm.

Kyari has said NNPC could consider an initial public offering (IPO) within three years. The incorporation could pave the way for NNPC to sell shares.

Buhari said last month that NNPC made its first profit in 44 years in 2020.

Source:(Global World News)


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Niger state becoming safe haven for fleeing Zamfara bandits

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Shiroro Local Government in Niger State has cried foul over the influx of bandits and terrorists fleeing Zamfara state.

The bandits/terrorists are identified by their masks and motorcycles, and their presence is causing fear and apprehension among the locals, spokesman of the local government, Salis M. Sabo disclosed in a statement.

Sabo said the bandits are believed to have flown from “Zamfara or other adjoining troubled states which the Niger State borders through Shiroro.

“The marauders have started showing their ugly faces in Galadiman Kogo, Zama, Magami, Maganda m, Paleli, Iburo, Chukuba, Dnasapa all in Shiroro Local Government.

“The military operation going on in Zamfara needs to be well coordinated and replicated in other States on Zamfara borders so as to save the vulnerable neighboours from bearing the brunt arising from the operation.

“The Coalition of Shiroro Associations (COSA) calls on the authorities concerned to swiftly intervene and listen to the cries of the people of Shiroro” Salis M Sabo said.


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