[United Kingdom] Boris Johnson to lead first press conference since COVID-19 recovery.

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Boris Johnson will front his first daily press conference since recovering from coronavirus (Covid-19) on 30 April.

The UK’s coronavirus death toll is now the third highest in the world after the US and Italy, so Downing Street is playing down any expectations of an easing of restrictions.

Number 10 said a cabinet meeting earlier in the day would look at the “response in general” but not make any decisions on lockdown measures.

That response was facing further criticism as health secretary Matt Hancock’s deadline arrived for carrying out 100,000 Covid-19 tests a day.

With just over 52,000 tests carried out on 28 April, the deadline looks set to be missed although that will not become clear until 1 May.

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The target has been condemned by the NHS Providers group as a “red herring” which distracts from shortcomings in the long-term coronavirus strategy.

It released a report on 30 April which highlights how the English health and care system “started from a poor position” as Covid-19 tightened its grip on Europe, and consistently “struggled” to demonstrate a “clear, effective and well communicated strategy”, with a lack of clarity on who would be tested, when, how, and with what frequency.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents hospitals and NHS trusts in England, said: “Testing is one area where, despite all the work delivered by trusts and the NHS, the health and care system as a whole has struggled to develop an effective, co-ordinated approach.”

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The testing deadline was reached as:

– An international clinical trial, co-led by University College London and the UK’s Medical Research Council, found the Ebola drug remdesivir speeds up recovery from coronavirus by almost a third

– The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca joined forces for the large-scale manufacture and distribution of Oxford’s Covid-19 vaccine if it is proven to work during clinical trials

– Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s and banking group Lloyds warned of hits to profits from the coronavirus crisis

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– Captain Tom Moore celebrated his 100th birthday at home with his family after he raised almost £30m for the NHS

The cabinet meeting and a gathering of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) come as Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon warned that easing lockdown would not be a “flick of the switch moment”.

Sage is looking at a selection of options for easing restrictions while keeping the reproduction rate of the coronavirus – the number of new cases linked to a single individual – below one to stop it spreading exponentially.

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Germany saw a rise in that rate after easing its own lockdown.

With some Tory backbenchers pressing for an easing of measures for the sake of the economy, business secretary Alok Sharma is set to put forward plans for an eventual “workplace by workplace” approach.

A Business Department spokesman said: “The government has already set out five clear tests to consider before making any adjustment to its approach.

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“It is only right the we work together with industry and unions to ensure workplaces are safe for both those in work now and for those going back to work as government measures develop.”

But Sturgeon said on 29 April that she was “far from convinced” measures could be eased on the next review date of May 7.

“People talk about lifting the lockdown, that is not going to be a flick of the switch moment – we’re going to have to be very careful, very slow, very gradual.

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“I’m far from convinced at this stage that when we get to the next review point on the 7th of May we’ll be in a position to lift any of these measures right now, because the margins of manoeuvre that we’re operating in right now are very, very, very tight and narrow.”

Her comments came after it was announced that a total of 26,097 people have died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community in the UK after contracting coronavirus.

It is the first time data on the number of deaths in care homes and the wider community has been included in the government’s daily updates.

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The total is around 17% higher than previous data showed and includes an additional 3,811 deaths recorded since the start of the outbreak.

Of these, around 70% were outside hospital settings.

The change in measurement means the UK death toll is the third highest in the world, behind the US and Italy, based on data from Johns Hopkins University.

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The US had reported 58,355 deaths and Italy 27,359.

The government pointed out other countries may report figures differently and any lag is unclear, although France and Italy also include deaths in care homes.


#Newsworthy…

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Former Governor of Borno is Dead. [Nigeria]

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First democratically elected governor of Borno State, Muhammed Goni has reportedly died.
The late politician was in his 80s and he died at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital at about 8 p.m. on Wednesday April 29.

A relative of the former governor, Lawan Kareto who is a serving member of the Borno State executive council confirmed his death. He said;

“We have lost our beloved elder this evening.

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“We thank God for the good life he has had. Living to become 80 plus is not a small blessing from Allah. May his soul rest in peace.”

Mr Goni was elected governor of Borno in 1979, but lost his second term bid in 1983. He also contested for the governorship seat in Borno State under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2011, but lost to former governor Kashim Shettima, now a senator.


#Newsworthy….

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Outrage over arrest of HAN’s leader. [Nigeria]

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Beyond Kaduna State, northern Nigeria, where the supposed ‘crime’ was committed, there has been an outrage over the arrest of Mubarak Bala, a man who allegedly blasphemed against Islam.

Bala, the president of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, was arrested by the police on Wednesday afternoon at his residence in Kaduna State.

His arrest, many believe, was in connection to his recent outburst against Islamic Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in a Facebook post.

Spokesman to Kaduna State police Mohammed Jalige in a phone conversation with our correspondent said he “can confirm to you that he has been arrested and he is in police custody.”

“I cannot tell you about where he is (whether Kaduna or Kano State custody) but he has been arrested.”

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Leo Igwe, the chairman of the board of trustees for the Humanist Association of Nigeria, an NGO where Mubarak serves as president, expressed worries over his safety.

Igwe said his concern is that Mubarak will likely be handed over to the Kaduna State police where he will be charged for blasphemy, a crime that carries death sentence as punishment under the Sharia Law.

He appealed to the Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai to help secure Bala’s release.

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The beginning
On Monday, April 27, Mubarak compared popular Lagos pastor and president of Synagogue Church of Nations Prophet TB Joshua to Prophet Mohammed.

“There’s no difference between prophet TB Joshua (S.A.W) of Lagos and Muhammadu (A.S.) of Saudi Arabia, it is better for our Nigeria to be terrorism,” Bala said wrote on his Facebook page.

In another post, Bala said, “Whoever believes religion has been duped – If you cant take blasphemy against Islam, criticizism of its doctrines, this page is not for you. I have not even started ooo.”

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His posts were greeted with threats of arrest for blasphemy in the comment section. Unbothered about his stance against Islam, Bala said the threat was from ‘morons’ who should know better.

Days later, a group of lawyers petitioned the Kano State Police command to prosecute Bala for insulting Prophet Muhammad.

There was also an online petition on change.org by one Halima Sa’adiya Umar who asked Facebook to close down the account of Mubarak Bala. The petition seemed to have been deleted on Thursday evening when The Guardian checked.

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However, a petition for his release was launched on the same platform on Wednesday by the International Association of Atheists Inc. The association is also using the petition to raise legal funds for Bala.

But, who is Mubarak Bala?
Mubarak Bala is an atheist known for his interest in anti-religious beliefs.

“Religion insults human reason and conscience, duped me that I have another lifetime,” Mubarak said in his Facebook bio. A graduate of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, according to the information on his Facebook page, Bala is the pioneer of a humanist movement.

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Prior to his university education, he attended Hassan Ibrahim Gwarzo Secondary School, Sallari, Kano State.

In one of his Facebook posts, Bala said he is “Flooded by inquiries on how to join our humanist movement.

“Answer is simple, leave religions, faith &a dogma, embrace science/reason.

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“Whoever believes religion has been duped If you cant take blasphemy against Islam, criticizism of its doctrines, this page is not for you,” Bala said.

In June 2014, he was allegedly held at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital by government officials who claimed he was a psychiatric patient against his wish.

Communicating by email and Twitter from a secreted smartphone, Bala, according to International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), was able to raise the alarm that he has been held at the government hospital.

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The IHEU in 2014 said it was “deeply concerned about the case, for the welfare of the detained man, and the human rights violation that his detention represents.”

Bala in the post on IHEU website said he was detained at the hospital on the grounds of a “personality change” because he had become an atheist despite being raised in a Muslim family.

“And the biggest evidence of my mental illness was large blasphemies and denial of ‘history’ of Adam, and apostasy [sic], to which the doctor said was a personality change, that everyone needs a God, that even in Japan they have a God. And my brother added that all the atheists I see have had mental illness at some point in their life,” Bala said.

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What the Quran says about blasphemy
The Quran does not directly prescribe any earthly punishment for blasphemy. It advocates a non-violent response if the doer of the act is a non-muslim.

Statements of blasphemy are related to mocking and abusive words to Muslims and Prophet Mohammed.

“When you hear God’s revelations disbelieved in and mocked at, do not sit with them until they enter into some other discourse; surely then you would be like them,” Quaran 4:140 says.

Why we are prosecuting Bala- Lawyers

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The group of lawyers prosecuting Bala through a legal firm S.S. Usman & CO accused him of taking advantage of the freedom of expression guaranteed to him by the constitution to incite violence through statements against Islam.

“Among such stuff is calling the Prophet of Islam Muhammad denigrating names like pedophile. terrorist. among other statements that will …ultimately provoke them to take law Into their hands which may ultimately result Into public disturbance and breach of peace,” the lawyers said in a letter to the police.

Although Section 38 of the Nigeria Constitution guarantees Bala freedom of expression, the lawyers believed he erred by denigrating Muslims in his statement.

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By this, the lawyers said Bala is liable to serve a jail term by erring against section 210 of the Penal Code of Kano State which says “Whoever by any means publicly insults or seeks to incite contempt of any religion in such a manner as to be likely to lead to a breach of the peace, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years.”


Bala is not alone


In 2015, a Shariah court sentenced nine people to death for insulting the Prophet Muhammad in Kano State.

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The accused, who were all Muslims, had pleaded guilty, the head of Kano’s religious police, Aminu Ibrahim Daurawa told BBC.

The alleged offense was committed at a religious gathering in honor of Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse, the Senegalese founder of the Tijaniya sect, which has a large following across West Africa.

The nine, eight men and a woman, were reported to have said that “Niasse was bigger than Prophet Muhammad,” which triggered unrest.

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Their trial was done in secret after a section of the court was burnt down by angry protesters. It is not known if the offenders appealed the sentence.

Nigerians react
Bala’s arrest has stirred a mix of reactions from Nigerians, especially on Twitter. Issues around his ordeal birthed different trending hashtags – #FreeMubarakBala, #Blasphemy, and #MubarakBala.


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: Germany to extend social restrictions.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff, Helge Braun said on Thursday that the social distancing restrictions in Germany, are likely to be extended by at least another week.

The coronavirus prevention measures were set to expire this weekend but plans have changed to May 10.

Helge Braun’s comments came hours before Merkel was due to hold talks with the premiers of Germany’s 16 federal states on the country’s coronavirus response.

Braun said a broader discussion about any further easing of restrictions would take place on May 6.

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Merkel has previously noted that only then will the country be able to assess the impact of the first round of easing, which saw small and medium-sized shops reopen from last week.

Germany currently has more than 160,000 confirmed coronavirus cases of infection, over 124,000 recoveries, and 6,467 deaths.


#Newsworthy…

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PTF speaks on when Banks should resume work amid lockdown ease.

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The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has announced that government offices and banks can resume operations from Monday the 4th of May.

This follows the approval of a phased easing of the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory, by President Muhammadu Buhari, to allow for the restoration of socio-economic activities.

However, there would be a 6:00 am to 8:00 pm curfew to regulate the movement of people.

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Giving a breakdown of how the easing of the lockdown will be implemented, the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Aliyu Sani, during Wednesday’s briefing, said all government offices and banks can resume operations from Monday.

“For government offices, staff will be allowed to resume from the 4th of May but it will be based on specific grade levels and specific days, so that we can reduce the amount of congestion that we might have in the offices,” he said.

For financial institutions such as banks, the PTF coordinator noted that they will be allowed to open but only between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm, while also ensuring that staff and customers adhere to the hygiene and social distancing measures.

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Aliyu stressed that the easing of the lockdown is actually just a shift from one set of interventions to another.

“The most important thing I want to emphasize is, even though we talk about easing the lockdown, in actual fact, we are not really easing, we are just shifting from one set of interventions to another because we are really still far from controlling this epidemic,” he said.

For general movements outside the curfew periods, the PTF coordinator said: “people may go out for work, to buy necessary food and for exercise but we strongly advise persons to restrict themselves to their local government areas except for those that live in metropolitan areas”.

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Interstate travel, according to him, will be restricted to only those involved in the supply chain and services such as goods, agricultural products, petroleum products, courier services and relief items etc.

On the other hand, for intrastate movement, services and businesses were advised to provide hand sanitizers for customers.

The general public was also advised to imbibe the use of face masks and other hygiene measures.

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On the issue of mass gatherings, Aliyu said there shall be no gatherings of more than 20 persons anywhere per time so as to ensure adherence to physical distancing.

For the manufacturing sector, “we encourage shift work for manufacturing and pharmaceutical companies and limiting staff to only 30-50% to maintain physical distancing and pharmacy shops may remain open overnight,” he said.

Restaurants have been asked not open to the public but will be allowed to engage in home deliveries of food items.

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While partial operations will be allowed for the above sectors, academic institutions were, however, advised to remain closed until further evaluation is done.

“Schools are encouraged to continue with e-learning and virtual teaching”, the PTF coordinator added.


#Newsworthy…

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Rakitic: I want to play football again, I’d even take the risk getting the virus

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Ivan Rakitic may not be clear on where he will play after the 2019/20 season, but he is clear that he wants football to return as quickly as possible.

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He is even willing to take the risks associated with the coronavirus in order to return to action.

In an interview with MARCA, he discussed that and much more.

How are you coping with everything that is happening?

“With a lot of attention and respect. It’s a new situation for everyone and I think it is a time to be more united than ever, to join forces to move forward and to emerge victorious from this situation. I’m sure we can do it.”

What have you missed most about leaving the house?

“My family, my friends, the people with whom I like to share my life. I have missed being able to take my girls to school, have breakfast in the town, be able to go to the training centre to train, go out to eat. I miss the simple things I did easily on a daily basis.”

Did you think you could live in this kind of situation?

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“Well the truth is no, I don’t think anybody could imagine something like this. I have a lot of respect for the situation and have done since the beginning. I remember a very important moment when we were going to play the first leg of the Champions League tie in Naples, when this situation started. I made that trip with a lot of uncertainty, now I think that what we have to do is think positively, knowing that the effort we’re making is for the good of everyone. What has surprised us this time will hopefully never do so again.”

What lessons have you learnt from everything that is happening?

“Many things, but the most important thing is that I appreciate the small details much more. The simplest moments and the importance of being very close to my family. The situation has been a great lesson for everyone in many ways.”

Have you been afraid?

“I don’t know if fear is the correct word, but I’ve felt a similar sensation. Uncertainty worries me a lot, I’m a very organised person who likes to control and analyse everything with my family and the people closest to me. Having my family spread between Seville, Croatia and Switzerland has been a concern. Thank goodness we’ve all been able to connect by video call and send many messages every day, but I admit that I have had nervous moments. Thank God my whole family is fine.”

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Football fans have suffered every week, and some have even died. What message do you have for them?

“I believe that there are many people who have struggled and suffered with this situation, in some way they are our heroes. Some have taken irreparable blows. I would like to convey my support, hugs and appreciation forever. We will never forget this, but we can’t stay with only negative information. We should always maintain the solidarity shown in this very difficult time. We must draw strength from anywhere to pull forward. The message I can give is of full support for those who’ve had to deal with such painful losses.”

Some countries don’t want football to return, what are your thoughts?

“I respect everyone’s opinion. In these recent days we have heard the French league, one of the biggest in the world, won’t be completed. We must respect that decision. Every country and every league has to analyse their own data and the needs of their situation with regards to how everything is and then decide what is best in each case. I don’t think that an equal decision can be made for everyone. What I’m sure of is that all countries and all leagues, when they make the decision, they will do so with the best interests of the citizens and the athletes. I support and respect the decisions that each country makes.”

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What place should football occupy when things return to normal?

“Football is very important to many people and the proof of this is that it moves a lot of money. Lately, I have heard many people talk about the problems there would be if we don’t play, economic problems, issues with European competitions, calendar issues, promotions and relegations… But I haven’t heard anyone talk about people, those people who, for them, their team is part of their life and they have suddenly had it taken away. I think it is time for those of us who are involved in football to take a step forward, and I’m not saying this for economic reasons. I recently read about the amount of millions that are moved in taxes and the jobs that professional football in Spain is responsible for, while helping grassroots football and other minority sports. I mean that socially we must take a step, to be able to entertain people with what they like and help people stop thinking all about viruses and disease. We must be able to joke with our neighbour who supports a rival team again, it’s important that we have as many reasons to hug as possible, when it’s permitted. I think we have to try to make football unite us, to give a feeling of unity that we need so badly. We have the possibility to support others and we must do so.”

Should footballers play?

“I want to play. It’s evident that we must try to return with the best health guarantees, but we must also know that they can never be 100 percent. The same risk will be there for all workers on their return to jobs. Supermarket workers also change in dressing rooms and have the same or an even higher chance of getting it than we do. They take that risk and I want to take it too. I think that we have a duty and I’m sure if we asked the fans then they would love for there to be football. We have to try to make people enjoy football again. We footballers can be an example, giving support to all the workers who have shown us strength. I want to join that force.”

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Are you willing to risk getting the coronavirus?

“Without a doubt, and I say this from the awareness that the risk will be very small, but also because of the solidarity with those who have been fighting for us from the first minute, and they have done so for many days.”

Do you think you’re indebted to society?

“I don’t know if we are in debt, but what is certain is that society has given us a status that is well above the average. I pay a lot of attention to the fans and the efforts they make to see us in stadiums and on pay-to-watch TV stations. They will meet us at the exit of the stadium, training ground or even at airports. In those moments, every time I see a child with my shirt on, I think how much effort their parents will have made to buy it for them. That effort is what I think we have to do now, prepare ourselves well, try to control the risks and return football to the people for the love that they give us.”

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What do you think about football returning without fans in the stands?

“It will be very hard and very unusual for us, but I would like to say to the fans that we will be more focused than ever. We will know they will be at home living it with the same passion as always and that we won’t disappoint them. Together we will draw the necessary strength to get out of this situation and we will surely be able to feel the support of fans in their homes.”

Will football be the same?

“Hopefully after this we will all be a little more human and realise the things that are really important. What we have to do is prepare ourselves well and try to play in the best possible way. It is clear that in this situation, even with empty stadiums at the beginning, it will be something different but I’m sure that very soon everything will return to normal and we will return to enjoying football as we always have. I’m sure that both fans and players will give everything to achieve that. We will not forget how to play football and the fans will not stop feeling that passion for the sport. Soon everything will be the same as it was before.”

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Would you prefer to win LaLiga or the Champions League this season?

“Hopefully both can be played again soon, I really want that to be the case. Everyone who knows me knows that my idea is to go for everything possible by preparing ourselves in the best possible way. We try to win every game, looking at everything that comes ahead. If we can win LaLiga, then winning the Champions League as well will make it even better. I want to fight and fight for everything.”

Has the situation regarding your future changed?

“No, my situation has not changed. I have already spoken about all this on several occasions. Now I really want to go back and fight for those titles that we are talking about, giving my best. I’m at the best moment of my career, my best age and this is a specific motivation for me. I’m convinced that I can do it, I have worked very hard this month and a half at home to be stronger than ever. I’m full of the belief that I will be able to return to work with my teammates.”

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The transfer market is something else that will have changed, do you have any regrets?

“No, I’m very calm, the maturity that I have gained through a career in football helps me understand everything better. I don’t regret anything. Everything I do I always do with my best will. I always try to do my best, for my team and for myself. It’s my way of being and it has gone well for me and I will never change. Now what I do is look forward to the future, I’m desperate to play again.”

What is your idea of what the future will be like?

“My main hope is to enjoy football and start playing again as soon as possible. When that happens and the season is done, then it will be time to analyse the situation. My future plan is to work hard, give my best, enjoy football and try to win everything.”


#NobleSports

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COVID-19: 16 Kano Almajiris test positive. [Nigeria]

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Kaduna State government has confirmed 16 new cases of Coronavirus in the state.

Governor Nasir El-rufai in a tweet on Thursday said all patients were almajiris from Kano.

He wrote, “KDSG has confirmed 16 new COVID-19 cases in the state.

“The new cases, all almajiris from Kano, have raised the number of active COVID-19 cases in Kaduna State from 9 to 25.”

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Meanwhile, Nigeria on Wednesday recorded 196 cases of the virus.

Confirmed cases in Nigeria now stand at 1728


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: Total infections hit 1,728 in Nigeria with 196 fresh cases.

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Nigeria on Wednesday recorded 196 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the country’s total infections to 1,728.


#Newsworthy.

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[Nigeria] Police give details on HAN leader’s arrest.

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The Kaduna State Police Command on Wednesday confirmed the arrest of Mubarak Bala.

Spokesman to Kaduna State police Mohammed Jalige in a phone conversation with our correspondent said, “I can confirm to you that he has been arrested and he is in police custody.”

“I cannot tell you about where he is (whether Kaduna or Kano State custody) but he has been arrested.”

Bala, the president of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, was arrested by the police on Wednesday afternoon at his residence in Kaduna State, Jalige disclosed.

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Although Jalige did not speak about the reason of the arrest, it is not unconnected to Bala’s recent outburst against Islamic Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in a Facebook post.

On Monday, April 27, Mubarak compared popular Lagos pastor and president of Synagogue Church of Nations Prophet TB Joshua to Prophet Mohammed.

“There’s no difference between prophet TB Joshua (S.A.W) of Lagos and Muhammadu (A.S.) of Saudi Arabia, it is better for our Nigeria to be terrorism,” Bala said.

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In another post, Bala said, “Whoever believes religion has been duped – If you cant take blasphemy against Islam, criticizism of its doctrines, this page is not for you. I have not even started ooo.”

His post was greeted with threats of arrest for blasphemy in the comment section. Unrepentant of his stance against Islam, Bala said the threat was from ‘morons’ who should know better.

Days later, a group of lawyers petitioned the Kano State Police command to prosecute Bala for insulting Prophet Muhammad.

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Bala is not new to issues around blasphemy by government and private citizens. In June 2014, he was held at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital by government officials who claimed he was a psychiatric patient against his wish.

In a post on International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) website said he was detained at the hospital on the grounds of a “personality change” because he had become an atheist despite being raised in a Muslim family.


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: Supporting Informal Sector, Priority – Osinbajo.

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Though Nigeria’s massive population constitute a challenge in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic, the advantage of being able to manage the issues in smaller measure through the states and to develop best practices has enabled authorities to reassess responses across sub-nationals and adjust where necessary.

Equally, providing support to small businesses in the informal sector should be a priority for all economies aiming at lessening any adverse effect of the pandemic on the economy.

These views were expressed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, on Wednesday at a virtual conference entitled “How Africa’s Informal Sector Reacts to COVID-19”, organized by Africa.com.

Besides the Vice President, others who spoke at the webinar were President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana; Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna; Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak, Professor of Economics, Yale University; and Amandla Ooko-Ombaka, Senior Engagement Manager, McKinsey & Co.

Mr Hakeem Bello-Osagie, a Harvard Business School Senior Lecturer of Business Administration, and Teresa Clarke, CEO of Africa.com, moderated the discussions with participation by several thousand who signed in across the world.

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According to Prof. Osinbajo “perhaps we have the advantage of being able to manage our problems in smaller measure, or by dividing them, of course, we run a federation, which means that Gov. Nasir could do some very excellent work there in Kaduna, Lagos could do some excellent work, Ogun state and others could also do some excellent work.

“But of course, by the very nature of this pandemic, it also means that you run the risk of everything going south if some state isn’t doing as well as it ought to.

“I think, in the end, we have that advantage that we are able to almost isolate responses, and even look at best practices across the various states and try and ramp up wherever we find that there are deficiencies.”

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Speaking specifically about some of the measures that are currently being implemented to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the economy, the Vice President said “We have done a lot on conditional transfers especially within the context of our social investment policies, but we are now looking at how to possibly enlarge the scope of that and do more.

“We are looking beyond using cash transfers as if it were some incentive for staying at home. We are trying to see whether this can address some of the increasing problems of poverty that we are likely to find now given the disruptions in the economy.

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“Aside from the lockdown, just the disruption in the economy has meant that the daily paid worker simply has no means of working and many laid off.”

Governor El-Rufai also spoke about the efforts of the Kaduna State government in containing the spread of the disease as well as mitigating the effect of some of the measures adopted by the government to check the spread.


#Newsworthy…

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[Nigeria] Nnamdi Speaks On Live Broadcast Amid Kemi Olunloyo’s Death Claim.

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IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu has shut down claims of being dead.

The leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu in a live video on Facebook rubbished the death rumours perpetuated by controversial journalist, Kemi Olunloyo.

Recall that Kemi had claimed that Kanu died and was buried with many of IPOB supporters bashing her on Twitter. She had earlier claimed that Kanu didn’t die, but later said that her source confirmed that the IPOB leader is actually dead.

Watch the LIVE Video below:

click to watch Nnamdi Kanu’s live broadcast

#Newsworthy

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Lagos Governor State New Measures To Ease Lockdown, Ban Okada Activities. [Nigeria]

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Ahead of the May 4th expiration of the lockdown imposed by the Federal Government on Lagos State, Ogun State and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the Lagos State Government has introduced a strict framework for movement and re-opening of businesses.

The set of new guidelines, according to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in his ninth briefing at the State House in Marina on Wednesday, are to safeguard the gains which the State had made in the past four weeks in the fight against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

From next Monday, Sanwo-Olu said the State Government will be implementing the dusk-to-dawn curfew announced by President Muhammadu Buhari last Monday as part of the phased measures to reduce risk of contagion of the COVID-19 disease among the residents and to consolidate on the response strategy deployed to combat the pandemic.

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The Governor’s new framework made fundamental changes to public transportation system and business dealings at corporate offices, local markets and malls.

All passenger buses are not permitted to load to full capacity, Sanwo-Olu ordered in the new guidelines. All commercial vehicles, the Governor said, must carry maximum of 60 per cent of full capacity and their drivers must use face mask and observe other prescribed hygiene tips.

The Governor also suspended the operation of commercial motorcycles, popularly known as Okada, across the state, with the exception of those used for courier and logistics purposes.

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Sanwo-Olu directed the drivers of tricycles (Keke NAPEP) operating in unrestricted areas not to carry more than two passengers per trip, adding that the passengers must keep appropriate distance.

Besides, food handlers at public eateries and restaurants have been mandated by the State Government to wear masks and hand gloves at all times, especially during the preparation and serving of foods.

Only take-out meals and delivery services will be permitted at eateries and restaurants, Sanwo-Olu ordered, warning that in-dining services will not be allowed at the moment.

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The Governor said all businesses that will re-open next week must operate between the hours of 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. The new directive on business operating hours affects all corporate firms, banks, malls and local markets.

He said: “Following the culmination of the second phase of the lockdown on Lagos, Ogun and the FCT, and the nationwide address by President Muhammadu Buhari, it has become imperative for me to address our residents and to share a broader framework for the implementation of the President’s directives here in Lagos.

“There will be a dusk-to-dawn curfew from 8:00 pm to 6:00 am daily. This means that we expect all Lagos residents to stay in their homes in these hours, except those in essential services.

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“All commuters are mandated to wear face masks at all times, sanitise with alcohol-based sanitizer or wash their hands with soap and running water before and after of every trip. All motor parks and garages must avoid overcrowding. Social distancing is required for passengers queuing up to board buses.

“All buses should be loaded to a maximum of 60 per cent of full capacity. No standing allowed in all BRT and LBSL bus operations. All air- conditioning systems in public transport systems must be switched off.

“Commercial Motorcycles, popularly known as Okadas, are to suspend their operations statewide, except for those motorcycles used for courier and logistics purposes. Tricycles (Kekes) operating in unrestricted areas, must not carry more than two passengers per trip and must ensure appropriate social distancing is maintained between passengers.”

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In addition, the Governor announced the restriction of operating hours of water transportation companies to the period between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm daily.

He said under no circumstance should vehicles carrying food items have more than seven passengers.

All public and private schools from primary level to tertiary education must remain closed, Sanwo-Olu directed. He said online classes and lessons that had already been started must continue until further notice.

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The Governor added that businesses will be allowed to operate within “Controlled Easing Phase” framework, clarifying that the expiration of the lockdown was not a directive for the full reopening of the economy.

“It is a gradual and controlled easing of the lockdown. We will continue to monitor the public health situation; the economic impact of the lockdown and always adjust our responses accordingly,” the Governor said.

The Governor acknowledged the role of banking sector in sustaining the economy, urging banks to open all their branches and offer full complement of their services to the public. He, however, said banking operations must fall within the stipulated hours of 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, adding that banks’ managements must ensure regular cleaning and decontamination of their ATM machines and devices regularly used by the public.

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He said: “Companies that choose to operate within this Controlled Easing Phase are to operate between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. They are also directed to operate at a maximum of 60 per cent of their staff capacity. Some non-essential workers can continue to work online and remotely from the office. Online and work-from-home arrangements are highly encouraged to continue as much as is practicable.

“All entertainment centres, such as event centres, cinemas, arcades, bars, casinos, day clubs, nightclubs and beaches shall remain closed till further notice. Swimming pools, gyms, barber-shops, Spas, beauty salons, and all public parks, including those in private and residential estates, will continue to remain closed for another two weeks in the instance, at which point we will review and advise on the permissible opening date for these establishments.”

Sanwo-Olu said the Government’s whistleblower channels would be fully opened to report companies that would flout the new directives. He said whistleblowers would be guaranteed full protection and their identities will be kept strictly confidential.

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The Governor also announced that he would inaugurate a Committee on Thursday, which will comprise representatives of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Private Transport Operators, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), and the Lagos State Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget.

The committee, he said, will be charged with the responsibility of communicating the new State Government’s framework to their members for ease of implementation and compliance.


#Newsworthy…

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Vince McMahon reportedly negotiating deal to sell WWE to ESPN and FOX

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Vince McMahon has apparently reached breaking point.

Reports suggest his mindset backstage is now ‘f*** it’ and one WWE source has even nicknamed him ‘screw it Vince’.

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It’s hard to blame the boss for feeling that way, though.

The uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, filing for bankruptcy over the XFL and seeing WrestleMania plans ruined would’ve taken a toll on anybody.

What ‘f*** it Vince’ means for the future of WWE is unclear.

But one massive rumour suggests he could be ready to pack it all in.

Dutch Mantell (or Zeb Colter as he was known in WWE) tweeted to say he’s heard ‘directly out of Stamford’ that McMahon is negotiating to sell the company to ESPN and FOX.

“HUGE NEWS: Overheard directly out of WWE Stamford is that a deal is being negotiated to sell WWE and the network to ESPN and FOX by as early as mid-May,” he wrote.

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𝔻𝕣. 𝔻𝕦𝕥𝕔𝕙
@DirtyDMantell
HUGE NEWS: Any truth to this. Overheard directly out of @WWE Stamford is that a deal is being negotiated to sell WWE & the network to @ESPN and @FOX by as early as Mid May. @mattkoonmusic

313
3:42 AM – Apr 28, 2020
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234 people are talking about this
Now, until this is reported as fact by someone with far more certainty, it’s important to treat this as nothing more than a rumour.

But it’s certainly an interesting one.

There have been previous suggestions that McMahon would be ready to sell off certain WWE assets to TV networks, but not the whole company.

McMahon could sell up WWE
It’s also tough to imagine a smooth deal when selling to ESPN and FOX.

Yes, SmackDown airs on the latter, but ESPN doesn’t have any live WWE programming, with RAW broadcast on the USA Network – how it would work is unclear.

There are certainly a lot of questions that would need answering before any deal like this could happen.

SmackDown is already on FOX
But with McMahon apparently in full ‘f*** it’ mode, it will be interesting to see if anything as crazy as this unfolds in the coming weeks and months.


#NobleSports

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Former world champion returns to RAW after 10 months injured

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Jinder Mahal made his return to WWE on Monday Night RAW after 10 months out.

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The former world champion was injured at a live event in June last year, rupturing his patellar tendon.

He underwent knee surgery later that month and was always expected to miss the first few months of 2020.

After teasing a return to the ring in recent weeks, as well as confirming he’d been cleared by doctors earlier in April, Mahal finally appeared on RAW.

It appears he’s been slimming down while on the shelf, sporting a trimmed figure as he made his way down the ramp.

Mahal easily defeated Akira Tozawa upon his return, finishing his opponent with The Khallas to pick up the three count.

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You can view some footage of the Modern Day Maharaja’s return below:

It’s unclear what plans WWE has for Mahal now he’s back, but expect to see him feature regularly on RAW.

Let’s not forget, he’s a former member of 3MB, the stable that also included Drew McIntyre so who knows, he could perhaps be in a programme with the WWE Champion further down the line.

Mahal wasn’t the only one to make his return on RAW last night.

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Mahal returned after 10 months out
Samoa Joe appeared on commentary once again – a move that has become very popular with fans.

The former United States Champion has had a tough few months.

He’s still not medically cleared from his latest concussion, suffered while filming a TV commercial for Monday Night RAW.

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Joe returned to RAW commentary
On top of that, Joe was serving a 30-day suspension earlier this month, after violating WWE’s Wellness Policy.

So while he’s been brought back for commentary work, it’s still unclear when he’ll make his in-ring return.


#NobleSports

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Dortmund will allow Sancho to leave if Utd break their transfer record

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Borussia Dortmund will reportedly allow Jadon Sancho to join Manchester United, provided the Red Devils break their transfer record in order to sign him.

The 20-year-old is the subject of major interest from the Premier League giants after another stunning season in the Bundesliga.

Sancho netted 14 goals and provided 16 assists in his 23 Bundesliga matches this season before it was shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Englishman, who is approaching the final two years of his current deal, has been offered a huge wage rise by Dortmund.

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However, Bild are reporting that the German club would let him leave, provided the price is right.

That price is believed to be in excess of £100m, significantly more than United’s transfer record of £89m for Paul Pogba.

That could be a hard figure for United to meet given the present circumstances, clubs across the world experiencing financial difficulty due to the coronavirus crisis.


#NobleSports

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Mertens ‘interested in move to London’ as Chelsea remain keen on Napoli forward

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Napoli forward Dries Mertens remains an option for Chelsea.

The 32-year-old Belgian is out of contract in the summer and has a number of offers on the table but is interested in a move to London.

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Frank Lampard wanted Mertens in January, despite the fact he turns 33 next week, as he can cover a number of positions.

Chelsea’s priorities in the window are expected to be a striker, centre back and left back.

Mertens would definitely tick the box for the former, with the veteran on the cusp of being Napoli’s all-time record goalscorer.


#NobleSports

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Mbappé: “Everybody is talking, but nobody knows”

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Real Madrid will be alert to Kylian Mbappé’s latest message, which, in France, is being read as a nod towards his current club, PSG.

Kylian Mbappé has been one of the main figures in the headlines during the coronavirus lockdown period.

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Real Madrid see the PSG star as key to their future plans, although their move to sign him will be postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus.

The 21-year-old striker has so far been doing his part to ensure his move to Madrid comes to fruition. He has yet to agree to a renewal of his current contract at Parc des Princes, which expires in 2022. Although in public, he has opted to express his loyalty to PSG with his latest words on Twitter.

“Everyone talks, but nobody knows. Miss my team, @PSG,” wrote the player in a message accompanied with love hearts in the blue-and-red colours of the Ligue 1 club.

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Mbappé’s message seen as nod to PSG
The French press have taken Mbappé’s message as a nod to PSG amid the barrage of news linking him with Real Madrid. The France international has always avoided questions about a possible contract extension with PSG and, up to this point, had not made such an explicit admission of love for the Parisian club.

Mbappé’s message will likely have caught the eyes of Real Madrid. If he eventually decides to renew his PSG deal, it would greatly complicate Los Blancos’ mission to bring him to the Bernabéu.

On the other hand, if PSG owners force him to stay another year without tying him down to a new deal, Madrid would have the upper hand in negotiations for the player.


#NobleSports

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More To Read…|Noble Reporters Media

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Juve & Inter in talks with Werner’s agents over a potential move

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Italian broadcaster Sky Sport Italia transfer market expert Gianluca Di Marzio has revealed that the representatives of RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner are in talks with both Inter and Juventus.

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Werner has been one of the most prolific goalscorers in European football in recent seasons and with him having a release clause of €60 million he is even more attractive to other clubs.

In a question and answer session with the broadcaster, Di Marzio revealed that Werner will depart the German Bundesliga club in the coming months.

“I know that Timo Werner will leave Leipzig and his agents are working to find a move for him. His agents are speaking with Juventus and Inter,” he explained.

He also admitted to being unsure as to whether Champions League holders Liverpool are in talks with his representatives given the abundance of attacking firepower they already have.


#NobleSports

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EP: XBusta – 7 Days More | MP3 Tracklists

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Year: 2020

Song: N/A

Artist: XBusta

Album: 7 Days More

Feat: N/A

Prod:



  • Enemy ft. Don Jazzy
  • OK
  • A Place (T.O.T)
  • Check

#NobleSong

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MP3: XBusta – Check | Lyrics

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Year: 2020

Song: Check

Artist: XBusta

Album: 7 Days More

Feat: N/A

Prod:



Lyrics•


#NobleSong

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MP3: XBusta – A Place (T.O.T) | Lyrics

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Year: 2020

Song: A Place (T.O.T)

Artist: XBusta

Album: 7 Days More

Feat: N/A

Prod:



Lyrics•


#NobleSong

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MP3: XBusta – OK | Lyrics

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Year: 2020

Song: OK

Artist: XBusta

Album: 7 Days More

Feat: N/A

Prod:



Lyrics•


#NobleSong

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MP3: XBusta – Enemy (ft. Don Jazzy) | Lyrics

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Year: 2020

Song: Enemy

Artist: XBusta

Album: 7 Days More

Feat: Don Jazzy

Prod:



ft. Don Jazzy

Lyrics•


#NobleSong

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