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How Nigerian table tennis players can reach their full potential — LSTTA Chairman



Tunji Lawal, Chairman, Lagos State Table Tennis Association (LSTTA) says Nigerian table tennis players can reach their full potential with the right mentality ,the right fitness level and adequate exposure.

Lawal said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of the graduation ceremony of the ‘Break the Bias, She Can’ initiative in Lagos.

The programme was organised by Additional Plus Sports and Education Initiative (APSE) in partnership with Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC).

NAN reports that ‘Break the Bias, She Can’, is a programme designed to train school girls in taekwando and table tennis as well as provide them with political education.

50 girls graduated at the ceremony, held at the Rowe Park Sports Centre, Yaba, Lagos.


Lawal said Nigerian players were not doing better than many of their opponents in other countries because they do not have the right mentality,the right fitness level as well as adequate exposure.

He said the poor performance of the country’s players at the recently-concluded World Table Tennis (WTT) Contender in Lagos was a proof that they needed to do a lot to match their counterparts in China ,Korea and elsewhere.

`The rate at which international players are exposed, going from one tournament to another, their training regimes, and the facilities at their disposal ,are the reasons they are better than our players.

“These players are always careful about what they eat; they don’t indulge in junks and they also monitor their diets.However, Nigerian players don’t have same.They eat whatever comes their way.

“To me, an average Nigerian player is kind of overweight for the game ,and so, finds it difficult to keep up with the standard of the game.


“Nigerian players lack fitness in terms of movement, foot work, agility and other technicalities. We seriously need to restrategise”,he said .

Lawal added: ” Being a professional is a holistic thing; It is not about knowing how to play alone, it is about what you eat and your mentality.

“Athletes must be flexible.They must have pace and be able to move easily.So the way to go now is to encourage the younger ones to take over from the older ones.

“Hana Goda of Egypt became an African Champion at a very young age of 12 , now going to 15 years. She started at a very young age.

“This is why we are encouraging more youngsters in table tennis and encouraging academies to spring up all over Nigeria.”


Lawal said he believed the future of table tennis is bright in Nigeria and that the country should focus on discovering young talents and nurture them to become world champions .

He said ‘Break Bias ,She Can ” initiative was conceived to provide opportunities for young girls and help them to grow in the game.

“The future is bright . We can have players to replace someone like Funke Oshonaike and do better in the global stage.

“If the likes of Aruna Quadri can develop from the street without much support, with opportunity like the `Break the Bias, She Can’ the children can have a better opportunity.

“Our young children can grow with better system, so we are working assiduously to create a better system which will work for us just as it is being done abroad,” he said.


Lawal also urged the state governments to invest in table tennis in order to develop the sport.

He appealed to the Lagos State Government to help with sports infrastructure in order to aid the development young athletes.

“We want to implore the state governments ,especially, the Lagos State to support us and provide enough facilities to be able to develop this game. Lagos was once the best state in table tennis ,while Nigeria was the best in Africa.

“Today, we are struggling to keep up right now because there are no tables, no facilities, no playing hall and all of these are affecting the sport in Lagos.

“As an association, we are doing our best to give all that we can to make the game grow.


“Our Asoju Oba Table Tennis Championship this year will be better- organised. And being the fifth year, the grand prize will be bigger because we are in talks with the sponsors,” he said.

Reading books ,writing materials and certificates of participation were presented to participants at the graduation ceremony.


WHO releases $16m to tackle cholera, says Director-General



The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released 16 million dollars from the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies to tackle cholera.

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General said this during an online news conference.

Ghebreyesus said that the organisation was providing essential supplies, coordinating the on the ground response with partners, supporting countries to detect, prevent and treat cholera, and informing people how to protect themselves.

“To support this work, we have appealed for 160 million dollars, and we have released more than 16 million dollars from the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies.

“But the real solution to cholera lies in ensuring everyone has access to safe water and sanitation, which is an internationally recognized human right,” he said.


According to him, in the previous week, WHO published new data showing that cases reported in 2022 were more than double those in 2021.

He said that the preliminary data for 2023 suggested was likely to be even worse.

“So far, 28 countries have reported cases in 2023 compared with 16 during the same period in 2022.

“The countries with the most concerning outbreaks right now are Ethiopia, Haiti, Iraq and Sudan.

“Significant progress has been made in countries in Southern Africa, including Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, but these countries remain at risk as the rainy season approaches,” Ghebreyesus said.


According to him, the worst affected countries and communities are poor, without access to safe drinking water or toilets.

He said that they also face shortages of oral cholera vaccine and other supplies, as well as overstretched health workers, who are dealing with multiple disease outbreaks and other health emergencies.

On COVID-19, Ghebreyesus said that as the northern hemisphere winter approaches, the organisation continued to see concerning trends.

He said that among the relatively few countries that report them, both hospitalisations and ICU admissions have increased in the past 28 days, particularly in the Americas and Europe.

WHO boss said that meanwhile, vaccination levels among the most at-risk groups remained worryingly low.


“Two-thirds of the world’s population has received a complete primary series, but only one-third has received an additional, or “booster” dose.

“COVID-19 may no longer be the acute crisis it was two years ago, but that does not mean we can ignore it,” he said.

According to him, countries invested so much in building their systems to respond to COVID-19.

He urged countries to sustain those systems, to ensure people can be protected, tested and treated for COVID-19 and other infectious threats.

“That means sustaining systems for collaborative surveillance, community protection, safe and scalable care, access to countermeasures and coordination,” he said.

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FG targets wealthy Nigerians in new tax drive



The Federal Government is planning to overhaul the nation’s tax system to shift more of the burden to wealthy citizens while cutting corporate taxes.

The move — part of President Bola Tinubu’s reforms to overhaul the beleaguered economy – aims to lift the country’s tax take to 18 per cent of Gross Domestic Product within three years from 11 per cent now, according to a Bloomberg report.

A tax amnesty to encourage compliance is also under consideration.

The plan is to make “the rich pay what is fair and those who are too poor can be protected,” said Taiwo Oyedele, who is leading a panel appointed by Tinubu to drive the changes.

“We also envisage a reduction in the corporate income tax rate,” to below the current effective rate of more than 40 per cent to help boost business, he told Bloomberg in a recent interview. The new rate should be benchmarked against Nigeria’s peers, he said.


In Africa’s most populous nation, where a tiny minority enjoy vast wealth while two thirds of its 200 million people live in extreme poverty, the numbers suggest widespread tax evasion.

Nigeria’s tax revenue as a share of GDP is a third of the 34 per cent average for members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Among four million registered firms, less than 250,000 actively pay tax, while fewer than a quarter of the 41 million registered people pay income tax, Oyedele said.

The country’s tax system is bedeviled by overlapping local, state and federal jurisdictions, which helps the wealthy to slip through the cracks. The high number of different taxes, which he put at almost 70, also adds to complexity.

“We will find a way to create structures and systems around what taxes can be imposed, how it can be collected, who can collect it and how it should be accounted for,” he said. The goal is to slash the number of taxes down to single digits.


“We just identified the top eight giving us 99% of the taxes, so we keep them and the rest we get rid of,” he said.

Boosting tax collection is vital for a country which, despite its immense oil wealth, has had to borrow heavily to fill the gap between government spending and the revenue shortfall.

Since 2015, the nation’s public debt has increased almost eight-fold to 87.4 trillion naira ($112.6 billion), according to the debt management agency. Servicing those obligations consumed 96% of government revenue in 2022.

A tax amnesty will be introduced to provide a relief on old debts and prepare the mind of the people to meet future obligations.

“If people know that government knows their income, where they are; if they haven’t been paying their taxes, if we declare an amnesty they will show up,” he said.

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