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BREAKING: Jonathan sacks NNPC boss, appoints replacement

President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has fired the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Andrew Yakubu.

Read the press statement announcing the sack and the appointment of a replacement below.

Details later…

STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE

PRESIDENT JONATHAN APPOINTS NEW CEOs FOR NNPC AND NPDC

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has approved the following appointments and changes in the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC):

1.         Dr Joseph Thlama Dawha – Group Managing Director, NNPC

2.        Mr Anthony Ugonna Muoneke – Managing Director, NPDC

3.        Ms Aisha Mata Abdurrahman – Group Executive Director, Commercial and Investment, NNPC

4.        Dr Attahir B. Yusuf – Group Executive Director, Business Development, NNPC

The new Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Dawha hails from Borno state. He has served previously as the Group Executive Director, Exploration and Production, NNPC and Managing Director of Integrated Data Services Ltd (IDSL), a subsidiary of the NNPC.

Mr Anthony Muoneke, the new Managing Director of the NPDC, hails from Anambra state. Called to the Nigerian Bar in 1985, he has over 29 years’ experience at both local and international levels in the oil and gas as well as the energy and power sectors, including serving as Executive Director, Finance & Admin, Niger Delta Power Holding Company Ltd. (NDPHC).

All the appointments are with immediate effect.

Reuben Abati

Special Adviser to the President

(Media & Publicity)

August 1, 2014

___________

 

 

Impeachment: Enugu Assembly asks Chief Judge to set up panel against deputy governor

Sunday Onyebuchi, troubled Enugu state deputy governor

The embattled deputy governor may be removed within 14 days of the receipt of the report of the panel by the Assembly.

The Enugu State House of Assembly on Thursday asked the Chief Judge of the state, Innocent Umezurike, to set up a seven-member panel to investigate the allegations of gross misconduct against the deputy governor, Sunday Onyebuchi.

The Assembly, which asked the chief judge to set up the panel within seven days, demanded that its membership must conform to constitutional provisions.

This is coming a day after Mr. Onyebuchi, in a letter to the House, denied all the allegations raised by the lawmakers in the impeachment notice sent on July 24.

The House, which acted in accordance with Section 188 of the Constitution, had accused the deputy governor of gross misconduct in the performance of the functions of his office.

Specifically, it said Mr. Onyebuchi was running a poultry farm contrary to a resolution of the House prohibiting the maintenance of and operation of commercial livestock and poultry farms within residential neighbourhoods in Enugu metropolis.

Mr. Onyebuchi was also alleged to have on several occasions disobeyed the state governor, Sullivan Chime thereby violating Section 193 (1) of the Constitution.

Apart from denying the allegations, Mr. Onyebuchi expressed satisfaction that no allegation of corruption or fraud was levelled against him.

According to Section 188 (9) of the Constitution: “Where the report of the panel is that the allegation against the holder of the office has been proved, then within 14 days of the receipt of the report, the House of Assembly shall consider the report, and if by a resolution of the House of Assembly supported by not less than two-thirds majority of all its members, the report of the panel is adopted, then the holder of the office shall stand removed from office as from the date of the adoption of the report.”

Sources said the impeachment plot against the deputy governor was instigated by Mr. Chime, who is allegedly rooting for his Chief of Staff, Ifeoma Nwobodo, to become his deputy and thereafter contest election into the Senate in 2015.

Mrs. Nwobodo is from Enugu East Senatorial District as Mr. Onyebuchi. The District is currently represented in the upper legislative chamber by Gilbert Nnaji.

NSE market capitalisation drops by N90billion in Thursday trading

stockmarket

The market capitalisation of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE depreciated by N90 billion or 0.64 per cent on Thursday as major stocks also slipped in prices.

At the close of trading, the market capitalisation closed lower at N13.9trillion from the N13.990 trillion recorded on Wednesday.

Equally, the All-Share Index, ASI, which opened at 42,368.99, dropped by 271.5 points to close at 42,097.49.
Dangote Cement led the losers’ chart by N3.94 to close at N230 per share.

Guinness depreciated by N2.3 to close at N195, while UACN and International Breweries lost N1.4 each to close at N61 and N26.65 per share respectively.

Glaxosmith also dipped by N1.09 to close at N65.01 per share.

On the other hand, Forte Oil led the gainers’ chart by N7 to close at N218 per share.

7UP bottling Company gained N6.97 to close at N107, while Nigerian Breweries grew by N1.05 to close at N180.1 per share.

Stanbic IBTC appreciated by 7k to close at N31.24, while Ashaka Cement chalked up 58k to closed at N31.08 per share.

Access Bank emerged as the most traded stock, accounting for 48.87 million shares worth N482.46 million.

UBA Bank exchanged 46.26 million shares valued at N356.27 million, while Transcorp sold 28.53 million shares worth N159.66 million.

In all, investors exchanged a total of 354.760 million shares worth N6.91 billion in 6,248 deals.

This was against the 713.842 million shares valued at N6.73 billion traded in 5,830 deals on Wednesday.

The volume of traded shares represented a decrease of 50.30 per cent.

(NAN)

Boko Haram: Nigerian Government set to rebuild conflict-torn North East

Bombing in Maiduguri

The Federal Government has concluded a comprehensive plan for the reconstruction of the crisis-ravaged North East geo-political zone, the Chairman of Presidential Committee on the Reconstruction of North East, Soji Adelaja, has said.

At a meeting with the Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo, in Abuja on Thursday, Mr. Adelaja also unveiled series of coordinated sustainable intervention projects and policies designed to reconstruct the region in close collaboration with state governments in the zone.

He also said federal ministries with relevant projects capable of healing the wounds of the crisis would be involved.

Mr. Adelaja, a professor, listed what he called emergency assistance stabilization projects covering education, health, infrastructure, agriculture among others.

The committee, he said, had concluded studies of post-conflict societies where reconstruction had been successfully done and that the lessons so learnt would be applied during its assignment.

The chairman further noted that the committee was already identifying safe communities to launch the reconstruction and that the concept includes identification of agriculture and transformation-ready communities in view of the ongoing security challenges.

The Minister of State for Power, Mohammed Wakil, who responded on behalf of the ministry, lamented the devastation inflicted on the region by the insurgents.

He however commended President Goodluck Jonathan for launching several initiatives to rebuild the zone.

Mr. Wakil said the President had introduced four initiatives to rehabilitate North-East namely the setting up of two separate presidential committees, the full funding of emergency agency, and the provision of sufficient supply to the displaced from the national grain reserve.

‘’Mr. President has put the reconstruction and rehabilitation structures in place. I urge this presidential committee to act quickly and urgently by going to the field. Our people want to see you in action. They are in dire need of help. It is time for action’’, the Minister of State charged the committee.

Also speaking, Mr. Nebo said the account of the Minister of State about the callousness of the insurgents confirmed the widely held belief that the insurgency is not about religion but about hatred of Nigeria and humanity.

He said, ‘’Boko Haram are haters of our dear country. It has nothing to do with religion. We in the Ministry of Power commended Mr. President for his intervention and we pledged the support of our ministry in the area of quick win projects to facilitate the reconstruction efforts.

‘’We will identify relevant projects and key into this presidential initiatives. We have big projects in the North East. Mr. President just approved the Mambilla hydro dam which will employ thousands of young people from the North East and boost economic life of the people.”

Government agencies pocketing internally-generated funds, says Fiscal Commission

Federal Secretariat Abuja

The Fiscal Responsibility Commission, FRC, on Thursday accused revenue generating Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, of not remitting to government coffers revenue surpluses realized from their operations.

Acting Chairman of the Commission, Victor Muruako, who made the accusation also attributed the low compliance level to its regulations by the relevant government agencies to the proposed scrapping of the Commission by the Federal Government.

The Presidential Committee on the Rationalization and Restructuring of the Civil Service led by the former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Steven Oronsaye, recommended the merger or scrapping of 321 out of the 541 federal parastatals, Commissions and agencies of government.

A White Paper on the Committee’s Report accepted the recommendation that the FRC be scrapped alongside 220 other agencies.

According to the Chairman, revenue-generating MDAs have in recent times been reluctant in remitting the mandatory 70 per cent of their operating surpluses to the Consolidated Revenue Fund coordinated by the Commission.

He said the slow response of the revenue generating agencies in the remittance of the operating surpluses was borne out of their fear that the Commission would soon be scrapped.

“In fact, what MDAs collect as operating surplus for the Federal Government is going down because their officials think that we are going to be scrapped,’’ he said.

Out of the 36 states of the federation, Mr. Muruako said only 15 states have so far domesticated the FRC law in their domains.

He stressed the need for state governments to domesticate the law in order to ensure accountability and proper monitoring of public funds.

Of the 15 states that have so far adopted the FRC Act, he said only nine states have set up Fiscal Responsibility Commission, while the rest were still at different stages of adopting of the law.

He traced the bottleneck to the process of adopting the law at state level to institutional problems, apart from infrastructural challenges, adding that the fact that the states would have to create a Commission and employ competent staff was a challenge for some of them.

The Chairman identified funding as another major constraint against the adoption of the law in some states, promising that the Commission would encourage states to adopt the law to ensure good fiscal practice and prudent management of government funds.

CBN’s Sara Alade appointed financial market dealers board chairman

Sarah Alade

The Deputy Governor, Economic Policy Directorate, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Sarah Alade, has been nominated the new Chairman of the Board of the Financial Market Dealers Quotation, FMDQ OTC Plc.

Mrs. Alade, whose nomination was disclosed at the FMDQ’s second Annual General Meeting on Thursday in Lagos, would succeed the former Access Bank Managing Director, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, who is retiring on August 1, 2014 as FMDQ Board Chairman.

Mr. Aig-Imoukhuede who spoke at the AGM, urged the management and shareholders of the company to cooperate with the new Chairman in an effort to move the company higher.

He commended the Board members and shareholders for their harmonious working relationship in the past four years and commended the outgoing directors of the board for the achievement recorded by the company over the years.

The FMDQ, Mr. Aig-Imoukhuede said, was well-positioned to empower banks, pension managers and other operators to play major roles in the economic development programme of the Federal Government.

According to him, Nigeria needs a virile debt capital market with world-class listings and quotation standards to support the improved business environment and the entrepreneurial energy of the private sector.

He said the company would continue to champion change in the nation’s economy by promoting the growth of financial markets within the country and beyond.

He, however, commended the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, CBN and the Debt Management Office, DMO for their support to the company.

FMDQ Managing Director, Bola Onadele, said the company would continue to promote market development through the provision of infrastructure and governance structure in the Nigerian financial market.

Mr. Onadele said the company was committed to the transformation of the nation’s OTC financial market, adding that to complement the achievement in market transparency, the company would focus on market efficiency and liquidity by driving product innovation.

The MD said that FMDQ would thrive on the reintroduction of defunct products such as commercial papers, restructuring of the repo market, activation of securities lending and development of the loan sale market.

He said the company would commence feasibility studies on the derivative market and employ technology regulation and examination franchises to promote FMDQ as a world-class front-line regulator.

“We will continue to forge ahead on our business strategy to organise, regulate, disseminate information and advocate for in the Nigerian financial market,” Onadele said.

The FMDQ OTC platform licensed by the SEC in 2012 to provide oversight on the OTC market in Nigeria, is owned by 25 banks, the CBN, the Finance Dealers Association and the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE.

Besides, the FMDQ OTC is a securities exchange for listing and trading of fixed income products and currency derivatives to offer financial security.

(NAN)

EXCLUSIVE: The Likely Cure For Ebola, By Dr. Simbo Davidson

ebola

Dr. Simbo Davidson believes sufferers of Ebola can be treated with a drug available in the market and which was once used to contain a deadly virus in South Africa

=====================

On 22 July 2014, the first case of the dreaded Ebola virus arrived in Nigeria via an Asky aircraft. However, no one knew it at the time. How did this happen? How had this patient been screened at his port of departure, that is Liberia airport? We can also ask ourselves yet another question. Why is it taking so long to curtail the epidemic? For instance, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently announced that as at 23 July 2014, the Ebola epidemic had claimed 672 lives. Furthermore, there are currently 1201 suspected and confirmed cases across West Africa. In terms of intervention, the current strategy appears to be related to the use of universal precautions: case isolation, hand-washing, and health worker protection and palliative treatments (such as pain management, and rehydrating fluids).

In theory, this strategy may be quite effective. This is because epidemic control strategies usually aim to reduce person-to-person transmission through avoidance related methods (WHO, 2014). In this case, persons at risk will need to avoid contact with the body fluids of infected person, including sweat, semen, vomit, faeces, urine, blood and saliva (Infection Control for Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers, WHO 2014).

In practice, avoidance techniques may not work, as in reality, these are the most basic of preventive measures. Firstly, a high level of hygiene is required and this may be relatively impossible in the urban slums and rural areas of many African countries. Secondly, isolation centres will need to be stationed in every single district or local government area. In many developing African countries, such centres may not be adequately manned, suitably stationed, or reasonably equipped. So, invariably, many infected persons are nursed at home or buried at home. Hence, the cycle of transmission continues. What then can be done?

From a Public Health perspective, there are several ways that epidemics may be subdued: 1). Interrupt the cycle of transmission e.g prevent cross-contamination 2). Protect the susceptible host e.g through vaccination or 3). Eliminate the reservoir of infection e.g. kill all animals that harbour the Ebola virus.

Starting from the third option, we immediately encounter the difficulty of which animals to slaughter. Unlike Avian flu, it isn’t clear which animal is involved here? Bats? Rodents? Monkeys? In addition, the Ebola virus has no vaccine to date; so that leaves only one other option: interrupt the cycle of transmission. The question then is ‘Has this been effectively done? How have other nations contained similar epidemics?

On 21 September 2008, a woman was admitted at a South African hospital for fever, vomiting and diarrhea, “followed by a rash,” and signs of organ failure (Keeton, 2008). The woman died the next day. Three more cases were reported, in quick succession, to the National Institute for Communicable Disease in South Africa. They all died within a few days of admission. Three of the patients were medical staff. Researcher Keeton (2008) noted that all cases presented with “ flu-like illness (in a similar way to Ebola) and had fever, headache and muscle pain. When the fifth patient surfaced, the institute had diagnosed an outbreak of an old world arena virus infection. While this specific virus did not cause internal bleeding, it belonged to the same class of viruses that did, e.g West African LASSA fever causes fever and bleeding (Keeton ,2008). According to Keeton (2008), the fifth patient (a nurse) was “treated with Ribavirin, which has been effective in patients with LASSA fever, and she has since made a good recovery” (Keeton, 2008).

Ribavirin then was the deciding factor in this case. All other palliative methods failed, intravenous fluids, etc. Why then should we expect such interventions to work now in 2014? Surely an antiviral, which worked in a similar situation six years ago, should also be a consideration in this case? The virus isolated in South Africa had never been subjected to Ribavirin in a research setting (Keeton 2008). In effect, there was no guarantee that it would work. But this was nevertheless the most logical approach to the impending threat.

Ribavirin is a broad-spectrum antiviral agent. It is effective against a wide range of RNA viruses including viral hemorrhagic viruses such as LASSA fever (Crotty, Cameron, & Andino, 2001). According to the trio, Ribavirin was discovered in 1972. It can therefore not be classified as an experimental drug. Ribavirin also acts independently of the viral RNA sequence. Therefore flaviruses (of which Yellow fever is a member) and arena viruses (of which Lassa fever is a member) differ somewhat in structure but are still responsive to the antiviral. The critical success factor, however, may be timely intervention. Ribavirin is contraindicated after organ (e.g. kidney or liver failure) sets in. It may therefore be imperative that treatment be commenced during the early phase of the illness. While the antiviral may not be available as an OTC, (non prescription drug) large orders (in tablet or injectable form) may be made directly from the manufacturers. Fortunately, no fewer than six global pharmaceutical giants, including Sandoz and Roche, are currently manufacturing the antiviral.

In terms of potential impact, the Ebola virus is an RNA virus, and a member of the viral hemorrhagic fevers, such as LASSA fever, Rift valley fever, Marburg virus, Crimean Congo hemorrhagic virus and Yellow fever (Crotty et al.,2001; Keeton, 2008). Most of the VHF viruses present with similar symptoms such as flu-like illness, vomiting, diarrhea, high fever, skin rashes and bleeding (Keeton, 2008). Most are invariably fatal without therapeutic intervention, or vaccination (if available). These statistics clearly indicate that the VHF viruses have similar molecular mechanisms.

Therefore, in view of the current status of the epidemic, the next logical approach should be related to therapeutic intervention. There is certainly no hard evidence that such an approach would be fruitless, while there is certainly compelling evidence that the outcome may be positive.

References

Crotty, S., Cameron, C., & Andino R.(2001).Ribavirin’s antiviral mechanism of action: Lethal mutagenesis? Journal of Molecular Medicine,(2002) 80 :86-95

Infection Control for Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers in the African Setting.

(World Health Organisation and CDC. 2014)

Keeton, C.(2008).South African Doctors move quickly to contain a new virus. World Health Organization. Bulletin of The World Health Organisation 86.12(Dec 2008) :912-3

Simbo Davidson (MBBS, MPH, PCQI) is a Public Health specialist working in a private hospital in Lagos, Nigeria.

She wrote this article exclusively for PREMIUM TIMES.

Nigeria Confederation Cup: Enyimba, Dolphins qualify for final

Eyimba

Enyimba defeated Giwa FC 1-0 in Abeokuta.

Enyimba International Football Club of Aba on Thursday in Abeokuta defeated Giwa FC of Jos 1-0 to qualify for the final match of the 2014 Men’s Federation Cup.

The first half of the match, which was played at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abeokuta, ended goalless. The only goal of the match came in the 51st minute off the boots of Rafael Boumsoung.

At the end of the match, Enyimba’s coach, Kadiri Ikhana, expressed satisfaction at his team’s performance, saying his players lived up to expectations.

He, however, said the match’s scoreline could have been heavier against Giwa FC if his players had taken their chances.

The coach promised to correct identified lapses ahead of the final match against Dolphins FC of Port Harcourt.

The former Cup champions, coached by Stanley Eguma, had also defeated Prime FC of Oshogbo 1-0 in the second semi-final match, played at FIFA Goal Project pitch in Abuja.

Speaking also in Abeokuta, the coach of Giwa FC, Duke Udi, commended his team for giving Enyimba a run for their money.

“Given that Giwa FC is relatively new in Nigeria’s top-flight football, it can be said that playing in the semi-finals of the Federation Cup was not a bad result,’’ he said.

(NAN)

Group honours Ribadu with “Corruption Fighters Award”

Former EFCC chair, Nuhu Ribadu

The group says Mr. Ribadu’s fight for good governance, credibility and integrity has distinguished him over the years.

A group of Christian clergy, Christian Coalition Against Corruption (CCAC) on Thursday presented an award on integrity and anti-corruption to a former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu.

Presenting the award at a seminar on anti-corruption held at Welcome Centre Hotel, Lagos, CCAC president, Francis Shopekan, a bishop, said the award was presented to Mr. Ribadu in recognition of his “undeniable impact in the fight against corruption, injustice, oppression and molestation in the country”.

Eulogising the former anticorruption czar, the Bishop noted that Mr. Ribadu’s fight for good governance, credibility and integrity, plus his commitment to country and his efficient, discipline and exemplary leadership skill has distinguished him over the years.

While commending Mr. Ribadu’s humanitarian works and service to the country, Mr. Shopekan prayed for God’s protection and blessings for the former EFCC chairman and all other honest Nigerians.

In his response, Mr. Ribadu applauded the clergy for taking up the fight against corruption, saying clerics have a huge role to play in combating corruption in all sectors of Nigeria’s socio-economic and political life.

The former EFCC boss, who was represented by Bello Malabu, stressed that in addition to good and credible leadership, individual conduct is essential in the fight against corruption.

He therefore charged both Christian and Muslim clerics to lead the fight through personal exemple and preaching to their congregations.

Commonwealth Games: Nigeria female players crash out of table tennis events

Funke Oshonaike

Edem Offiong, who promised to win gold, was knocked out in the main draw.

Nigeria female team table tennis players have all crashed out of the event at the on-going 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games in Scotland.

The team’s last game was in the women’s doubles when the pair of Funke Oshonaike and Cecilia Otu-Akpan were beaten 3-0 by Malaysia’s duo of Lee Beh and Sock Ng.

In the singles, Edem Offiong, who had boasted that she would win gold, was bundled out by Joanna Drinkhall in the round of 64 (main draw). The most disappointing aspect of the defeat was that the game ended in a 4-0 bashing of the African champion by the English lady.

Otu-Akpan suffered the same fate at the hands of Singapore’s Taiwei Feng; also in the main draw.

However, Ganiat Ogundele, who also made it to the main draw after recording 100 per cent in the preliminary round, fought hard against India’s Shamini Kumaresan. Despite her efforts, she surrendered to the Indian in the seventh game to exit the competition at 4-3.

What should have been a consolation for the female team also disappeared into thin air, as the duo of Oshonaike and Aruna Quadri, was booted out by Singapore in the mixed doubles.

The women’s team failed to make it beyond the knockout stage in the team event, where their male counterparts clinched bronze.

A disappointed President of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation, NTTF, Wahid Oshodi, said he was not surprised with the result of the female team. He promised that attention would now be given to young players who would be nurtured to take over the team in future tournaments.

Since the inclusion of table tennis at the Commonwealth Games, the female team has not made any meaningful impact like their male counterparts.

Interestingly, the reverse is the case in a sport like athletics were the ladies are making waves and the male making the numbers as it were.

UNFPA wants Nigeria to increase investment in maternal health

breastfeeding

“Issues of maternal mortality have not improved in this country for 40 years…”

The Executive Director, United Nations Fund for Population Activity, UNFPA, Babatunde Osotimehin, on Thursday said Nigeria needed to invest more on maternal mortality to save lives of women.

Mr. Osotimehin, a professor, stated this when he visited the Chairman, Subsidy Re-Investment and Empowerment Programme, SURE-P, Martin-Luther Agwai, in Abuja.

According to him, increased investment in maternal health will reduce the number of women who die in the course of child birth.

“Issues of maternal mortality have not improved in this country for 40 years because we have not been consistent in investment that should get to women. The commitment that government made at the Family Planning Conference in London in 2012 was to actually add to the commitment they had already made on issues of commodities to save lives of women.

“But what we find is that we have not received the resources to provide the commodities to save lives of women,” he said.

He disclosed that Uganda made commitment of $5 million a year and had been consistent with it.
He explained that the measure had led to the drop in maternal mortality in the country, because women were now being reached.

“If we do not invest in the lives of women and girls in Nigeria it will be difficult to attain such level,’’ he stated.

Mr. Osotimehin said that the biggest problems African nations had in curbing maternal mortality was early marriage.
According to him, they get pregnant at the age of 12 and eventually die and we are not taking appropriate steps to stop this problem.

He therefore appealed to SURE-P to prioritise maternal mortality issues in the face of competing demands for its resources.

He said that given its lean resources, UNFPA only intervened in countries with evidence that the government was doing something.

In his response, the SURE-P chairman disclosed that the programme had released N100 million for maternal health-related projects, this year.

Mr. Agwai, who was represented by SURE-P’s Deputy Chairman, Omotanwa Olusi, said that the organization was determined to provide more resources for health projects before the end the year.

:Last year, we were able to give N300 million as part of the money promised in London and our budget this year has been cut. We have been able to release N100 million again and before the end of the year, we will see what happens.

“If we are able to get more funds we will release more money before the end of the year for you to kick start again this year,’’ he said.

(NAN)

Osun Election: Jonathan, Sambo to storm Osogbo for Omisore

Namadi Sambo

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, will conduct the state governorship election on August 9.

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Osun State on Thursday said that all arrangements had been concluded to receive President Goodluck Jonathan in Osogbo on Saturday.

The Secretary of PDP in Osun, Bola Ajao, made this known when he addressed journalists in Osogbo.

Mr. Ajao said that the president was coming to throw his weight behind Iyiola Omisore, the party’s governorship candidate.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, will conduct the state governorship election on August 9.

He said Mr. Jonathan would also use the visit to intimate the residents with his transformation agenda.

“The president’s passion for overall development is not hidden. Few days from now, residents will be at the poll to elect a governor to steer the ship of the state for another four years.

“The import of the president’s visit is not only to boost the candidature of the party’s governorship candidate but to further explain his transformation agenda to the people.

“A vote for the PDP is a vote for individual growth and collective emancipation through a one man one woman vote,’’ he said.

According to him, PDP leaders, including Vice-President Namadi Sambo, will accompany the president, who is also expected to visit the Ooni of Ife, Okunade Sijuade.

The president will address residents at the township stadium, Osogbo.

Mr. Omisore of the PDP is the main challenger to the incumbent governor, Rauf Aregbesola of the All Progressives Congress.

(NAN)

Ebola scare in Anambra, government seals off hospital

Willie Obiano

A corpse was brought from Liberia to the state.

The Anambra Commissioner of Health, Josephat Akabuike, announced on Thursday that a hospital has been sealed off and its workers and patients quarantined due to Ebola disease scare.

Briefing journalists in Awka, Ms. Akabuike said the measure followed information received by the government that a man whose body was brought back from Liberia at the weekend, might have died of the killer disease. He said that information available to the government indicated that the body was brought back from Liberia through Lagos and deposited in the mortuary at Nkwelle-Ezenaka in Oyi Local Government of the state.

“Part of the briefing is to tell you what we are doing to make sure we don’t allow the deadly virus to come into the state.

“What actually called for this is that we have a report that a corpse was brought through Lagos and the deceased was said to have been taken from Liberia where of course you know there are cases of the disease.

“The corpse was said to have been brought to Nigeria and deposited somewhere in Nkwelle-Ezunaka and the ministry was alerted and that is why we are taking all these measures.”
The commissioner said that Governor Willie Obiano had already directed the Police Command in the state to cordon off the place until the necessary tests were carried out.

He further said that Federal Government had also sent medical experts from the Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, to Anambra to carry out the test at the hospital premises.

Meanwhile, Ebola has been blamed for 672 deaths in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organisation.

Sierra Leone has declared a state of emergency and called in troops to quarantine epicentres of Ebola, joining Liberia in imposing tough controls to curb the worst ever outbreak of the virus amid fears it could spread beyond West Africa.

Meanwhile, a Liberian man was confirmed to have died from the virus in Lagos last Friday.

In a measure of rising international concern, Britain on Wednesday held a government meeting on Ebola, which it said was a threat it needed to respond to.

The outbreak of the haemorrhagic fever, for which there is no known cure, began in the forests of remote eastern Guinea in February, but Sierra Leone now has the highest number of cases.

(NAN)

Ebola: Nigeria places 69 people on surveillance, quarantines 2 others

Ebola Virus

The Nigerian government on Thursday said it had placed 69 people on surveillance and quarantined two others since the first case of Ebola Virus Disease, EVD, was identified in the country.

The Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu at a briefing in Abuja said that the 69 people were on surveillance due to their direct or indirect contact with the Liberian- American, Patrick Sawyer, who died from the deadly disease.

Mr. Sawyer died last Thursday in a Lagos hospital after he came into Nigeria from Liberia via Asky Airline. His sister was also said to have died of the disease in Liberia.

The increase in the number of people under surveillance rises after government’s statement in the past week that 59 people were under watch.

Mr. Chukwu said the other two people will remain quarantined for at least three weeks, the long period he said will enable any manifestation of the disease infection.

The virus manifests between two to 21 days which is its incubation period.

The minister said health officials are “still searching” for others who might have had contact with the late Mr. Sawyer; including colleagues and those who flew with him.

He listed those on surveillance to include Mr. Sawyer’s colleagues who travelled to Calabar, Cross River State and hospital staff who treated him before his death.

He also said the Lagos hospital where the deceased died, First Consultant in Obalende, is being decontaminated.
“State governments are identifying isolation sites beyond the capacity they had before,” Mr. Chukwu said.

The minister, however, said that the Nigerian borders still remain open with travellers being screened. He also advised the general public to remain conscious of their personal hygiene by regular washing of hands.

He also recommended the use of sanitizers in public buildings to help reduce the sources of contamination.

Since the death of Mr. Sawyer, a presidential committee on communication to manage public knowledge about Ebola, is said to have met three times.

A national call centre which was to be launched in two weeks might become operational earlier than planned to handle toll-free calls for questions and information about the disease.

Also speaking, the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, told journalist to exhibit professionalism in their reportage. He also raised concerns on the possible misinformation through the use of social media to create panic among citizens.

“The concern is not that Ebola is out there, but we want to prevent it. There is no rule about Ebola that is different from preventing other diseases—just hygiene.

“This war on Ebola will be won more by media reports than by what doctors do, only one case [Sawyer] has been reported but we are taking every measure to ensure it remains only at that one,” Mr. Maku said.

He said media organisations will be expected to publish and broadcast public-health jingles expected from the Ebola communication committee and the health ministry while private owned media organisations are expected to see their role as being in national interest.

The briefings are expected to become regular, alongside a communication centre, as Nigeria battles to keep Ebola under control.

The epicentre of the virus is Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone where more than 1200 people have been infected so far with the deadly virus with over 700 deaths. There is no drug or vaccine to treat the virus that has an over 60 per cent fatality

Ebola is said to be transmitted from fruit bats and apes to humans who hunt them for food and is further spread to other humans when they come in contact with the blood or body fluid of an infected person.

Symptoms include fever, headache, chills, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, backache, and joint pains. Later symptoms include bleeding from the eyes, ears and nose, bleeding from the mouth and rectum, eye swelling, swelling of the genitals and bloody rashes all over the body.

Police arrest mother for allegedly killing her two children

female police

The woman allegedly said she gave her children a substance gotten from a cleric to drink.

The Delta Police Command has arrested a 25-year-old woman in Abraka for allegedly killing two of her children.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Celestina Kalu, said this on Thursday in Asaba in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria.

She said the suspect had confessed to the police that she gave a liquid substance to the children to drink. The suspect, she added, said the children were aged nine months and two years.

Ms. Kalu, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, said the suspect claimed that the liquid substance was given to her by one Apostle Austin Eduviere of Triumphant World International Church, Abraka, and was for healing purposes.

The suspect, she added, told the police that the liquid substance was a mixture of water and salt and sold to worshipers for N1,850.

The cleric, Ms. Kalu said, had been arrested and was helping the police in their investigation.

(NAN)