Adamawa Election: PDP Appeal Committee Clears Acting Governor Fintiri to Contest

Adamawa: PDP appeal committee clears Fintiri

Governorship Appeal Screening Panel of the Peoples Democratic Party has cleared the Acting Governor of Adamawa State, Alhaji Umar Fintiri, to take part in the party’s forthcoming governorship primary in the state.

Fintiri got the green light on Sunday after the panel examined his complaint, which he lodged after his disqualification by the Screening Committee headed by Sen. Ibrahim Mantu on Saturday.

Chairman of the panel, Sen. James Manager, told journalists at the end of the panel sitting in Abuja on Sunday that Fintiri was free to contest the PDP primary, which holds on Saturday in Yola, the state capital.

The Mantu panel had disqualified Fintiri based on Section 191 (1) of the Constitution.

The section reads: “The Deputy Governor of a State shall hold the office of Governor of the State if the office of Governor becomes vacant by reason of death, resignation, impeachment, permanent incapacity or removal of the governor from office for any other reason in accordance with section 188 or 189 of this constitution.

“(2)Where any vacancy occurs in the circumstances mentioned in subsection (1) of this section during a period when the office of Deputy Governor of the State is also vacant, the Speaker of the House of Assembly of the State shall hold the office of Governor of the State for a period of not more than three months, during which there shall be an election of a new Governor of the State who shall hold office for the unexpired term of office of the last holder of the office.

“(3) Where the office of the Deputy Governor becomes vacant –

“(a) by reason of death, resignation, impeachment, permanent incapacity or removal in accordance with section 188 or 189 of this Constitution.”

Mantu said the acting governor was a child of circumstance and therefore cannot participate in the process.

It was on the basis of this particular provision of the constitution that the acting governor was disqualified by the screening panel.

But Manager said his committee had examined the reason given by the Mantu panel, saying the reason given was not convincing enough.

He said, “We as members of the appeal panel, looked at issues. Particularly we took a critical look not just at the constitutional provision but the entire gamut of the 1999 constitution ‎as amended. And we have the electoral act and the PDP constitution.

“And we have come to the irresistible conclusion that the provisions as quoted by the screening panel does not affect the aspirant in this matter.”

Courtesy Punch

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Juan Mata deplores United long ball approach

Mata and Di Maria

Mata and Di Maria

Juan Mata frustrated by Manchester United’s long balls after Louis van Gaal’s side draw with Burnley at Turf Moor 

By Paul Hirst, Press Association
Louis van Gaal’s side have endured poor start to Premier League season
Juan Mata said he was frustrated by his team-mate’s long balls 
Angel di Maria made his debut in the match 
Juan Mata was annoyed to see his Manchester United team-mates resort to route-one football at times in Saturday’s disappointing draw at Burnley.

Louis van Gaal is still searching for his first win as Red Devils boss following the uninspiring goalless stalemate at Turf Moor.

Angel di Maria, playing in a midfield three alongside Mata and Darren Fletcher, produced flashes of brilliance, but Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie both had off days up front and could not convert a host of chances.

Frustration: Juan Mata said that he was frustrated as his team-mates resorted to long balls
Frustration: Juan Mata said that he was frustrated as his team-mates resorted to long balls

United did not help their cause in the first half by launching long balls to their strikers, effectively bypassing a midfield containing nearly £100million of talent.

Mata admits United lacked confidence in their build-up play on Saturday, which led them to start pumping long balls up field.

‘Maybe in the build-up [there were confidence issues] as we were trying to build up from the back but sometimes we didn’t do it well,’ the Spaniard told MUTV.

‘We played most of the time in their half which is good but, if you don’t score from these chances, then it’s not good enough.

‘I believe, when we try to play football in the last third, we can create but we played too many long balls in the first half which is maybe why we didn’t play as well.’

This match just how big a gap there is between United and the teams vying for the title.

Chelsea tore Burnley apart in a thrilling first half at Turf Moor on the opening weekend of the season, but United failed to impose themselves on the game until late in the second half.

United’s faltering start has affected the team’s self-belief, according to their manager.

‘I don’t think our confidence level was very high in the first half,’ said Van Gaal, who suffered an embarrassing 4-0 defeat to MK Dons on Tuesday.

‘But I think that’s normal when a club like United loses the first match and draws the second one.

‘The pressure is higher and you have to cope with that. I could see in the first half that the players were very nervous to play the ball.

‘We restored that in the second half, and maybe that will raise our confidence.’

The one crumb of comfort for United was the influence of Di Maria, who completed his record-breaking move to United from Real Madrid on Tuesday.

The £59.7million man created a couple of openings with incisive passes and his running stretched the Burnley defence in the first half when he drifted out wide.

Ashley Young thinks United have pulled off a major coup by signing the midfielder, who was one of the stars of the World Cup.

‘I think it makes a big statement to people out there,’ Young said.

‘A lot of people might say we can’t attract world-class players but we’ve just done that with the signings of Luke (Shaw), Ander (Herrera), Marcos (Rojo) and now Angel.

‘Angel is a fantastic signing. Real Madrid have other top players in their team like [Gareth] Bale and [Cristiano] Ronaldo but he’s the one who stood out for me in that team.

Problems: Louis van Gaal is still without a Premier League win and is already  out of the League Cup
Problems: Louis van Gaal is still without a Premier League win and is already  out of the League Cup

‘When you add quality to a squad that already has quality it can only help us.’

Burnley manager Sean Dyche can only dream of being able to sign a player for almost £60million.

The fact that the Clarets have only spent £45million on transfers in their 132-year history shows how impressive Saturday’s draw was for the Premier League newcomers.

‘Manchester United are in a transitional period but they are still very good,’ said Dyche, who suffered defeats to Chelsea and Swansea in his opening two games.

‘It’s the strongest I’ve seen them since the start of the season so we are very happy.

‘It’s important we go into the international break after a really good performance and your first point on the board.

‘And when the games come around again after taking stock of the season so far, we’ll be ready to go hard again.’

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Ebola Virus Disease Crossing to Cities

Ebola virus: It’s ripped through towns – now the deadliest ever outbreak of the virus is heading for Africa’s cities

As the highly contagious virus continues to travel the continent, Africa is in the midst of a virological nightmare – and it could get worse

The dreaded Ebola virus came to the children’s hospital in the form of a four-year-old boy.
His diagnosis became clear three days after he was admitted. The Ola During hospital — the nation’s only pediatric center — was forced to close its steel gates. Fear swelled. The boy died. The 30 doctors and nurses who had contact with him were placed in quarantine, forced to nervously wait out the 21 days it can take for the virus to emerge. And remaining staff so far have refused to return to work. They, along with millions of others, are facing the worst Ebola outbreak in history. Already, the hardest-hit West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have reported more than 3,000 cases, including the infections of 240 health-care workers.
Ebola is now spreading from the remote provinces and into the teeming cities such as Freetown, where 1.2 million people jostle for space. Previous outbreaks had been limited to remote vil­lages, where containment was aided by geography. The thought of Ebola taking hold in a major city such as Freetown or Monrovia, Liberia’s capital, is a virological nightmare. Last week, the World Health Organization warned that the number of cases could hit 20,000 in West Africa.
“We have never had this kind of experience with Ebola before,” David Nabarro, coordinator of the new U.N. Ebola effort, said as he toured Freetown last week. “When it gets into the cities, then it takes on another dimension.”
The hemorrhagic fever has no cure. Odds of survival stand at about 50-50. Detection is difficult because early symptoms are hard to distinguish from those of malaria or typhoid, common ailments during the rainy season. While Ebola is not transmitted through the air like the flu, it does spread by close contact with bodily fluids such as blood, saliva and sweat — even something as innocent as a tainted tear.
See the Ebola outbreak mapped
 
And so now it is headed to Freetown, where the streets hum with low-level panic. People long ago stopped shaking hands. Hugs are unheard of. Plastic buckets filled with a diluted chlorine solution are posted outside many businesses to encourage hand-washing. Some of these homemade solutions tingle and burn; others smell like aromatic cleansers. For a while, street peddlers, who normally sell peanuts or umbrellas from stacks balanced on their hands, sold surgical gloves, $1 each.
But the roads are still crammed with autos and people, stray dogs and wild chickens. Trucks with loudspeakers rumble down rutted roads.“Wash your hands!” they announce in Krio. “Ebola is real!” shout banners strung throughout the city. Radio ads detail the virus’s symptoms: headache, fever, nausea and vomiting. The Sierra Leonean government has been running these messages in the capital for months, just in case.
Sierra Leone’s first case appeared in late May, in the distance Kailahun district. A month later, the country had 158 total cases. In late July, it was up to 533 cases. A national state of emergency was declared. Soldiers erected roadblocks to cordon off the rural epicenter, raising memories of the country’s brutal civil war, which ended in 2002. Residents were ordered to stay at home for one day of prayer and reflection. An evangelist texted tens of thousands of people before dawn one morning, telling them to douse themselves in saltwater for protection from Ebola. People rushed into the streets, singing and washing.
Health care workers at Elwa hospital in Monrovia, Liberia
“It looked like panic,” said Killian Doherty, an Irish architect living in Freetown. “It’s the kind of thing that makes you lose your bearings.”
The government has passed laws to limit close contact, altering the city’s daily rhythms. Riders in the city’s many “Poda Poda” minibuses, usually packed shoulder to shoulder, are now curtailed to four people per row. “Okara” taxi motorbikes are restricted at night. Even banks have cut hours to limit time spent in their crowded lobbies. And large public gatherings have been outlawed. The small cinemas where patrons would pay to watch foreign soccer matches on TVs have been shuttered. The popular clubs along Freetown’s Atlantic Ocean beaches are now empty.
Recently, a group of 12 men sat on benches under palm trees along Lumley Beach. Technically, this was illegal. The men all knew about Ebola, even reciting how the virus got its name from a Congolese river near where the first outbreak was discovered in 1976. Still, they didn’t know what to think of this strange disease. This country, where doctors are few and over half the population lives in poverty, knows plenty about malaria and cholera and even Lassa fever, a more forgiving hemorrhagic fever spread by rats. But Ebola was new to Sierra Leone.
“I don’t believe 100 percent that Ebola is real,” said Moses Sensie, 32, who works in security for a construction company. The movies he has seen about the virus show victims bleeding out in the disease’s last stages. He hasn’t heard about that happening now, and experts acknowledge hemorrhages in this outbreak have been rare. “I believe in Ebola maybe 60 percent.”
But Anthony Jimmy, 30, was not taking chances. He times his commute to work on the Poda Podas so they are less crowded. He avoids people who look ill. But, he said, the worry was exhausting.
“People are fed up with the situation,” Jimmy said.
Many of the people who can afford to leave Freetown are gone — some on vacation, others to foreign countries to wait out the virus. But getting out has become harder as several airlines have stopped flying to Lungi International Airport. Air France, under orders from the French government, became the latest last week. The nation’s school year is supposed to begin Sept. 9, but few expect that date to hold.
At the Lighthouse Hotel, the usual executives from the mining, pharmaceutical and banking industries are absent. The hotel is running at 15 percent occupancy, said general manager Andrew Damoah. He is barely able to cover the cost of gas for the hotel’s generator — a necessity in a country with a shaky power grid. Most of his guests now are the international doctors and nurses responding to the outbreak.
“We are all running empty hotels,” Damoah said.
Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma faces a battle to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history
The city’s hospitals are empty, too. People avoid them over worries about catching Ebola. They would rather suffer at home and hope that what they have is just a mild case of malaria. It is not an unreasonable concern. The Kenema government hospital in the provinces has seen 40 staff members die of Ebola. At Connaught Hospital in Freetown, the doctor running the Ebola ward died two weeks ago. Shortly before that, the government issued a public alert for a 32-year-old hairdresser with an Ebola diagnosis who was pulled from Connaught by her family. They wanted her to be treated by a faith healer. All of them subsequently died of Ebola.
“Everyone is scared. Even I am scared,” said Michael Karoma, a gynecologist who heads Prince Christian Maternity Hospital in Freetown, where is he working to restore the confidence of his staff and the public. “Everyone is afraid of Ebola. This used to be in the villages. Now it is in the cities. What is happening in the world?”
Connaught Hospital, the city’s main health-care center, is in Freetown’s historic heart, not far from the massive cotton tree featured on Sierra Leone’s paper money. The hospital’s small Ebola isolation ward is part of the nation’s triage system. Patients suspected of having Ebola wait for lab results before being shipped to the country’s only two treatment centers, a facility in Kailahun run by the aid group Doctors Without Borders and the government hospital in Kenema.
At Connaught, the Ebola ward sits behind a gate with prison-like metal bars. Staff members are covered head to toe in protective scrubs. The unit recently had 12 beds for 13 patients. At first, one or two patients were being diagnosed with Ebola each day. That picked up to three a day. Now, lab results on up to seven people a day are coming back positive.
The virus’s march into Freetown was slow to start. The first case officially emerged in mid-
July. Six weeks later, the city had 30. The number is now over 40 and is expected to quickly shoot up.
The Ebola ward at Connaught is now run by Marta Lado, a Spanish doctor who arrived in March. A high-level delegation of World Health Organization officials visited her last week. Nabarro, the United Nations’ new Ebola point man, wanted to know what she needed.
“If you could get anything,” he asked her, “what would it be?”
Lado stood in her sweat-stained blue scrubs and thought.
More people and supplies, she said. “The health-care workers are really scared. This is hard work. We can’t tell them we don’t have enough supplies — to just come to work and later on you’ll have gloves.”
They go through 200 disposable gloves a day in the isolation room. They had enough for now, but the supply was running short.
This wasn’t a problem just at Connaught. Doctors Without Borders has warned about a worldwide shortage of the full-body protective suits worn by Ebola health-care workers. Sierra Leone’s Ebola emergency operations center said it faces a six-week wait for the specialized ambulances needed to transport Ebola patients.
A new Ebola treatment center — the country’s third — is expected to be constructed near Freetown. But it might not be ready for a month. Just outside Freetown in Lakka, a new Ebola isolation unit is almost open, on property shared by a tuberculosis hospital and housing for sufferers of leprosy. A mobile Ebola testing lab, flown in from South Africa, also just started up.
There have been over 3,000 cases across Africa
Outside the Ebola facility in Lakka, a single Sierra Leonean soldier stood guard, rifle slung over his shoulder. Balla Conteh, 35, did not like his new posting. His younger sister is being treated for Ebola in Kailahun. His 4-month-old niece died of the disease.
“It is real. It is very real. And it is killing people,” Conteh said. “It’s a very, very scary disease.”
That fear might explain how the young boy suffering from Ebola was admitted to Ola During Children’s Hospital.
The boy showed up at the hospital with his father, doctors recall. The child had a fever. He was vomiting and had diarrhea. These were textbook signs of Ebola. But 80 percent of pediatric patients here have similar complaints, usually pointing to malaria or a severe stomach bug, doctors say. They further screened the boy for the virus by asking his father some questions. Any travels? Any funerals? No, no, he said.
The boy was taken to a general ward inside the cramped hospital, which overlooks Destruction Bay on the city’s east end. The hospital’s open windows were covered by sheets to block out the sun and the smell of burning trash. A sign painted in red by the hospital entrance read, “Water from the well in the hospital compound is unsafe for drinking.”
Two days later, the boy’s gums started to bleed. He was transferred to the hospital’s isolation ward. A day later, his lab tests came back. He had Ebola. Doctors delivered the news to the boy’s stepmother and asked again about his travels. The stepmother said the boy had attended his grandmother’s funeral in the provinces.
The father had lied to us, said Sara Hommel, a German pediatrician with a foreign aid group, clearly upset.
She couldn’t understand it. Other doctors, too, have complained about patients not being forthcoming about possible exposure to Ebola. But facing a disease with no cure, perhaps the father and others were afraid to admit the truth.
The hospital had remained closed for several days as the remaining hospital staff members demanded to be taught the infection-control measures considered essential to guarding against this unforgiving virus. “We are not going to rush back to work,” a hospital administrator said. “We want to be protected.”
The wait dragged on. Hommel and another German doctor, Noa Freudenthal, wondered how many cases of malaria or typhoid were going untreated. Ola During once had been filled with 250 patients. Where were these sick children now? Recently, a charity hospital tried to deliver a 2-year-old child suffering from cerebral malaria to the children’s hospital but was turned away. The gates were closed.
And then, one day last week, an infectious disease specialist from the University of California at San Francisco walked into Ola During. Dan Kelly conducted days of training, teaching staff members how to sanitize the floors and how to put on and remove the personal protective gear.
“Fear of Ebola is just permeating everything right now,” Kelly said.
He hoped maybe the training might instill a little confidence.
In the coming days, the children’s hospital is expected to reopen its metal gates.
The only question is whether patients will be too scared to come.
Copyright The Washington Post

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Sanusi’s coronation holds after Sallah

Sanusi’s coronation to hold after Sallah

Written by Ismail Mudashir, Kano, Sunday Trust


The coronation of the Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II scheduled for next Saturday has been postponed.
The event will now hold after the Eid-el-kabir Sallah celebration.
Our correspondent gathered from government and palace sources that the event which, is expected to attract prominent personalities from across the country and beyond was shifted to enable the state government to complete the construction work at the venue of the ceremony.
Sanusi was appointed the Emir of Kano last June, following the death of Alhaji Ado Bayero who reigned for over five decades.
In a phone interview, one of the aides of Kano State governor, Engineer Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso confirmed the development, saying that a new date would soon be announced.
“Yes, the event will now hold after this year’s hajj,” the aide, who pleaded anonymity said. He, however, declined to disclose the reason why the event was postponed.
Our correspondent reported that residents of Kano State had been waiting eagerly for the event over the past one week.
The last time when a similar event took place in the state happened when the late emir was appointed 50 years ago.

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The Ribadu Riddle

The Trouble with Nuhu Ribadu

Simon Kolawole Live By Simon Kolawole;

Much has been said about the defection of Malam Nuhu Ribadu from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Most of the comments I have read or heard are very critical of his decision. He has been described as a typical Nigerian politician without values. Someone said his defection is an indication of his desperation to get power in any form or shape and by any means -even if it means romancing with the devil that they say the PDP represents. Many of his fans are bitter and angry and disgusted and embarrassed by his political relocation.

I’ve been reflecting on the episode, if it can be so called, and my thoughts have wandered and meandered and finally settled on the old debate about philosophers and kings. If you desire to change society, do you want to do so as philosopher or as king? Ribadu, who made his name as a no-nonsense anti-graft tsar under ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, was in some sense a philosopher who had some political power. He had a passion to change society. He spoke out against the cancer called corruption. He did his EFCC job courageously, albeit with the occasional slip.

Then one day in 2010, he decided he wanted to be a full-blooded politician. He wanted to be President of Nigeria. Having chosen to cross the divide between being a philosopher and being a politician, he had decisions to make. He needed a political structure. For a man who had been a police officer all his life, he understandably had no platform. He needed other people’s platforms. Whose platform would he use? The platform of the same politicians he had castigated and indicted? It was always going to be a difficult decision, but Ribadu chose the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) nonetheless.

His political foray has been riddled with contradictions. He has been eating on the same table and dancing to the same tune with the politicians he had so passionately savaged when he was EFCC chairman. Huge sums of money were being spent on his campaign by these same politicians to print his posters, produce radio jingles and TV commercials and organise rallies and logistics for him. As a philosopher, Ribadu would question the source of the funding. As a politician, he had to look the other way. Something had to give. Contradictions.

I recall voting for Obasanjo in 1999. Among other reasons, I was enthralled by his perceived honesty and uprightness. The clincher for me then was his response to the question about the shady characters financing his campaign. He said: “In politics, you need saints and sinners to win. But when you win, you separate the saints from the sinners.” I loved it. I voted for him. Although it later turned out that Obasanjo ditched the saints and went to bed with the sinners, that philosophy remains fascinating to me. You need saints and sinners to win -then decide what to do afterwards.

Maybe that was what Ribadu had in mind when he decided to camp with ACN. But it never worked out. His presidential bid was brought in dead. However, he had put his hand on the plough, and there was no looking back. He had become a full-fledged politician. The next question: would ACN (which later became part of APC) be his best route to power? Having decided to remain in politics, there were always more contradictions awaiting him. Every human being must at some point battle one contraction or the other -that is the way the world is wired.

Ribadu could choose to remain in APC to make a statement that he is a “principled politician”, but he could end up with a dead-rubber political career. Or he could look outside the window and see that the grass appears greener on the other side. If he decided to take a leap into the seemingly lush PDP field, he could land well and be on his feet -but he could also land badly and fracture his backbone. We call it crossroads. There is no decision he took that was not going to have its own implications. It’s a dilemma, a test.

Chief Gani Fawehinmi, a genuine philosopher, faced his own test in 2003. Having decided to become king, he needed a platform. Even though he was well loved by Nigerians, he had no political structure. He could team up with the politicians he had always criticised or set up his own structure. He wanted to make a statement. He set up his own party. It did not fly. I asked Fawehinmi his regrets about the scandalous 2003 presidential election in which he was a candidate. He told me candidly: “I was shocked by the attitude of Nigerians… It’s like somebody throws excreta at them and instead of revolting, they used it as pancake on their faces.”

Comrade Adams Oshiomhole faced his own dilemma in 2007. He wanted to transform from philosopher to king. A fierce labour activist and friend of the Nigerian masses, Oshiomhole was naturally expected to run on the platform of the Labour Party, which was practically his baby. But he was a fresh politician who had no political structure on the ground. If he was only interested in making a statement, he would have run on the platform of the Labour Party. But he was apparently not in politics to make a statement: he wanted to be elected governor. He decided to join ACN, to the disappointment of some of his fans. He survived his own contradictions and became governor, and one of the best Nigeria has produced.

The trouble with Ribadu is the same with philosophers who want to be kings: how do they manage the expectations and the contradictions? Perhaps, like Oshiomhole, Ribadu is not in politics to make a statement. He wants to win. And having taken a hard look at APC, he maybe saw that his chances had rapidly diminished. The entry of Major-Gen Muhammadu Buhari, in my opinion, effectively marked the end of Ribadu’s presidential adventure. Buhari has more following, has a bigger anti-graft reputation, and having been minister, governor and former military head of state, his CV is unquestionably more seductive than Ribadu’s. Age is said to not be on Buhari’s side, but I recall that the Great Zik and Awo contested in 1983 in their 70s.

Ribadu’s critics said he chose the wrong option -that he should not have gone to PDP, which is seen as a den of thieves and nest of killers. I honestly don’t know the difference between Ribadu being in APC or PDP. Both parties are full of Nigerian politicians. Unfortunately, once philosophers decide to become politicians, they will at some point discover that idealism and pragmatism are not birds of a feather. A humorist once said this about relationships: “Love is ideal, marriage is real. Any confusion of the two shall never go unpunished.” That is the trouble. If the PDP adventure turns out well for Ribadu, he could be an Oshiomhole. If not, the ridicule will be unbearable.

And Four  Other Things…

SAVE OUR SOCCER
Is President Goodluck Jonathan aware of the damage being done to our football by his new sports minister, Mr. Tammy Danagogo? In a country where so many things divide us, football is about the only genuine unifying factor that no creature should be allowed to toy with. After so many years of relative peace in the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Danagogo has gone gaga in trying to install his own man at the football house. The drama since he became minister is shameless and shameful. Jonathan must call this misguided and clueless minister to order – and very quickly. Enough.

TACTICAL MANOEUVRE
Some 480 Nigerian soldiers were involved in a battle last week and ended up in Cameroon. The word in town is that they were running away from Boko Haram, but the military authorities said it was a “tactical manoeuvre” in which they did not know when they had crossed the border. Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah, also did his own “tactical manoeuvre” last week when he publicly announced that we were expecting arms from one country after which we would launch a “massive military” operation against Boko Haram, in whose camp are over 200 kidnapped schoolgirls. Hilarious.

EBOLA ANONYMOUS
What exactly does the government mean by “quarantine”? I need to be educated. A quarantine, from my little understanding of how it works, is basically keeping people at a guarded location for medical observation. What the government has been passing off as quarantine, however, is to tell suspected contacts with Ebola victims to stay at home. That was why that nurse was able to go to Enugu without detection. That was why the ECOWAS official could take Ebola to Port Harcourt without detection. The time has come to publish the names of those who breach the “quarantine” to protect other Nigerians.  Simple.

AFTER EBOLA
Minister of health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, announced with delight on Tuesday that Nigeria now had only one confirmed case of Ebola, although things took a turn with the discovery of more cases in Port Harcourt the following day. Things could be worse. We should never make the mistake that Ebola can only come to Nigeria through a Liberian. We are only speaking about the cases we know. It can still come through some other means. We should use this crisis to begin an overhaul of our healthcare system, as well as embark on aggressive promotion of personal hygiene. Vigilance.

Courtesy: This Day

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My Miraculous Survival From Ebola – Dennis Akagha, Fiance of Nurse who Treated Sawyer

Dennis Akagha and the Late Justina Ejelonu

Dennis Akagha and the Late Justina Ejelonu

My Miraculous Survival From Ebola – Dennis Akagha, Fiance of Nurse who Treated Sawyer

By Florence Amagiya, Vanguard

He and his wife-to-be had lofty dreams of living fulfilled lives and raising wonderful children together. The fiance was two months pregnant and their traditional marriage had been fixed for October.
His fiancee, a graduate nurse, had just secured a job at First Consultant Hospital, Lagos. He too also just got a marketing job with an oil and gas company. She was reluctant to go to work on the first day she was expected to resume on account of ‘morning sickness’ (pregnancy symptoms) and he encouraged her.
She did! Lo and behold, her first duty and first patient to nurse on her first day at work was the late Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian-American, who brought the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) to Nigeria. And that decision put a full stop to the lofty dreams of a promising family. Welcome to the world of Mr. Dennis Akagha, the husband-to-be of late Miss Justina Ejelonu, the nurse, who contacted and died of the Ebola disease from Mr. Sawyer.
In an exclusive, explosive and passionate interview with Saturday Vanguard, Akagha, who contracted the disease from Miss Justina, was quarantined, treated, cured and discharged last week, spoke on how and why his fiancee died, how he contacted and survived the disease, how he was stigmatized and abandoned by co-workers and neighbours, and why victims must be given adequate care. He said perhaps, Justina would have survived with better care. Read on:
His thoughts on Ebola and late Justina
The truth is that Justina and I were not legally married, we were planning for our traditional marriage in October and she just got this job. She was a qualified graduate nurse and got the job at the First Consultant Hospital in Lagos. She resumed duty at the hospital on the 21st of July, while Patrick Sawyer was admitted at the hospital on the 20th.
He was her first patient. She was one of the nurses that nursed him. She was pregnant and so her immune system was weak, which made it easy for her to contract the disease. On that first day which was a Monday, she was having some pregnancy symptoms, but I just encouraged her to go because it was her first day at work. Sawyer was her first patient.
The next day, Tuesday, she didn’t work on Sawyer. Wednesday and Thursday, she was off. Then on Friday, Patrick Sawyer died. They didn’t know he had Ebola, it was three days later that they realized it was Ebola.

When did you know that she had contacted the Ebola virus?
It was after Sawyer died that she told me she nursed him but that she was on gloves. She even thanked God that she didn’t have direct contact with him. The fever continued and we thought it was just pregnancy symptoms and even when she went to her hospital, they confirmed the same thing. She took drugs and ran tests, yet it persisted. At night, she was usually cold and feverish and her body temperature was usually very high. At a point, I began to suspect that she had contacted the virus. I did some research on the disease and realised that she was having similar symptoms.
On the 14th of August, it became serious, she started stooling and vomiting. I had to clean up everything. All of a sudden, she started bleeding and she started crying that she had lost the pregnancy. I had to call her relatives and other people. The bleeding persisted and I had to clean up everything.
 
While you were attending to her did you wear gloves?
Initially I was not wearing gloves because I felt I had already been exposed to the virus. But later I cautioned myself and started wearing nylon on my hands. But I couldn’t stay away from her. I kept consoling her. Even when I took her to the hospital, she wanted to hold me and I told her to also consider my safety. She managed to hold herself and was able to find her way out in a pool of her blood. We chartered a taxi to the hospital, but first, I took her to First Consultant Hospital because I felt they should know more. When we got there, I was directed to IGH, Yaba. I told the taxi driver to take us there. The driver wasn’t even aware of what was going on as he took us to Yaba.
Justina was on the floor for 30 minutes before she was attended to. She was screaming that she was going to die. She was seriously bleeding, she had to come out of the taxi and lay on the floor. I ran around, trying to get doctors to attend to her. After everything, they took her in, took her blood samples and the following day, the result came out that it was Ebola. They washed the taxi with chlorine and also bathed the taxi driver and I with chlorine spray.
At that point, the taxi driver knew what was going on, he couldn’t even take me home because he was so scared. I had to look for somewhere to pass the night in the hospital. Early the next morning, I left the Hospital. The taxi driver is alive today, nothing happened to him. We have been checking on him and the last time we spoke he told me, he was fine.
So what happened after you got exposed to the virus?

14 days after I was exposed to Ebola, my temperature rose from the usual 35.2 degrees centigrade to 37.2. The Lagos State government gave me a thermometer the day I dropped Justina off at the centre. It took them two straight weeks to visit my home and to disinfect it. Before they came, I had already done the much I could do. I used bleach and detergent to clean the whole house, furniture and clothes inclusive.
After that, what happened?
We should be reminded and educated that a healthy person with Ebola virus cannot get anybody infected, except if the person is sick and totally down with the virus like what happened to Sawyer and to my late wife-to-be, Justina. I contacted the virus because Justina was very sick and I was taking care of her without any appropriate protection. When we knew what we were dealing with it was almost too late for me as I had already contacted the virus.
Since you had already visited the centre what else was done for you by the state?
The Lagos State government sent health professionals to check on me regularly to know how l was doing or if l had the signs of the virus manifesting. So they used to come around to check on me. At some point they created scenes with their visits. I was embarrassed and I was stigmatized. I complained severely to them that I didn’t like what they were doing. Then, one Saturday they visited again, I complained about the pains I was beginning to experience; excruciating pains around my waist. I started praying and asking people to pray for me.
Before this time, I believed in the Holy Communion, so I usually take it daily and do feet washing. I was going to the hospital daily to see late Justina. Initially, I was seeing her through the window and she would say I should take her out of the hospital. She complained of lack of care.
Perhaps, Justina would have survived the virus, if not for the state she was in. Her immune system was down because she was pregnant. Along the line, she had a miscarriage and lost the baby due to the Ebola virus disease.
The doctors, who were supposed to do an evacuation on her couldn’t do it because they claimed that an evacuation was too risky as she was heavily infected and may pass on the virus to another person.
Since nothing was done even after the bleeding had stopped, it led to more complications for her because the already dead foetus somehow got rotten in the womb and started a damaging process which led to further complication. Meanwhile, she was still stooling and vomiting and since nobody could dare to touch her, she was left on top of her excretions even when she couldn’t do much for herself due to her weak state. She was given her incisions and other drugs. I believe if some people survived Justina should have been one of them. At a point, I wished I was a doctor myself; I would have taken the risk of doing the evacuation because it really affected her.
When was the last day you saw Justina?

The last day I saw her, I had to go inside the ward because she was so unkempt as nobody attended to her. At that time, the quarantined patients were in the former facility where there was no water and she had messed up herself again. I had to look for water to clean her up, change her pampers and arrange her bedding. Since I was aware of what I was dealing with, I got myself protected while cleaning up the place. I made sure she looked better than when I saw her. Justina was shivering the last day I saw her, one side of her stomach was already swollen, and her legs were also swollen. I prayed for her. At a point, she needed oxygen and the hospital couldn’t provide it. Her friends had to provide it. That was the last day I saw her.
On Sunday Morning, I called her line like I usually did before visiting her, but she didn’t pick her calls. When I got to the hospital, I was told that she was dead.
Was she taking your calls while she was at the facility?
Yes, in fact she called me that last day and I knew she was going to give up, because she was saying some funny things. She said I should tell my people to go and meet her father so as to finalize our marriage plans, that she’s leaving that place.
From what you have said, were you not scared that you may die as well from the disease?
I personally don’t believe in taking medications. I had the mentality that I wasn’t sick. I told the government what I was experiencing. On the day they came to pick me up for treatment, all of a sudden, my temperature went back to normal. The shivering and pains were all gone. So they decided that they would be checking on me. But it got to a point people stopped selling things to me. It was as if the government got a report that I shouldn’t be around. So, they came and said I should go with them that they wanted to take my blood sample. I went with them and they took my blood sample, I was kept in a ward known as the ‘suspected ward.’
The result came out and it was positive. I was then taken to a confined ward. One of the doctors from UNICEF, a white lady told me that they were having issues with the results and that they would have to re-run the tests. They did the tests again and it was still positive. I told them that it wasn’t my result and that I was healthy. I was even doing my usual exercises (press-ups) every morning. I kept telling them that I wasn’t sick. They took my blood sample the third time. That night, they told me that I tested negative in the last result and that I don’t have any reason to remain there. That was how I was discharged.
While you were going through all these at the facility what happened to your job?
I was a marketer in an oil and gas company. I worked on commission basis, but at a point, I realized that people were not calling me and when I called they won’t pick my calls. Even the person that I report directly refused to pick my calls and also refused to associate with me. Justina and I just got our jobs, she got hers at First Consultant Hospital and I got mine as a marketer with the oil and gas company.
Do you think that the government or First Consultant Hospital should compensate Justina’s family?
Although, no amount of money they give to the family will bring her back I think the government owes Justina’s family a lot because she died trying to save a situation. Justina died in active service as her death wasn’t natural.
So how did your status change from positive to negative?
I was reading a book on healing and taking of the Holy Communion. So I learnt to take Holy Communion morning, afternoon and night. I also engaged myself in feet-washing every day before going to bed. The Almighty God saved me; the Holy Spirit healed me. It wasn’t as though l didn’t fall sick as l had direct contact with Justina but the Almighty God healed me. When I was discharged, I got to my house on Saturday evening and spent two hours the next day, Sunday, thanking God on my own. I didn’t go to church or anywhere because of the already established stigma but today I can confidently attend church activities because I guess they all know I’m free now. I know my faith and belief healed me. God also worked for me apart from the fact that my immune system is also working. I believe I got healed also because friends prayed for me.

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

How politicians, top military chiefs perpetuate Boko Haram

How Politicians, Top Military Chiefs Perpetuate Boko Haram

The Australian negotiator, Dr Stephen Davis, spoke on the Boko Haram, Chibok Girls, role of top military chiefs and politicians in the raging Boko Haram crisis in the country in this interview conducted by Cable online newspaper:
Excerpts:

TheCable: Can you share with us your experience with Boko Haram leaders?

Davis: Let me take you back a bit. I specialise in negotiation. It may interest you to know that I have been involved in peace negotiations in Nigeria since 2004 when President Olusegun Obasanjo invited me to intervene in the Niger Delta crisis. With a local Nigerian colleague, I spoke with Asari Dokubo and took him to Obasanjo at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. Because Asari is a Muslim, the Muslim boys in the north heard about me and warmed up to me. I did a report in 2005 on the threat of extremism among young northern Muslims. Obasanjo’s security chiefs dismissed the report with a wave of the hand. They said no such thing existed.

In 2007, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who desired to end the militancy in the Niger Delta, invited me and made me presidential envoy. I toured all the northern states. I went to the country’s borders. I came back with a report that there were some budding sects in the north. The national security adviser (NSA) at the time, Gen. Sarki Mukhtar, dismissed the report. He said they didn’t exist. A succession of NSAs dismissed all these reports and allowed the groups to flourish. By the time President Goodluck Jonathan came to power in 2011, these groups had spread all over the north. They had cells and commanders in 16 out of the 19 northern states.

President Jonathan called me and sought my opinion on the best way to tackle the militancy and bring it to an end. I knew many of the leaders. I spoke with them. They trusted me. They initially wanted to kill me. They thought I was an American but I told them I was not. They also thought I was British but I said I was not. I told them I was an Australian. They relaxed. I don’t know why but they became more accommodating. They became friendly and, gradually, we built the trust. They started feeling free with me. I don’t call them Boko Haram. I call them JAS. People call them Boko Haram. They don’t call themselves Boko Haram.

TheCable: What deal were you seeking under Jonathan’s mandate?

Davis: The president wanted peace. He asked me to discuss with them so that we could arrive at the terms of peace. They came up with some terms that were acceptable and others that were not acceptable.

TheCable: What were those terms?

Davis: They wanted training for the widows of their deceased fighters. They asked the government to give these women cottage training. They, ironically, wanted education for the children of their deceased members. That is why I don’t call them Boko Haram (“Western education is a taboo”). They asked that the children be sent to school. They also wanted the government to rebuild villages that were destroyed by the security agencies. They asked for amnesty as well.

TheCable: What terms were unacceptable?

Davis: The president said he would not grant amnesty in the sense that they meant it. He said those who surrendered their arms would not be prosecuted, but those who continued to commit more crimes would face the law and would be charged with treason. They also wanted women and children who were being held in custody to be released. Their leaders that I spoke with were ready to accept the conditions. But the NSA then, Gen. Owoye Azazi, went vehemently against it. He said there should be no negotiation with terrorists. He completely turned the military against the peace deal I was working on, even though we were very close to bringing an end to the insurgency the same way we did it in the Niger Delta. The military then refused to back the deal. They succeeded in convincing the president not to accept it. I could understand where they were coming from: the security budget was like $6 billion and any peace deal would seriously reduce their budget.

TheCable: How did you become involved in the negotiation for the release of the Chibok schoolgirls?

Davis: Because I had built trust among the militants, I made calls to them when I heard about the abductions. They confirmed to me that the girls were with them. I came to Nigeria in late April (the girls were abducted on April 14). I told the president I would try to intervene and help get the girls out. He said he would give me the needed support if I wanted. However, what I discovered was that thrice we tried to get the girls released, and thrice my efforts were sabotaged. That was when I now realised that some politicians were also involved in the insurgency. There were the remnants of those involved in the former peace deal as well as a political arm and what I call the ritual arm which specialises in butchering human beings.

While I was making efforts to get the girls released, the political backers of the group threatened that if I got 30 or 40 girls out, the militants would kidnap another 60 to replace them. I became very frustrated. They threatened that any commander of the group who agreed to participate in any dialogue would be slaughtered by other commanders. The political sponsors are very powerful because they supply the finances and the arms. Until they are cut off from the group, those girls will not be released. We are talking about 200 Chibok schoolgirls, but there are over 300 other girls that have been kidnapped. There are many young men that they also kidnapped and turned them against their families. They asked them to go and slaughter their family members and they are doing it. Nobody is talking about those ones. They are the new child soldiers.

TheCable: How can we get these girls released?

Davis: The first thing is to stop the bagman who supplies weapons and military uniforms. We know his name, location and associates. If the man is stopped, the slaughterers, the ritual arm of the group, would be demobilised. The girls can be released afterwards. This man controls these ritualists.

TheCable: Was there really any deal to release the girls?

Davis: Yes, there was. Some commanders of the group told me that they would first release 100 of the girls and that would be the first step towards dialogue. They needed a guarantee from President Jonathan that they would not be arrested or prosecuted if they showed up for dialogue. They agreed with me that if they did that and no one was arrested, then they would return to the camps to release the rest of the girls.

TheCable: In all your discussions, did they name their sponsors?

Davis: They named the man who lives in Cairo. He is of the Kanuri tribe. He passes arms, ammunition and uniforms to them. The CBN official who handles the funding (name withheld by TheCable for legal reasons) is an uncle to three of those arrested in connection with the Nyanya bombings. The three boys lived with him. They were arrested by the SSS (Department of State Security) after the bombings but they are yet to be interrogated about their uncle. The official still works with the CBN. He is still there. He works in currency operations. He knows how to handle the transaction in a way that it can never be traced. Western countries are frustrated that they cannot trace the funding. How can they when it is passed on legally, through the gatekeeper, through the CBN?

Also, a senior official of CBN, who recently left the bank, was very close to Sodiq Aminu Ogwuche, the mastermind of the Nyanya bombings who also schooled in Sudan. Ogwuche’s wife used to visit this official in his office at the headquarters in Abuja before the bombings. They were very close. Don’t forget that the CBN official who handles the transactions also used to report to his superior, the official who recently left the bank. Also, there is a politician who was supplying operational vehicles for the suicide bombers. He gave them Hilux vans. He is a prominent politician. If the president goes after these guys, they will say it is political. That is part of the problem. Everybody will say the president is going after his political opponents, especially as there is a general election next year.

The militants also named the former governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff. In 2003 and 2007, Sheriff was very close to them. He used them for his elections. They worked for him. However, in 2007, the leader of the group, Muhammed Yusuf, collected money from Sheriff in return for support. Yusuf’s mentor, Ja’afar Mahmud Adam, exposed and criticised him for collecting money from Sheriff, and Yusuf ordered his killing in April 2007. But eventually, Yusuf and Sheriff fell out. However, it is acknowledged that Sheriff was and is a major financier of the group. He pays for young men to go for lesser hajj. From there they are recruited into the group. They interact freely with the Al-Shabbab militants from Somalia. They are trained by Al-Shabbab. Some of them go to Mali for training. These guys are in touch with the ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which now simply calls itself Islamic State and controls parts of Iraq). They are deadly. They share the same philosophy.

The militant commanders I spoke with also named a former army chief as one of their sponsors. You have senior military officers who are benefiting from the insurgency because of the security budget. It pays them to keep the insurgency going so that they can continue to make money. I asked them several times who the army chief was and they told me it is… (name withheld by TheCable for legal reasons).

Editor’s Note: In the second part of this interview, Dr. Stephen Davis opens up on why the Nigerian military is unlikely to win the war against Boko Haram and why it is particularly difficult to tackle the militants in the deserts of north-eastern Nigeria.
Courtesy Cable