The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, on Wednesday commended the Federal Government on the proposed second refinery in the Northern part of the country.
Benjamin Rotimi, the Vice-Chairman, South-West Chapter of the union, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that the initiative would reduce hardship associated with transporting petroleum products.
On April 22, Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, told journalists in Bauchi State that the federal government planned to build a second refinery in the northern part of Nigeria.
Mr. Kachikwu said plans to put the Kaduna refinery in better shape were also underway.
Mr. Rotimi said the plans of the government were laudable and would help in ensuring the availability of the product round the country.
“The second refinery will also provide employment and increase circulation of products in the north.
“With the discovery of oil in some states in the north, the second refinery will help in refining it.
“This is what we should have done more than 10 years ago,” he said.
The union leader, however, urged the federal government to also think of building more refineries in other parts of the country.
He noted that the country’s present refineries could only produce 30 per cent of Nigeria’s consumption needs, as that they were built when the nation’s population stood at 80 million.
“Even when they work at optimal level, the refineries still cannot solve our requirement because they were built when our population was small.
“Now, we have double and the demand has become higher with more vehicles on our roads,” he said.
Truck Crushes Motorcyclist to Death in Lagos
A commercial motorcyclist was crushed to death by a heavy duty truck at Daleko area of Lagos on Thursday. Read more »
Apr 27 2017 | Posted in Construction
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Photo: Laura Newman/PATH
Mosquitoes (file photo).
A new drug, discovered and biologically profiled locally, has the potential to stop malaria before it starts – not only targeting the parasite throughout its lifestyle, but also working against resistant strains of the disease. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
New research just published in the journal Science Translational Medicine describes the discovery and biological profiling of a new anti-malarial drug, effective against the entire parasitic life cycle and resistant strains of malaria. It has the potential to cure and protect in a single dose, say researchers – bringing us one step closer to wiping out the disease.
The study was conducted by the University of Cape Town (UCT)’s Drug Discovery and Development Centre, H3D, and Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), in collaboration with a team of international researchers.
The drug, MMV390048 – also known as MMV048 – is a compound discovered by an international team led by Professor Kelly Chibale. Chibale is senior author of the published paper, founding Director of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) Drug Discovery Research Unit at UCT, and Founder and Director of H3D, an integrated drug discovery and development centre.
“The ability of MMV048 to block all life cycle stages of the…
While Others Are Throwing Insults in Pretoria, We’re Celebrating – Zuma
President Jacob Zuma took a jibe at those protesting against him on Freedom Day, saying they spend “lots of money just… Read more »
Apr 27 2017 | Posted in Health
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Photo: The New Times
A mother and her child sleep under a mosquito net. This is one of the methods to fight against malaria (file photo).
By Rachel Stewart
Programs beginning next year in Ghana, Malawi and Kenya will test the vaccine’s effectiveness in children. The trial was announced ahead of World Malaria Day (25.04.2017).
A pilot program testing the first ever malaria vaccine will begin in Africa in 2018, the World Health Organization has said. Children and babies in high-risk areas in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi will receive the RTS,S vaccine, which is also known as Mosquirix.
“Information gathered in the pilot will help us make decisions on the wider use of the vaccine,” Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s African regional director, said. “Combined with existing malaria interventions, such a vaccine would have the potential to save tens of thousands of lives in Africa.”
RTS,S is an injectable vaccine administered in four doses. It aims to trigger the body’s own immune system to defend against malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum – the most deadly species of the malaria parasite, which is the most prevalent in Africa.
Large clinical trials in seven African countries between 2009 and 2014 showed that the vaccine helped protect children and infants from clinical malaria for at least three years after first vaccination.
More on This
What Africa Still Needs to Do to Eliminate MalariaKenyan Study Shows Why Reusing Old Mosquito Nets Should Be EncouragedMosquito Discovery Sheds Light On How Malaria Is Spread in South AfricaWHO Wants Countries to Scale Up Efforts to Prevent Malaria
Nigeria Far From Eradicating Malaria – Minister
We’re Still Far From ‘Malaria-Free’, Minister SaysMinister – Nigeria Far From Eradicating MalariaU.S. Committed to Ending Malaria in Nigeria – EnvoyWorld Malaria Day – U.S. Has Spent $75 Million Annually to Fight Disease
According to the WHO’s World Malaria Report, published at the end of last year, the number of cases of malaria worldwide decreased by 21 percent between 2010 and 2015. However, Pedro Alonso, the director of the WHO’s Global Malaria Program, explains that there is a long way to go in tackling the disease: “It still takes the lives of over 400,000 people every year – mostly African children.”In fact, 90 percent of malaria cases and 92 percent of malaria deaths occur in Africa. The long lifespan of mosquitoes in Africa, as well as their tendency to bite humans, is thought to be one of the main reasons for the high prevalence of malaria in Africa.By the year 2020, the WHO wants to see malaria incidence and mortality reduced by 40 percent and the disease eliminated completely in at least 10 countries. Seven countries, including Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and the Maldives, have been certified by the WHO Director-General as having eliminated malaria in recent years.Mosquito nets and insecticidesPreventative measures being promoted in sub-Saharan Africa include using insecticide-treated nets, spraying indoor walls with insecticides, and administering preventive medicines to the most vulnerable groups – pregnant women and young children or babies.In 2015 it was estimated that half of people designated as “at-risk” of contracting the disease were sleeping under a treated net, compared with just 30 percent in 2010. But, as Alonso explains, preventative measures are not reaching everyone.”It’s about having the health systems that can get those commodities to all those that need them,” he says. “It’s about the financial resources to ensure that happens, and it’s about the political commitment.”We are very encouraged by the political commitment and leadership we see in the affected countries themselves. But the fight against malaria is going to be a long and hard one.”
Apr 25 2017 | Posted in Health
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Photo: The Citizen
Soldiers stand near protesters (file photo).
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has expressed outrage at an apparent widespread pattern of rallies in several provinces across Burundi, where young men from the Imbonerakure militia – the youth wing of the ruling CNDD-FDD political party – repeatedly chant a call to impregnate or kill opponents.
According to a UN statement released Tuesday, High Commissioner Zeid said the organised nature of the marches, coupled with reports of ongoing serious human rights violations, lay bare the “campaign of terror” being waged in Burundi.
“The grotesque rape chants by the young men of the Imbonerakure across several provinces in various parts of Burundi are deeply alarming – particularly because they confirm what we have been hearing from those who have fled Burundi about a campaign of fear and terror by this organised militia,” Zeid said.
The statement cites “a chilling video” circulating on social media showing more than 100 members of the Imbonerakure repeating dozens of times their call to “make opponents pregnant so that they can give birth to Imbonerakure.”
Another group then repeats a chant in which the phrase “he or she should die” is audible some 19 times, in a rally that reportedly took place in Ntega commune, Kirundo province, in the country’s northeast.
According to the UN, following the release of the video, on April 5, the CNDD-FDD issued a statement condemning the chanting and stating that a preliminary enquiry has found that there were “influences outside the party.”
“While I welcome the statement by the CNDD-FDD condemning the chants in Ntega, reports that senior officials were present at other rallies are very disturbing. There also needs to be an acknowledgement that the Ntega rally was not an isolated incident, but rather the tip of the iceberg, brought to light only because it was captured on camera.” The condemnation is meaningless if, instead of a putting a stop to such events, senior government officials continue to take part in such rallies,” Zeid said.
“Similar, larger rallies have been organised across the country by officials from the government and the President’s party. On April 1 in the northern province of Kayanza, around 2,500 Imbonerakure reportedly marched from Kayanza football stadium along the main road chanting similar slogans, inciting rape and violence against opponents. Reports suggest that senior officials were present at this rally, the UN statement says. Reports also suggest, it adds, that similar chanting occurs regularly at weekly Imbonerakure meetings in the southern province of Makamba.
On April 7, the President of the Burundi Senate is alleged to have incited people to violence in Makamba, reportedly calling for all suspected rebels to be “silently collected.” This is reported as the latest of many such speeches where the President of the Senate has reportedly used coded language, with its roots in the mass violence from Burundi’s past, to incite followers to violence.
Furthermore, on April 8, following the inauguration of a CNDD-FDD party office in the eastern province of Ruyigi, it is noted that about 200 people, including Imbonerakure, began chanting for the rape of opponents so that more Imbonerakure would be born. They were reportedly instructed by party officials to stop.
Zeid said: “The Government needs to stop pretending that the Imbonerakure are nothing but a community development group. Such blatant and brazen hate speech and incitement to violence must not be tolerated, nor encouraged.”
“Reports indicate a major increase in cases of enforced disappearance between November 2016 and March 2017, as well as the discovery of dozens of unidentified bodies in various parts of the country during that time. We have also received numerous reports alleging that people are being targeted due to their ethnicity.” Between April 2015 and April 19 this year, UN figures indicate that 401,573 people have fled Burundi.
Apr 20 2017 | Posted in Burundi
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By Mark Caldwell
Tens of thousands of pastoralists fled from Turkana in Kenya to Uganda last week to escape the drought. It is the latest blow for the parched region for which politicians once made rash promises of rapid modernization.
As many as 10,000 Kenyan pastoralists have crossed the border from Turkana in Kenya to Uganda in search of pasture and water for their cattle.
Josephat Nanok, governor of Kenya’s Turkana County, confirmed their departure and urged Uganda to accommodate them, The Monitor in Kampala reported.
This latest exodus means that a total of 60,000 Turkana pastoralists and 127,000 livestock have moved to Uganda’s Karamjoa sub-region over the last seven days.
One Turkana pastoralist said they had fled to Karamoja because, unlike Turkana, it still had some shrubs and bushes which could serve as food for the cattle.
Hunger and no rain
The end of March was supposed to bring rains to Turkana, transforming barren plains into pasture. It still hasn’t happened. The dry spell is worse than in previous years, another Turkana pastoralist said.
Far from Kenya’s agricultural south, Turkana is a vast, poor northern region regularly ravaged by drought. “The image of Kenya as a middle income country doesn’t do justice to the reality on the ground,” Werner Schultink, country head for the UN children’s agency UNICEF, told AFP.
He was referring to the hunger which is plaguing the north of Turkana. In the Kibish region, squeezed between Ethiopia and South Sudan, more than half of children aged six months to five years are suffering from acute malnutrition.
In the early part of this decade, politicians made rash promises of rapid modernization that would consign to history decades of deliberate marginalization, first by British colonialists and then by Kenya’s governing elite in Nairobi, who shared a disdain for the pastoralists and their way of life.
“Expectations were disproportionate,” said John Nakara, a Turkana parliamentarian. “Those changes don’t happen in five years, but in 20, at least.”
Oil and water
That didn’t stop the promises. An ambitious plan for roads, railways and oil pipelines crossing northern Kenya was launched with great fanfare in 2012, but it has been slow in coming.
Instead Turkana remains crisscrossed with dirt tracks that become impassable when it rains, and where the few sealed sections are so badly potholed that drivers prefer the dirt shoulders.
That same year, British company Tullow Oil announced the discovery of large crude reserves in Turkana.
Production is expected to begin in June, but local and national officials are still arguing over distribution of revenues and no pipeline has yet been built, meaning the oil will have to be trucked to the port of Mombasa, more than 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) away.
In 2013, Kenya and the UN cultural body UNESCO announced the discovery of large reserves of groundwater beneath Turkana that promised irrigation and enough water for all.
But the reality has proved rather different. The aquifer holding the groundwater is hard to exploit, the water is deeper underground and less pure than predicted.
“The announcement was very optimistic and based on very limited information,” said Sean Avery, a Kenya-based consultant on water issues.
Devolution and drought
The situation is not uniformly bleak in this arid region. Political devolution has handed more power, including the power to disburse funds, to local authorities since 2013. This is facilitating the opening of new health clinics in Turkana which halve the distance people have to walk to seek diagnosis or treatment.
But the drought remains a country-wide problem. Kenya has declared it a “national disaster” and appealed for international aid.
Three million people are in need of emergency humanitarian assistance, and, while the response has been more effective than the last time, in 2011, still more needs to be done, aid workers say.
“In the current situation, this is clearly not enough,” said Schultink.
As the drought bites, the road ahead looks longer than ever for Turkana where some 92 percent of its 1.4 million people live below the poverty line and only a fifth know how to read and write.
Apr 19 2017 | Posted in Kenya
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By Kalume Kazungu
Residents in Mpeketoni in Lamu are breathing a sigh of relief after a fresh water well was discovered near Lake Kenyatta which dried up a few weeks ago following ravaging drought.
For the past months, the lake, which is the only fresh water lake situated in Mpeketoni and which was named after Kenya’s first president Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, has hit headlines after it dried up, leading to massive destruction of marine life and wildlife due to lack of water.
Once a natural beauty which acted as an attraction for nature lovers and revellers, the lake has become a desert dotted with carcasses of hippos and buffalos which died due to lack of water.
The crisis has even forced residents, especially fishermen who also depend on the lake for livelihood to flee.
Over 60,000 residents of Mpeketoni and its environs depended on the lake.
The discovery of the fresh water well within Lake Kenyatta has been termed as a miracle.
The well was discovered on the western shore of the lake by one of the residents.
Mpeketoni environmental activist Samuel Muchiri said the well had been abandoned for long but after further investigations it was discovered that it had a lot of water that can be pumped back to the lake.
He said nobody had any idea that there existed a well that could supply such amount of water which, according to him, will also save wild animals from dying.
“We are very happy. There is a well that we have discovered. Its water is very fresh. We have already joined hands as a community and provided three generators which are currently pumping water from the well back to the Lake,” said Mr Muchiri.
He said he is confident that the discovered well will help save marine life and hippos which have been dying at an alarming rate in the worst drought in the history of Lake Kenyatta.
RELIEF FOR WILDLIFE
Speaking to the Nation on Sunday, Mr Harun Mwangi said the idea to pump the water from the well back to Lake Kenyatta has greatly assisted to bring it back to life.
“Wild animals were roaming into people’s farms and homes after the lake dried up. We thank God that after we came up with the idea of pumping water back to the lake from the discovered well, wild animals have already started streaming back to the lake and reduced the cases of human-wildlife conflict. This has really encouraged us to work day and night pumping the water here,” said Mr Mwangi.
He said a dedicated team of five community members are working together with environmental organisations and other well-wishers to make sure that the animals get water in time to stop them from causing havoc to the residents.
So far, Lamu Governor Issa Timamy together with County Commissioner Joseph Kanyiri have toured the area and donated fuel to pump the water.
Lake Kenyatta is estimated to cover a stretch of 3.7 square kilometres when full.
Virtual Doctor Service Launched in Kenya
A comprehensive online health solution that will allow patients to access medical consultation has been launched in… Read more »
Mar 20 2017 | Posted in Kenya
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By Shinovene Immanuel
THE FIRED SME Bank bosses have given the Bank of Namibia until today to reinstate them, claiming they were unlawfully removed from office about two weeks ago.
Lawyer Sisa Namandje, representing SME Bank co-owner Enock Kamushinda, axed CEO Tawanda Mumvuma, other bank directors as well as two senior executives, informed Bank of Namibia (BoN) governor Ipumbu Shiimi yesterday of his clients’ intent to challenge BoN’s actions in court if it failed to adhere to their request by today.
He also called on Shiimi to retract his “unlawful” decision to fire the board by close of business today, saying that failure to do so would result in an urgent court application to be heard on 30 or 31 March 2017.
Shiimi confirmed receiving the letter yesterday, but declined to comment further.
BoN took charge of the SME Bank following the discovery of suspicious investments of close to N$200 million allegedly made in South Africa.
Namandje stated that he was instructed to demand that BoN provide the minutes of its board meeting of 24 February 2017, at which the decision to remove the executives on 1 March 2017 was taken.
“The Bank of Namibia has misconstrued its powers and has acted unlawfully, and its illegalities are continuously prejudicing our clients, the public and SME Bank Limited,” he said.
According to Namandje, his clients have since been suffering “massive reputational damages, given the most degrading and public manner in which your illegal actions were taken. They will also suffer financial harm”.
Namandje stated that BoN had no power to remove a director or official of a bank, and that the Banking Institutions Act only allowed it to write to the bank concerned, in this case, SME Bank, to remove its directors.
“You have therefore no power to remove a director or officer yourself, except to make an order requiring the concerned banking institution itself to remove a director or officer,” Namandje stated, adding that the removal of the SME Bank directors and officers was thus null and void.
“Should you have felt there was a need for a new director or directors to be appointed, your powers were and remain limited to requiring SME Bank through an order in writing, addressed and delivered to SME Bank Limited to appoint directors, not to make such an appointment yourself as you did,” he said.
Namandje said BoN had not given SME Bank directors and executives an opportunity to be heard, nor were they explicitly or implicitly placed on notice that they might be removed from their positions.
Instead, they were misled by BoN, he added.
The lawyer said several major institutional depositors were now withdrawing their money from the SME Bank or were contemplating doing so, placing the bank and its shareholders at huge risk.
Mar 13 2017 | Posted in Banking
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By Kennedy Senelwa
Gold mining firm Acacia expects to start commercial production of gold in western Kenya in 2022.
The company has made a discovery of 1.3 million ounces/36 tonnes of gold in the Liranda corridor near Kakamega town.
“The discovery of 1.3 million ounces of gold is an encouraging start,” said Acacia’s chief executive Brad Gordon. “For the project to be economically viable, we need deposits of at least two to three million ounces.”
Acacia Mining Plc will invest $12 million this year in exploration activities in western Kenya to exploit at least two to three million ounces of the precious metal.
Mr Gordon said that the company will spend $10 million on exploration activities in the 30-kilometre square Liranda corridor, and a further $2 million in the surrounding area as the firm’s special licence 213 covers about 1,600 square kilometres.
Mining Cabinet Secretary Dan Kazungu said that the potential of Acacia’s western Kenya project is exciting.
“It could ultimately lead to the creation of a gold mining industry that would benefit our economy and people,” he said.
In August 2016, Acacia, which has operations in Tanzania, Burkina Faso and Mali, bought a 49 per cent stake from a subsidiary of Lonmin plc for $5 million.
Acacia is exploring Kakamega, Vihiga, Siaya and Kisumu counties.
Meanwhile, Goldplat Plc has commissioned a new processing plant to expand gold production in the Kilimapesa mine near Kilgoris town in western Kenya at a cost of $2 million.
“Although it is modest in terms of production, it will help start sustainable profitability at Kilimapesa,” said chief executive Gerard Kisbey-Green.
The expansion is aimed at reducing the cost of operations and returning Kilimapesa mine to profitability. The company made a net loss of $892,731.31 in the year ended June 30, 2016.
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Mar 11 2017 | Posted in Kenya
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By Andrew Bagala
Detectives have started investigations to establish the identities of a boy and man dressed in suits whose bodies were found decomposing at Busini village, Muterere Sub-county in Bugiri District.
Busoga East Police spokesman, Mr James Mubi, said they suspect that the boy aged between seven and 10 years while the man was around 35 to 40 years.
“Both bodies had multiple injuries . The boy has a deep wound on the head which suggest that he could have been hit with an object. The man had a deep wound on the neck. The bodies have been taken to the mortuary for further examination,” Mr Mubi said on Thursday.
Mr Mubi said the scene of crime officers indicated that the victims could have been killed from a different location and dumped in the place their bodies were found.
Police asked anyone who has had two of his or her male relatives missing to check with Bugiri police.
The police officer said the identity of the bodies will be important to understand the last hours of the deceased and probably the arrest of the suspects.
Cases of dumped bodies in the wilderness are high. Most of the cases investigated point to domestic violence.
The discovery the Bugiri two bodies come a day after Flying Squad Unit discovered two decomposing bodies of Chinese women at Kinoni-Makerere, a Kampala suburb.
The two women were suspected to have been killed by a Chinese national who picked them from two hotels in Kampala City.
Last month, police arrested Brian Bagyenda, a pharmacist at Makerere University, on allegations of killing his girlfriend Enid Twijukye, a third year student of international business studies at Ndejje University, and dumped her body in Seeta, Mukono District.
The body was discovered decomposing.
At least 4,065 are killed annually in the country.
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Forty years since the slaying of Archbishop of Uganda Janani Luwum by then president Idi Amin, the army officer who the… Read more »
Feb 17 2017 | Posted in Uganda
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Chickens (file photo)
By Wycliff Kipsangwkipsang
Kenya may lift the import ban imposed on Uganda chicken and eggs in the next one week, after experts from the two countries met to assess the measures taken against an epidemic of bird flu.
This will, however, depend on the final tests carried out by a group of experts drawn from the two countries. They will conclude the exercise in the next one week.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett said the two teams are doing a risk assessment of the Avian flu outbreak in Uganda to determine if it has been contained.
Mr Bett did not confirm when the ban would be lifted, but officials told the Sunday Nation that it could be as early as this week.
Kenya imposed the ban last month after a highly infectious strain of bird flu was reported in Uganda.
But Uganda has assured Kenya that it has contained the outbreak, adding that most farms that export eggs to Kenya are located more than 10km from the quarantined area. According to Mr Bett, the team will table its reports this week.
“Any further decision will be based on the team’s report. I’m happy that both parties acknowledged the danger posed by the disease and the need to work closely in arresting its spread,” said Mr Bett, who led a team from Kenya that met President Yoweri Museveni.
Uganda’s Agriculture minister, Mr Vincent Ssempija, urged Kenya and other neighbouring countries not to worry about bird flu, adding that the situation was under control. He said commercial poultry farms had been placed under strict surveillance.
“These farms are located far from the 10km quarantine radius range around Lake Victoria. The commercial farms can produce safe poultry products for local and export markets,” said Mr Ssempija.
On January 18, Kenya banned poultry imports from the neighbouring country following an outbreak of avian influenza.
At the time, Mr Bett said the government had taken adequate measures to secure Kenya from the viral infection.
More than 32 million chicken in Kenya were said to be at risk of contracting the disease.
Kenya has been on high alert after the deadly viral disease was detected in dead birds worldwide.
After the discovery, the Uganda Government activated its emergency plan for epidemics control after confirming one strain of the disease — one of three types that affect humans, animals and birds, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Avian flu is an infectious disease from birds and is caused by type A strains of the influenza virus.
It can be transmitted to human beings, causing severe respiratory infections.
The flu is characterised by a sudden onset of high fever, aching muscles, headache, severe sickness, non-productive cough and sore throat within two to five days, and up to 17 days, of infection.
In the very young, it can lead to pneumonia and death. It affects mainly the nose, throat, bronchi and occasionally the lungs.
It is treatable with an antiviral drug called Tamiflu.
Humans contract the disease through close contact with infected poultry or with objects contaminated by their faecal matter, according to WHO.
Feb 6 2017 | Posted in Agriculture
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