Posts tagged as: federal

Nigeria: Gory Tales As Another Batch of 258 Nigerian Deportees Arrive Lagos Airport

By Lawani Mikairu

It was gory tales yesterday at the cargo section of the Muritala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos as another batch of 258 Nigerians were yesterday deported from Libya.

The deportees who arrived the cargo section of the Muritala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos at about 10.00pm aboard an Airbus A333-200 and were received at the Hajj Terminal by the National Emergency Management Agency narrated how they were brutalised like animals in Libya.

Mr Akhere Ken, one of the deportees from Edo State, said he has been in detention in Libya in the past one year after he was arrested on board a boat while trying to cross the Mediterranean sea to Italy. About One hundred of them were cramped into a room not enough to accommodate Twenty people with resultant suffocation to death of one inmate almost every week.

“As one inmate dies, more Nigerians are brought and squeezed into the room. Any inmate with medical condition is not given even common paracetamol.We watch helplessly as our friends die before our very eyes,” Ken said.

Other deportees who were also aboard the chartered Libya Airlines Airbus A330-200 with registration number 5A-LAU and profiled by the NEMA official late into the night had similar tales of woes to tell..

They were received at the Hajj Camp area of the airport by officers of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) , the National Agency for the Protection of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the Police.Officials of NEMA, the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), were also present.

Dr Onimode Bandele, the Deputy Director, Search and Rescue, said the returnees were made up of 220 males, 18 females and 20 children and infants.

According to Bandele, “Since December 2016, we have been able to bring back 1,268 Nigerians and the exercise will continue in collaboration with the IOM.The Federal Government is collaborating with the various state governments to rehabilitate and reintegrate the returnees. “

Also speaking, Ms Julia Burpee, Public Information Officer, IOM, said the organisation had facilitated the return of over 7,000 Nigerians from various countries in the past 16 years.

Nigeria

126 Suspects Arrested As Boko Haram Infiltrate Borno IDP Camp – Army

The Nigeria Army on Wednesday said it had arrested about 126 suspected Boko Haram members at the Internally Displaced… Read more »

Nigeria: Doctors Move to Avert Spread of Fresh Ebola Outbreak

By Chukwuma Muanya and Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze

Lagos and Abuja — The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) is finalising an arrangement to contain a possible spread of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) following its recent outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo).

It urged the Federal Government to strengthen its response team and increase surveillance on the nation’s borders.

The proactive move, instigated by the confirmation of two more suspected cases of the deadly disease which have claimed three lives in the Central African nation, is to check the disaster and make government alive to its responsibilities of ensuring good health for the citizenry.

In a statement yesterday in Abuja by its President and Secretary General, Mike Ogirima and Yusuf Tanko Sununu, NMA pledged its readiness to partner the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) to achieve yet another feat on prevention and control of the contagious ailment.

The doctors, subsequently, appealed to all health teams to refresh their knowledge on clinical presentation of the scourge, apply universal basic precautions in patients’ care and employ standard protocols of management and reporting of suspected cases.

The NMA also called on Nigerians to be calm and cooperate with government in securing the country, especially during surveillance at entry points.

The medics equally assured the citizens of their readiness to safeguard the health of the nation.

“The recent declaration of outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo is another major setback to the world. The devastation brought about by the last one still remains fresh in our minds. West Africa was worst affected with more than 11,000 deaths recorded in 2014-2015, mainly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

“Efforts by the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria have been acclaimed as one of the best moments the country demonstrated. That is, where there is political will, success is assured. The role of our fallen heroes, especially the late Dr. Stella Ameyo Adadevoh in the control of the spread of the disease is not only worth remembering but reminds us of the need to make sacrifices for our country,” the statement read.

However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday identified two more suspected cases of the deadly virus a day after it declared an outbreak in Congo.

The United Nations agency disclosed at the weekend there were now 11 suspected cases, including three reported deaths, in Likati in Congo’s northern Bas-Uele Province. It added that one death had tested positive for an Ebola strain earlier seen in the country.

WHO noted that the first infection was contracted by a male on April 22, 2017 some 870 miles from the capital, Kinshasa. It is, however, working with the government to coordinate a response.

The Central African nation has witnessed seven major outbreaks in the recent past, including 2014 when it recorded dozen cases. That particular incident was unconnected with the massive epidemic in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone that left thousands affected.

According to the global agency, the virus causes acute illness, and it is even fatal, if untreated. The virus first appeared in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks, one in what is now, Nzara, South Sudan, and the other in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter occurred in a village near the Ebola River, from which the disease derives its name.

The 2014-2016 outbreak in West Africa was the largest and most complex since its emergence. There were more cases and deaths recorded in this instance than all others put together. It also spread between countries, starting in Guinea then moving across borders to Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The virus family, Filoviridae, includes three genera: Cuevavirus, Marburgvirus and Ebolavirus. Within the genus Ebolavirus, five species have been identified namely Zaire, Bundibugyo, Sudan, Reston and Taï Forest. The first three have been associated with large outbreaks in Africa. The virus, that caused the 2014-2016 sad incident, belongs to the Zaire specie.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has called on Nigerians not to panic as the Federal Government remains committed to ensuring that Ebola disease is not imported into the country.

The minister made the call yesterday while inspecting thermal screening machines located at the Port Health Stand of Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja.

A statement from the ministry noted that the minister was at the airport on assessment tour to ensure that the screening machines were functioning perfectly as the country steps up surveillance in detecting fever of any kind.

You may recall that the country began health screening at the airports during the Ebola crisis of 2014, and the screening has continued since then.

Adewole said, “we want to assure Nigerians that we have never stopped screening people, it has been going on at the international wings of all the airports in the country, although passengers may not have noticed it.

“There is no reason to panic, everything is under control, if there is a need to screen local passengers we would do that but for now we are concentrating on passengers on international travels.”

He said that people should be free to go about their lawful business, but that they should report any signs or symptoms of fever to the nearest health facility.

Earlier, Adewole had a meeting with the Airport Manager Alh. Sani Muhammed who assured the minister of the readiness of all the airport staff to work together in ensuring that Ebola does not spread into the country.

The minister further directed that any passengers with fever arriving from a county where Ebola has been detected should be taken for further investigation.

According to the Director, Port Health Services, Dr. Hassan Garba, a sophisticated thermal camera captures all the arriving passengers with or without their knowledge, and anybody who is captured as red on the camera, would be quietly called aside for questioning.

The minister further directed that any passengers with fever arriving from a county where Ebola has been detected should be taken for further investigation.

Nigeria: Cyber-Attacks – Govt Directs Telcos, Banks to Put Backups in Place

By Zakariyya Adaramola

As computer malware that has spread across 150 countries appears to be slowing down, with few reports of fresh attacks in Asia and Europe on Monday, the Federal Government has directed all Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and banks to ensure that their backup/ disaster recovery strategies are in place and up to date.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC ) which gave the directive on behalf of the Federal Government yesterday also advised all the telecom operators to initiate regular assessment and audit of their cybersecurity readiness.

“The Commission has further advised all operators to ensure continued deployment of effective firewalls, login passwords and antivirus management regime”, NCC’s boss Prof Umar Garuba Danbatta said in a statement.

The National Information Development Agency (NITDA) had earlier advised banks and other private establishments to upgrade their IT systems to forestall any possible attack.

A top official had told Daily Trust at the weekend that Nigeria might be a likely target “in the coming weeks”.

Private and public workers beginning the working week on Monday were told to be careful.

The WannaCry ransomware started taking over users’ files on Friday, demanding $300 (£230) to restore access, according to media reports.

More than 200, 000 computers are said to be affected so far. Computer giant Microsoft said the attack should serve as a wake-up call.

BBC reported that many firms employed experts over the weekend to try to prevent new infections.

Nigeria

After Buhari… ?

With the president on medical leave again, ambitious figures are positioning themselves favourably for what might happen… Read more »

Nigeria: Harmful Germs in Water Samples

A recent independent investigation by Daily Trust uncovered germs in public water samples taken from many states in the country. Samples were taken from Abuja, Lagos, Plateau, Katsina, Kano and Enugu. The samples were analyzed according to the guidelines of the American Public Health Association, 19th edition. The investigation found that many of the samples didn’t meet the World Health Organization’s [WHO] standards or the Nigerian Standard for Drinking Water Quality, NSDWQ.

The samples were randomly taken from the states and analyzed at different testing centers including the National Water Resources Institute, Kaduna. Some of the samples even contained faecal matter, indicating that we’re drinking our own faeces or someone else’s. “The analysis signed by the institute’s head, Water Supply and Sanitation, Ahmed Salisu Hassan and analysed by Agboola Irene Omolara revealed that the values of faecal coliform and total coliforms indicator organisms are above the standard guideline values recommended for drinking water,” Daily Trust reported. The source of the harmful organisms could be traced to any of the following: the water itself from the water boards, dirty storage tanks, inappropriate sample collection, sample handling, sample containers, leaking pipes etc.

According to the Nigerian Industrial Standard, the health effects of drinking water that exceeded the maximum limits of the two indicators tested by Daily Trust, i.e. total Coliform Count and Thermo tolerant Coliform are “urinary tract infections, bacteraemia, diarrhoea, acute renal failure and haemolyticanaemia.” Some of these are killer diseases. All in all, analysis showed that the sample taken from Lagos was not safe for human consumption. They found the same result with the sample taken from Kaduna, which was found to be totally unsafe for human consumption. Even though the colour of the water from Kaduna and Abuja was acceptable, Abuja sample was also found to be harmful.

However, not all states failed the tests. Water from Enugu, Kano and Katsina was found to be safe for drinking. Sample collected from Jos, Plateau State was also safe for drinking. However, many states later faulted the findings. For example, the Federal Capital Territory water board said that the results couldn’t be generalized. Director of the board, Hudu Bello, said professionals at the board verify standards before water is dispensed. Yet, we find the report to be instructive and the fact that the reporters followed the scientific method was impressive. The samples were taken randomly; areas where samples were taken, time and dates were recorded and reported. Above all, the samples were subjected to standard analyses by experts, which means that the study is replicable. Another independent entity could follow the same procedure to falsify the findings of Daily Trust. Until that is done, we are going to hold this report as the current state of the drinking water situation, especially from the states surveyed.

We however agree with FCT water board that we must exercise caution in generalizing the findings. One study is not enough and more are needed. Therefore, we call for similar investigations from all concerned; not only of the state of our drinking water but for other sectors and services as well.

Still, this particular report calls our attention to a public service that has been left unexamined for many years. For example, we ask the question, who regulates our water boards? Are they subject to regulations from agencies such as NAFDAC?

Also important is the fact that our public water facilities have been around for many years and some are in dire need of upgrade. However, sometimes when funds are budgeted for that purpose, the work is not done and the funds disappear. Bad water can kill and therefore must be freed from the ever present corruption in our country. When our water providers pump poison to our homes, we can no longer call what they do public service but something worse, much worse.

Nigeria

After Buhari… ?

With the president on medical leave again, ambitious figures are positioning themselves favourably for what might happen… Read more »

Nigeria: Govt to Float N600 Billion Bond to Offset Construction Debt

By Sunday Michael Ogwu

Lagos — Discussion have reached an advanced stage between the Federal Government and the Federation of Construction Industry (FOCI) to settle the outstanding debt of about N600 billion owed construction companies in the country.

Engineer Wolfgang Goetsch, the Managing Director of Julius Berger dislosed this at the company’s annual investors forum held recently in Lagos.

Goetsch said: “The whole construction company is ruining under the heavy burden of debt. The entire equity and free funds of this companies are lying with the Ministry of Finance or the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) as outstanding payments on contract or tax refunds.

“The government today understands that if these past due obligations are not paid, these companies cannot inject new funds in any project awarded today.” He further disclosed that, the government has agreed that the old debt payment would also bear interest since most of the companies took loans to finance these constructions and have continued to pay default interest on the outstanding amounts to the banks.

He said: “Under the leadership of FOCI, we are having fruitful discussion with the Federal Government and in three months, we should finalise, so that bonds can be issued. We had same process in 2005 and 2011.”

The government would likely issue a 5-10 bond to the construction companies which are expected to have a positive impact on the balance sheet of the construction companies. “

Nigeria

‘Nothing Unpleasant Has Happened’ to Buhari – Presidency

President Muhammadu Buhari is alive and well, his spokesperson Garba Shehu clarified on Sunday night. Read more »

Nigeria: Govt Urges Vigilance As More Countries Come Under Cyber Attack

Photo: This Day
By Zakariyya Adaramola

The Federal Government’s agency in charge of Information Technology has urged Nigerians to be vigilant and report any attack on their computer system to prevent spread of the ‘WannaCry’ ransomware to the country.

The cyber attack, which was first reported on Friday, has so far affected more than 200,000 victims in 150 countries as at yesterday.

A top government official told Daily Trust that Nigeria might have been flagged among countries to be hit this week.

The official, who pleaded anonymity because he was not cleared to speak to the media on the issue, said because of huge users of Microsoft operating system in Nigeria, the country could be a target.

“Nigeria has been flagged among the countries to be attacked. Our massive usage of Microsoft Operating System has already made us vulnerable. We may see the true picture next week when work resumes,” the official who is a cybercrime prevention expert told our reporter on phone.

But the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in a statement said computer users should be vigilant and report any abnormalities in their systems to Computer Emergency Readiness and Response Team (CERRT) immediately.

Meanwhile, the Europol chief Rob Wainwright told the BBC yesterday that the act was “unprecedented in its scale” and warned more people could find themselves affected today.

Mr Wainwright said the ransomware was combined with a worm application allowing the “infection of one computer to quickly spread across the networks,” adding: “That’s why we’re seeing these numbers increasing all the time.”

Although a temporary fix earlier slowed the infection rate, the attackers had now released a new version of the ransomware, he said.

Companies need to make sure they have updated their systems and “patched where they should” before staff arrived for work on Monday morning,” the EU law enforcement agency’s head said.

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Congo-Kinshasa: ‘This is Eighth Ebola Epidemic, It Will Not Shake Us’

Photo: Ebola Deeply

(file photo).

The World Health Organization has confirmed a second case of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The news comes after an outbreak of 17 other suspected cases in the past week.

Local health officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo are attempting to find 125 people thought to be linked to cases in the remote northeastern province of Bas-Uele, near the border with the Central African Republic, according to World Health Organization (WHO) spokesman Eugene Kabambi. The province is thousands of kilometers northeast of capital, Kinshasa.

This latest case brings the total of suspected or confirmed Ebola cases to 19 in the past week. Three of the cases have been fatal, including the man suspected of being the first victim.

The current outbreak comes one year after the end of an Ebola epidemic that killed more than 11,000 people, primarily in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Emergency vaccine

Both Congo and its western neighbor, Republic of Congo, have experienced Ebola outbreaks in the past and international organizations have said they are ready to assist in the event of an epidemic.

The GAVI vaccine alliance said Friday that about 300,000 emergency doses of an Ebola vaccine could be available in case of a severe outbreak, and was ready to support the Congolese government.

“This is the eighth Ebola epidemic in the Congo, it will not shake the population,” said Congolese Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga on Friday.

The Ebola virus was first discovered near the River Ebola in 1976 in northern Democratic Republic of Congo, then known as Zaire. The Ebola virus is often fatal, causing internal and external bleeding, as well as impaired kidney and liver function. The virus is spread by coming into contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person.

kbd/cmk (dpa, Reuters)

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Ebola – Nigeria Steps Up Surveillance At Airports

The management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has assured Nigerians of adequate surveillance at the… Read more »

Africa: Nigeria On Red Alert As Who Declares Ebola Outbreak in Congo

Photo: Premium Times

Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria has beefed up surveillance at the nation’s airports following the outbreak of Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo (file photo).

The Management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has assured Nigerians of adequate surveillance at the nation’s airports following the outbreak of Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday, saying that at least one person had been confirmed dead due to the virus in the country’s north-east.

Mr Henrietta Yakubu, FAAN’s Acting General Manager, Corporate Affairs,said on Saturday, saying that there was no direct flight from Congo to Nigeria.

Yakubu also assured that all the preventive measures being put in place at the airports were still in place.

She said that the Port Health officials were at alert at all airports, adding that the authority had also informed them of the need to increase surveillance.

“We don’t have direct flights from Congo, we only have from Rwanda but I want to assure members of the public that we still have all preventive measures in place at our airports.

“There are sanitisers at our arrivals with the scanning apparatus called Thermal scanners being installed by the Port Health Services.

“The scanners have camera monitors that display pictures aside the capturing of temperature.

“Passengers still fill that form to ensure that everybody arriving the country through our airports are not potential carriers of deadly diseases.

“The port health officials are always at alert and we will also inform them of the need to increase their surveillance.

“So, there is no cause for alarm,” she said.

Nigeria experienced the Ebola virus in July, 2014 when a Liberian American, Patrick Sawyer, who had the disease flew from Liberia to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and died five days later.

In response, the Federal Government observed all of Sawyer’s contacts for signs of infection and increased surveillance at all entry points to the country.

Nigeria was able to curtail the disease and was subsequently declared Ebola free by WHO.

Africa

Leaders Pledge to Advance the Continent’s Digital Transformation

African Heads of State and government present at the recently concluded Transform Africa Summit have pledged to advance… Read more »

Ethiopia: Resuming a Close Watch On HIV-Aids

opinionBy Desta Gebrehiwot

Ethiopia has seen a massive drop of HIV -AIDS transmission rate over the past years with the total prevalence rate reaching 1.2 percent , but it also feared that the epidemic might resurface due to complacence and increasing negligence. The country has come a long way to eradicating the diseases where the government, and other organization mobilized the public collectively. However, the momentum is ata stake according to recent figures.

While the national rate is insignificant, the epidemic is higher in some areas and population groups. Paradoxically, the ongoing efforts are far from enough compared to the looming threat posed by the epidemic .

Prevention receives less attention in the initial response to the epidemic. Instead, the focus has mainly been determined to treatments and cares. That is why all the participants agree that raising the awareness of core risk groups such as female commercial sex workers and truck drivers. It is this way that the country would be able to save its energetic and very young population that holds a brighter future for the country.

With global donations remaining in short supply , much of existing financial aid is being used for cares and treatments rather than prevention works. This is what led the Federal HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office (HAPCO) to organize a two-day consultative forum.

The forum agreed that HIV-AIDS prevention activities have appeared to be very negligible though the epidemic posed huge threats in some parts of country with productive and sexually active groups still remaining vulnerable.

Huge junk of the financial donations are being allocated for care and treatment services undermining prevention activities. Less prevention means higher HIV rate which consequently put the country into great socioeconomic crises .

While the national HIV status appears to be declining nationally, some areas whose population is sexually active group yet carries huge burden with new infection on the rise

There is an ill-conceived attitude among the general public that AIDS is in decline while many more people are dying and contracting the disease, said Kifele Metku adding that the rate is very high in pregnant women , students of higher learning institutions, working group, heavy -truck drivers and inmates and segments of society .

Mobility of people, especially of young people to large scale development schemes have been becoming hotbeds for spread of HIV. New infection have been recently on the rise with the risky behaviors

What makes the matter worse is that these vulnerable groups have less awareness towards the disease and prevention mechanisms.

HAPCO General Director Shalo Daba for his part said that the general HIV prevalence rate is approximately 1.2 percent but this does snot necessary show that this is that same to the whole parts of the country. Yet high rate of HIV is being detected in some rural and urban areas.

The prevalence rate varies significantly among population groups, and geographic areas. In this regard, multi-sectoral and collective efforts are needed to curb the epidemic.

The country has previously succeed to decrease the rate because of collective efforts, this has to resume. Government, non-governmental local and international organizations, the private sector, media people and the community at large should come together to matter the issue a public agenda and raise awareness

Participants of the forum also expressed their concern that the more the issue is neglected the more the disease could spread. They stressed the need to particularly work in bringing behavioral changes among the youth and other vulnerable segments of society.

Global donors also seem reluctant to pump more resource to fighting the disease while the available one continues to be allocated for treatments and cares as the price for anti-retro viral proves exorbitant. In this regard, building local capacity and according more attention to prevention activities are best option to eradicate the epidemic. To sum up, as the saying goes “A stitch in time saves nine!” prevention is the best solution of disease eradication.

South Africa: Opposition to Ask Court for Review of Molefe Return Decision

Photo: EskomSouthAfrica

Eskom Megawatt Park.

The DA is preparing to file a court application for a review of Brian Molefe’s return to Eskom as CEO on Monday, James Selfe, chairperson of the opposition party’s Federal Executive said on Saturday.

“Yesterday afternoon [Friday] I instructed advocates to start preparing for a review,” said Selfe.

The party held off on doing this until they had heard what Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown had to say about Molefe’s controversial return.At a press conference on Friday afternoon Brown endorsed Molefe’s return, saying it was a better proposition for the fiscus to let him go back to the job he had resigned from in November 2016.”In terms of the Eskom board’s proposal Mr Molefe agreed to serve out the remainder of his original contract and to reconsider his contract I objected to,” Brown said.

“The board’s proposal I believe is a better value proposition for the SA fiscus than the previous proposal.”

This was after she told the board that she would not accept a proposed R30m pension payout for him, after less than two years in the post.

His resignation was effective from 1 January 2017, cutting short a five year contract.

At the time he said he was leaving for the sake of good governance, given allegations in the “State Capture” report by the Public Protector.

He went on to be sworn in as a Member of Parliament. He resigned from the position to go back to Eskom.

Brown is expected to meet the board next week to get the finer details of the board’s recommendation that he return.

At present the Democratic Alliance is not seeking to interdict him from going back to work on Monday.The review would be argued for on the grounds that Molefe’s return is irrational and illegal, said Selfe, adding that the application is expected to be filed at a court early next week. The application would be filed at a court early next week.

Molefe resigned last November after purported telephone records in a Public Protector report on “State Capture” placed him in the vicinity of the home of a family that received an advance payment for a contract to supply coal during a national power supply crisis.

The beneficiary company Tegeta Resources has President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane Zuma as a shareholder along with wealthy industrialists Ajay and Atul Gupta.The Eskom controversy forms part of allegations that the Guptas were favoured during sub contracting decisions to keep the lights on because of their proximity to the president.

Source: News24

South Africa

The Life and Times of Brian Molefe, Member of Parliament

While the Twittersphere and newsrooms were aflutter on Friday morning with the news that Brian Molefe had been… Read more »

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