Refrain from baseless reporting, Hon. G Abuja
Refrain from baseless reporting, Hon. Gumi advises Sahara Reporters
Honourable Sulaiman Abubakar Gumi, member representing Gummi/Bukkuyum Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives has called on journalists and media managers to stop going to press with unsubstantiated reports.
Gumi believes journalism is a noble profession whose ethics must be respected by all those who practice the profession and or call themselves journalists.
He wondered why Sahara Reporters would head to press without verifying a baseless allegation levelled against the Government of Zamfara State and the person of
Dr. Bello Muhammad Matawalle; insisting that best practice requires journalists and media managers to balance all reports where possible before going to press, regrettably, this very important requirement was violated even when the reporter had every opportunity to verify the allegations.
The lawmaker noted that His Excellency, Governor Matawalle runs an open government in Zamfara. His commitment towards the return of peace to Zamfara is unwavering and has been in the full glare for Nigerians to see.
He said at no point did Governor Matawalle reward repentant bandits with vehicles. He challenged all those with proof of evidence to show that the governor gifted vehicles to bandits to make them public. He said he knows how dear the people of Zamfara are to the heart of Governor Matawalle and how he is willing to get to any length possible within the law to see that they are protected.
Gumi called on the Governor to remain focused and not to be distracted by the schemes of his adversary, adding that the days of politics are over and all and sundry must work in the overall interest of the Zamfara people.
Press Secretary to Hon. Sulaiman Abubakar Gumi
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WFP seeks $24.6m to meet humanitarian needs of Ethiopian refugees in Sudan
The United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP) on Friday says its need $24.6 million to meet the humanitarian needs of Ethiopian refugees arriving in Sudan.
The WFP appeal was contained in a statement posted on its website (www.wfp.org) on Friday.
According to WFP, "the conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia that escalated on 4 November, has forced more than 30,000 Ethiopians to flee across the border into Sudan."
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has projected that up to 200,000 Ethiopians could take refuge in eastern Sudan in the coming six months if instability in Tigray continues.
On Wednesday, the Commission estimated that over 31,000 people had arrived in Sudan and were in urgent need of food and other support.
Dr. Hameed Nuru, WFP Representative and Country Director in Sudan confirmed that the WFP is working closely with its local partners, other UN agencies and the Government of Sudan to provide food logistic support to refugees.
In the interim, WFP said it has rapidly dispatched enough food supplies to feed 60,000 people for one month. However, the food had to be borrowed from existing programmes. The influx of new arrivals will strain WFP’s ability to respond to existing needs in Sudan as it deals with multiple crises throughout the country.
The organizations alarmed that it is face with a shortfall of US$153 million over the next six months for its operation to meet the food needs of the most vulnerable in Sudan, including US$20 million to provide food and nutrition assistance to arriving Ethiopian refugees, US$3.8 million to increase the number of UNHAS flights to eastern Sudan, and US$750,000 for road repairs to allow responders to reach remote and inaccessible areas where refugees are arriving.
The Tigray conflict is an ongoing armed conflict that escalated on 4th of November 2020 in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia, between the Tigray Region special forces (led by Tigray People's Liberation Front) and the Ethiopian National Defense Force, in alliance with the Amhara Region special and militant forces as well as the Oromia.
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Covid-19 - Another Lockdown Imminent As Govt Imposes 5-Week Restrictions
Apparently disturbed by the spike in the second wave of COVID-19 in the country, the federal government yesterday ordered five-week restrictions on activities involving large gathering.
The activities include recreational, sporting and religious activities as well as compulsory closure of schools, while all government staff on GL 12 and below are to stay at home.
Amid fears of a new strain of coronavirus in the United Kingdom, a tweet by presidential aide, Mr Bashir Ahmad, containing a locked yellow padlock, a downward arrow in a blue box, and the figure '2.0' had sparked mixed reactions on Twitter over another total lockdown in the country in the wake of the second wave of the pandemic.
The federal government also said it may further impose a fresh travel ban to and fro certain parts of the world due to the mutated strain of COVID-19 manifesting itself in the United Kingdom and some other nations across the globe.
Speaking at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 yesterday, the chairman of PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha said, "His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has authorised the PTF to engage with the States and the FCT to assume full ownership of this stage of the response by deploying legal structures and resources, including enforcement to manage the pandemic within their jurisdictions.
"In line with the authorisation, the PTF wishes to issue the following advisories to sub-national entities for implementation over the next five weeks because these activities are considered super spreader events.
"Close all bars, night clubs, pubs and event centres, and recreational venues; close all restaurants except those providing services to hotel residents; takeaways, home deliveries and drive-ins shall remain closed.
"Restrict all informal and formal festivity events including weddings, conferences, congresses, office parties, concerts, seminars, sporting activities, end of year events shall be restricted to not more than 50 persons.
"Limit all gatherings linked to religious events to less than 50% capacity of the facility of use during which physical distancing; mandatory use of face masks shall be strictly enforced.
"Where more than 50 persons are attending, any such events, the gathering should be held outdoors only; public transportation systems are to carry passengers not more than 50% of their capacity in compliance with social distancing rules.
"Enforce compliance with NPI protocols especially the advisory on wearing of face masks in public spaces; reduce overcrowding in public spaces, markets, shopping centres, offices and schools.
"States are advised to implement the following: Encourage virtual meetings in government offices. The leadership of such offices are to ensure that all offices are well-ventilated offices, and encourage staff to work from home where possible.
All government staff on GL.12 and below are to stay at home for the next five weeks; Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executives are to be held accountable for enforcing NPI rules in their domains with frequent spot checks."
On schools, Mustapha said the PTF, on the advice of the
Federal Ministry of Education expects that schools would have vacated from December 18, 2020 and remain closed till at least January 18, 2021 to enable the measures introduced to take effect.
He noted that all persons above the age of 60 years are encouraged to stay at home and avoid crowds; while all non-essential travels - both domestic and international during the holiday season are seriously discouraged.
While offering advice to strengthen risk communication and community engagement activities over the next five weeks, the PTF said, "States are encouraged to engage community and religious leaders, arrange town hall meetings (ideally set outdoors) to address concerns; Intensify public messaging activities, leveraging on existing government and partner assets; Reach out to youths and younger adults with health promotion activities; Invest in local face mask purchase and distribution to the general public to encourage use.
"Where applicable, the PTF shall also implement these authorisations. For example, it shall work with the Nigeria Immigration Service to impose sanctions on all in-bound travellers who violated the travel protocols and endangered the lives of their loved ones and other citizens by refusing to take the post-arrival test."
On banning of international travels, the SGF noted: "A lot of discussion is still going on around the calls for the restriction of international travels due to the discovery of new strains of the virus in certain countries.
"The PTF, Aviation and health authorities, including the WHO, are assessing the situation closely and would take a position as soon as cogent scientific basis are established. The protection of Nigerians remains our primary concern and we reassure Nigerians of our resolve not to relent."
Amid fears of a new strain of coronavirus in the United Kingdom, a tweet by Mr Bashir Ahmad had sparked mixed reactions on Twitter.
Ahmad, the personal assistant on New Media to President Muhammadu Buhari, posted the tweet on Monday via his verified Twitter handle.
Although he did not post any text that suggests a second lockdown, his tweet contains a locked yellow padlock, a downward arrow in a blue box, and the figure '2.0'.
As some of the Twitter users warn the government against the negative effects of another lockdown, others see it as a welcome development while some give hilarious reactions.
The tweet by Ahmad, which has triggered fears of a second phase of lockdown, comes ahead of the scheduled submission of the final report of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 to President Buhari.
In the last couple of days, Nigeria saw its highest single-day COVID-19 cases, figures that are higher than those reported in the early months of the outbreak in the country.
The increasing numbers of cases of COVID-19 in the country have forced authorities in various states to reactivate the measures put in place to curb the spread of the disease.
These include the closure of schools, compulsory wearing of facemasks in public spaces, and the restriction of crowds in social and religious gatherings.
Meanwhile, the minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed had earlier hinted that the federal government was mulling a possible imposition of a fresh travel ban to and fro certain parts of the world.
The minister disclosed this yesterday in Abuja at a Special Forum of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Mohammed, a member of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, said while the government appreciates the negative economic impact of another lockdown, it would not rule out restriction on movement to certain parts of the world.
He said, "We are more concerned about the new strain of COVID-19 which is manifesting itself in the UK; that is the mutated strain.
"It is difficult to detect, it spreads faster and people have been known to die of it within a very short period of its detection. This is a major concern to us as a country.
"While I do not want to pre-empt the PTF because we are meeting this afternoon (Monday), it is going to be top on the agenda of our discussions.
"I will not be surprised if that will be the recommendation of the committee which is meeting later today".
The minister added: "This season, many students are coming from the UK in particular, to come and join their families in Nigeria.
"Besides, many of our people, because of the traditional link we have with UK, may want to go there for business or family re-union.
"It is a very testy time and it might be another dangerous period to transmit this new variant of COVID-19."
The minister noted that many European countries had banned flights to and fro the UK.
According to Mohammed, the federal government will not hesitate in giving the directive if it is the only way Nigerians can be protected from the agony of the new variant of COVID-19.
Besides measures to prevent the importation of the new strain of
COVID-19, the minister said government was worried about the spike in infections in the last couple of days.
He enjoined Nigerians to comply with the advisory being regularly issued by the PTF, including the use of face mask, compliance with social distancing protocols and regular washing of hands with soap and water.
The minister also urged Nigerians to refrain from local or international travels except if absolutely necessary.
FCT Attains PTF Testing Target
Meanwhile, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) said it remains the only state in the country to attain and surpass the COVID-19 testing target of one per cent population set by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
Also, with the establishment of seven isolation/treatment centres, with 920 total bed capacity, including ICU facilities, the territory also exceeds the 300 bed capacity recommended for states by the PTF on COVID-19.
Acting secretary for Health and Human Services Secretariat (HHSS), Dr
Mohammed Kawu, who disclosed this at a news conference in Abuja yesterday, added that the secretariat had carried out investigation and testing of 86,505 suspected cases of COVID-19 and confirmed 8338 positive cases.
Kawu also revealed that the FCTA has activated surveillance system at point of entry with screening of over 52,161 Passengers of Interest (POIs), out of which 320 (0.6 per cent) were positive.
He added that the administration has begun 10 scientific researches on
COVID-19, including randomised clinical trials on drugs effectiveness and management of the virus infection, while the secretariat would ensure the accreditation of FCTA hospitals for Postgraduate Residency Training, as well as the establishment of a standard Residency Training Programme to ensure sustained specialist consultant manpower development.
The acting secretary disclosed the FCTA in partnership with the World
Health Organisation (WHO) would establish Measles, Rubella and Yellow Fever reference laboratory in Maitama District Hospital to serve the entire north central zone of the country.
Senate, FG Intensify Efforts To Procure COVID-19 Vaccine
Meanwhile, the Senate leadership yesterday evening met with representatives of the federal government in a move that would see to the purchase of the COVID-19 vaccines next year by the government.
The meeting which lasted about two hours thirty minutes was presided over by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.
In attendance were minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed; minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire; minister of State for Health, Sen. Olorunimbe Mamora; director-general, Budget and National Planning, Ben Akabueze; director-general, National Centre for Disease Control, Chikwe Ihekweazu; and director-general, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, in his welcome address, said that the meeting which was summoned at the instance of the Senate leadership, was scheduled to ascertain the level of preparedness by the Federal Government towards the purchase of the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to him, an engagement between the legislature and executive would evaluate and appraise government's readiness to acquire the vaccine for administration to Nigerians across the country.
"Essentially, we want you to tell us how we are going to be able to provide the vaccines in such a manner that the vaccines are not only acquired, but remain efficacious and effective, that they are not invalidated because of any challenge in the area of storage or during transportation. And we know ours is a very difficult and sometimes impossible environment.
"Other countries have already started receiving the vaccines, even though I'm not sure if there's any African country that has received. But if any African country should receive first, it should be Nigeria.
"Alongside these, you should also give us an idea on how we are going to start the vaccination.
"We need to have the strategy of how we intend to do it, so that we don't run into any chaos.
"That means we need to continue to campaign for our people to continue to use face-masks and hand sanitizers as well as keep to social distancing.
"Because if we have the vaccine, it would take quite some time before everybody gets it. And before then, we should insist on the protocols because this is a matter of life and death," Lawan said.
Briefing the Senate leadership, the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, said four holding points had been identified by the agency for storage of the vaccine.
According to him, the locations are: Abuja, Lagos, Enugu and Kano.
He disclosed that an ultra-cool system will be provided by GAVI - a public-private global health partnership with the goal of increasing access to immunisation in poor countries - at the various locations as part of an initial 20 percent agreement.
He added that, "the vaccine distribution plan has been developed and will be further updated with the micro-planning process as the need arises."
On the cost implication for purchase of the vaccine, Shuaib said that additional vaccines over the 20 percent supply agreement to poor countries will be purchased by the Federal Government.
"In terms of the cost of the vaccines, we plan to reach 70 percent as earlier mentioned by the end of 2022.
"For 2021, GAVI-eligible countries like Nigeria will be supported through the COVAX AMC facility in the procurement of 20 percent for the total population.
"Any additional vaccine required that is above 20 percent of the COVAX facility will be funded by Nigeria at an average price of $4 per dose, given that the vaccines that we have now require 2 doses; that will be $8USD per person.
"This additional 20 percent requirement in 2021 will have to be funded by the government of Nigeria.
"In 2022, we are trying to access a further 30 percent of the vaccines. The Federal Government will have to, in addition to buying these vaccines, pay for the operational cost which is estimated to be about $1.6USD per person.
"We have to budget for this in 2021 and 2022. In 2021, the cost of vaccines on operations will be N156.7 billion; In 2022, it will be N220.9 billion," Shuaib said.
11 NYSC Members Test Positive In Taraba
Meanwhile, as the fear of escalation mounts, not fewer than Eleven National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members have tested positive of COVID-19 at NYSC Orientation Camp in Jalingo, Taraba state capital.
The corps members were reported to be currently isolated and are being treated of the disease in the state.
This was disclose yesterday in Jalingo by the Taraba state commissioner for Health, Dr. Innocent Vakai during an end of the year media briefing.
Vakai said based on the instructions by the National Center For Disease
Control, NCDC that all members of the scheme should be tested on arrival at various orientation camps across the country, the Eleven NYSC members were discovered to be with the disease in Taraba state on arrival at the camp.
The commissioner also said that all the affected corps members were isolated in a Hotel following the vandalisation of the state Isolation center by hoodlums during the EndSARS saga
BUHARI'S BARREN FIG TREE
By lasisi Olagunju
We may soon have a Federal Ministry of Banditry. The government will fund it the way it funds similar outfits in the North. We have a commission treating victims of the interminable Boko Haram war in the North East. And in the Kankara mass abduction and rescue, we can see a national cruise to perdition. Everything appears normal, a buying-and-selling enterprise. There was another abduction and rescue on Sunday that had 80 Arabic/Islamic school pupils as victims. It is no doomsaying to expect more and more of such tragedies. Bandits in the north appear to have as many groups as there are Almajiri cells. One feeds the other in back-and-forth ceaseless streams. Bandits are Almajirai of yesterday and fathers of today’s street boys. Tomorrow’s bandits are today’s boys on the street begging to eat. It is too late for the North to save itself, that is why you find it appeasing its nemesis. The North West bandits who abducted 344 schoolboys and kept them for six days, where are they and when is the punishment for their crime? The world is asking these questions and is not getting answers. Instead, what we feel is that the characters are privileged felons, forever free to roam and stage the next acts of terror. They appear to be the law under whose jackboots the helpless Nigerian state begs to breathe.
There are other questions. Governor Bello Masari of Katsina State announced on Saturday, 12 December, that 333 students were kidnapped. On Thursday, 17 December, he announced that the bandits had released 344 abducted schoolboys. Where did he get the extra eleven boys? Or could there be more of such captives in the warehouse of these merchants of misery? We did not ask any question. We just heaved a sigh of relief and welcomed back the boys. Just as in Yambo Ouologuem’s ‘Bound to Violence’ (Le Devoir de Violence), Nigeria is inexorably yoked with beastly, demonic savagery.
Speaking truth to today’s power has been a very perilous enterprise. If you and I had said last week that President Muhammadu Buhari had not done well in securing Nigeria, the attack on us would have been very vicious. Audacious people who said so suffered insults from creators of alternative realities. But the Kankara mass abduction happened to Buhari and his presidency and the Daura man retrieved himself from his abductors and confessed that he was not the highflying victor that his mad lovers said he was. The old man went on his knees and admitted what has been very clear to everyone with inner and outer eyes. He wrote his five-year security exams, marked the script himself and declared that he had not passed. He said: ”It is our responsibility to secure this country for all the citizens to do their businesses without any problem. We haven’t achieved that yet, but we will keep on trying…I hope next year it will be different.” That was very candid and a repudiation of insulting presidential spins and its witch doctors. The flowery bard who heard those words would use the adjective ‘candor’ to describe the president.
Buhari’s confession of the fruitlessness of his over five years fighting insecurity and his promise of a better outing in 2021 led the wailing me to the Biblical parable of the barren fig tree; it is in Luke 13, verse 6-9: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener, ‘See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?’ The gardener replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’ ”
Friedrich Adolph Krummacher was a German theologian, poet and prose writer who lived between 1767 and April 1845. He wrote his own story of an unfruitful tree and why it had to be barren. It is the story of a greedy farmer who wanted the fruits of whatever he planted for only himself. Everything was about himself and for himself. The farmer is like Buhari who appointed all his key security chiefs from only his part of the country and expected the whole country to help him fight his wars. “If I plant it on the hill,” said the greedy farmer to himself, “the wind might catch it and shake down the delicious fruit before it is ripe; if I plant it close to the road, passers-by will see it and rob me of its luscious apples – but if I plant it too near the door of my house, my servants or the children may pick the fruit.” Then he planted the tree behind his barn, saying to himself, “Prying thieves will not think to look for it here.” But behold, the tree bore neither fruit nor blossoms the first year nor the second – then the farmer sent for his brother the gardener who gave him the seedling, and reproached him angrily, saying: “You have deceived me, and given me a barren tree instead of a fruitful one. For, behold, this is the third year and still it brings forth nothing but leaves!” The gardener, when he saw where the tree was planted, laughed and said: “You have planted the tree where it is exposed to cold winds, and has neither sun nor warmth. How then could you expect flowers and fruit? You have planted the tree with a greedy and suspicious heart – how, then, could you expect to reap a rich and generous harvest?” Greedy people never win. I hope Buhari learns from his own admission of failure and mend his nepotistic ways.
Apart from Buhari and his bad behaviour, two other things are fundamentally wrong here. We love to plant the wrong tree in our farm and expect it to bear fruits. The soil of Nigeria itself is resistant to good seedings, it is structurally toxic. A whimsical presidential hope or promise will return a failure again next year. So, what is the way out of this or we just resign to the daily doses of death and banditry? I asked a very senior colleague at the weekend. We discussed long, deep and agreed that the answer is in breaking down the structure of this bedridden behemoth called Nigeria. We went further on to interrogate the futility of sending out soldiers to police the country. He told me: “You cannot have a plural society of this size with different world views, values, standards and levels of exposure and have only one policing system. This is the only federation with that kind of foolish arrangement. In any case, where is the executive capacity to run such from Abuja? We have seen its disastrous failure.” In Britain, there are 43 police formations, each independent of the other. Canada, as of 2018, had 177, with 141 of them as stand-alone police services. In the US, there are 17,985 police agencies. Every university with a student population of no fewer than 5,000 in America is expected to have its own police independent of the sheriff called local government police in other climes. India has Federal and state police service with its large cities having their own police forces under their respective state police. “That, in my view, is what we have to fight for. Buhari is too parochial to see this. He can’t bear to hear of other zones or states having instruments of coercion. What is he afraid of? He cannot continue to endanger our lives by his own private agenda…,” my senior said.
Now, I go back to the Biblical parable. The last line of the narrative tells us that a tree cannot remain barren forever and expect to be pampered forever. Ornamental trees have no place in orchards. Nigeria has been mismanaged to barrenness just as pig-headed incompetence has turned out Buhari’s regime as unfruitful in securing lives and property. And, a tree that won’t bear fruits will be asked to go. There is an end to every period of grace; Buhari’s own is in its fifth year with a very sad harvest of victims – dead and dying. He has, however, asked that he be given a sixth chance to prove that he is not a comprehensive failure. But, what happens next year if Buhari’s fig tree still bears no fruit? What choices have we? He said “I hope next year will be different.” What kind of dark promise was that from a president who asked his predecessor to resign because of similarly persistent insecurity?
Today is December 21 – next year is about eleven long days away. Every day has been bloody and nasty this year – not just for the poor in the North East and the North West and in parts of Niger and Kaduna States. The only safe persons everywhere in Nigeria appear to be the rampaging bandits and their Miyetti Allah friends. The past one week, for instance, has been horrific for everyone everywhere. From Kaura Namoda where the Emir suffered gun attacks on Friday; to Edo where the Head of Service was kidnapped on Saturday; to Mahuta where 80 Islamiyya school children were abducted on Sunday, the promise of security next year raises a red flag for all. In other words, review this year and the scalding waters that have passed under its horrid bridge and agree with me that Buhari’s promise of security next year is a very long shot. What happens between now and that next year? Or rather, between last Thursday when he made that pledge and now, how many more have joined the murdered and the abducted? You heard what happened between Maiduguri and Damaturu at the weekend? The murdered and the abducted, how many were they? Who is next? What will happen going into next year? Buhari also said those that would remain in charge of our security services in 2021 “would be extremely busy.” And I ask: busy doing what? Busy burying the dead in mass graves or busy negotiating the release of many more school kids? What, really, is the meaning of busy?
We must work at involving men and boys in our struggle to end SGBV. Otherwise, our efforts as sincere as they might be, will continue to face an uphill struggle.
Other News Nigeria
COURT OF APPEAL UPHOLDS HON JOHN IWUALA AS IMO APGA CHAIRMAN
The Court of Appeal, Owerri Division, Presided over by Justice Lukolu Sodibe, today 20th day of January, 2021, struck out the interlocutory appeal filed by some APGA members, trying to dismiss the order given earlier by Justice Ngozi Ukoha of the High Court of Owerri.
You will recall that in her ruling, Justice Ukoha ordered the Party to revert to *Status Quo Ante bellum* and restrained the products of the purported Wards, LGAs and State Congresses of APGA in 2019 from presenting, parading or holding themselves out as executives of the party until the substantive suit is heard and determined. *Status Quo Ante bellum* in this sense means that the Caretaker Committee set by the NWC of APGA prior to the Congresses must be in place and oversee the running of the party in the state pending the final determination of the substantive suit before the court.
The products of the purported Congresses appealed the ruling of the lower court seeking the vacation of High Court order of which today, the Court of Appeal dismissed the interlocutory appeal filed by the counsel to the appellants, Chief Emeka Nwagwu, SAN.
In his argument, Chuef Emeka Nwagwu, SAN said that the lower court has no jurisdiction to take the decision it took and therefore the order should be vacated.
Reacting to what Chief Emeka Nwagu, SAN said before the appeal court, Fintan Illika Esq. argued that the court has jurisdiction to make the order it made, citing section 87, sub-section 9 of the Electoral Act which allows the court to question if the procedures of any Political party congress was or was not followed or if it is against the party electoral guidelines and constitution. Fintan Illika Esq further argued that it is premature in this case for the appeal court to intervene in the matter as it has not been fully heard and determined at the lower court.
In their ruling today, the Justices at the appeal court presiding over the matter unanimously agreed and struck out the appeal filed by Emeka Nwagwu, SAN and ordered that the matter should be returned to the High Court for the substantive issues to be heard and determined.
By virtue of today's Court of Appeal ruling, Hon John Iwuala remains the state Chairman of APGA in Imo state while parties await the reassignment of the matter from Court of Appeal to High Court, Owerri.
Mbah Adrian Uche
Reporting live from Court of Appeal, Owerri Division
BEFORE YOU THREATEN BISHOP MATTHEW KUKAH
"the Christmas message of bishop Kukah is a compedously articulated voices of all sane Nigerians crying against a government that has butchered governance and desecrate the little achievement of a striving Nation."
Most Northern elites and their tentacles, it seems to me, are addicted to using threats in reacting or responding to opinions on National issues that are contrary to theirs. Perhaps they failed to comprehend the simple truth that: Nigeria, is one nation that belongs to many people of diverse culture, tradition and beliefs, thus besides the variation of human beings, the diversity that characterized our local societies along is capable of planting opinions that'll appear more diverse than the individuality of the citizens and this, no doubt, will reflect in noway other than one person's opinion being different From that of the other.
I earnestly believe that, such difference, no matter the scourge it rage on our emotions, most not only be accepted as being a highly effective catalyst of development, but must be welcomed as a necessary ingredient of both development, growth and peace in any society that truly aspire for betterment.
By acceptance, I do not mean that we must agree with opinions that disagree with ours neither do I suggest that we shouldn't express our disagreement and reservations . Rather I think it is unwise for anyone to react to someone's opinion in a way and manner that threatens the physical dignity and fundamental human Rights of the person. Thus, I'd mean that one should seize such precious opportunity to depose the ignorance that inspired such contrary (perceived wrong) opinion, using argument that stems from superior knowledge, and wisdom.
What is new In the Christmas message of bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, that The Nigerian citizens have not said? There's nothing that the bishop wrote in his message that have not been said by others. And so, the Christmas message of bishop Kukah is a compedously articulated voices of all sane Nigerians crying against a government that has butchered governance and desecrate the little achievement of a striving Nation.
The bishop wrote his Christmas message in an effort to remedy the catastrophically stormy calamity that is thundering the ground- earthquaking the foundations of this our dear nation. If you disagree with him, invest your boiling thoughts in averting the dangers and threats against our freedom, independence, nation and unity that governless government (s) have, over the years, plunge us into. The only question on my mind if I'm avail the opportunity to directly asked those who thought it wise to reproach the esteemed bishop with hard threats is whether such will right the wrongs, light the dark night, and destroy the destruction that is destroying our country today.
Since the day president Muhammadu Buhari came to power, we've been faced with one major challenge that threatens our unity. It is not a new challenge. It always stick it's neck out of thesame circumstances that led to the Nigerian-biafra war. The waves of religious intolerance, and the seeming self coronation of some Northerners as the senior citizens and prefects, with special rights and privileges, elevated and placed above other citizens who merely exist with little or no rights of theirs. This have continue to be the major factor responsible for the expansion of the crack on our fragile unity.
I must warn that no citizen is superior to another. Nigeria is a nation of citizens with equal rights and no one have been conferred with such special authority to deny others citizens the right to live in any part of the nation.
Thus, those who are chanting that Kukah must live sokoto and the ones who threatens his life must be schooled on the consequences of the lyrics of their carelessly composed song. They must be warned that the deployment of such venomous senseless aggression is in itself a call to war and no war have ever served men of sane mind with any good.
Other world news
Donald Trump left letter for Joe Biden before departing White House - spokesman - IOL
In line with tradition, Donald Trump left a letter to his successor Joe Biden before leaving the White House, spokesman Judd Deere told AFP minutes after the outgoing president's departure.
Washington, United States - Donald Trump left a letter to his successor Joe Biden before leaving the White House, spokesman Judd Deere told AFP minutes after the outgoing president's departure. Trump, who refused to accept his defeat for more than two months, never congratulated Biden on his victory. "We are just temporary occupants of this office," Barack Obama wrote in his own note to Trump four years ago, left in the Oval Office in line with presidential tradition. "That makes us guardians of those democratic institutions and traditions... that our forebears fought and bled for. Regardless of the push and pull of daily politics, it's up to us to leave those instruments of our democracy at least as strong as we found them," he added. The letter touted as one of the classiest left by a president was written by Republican George H.W. Bush to Bill Clinton, who had made Bush a one-term president after defeating him in the 1992 election. The letter, which Bush left as he departed the White House in 1993, recalled his "sense of wonder and respect" as he walked in to the Oval Office four years earlier."There will be very tough times ... just don't let the critics discourage you or push you off course," Bush wrote."You will be our president when you read this note. I wish you well. I wish your family well. Your success now is our country's success. I am rooting hard for you. Good luck," he told his opponent.
Mobile labs take vaccine studies to diverse neighborhoods - Medical Xpress
Lani Muller doesn't have to visit a doctor's office to help test an experimental COVID-19 vaccine—she just climbs into a bloodmobile-like van that parks on a busy street near her New York City neighborhood.
by Lauran Neergaard and Joseph B. Frederick Nurse Brianne Stockman, left, prepares to draw some blood from study participant Lani Muller in a mobile medical unit parked in the Queens borough of New York, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. With more vaccines in the pipeline, scientists worry whether enough volunteers will join and stick with the testing needed to prove if they, too, really work. To help, researchers in more than a dozen spots around the country are rolling out mobile health clinics to better reach minority participants and people in rural areas who might not otherwise volunteer. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) Lani Muller doesn't have to visit a doctor's office to help test an experimental COVID-19 vaccineshe just climbs into a bloodmobile-like van that parks on a busy street near her New York City neighborhood. The U.S. is rightly fixated on the chaotic rollout of the first two authorized vaccines to fight the pandemic. But with more vaccines in the pipelinecritical to boosting global suppliesscientists worry whether enough volunteers will join and stick with the testing needed to prove if they, too, really work. Those studies, like earlier ones, must include communities of color that have been hard-hit by the pandemic, communities that also voice concern about the vaccination drive in part because of a long history of racial health care disparities and even research abuses. To help, researchers in more than a dozen spots around the country are rolling out mobile health clinics to better reach minority participants and people in rural areas who might not otherwise volunteer. Muller, who is Black, said her family was worried about the vaccine research so she didn't mention she'd signed up to test AstraZeneca's shot. "The legacy of African Americans in science in these sort of trials hasn't been great and we haven't forgotten," said Muller, 49, a Columbia University employee whose participation in some prior research projects made her willing to get a test injection earlier this month. Muller knows more than 20 people who have gotten or died from COVID-19. "I'm much more afraid of the disease than the vaccine trial," she said. From the beginning, the National Institutes of Health was adamant that COVID-19 vaccines be tested in a population about as diverse as the nation'skey to building confidence in whichever shots proved to work. In studies of the Pfizer and Moderna shots so far cleared for widespread U.S. use, 10% of volunteers were Black, and more were Hispanic. Diversity is an even tougher challenge now. The high-risk volunteers needed for final testing of other vaccine candidates have to decide if they want to stick with an experimental injectionone that might be a dummy shotor try to get in line for a rationed but proven dose. AstraZeneca, with about 30,000 volunteers so far, didn't release specific numbers but said the last weeks of enrollment are focusing on recruiting more minorities and people over age 65. Another maker, Novavax, just began recruiting for its final testing last month. Research recruitment specialist Cristina Barron, right, talks with a pedestrian passing by a mobile medical van parked in the Queens borough of New York, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. With more vaccines in the pipeline, scientists worry whether enough volunteers will join and stick with the testing needed to prove if they, too, really work. To help, researchers in more than a dozen spots around the country are rolling out mobile health clinics to better reach minority participants and people in rural areas who might not otherwise volunteer. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) Studying the vaccines in diverse populations is only one step in building trust, said Dr. Wayne Frederick, president of Howard University, a historically Black university in the nation's capital. Howard's hospital shared video of Frederick and other health workers getting vaccinated as a public service announcement encouraging African Americans to get their own shot as soon as it's their turn. Frederick, a surgeon who's also at high risk because of diabetes and sickle cell disease, said he's dismayed to get emails espousing conspiracy theories such as that vaccination is "an experiment on African Americans." "There is misinformation that does require all of us to be in the forefront of getting involved and challenging it," he said. But efforts to build confidence in the vaccines could be undermined if, once there's more supply to go around, hard-hit minority communities get left behind. "The equity issue is absolutely important," said Stephaun Wallace, a scientist at the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center who also is part of the NIH-created COVID-19 Prevention Network that helps with vaccine research and education. "It's important that we ensure that the vaccine is getting to the people, and that is an access issue." Using vans to reach at-risk communities has long been a staple of fighting HIV, another illness that has disproportionately struck Black Americans. And as more doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines arrive, mobile clinics are expected to help expand COVID-19 vaccination access, especially in rural areas. But the NIH program has a different focus, offering RV-sized mobile clinics from Matrix Medical Network to help improve the diversity of ongoing vaccine studies. Officials say they've been used at a Lakota reservation, at chicken-processing plants with a largely Hispanic workforce, and in cities like Washington where Howard University is recruiting volunteers for the new Novavax study. Co-investigator Jorge Soler, center, talks to pedestrians about the COVID-19 vaccine and the studies they are conducting in front of a mobile medical van parked in the Queens borough of New York, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. With more vaccines in the pipeline, scientists worry whether enough volunteers will join and stick with the testing needed to prove if they, too, really work. To help, researchers in more than a dozen spots around the country are rolling out mobile health clinics to better reach minority participants and people in rural areas who might not otherwise volunteer. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) "I don't think we can sit in the ivory towers and hope that people come to us. I think that would be a mistake," said Howard's Frederick. Researchers from the New York Blood Center regularly park their lab-on-wheels in parts of Queens and Brooklyn with large Black, Asian and Hispanic populations, so that even after study enrollment ends the participants can pop in for required check-ups. They also make a point of standing outside to answer questions from passersby confused about COVID-19 vaccination in general. It's "building trust and rapport," said Dr. Jorge Soler, who helps study the AstraZeneca vaccine as part of the blood center's Project Achieve. "I'm Latino and I'm a scientist. To be able to say that to people means something." Soler sometimes has to dispel fears that getting vaccinated might mean being "injected with a chip," or having information collected for surveillance purposes.
- Pedestrians look over branded giveaways while receiving information about the COVID-19 vaccine in front of a mobile medical van parked in the Queens borough of New York, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. With more vaccines in the pipeline, scientists worry whether enough volunteers will join and stick with the testing needed to prove if they, too, really work. To help, researchers in more than a dozen spots around the country are rolling out mobile health clinics to better reach minority participants and people in rural areas who might not otherwise volunteer. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
- Nurse Brianne Stockman, left, takes a sample for a COVID-19 test of study participant Victorya Kaon in a mobile medical unit parked in the Queens borough of New York, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. With more vaccines in the pipeline, scientists worry whether enough volunteers will join and stick with the testing needed to prove if they, too, really work. To help, researchers in more than a dozen spots around the country are rolling out mobile health clinics to better reach minority participants and people in rural areas who might not otherwise volunteer. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
- Study participant Victorya Kaon talks with a nurse in a mobile medical unit parked in the Queens borough of New York, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. With more vaccines in the pipeline, scientists worry whether enough volunteers will join and stick with the testing needed to prove if they, too, really work. To help, researchers in more than a dozen spots around the country are rolling out mobile health clinics to better reach minority participants and people in rural areas who might not otherwise volunteer. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
- Nurse Brianne Stockman, left, injects study participant Lani Muller with either a COVID-19 vaccine or a placebo in a mobile medical unit parked in the Queens borough of New York, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. With more vaccines in the pipeline, scientists worry whether enough volunteers will join and stick with the testing needed to prove if they, too, really work. To help, researchers in more than a dozen spots around the country are rolling out mobile health clinics to better reach minority participants and people in rural areas who might not otherwise volunteer. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Read next on IOL Tropical storm Eloise to miss the Western Cape - IOL
The Western Cape will largely be unaffected by the tropical storm, Eloise, anticipated to hit some parts of the country.
By Shakirah Thebus7h ago Cape Town - The Western Cape will largely be unaffected by Tropical Storm Eloise, anticipated to hit some parts of the country. This after several parts of the country received severe weather warnings and were told to remain on high alert and expect heavy rainfall over the coming days. The Cape Town Weather Office said the storm would predominantly affect the eastern parts of Limpopo and Mpumalanga as well as the northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday and Monday. The office said this would not affect the Western Cape at all. Gift of the Givers Geologist: Drought Intervention, Dr Gideon Groenewald said high rainfall was indicated in the Lowveld between Friday and Sunday. It is simply warm air rising, but if the sea surface temperature is about 29°C or warmer, energy gets caught up in the system and winds get extremely strong, up to 180km/h, causing lots of water vapour to move into the cloud system. Eloise is currently in Madagascar and is expected to reach Mozambique today or tomorrow. A weather map from Meteo France showing the path tropical storm Eloise may take. When Eloise makes landfall, winds of 180km are killers. Extreme moisture levels cause rainfall of up to 97mm per hour for about five hours. That is 500mm over five hours, over 300km2 in Mpumalanga and Limpopo, he said. Cyclones are part of dry weather systems, so people in South Africa last saw this kind of rainfall with cyclone Demoina in 1988. Anybody who was not old enough to remember 1988 will not know what is going to happen on Sunday to Monday. Groenewald advised people not to venture into any flooded river or try to cross bridges, as the bridges might be gone. Cyclones are unpredictable disasters and Eloise can turn back to sea on Friday and have no dramatic effect on people in Mpumalanga, Limpopo, but it is better to know that if it does enter, roads will be rivers and rivers ... massive flooded areas for kilometres. If Eloise follows the models, we will see severe wind damage in Mozambique and very heavy flooding in large parts of Kruger National Park and inland along the Drakensberg escarpment near Graskop. There could be possible flooding from Friday to Tuesday, he said. Cape Argus