FOUR ADDITIONAL EBOLA PATIENTS IN NIGERIA DISCHARGED – Nigeria’s Health Ministry Announced


The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, has said that four additional confirmed cases of Ebola Virus Disease, who have been managed successfully and are now disease free, have been discharged.

Those discharged are two male medical doctors and one female nurse. The three participated in the treatment of the index case while the fourth person was a female patient at the time the index case was on admission.

This brings to five, the total number of patients diagnosed with Ebola Virus Disease who have now been discharged from hospital.

(The post above is culled from the facebook of Channels TV, Nigeria. You can read this report in http://www.channelstv.com.)

Nigeria is witnessing the grace of GOD Almighty. I believe there is GOD and not ashamed to so declare. Otherwise, how can one explain these recoveries amidst our poor health facilities? Also, have you imagined what would have happened, if Mr. Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian-American, who imported the Ebola disease into Nigeria had attended the Calabar Conference he came for. During the conference, he would have interacted with other participants and mingled with several others persons, including the hotel staff. It could have been horror in Nigeria. I believe that GOD Almighty delivered Nigeria!

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FOUR ADDITIONAL EBOLA PATIENTS DISCHARGED – Nigeria’s Health Minister Announced


The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, has said that four additional confirmed cases of Ebola Virus Disease, who have been managed successfully and are now disease free, have been discharged.

Those discharged are two male medical doctors and one female nurse. The three participated in the treatment of the index case while the fourth person was a female patient at the time the index case was on admission.

This brings to five, the total number of patients diagnosed with Ebola Virus Disease who have now been discharged from hospital.

(The post above was culled from the facebook of Channels TV, Nigeria. You can read this report in http://www.channelstv.com.)

Nigeria is witnessing the grace of GOD Almighty. I believe there is GOD and not ashamed to so declare. How can one explain these recoveries? Have you, also, imagined what would have happened, if Mr. Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian-American, who imported the disease into Nigeria had attended the Conference in Calabar, where he would interacted and mingled with several persons, including the hotel staff. There is GOD! HE delivered Nigeria from the horror that would have occurred.

FIGHTING EBOLA VIRUS IN NIGERIA


The. Ebola virus survives in a “reservoir” host – an animal or insect that carries the virus at no cost to itself – and is passed on to other animals or humans through contact with the bodily fluids, secretions or organs of the host animal. Also, it is transmitted “through direct contact, where broken skin or mucous membranes come into contact with the blood or secretions of the infected person” and indirectly “through exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated with infected secretions” according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention . It is important to state that the following “sneezing, coughing, vomiting, bleeding and diarrhoea facilitate transmission to other victims.” It is worse than HIV/AIDS virus.  So, there’s need to be very careful.

I commend the Arik Airlines for suspending its flights to Ebola infected countries of West Africa, despite the obvious losses it will suffer. I salute the management and the owners of the airlines for being sensitive to the urgent need to protect lives of persons in Nigeria from Ebola virus. I consider this decision of Arik Airlines as a demonstration of patriotism and respect for right to life rolled into one. I urge other airlines and all transport operators to the Ebola infected countries, to follow the footsteps of Arik Airlines in the interest of the country and persons in it.

In the Arik Airlines press release announcing its suspension of flights to the Ebola infected countries, it also stated this: “At the early stages of the contagion’s development across West Africa, the Gambian government took the proactive decision to stop airlines (including Arik Air) from bringing inbound passengers from Monrovia, Conakry (Guinea) and Freetown into Banjul.” I was moved by this statenent. Gambia is not as rich or as powerful as Nigeria, but the country’s leadership (in this case) acknowledged its first duty to the citizens: protecting lives. I salute the Gambian government for this bold and couragrous step. This is a case that requires critical and sincere balancing of right to life and to that of movement, no doubt. I believe that the right to life weighs more. Freedom of movement is meant only for the living. If the Federal Government of Nigeria had acted similarly, the panic and confusion in the country presently might not have arisen as the Liberian, Sawyer, who died of the virus in Lagos could not have entered Nigeria.

A grave issue of public health, like the Ebola virus crisis, is worse than terrorism and ought to be tackled with all urgency and seriousness by every responsive and responsible government. So, I call on the Federal Government to act decisively now on the matter. The urgent alert approach is good, but there is need for more proactive actions. I demand that ASky Airline be banned from operating in or to Nigeria for refusing or failing to release its passengers manifest for tracking timeously the passengers that were with its flight with Sawyer, who, on Friday, died of the Ebola virus. This is reckless and insulting to the country, and requires adequate punishment.

May GOD Almighty protect Nigeria. Amen!

“CHILDREN ARE NOT SHUTTLECOCKS”


A High Court Judge in India had in a custody matter granted both parents restricted access to the child of the marriage. The Judge had directed that the father of the child should take custody of the child for four days in a week while the mother would take custody of the child for the remaining three days in the week. Interestingly, both parents are dissatisfied with the order of the High Court. The matter is now before the Supreme Court of India. I need to add that the father of the child took custody of the child for about a month, contrary to the High Court order. The Supreme Court of India, per the Chief Justice of India, in apparent displeasure with the High Court decision told the warring parents: “Your child is not a shuttlecock to be tossed between the father and mother.” The Supreme Court went on to state that: “This order has to be corrected and the child can’t be put to pain like this.”

This is one matter that ought to be well studied as it is breaking new grounds in the realm of child custody law. The decision in the matter is likely going to bring forth the principle of ‘a child is not a shuttlecock.’ This is a principle that should be advanced in matters of child custody. Yes, it may be argued that it comes within the established principle of “the best interest of the child.” By the statement of the Supreme Court of India, it means that in a custody matter, the trial Court should be equally concerned with or consciously weigh the psychological effects of the custody orders to be made on the child or children of a marriage, even if not canvassed by the parties. This is good for child’s rights protection. It will amount to judicial abuse if the order custody of a child will inflict the child pains, as in the India case.

Though the consideration of the psychological effect of a custody order on a child has been there, but it is not so much proactively developed in our country. We are more interested in or consider more the social life and economic power of the parents in deciding how the pendulum swings in custody matter. In the instant case, the psychological effect of the child changing environment twice every week is considered highly. In our country, if both parents have good cars and decent apartments, the fact that the child will shuttle between two different environment in a week might not be the huge issue. This consideration of what pains will be inflicted on a child should influence the consideration of other important factors like social life of each parent, economic  wellbeing, religious belief, etc.

I contend that the time has come for a proactive and activist approach to child custody matters in the custody. There is now need for a new thinking of what constitutes a psychological factor in child custody matter. Who between the parent does the child prefer to stay with and why, should be the prime questions to be considered. For the peace of the child is important. Parental love and good interest in a child’s well-being, to me, outweigh silver and gold to the child.

It is incontrovertible that a child needs peace of mind to develop and advance in life in order to realize his or her potentials in life. Too, a stable home is more likely to nurture a stable child who will grow into a good citizen. Children need to be protected by parents and society. In them lies the future of humanity.

NOTICE TO DEMOLISH A PRIVATE RADIO STATION IN IMO STATE


The Owerri Capital Development Aauthority (OCDA), Imo State has served a seven day demolition notice on Hot FM, a private radio station in the city. Hot FM is owned by Senator Chris Anyanwu of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) whose convoy on 26th December 2012 had a public row with the convoy of the Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha. The OCDA notice has described the structures at the radio station as illegal and defective and directed the operator to reinstate the piece of land to the State for its development.

Several commentators on the notice contend that it is politically motivated. The notice dated 17th September 2013 and signed by one Chief Amadi for Proper Investments Limited, consultants to the OCDA has been described as a subtle arm twisting move to muzzle the radio statio, which runs a popular citizens phone in opinion programme called ‘The People’s Assembly’. The Public Relations Officer of OCDA, Mrs. Ada Okwara has, however, attributed the notice to the failure of the radio station to provide its permit to build.

The issue that arises is: Did Hot FM build its structures without building permit or approval from OCDA? However, OCDA is not alleging this. I think that the radio station will be asked to provide its building permit, if OCDA is alleging that the radio station never sought for and or obtained approval to built its structures. If the radio station did, OCDA should have its official copy of the permit. In the event that Hot FM applied for a permit and obtained an approval, it raises a strong presumption that the structures are lawful and proper. In that case, OCDA cannot aprobate and reprobate. I contend that it will, therefore, be unfair and wrongful for the structures of Hot FM to be described as illegal.

Despite all, I hereby call on OCDA to show restrain in the matter. That OCDA should invite the management of Hot FM radio station to discuss the issue and resolve it amicably, in public interest. Truly speaking, the said OCDA notice is not only a serious threat to press freedom in the State, it will become a bad precedent, if enforced. An enforcement of the notice will deter private investments in the State, especially by opposition politicians and social critics.

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ATTACK ON PRESS FREEDOM IN NIGERIA


PROTECTING THE MEDIA IN NIGERIA

It is illegal and undemocratic for the Presidency to unleash the Police on the Leadership newspaper and the staff. Violation of the freedom of the media was one of the hallmarks of the military era in Nigeria. It is not expected in our democratic experiment. The invasion of the Leadership newspaper by the Police is not the first since Nigeria started it quest for democracy. It is sad to note that Nigeria and Nigerians are continuously humiliated by our leaders.

What did Leadership newspaper publish that will justify the Police invasion? It is heart breaking that Nigeria is driven by leaders – from national to local government – who deride the tenets of democracy. They practice democracy in speeches. One can say that the leadership in Nigeria is predominantly in the hands of pretenders – the executive and the legislature. This accounts for the reason why they continuously throw up ethnic and religious cards to divide and hoodwink our people. In this country, we have rulers, not leaders!

We need to repeat that government is not above the law. So, if what the Leadership newspaper published is false or disparaging, the Courts are there for recourse. Imagine the boost it would have been for our democracy, if Mr. President had sued Leadership newspaper for libel? The lesson would have been: I believe in rule of law, Nigerians should too.

Impunity and above the law syndrome are part the bedrock of the violence we have in our society. When a society rejects rule of law, it nurtures violence. If we are sincerely interested in creating a safe Nigeria, we must collectively say no to impunity. There is an imperative need for a conscious campaign to always turn to the law in processing our grievances than utiluzing the ‘agbero’ or ‘area boy’ bravado style, which has permeated our society. In our country, a landlord will shun the due process of law and use self help in dealing with a tenant. Our Police cannot secure Nigerians from Book Haram because it is highly distracted from its core mandate. In this country, you use Police to arrest street tradets, a job the Boys Scout can do.

The Nigeria Police Force must understand that, in a corruption ridden country like ours, its development and efficiency depend on the public voice. The public is not speaking in its favour because the public sees the Police as an abuser of the public. This is dangerous for internal security. There is need, therefore, for the Nigeria Police Force to shun impunity and abuse of the rights of our people.

For the various media associations in the country, they must accept that ‘an injury to one, is an injury to all’, regardless of the political affiliations or memberships of the owners. If the media houses cannot protest in the streets, they protest in their news rooms by refusing to publish the activities of government for a period, say a week, if the violation is so grievous. There is need to be more proactive in fighting impunity in Nigeria.

I condemn the Police invasion of the Leadership newspaper, the arrest and the detention of the journalists that work for the newspaper house. Is this a sign that 2015 might witness many reprisals, especially of free speech and freedom to think?

I love Nigeria, my country, let’s make rule of law the corner stone of our democracy!

Prosecuting Nigeria’s Oil Subsidy Fraudsters


The federal government seems to be in a cross road on prosecuting those accused of misappropriating the oil subsidy fund.. The challenge stems from the fact that many contributed, in diverse way, for the PDP victory in 2011 general elections.

The present situation calls for amendment of our law on political finance. Donations should be open and direct. Floating same should be a ground for election petition. Any party that violates should be from fielding candidates at the next general elections. For those indicted now, the federal government should activate the relevant criminal laws. Nigeria needs a fresh breath of integrity.