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26 Jan 2020

Tension As Another Nigerian Doctor Diagnosed With Lassa Fever

A doctor has been diagnosed with Lassa fever in Jigawa State.

The acting permanent secretary, Jigawa State Ministry of health, Salisu Mu’azu, confirmed this to PREMIUM TIMES Sunday morning.

The victim, Anthony Etim, said to be a staff of Medicins Sans Frontieres also known as Doctors without Borders, is now being treated at the isolated Infectious disease control unit in Jahun hospital at Jahun Local Government Area of Jigawa.

Mr Etim reportedly developed the symptoms following an official engagement at an Internally Displaced Persons Camps (IDPs Camp) in Borno State.

This development is coming days after PREMIUM TIMES reported how two doctors and a pregnant woman died from the disease in the neighbouring Kano State.

Mr Mu’azu said about eleven people in Birnin Kudu Local Government Area of Jigawa are being closely monitored following contact with a relative, a medical doctor, now quarantined in Kano over the Lassa fever.

He said the state government is taking precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the disease among health personnel by using the approved standard of protective materials for its personnel.

Also, radio jingles are being in place to enlighten the public about the killer disease and the need for prevention, the official said.

Lassa Fever

Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus. The disease is endemic in Nigeria and cases are recorded all year round.

The natural carrier of the virus is the multimammate rat, but the disease is also spread through human to human transmission.

Lassa fever is largely transmitted through contact with items or surfaces contaminated with urine, faeces, saliva or blood of infected rats.

It can also be transmitted from person-to-person through contact with blood, urine, faeces and other body fluids of an infected person.

Early symptoms are fever, headache, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, sore throat etc. In very severe cases, the patient bleeds from body openings.

Between January 1 and 19, a total of 398 suspected cases were reported from various states across Nigeria, leading to 24 deaths.

This figure is expected to rise as more states have reported cases of the disease. PREMIUM TIMES reported the announcement by Kano State on Wednesday that three people died from the disease. Also, Enugu State on Wednesday confirmed one death from the disease.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) activated a National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to coordinate the response activities.

The NCDC advised that if a patient does not respond to treatment for malaria or other febrile illnesses after 48 hours, it is important to test immediately for Lassa fever.

Also, health care workers are advised to maintain a high index of suspicion as Lassa fever can occur alongside like malaria and other illnesses.

It is also very important that healthcare workers maintain standard care precautions when managing patients.

A medical doctor, Habib Mansur, said one way of preventing Lassa fever is by promoting good community hygiene to discourage rodents from entering homes.

He said other effective prevention methods include storing grains and other foodstuffs in rodent-proof containers, disposing of garbage far from the home and maintaining clean households.

He also mentioned the avoidance of contacts with blood and body fluids while caring for a sick person.

We want our daughter alive, with or without baby –Leah Sharibu’s family

The family of Christian teenage schoolgirl abducted by Boko Haram terrorists in 2018, Leah Sharibu, has described reports that she had a baby boy in captivity as a rumour.

A senior lecturer at the Department of Political Science, University of Jos, Dr. Gloria Puldu, who speaks for the family, also told Sunday Punch on Saturday that all they wanted was to have Leah home alive, with or without a baby.

Some media reports had earlier reported that Leah had a baby for a Boko Haram commander in Niger Republic and that she would have been released some months ago but for her pregnancy.

Dismissing the reports, Puldu said, “I have seen reports that Leah had a baby boy. That is just a rumour as far as we are concerned. What we even desire is to see a proof of life so that we see Leah by ourselves. If they are able to have Leah safe, we will understand.

“The most important thing is that we want her to be alive. And if she is alive, we will praise God for that. They should release her, despite whatever condition she is in. That is all; it doesn’t matter whether she is pregnant or with a baby. Is it not better to have your child alive? So, it doesn’t matter, all we are interested in is her life and safety.”

Puldu also noted that they had unconfirmed information that Leah was still alive.

She said, “I spoke with Jennifer, who was in Boko Haram captivity, last Monday or Tuesday. I was able to speak with her one-on-one and she told us that she did not see Leah in captivity, but she was with Alison Gada, who informed her that Leah was alive, healthy and not dead.”

Incidentally, President of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (Church of the Brethren), Rev Joel Billi, told one of our correspondents that a journalist who has access to Boko Haram, Ahmad Salkida, told him Leah had become a mother.

The cleric said he got the call from Salkida on the same day the journalist announced the execution of the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Rev Lawan Andimi, by Boko Haram.

He said he had known Salkida as a young boy while he was a pastor in Biu.

Billi said, “Ahmed Salkida, whom I knew as a young boy when I was a pastor in Biu, called me to inform me that Andimi had been gruesomely murdered.

“I was also told by Ahmad Salkida that Leah Sharibu had given birth to a baby. I was devastated. I was staggering and almost fell down because I was shocked to hear that. I couldn’t absorb the shock because Leah Sharibu had become a symbol of the Christian faith. I consider her Christian faith stronger than even that of many church leaders. When I heard that Leah Sharibu was now a mother, I had to ask more than three times just to be sure. Ahmad Salkida said, ‘Leah Sharibu is now a mother.’”

Leah was among 110 schoolgirls abducted on February 19, 2018 by Boko Haram terrorists from Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, Dapchi in Yobe State.

In March 2018, the Federal Government announced the insurgents had returned 106 of the kidnapped schoolchildren but that Leah was not among them.

It was reported that Leah, who was 14 years old at the time she was kidnapped, w as not released because she refused to convert to Islam.

Coco Gauff disappointed to lose to Sofia Kenin in the round of 16, but not deterred

For a brief moment on Sunday, it looked as if Sofia Kenin would be the latest to fall victim to rising superstar Coco Gauff at the Australian Open.

After trading games and points for nearly an hour in the first set, Gauff took the early edge after winning the tiebreak when Kenin, the No. 14 seed, hit into the net. The 15-year-old screamed "Come on!" and clenched her fist as she looked at her coaches and parents in her box surround by over 10,000 fans at Melbourne Arena. There was just one set standing between her and her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.

There was a palpable buzz during the set break. Everyone seemed eager to watch the teenage phenom continue to make history. While Kenin ran off the court for a bathroom break, the fans chanted, "Here we go, Coco, here we go!" with increasing urgency. By the time Kenin was back on the floor, it seemed everyone in the stands believed Gauff's victory was a foregone conclusion.

Everyone except Kenin. The 21-year-old American was also hoping to make her first trip to the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam and wasn't ready to throw in the towel just yet.

She returned to the court and never let Gauff have a chance to close. She mercilessly rattled off shot after shot, game after game, and let Gauff struggle with unforced errors (she had 48 on the day) and presumed nerves. She broke Gauff early in the second set, and the high school sophomore could never recover. Kenin took the second set convincingly and was even more dominant in the decider, winning 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-0.

No matter how loud the crowd got, Kenin remained focused. After two hours and nine minutes, she emerged victorious, and Gauff's latest magical run was over. A missed backhand sealed her fate, and Gauff covered her tearful eyes with her hands. The two met at the net for a congratulatory hug, but Gauff was then quick to get off the court. She grabbed her bag, and waved meekly as the announcer said "Show your appreciation for Coco Gauff," as she walked to the exit. She was long gone before the applause died down.

"I was disappointed that I lost obviously," she said after the match. "I think naturally when I lose, I'm just a bit emotional.

"She definitely put a lot of balls in the court -- she's quick. Also her drop shots. I was getting to them, but I didn't necessarily play the drop shots right. I think I made a lot of errors today, as well."

While it was a devastating moment and a painful loss -- Gauff's first defeat in three sets at a major -- it marks the latest impressive run for the teenager since bursting onto the scene at Wimbledon over the summer.

Becoming the youngest player ever to qualify for the main draw at the All England Club, the relative unknown stunned her childhood hero Venus Williams, and all those watching, in the first round. She ultimately made it to the fourth round and became the darling of the tournament along the way. Each match became must-see viewing, and the expectations were high heading into the year's final Grand Slam.

She had another strong performance at the US Open and advanced to the third round before being eliminated by defending champion Naomi Osaka. The two made global headlines for their postmatch sportsmanship, and it only solidified Gauff's star status. She won her first WTA singles titles at Linz in October, as well as two doubles titles with her close friend Caty McNally in Washington and Luxembourg.

Gauff knocked off Williams, yet again, in her opener in Melbourne and followed that up with a three-set victory over Sorana Cirstea before setting up a rematch with Osaka. After a lopsided first meeting, Gauff showed just how much she had progressed since August, winning 6-3, 6-4 for her first victory over a top-five player. It seemed as if Gauff had gone from the future to the present in the blink of an eye. Some were even considering her a legitimate contender to win the Australian Open title.

But while the crowd was disappointed by the final result on Sunday, Gauff said she was ultimately pleased of her overall showing in Melbourne.

"The thing I'm most proud of myself is how I handled it on the court," she said. "Even though today I lost a set 6-0, I was still believing I could win it. I don't think I showed any negative emotion too much in the match. I just tried my best.

"I guess what surprised me is how calm I was going into all these matches. I wasn't really nervous. I was just coming in pretty calm. I'm happy that I'm not letting the moment seem too big than what it is."

As she's said throughout the tournament, she is excited to continue playing doubles with McNally. They face Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara, the 10th-seeded pair, on Monday in the third round and will likely have another huge, supportive crowd at Melbourne Arena. Her future beyond that is somewhat less clear.

25 Jan 2020

Trump Threatens UK On Security, Brewing Trade War After Brexit

Donald Trump is threatening to launch a damaging new trade war with the United States' historically closest ally, the United Kingdom.
In recent weeks Trump and his allies have issued a series of trade threats to the UK on everything from the future of the Iran nuclear deal to Huawei, to taxes on tech firms.

The threats come as Britain prepares to leave the EU on January 31.

The UK plans to seek a host of new trade deals as Trump appears to take advantage of the country's vulnerable new position on the world stage.

Donald Trump is threatening to launch a damaging new trade war with the United Kingdom as the country prepares to leave the EU.

In recent weeks the president and his allies have issued a series of threats to the UK on everything telecoms, to vehicle tariffs to security co-operation.

It comes as the United Kingdom parliament on Wednesday voted to ratify Boris Johnson's Brexit agreement with the EU on Wednesday, paving the way for Britain's exit on January 31.

Now as Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepares to seek new trade deals outside of the EU, Trump's administration is poised to take advantage of the UK's vulnerable new position on the world stage.

Trump threatens the UK on tax

The levy is designed to target international companies which the UK government believe use their position to avoid tax in the UK.
Johnson's spokesman told a press briefing this week that these companies, most of which are based in the US, are "undermining public trust and confidence in our economic system."

However, Trump's Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin responded in Davos this week to what the UK describes as a "proportionate" tax, by threatening a new trade war with the UK over the issue.

"If people want to arbitrarily put taxes on our digital companies, we will consider arbitrarily putting taxes on car companies," Mnuchin said.

The automotive industry is a key part of the UK economy with almost a fifth of overseas sales of UK vehicles going to the US.

Johnson's spokesman responded to the threats this week by saying said that such a trade war would "harm businesses and consumers on both sides of the Atlantic."

The UK's International Trade Secretary Liz Truss was also bullish on the issue on Thursday, saying that the UK's policy was "not a matter for the US. It's not a matter for the EU. And it's not a matter for anybody else."

Trump threatens the UK on security

Trump has warned the UK that the intelligence-sharing arrangement between the two allies will be at risk if the deal goes ahead, with US officials warning last week that "Donald Trump is watching closely."

However, Boris Johnson is reportedly preparing to allow the Huawei deal to go ahead despite the threats, amid a widespread belief in Europe that Trump's warnings are a "bluff".

Asked last week whether he would allow the Huawei deal to go ahead, Johnson told the BBC that "the British public deserves access to the best possible technology."

He added: "If people oppose one brand or another they have to tell us what's the alternative?"

EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan last week told an event in London that the President's threat was simply not credible.

"I don't think that will happen at the end of the day," he said.

"You can call their bluff on that one."

Johnson last week joined with other European leaders in signing a letter endorsing the current deal, which they see as the best chance of bringing Iran back into the fold and preventing a potentially devastating conflict with the US.

However, threats by Trump to impose 25% tariffs on European vehicles appear to have played a part in forcing those same countries to instigate the disputes mechanism last week , which could ultimately cause the entire deal to fall apart.

Now as Britain prepares to enter new trade negotiations with the US, the threat of more punitive trade retaliation by Trump looms over the UK.

The UK threatens Trump on defence

Speaking to the Sunday Times, the Defence Secretary Ben Wallace warned that Trump's isolationist foreign policy meant the UK was considering drawing back from its longstanding defence alliance with the US.

"Over the last year we've had the US pullout from Syria, the statement by Donald Trump on Iraq where he said NATO should take over and do more in the Middle East," Wallace said.

"The assumptions of 2010 that we were always going to be part of a US coalition is really just not where we are going to be."

Johnson's administration has repeatedly criticised Trump's stance towards Iran, with Johnson warning that the president's threats to target Iranian cultural sites could be a war crime.

Iheanacho fires Leicester into FA Cup fifth round

Leicester edged into the FA Cup fifth round as Kelechi Iheanacho's early goal sealed a 1-0 win at second-tier Brentford on Saturday.
Brendan Rodgers' side are chasing a trip to Wembley on two fronts and they took the next step in the FA Cup after surviving a hard-fought fourth-round clash in west London.

Flying high in the Premier League, third-placed Leicester could be set for a memorable end to the season.

Leicester, who have never won the FA Cup, are hoping to reach the final for the first time since 1969.

In the League Cup, they are through to the semi-finals and head to Aston Villa in the second leg on Tuesday after being held to a 1-1 draw in the first match at the King Power Stadium.

Rodgers made nine changes from Wednesday's Premier League win over West Ham, with only Caglar Soyuncu and Ayoze Perez remaining in the starting line-up for Leicester's first meeting with Brentford since 1993.

Kasper Schmeichel, Youri Tielemans and James Maddison were on the bench, while Jamie Vardy was sidelined by a glute injury suffered against West Ham.

Despite Vardy's absence, it took Leicester just four minutes to go ahead when Nigerian striker Iheanacho met James Justin's cross with a clinical close-range finish.

It was Iheanacho's seventh goal in 12 appearances this season -- and his ninth in nine FA Cup starts -- proving he can be an able deputy for Vardy while the 17-goal star is sidelined.

Dennis Praet and Hamza Choudhury had shots blocked as Leicester pushed for killer second, while Demarai Gray almost caught out Bees keeper Luke Daniels with a low free-kick.

Brentford, chasing promotion from the Championship, were looking to reach the FA Cup fifth round in successive seasons and they pushed hard for an equaliser.

Emiliano Marcondes fired just wide before Dominic Thompson forced a finger-tip save from Danny Ward.

Ward preserved Leicester's lead in the closing stages with a superb save to keep out Luka Racic's overhead kick from the edge of the area.

In a tense finish, Brentford's Bryan Mbeumo had a goal correctly ruled out for offside as Leicester held on.


Justice? See Sentencing For Man Who Raped Epileptic 14 Year Old Girl

An Edo state magistrate court has sentenced Vincent Akande to 14 years’ imprisonment without fine for raping a minor.
Akande, a former vigilante, was said to have sexually assaulted the 14-year-old girl who is said to be suffering from epilepsy.

The victim was said to be by the riverside at Ososo community, fetching stones for sale, when Akande accosted and violated her.

In his ruling, Nosa Musoe, chief magistrate of the Igarra magistrate court, Akoko-Edo, said the accused was “deceptive”.

He also condemned the “outrageous” incidents of sexual assaults in the local government area.

Reacting in a statement, BraveHeart Initiative for Youth & Women (BHI), expressed satisfaction with the verdict.

BHI is a non-governmental organisation in Edo that seeks to advance young people’s health and development as well as promote women’s rights.

The statement, signed by Priscilla Usiobaifo, founder/executive director of BHI, described the verdict as “a glint of hope” for victims of sexual assault.

“This verdict offers a glint of hope for justice to sexual assault survivors in a country where security agencies, health workers, traditional stakeholders and many first responders show low interest and willingness to sanction sexual offenders,” the statement read.

”40 yrs old Vincent Akande did not only sexually assault the 14 years old victim but also threatened her with death.

“He held his hunting gun towards her and threatened to kill her in a similar manner as was a 3yr old sexually assaulted and murdered in the same environs.

“He took advantage of the victim’s vulnerability due to her disability.

“The case of Vincent Akande was reported to BHI on the 22nd of May 2019. The case was transferred to SCIID, Benin on the 29th of May and the matter arraigned in court on the 3rd of June, 2019.

“Vincent Akande’s case brings to fore the Sexual and Reproductive Health challenges of girls with disabilities in Nigeria. Vincent sexually assaulted a 14 years old girl with a medical history of epilepsy.

“The girl lacked basic education due to her medical condition and lived most of her childhood as an Out-Of-School girl. Being Out-of-School and from a poor home, this survivor has a significant vulnerability index.”

BHI said it noticed apathy in some community members when it sought to intervene in the case.

The initiative said society’s attitude to issues of sexual and reproductive rights is biased and uninformed.

“When BraveHeart Initiative initiated intervention in the case, the BHI Team noticed apathy in some community members as many of them felt Persons With Disabilities (PWD) didn’t deserve certain rights especially with regards to sexual rights,” it said.

“Many of the community members do not see reason why a PWD should report sexual assault let alone seek redress.

“BHI provided comprehensive services for the survivor and her family including MEDICALS (Investigations, Examinations, Preventive Services and Treatment); LEGAL AID (Investigation, Prosecution, Court appearances) and PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT (Counselling sessions, Follow up visits).

BHI also said it rendered economic assistance to the survivor’s family.

#Coronavirus: "Please Help Me"- What People In China Are Saying About The Outbreak

"I don't feel in the Chinese New Year mood at all this year," a netizen with username 朱一龙qwertyuiop416 posted this week on Weibo, China's equivalent to Twitter. "I'm panicking. I'm getting more scared every day."
That sentiment reflects a trend on Chinese social media as confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus surge.

Initially, there was some lightheartedness in posts. One Weibo user commented it was "the perfect time" to stay home and play a mobile phone game called Plague Inc.

But as the situation has worsened, people in Wuhan, the city that's the epicenter of the outbreak, and other affected areas in China are glued to their mobile phones. They're using apps like Weibo, Facebook and Twitter to express their fear and anger — and to cry for help.

Many people are posting about how tough it is to care for themselves and their families.

A Wuhan woman with Weibo username 半夏春秋 shared her experience on Thursday evening. She and her husband were running a fever. They feared they were infected with the coronavirus and wanted to be isolated from their small children, ages 3 years and 4 months. A relative was willing to come to Wuhan to pick up the children, but the city's lockdown stood in the way.

"I've cried and cried," she said in her post. "I have nowhere to turn to now. I can't stop crying when I see my two lovely children. Please help me."

She directed her comments at state newspaper People's Daily and a few local newspapers. Her post received over 4,600 comments and has been shared over 26,000 times. Some locals who said they were healthy offered to shelter the children.

Weibo user 星黛露是兔子达菲才是熊 is from a neighboring city east of Wuhan. She posted that her 76-year-old grandfather developed a fever after taking care of her grandmother, who was confirmed as carrying the virus. But no hospital, she wrote, would take him because of a lack of beds.

Abducted Corps Member Rescued As Election Materials Disappear During Cross River Re-Run

Six National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) members have been abducted and elections materials meant for Afafanyi and Igbonigoni House of Assembly re-run elections hijacked mid-sea along Etighidi River in Cross River State.
Thugs suspected to be armed hijacked elections materials and abducted the INEC adhoc staff as they were about taking materials to Afafanyi and Igbonigoni wards for the rerun election on Saturday.

An eyewitness who declined giving his name alleged that the Corps members were accompanying the materials when suspected thugs allegedly abducted them and seized the materials.

The INEC National Commissioner, in charge of Cross River and Akwa Ibom for the rerun election, Dr Mohammed Lekki later briefed newsmen on the incident.

Speaking with DAILY POST via phone on Saturday, the Police Public Relations Officer, (PPRO) DSP Irene Ugbo said, “So far so good, the place is calm, we are moving from one polling unit to another, we have not heard of any issue of hoodlum attack, voters are voting peacefully, the security agencies are on ground.

On the abduction of INEC adhoc staff (Corps members) the PPRO said, “Yes, the incident occurred in Etighidi River, the corps members were rescued but we lost the materials,” she stated.

The Federal House of Representatives Election is taking place at Ekureku 1 and 11 while the rerun elections for the House of Assembly are taking place in five wards including Afafayi, Igbonigoni and Ekureku 1 and 11.

How Drinking Garri Can Open You To Lassa Fever

The Director of Public Health, Enugu State, Dr. Boniface Okolo, has cautioned Nigerians against the consumption of soaked garri to avoid contacting Lassa fever.
Okolo, who gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday in Enugu, said the rats that cause the disease were mostly in contact with Nigeria’s most popular staple food, garri, a cassava product.

He added that it was necessary to discourage consumption of soaked garri since it did not require boiled water.

Okolo noted that boiled water could go a long way in killing bacteria caused by pest or rodents in garri.

“It is better that the cassava flakes called garri is used for eba, because of the use of hot water.

Immigration Foils Human Trafficking Of Nine Girls In Lagos Airport

The Operatives of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Command in Lagos, has apprehended another 9 girls being trafficked.
A statement by the Service Public Relations Officer, DCI Sunday James on Saturday said the girls were on their way to Lebanon, Cairo, Dubai, and India on Ethiopian, Peace, Egypt and East Airlines.

According to him, four of the girls claimed to be traveling for employment without knowing their employers nor aware of the nature of job they were going for.

“This discovery was made after intensive interrogation by NIS officials,” he said.

James further stated that the shady journey was organised by agents who took advantage of the girls’ innocence and ignorance adding that two of the girls had earlier claimed to be going for a visit.

“However, the two, later confessed they were going for hustle in Dubai. Another three, of the girls, claimed they were going to India for medical treatment without referrals.

“When further asked the nature of sickness they said yellow fever before they finally confessed to be going for hustle in India,” he said.

“The Comptroller-General of NIS, Mr Muhammad Babandede, therefore, called on parents to be wary of juicy offers on their children, from family and non-family members to take their children abroad.

“Most of these trips are deceitful, camouflaged with employment, studies or visit which may end up in exploitation or death. Operatives at the various entry and exit points will never permit them departure.

“The NIS has stepped up clearance operation that is yielding positive result in the various arrests made at the borders of the country,” NAN quoted him as saying.
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