Ebola Cases In DR Congo Break 2,000 Mark

 

DR Congo’s health ministry said it had recorded more than 2,000 cases of Ebola, two-thirds of which had been fatal, since the disease broke out in the country’s east 10 months ago.

“Since the start of the epidemic, the total number of cases stands at 2,008, of which 1,914 have been confirmed [by lab test] while 94 are probable,” it said in an update issued late Monday.

“In all, there have been 1,346 deaths (1,252 confirmed and 94 probable) and 539 people have recovered.”

The ministry said it was important to retain the overall perspective, despite the breaching of the symbolic threshold of 2,000 cases.

“In recent weeks, the trend has been positive, although vigilance is still necessary,” it said.

There have been fewer attacks on Ebola teams by armed groups, which means health workers have “recovered some of the lost time to contain the spread of the epidemic,” it said.

The epidemic was first declared in North Kivu province on August 1 and then spread to neighbouring Ituri, although there have not been any cases in neighbouring countries.

Oxfam’s director for the DRC, Corinne N’Daw, said “it is clear the current response to tackle Ebola isn’t working. No matter how effective treatment is, if people don’t trust or understand it, they will not use it.”

She added: “Our teams are still meeting people on a daily basis who don’t believe Ebola is real… many cases are going unnoticed because people with symptoms have been avoiding treatment.”

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies also voiced its concern.

“Worryingly, the number of Ebola cases has increased significantly in recent weeks to between 15-20 new cases per day,” it said in a press release.

It called for a “reset” of the response, combining scaled-up aid with a greater role for local people in carrying it out.

Efforts to tackle the crisis have been hampered both by militia attacks on treatment centres and by the hostility of some local people to the medical teams.

Five workers have been killed, according to an AFP tally, and important preventative work, such as vaccination programmes and burials of Ebola victims, has been delayed, said N’Daw.

The outbreak is the 10th in Democratic Republic of Congo since the disease was identified in 1976.

It is the worst on record after an epidemic that struck three African countries between 2014-2016, leaving more than 11,300 people dead.

On May 23, the World Health Organization (WHO) appointed David Gressly, serving as the UN’s deputy special representative in DR Congo, to coordinate the global response to the epidemic.

Court Orders Final Forfeiture Of N34bn Allegedly Linked To Diezani

Diezani Allison-Madueke, EFCC, Court, Diverted Funds,A Federal High court in Lagos has ordered the final forfeiture of $153,310,000, (about 34 billion Naira), allegedly linked to the former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The monies in question were purportedly siphoned from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Justice Muslim Hassan, in a judgment delivered on Thursday, said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had successfully proved that the monies were proceeds from an illegal activity.

He said he was satisfied that all the conditions stated in Section 17 of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Related Offence Act were duly fulfilled by the anti-graft agency.

Justice Hassan accordingly ordered the final forfeiture of all the money to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Temporary Forfeiture 

The court had on January 6, 2017, temporarily ordered the  forfeiture of  $153,310,000 which the former minister allegedly stashed in three banks in the country.

Out of the purported stolen funds, a sum of 23,446,300,000 Naira was said to have been kept in Sterling Bank Plc, 9,080,000,000 Naira in First Bank Plc and five million dollars in Access Bank Plc.

After ordering the temporary forfeiture of the monies to the Federal Government, Justice Muslim Hassan gave Sterling Bank and any other interested party 14 days to appear before him to prove the legitimacy of the monies, failing which the funds would be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

The judge made the order in favour of the EFCC which appeared before him with an ex-parte application seeking the temporary forfeiture of the funds.

In a nine-paragraph affidavit filed in support of the ex-parte application, an EFCC investigator, Moses Awolusi, claimed that the anti-graft agency discovered through its investigations, how the former minister sometime in December 2014 invited a former Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Plc, Nnamdi Okonkwo, to her office where they allegedly hatched the plan of how a cash sum of $153,310,000 would be moved from NNPC to Okonkwo to be saved for Diezani.

New York Police Seek Killer Of Muslim Imam

New york policeNew York City police searched on Sunday for a suspect in the shooting of a Muslim cleric and his associate killed while walking together along a city street after attending prayers at a nearby mosque, authorities said.

A lone gunman approached the men from behind and shot both in the head at close range at about 1:50 p.m. EDT (1350 ET) on Saturday afternoon in the Ozone Park neighborhood in Queens, police said in a statement.

They cited witnesses statements and video surveillance footage for details of the attack in the largely working-class area, home to many Muslims of Bangladeshi heritage.

Witnesses told police they saw the assailant, dressed in a dark shirt and blue shorts, fleeing the shooting scene with a gun in his hand, police said.

Early on Sunday, police released a sketch of a male suspect with dark hair, a beard and glasses. Police described him as having a medium complexion. He appeared to be in his 30’s or 40’s.

The victims, identified as Imam Maulama Akonjee, 55, and Thara Uddin, 64, were both wearing religious garb at the time of shooting, police said. They were found by police lying in the street and transported to a local hospital where they were pronounced dead.

The motive for the shooting was not immediately known and no evidence has been uncovered that the two men were targeted because of their faith, but police were not ruling out any possibility, a department spokeswoman said.

Akonjee was carrying $1,000 with him at the time of the attack but the money was not taken, the New York Times reported.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito condemned the attacks and called on more witnesses to come forward.

“I am shocked and saddened at the murders,” Mark-Viverito said in a statement. “This kind of hate has no place in our communities.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was closely monitoring the shooting investigation, a spokesman for the mayor said in a statement, and assured the public “the NYPD will stop at nothing to ensure justice is served.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights and advocacy group known by the acronym CAIR, said Uddin was an associate of the imam.

“These were two very beloved people,” Afaf Nasher, executive director of the New York chapter of CAIR, told Reuters.

In June, CAIR issued a statement calling for Muslim community leaders to consider increasing security at mosques after the massacre at an Orlando nightclub, which the police said was carried out by a man who called himself an “Islamic soldier”

Ogun State Govt. To Partner With IFAD On Rice, Cassava Production

amosunThe Ogun State government has revealed plans to partner with the International Funds for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

The partnership is to develop about 500,000 hecters of farmland in three Local Government Areas of the state for rice and cassava production.

This is part of the plans by the state government towards widening its economic base through agricultural development and its value chain.

The leader of the delegation, Dr Samuel Iremi commended the effort of the state government and expressed willingness to effectively partner with the state government

Addressing members of the IFAD delegation on a courtesy call in his office, the Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun used the opportunity of the visit to reiterate the commitment of his administration towards agricultural development and its value chain in rice and cassava production

Nigeria Loses Top Oil Producing Status To Angola

crude oilNigeria has lost its Africa’s top oil producing status to Angola which saw its oil output rise to 1.78 million barrel-per-day in March.

This is the latest data from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) which shows that Nigeria’s crude oil production fell by 67,000 barrels per day in March 2016.

In its monthly oil market report for April, released on Wednesday, OPEC put crude oil production from Nigeria at 1.67 million BPD in March, down from 1.74 million BPD in February.

Nigeria recorded the biggest drop in output in the month among its peers in OPEC, followed by Venezuela.

According to OPEC, crude oil output increased mostly from Iran, Iraq and Angola, while production decreased in the United Arab Emirates, Libya and Nigeria.

NFF To Receive Additional $500,000 World Cup Bonus From FIFA

FIFAFIFA will once again disburse some funds to its member nations for the concluded 2014 World Cup tournament in Brazil.

The body says it does this to develop the sport and to this end the Nigerian Football Federation and 208 other nations would be benefiting from this donations,

FIFA had earlier in the year (12th of June), in Sao Paulo Brazil, made it known that participating countries in Brazil 2014 would get the sum of $250,000 in its correspondence to member nations.

“Following the announcement made by FIFA’s President, Joseph S. Blatter, during the 64th FIFA congress 2014 in Säo Paulo – the good financial results achieved by your institution during the 2011-2014 cycle, we are glad to confirm that a bonus payment of $250.000 will be awarded to all FIFA member associations.”

A separate report had said that an additional $500,000 could be issued if after the close of year, financial report says the body realized profit.

“For 2014, which includes the financial results of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, we anticipate that an additional bonus of $500.000 will be awarded to all of the FIFA member associations.

“This decision will be confirmed when the final financial results are known at the end of 2014 and the additional bonus will be paid out at the start of 2015.”

FIFA also advised that priority be given to female football as it said at least 15% of the bonus must be used for women’s football. “This is an obligatory provision and it is of great importance to the further development of the women’s game,” it said.

It is expected that at the start of 2015 Nigeria and other member associations would get the bonus.

Alleged $8.3million Fraud: Ajudua Files Objection, Stalls Arraignment

Fred AjuduaA fresh move by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to arraign an alleged serial fraudster, Mr Fred Ajudua, before a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has been stalled.

The arraignment was stalled by a preliminary objection raised by Mr Ajudua’s counsel, Mr. Olalekan Ojo.

The one time Lagos socialite, Ajudua, is facing a fresh 32-count amendment charge before Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye.

In the charges, Ajudua and a registrar in the Lagos State Judiciary, Rosulu Idowu Oluronke, allegedly conspired along with some others, still at large, to cajole and swindle a former Chief of Army Staff, General Ishaya Bamaiyi of $330,000 (three hundred and thirty thousand dollar) while he was in Kirikiri Maximum Prison.

The alleged funds were collected from General Bamaiyi under the guise of being part payments meant for the legal luminary, Afe Babalola’s professional fees to handle his case and facilitate his release from the prison custody. The offence was said to have been committed between November 2004 and June 2005.

In his preliminary objection, however, counsel to Mr Ajudua, Mr Olalekan Ojo, said that the amended charges would prejudice the decision of a pending appeal before the Lagos Division of the Appeal Court.

In the said appeal, Ajudua is challenging the jurisdiction of the lower court as well as the competency of the charge.

The EFCC has objected to the preliminary objection and the court has adjourned till July 30 to hear arguments for and against the application.

U.S. Jobless Claims Hover Near Pre-recession Levels

Corporate recruiters gesture and shake hands as they talk with job seekers at a Hire Our Heroes job fair targeting unemployed military veterans and sponsored by the Cable Show, a cable television industry trade show in WashingtonNew applications for unemployment benefits held near their pre-recession levels last week, offering further evidence of the economy’s underlying strength.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits ticked up 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 304,000 for the week ended April 12, the Labor Department said on Thursday. They stayed close to a 6-1/2 year low touched the prior week.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for jobless benefits rising to 315,000.

U.S. Treasury yields hit session highs on the data, while stock index futures and the dollar were little changed.

The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of underlying labor market conditions as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 4,750 to 312,000, the lowest level since October 2007.

A Labor Department analyst said no states were estimated and there were no special factors influencing the state level data.

The claims data covered the survey week for April nonfarm payrolls. Despite last week’s increase, claims were down 19,000 between the March and April survey periods, which suggests an acceleration in job growth.

Job growth averaged about 195,000 per month in February and March, with the unemployment rate holding at near a five-year low of 6.7 percent over that period.

Labor market indicators such as job openings, the duration of unemployment and short-term unemployment, suggest some tightening in conditions.

On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chair, Janet Yellen said it was “quite plausible” the economy would be back to near full employment by the end of 2016.

The economy is gaining traction after being held down by an unusually cold and snowy winter. Retail sales and industrial production have been robust. Employment has picked up and there is a bit of inflation in the economy.

The health of the labor market will most likely determine when the U.S. central bank will start raising benchmark interest rates, which it has kept near zero since December 2008.

The Fed is expected to conclude its monthly bond buying program later this year and most economists expect the first rate hike will be in the second half of 2015.

The claims report showed the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid dropped 11,000 to 2.74 million in the week ended April 5. That was the lowest level since December 2007.

Farouk’s Removal Was For Performance Sake – House Spokesman

The House of Representatives has explained that the removal of Mr. Farouk Lawan as the chairman of the House committee on education was not to confirm his alleged involvement in a bribery scam but to allow the committee operate optimally while the case is being handled in the court.

Briefing correspondents, spokesman of the House, Mr. Zakari Mohammed, however, raised concerns that out of the two parties alleged to have participated in the bribery incident, only one has been arrested and charged to court while the other walks around free.

Mr. Lawan was allegedly nailed for bribery by the Chairman of Zenon Gas and Oil, Femi Otedola who claimed that he blew the whistle on the former chairman of the House Commitee on Fuel Subsidy Probe,  alleging that he requested the sum of $3 million to remove the name of his (Otedola’s) company from the list of indicted companies in the subsidy probe.

Mr. Otedola claimed it was a sting operation involving the State Security Service. He also claimed there was a video evidence to prove that Mr. Lawan collected part of the agreed sum.

 

Facebook CEO buys N15.8million ring for wife

To many, the founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg is getting a lot of flack for being cheap with his bride, Pricilla Chan, who he recently married in a surprise ceremony at their backyard.

There was no fancy designer gown or venue, although it has been reported that Zuckerberg got a very expensive ruby ring which he terms as “very simple” worth $100,000 which he designed himself.

Priscilla was spotted showing off her wedding ring at a function in California, although her husband is worth $2billiion.

According to the jewelry designer, the price of the ring could cost over $100,000, he estimated the size of Chan’s ruby to be 2.75 to 3 carats. Rubies of that size cost from $20,000 for a low quality stone, to up to $100,000 for a higher quality one.

Mark Zuckerberg is 28 years old while his wife Priscilla Chan is 27 years old.

Zamfara workers begin strike over minimum wage

Workers in Zamfara on Friday began an indefinite strike to demand full implementation of the new national minimum wage by the State Government.

The Zamfara State governor, Abdulaziz Yari

The strike was in response to a directive from the state’s branch of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), directing the workers to stay at home from Friday, until further notice.

In a radio announcement by the state’s NLC Chairman, Abdullahi Modomawa, the union asked all its members to stay at home “because the State Government has failed us and we have not reached an agreement.”

The strike followed the failure of the State Government’s negotiators and officials of labour to agree on details of the minimum wage.

The workers have insisted that all allowances accruing to workers should be settled, including weighing allowances for media practitioners.

However, the government said that if it would pay the N18, 000 minimum wage, the workers would forfeit all other allowances.

In a swift reaction, the state governor, Abdulaziz Yari, said that he will not hesitate to sack any worker who fails to return to work on Monday.

“I will not beg the workers to return to work and I will not hesitate to stop the salary of any of them who fails to return to his duty post by Monday,” the governor said.

“If there is anyone on the State Government’s pay-roll collecting less than the N18, 000, such worker should come forward and say so; no one can compel me to pay beyond that,” he said.

Mr Yari said since his administration stated implementing the N18, 000 minimum wage, the amount spent monthly on salary had risen from N838 million to N1.33 billion.