Child Trafficking: Security Operatives Rescue Minors In Jos

Child Trafficking: Security Rescue 145 Minors In JosSome children believed to be victims of human trafficking have been rescued by security operatives in Jos, the Plateau State capital.

The rescue was made after two trucks conveying the minors were intercepted by the security agents at a check point.

The children – all male and within the age range of four to eight years – were rescued by members of the Special Task Force, Operation Safe Haven.

The spokesman for the Plateau State Police Command, Mr Mathias Tyopev, told Channels Television that they were being transported from other states to states within the north central region, with Plateau as a major route.

“On Thursday January 12, 2017 the special task force, Sector Two, located opposite University of Jos, intercepted two trucks conveying 135 children from Bauchi and Jigawa states to Plateau, Kaduna and Nassarawa states.

“Our investigations further reveals that these children who are all male were to be taken to places where the three mallams, who were coordinating the movement, have not even visited,” he said.

Channels Television’s correspondent discovered that the children were being transported in a truck ordinarily meant to carry farm produce such as grains, animals and other goods across the states.

It was converted to convey the minors under harsh and unfavourable weather conditions in which the children were stacked alongside grains without any comfort for such long distance journey.

Since their rescue, the children have been in the custody of the Nigeria Police at their headquarters in Jos, while investigation into the matter continues.

They were seen with the Plateau State Police Commissioner, Mr Peter Ogunyanwo, who was supervising the distribution of food and other welfare materials to them.

The suspects, comprising two drivers, eight conductors and three accompanying instructors are still in the custody of the Police and they have been providing information about how they came about the children and their destination.

The Police say it would soon embark on the process of establishing contact with the state governments of Jigawa and Bauchi for the return of the children to their parents.

Lassa Fever: Doctors Blame Negligence For Spread

Lassa feverMedical practitioners at the Lassa Fever Research Centre at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Edo State, have said that Lassa fever has been spreading in the country because authorities have not given the disease the attention it requires.

According to doctors at the institute, although Lassa fever is endemic in Nigeria, it has largely been ignored.

“Since 1969, Lassa fever became known as a clinical entity and now we are in 2016 many people are still not aware, the drugs are still largely unavailable, and vaccines are not available unlike other diseases that have had serious attention,” one of the doctors said.

Asides highlighting funding as a big challenge, the officials who conducted Channels Television round the foremost and only Lassa fever research institute in the country have asked the government to set up more diagnostic centres across the country.

“Since 2007, we have been making a case repeatedly for the establishment of centres of this nature in the other geopolitical zones or health zones in the country because Nigeria is a vast country.

“You don’t want a situation where patients with viral haemorrhagic fevers – Lassa fever are managed in ordinary wards and facilities. You want dedicated facilities for them.

“As we speak, sadly, I am not aware that these centre have attained any stage for replication elsewhere in the country,” said Professor George Akpede.

The idea for the Lassa Fever Research Centre in Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital was born after a family in Ekpoma, also in Edo State was almost wiped out by the disease.

The Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Sylvannus Okogbenin, said that the disease was endemic in Ekpoma and many other communities in Edo State.

“We think it is endemic in Ekpoma. It may also be endemic in many other communities in Nigeria but if there is no index of suspicion or if tests have not been done in that community, you may not know what is causing the fevers and the deaths,” he said.

Since November 2015, 19 positive cases have been confirmed at the laboratory in the research centre.

The Edo State government has confirmed that one person has died from Lassa fever disease.

The state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr Heregie Aihanuwa, said that the dead person was among the five persons that were brought to the Irrua Specialist Hospital for showing symptoms of Lassa fever disease.

Lassa Fever Leaves One Person Dead In Edo

lassa feverThe Edo State government has confirmed that one person has died from Lassa fever disease.

The state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr Heregie Aihanuwa, said that the dead person was among the five persons that were brought to the Irrua Specialist Hospital for showing symptoms of Lassa fever disease.

Dr. Aihanuwa explained that three out of the six infected persons were treated and discharged, adding that the deceased victim did not report her sickness early enough.

According to the commissioner, all cases of Lassa fever are treated in isolation wards in specialized centres such as institute of Lassa fever research and control at the Irrua Specialist Hospital.

Doctors Blame Negligence For Spread

Meanwhile, medical practitioners at the Lassa Fever Research Centre at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital have said that disease has been spreading in the country because authorities have not given the disease the attention it requires.

Asides highlighting funding as a big challenge, the officials who conducted Channels Television round the foremost and only Lassa fever research institute in the country are asking the government to set up more diagnostic centres across the country.

“Since 2007, we have been making a case repeatedly for the establishment of centres of this nature in the other geopolitical zones or health zones in the country because Nigeria is a vast country.

“As we speak, sadly, I am not aware that these centre have attained any stage for replication elsewhere in the country,” said Professor George Akpede.

Lassa Fever: Kaduna Govt. Enlightens Residents On Personal, Environmental Hygiene

lassa feverThe Kaduna State Government says it has stepped up its surveillance system to prevent Lassa fever outbreak in the state.

The Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Health, Dr Paul Dogo, who announced this while briefing reporters, claimed that the state government has trained its health workers in all the 23 local governments on how to identify and report any suspected case of Lassa fever.

He said that the state government has also procured necessary equipment to help in early detection of the disease, as well as designated a facility to be used as an isolation centre should any case be recorded.

Dr Dogo advised residents to avoid contact with rats and observe good personal and environmental hygiene to prevent the spread of Lassa fever. He also admonished them to dispose their waste properly and clean the environment so that rats would not be attracted.

The Permanent Secretary also explained some of the early symptoms of the disease which occur within three weeks of coming in contact with the virus. They include fever, headache, chills, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, backache, and joint pains.

He urged the public to report any case of the symptoms to the nearest health centre.

There have been reported cases of Lassa fever outbreak in some states such as Taraba, Niger, Nassarawa, Bauchi, Kano, Rivers and Edo, leaving some people dead and others hospitalised.

Lassa Fever: Anambra Has No Recorded Case – Health Commissioner

lassa feverAnambra State Government has said that the state is still on a clean bill, with no recorded case of Lassa fever.

The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Joe Akabuike, made the statement on Friday in his office at Jerome Udoji secretariat, Awka, the capital of Anambra State.

Dr Akabuike said that with eight states affected and the death rate put at 45 per cent, it has become imperative for Anambra State to commence sensitisation alongside taking precautionary measures to guard against any occurrence.

Addressing a press conference in his office, Dr. Akabuike said that the state Ministry of Health, the Disease Surveillance Notification Officers and the Information Dissemination Unit Personnel sent to various communities in the state have embarked on awareness programmes on the signs and symptoms of the disease through the Churches, Women Organisation, and Trade Unions.

He advised citizens, who have visiting relations from Bauchi, Nassarawa, Niger, Taraba, Kano, Rivers, Edo and Oyo States, to be wary of symptoms associated with bleeding and persistent fever and report case immediately.

Dr Akabuike encouraged the people of the state to be conscious of hygiene to ensure no one was affected.

Earlier, the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, confirmed that the death toll from the recent Lassa fever outbreak was now 40.

According to him, the disease has also spread to 10 states since the last six weeks when the first case was reported in November.

Rise In Rivers Local Gin Intake Deaths Worries Doctors

local gin OgogoroDoctors in Rivers State are worried, as the number of deaths caused by the consumption of  locally brewed gin known as Ogogoro has now reached 66. 

The Ministry of Health in the State gave the new figures on Friday, days after the first death was recorded.

The Ministry noted that deaths have so far been recorded in Obio Akpor, Bonny and Gokana Local Government Areas.

The National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) in a press briefing in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State’s capital, has step up stringent measures that will curtail the production and distribution of what the group called a deadly poison.

The National President of NARD, Prince Dan-Jumbo, at the press briefing urged State governments that are yet to pay their members monthly salaries form 5-7 months to do so.

According to him, Oyo, Osun, Benue, Nassarawa, Imo, Abia and Lagos State are owing 2013 and 2014 months salaries while and Rivers State had two months outstanding.

Meanwhile, the level of compliance to the ban on the sale of the local gin is still in question, as some peddlers of the product are still sighted on the street.

Plateau Governor-elect Receives Certificate Of Return

PlateauThe Governor-elect in Plateau State, Simon Lalong and his deputy, Sony Tyoden have been given their certificates of return.

After receiving his certificate, the governor-elect promised to run a collective government without discrimination on the basis of ethnic, religious or political affiliation, in the interest of the state.

From his speech, it appeared that issues bordering on challenges of security and peace would be among the priorities of his government, while peace-building programmes and processes, as well as reconciliation and economic empowerment will also receive adequate attention.

The governor-elect urged citizens to be prepared to face some challenges in the wake of dwindling revenues, considering the high expectations from the citizenry.

The elected Senators and members of the House of Representatives in Jos, Plateau State were also presented with their certificates of return.

The Electoral Commissioner in charge of Plateau, Nassarawa and Kogi States, Abdulkadir Oniyangi, challenged the newly elected officers to justify the certificates they received by serving the people rather than their personal interests.

Panel Submits Report On Alakyo Killings

 alakyo killingsA report by a Judicial Commission of Inquiry in Nigeria showed that over 500 persons, including security operatives were killed in various communal clashes in Nasarawa State between December 2012 and September 2013.

The nine-member commission of inquiry was set up by the Nasarawa State Government on June 26, 2013 to unravel the immediate and remote causes of the crises that led to the killings.

The result of the exercise is the presentation of a six volume report on the crisis as well as several other crisis in the state.

The commission conducted its public sitting between July 22 and November 11, 2013.

The Chairman of the panel, Justice Fola Gbadeyan, explained that property worth over 2billion Naira were destroyed during the crisis.

On May 7, 2013, Alakyo community in Lafia witnessed the killing of security operatives including members of the Nigeria Police Force and the Department of State Security.

In its investigation, the commission received 22 memoranda and took evidence from 89 witnesses during its public sittings.

65 exhibits were also admitted by the commission during the sittings.

Although the recommendations of the commission were not made public, the State Government promised to produce a white paper on the report, which would be used for implementation.

The Ombatse group is the main suspect for the killings and the legal adviser of the group, Mr Zamani Alumaga, has filed a suit, challenging the legality of the commission.

The case is still ongoing before the Nasarawa State High Court in Lafia, the state capital.

Middle Belt Articulate Position For National Conference

Chairman, Middle Belt Forum, Professor Jerry Gana

Leaders from the middle belt region including minority group representatives from the North East have gathered to articulate the region’s position in the forthcoming National Conference.

Opinion leaders from the middle belt states of Plateau, Kwara, Kogi, Benue, and Nassarawa as well as representatives from minority groups of North East states of Gombe, Taraba, Yobe, Borno and Adamawa gathered in Jos, North Central Nigeria to discuss the region’s position and presentation with the theme, ‘Strategic Partnerships for the National Conference’.

Chairman of the Middle Belt Forum, Professor Jerry Gana, stressed the importance of the national dialogue and challenged the delegates to be critical in the deliberations on issues ranging from insecurity, economic downturn, poor leadership and poor governance among others.

Setting the tone for deliberations, he urged the delegates to consider the various topics for discussions with all seriousness for onward presentation to the conference.

Former Secretary to The Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae and former Governor of Anambra State, Chukwuemeka Ezeife, in their contributions at the meeting noted that the proposed National Conference should be taken seriously for a better country.

Addressing the gathering, the Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang also reinstated the non-negotiable unity of the country at the proposed national dialogue.

The delegates were in different syndicate groups with topical issues on fiscal federalism, creation of states and local governments, systems of government, legislative powers, citizenship, citizenship rights and social safety nets for minorities, electoral systems and political party systems among others.

The conference was attended by prominent sons and daughters of the region including retired military officers, technocrats, as well as politicians and the academia.

APC Governors’ Forum Meet In Lagos

State governors, under the banner of the All Progressives Congress Governors’ Forum, have met in Lagos to deliberate on strategies to strengthen the party and have also taken a look at the state of the nation.

Reading from a communique issued at the end of their meeting, the Chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum, Rochas Okorocha, said that members of the National Assembly have a right to re-align themselves with parties of their choice without being sanctioned.

Other issues discussed at the meeting included, the alleged police brutality in Rivers State, preparations for the commencement of membership registration and the need for INEC to make adequate preparations for the upcoming elections in Ekiti and Osun states.

The forum maintained that there was need for adequate preparations in order “to forestall a repeat of the electoral sham experienced in Anambra and Delta States and to restore credibility in the electoral process”.

They also reviewed the preparations for the commencement of membership registration into the party, and urged all prospective members, sympathizers and party structures to fully support the process for a comprehensive documentation and registration of members.

On the political and security situation in Rivers State, the forum frowned at the conduct of the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mbu and maintained “that the Nigeria Police Force is not a PDP police and such flagrant violations of the Constitution and laws of Nigeria should henceforth stop”.

They also deliberated on the need for strengthening the All Progressives Congress and its structures as well as discussed political developments in APC States with the aim of building a common development agenda.

Other APC Governors in attendance at the meeting include, Governors of Nassarawa, Osun, Ekiti, Ogun, Oyo and Rivers states; Tanko Almakura, Rauf Aregbesola, Kayode Fayemi, Ibikunle Amosun, Abiola Ajimobi and Rotimi Amaechi, while the Deputy Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Umaru Ganduje represented his State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso.

Al-Makura Approves 350 Nasarawa Christians For Pilgrimage

Governor Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa state has approved President Goodluck Jonathan’s request to sponsor 350 Christians from the state for the 2013 pilgrimage exercise to Israel.

Governor Al-Makura gave the approval in Lafia, the Nasarawa state capital when he received a delegation from the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission led by the Executive Secretary, Mr. John Okpara.

Governor Al-Makura says his administration will not only increase the number of Christians to the holy pilgrimage, but will ensure a robust religious exercise for pilgrims from the state.

Aside from the approval of three hundred and fifty pilgrims for this year’s exercise, the state government also approved new vehicles for the state pilgrim welfare board and promised to construct a permanent office for the board.

At a separate meeting with some Islamic scholars, Governor Al-Makura urged Muslims to imbibe the culture of unity, holiness and sacrifice, which is the essence of the just concluded Ramadan.

The Islamic scholars spoke on the need for Muslims to be Godly as a lesson learnt from the month of Ramadan.

Cynthia Osokogu: Court Hears Testimony of First Witness

Trial has finally commenced in the murder case of a Nasarawa State University postgraduate student, Cynthia Osokogu who was allegedly lured to Lagos by men she became friends with on a social media platform, Facebook.

The late Cynthia died after she was allegedly poisoned, raped and strangulated to death by two of the men, Okwumo Nwabufo and Ezike Olisaeloka.

Presiding Justice Olabisi Akinlade of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja refused all moves by the defence team to stall the trial and promptly took the testimony of the first prosecution witness after the arraignment of the 4 suspects in the case.

The four defendants all pleaded ‘not guilty’ to a six count charge brought against them.

The first prosecution witness, Mrs ifeanyiwa Njewu, a Biochemist graduate of the Federal University of Technology Minna, testified that as at the time of the incident, the 22nd of July, 2012, she worked as the receptionist of the Cosmilla Suites & Hotel at Lakeview, Phase 1 Estate, Amuwo Odofin LGA around Festac where the late Cynthia was killed.

In her testimony, she identified the 2nd and 4th defendant as being present at the hotel on the day of the incident.

Meanwhile, the court has granted bail to the 3rd and 4th defendants in the case. While the 1st & 2nd who allegedly committed the offence are still remanded at the Kirikiri Prison in Apapa area of Lagos.

Trial however continues on the 22nd of Feb.

The four accused persons are facing a six count charge. In the charge, the state alleged that two of the suspects, Okwumo and Ezike on or about 22 July, 2012 at Cosmilla Hotel, Amuwo-Odofin, Festac Town, conspired to murder Cynthia Osokogu.

The state alleged that the suspects murdered Cynthia by administering Rohypnol Flunitrazepan tablet into her drink, chaining her hands and legs and strangled her to death.

The duo were also alleged to have stolen three blackberry phones valued at N150,000, Jewelleries, an international passport and a drivers licence belonging to Cynthia after they strangled her to death.

Orji Osita, the third suspect was charged for negligently selling the Rohypnol Flunitrazepan tablets to Ezike, the second defendant without a doctor’s prescription and without showing due care.

Ezike Nonso, the 4th defendant was the man who allegedly bought Cynthia’s stolen blackberry bold 5 and he was charged for being in possession of a stolen phone.

The late Cynthia is the only daughter of a Retired Major Frank Osokogu.

She was a post-graduate student and the owner of a popular fashion store in Nassarawa state, Nigeria.