US To Screen Passengers For China Mystery Virus

A US healthcare company/AFP

 

US authorities will begin screening passengers Friday arriving on direct or connecting flights from a Chinese city at the heart of a mysterious SARS-like virus responsible for two deaths.

Travelers from Wuhan to the United States will undergo entry screening for symptoms associated with the new coronavirus at three airports: San Francisco, New York’s JFK and Los Angeles.

China has now reported 45 cases linked to the virus, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) official Nancy Messonnier told reporters in a press call, most linked to seafood and live animal market in Wuhan, while two cases have been found in Thailand and one in Japan.

The CDC said that based on current information, the risk to Americans from the virus, known by its technical name 2019-nCoV, is currently deemed low. Nevertheless, it was enhancing precautionary measures.

The CDC will deploy 100 additional staff to the three airports, with incoming passengers asked to fill out a questionnaire and submit to a temperature check.

Those who show possible signs will be shifted to another facility for additional screening and a rapid diagnostic test.

Messonnier said that this test would currently take around a day, “but it’s going to get rapidly faster” as the diagnostic tool improves.

The UN’s health agency says that the outbreak of the disease comes from a never-before-seen strain belonging to a broad family of viruses ranging from the common cold to more serious illnesses such as SARS.

According to Arnaud Fontanet, head of Paris’ Institut Pasteur department of epidemiology, the new strain is the seventh known type of coronavirus that humans can contract.

The outbreak has caused alarm because of the link with SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed 349 people in mainland China and another 299 in Hong Kong in 2002-2003.

Fontanet added that the coronavirus appears to be “weaker” than SARS in its current form, but cautioned that it could mutate into a more virulent strain.

China Probes Pneumonia Outbreak Amid SARS Fears

 

China is investigating an outbreak of viral pneumonia, state media reported Tuesday, amid online speculation that it might be linked to SARS, the flu-like virus that killed hundreds of people a decade ago.

A team of experts from the National Health Commission were dispatched Tuesday to Wuhan, in central China’s Hubei province, and are “currently conducting relevant inspection and verification work,” state broadcaster CCTV reported.

An emergency notification issued Monday by the Wuhan municipal health committee said hospitals in the city have treated a “successive series of patients with unexplained pneumonia,” without offering details.

Chinese news site The Paper reported 27 cases of viral pneumonia in Wuhan in December, citing unnamed health officials from the city.

“Of the 27 cases, seven were critical, the rest were under control, and two patients are expected to be discharged from hospital in the near future,” The Paper said.

News of the pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan led to speculation online that it might be linked to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, a highly contagious respiratory disease.

The emergency notification has urged hospitals to offer treatment and report cases in a “timely manner”.

The World Health Organization (WHO) criticised China for under reporting the number of SARS cases following the outbreak in 2003.

SARS killed 349 people in mainland China and another 299 in Hong Kong in 2003.

The virus, which infected more than 8,000 people around the world, is expected to have originated in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, according to WHO.

China sacked its then health minister Zhang Wenkang for the poor handling of the crisis in 2003, several months after the first case was reported.

WHO announced that China was free of the deadly SARS virus in May 2004.

AFP

One Killed As SARS, Robbers Exchange Gunfire In Lagos

A file photo of a SARS operative in Lagos.

 

A middle age man was killed in an early morning gunfight between operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and suspected robbers in Lagos.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Bala Elkana, confirmed this in a statement sent to Channels Television on Monday.

According to him, the security operatives were on their way to recover weapons being used by a gang of suspected criminals before they were ambushed in Ilupeju axis of the state.

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The statement said, “On 15th July, 2019 at about 7:30am, SARS Operatives led by Insp Mohammed Akeem while being led by a notorious gang leader Ikechukwu Monye ‘m’ 39 years old, to where their arms are kept, were ambushed by members of the gang along Ajisegiri Street Ilupeju.”

Elkana explained that the assailants shot sporadically and in the process killed the victim who was only passing by.

He said reinforcement was quickly drafted to the scene while the whole area was cordoned off to apprehend the members of the gang and bring them to justice.

“Ilupeju has experienced violent attacks between members of Aiye and Eiye confraternities who equally engaged in heinous crimes such as armed robbery, rape and murder.

“The gang in question is responsible for series of robberies within Ilupeju and environ,” the command’s spokesman added.

He disclosed that the suspects have been on the wanted list of the police for the murder of six people during three robbery operations.

Elkana warned that the command would not condone the killing of innocent people by criminals in the state.

He also said the police would not tolerate attacks on its personnel and vowed to bring an end to the activities of the gang.

He asked members of the public to remain calm, noting that the command has intensified patrols and surveillance in the affected areas.

The command’s spokesman condoled with the family of the deceased and assured them that justice would prevail.

He said the body of the victim has been deposited at the mortuary for post mortem examination.

Four Major Recommendations By The Special Panel On SARS

Members of the special committee on Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Reform meet with the President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House in Abuja today and made some recommendations.

The eight-member panel was constituted by the National Human Rights Commission to investigate allegations of human rights violations and abuse of office against the special anti-robbery squad.

Mr Anthony Ojukwu, secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) led the delegation into the meeting which was held behind closed doors.

Below are four major recommendations made by the panel following its public hearing.

1. The panel recommended that 37 police officers be dismissal from the force.

2. A recommendation was also made for 24 officers to be prosecuted.

3. The panel also directed the Inspector General of police to unravel the identity of 22 officers involved in the violation of the human rights of innocent citizens.

4. They also recommended a renaming of the Special anti-robbery squad (SARS) to Anti robbery section (ARS) which was its original name and to make the section operate under the intelligence arm of the police from the divisional, area, state and zonal command up to the Force headquarters level.

The report and recommendations of the panel have since been submitted to President Buhari.

Police Arrest Officers, Declare Inspector Wanted Over Shooting Of Youths In Apapa

Arrested Officers

 

The Lagos State Police Command has arrested five members of the Trinity Police Station allegedly involved in the shooting of two youths in the Olodi Apapa area of the state.

In a statement by the command’s Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, the officers are being detained on the orders of the Commissioner of Police, Mr Zubairu Mu’azu, while an Inspector of Police has been declared wanted in connection with the incident.

One of the victims, 20-year old Ada Ifeanyi reportedly died on the spot, while her friend 32-year old Emmanuel Okomafuwa is receiving treatment from the injuries he suffered as a result of the shooting.

Police Inspector declared wanted

Members of the team suspected to be involved in the shooting are from Trinity Police Station and are currently facing internal disciplinary proceedings at the Command Headquarters Ikeja.

The statement further adds that, “Their Rifles have been retrieved for forensic analysis by Ballisticians. If found wanting, they will be prosecuted in conventional Court for Murder.

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“The Policemen arrested are (1) Inspector Adamu Usman (2) Sergeant Adeyeye Adeoye (3) Sergeant Kashim Tijani (4) Sergeant Lucky Akigbe and (5) Sergeant Paul Adeoye while Inspector Dania Ojo who escaped immediately after the shooting incident is declared wanted by the Command.

“Lagos State Police Command condemned in total these senseless killings of unarmed civilians by few ‘bad eggs ‘ in the Command, who are bend towards denting the image and reputation of the Nation’s Police Force. The Command will not relent in its efforts in ridding the force of these criminal elements.

“Those involved in extrajudicial killings and abuse of power are promptly identified, isolated, tried through internal disciplinary proceedings, dismissed from service and prosecuted in conventional Courts.

“Within the last month, Lagos State Police Command has dismissed four Policemen for abuse of power and conducts unbecoming of Police Officers and awarded the various degree of punishments to 41 others”.

The command noted that four dismissed Policemen were charged to Court and remanded in prison custody. “Our collective resolve in building a more humane, professional, dedicated, courageous and people-oriented Police Force is a task that must be done and together we can make it a reality.

“The Commissioner of Police extends the Command’s deepest condolences to the family and friends of Ada Ifeanyi and promised to foot the medical bills of Emmanuel Akomafuwa.

“The CP calls for calm as the Command will leave no stone untouched in ensuring that Justice prevails”.

 

‘Senate Remains Committed To Passage Of #PoliceReformBill’, Saraki Reacts To Killing Of Kolade Johnson

 

The President of the Nigerian Senate, Bukola Saraki, has said that the 8th Senate remains committed to the Police Reform Bill. 

Senate Saraki made this comment as part of a series of tweets in reaction to the killing of Kolade Johnson by alleged SARS operatives.

The Senate President said, “My heartfelt prayers are with the family and friends of Kolade Johnson, the young football fan who was allegedly killed by men of the Nigerian Police in Mangoro/Onipetesi community in Lagos.

“Issues like the senseless killings, assault and extortion of everyday Nigerians by some ‘bad apples’ in the Police Force is what prompted @NGRSenate to introduce and fast-track the progression of the #PoliceReformBill.

“I have also been in contact with the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Police Affairs and I am pleased to announce that the Report of the #PoliceReformBill will be laid by next week Tuesday.

“Make no mistake, the 8th Senate remains committed to the passage of the #PoliceReformBill to ensure that our Police Force is more efficient and responsive to the needs of all Nigerians.”

Channels Television had earlier reported that Kolade Johnson was reportedly shot accidentally by SARS officers who had been pursuing another man at the football viewing center.

Reports suggest that Kolade Johnson was hit by a stray bullet when SARS officers tried to disperse a crowd during an operation to arrest another man.

There has been a public outcry over the killing, with thousands of people using the #EndSARS social media hashtag in the past 24 hours.

The Police has, however, come out to say that they have arrested a team of personnel allegedly involved in the killing, claiming that the officers were not of the SARS unit, but of the Anti Cultism unit.

Police spokesperson, Mr. Bala Elkana, confirmed this in a statement on Monday.

Elkana noted that the police personnel involved in the killing will be subjected to internal disciplinary procedures and may be prosecuted in conventional court if implicated by the ongoing investigation.

He further said that the Commissioner of Police in Lagos, Mr Zubairu Muazu, has called for calm on the part of the residents.

According to him, the police commissioner assured Nigerians that justice will prevail in the case and condoled with the family, friends, and well-wishers of the victim.

We Are Treating Kolade Johnson’s Killing As Homicide – Police

We Are Treating Kolade Johnson’s Killing As Homicide – Police

 

The Nigeria Police Force has confirmed the death of one Kolade Johnson.

The Head of Police Complaint Response Unit (CRU), Mr Abayomi Shogunle, confirmed this in a tweet on Monday.

The victim was alleged to have been shot by a member of a police team while he was watching a televised football match in Lagos on Sunday.


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Shogunle, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, explained that Johnson died as a result of “excessive use of force.”

He, however, said the Lagos State Police Command was treating the case as a homicide and would brief the public soon.

Johnson’s death has sparked widespread criticism, with a renewed call on the Federal Government to end the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARS) unit of the police.

In its reaction, Amnesty International said the Nigerian Justice system has failed to curb the excesses of the unit.

It, however, called for a thorough investigation into the circumstances that led to Johnson’s killing and that the offenders must be brought to justice.

See the tweet below:

#EndSARS: This Evil Act Has Been Endured For Long, SARS Must Leave Us – Nigerians React

 

The tragedy which struck on Olu Aboderin Street, Onipetesi area of Lagos State, on Sunday has stirred protests across social media, with Nigerians demanding the end of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) police unit.

SARS operatives from the Lagos State Police Command allegedly shot and killed a young man identified as Kolade Johnson.

Reports suggest that operatives stormed an eatery in the area to arrest a man, who was watching a live English Premiership League football match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.

Sources said the victim who was a friend of the man to be arrested, challenged the operatives on why they would cart away his friend and one of the SARS operatives allegedly shot him dead.

Angry youths took to the streets in protest of the killing.

They blocked the two sides of the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway and set up bonfires, causing traffic gridlock in the process.

The protest did not, however, stop on the streets, as many Nigerians, groups, and organizations took to social media to protest and seek redress for the killing.

READ ALSO: #EndSARS: Nigerian Justice System Has Failed To Prevent, Punish Torture – Amnesty International

Below are some of the reactions by various Nigerians, as drawn from Twitter.

 

Amnesty International Demands Release Of Activist Maryam Awaisu

Amnesty International Condemns Election-Related Violence, Asks FG To Protect Citizens

 

Amnesty International has demanded the unconditional release of author and human rights activist Maryam Awaisu.

Awaisu, one of the leaders of the #ArewaMeToo movement, which is seeking justice for victims of sexual harassment, was reportedly arrested by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in her office in Kaduna on Tuesday.

A statement by the Media Manager of AI Nigeria, Isa Sanusi, said the arrest appeared to be an attempt to intimidate her and supporters of the movement.

“Authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Maryam Aiwasu who has done nothing more than speaking up for women’s rights,” Osai Ojigho Director Amnesty International was quoted as saying.

“Her arrest appears to be an attempt to intimidate and harass both her and other women supporting #AreweMeToo – a movement seeking justice for victims of sexual violence in Nigeria.”

Ojigho added, “While arresting Maryam, the police attempted to gain access to her laptop and mobile phone by force; this is clearly an effort to access the sensitive evidence she and other human rights defenders have been gathering to seek justice for victims of sexual violence.”

For the Amnesty International Director, the arrest is unacceptable as it might prevent victims of sexual violence from seeking justice.

“Maryam and the other brave human rights defenders working with the #AreweMeToo movement must not be silenced or punished for the vital work they do,” he said.

“For too long, Nigeria’s women have been facing various kinds of sexual violence that seldom receives proper attention from the country’s law enforcement agencies.

“It is unacceptable that women working on behalf of these victims are subjected to such arrest and intimidation, and we fear that these actions may prevent victims of sexual violence from pursuing justice.”

Dino Melaye Moved To Police Clinic From SARS HQ

 

Senator Dino Melaye has been rushed to a police clinic in Garki Area 1 of Abuja, after he was arrested and taken to SARS Headquarters. 

A police officer who was part of the team that arrested the lawmaker in his Abuja residence on Friday confirmed the case’s latest development.

The officer said Senator Melaye is currently on bed rest as the police determine their next line of action.

He said the police’s expectation is that as soon as the lawmaker recovers, he will return to detention.

The Siege Ends

The siege on Senator Dino Melaye’s residence in Abuja by the police finally came to an end after eight days.

The lawmaker, who represents Kogi West constituency, opened the door to the residence himself on Friday afternoon in the presence of police operatives and some senators of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

While coming out of the house, Senator Melaye slumped to the floor and was later assisted onto his feet.

He was thereafter taken to the office of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) in Guzape, Abuja.

Police Dismiss FSARS Operative Accused Of Extorting N5,000 From Woman

Police Dismiss FSARS Operative Accused Of Extorting N5,000 From Woman
Charles Omotosho

 

The police have dismissed an operative of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS), Inspector Charles Omotosho, over an allegation of extortion.

The Force Public Complaint Rapid Response Unit (PCRRU) revealed this in a series of tweets on Friday, three months after Omotosho was arrested for the offence.

READ ALSO: SARS Operative Arrested For Extorting N5,000 From Woman

His dismissal was approved by the Assistant Inspector General of Police Zone 2, Lagos, Ibrahim Adamu, following a review of the Orderly Room proceedings, the PCRRU added.

According to the unit, Omotosho was found guilty of the anti-corruption laws of the police while his uniforms and identity card have since been retrieved from him.

The police also demoted other accomplices of the dismissed inspector, whose identities were not disclosed, from the rank of sergeant to corporal.

Photo: Twitter/ @PoliceNG_PCRRU

 

Omotosho was apprehended in May for allegedly arresting a lady in the Ikorodu area of Lagos State, after which he was said to have forcefully collected N5,000 from the victim.

The police said he was immediately removed from front-line duties and taken into custody after the dismissed officer was identified to have committed the crime.

‘Police Are Working’, Nigerians React To SARS Operative's Arrest Over Extortion
Dismissed police officer, Inspector Charles Omotosho, holding a copy of his statement of bank account which confirms the alleged extortion of N5,000.

 

A screenshot of the complaint as received by the Police PCRRU via Twitter