Ebola: Pilgrims Asked To Submit To Screening Measures In Saudi

hajjPilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia for the 2014 Hajj exercise have been advised to submit to Ebola Virus Disease screening exercise and any security measure when they arrive at Saudi.

The Governor of Nasarawa State, Tanko Al-makura, gave the advice at a ceremony organised to flag-off the exercise ahead of the pilgrims air lifting in Lafia.

Governor Al-makura urged the pilgrims to exercise restraints and caution in the foreign country.

The government and the people of Nasarawa State have high expectations from the pilgrims while on the holy land, but the major concern is for the pilgrims to intercede for peace in the state.

The Nasarawa State Muslim Welfare Board told reporters on Monday that adequate security and health measures were in place for this year’s Hajj exercise.

The board chairman, Sani Bawa and some of the pilgrims said they were adequately prepared for some of the risk behaviours and how to avoid harmful health and spiritual practices.

“Both security and health measures have been adequately covered for us to enjoy a hitch free exercise,” Mr Bawa said.

A pilgrim, Maryam Umar, said she was confident that the pilgrims would conduct themselves well in Saudi Arabia during the pilgrimage, stressing that the pilgrims were aware of the possible Ebola Virus Disease screening that they could be made to undergo in Saudi.

As excited as the men and women seem about their participation in this year’s Hajj, concerns among the pilgrims have been high with the outbreak of the Ebola virus in Nigeria, a development that has resulted in stringent screening exercises for Nigerians at the port of entry into some foreign country.

Hajj 2014: Kaduna Registers 5,672 Intending Pilgrims

hajj2The Acting Executive Secretary of Kaduna State Pilgrims Muslim Welfare Board, Kabiru Kasimu, announced on Thursday that the board has registered a total of 5,672 intending pilgrims that would perform the 2014 Hajj in Saudi Arabia.
He also declared that so far, the board has appointed all its Hajj officials and designated airlines for a smooth hajj operation in the state.

Addressing a news conference in his office, Kasimu said that the airlifting of pilgrims from the state would commence in September, adding that seasoned professionals have been sent to the 23 Local Government Areas of the state to sensitize intending pilgrims on the rules and guidelines the exercise.

On the commencement of air lift of intending pilgrims from the state, the overseer said that they were still waiting for the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) to fix the date. According to him, “Three airlines have been approved for the state; they are Kabo Air, Mars Air and Egypt airline”.

On the major challenge faced by the Board, he said that inadequate allocation of Hajj seats for the state was their major concern.

Nigeria At Risk Of Contracting Ebola Virus – Expert

Dr Bamidele OkeA Clinician at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Dr. Bamidele Oke, has warned that Nigeria is risk of contracting the Ebola Virus which has led to the deaths of several people in some West African nations.

Appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Dr. Oke disclosed that the new strain of the virus which was discovered recently “does not remove the fact that it can get to Nigeria.”

He disclosed that there were four different species of Ebola virus, of which two – Zaire, Sudan, were notorious for outbreaks and fatality.

“The first outbreak which was in a village in Sudan in 1976 recorded 53% casualty. In the same year, another outbreak in Zaire recorded about 90% fatality rate. This led scientists to believe that the Zaire specie was deadlier than others.”

However, a new report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, disclosed that a new strain of the Zaire Ebola virus had been discovered. “That means they just found one or two things different from it.”

According to him, 120 deaths have been confirmed so far and “that means it’s actually a violent strain.” Countries where the virus’ presence has been confirmed include Liberia, Mali and Guinea.

Speaking about the efforts being made to contain the outbreak, Oke said that Nigeria could not afford to heave a sigh of relief until it ensures that standard procedures were put into practice.

Asked if the said procedures have been evoked, the doctor admitted to having knowledge of instructions by the Ministry of Health to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, to start an awareness campaign to enlighten the citizens.

However, he noted that this was just a first step in the procedure, adding that there was a need to educate health workers and ensure that hospitals have standard isolation rooms.

On the probability that the virus might get into the country, Oke said that the risk level could not be gauged because of migration. “As we speak now, Saudi Arabia won’t allow people from Liberia and Guinea to travel for Hajj”, he noted.






Ambassador Explains Nigerians’ Deportation From Saudi Arabia

This edition of Channels Television’s Network Africa looks at the repatriation of some Nigerians living in Saudi Arabia.

Nigerians living illegally in the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia have been advised to regularize their stay or return to the country to avoid being arrested by the Saudi authorities. 80 out of the 508 Nigerians, who voluntarily submitted themselves for repatriation, arrived in the country during the Christmas holiday.

We seek to find out how these Nigerians got to Saudi Arabia without the knowledge of the Nigerian Embassy in Saudi Arabia. Nigeria’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Abubakar Bunu, was on the programme to shed more light on the real situation.

Amongst other things, he said that these Nigerians had the chance to legalize their stay in the country, with his office also putting efforts into enlightening them on the need to do so. He blamed the deportation on the nonchalant attitude of Nigerians.

Watch this video for the revealing interview.

FG Receives Repatriated Nigerians From Saudi Arabia

Nigerians living illegally in the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia have been advised to regularize their stay or return to the country to avoid being arrested by the Saudi authorities.

The Director, Consular and Immigration Services, Mister Abdulazeez Dankano who gave the advice in Abuja while receiving 80 out of the 508 Nigerians who voluntarily submitted themselves for repatriation to Nigeria, said that the Federal Government will continue to assist Nigerians who are stranded in other parts of the world.

“These are the ones that volunteered to leave before they are arrested, and they requested government to come to their assistance for they don’t have the means to return home, so government has answered their request by providing aircraft to bring them back to Nigeria.

“Some of them are coming for the first time because they have been there (all their lives), they were born there by first generation Nigerians; some are the ones that went for Hajj and Umrah and overstayed…Some we have to go into the details of tracing their relation and integrate them with their families”, Dankano said.

Officials of the Nigeria Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, were on hand to receive the 80 Nigerians who were later handed over to State Emergency Management Agencies from Kano, Borno, Bauchi, Jigawa, Katsina, Yobe, Plateau and Nasarawa states.

John Kerry meets Egyptian Foreign Minister Fahmy

United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, has met with Egypt’s foreign minister, Nabil Fahmy, on Sunday, November 3 to express the American government’s readiness to support Egypt in restoration of democracy.

This is the highest level visit from the US since President Muhamad Mursi’s removal.

He said Cairo was a vital partner, apparently trying to repair ties, which are strained by the partial freeze in US following the coup that ousted Mursi.

Earlier this year, Washington froze part of the $1.5bn it gives in annual aid to Egypt because of a lack of democratic progress and violence against supporters of the Islamist President Mursi.

He said “We want to help. We’re prepared to do so. And the way it will unfold as democracy is rekindled in its strength and as the people of Egypt make their choices in the future, I am confident the United States of America will be able to stand with you, and do even more.”

Egyptian Foreign Minister, Nabil Fahmy, also indicated intent to restore democracy.

“I’d like to see the roadmap completed within the 9 to 12 months’ time period that it’s set to deliver. And that creates the institutions of a democratic government. I think if we succeed in doing that, 3 to 5 years you’d have a mature democracy.

Kerry also called on Egypt to make its trials more transparent. The Secretary’s visit comes just a day before Mursi is due to appear in court on charges of inciting violence.

Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco are among the countries listed on the itinerary of Kerry’s tour of countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

Jeddah Bound Air Craft Did Not Make Emergency Landing- Kabo Air

Kabo Air Limited has denied media reports that a Saudi Arabia bound air craft made allegedly belonging to them made an emergency landing in Sokoto.

Addressing a news conference in Kano, the airline’s Public Relations Manager, Alh. Aminu Hamza said the aircraft lost its two main body tyres on landing but was able to pack safely.

A Boeng 747 jumbo jet with 400 passengers on board was reported to have taken-off from Malam Aminu Kano International Airport on Friday night en route Sokoto to Jedda.

However, on reaching Sir Abukar III International Airport, Sokoto to pick some other passengers, the air craft lost two tyres after being exploded on the process of landing.

Director, Flight Operation of the airline, Captain Joseph Machimu confirmed that the air craft just returned from Indonesia for maintenance insisting that the air craft “is airworthy”.

Meanwhile, officials of the airline said a new air craft has been sent to Sokoto to airlift the passengers for this year’s Hajj.

Ebisan Says No Special Challenges For Female Artistes

Upcoming artiste, Ebisan has said that there are no gender-based challenges in the music business,contrary to the popular belief that females in the Nigerian music industry face tough times finding a level playing ground with their male counterparts.

The soul artiste said “whatever challenges that has come my way, I can’t particularly say it’s because I’m a woman. I think a guy would go through some of the things that I have gone through” and stressed that the method of overcoming obstacles is what differentiates people.

“There’s always going to be challenges, but I’ve never really looked at it as it’s because I’m a woman. I just think that any career path that you take, there would always be challenges.

However, one’s passion, motivation, drive would help artistes overlook obstacles and consider them as vehicles of improvement.

She said this during an interview on Sunrise where she also revealed that her degrees, in Accounting and Finance (B.Sc) as well as International Business Management (M.Sc), have put her in a “better position” because “this is a music business after all.”

She added that her experience in a family of music lovers influenced her decision to pursue a career in music. “There was always something fun and creative happening at home”.

The singer who was raised in Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and England said music moved from being a passion to a profession at age 16, when she was paid for the first time.

Governor Fashola’s Father Dies At 80

The father of the governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Fashola, Ibrahim Ademola Fashola on Monday died at the age of 80 years at an undisclosed hospital.

In a statement signed by the Chief of Staff to the governor, Mr. Lanre Babalola said the remains of Elder Fashola will be buried on Tuesday, the 6th of August 2013 at Vaults and Gardens Ikoyi by 1pm.

Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan Monday has sent a condolence message to Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State who is presently away on lesser Hajj in Saudi Arabia

A statement by the Special Adviser to the president on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, said the president on behalf of himself, his family, the Federal Government and the people of Nigeria, conveys sincere condolences to the governor.

“As they mourn Pa Fashola, President Jonathan urges Governor Fashola, his family and people of Lagos State to give thanks to God Almighty for the octogenarian’s very exemplary and accomplished life,”

The President urged  the family  to be comforted by the knowledge that Pa Fashola is returning to his Creator as a very blessed and fulfilled man who lived to see his son become a two-term Governor of one of Nigeria’s most populous and vibrant states.

President Jonathan joins the Governor Fashola, members of his family and the people of Lagos in praying that God Almighty will grant Pa Fashola peaceful and eternal rest from his labours on earth.”

The deceased is survived by children, grandchildren and great-grand children among whom is the Lagos State Governor, Mr.
Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Arinola Fuwa, Olayinka Fashola, Ademola Fashola, Omolara Fashola, Adewale Fashola, Ademola Fashola Jnr. and Ademola Keji Fashola.

Saudi Arabia Says Five Dead From New SARS-like Virus

Saudi Arabia said five more people have died of a deadly new virus from the same family as SARS, and two other people were in intensive care.

The seven cases were discovered in al-Ahsa governorate in the Eastern Province, the Saudi news agency SPA quoted the Saudi Health Ministry as saying in a statement late on Wednesday.

A Saudi man died in March from the virus.

The novel coronavirus (NCoV) is from the same family of viruses as those that cause common colds and the one that caused the deadly outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that first emerged in Asia in 2003.

The new virus is not the same as SARS, but similar to it and also to other coronaviruses found in bats. It was unknown in humans until it emerged in the Middle East last year. There have been confirmed cases in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Britain.

In a March 26 update on its website the World Health Organisation said it had been informed of a global total of 17 confirmed cases of human infection with NCoV, including 11 deaths.

U.S. Warns Health Officials To Be Alert For Deadly New virus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday warned state and local health officials about potential infections from a deadly virus previously unseen in humans that has now sickened 14 people and killed 8.

Most of the infections have occurred in the Middle East, but a new analysis of three confirmed infections in Britain suggests the virus can pass from person to person rather than from animal to humans, the CDC said in its Weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report on Thursday.

The virus is a coronavirus, part of the same family of viruses as the common cold and the deadly outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that first emerged in Asia in 2003. The new virus is not the same as SARS, but like the SARS virus, it is similar to those found in bats.

So far, no cases have been reported in the United States.

According to the CDC’s analysis, the infections in Britain started with a 60-year-old man who had recently traveled to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and developed a respiratory illness on January 24, 2013. Samples from the man showed he was infected with both the new virus and with H1N1, or swine flu.

This man subsequently passed the infection to two members of his household: a male with an underlying illness who became ill on February 6 and subsequently died; and a healthy adult female in his household who developed a respiratory illness on February 5, but who did not need to be hospitalized and has recovered.

The CDC said people who develop a severe acute lower respiratory illness within 10 days of returning from the Arabian Peninsula or neighboring countries should continue to be evaluated according to current guidelines.

The health agency said doctors should be watchful of patients who develop an unexplained respiratory infection within 10 days of traveling from the Arabian Peninsula or neighboring countries. The CDC has set up a special website with updates on the infections at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/ncv/ .

Symptoms of infection with this new virus include severe acute respiratory illness with fever, cough and shortness of breath. Neither the CDC nor the World Health Organisation has issued travel restrictions related to the virus.

Twitter Launches Advertising Services In Middle East

Twitter Inc. on Sunday launched an advertising service in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as the social media firm seeks to exploit a tripling of its regional subscriber base following its widespread use during the Arab Spring protests.

Digital advertising is relatively undeveloped in the region, accounting for an estimated 4 percent of its total advertising spending, tech-savvy population and rising Internet penetration points to significant potential for growth.

“The two are interconnected – the rapid growth of our user base with the timing of why we want to help brands connect with that audience,” said Shailesh Rao, Twitter vice-president for international operations.

Twitter does not provide a regional breakdown of its more than 200 million users worldwide, but Rao said its MENA subscriber base had tripled in the past 12 months.

The company has recruited Egypt’s Connect Ads, owned by Cairo-listed Orascom Telecom Media and Technology, to launch advertising initially in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

Twitter Inc. has named Pepsi and Saudi telecom operator Etihad Etisalat (Mobile) as confirmed clients.

Twitter says the products it promotes typically has an audience response rate of 1 to 3 percent, significantly higher than traditional advertising rate of 0.1 to 0.5 percent.

“Social media advertising is totally different because it relies on what people say. It’s about two-way, not one-way, communication,” said Mohamed El Mehairy, Connect Ads managing director.