Wednesday, 15 April 2015

LASG: No new case of Ebola in Lagos

By Nnagozie Ogudo   Posted at  14:07   No comments
The Lagos State Government has debunked rumours that there are fresh cases of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in the state. It said contrary to messages being circulated on social media, there is no fresh case of Ebola outbreak in Lagos. Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday morning at the Ministry of Health at Alausa Secretariat, Ikeja, Lagos, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris said that on 9 April, there was rumour in the social media on the return of EVD to Nigeria killing three and infecting 12 other persons. He said findings revealed that the EVD rumour was generated from two different websites, explaining that the government swung into action to verify the source, quality and viability of the rumour, its author as well as embarked on social media campaign to debunk the news on its facebook site. Idris added that the second rumour concerning two Chinese visitors from Sierra Leone was posted on twitter @iChexo on 12 April, claiming that the two Chinese died of EVD at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH same day, saying that investigation carried out at LUTH confirmed that to be completely untrue. “We believe that the author of these materials simply wanted to generate traffic to their websites which would appear successfully achieved. We wish to assure you that health workers have continued to maintain a high index of suspicion of Ebola Virus Disease and other Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers. “The operations and surveillance activities of the Ebola Emergency Operations Centre, EEOC, have continued despite the containment of the EVD and the declaration of Nigeria as Ebola-free by WHO in 2014,” he said. He stated that activities of the EEOC were still ongoing, such as screening of passengers at the point of entry, enhanced surveillance for EVD in all councils in the state, social mobilisation and communication activities at the community and council levels, training on enhanced EVD surveillance for Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers, DSNOs ward local persons and community informants, among others. Idris restated that those at the highest risk included health workers, families and friends of an infected persons in the course of feeding, holding and caring for them “Members of the public are hereby enjoined to disregard the EVD rumour and peacefully go about their lawful business while taking preventive measures by observing good environmental and personal hygiene, especially regular hand washing and proper waste disposal. “Ensure thorough washing of fruits and other edible items before eating. Report any suspected case of Ebola or any known travellers from Ebola affected countries with history of persistent fever by calling the help line: 080 EBOLA HELP (080032d24357),” he stated.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Breakaway MASSOB Members arrested with explosive by Imo Police

By Nnagozie Ogudo   Posted at  17:30   Crime No comments
The Imo State Police Command has arrested two breakaway members of Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), suspected to have fabricated items certified by the command’s Explosive Unit to be Improvised Explosive Device (IED).

The suspect identified as Love Davison, who hails from Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area (LGA) Of Imo State and another Eze Charles were said to have produced the IEDs, in a bid to disrupt peace in the state during Saturday’s Governorship and House of Assembly elections.

Parading the suspects at the command headquarters in Owerri, the capital of Imo State in south east Nigeria, the command spokesman, Andrew Enwerem, said the men of the command arrested the suspects following a tip off. He said officials busted the hide-out of the suspects at Umuokirika Ekwereazu in Mbaise LGA of the state and arrested the two suspects.

Mr Enwerem, however, said efforts were being intensified by the police to apprehend the leader of the gang, whose identity is yet to be confirmed.

Recovered from the suspects where drilling machine, gun powder, tins of paint, thread, bucket and other items certified to be components of the IED.

The command has, however, urged the  people of the state to remain calm and come out en masse to exercise their civic rights in Saturday’s elections in the state.

Four people injured,as helicopter belonging to the Nigerian Airforce crash landed in Lagos

By Nnagozie Ogudo   Posted at  17:20   No comments
On Friday, four people were injured, when an helicopter belonging to the Nigerian Airforce crash landed in Lagos.
The victims were said to be two pilots and two passengers who were trapped in the helicopter before they were later rescued
Information as to what lead to the incident was scanty at press time but unconfirmed reports said it occurred around 10am immediately after the take off at Murtala Muhammed International Airport.
Tragedy was said to be averted due to the prompt response by emergency responders such as the airport fire services who put out the fire as soon as the incident was noticed, however, four people were said to have sustained minor injuries.
The wreckage of the crashed helicopter was said to have been removed from the spot by the Nigerian Airforce.
However, Dele Alonge, Air Force spokesperson, in his reaction said the helicopter was on a training mission in Lagos at about 10 a. m. on Friday when it crashed.
He said the helicopter, which suffered severe damage, was returning to the Apron after the completion of the training exercise when it crashed due to hydraulic failure while on taxi to the hanger.
Mr. Alonge said there was no casualty although the main Rotor debris caused damage to some ground equipment on location.
He added that the Chief of Air Staff, Adesola Amosun, has ordered an immediate investigation into the crash.
Contacted Director Lagos State Fire Services Razaq Fadipe said he was not privy to such information.

Loaded tanker crashes into FMC fence, Umuahia

By Nnagozie Ogudo   Posted at  09:59   No comments

A tanker loaded with petrol has crashed into a fence belonging to the Federal Medical Center on Aba Road, Umuahia, Abia State.

The incident which happened on Wednesday, however, recorded no human casualty.

The brakes of the loaded tanker was said to have failed while the driver was on his way to supply the product.

The driver, who lost control of the tanker, was said to have veered off the road, crashing into the hospital’s fence and destroying parts of it.

The truck was still at the scene of the crash when our correspondent visited the scene.

It was gathered that efforts were being made to discharge the contents of the truck before towing it out of the area for repairs.

A roadside trader, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said it was a miracle that the tanker did not burst into flames.

She said, “I was told that the accident happened early in the morning and that the driver took to his heels for fear of being lynched. I am grateful to God that the truck did not explode because the damage would have been fatal.”

A resident of the area, who identified himself simply as Anayo, said he witnessed the incident and that the driver was smart to have rammed into the fence, instead of other vehicles or houses.

Anayo said, “The driver was struggling with the vehicle and it was obvious that all was not well. People were scared and there were other vehicles both in front of the truck and behind, but luckily, he managed to avoid hitting any of them and instead, hit the fence. I think he handled the situation very well.”

Another eyewitness, Uduma Kalu, who claimed to be the Personal Assistant to the Director of City Base Services, the company that owns the vehicle, said the incident was a minor one.

When our correspondent asked him for the whereabouts of the driver, Kalu said, “The accident is not that serious. As you can see, no life was lost and everything is under control. The driver is not available and I don’t have his phone number with me right now. I don’t even think there is the need to speak with him because nothing much happened.”

MTN to acquire Visafone

By Nnagozie Ogudo   Posted at  07:30   Economy No comments

It was learnt yesterday that MTN Group Ltd has started the process of buying Visafone Communications Ltd of Nigeria as it seeks to expand in its largest market, according to two people familiar with the matter.

MTN, Africa’s biggest mobile phone company, has been exploring acquisitions as it seeks to boost revenue from data outside South Africa, where Vodacom Group Ltd has more subscribers.

According to Bloomberg, Johannesburg-based MTN had 59.9 million subscribers in Nigeria at the end of 2014, more than a quarter of its 223 million total across 22 countries. Visafone had about 2.2 million customers as of December, according to data compiled by the Nigerian Communications Commission.

A spokeswoman for MTN’s Nigerian unit in Lagos, Mrs. Funmilayo Onajide, in a text message yesterday, said: “We will send a holding statement at the appropriate time.”

Another top official of the GSM firm, who preferred anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the process, confirmed to The Guardian that it was true that MTN Nigeria was eyeing Visafone.

“It is true. We are talking. The deal is likely to work and we shall come out to make official statement about the deal…soonest”, he stated.

Meanwhile, efforts to get the Corporate Communications Executive of Visafone, Joseph Oshiagale to comment, proved abortive as his mobile phone numbers were switched off as at press time.

Visafone, a Lagos-based communication firm, is a wireless network provider founded in 2007 by Jim Ovia, a Nigerian businessman who also created Zenith Bank Plc. The people asked not to be identified because the deal has yet to be announced. They didn’t give the value of the transaction.

Indeed, the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operator, Visafone, has remained the only surviving player in the category, loosing markets to the fierce power of the GSM players, including MTN Nigeria, Globacom, Airtel and Etisalat.

Flying Eagles - NFF Fumes Over Captain's Disappearance

By Nnagozie Ogudo   Posted at  07:24   Sports No comments

The Nigeria Football Federation has expressed displeasure with the disappearance of U-20 National Team captain, Musa Muhammed, from the camp of the U-23 National Team that is heading to Zambia for the crucial All Africa Games qualifier. NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, was miffed when officially briefed about the antics of the defender, who captained the U-17 National Team to a record fourth FIFA U-17 world title in 2013 and also led the U-20 to a seventh African title in Senegal last month. “It will be an understatement for me to say the Nigeria Football Federation is disappointed by the behaviour of Musa Muhammed. This is someone who should be a role model for the Nigerian youth. “He is very good at what he does and we love him for that. But discipline is essential in any vocation and the NFF will no longer condone indiscipline on the part of any player or coach of any of the National Teams.” Sanusi was unequivocal that Muhammed and anyone found to have aided his unwholesome conduct would face severe sanctions.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Plane at East Midlands Airport had its Landing gear fall off moments after it touches down , sending it skidding 380ft along runway

By Nnagozie Ogudo   Posted at  13:56   No comments
Crash investigators have released a photo that reveals the aftermath of a plane’s dramatic landing at East Midlands Airport.

A set of wheels broke off the Boeing 737 moments after it touched down at the airport, near Derby, causing the cargo plane to skid along the runway for 380ft before coming to a stop.

It happened as the plane delivered 10 tonnes of freight, including dangerous goods, on an Air Contractors flight that originated in Athens and included a stopover at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. The plane’s 38-year-old captain and co-pilot escaped injury, and there were no passengers on board when the left main landing gear detached.

The plane, manufactured in 1990, suffered significant damage to its left wing and engine as it slid along the runway in darkness on the morning of April 29, 2014, according to an Air Accidents Investigation Branch report.

As the plane landed its speed was reduced and the co-pilot handed control to the captain, who pressed on the brakes twice to disengage the autobrake system.
The touchdown was ‘unremarkable’ and the autobrake functioned normally, according to the report, but the left main landing gear came off when an inner cylinder, just above the axle, fractured as a result of heat damage to chrome plating.

The report stated: ‘The aircraft shuddered and rolled slightly left-wing-low as the lower part of the main landing gear detached.’

It said that the source of the heat could not be determined. As the plane came to a stop its flight crew feared that it would burst into flames, with the co-pilot and the pilot of a different plane reporting smoke to air traffic control.

The report stated: ‘The co-pilot saw some smoke drift past the aircraft as it came to a halt. The commander … had reached the conclusion that one of the main landing gear legs had failed, but as a result of the other pilot’s transmission, he was also concerned that the aircraft might be on fire.’

The captain shut down the engines and switched off the battery as firefighters attended the scene, but the plane did not catch fire.

Firefighters placed a ladder against the door to allow the captain and co-pilot to disembark, and they sprayed foam around the landing gear and engine as a precaution.

The report cited concerns about communications between air traffic control and other agencies, and said the airport operator issued a safety bulletin with a reminder of emergency protocols and procedures.

The landing gear overhaul company carried out a review as a precaution, as it was not clear how or when the chrome plating damage occurred.

US President, Barack Obama visits Bob Marley museum on historic trip to Jamaica

By Nnagozie Ogudo   Posted at  13:17   No comments
US president heard saying "I still have all the albums" as he takes brief tour of Jamaican reggae musician's former home

 Barack Obama became the first sitting US president to set foot in Jamaica since 1982 on Wednesday – and made some time for the late reggae legend Bob Marley.

On arrival, Mr Obama descended from Air Force One to greet a long line of people including Portia Simpson-Miller, the Jamaican prime minister, whom he embraced.

Mr Obama then headed to a helicopter along with Ernest Moniz, the country's energy secretary.

 After a hotel stop, Mr Obama headed to the Bob Marley Museum – the former home of the superstar musician.

The US president – accompanied by aides including Susan Rice, the US national security adviser – took a brief tour of the Kingston landmark.

"I still have all the albums," the US president was heard to say, as he checked out a wall of framed records and awards.

Bob Marley, Jamaica's musical export with a global following, died of cancer in Florida in 1981.

The museum is a large house with walls painted red, green and yellow and a statue of Marley playing his guitar out front among the palm trees.

 "One Love" was being piped from the speakers as Mr Obama emerged through the front door along with his museum tour guide.
The first sitting presidential visit since Ronald Reagan was on the island 33 years ago comes as the Caribbean island nation is navigating a fiscal crisis.
Mr Obama is scheduled to meet the CARICOM regional bloc and possibly offer them an alternative to cheap Venezuelan oil amid a spat with Caracas. He is also slated to meet with Ms Simpson-Miller.
Late Thursday, Mr Obama heads to Panama, where he may have a landmark meeting with Cuba's communist President Raul Castro during a meeting of regional nations.

CRIME: LP, PDP Supporters Clash as 2 are Feared Dead In Ebonyi

By Nnagozie Ogudo   Posted at  12:49   Crime No comments
Two persons were yesterday feared dead while several others were also injured in Amagu Ikwo in Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State following a deadly clash that erupted between the supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party in the ancient city where the state governor, Chief Martin Elechi, hails from.
In a telephone interview with LEADERSHIP in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State police public relations officer, ASP Chris Anyanwu, who confirmed the killing of one person, said that the command had received information that supporters of the two leading political parties clashed yesterday.
Anyanwu stated that the command had deployed its men to the troubled area to ensure that peace is restored in the community, adding that the matter is still being investigated to ascertain the remote and immediate causes of the political clash.
He expressed regret over the continued disturbances in the state by political thugs and said that the command would not relent in its effort in ensuring that the forthcoming April 11 governorship and State House of Assembly elections in the state are violence-free.
An eyewitness who spoke to LEADERSHIP on grounds of anonymity gave the names of the victims as Mr. Christopher Nworie from Okwerike village, Ndiagu Amagu Ikwo, suspected to be a supporter of the PDP and Mr. Christopher Alobu, the village chairman of the community and a suspected Labour Party supporter.
According to the eyewitness, the late Mr. Nworie was shot at close range in his house with an assault rifle yesterday morning in the community by suspected thugs, and his body has been deposited at the Onueke mortuary in Ezza South Local Government Area of the state.
The eyewitness further stated that some persons, who believed that the deceased was killed for opposing the PDP, also invaded the residence of the village chairman and Labour Party supporter, Late Mr. Alobu and brutally murdered him.
Meanwhile, there is fear and apprehension in Ikwo Community as many youths, women and men are leaving the community in their numbers for fear of reprisals and police arrest.

Play Snake like you're on an old Nokia 3310 on smartphone

By Nnagozie Ogudo   Posted at  10:58   No comments

If you're nostalgic for the days when you weren't bombarded with notifications and battling drained batteries, 'Snake 97: retro phone classic' might be the app for you, which let's you play Snake like it's 1997.

The developer 'carefully analysed the classic gameplay, timing and controls' to make 'one of the most accurate Snake remakes available'.

It's a pretty solid effort (and free) - really the only thing missing is the satisfying click of the Nokia buttons.

Different fascias (boy, it's been a long time since I've used that word) have been added so you can enjoy the handset of your choice, no matter whether you were a 3210 or 3310 kind of guy/gal.

I like to think I'm pretty adept at the latest smartphone games but reverting back to this original is oddly challenging. I'm currently working off a top score of 21.

NLC building in Rivers State burnt down

By Nnagozie Ogudo   Posted at  10:29   No comments
PORT HARCOURT – The state secretariat of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Rivers state, located at Igboku street, D/Line in the Garden City has been razed by fire.
The fire which engulfed the building at 4:00am destroyed the building and documents belonging to the union.
Some people around in the area have allegedly attributed the inferno to have ignited from an electrical spark.
But, the management is yet to speak on this development.

Popular bayelsa motor park set on fire by a Generator explosion

By Nnagozie Ogudo   Posted at  10:28   No comments

On Thursday morning an explosion from generator has set a popular Bayelsa Motor Park on fire, destroying several shops and valuables worth millions of naira.
more to follow soon

Five-man gang of armed robbers terrorising residents of Agege apprehended

By Nnagozie Ogudo   Posted at  10:16   Crime No comments

Men of the Special Anti-robbery Squad attached to the Lagos State Police Command have arrested a five-man gang of armed robbersalleged to have been terrorising residents of Agege and its environs.

The gang, led byex-local government council staff, Ismaila Oladosun, has Shodeinde Azeez, Salami Ahmed, Sunday Samuel and Monday Paul as members. Monday is said to be receiver and disposer of stolen goods for the gang.

Luck ran out on the gang when they robbed a police officer at the Federal Highway Barracks in Ikeja,carting away phones, laptops and cash.It was this incident that led to the arrest of Ismaila who led the police to the hideout of the other members in Oko-Oba area of Agege.

Narrating his story to Daily Timesat the police command, 29- year-old Ismaila said he was a revenue collector for Okada ridersat Ikeja Local Government as.“I was making N950 daily depending on how many tickets I sold, when the Lagos State Government stopped the operation of okada riders, I found myself inrobbery because I neededa means of livelihood to sustain my wife and daughter.

“I started robbery in 2013 with a gun thelate Orji gave me. I went for two major operations with the gun and I always paidN10,000 every time I used the gun. My highest take home cash I made was N230, 000 and N5, 000 was the least.”

Ogun State-born shodeinde Azeez, who claimed to be a prelim student at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Consort said he dropped out from the programme due to lack of finance in 2008.“I had a dream of studying mass communication at the university, but after dropping out from school, I started working as a bar attendant. But in January 2014, I stopped the job.  That was when I, Ola and Samuel started snatching bags and phones.”

The 28-year-old denied any involvement with the alleged leader of the gang, Ismaila. He claimed Ismaila operated a different gang from his.

“We all live in the same area in Oko-Oba Road, Agege and we know each other as bad boys in the community; but sincerely, I never operated with him.”

Sunday Samuel, 27, from Ekiti State denied involvement with the gang. “I am not a robber. I am a D.J and a trained electrician. It is just unfortunate that the guys I was living with were thieves and I never saw it as a problem. My moving in with them was for the convenience of my business.  When my parents moved out of Agege to their own house in Ifo, I had to start living with Azeez since most of my jobs centered around that area.”

Salami Ahmed disclosed that he is the last of his gang members. He claimed he used to belong to a four-man gang. “All my gang members have been killed. Tajudeen Adeyemi, Olorunloga and Hakeem. They were lynched when we went for an operation in Ayobo area.It was their death that made me change in 2013. But when Ismaila was arrested and he was asked to point all the bad guys in the neighbourhood, he pointed at me. I used to be bad but now I am a changed person.”

Monday Paul was also arrested for his involvement as a criminal receiver. The Kogi-born car dealer was alleged to have been assisting the gang to sell stolen cars. “I sell tokunbo and brand new cars for people based on an agreed commission. Sometimes ago, Ismaila brought a car to me that he wanted to sell.

“It was a used Toyota Camry. He told me his friend was the owner, so I called Mr. Gbenga who looked at the papers of the car and paid the agreed sum of N250,000 and my commission was N15, 000. I did not know it was a stolen car, it was after we sold it that I discovered. He also brought a Mercedes Jeep and I sold it for N650, 000 and my commission was N20, 000.”

One Gbenga Odunuga, who claimed to be an innocent buyer also told our correspondent how he got involved. “I am a panel beater in Agidingbi. I did not know it was a stolen car.I wasata naming ceremony of my child when Monday called me that there was a car someone wanted to sell. He claimed the owner needed money.

“I told him I was not at work and that if he could  meet me at UBA around Acme Road, Ogba, so that I could withdraw money to pay once we agreed on the price. I eventually bought the car for N250,000 but was really surprised when recently policemen came to my workshop asking me if I knew one Monday;I said yes, and they told me the car I bought from him years back was a stolen car. But I had already repaired the car and sold it to another buyer for N400, 000.

However, SARS operatives say investigations are still ongoing to identify other buyers of the many stolen cars snatched by the gang and sold by Monday.

elder brother to Sokoto governor, Baraden Wamakko kidnapped

By Nnagozie Ogudo   Posted at  10:07   Crime No comments

Two days to the governorship elections, unknown gunmen on Wednesday evening kidnapped a traditional title holder, Alhaji Salihu Baraden Wamakko in Sokoto state.
Baraden Wamakko, is the elder brother to Governor Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto state.
Reports said that the gunmen stormed the farm of Alhaji Wamakko in the evening from where he was taken away to yet an unknown destination by his kidnappers.
However, the Sokoto state police command’s spokesman, DSP Al-Mustapha Sani who confirmed the incidence said the police had since despatched its men in search of the kidnappers.
According to the PPRO” immediately we got the news, we sent signals and mounted road blocks at strategic points in and around the state capital while efforts are being made to gather more information.”
Also confirming the incident to newsmen, Wamakkoo local government council chairman, Alhaji Ahmed Kalambaina said ” when the news got to us we were shocked and had to contact the police immediately for their action.
” To my understanding, the kidnappers took advantage of the election period to seek for money as ransom.
” You may recall that a similar thing happened in Zamfara state where the village head in Bukkuyum was kidnapped and a ransom of N10 million had to be paid to the perpetrators to secure his release four days after.
” We hope and pray to get him back from the kidnappers with the efforts of the police and the public,” he said.

The Special Assistant to President Jonathan Oronto Douglas, is dead.

By Nnagozie Ogudo   Posted at  10:02   Politics No comments
The Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Research and Documentation, Oronto Douglas, is dead.

He died early Thursday morning at the State House Clinic, from cancer-related complications.

He came to national and international prominence as an environmental activist on behalf of the oil-producing communities of the Niger Delta.

A lawyer by profession, the deceased was born in 1966 and had been sick for several years but associates of President Jonathan said he continued to work over the last few weeks for Jonathan’s reelection, with one source saying he was devastated when his principal lost the presidential polls.

Douglas is Nigeria’s leading environmental human rights lawyer and was deputy director of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria, and has been a visiting lecturer and speaker at community-organized events, international conferences, and universities all over the world.

Douglas was a member of the legal team that represented Ken Saro-Wiwa before he was executed by the Nigerian military junta in November 1995.

He received degrees in law from the University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, Nigeria, and De Montford, Leicester, England.

His articles and speeches have been published in books, journals, and magazines in Nigeria, Europe and the United States.

His recent book: “Where Vultures Feast, Shell, Human Rights, and Oil in the Niger Delta” has been published by Random House. He is now the Commissioner for Information, Culture, Tourism and Strategy for Bayelsa state in Nigeria.

He remains the first Niger Delta activist to have been hosted at the White House by a serving American President in the heydays of President Bill Clinton.

Douglas is a Fellow of the George Bell Institute, England, and the International Forum on Globalization, USA.

He has presented papers in over 200 international conferences and has visited over 50 countries to speak on human rights and the environment.

With his friend, Ike Okonta, he co-authored Where Vultures Feast, the ground-breaking study on Shell and human rights violation in the Niger Delta.

Oronto Douglas is the Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Research & Documentation.

He is survived by wife and children.

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