Nigeria’s President Buhari promises change at inauguration

Mr Buhari, a former military ruler, has taken over from Goodluck Jonathan, who had been in office since 2010.

At the inauguration ceremony at Abuja’s Eagle Square – Mr Jonathan handed over the constitution and national flags before Mr Buhari took his oath of office.

In his first speech as president, Mr Buhari reiterated his commitment to tackle Boko Haram, whom he described as “a mindless, godless group, who are as far away from Islam as one can think”.

 Abuja:

Nigeria"s new President Muhammadu Buhari rides in a motorcade while inspecting the guard of honour at Eagle Square in Abuja
President Buhari said Nigeria now had “a window of opportunity to fulfil her potential”

As soon as Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in the invited guests in Eagle Square rose to their feet, danced and sang their new president’s name. As he was then driven around in an open vehicle, people rushed forward to record the moment on their phones.

This was a time for celebration not just for supporters of the new leader but also for Nigerians who are proud that their country has witnessed this historic transition. By conceding Goodluck Jonathan steered the country away from violence. We will never know how close Nigeria was to the precipice.

Moments after Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in thousands of excited young men ran through the security barriers to Eagle Square and pressed up against the perimeter fence cheered their new leader. It was a stark reminder that so many in Nigeria are expecting change, including jobs, from President Buhari.

As Mr Jonathan is driven away I would not be surprised if he has a sense of relief and feels an almighty weight has just been lifted off his shoulders.

Mr Buhari also announced plans for the Nigerian military’s command centre to be moved from Abuja to the strategic north-eastern city of Maiduguri, which is closer to areas where the group operates.

He said Boko Haram could not be said to be defeated without rescuing the more than 200 Chibok girls, whose capture last April sparked a global campaign to bring them back home.

“This government will do all it can to rescue them alive,” he said.

Mr Buhari said the Nigerian economy was “in deep trouble”, identifying “insecurity, pervasive corruption… and seemingly impossible fuel and power shortages” as key concerns.

The country’s power supply crisis was “a national shame”, he said, which had brought “darkness, frustration, misery, and resignation” to Nigerians.

Muhammadu Buhari in focus:

Muhammadu Buhari
  • Muslim from northern Nigeria, aged 72
  • Military ruler of Nigeria from 1984 to 1985, deposed in a coup
  • Seen as incorruptible
  • Poor human rights record
  • Survived apparent Boko Haram assassination attempt

LOL and check this out:

The president rounded off his speech with a quotation from Shakespeare, before issuing a final rallying call to Nigerians: “We have an opportunity. Let us take it.”

So what do you think is he like the past presidents we have had or is he the Moses of Nigeria???? feel free to drop you comments

Experimental drug likely saved Ebola patients

(CNN) – On Thursday, Dr. Kent Brantly thought he was going to die.

It was the ninth day since the American missionary worker came down sick with Ebola in Liberia.

His condition worsening by the minute, Brantly called his wife to say goodbye.

Thankfully, the call was premature.

Brantly is back on his feet — literally — after receiving a last-ditch, highly experimental drug. Another American missionary with Ebola got the same.

Brantly’s and Nancy Writebol’s conditions significantly improved after receiving the medication, sources say. Brantly was able to walk into Emory University Hospital in Atlanta after being evacuated to the United States last week, and Writebol is expected to arrive in Atlanta on Tuesday.

On July 22, Brantly woke up feeling feverish. Fearing the worst, Brantly immediately isolated himself. Writebol’s symptoms started three days later. A rapid field blood test confirmed the infection in both of them after they had become ill with fever, vomiting and diarrhea.

It’s believed Brantly and Writebol, who worked with the aid organization Samaritan’s Purse, contracted Ebola from another health care worker at their hospital in Liberia, although the official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention case investigation has yet to be released.

The experimental drug, known as ZMapp, was developed by the biotech firm Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc., which is based in San Diego. The patients were told that the treatment had never been tried before in a human being but had shown promise in small experiments with monkeys.According to company documents, four monkeys infected with Ebola survived after being given the therapy within 24 hours after infection. Two of four other monkeys that started therapy within 48 hours after infection also survived. One monkey that was not treated died within five days of exposure to the virus.

Brantly and Writebol were aware of the risk of taking a new, little-understood treatment and gave informed consent, according to two sources familiar with the care of the missionary workers. In the monkeys, the experimental serum had been given within 48 hours of infection. Brantly didn’t receive it until he’d been sick for nine days.

The medicine is a three-mouse monoclonal antibody, meaning that mice were exposed to fragments of the Ebola virus and then the antibodies generated within the mice’s blood were harvested to create the medicine. It works by preventing the virus from entering and infecting new cells.

The Ebola virus causes viral hemorrhagic fever, which refers to a group of viruses that affect multiple organ systems in the body and are often accompanied by bleeding.

Early symptoms include sudden onset of fever, weakness, muscle pain, headaches and a sore throat. They later progress to vomiting, diarrhea, impaired kidney and liver function — and sometimes internal and external bleeding.

The ZMapp vials, stored at subzero temperatures, reached the hospital in Liberia where Brantly and Writebol were being treated Thursday morning. Doctors were instructed to allow the serum to thaw naturally without any additional heat. It was expected that it would be eight to 10 hours before the medicine could be given, according to a source familiar with the process.

Brantly asked that Writebol be given the first dose because he was younger and he thought he had a better chance of fighting it, and she agreed. However, as the first vial was still thawing, Brantly’s condition took a sudden turn for the worse.

Brantly began to deteriorate and developed labored breathing. He told his doctors he thought he was dying, according to a source with firsthand knowledge of the situation.

Knowing his dose was still frozen, Brantly asked if he could have Writebol’s now-thawed medication. It was brought to his room and administered through an IV. Within an hour of receiving the medication, Brantly’s condition dramatically improved. He began breathing easier; the rash over his trunk faded away. One of his doctors described the events as “miraculous.”

By the next morning, Brantly was able to take a shower on his own before getting on a specially designed Gulfstream air ambulance jet to be evacuated to the United States.Writebol also received a vial of the medication. Her response was not as remarkable, according to sources familiar with the treatment. However, doctors on Sunday administered Writebol a second dose of the medication, which resulted in significant improvement.

She was stable enough to be evacuated back to the United States.

The process by which the medication was made available to Brantly and Writebol is highly unusual.

World Health Organization spokesman Gregory Hartl cautioned that health authorities “cannot start using untested drugs in the middle of an outbreak, for various reasons.”

Doctors Without Borders similarly weighed in on the side of caution.

“It is important to keep in mind that a large-scale provision of treatments and vaccines that are in very early stages of development has a series of scientific and ethical implications,” the organization said in a statement.

“As doctors, trying an untested drug on patients is a very difficult choice since our first priority is to do no harm, and we would not be sure that the experimental treatment would do more harm than good.”

ZMapp has not been approved for human use and has not even gone through the clinical trial process, which is standard to prove the safety and efficacy of a medication. It may have been given under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s “compassionate use” regulation, which allows access to investigational drugs outside clinical trials.

Getting approval for compassionate use is often long and laborious, but in the case of Brantly and Writebol, they received the medication within seven to 10 days of their exposure to the Ebola virus.

On July 30, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, an arm of the military responsible for any chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosive threats, allotted additional funding to MAPP Biopharmaceutical due to “promising results.”

http://matsutas.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/the-ebola-virus-and-the-vampire-state-by-susan-shepler/

Coming back to Sierra Leone at the end of June and traveling on to Liberia in July, I’ve seen a big change. There have been hundreds of deaths, and people are definitely taking the issue more seriously now.

The virus is primarily spread by contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, so one of the precautions advised is to not shake hands with people. But I’m finding that very hard in Sierra Leone and Liberia. We shake hands with everyone we meet. A driver told me, “I carry all kinds of people in my car. My children are playing with all kinds of children and then we all sit together at home. What can I do?” I was sitting in a crowded public transport vehicle in the Red Light neighborhood, just outside Monrovia the other day, waiting for the vehicle to fill with passengers so we could leave. A vendor came by, hawking green garden gloves, boasting that they could be used to prevent Ebola. People around me laughed.

It’s only in the last few days that I now see hand-washing stations outside government ministries and some NGOs (though not all). It seems a little futile when the same people go out to eat in the same cook shops with the same shared utensils.

Outside the Ministry of Education in Monrovia

Education about the virus and how it spreads is now seen as the main public health task. In “West Africa: Misconceptions Fuel Ebola Outbreak”A UNICEF spokesman explains, “Some people still deny that the disease is real. Others believe that it doesn’t have to be treated.” The article goes on to explain that, “Widespread misconception, resistance, denial and occasional hostility in some communities are considerably complicating the humanitarian response to contain the outbreak.” I’m reminded of what I heard in West Africa in the nineties, that AIDS stands for “American Invention to Destroy Sex.” There is a long history of lament that Africans don’t believe what we’re telling them about their own health crises, cries of we need more education! Ignorance is the biggest enemy!

On a teacher’s door in Monrovia

On the wall of a bank in Freetown

In Monrovia, I was told that there have been real impacts on the health system. People are afraid to go to the hospital and health workers are refusing to treat people. So, I was told, even a small sickness can kill you because there is no one to treat you. (See “Fighting Ebola ‘by the Grace of God’” detailing panicked health workers in Liberia abandoning their work stations.)

The coverage I’ve heard on the BBC and elsewhere focuses on how dangerous it is for people not to comply, and experts decry the ignorance of people who don’t understand that these actions are for the health of the population as a whole. Sierra Leonean firebrand, and special assistant to the President, Sylvia Blyden, makes the point that it is not only uneducated rural people who are acting this way. Even people in the more cosmopolitan capital are fighting against the public health restrictions. She recently posted on Facebook:

Esteemed members of SIERRA LEONE ISSUES, well the “gullible” people are not only in Kissi Teng, Kailahun. Tonight, credible reports are that a suspected Ebola patient has escaped from Isolation at PCMH Cottage [Hospital], Fourah Bay Rd. in Freetown with help of her friends and family. She was reportedly admitted in isolation whilst waiting for her test results from Ebola lab in Kenema. Well, to cut a long story short, she was forcibly removed from the Isolation room and then, was put onboard an okada motorbike and whisked off to her residence somewhere in Freetown. One of the nurses on duty was seriously SLAPPED for attempting to stop the escape.

Enti na Kissi Teng, Kailahun, some bin day cuss “munku” and “gullible”? [In English: Isn’t it true that in Kissi Teng, Kailahun, some people were cursing people for their lack of exposure and gullibility?]

I feel like a lot of the coverage of the Ebola crisis has been about the heroic health workers and the ignorant locals. I don’t dispute the heroism of the health workers, but I do want to dispute the ignorance of the locals. People on radio call in shows have asked: Why can’t they understand what needs to be done? Why they need to submit themselves and their loved ones to quarantine? When someone has the symptoms—fever, vomiting, diarrhea—they are supposed to report to the health center, where they will be taken away from family, and if they die, be buried by men in protective gear with no family present. You can see why people might be loath to turn over their loved ones. Really who among us would want to turn a sick loved one over to a hospital staffed with foreigners, knowing we might never see them again? And hospitals in this part of the world have notoriously poor service. Families routinely have to prepare meals and bring them to patients. Families have to go to local pharmacies to buy drugs and even gloves or needles from India or Nigeria because hospital storerooms are routinely not stocked. People’s apprehensions about the failings of the healthcare system come from experience, not from ignorance.

At least some commentators have pointed out that this crisis really reveals people’s mistrust of the state, that’s why they don’t do what they’re told. One expert on a BBC call-in program explained this was understandable in the aftermath of war. I would argue that it’s far deeper than that. It’s not just the war that caused this mistrust. The mistrust existed long before. Furthermore, the issue is more than people ignoring public health warnings from the state. People believe that the state is actually out to get them; more precisely, that “big men” are using the apparatus to of the state to enrich themselves at the expense of ordinary people, sometimes at the expense of their lives.

Some folks standing outside JFK Hospital in Monrovia told me that there is a spray, a chemical spray, that if they say you have Ebola, they spray it on you and that’s what actually kills you. They explained that the health ministry is using it so they can report more deaths from Ebola and get more money. They said the government already got $1.8 million in March so they know there is money in it.

A friend recounted a story that in one of the poor neighborhoods some group was giving vaccinations against Ebola (“But there is no vaccine,” I protest. “Doesn’t matter. People don’t know that,” he replies.) He says two babies died almost immediately after receiving the shots, and the medical team vanished afterwards, now no one knows who gave the shots. “Someone must have been poisoning the children to make it look like more Ebola deaths!” This is an unsubstantiated rumor, but the important thing is how the rumor was spread by average, even well educated, people like my friend. He said that people think it is someone in or near the government who is getting rich off of the money that is coming into the country to battle the epidemic, and wants the situation to continue to look dire. When I sounded doubtful, my friend gave further evidence. He told me that the Chief Accountant at the Ministry of Health was preparing to make a report to the donors of how all the Ebola response money given to the government had been spent so far. The evening before the presentation he was badly beaten by thugs, and they took all the paperwork away from him and nothing else. Clearly, my friend argued, someone has something to hide!

So, is this a case of ignorance? Or do these beliefs tell us something more? I think the rumors reveal something about the nature of the state here and people’s so-called contract with it. The state has acted in just such a vampiric fashion in the past, feeding off of the misery of its citizens, and likely will continue to do so. They are not responding out of ignorance, but again I would argue, out of long experience.

Susan Shepler is Associate Professor of International Peace and Conflict Resolution in the School of International Service at American University in Washington DC. She is currently conducting Spencer Foundation funded research in Liberia and Sierra Leone on connections between Western education, the state, and armed conflict.

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Photos from the accident scene involving El Rufai’s 23 year old son

El Rufai’s son Hamza El Rufai died this morning in a fatal accident. Here are pics from the accident scene. Hamza was driving the black Lexus car (pictured above) when he ran into a stationery blue colored Volkswagen Saloon car around the Ningi Barrack along A.Y.A – Kubwa road aroudn 5.30am this morning July 29th.

Two persons were involved in the crash but only Hamza died. According to the Federal Road Safety Corps, his corpse was taken to the national mosque by his parents while the crashed vehicles were deposited at the Maitama Police station. Continue to see more pics and GEJ’s message commiserating with El Rufai …

Hamza was a student of Rochester Institute of Technology, Dubai and was billed to graduate in 2015.

PRESIDENT JONATHAN COMMISERATES WITH MALLAM EL-RUFAI ON THE LOSS OF HIS SON

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has received with a deep sense of grief and shock, news of the sudden and untimely death of Hamza El-Rufai, son of the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai.

On behalf of himself, his family and the Federal Government, President Jonathan extends his heartfelt commiserations to Mallam el-Rufai and all members of the el-Rufai family.

The President says although no amount of words can fill the deep gap created by the loss of Hamza, he hopes that the outpouring of support at this moment by friends and associates will comfort Mallam El-Rufai.

President Jonathan prays for the peaceful repose of the soul of the departed and also for God’s blessing, comfort and protection for Mallam El-Rufai and the rest of his family.

Reuben Abati

Special Adviser to the President

(Media & Publicity)

July 29, 2014

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