Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Unknown gunmen attack and kill many residents of Yobe village

Unknown gunmen attack and kill many residents of Yobe village

Unknown gunmen have attacked Dogon Kuka village in Yobe State, killing and injuring an unspecified number of people.

The gunmen invaded the village on Saturday, and started firing indiscriminately.
Two people died immediately, the Commissioner of Police, Yobe State Command, Patrick Egbuniwe, confirmed to Agence France Presse.

“A group of unknown gunmen stormed Dogon Kuka village and opened fire on residents. From all indications, they were on a shooting spree. From reports reaching us, some people might have been killed,” Egbuniwe told AFP.

The state police commissioner said he could not put a figure on the number of deaths.

“I don’t have details yet but we have deployed security personnel to the village to ascertain the nature and extent of the attack,” he said.

He declined to say if the attackers were members of the extremist Boko Haram, which has been blamed for a string of deadly attacks in several parts of Yobe State and neighbouring Borno State.
The village is about 70 kilometres (45 miles) from Damaturu, the state capital.

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Weststar woos Mercedes customers to Abuja motor show

Weststar Associates, the representative of Mercedes Benz in Nigeria, has said it plans to use this year’s Abuja motor show as an avenue to offer its customers, old and new, a treat of the Mercedes-Benz service.

Organised annually by BKG Exhibition Limited, the 2012 Abuja motor fair has been fixed for October 16 – October 24.

A statement by the firm on Monday also said it would showcase six new passenger cars, four trucks and buses as the stars of the Abuja show.

The firm said visitors to its stand would learn about the Mercedes-Benz service. It listed issues of focus in connection with trucks, vans and passenger cars as FleetBoard, CharterWay, genuine parts, Mercedes-Benz MobiloVan and truck maintenance management, telediagnosis.

“This means partnership, availability and competence,” it added.

Westster, which also represents Chrysler brand, said that the Abuja motor show would provide the stage for a multitude of premieres from Daimler AG.

It stressed that passenger cars, trucks, vans and buses from Mercedes-Benz were currently setting standards in efficiency, economy, environmental acceptability and safety.

“Visitors will be able to see the whole range of Mercedes-Benz products designed and manufactured to meet the demand in Nigeria.”

Specifically, it said the Atego and Actros, to be on display, had been designed for completely different requirements, taking into account differences in the condition of the roads in the respective regions of Nigeria.

The latest from Chrysler/Jeep /Dodge and RAM brands would also be on display, Weststar said.

It said, “At this year’s Abuja Motor Show, the Chrysler/Jeep® /Dodge and RAM brands will showcase to the public new models that will further enhance the product portfolio in Nigeria.

For instance, it said that the new Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT would be showcased.

It said, “This vehicle is the high-performance version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and boasts a distinctive look with blacked-out details and the powerful 6.4-litre Hemi engine producing 468 horsepower.

“The new SRT pays tribute to all those extreme sports-car enthusiasts who want to stand out from the crowd, even on high-adrenaline race tracks.”

Beside the new Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, the new Jeep Wrangler as well as the 4×2 and 4×4 versions of the Compass would be available, it said.

Other models lined up are the Dodge Durango Crewlux and Citadel, the flagships of the brand’s 4×4 vehicles; the Dodge Caliber, with the best execution available in its class for a special Motor Fair Price and the Dodge RAM 1500 Pick Up Crew Cabin.

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Three Chinese construction workers killed in Maiduguri by gunmen

Three Chinese construction workers killed in Maiduguri by gunmen

Gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram have reportedly shot and killed three Chinese construction workers in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

The incident occurred on Saturday afternoon in Gubio Local Government Area, about 89 kilometers from Maiduguri, Premium Times reports.

The Chinese are said to be staff of a construction company, working on several projects in the state.
Reports indicate that the victims, who regularly visited local markets were shot as they patronised a local market.

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-Latest investigation had revealed that none of the 4 murdered students was involved in robbery or any kind of pilfering.
It was gathered from a source that ugo and Lloyd were cousins. Someone was indebted to Ugo around the community and had vowed not to pay. Ugo who was popularly known as tipsy had gone to meet a fearless university guy to help them track the debtor who had been on the run. The guy who was feared by many in the school had accepted to accompany Ugo and Llyold to get the debtor tracked down and get his own percentage of the money.

They were joined by their room mate,Chidiaka. On their way to the place,they met one of their friends,Tekena,who knew nothing about the plan and he joined,just for the hype as its normal with young boys of juvenile age. They were actually 5 that got to the debtor’s compound. Unknown to the other 4,the guy who was contracted to intimidate the debtor just to get the money went with a gun.

When they got to the debtor’s house,around 5am,fight ensued,as the debtor confronted them. A next door neighbour,a woman started shouting on top of her voice,that they were thieves,attracting other bad boys around the areas,whom they said were rival cult group of the one on contract. They swung into action by tipping the vigilantee who confronted the boys,referring to them as thieves. At the process of beating the boys,and while they were trying to explain,the 5th contracted guy,the cultist brought out his gun to scare the people,and he escaped leaving the rest 4 at the mercy of the villagers. The explanation they tried to give fell on the community’s deaf ears as the people insisted that they must be killed. They were beaten naked and taken round the whole community for hours before they were killed and burnt close to a sand pit at about 10am in the watchful eyes of more than 3 thousand people,whom the police couldn’t over-powered

THIS STORY IS AN EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT FROM THE 5TH BOY WHO ESCAPED,HE NARRATED THIS TO UGO AND LLOYD’S FRIEND. Ugo and Lloyd’s were promising rappers and singers,they had just finished recording a song titled ”aint no love in the city”. MAY THEIR SOUL R.I.P!!!


Great expectations as Adenuga opens TV channel

Wale Adenuga

| credits:

Seasoned publisher and producer, Wale Adenuga, has a strength that many of his contemporaries do not have: he seems to have a grasp of the business side of entertainment. His record with widely sold defunct Ikebe Super and Binta and Friends magazines, as well as popular TV series that include Papa Ajasco and Superstory, speaks for him in this respect. It is the same reason that some people will closely watch Adenuga as he unfolds another major arm of his trade, which is the establishment of a TV channel called wapTV.

It is reasonable to think that the field is gradually getting saturated, based on the number of outfits that came on stream in recent times. Yet, while experts are likely to concede that there is still room for specialised channels, certain factors could easily have boosted Adenuga’s courage. Part of his strength is the experience he has garnered in the industry where he has worked with stakeholders in all aspects of the industry. Also, he is a major content provider who, like the proverbial person that sleeps beneath the oro fruit tree, which is not likely to be starved of its delicious fruits, will normally have his hands full.

And after having recorded several major productions over the years, some people would also argue that he should be able to muster the financial muscle to ensure sustenance, which is the bane of such media products in Nigeria. Of course, Adenuga also seems to be strategically positioned to leverage on his film training company, PEFTI, from where he can get hands to support wap structures.

The General Manager, wapTV, Abdulhakeem Williams, underscores these points when unveiling the channel that came on air on October 1. According to him, Adenuga’s dogged determination to see the project through serves as a catalyst for all the staff.

“His never ending enthusiasm and drive are factors that drive our unique station because he is, without doubt, wap personified,” he notes.

Williams adds that while the channel has launched new programmes such as morning ride Kookoorookoo, Oro Agba, Wapparazi, Vogue 360, Reel Naija and Awokogbon (mainly Yoruba movies), it will also air Adenuga’s classics that include Superstory, This Life and Odd World.

Among members of the staff on wapTV’s stable are Ehikodi Kwesi, Matthew Olunola, Oluwambe Folasade, Mofe Duncan, Effiong Veronica (presenters); Agadumo Oluwakemi, Bukkie Allison, Oluwatosin Ogunde, Oludare Oluwatosin, all working in various departments.

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Yinka Odumakin
Saka in class
John Ugbe

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Wife of Osun Speaker kidnapped

Speaker, Osun State House of Assembly, Honourable Najeem Salaam

Speaker, Osun State House of Assembly, Honourable Najeem Salaam
| credits: osundefender.org

Unknown gunmen in Ejigbo, Osun State, on Tuesday, kidnapped the wife of the Speaker, Osun State House of Assembly, Mr Najeem Salaam.

Muiba, the first wife of the Speaker, was kidnapped in the Bamagay Square area of the town shortly after she had left her shop where she sold bags of rice, semovita and groundnut oil.

Her Honda car was overtaken by the vehicle of a six-member gan. The gang reportedly forced her Honda car to stop along Union Baptist Road in the Oke-Oyo area of Ejigbo, the Speaker’s hometown.

Our correspondent learnt that Muiba, who alighted and attempted to run from the kidnappers, was stopped and forced into a waiting car.

Chairman, House Committee on Regional Integration and Special Duties, Mr Femi Fafiyebi, confirmed the development, saying the news was “shocking.”

“I just heard about it a few minutes ago. Osun is a very peaceful state. We are the only state that checked flooding and created the most enabling environment in the south-west. I don’t know why this should happen in our dear state,” Fafiyebi said.

Police Public Relations Officer, Osun Command, Mrs Sade Odoro, who promised to get across to our correspondent over the development failed to do so.

Her phone was switched off when our correspondent called her back for confirmation.

Our correspondent reports that it is in Odoro’s character to ignore inquiries by journalists over crime matters in the state.

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Students of UNIPORT during a protest against the killings of four of their colleagues in Port Harcourt ... on Tuesday, October 9, 2012.
Ankio Briggs

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Lynching: UNIPORT students burn houses, cars in protest

Students of UNIPORT during a protest against the killings of four of their colleagues in Port Harcourt ... on Tuesday, October 9, 2012.

Students of UNIPORT during a protest against the killings of four of their colleagues in Port Harcourt ... on Tuesday, October 9, 2012.
| credits: NAN.

Angry students of the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Tuesday invaded Aluu community where four of their colleagues were killed on Friday.

By the time security operatives restored order to the troubled community, many houses and cars had been torched and about 30 students injured.

But the students’ action came with a cost: The UNIPORT authorities shut the 37-year-old institution indefinitely.

While the community boiled, the National Assembly condemned the UNIPORT and Mubi Polytechnic killings. The House of Representatives went a step further by summoning the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, over the rising  insecurity in the country.

Four second year undergraduates of UNIPORT – Biringa Lordson of Theatre Arts Department;  Ugonna  Obuzor of the Geology Department;   Mike  Toku of   Civil Engineering  Department;  and Tekema Erikena -were  lynched in Aluu for allegedly stealing a laptop computer and BlackBerry phone. The lynching was also videotaped.

Last week, gunmen had also invaded the off campus hostel of the Federal Polytechnic, Mubi  with a hit list and butchered more than 40 students.

A source in  Choba  told our our correspondent in Rivers State that irate students who gathered under the auspices of the National Association of Nigerian Students had barricaded the East-West Road, vowing not to leave until the UNIPORT Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Joseph Ajienka, addressed them.

Some the students later moved to Aluu and began to set  houses and cars ablaze until security operatives came to disperse them.

The immediate past student union president, Mr. Rhino Owhorkire, said  that 30 students were injured during the incident that took place at about 4.30 pm.

Owhokire, who hails from  Aluu, stated that he tried to calm the students and stop them from going ahead to torch the buildings to no avail.

“I am from Aluu and I tried my best to calm them down and stop them from burning houses . The initial plan was for them to make bonfire on the road and not to burn houses,” he said.

  NANS Treasurer, South East and South-South, Mr. Iyere Onono, urged government to address the grievances of the students.

As the tension rose, the management of the university  ordered the immediate closure of the university to forestall the breakdown of law and order on the  campus.

Its Public Relations Officer, Dr. Williams Wodi, who spoke with The  PUNCH on the telephone, said,  “The University of Port Harcourt has been shut down indefinitely and students have been told to vacate their hostels until normalcy returns to the institution. We will reopen when normalcy returns.”

Reps summon IG

In Abuja,  the House of Representatives ordered  the Inspector-General of Police, to appear before its Committee on Police Affairs to explain what he had done so far to contain the wave of violent crimes in the country.

The resolution followed a motion of urgent national importance moved by the member representing Mubi-North/South/Maiha Federal Constituency of Adamawa State, Mr. Abubakar Wambai.

Wambai complained that up till Tuesday (yesterday), the killers of the polytechnic students had not been identified.

Besides summoning the IG, the House directed its Committee on Police Affairs to visit Mubi and assess the situation.

The Chairman, House Committee on Electoral Matters, Mr. Jerry Manwe, recalled that Mubi used to be a peaceful town where commercial activities flourished.

“Let us set up a committee to visit Mubi so that we can have a report on what really happened,” he stated.

 Mark canvasses state police

At the Senate,  Mark expressed his support for the creation of state police in the face of what he described as the “perceived failure  of  the Police to stem insecurity in the country.

Mark’s comments came during the debate of a motion brought by Senator Ayogu Eze and 98 other senators on the Aluu killings.

  He said, “We are worried that this has happened, and it is a test case for the police because the video is there for them to identify the perpetrators and they should quickly bring them to book.

“I was against state police before, but I have since changed my mind. The frequency with which crimes happen in this country and the difficulty the current police have in carrying out their investigations means that there are real security challenges that we need to address. And to address them, we must make sure that there are enough policemen that can police this country. The benefits of state police outweigh its disadvantages at the moment.”

Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi said the Aluu killing was an expression of an angry nation that was becoming disconnected from humanity, as a result of accumulated years of disappointment and neglect by government.

  Ekweremadu, who said he knew one of the victims’ parents, added that the country should not be allowed to continue on the path of bloodshed.

Leader of the Senate, Victor Ndoma-Egba, described the killing as an “act of squandering the future of the country.”

NANS  ultimatum

Meanwhile, NANS on Tuesday issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the Federal and Rivers State  governments to apprehend and punish the perpetrators of the killing of  the four UNIPORT students.

 Describing  the killing as “inhumane, barbaric and uncalled for,” NANS said if the Federal and Rivers State governments  failed to meet its demand by the expiration of  the  ultimatum,  its members  would have no other option than to use their  “constitutional powers.”

NANS National Public Relations Officer, Clement Olusegun, said in a statement in Abeokuta, Ogun State,  that the association would soon shift its secretariat temporarily to Port Harcourt to enable it coordinate a peaceful protest  against the killing of the four undergraduates.

The association, however, kicked against President Goodluck Jonathan’s failure to use the opportunity of his national broadcast on Tuesday to condole with the families of the lynched students.

The statement reads in part, “The leadership of  NANS condemns the national address of our President in which he did not mention the incident that occurred at the University of Port Harcourt.

“Realising the fact that “An Injury to One Is an Injury to  All”, we are using this medium to call on the Federal Government and the River State Government to bring the perpetrators of this act  to book without any further delay, within the next 48 hours from today(Tuesday).

“While we mourn the death of our brothers, we are equally pleading with all concerned Nigerian students to remain calm as a seven- working-day mourning period has been declared by the management of University of Port Harcourt.”

I collapsed – Mum

The mother of one of the murdered students  has however petitioned the Senate, demanding that justice be done.

In a petition dated October 9, 2012, which was addressed to the President of the Senate, David Mark, mother of the late Chiadika, Mrs. Chinwe Biringa, said perpetrators of the heinous crime must not go unpunished.

A copy of the petition which was obtained by one of our correspondents in Abuja on Tuesday said Biringa’s father is a senior staff of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

According to Chinwe, when her son  turned 20 years  this week, he was given money to mark his birthday  with his friends.

The petition reads in part, “On Friday morning, we were called by my second son, also a UNIPORT student, that all was not well; that he was hearing bad rumours that villagers in ALUU,  had murdered four students.

“I immediately rushed to the scene only to see my son’s dead body being taken away naked to a mortuary in the UNIPORT Teaching Hospital. I could not believe my eyes as I collapsed.

“What did my son do? What did the other three young men who died with him do? First, we heard that the four students were alleged to have stolen a BlackBerry phone and a laptop computer.

“This could not be further from the truth. My son has had a BlackBerry phone and in fact, a laptop computer since he was in primary school. No way could my son steal such a common thing as a cell phone which every village woman now owns.

“We have been subjected to several gory videos and pictures on the Internet. This shows that someone filmed the whole barbarism from beginning to end. My son and his friends were savagely beaten and burnt to death while villagers in  ALUU watched. All this has been caught on film!”

Chinwe demanded that apart from clearing the name of her son, justice should be meted out to the killers .

‘Your Excellency, every responsible parent knows what I, my husband, and the entire family are passing through over this beastly murder. We do not want this thing to be swept under the rug like most Nigerian investigations.”


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Ankio Briggs
President Goodluck Jonathan

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Re: Awo replies Achebe

The story published in The PUNCH on Monday, October 8 on the explanation by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, made an interesting reading. Prof. Chinua Achebe stated in his new book that Awo said that starvation was a legitimate weapon of war without any qualification or delineation of the circumstances or conditions under which it might be used. Second, it should have been obvious to all that the overriding principle that it serves humanity and justice far better to let a million criminals go free than deny one innocent person his/her right. In any case, what was the strength of the Biafran army compared with Nigeria? Does it mean that if the Igbos had found a way around the food blockade, the Nigerian government would have employed chemical and biological weapons for a quick end of the war?

Ihedioha Obed,

Ebute Meta, Lagos State.


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Ondo – INEC’s next cchool

WOULD the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, use Ondo State to continue its learning processes? Since INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega came into office two years ago, INEC has promised to be better with every election.

Before the 2011 elections, Jega told a round table in Lagos: “Let me inform you that when the new commission was put in place, there was a retreat at Obudu.

The commission’s report was studied by members of the commission and in the report there was indication that there are about 87 ways of rigging elections that were discovered and since that time INEC has been doing everything possible block those loopholes.”

The 2011 elections either did not benefit from INEC’s knowledge, or the malpractices in the elections were not among the 87 that INEC knew. Jega told the same audience: “It is not our skills, knowledge and experience that will make the electoral process successful.

Instead, it is our actions that will make or mar the process. Consequently, it is our resolve in INEC to be guided by transparency, integrity, credibility, impartiality and dedication.”

Debates will trail these promises, but most importantly, the software Jega praised in 2010 has not changed anything. Jega has said: “The significance of the new software is that it will tackle many of the lingering challenges that had questioned the credibility of our voters’ register.

The system will no doubt lead to improvements in the accuracy and convenience with which the register can be revised and updated. The new direct data capturing machines is a clear departure from other machines used in the last registration exercise.”

Are the direct data capturing machines still in use? INEC has held one off elections in Adamawa, Anambra, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Kogi, Rivers, Sokoto states since then, with the challenges appearing more overwhelming each time. Last July’s election in Edo State witnessed late arrival of materials in an unprecedented magnitude that affected even Benin City, the state capital. INEC had no explanation for the flaws.

Updating of voters’ register is an assignment INEC has abandoned. It gave up the attempt in Edo State after complaints about compromise of the process.

INEC should use the Ondo State governorship polls on 20 October — just 12 days away — to showcase improvements it has made, following lessons from Edo which shares similar terrain with Ondo.

Free and fair elections would be challenged in Ondo. The opposition is fierce, and the incumbent governor believes he has done enough to be returned. The contest should remain healthy.

Security of voters should be a priority. Violence has no part in democratic decisions and politicians should advise their followers accordingly.

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FMC rewards 90 health workers

The Federal Medical Centre,Ebute-Metta, Lagos, has honoured about 90 health workers for their exemplary performance at the hospital.
The 90 awardees are distinguished members of staff of the health institution that have served the hospital for between 15 and 25 years.
Speaking during the long service award ceremony, the Chief Medical Director, Dr. Munirah Jinadu, said the award day was in line with the federal public service mandate to recognise and honour workers who had put in over 15 years in service.
According to her, the duty of offering quality medical health care services to the public could not be achieved solely by the management team but collectively by all health workers.
She noted, “The importance of human resources in any organisation cannot be overemphasised because therein lies the mechanism for the growth and development of the organisation. This hospital is not an exception.
“We appreciate the commitment and dedication of our members of staff to their duty within the limited resources of the hospital. We promise to encourage and celebrate productivity, loyalty and dedication to duty.”
One of the awardees, Mr. Ebenezer Akande, while appreciating the management of the hospital for the recognition, noted that it was a positive response to their agitation for improved welfare scheme.
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MetLife builds third-party asset management

NEW YORK: Metlife Incorporated said Tuesday it will build an asset-management business for outside investors focusing on investments in real estate equity, commercial mortgages and debt private placement.

“Asset management is a capital-efficient business with attractive returns on equity,” Steven Goulart, MetLife’s chief investment officer, said in a statement, adding that, “The strong demand for high-quality private assets among institutional investors makes this an attractive time for market entry.”

MetLife, the largest United States life insurer, which manages some $500bn in general account assets for its policyholders, currently has a small third-party management business focusing on index funds, according to Reuters.

MetLife is reorganising its real estate and private placement groups to facilitate the expansion.

Global head of real estate investments, Robert Merck, will continue to run the group that has been renamed MetLife Real Estate Investors. It currently manages about $43bn of commercial mortgages and $10bn in direct real estate investments, assets that will be folded into the outside management business.

The new equity strategies group will be run by Mark Wilsmann, who has led MetLife’s commercial mortgage business since 2003.

The new debt strategies group, which will raise funds for real estate projects from institutional investors that include other insurance companies, pension plans and sovereign wealth funds, will be run by Brian Casey.

He has been heading MetLife’s Washington, D.C., real estate office.

The company, which says it is the largest life insurance lender, currently manages about $50bn of privately placed debt.

MetLife, which does not break out its individual portfolio investment returns, has no immediate plans to acquire asset-management companies.

“Right now our focus is building on the great strength we have in-house,” said Christopher Breslin, a company spokesman.

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Africa: International Team Makes Progress Against Rare Disease

Washington — A four-nation research project is bringing some relief to people who suffer a rare muscle disease, and the collaboration may blaze a trail for breakthroughs in treatment of other rare diseases.

The research team found that a drug first released in the late 1990s for treatment of irregular heartbeat eases the symptoms of people suffering nondystrophic myotonia, which causes pain and muscle stiffness. The condition can be so severe that patients are unable to open their eyes after a sneeze, or unable to loosen a grip after turning a doorknob.

Researchers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Italy reached the finding only after bringing together patients and doctors familiar with the rare condition.

"This study can serve as a blueprint for future rare-disease research," said neurologist Jeffrey Statland at the University of Rochester Medical Center. "The study shows that by bringing together experts and patients around the world and building a common infrastructure, we can tackle rare conditions that have eluded rigorous clinical study up to now."

Other institutions participating in the study were Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston; the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas; the London Health Sciences Centre in London, Ontario; University College London Institute of Neurology in London; and the University of Milan in Italy.

A lot of people suffer from rare diseases overall; there just aren't many in the same city with the same condition, said a Rochester Medical Center co-author.

"Each rare disease might affect only a few thousand people, but there are thousands of rare diseases," said Dr. Robert "Berch" Griggs. "Current estimates are that perhaps 30 million people [in the United States] are affected by some form of rare disease."

In Europe, rare diseases are thought to afflict another 30 million, but a global estimate is difficult to produce given that hundreds of millions of people in rural, developing areas of the world never will see a specialist who might positively identify a disorder.

Neurologists estimate that only about 1 in 100,000 people have nondystrophic myotonia. With those low numbers, it's difficult for researchers to pull together a pool of subjects of sufficient size to conduct a study that might result in a statistically significant outcome.

Pharmaceuticals companies are also reluctant to invest in research in rare diseases because the markets for successful drugs are so small.

The idea that strength in numbers might be the key to success in understanding rare diseases has been gaining supporters beyond the work led by the Rochester Medical Center. The International Rare Disease Research Consortium (IRDiRC) is a joint project of the European Commission and the U.S. National Institutes of Health began in 2009. Canada and Japan have since joined IRDiRC.

This consortium brings together multinational regulatory bodies, researchers, patient group representatives, health professionals and pharmaceutical industry representatives. The consortium aspires to produce advances that will spark the development of 200 new therapies for rare diseases and diagnostic tools for most rare diseases by 2020.

Patients who find themselves diagnosed with a rare disorder are also finding comfort in reaching out to others with similar conditions, wherever they are.

The National Organization for Rare Disorders is the U.S. society where these people find each other. NORD is dedicated to increasing awareness of the conditions and the challenges faced by people living with them. The organization also works to promote research and development of therapies.

NORD is affiliated with the like-minded European Organization for Rare Disorders.

The Rochester Medical Center study is reported in the October 3 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Center for Research Resources of the National Institutes of Health both supported the research.

Copyright © 2012 United States Department of State. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

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Bayelsa shuts schools over flooding

Bayelsa State on Tuesday temporarily closed all schools in the state, as a result of rising water level across the state.

Bayelsa State Governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson, gave the order to protect pupils in the state after the flood assumed a dangerous dimension in the state.

Confirming the development, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, told PUNCH that the order was immediate and indefinite.

He said, “The decision was taken to safeguard the lives of children and to keep them away from possible dangers that could arise from the flood.

“Government is by this appealing to parents and guardians to accept the decision as it was taken in the interest of all Bayelsans.

“We want to assure you that, normal academic activities will resume as soon as the situation is brought under control.”

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Video clip of Pres. Jonathan’s visit to wife, belated attempt at damage control – ACN

Action Congress of Nigeria has described as “a belated attempt at damage control” the Presidency’s
decision to show the video clip of President Goodluck Jonathan’s visit to his wife, Patience, in Germany on the Nigerian Television Authority.

The party said the video had not addressed the demand for full disclosure on the seven-week disappearance of the president’s wife.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the comments attributed to presidential spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, concerning the video also showed that the Presidency either did not understand the issues at stake, or was deliberately playing the ostrich.

“Let’s be clear, there is nothing to be ashamed of in someone being sick since we are all human and anyone can fall ill at any time.

“In particular, people occupying the public space, including the First Lady, who take ill deserve nothing
but our prayers and sympathy.

“However, where information about such persons are withheld or deliberately distorted, people tend to shift their focus to unravelling the truth about the situation, which is the case with our First Lady,” it said.

ACN described as “a shocking irony” the fact that Jonathan, “who is aware that the poor management of information over the illness of his predecessor, President Umaru Yar’Adua, contributed to the erosion of public sympathy for the late
President and instead swung it in favour of his then Vice President (Jonathan), would make the same mistake by hoarding information on the sickness of his wife.”

The party said, “It is a shame that people just do not learn from the past. Irrespective of the cheeky and unprofessional comments by the presidential spokesman, that the video has put paid to all the lies that people who play politics with almost everything have been spreading, the indisputable fact, going by available information, is that the First Lady indeed took ill and was flown to Germany for treatment.

“Had the information managers at the Presidency lived up to their billing, there would have been a full disclosure immediately
the First Lady fell ill.

“Instead of the unnecessary controversy over her whereabouts, the good people of Nigeria would have
offered prayers in torrents for the First Lady and her family.

“Now making it look like the First Lady went to Germany on holiday ‘to rest’ or she is on a pilgrimage of sorts when indeed she is recuperating from an illness is another testimony to the increasingly legendary incompetence and cluelessness that permeate this Presidency, and we expect all those involved in this amateurish attempt at cover-up to be ashamed of themselves, instead of engaging in empty bravado and pointing fingers at imaginary enemies,” the party said.

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Abuja-bound Aero Contractors plane packs up before flight at Murtala Muhammed Airport

Abuja-bound Aero Contractors plane packs up before flight at Murtala Muhammed Airport

An aircraft engine packed up shortly before take-off at the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos.

The early morning Abuja-bound Aero Contractors plane was set for take-off at 6:45am when the flight was aborted because one of the engines had stopped working.

There was panic inside the aircraft whose door had been locked in readiness for take-off.

A woman shouted for the door to be opened for her to disembark.

A pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Olumide Adeleye, who was aboard the plane, relived the experience in Abuja yesterday.

He said: “We had already boarded the plane scheduled for 6:45am. It was filled to capacity, ready for take-off when the pilot announced that one of the engines had packed up. There was panic, but people also thanked God that the engine did not fail in the air.

“A woman was just shouting ‘please open this door before I break it!’. I was travelling with my wife and within me I was saying, ‘God it is not my portion and that of my wife to die’. I immediately remembered the Dana crash that happened, also on a Sunday. 

“The Murtala Muhammed International Airport , Lagos, was thrown into confusion as some passengers were contemplating on refund of money. Even when another airline was ready to fly, passengers were insisting that the authority must properly check the plane, test-run it, before take-off.

“I booked the 6:45am flight so as to get early to church as the pastor of my parish in Abuja, to preach and preside over the thanksgiving service and dedicate a set of twins, which I did.

“I thank God for a successful journey back to Abuja. I was just imagining what people would have been telling my children about their father and mother.”

The airline said the action of the pilot was in order.

A spokesman of the airline, Mr. Simon Tumba yesterday said as a safety curious carrier, the airline withdrew the aircraft to safeguard the interest of the passengers and crew.

Tumba said such precautionary steps were necessary for the safety of the passengers and crew, which is part of the routine in the safety measures at the disposal of the airline.

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FG doles out N17.6bn to flooded states, government agencies…sets up fund-raising committee

The Federal Government has approved N17.6bn as direct financial intervention in the cases of flooding currently ravaging many parts of the country.
While affected states would share N13.3bn according to the level of the flood’s impact on them, Federal Government agencies saddled with the responsibility of providing relief would share N4.3bn.
President Goodluck Jonathan disclosed this in a nationwide broadcast on Tuesday morning.
While commiserating with the victims of the floods, Jonathan said his administration was prepared to do everything possible to mitigate the impact of the natural disaster on the people.
For the purpose of sharing the N13.3bn government intervention, Jonathan said affected states had been categorised into four groups with the states in the first, second, third and fourth groups getting N500m, N400m, N300m and N250m each respectively.
According to the President, the states that will get N500m each include Oyo, Kogi, Benue, Plateau, Adamawa, Delta, Bayelsa and Anambra.
States that will get N400m each are Jigawa, Kano, Bauchi, Kaduna, Niger, Nasarrawa, Taraba, Cross Rivers, Edo, Lagos and Imo.
Kwara, Katsina, Gombe, Ogun, Ondo, Eboyin, Abia and Rivers States will get N300m each while Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Yobe, Enugu, Ekiti, Osun, Akwa Ibom, Borno and the Federal Capital Territory will get N250m each.
Jonathan said as part of the financial intervention, Ministry of Works will get N2.6bn; the National Emergency Management Agency will get N1.16bn while the Ministry of Environment will get N350m.
He added that the National Commission on Refugees will get N150m while the presidential committee he set up on the disaster will get N100m.
Since the disaster broke out, the President said NEMA had so far spent N1.314bn to provide relief materials for the victims.
He added that the Ministry of Works on its part had spent N568m on the repair of collapsed bridges and construction of bye-passes while the Ministry of Environment also spent N95m on sundry relief efforts.
He said, “Over the past few weeks, unprecedented flood has ravaged many parts of our country rendering tens of thousands of fellow Nigerians homeless and causing massive destruction of properties, farmlands and infrastructure across the country.
“I wish to express our deep commiseration with all those who have lost loved ones, those who have lost their property as well all the affected communities and institutions.
“It is sad that this global phenomenon of devastating flood has come to Nigeria at this time.
“I want to reassure all Nigerians that the Federal Government is prepared to do everything possible to mitigate the impact of this natural disaster.”
He recalled that he had earlier set up a presidential technical committee to visit all affected areas with a view to properly assessing the impact of the floods.
He said copies of the interim report submitted by the committee had been made available to critical stakeholders including the leadership of the National Assembly as well as governors of the affected states.
He said the committee would continue to go round the country while himself and Vice President would also visit some parts of the affected communities.
Jonathan promised that whenever he receives the committee’s final report, the Federal Government would further initiate medium and long term measures to check future flood disaster.

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Source : punchng[dot]com


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