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Buhari Greets Jonathan On 63rd Birthday

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), last Thursday, congratulated former President Goodluck Jonathan, on his 63rd birthday.

His congratulatory message was contained in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, titled ‘President Buhari greets former President Goodluck Jonathan on 63rd birthday’.

The statement read, “On behalf of the Federal Government and Nigerians in general, President Muhammadu Buhari warmly felicitates with former President Goodluck “Jonathan on his 63rd birthday, November 20, 2020, congratulating him for a life of service that has brought honour and goodwill to the country.

“The President notes, with appreciation, the peculiar and remarkable climb of the former president on Nigeria’s political ladder, and dedication that has kept him working most recently as ECOWAS envoy to bring peace to the Republic of Mali.

“As the former Nigerian President turns 63, President Buhari prays that the Almighty God will grant Dr Jonathan longer life, good health and more wisdom to keep serving the nation and humanity.

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Artificial Heart Gets Boost With Rocket Tech

A new artificial heart design powered by Chinese rocket technology is being tried on patients with weak hearts.

The trials were launched on September 13 by clinicians at the TEDA International Cardiovascular Hospital in North China’s Tianjin.

After being implanted into a 63-year-old male patient to replace his failed heart, the device has functioned as a pump to deliver blood to the whole body, significantly alleviating the symptoms of heart failure, said Liu Xiaocheng, researcher of the clinic program and head of the hospital.

Called HeartCon, the artificial heart weighs only 180 grams and is smaller than the size of a fist. It is an outcome of long-term cooperation between the hospital and the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, the country’s leading rocket maker.

Xu Jian, chief engineer of the project, said the artificial heart works like a rocket’s servomechanism, which is driven by a hydraulic pump.A servomechanism uses feedback to control an operation.

“The servomechanism on a rocket has higher requirements of speed and power, while the artificial heart demands more focus on safety and comfort as it is small and needs to be implanted,” Xu said.

Scientists began developing the artificial heart in 2009. They used magnetic and fluid levitation, which are used in rocket servo technology, to produce an implantable third-generation ventricular assistive device, a mechanical pump to support heart functions while causing less damage to patients’ blood than previous types.

Since the artificial heart uses a blood pump and needs electrical energy to generate power, it works on external batteries. Implanting an artificial heart requires a wire, thinner than a chopstick, to pass through the patient’s belly to connect the controller and external batteries.

Animal experiments started in 2013. A sheep with the artificial heart survived 120 days. Four years later, scientists implanted the HeartCons into six sheep and set a new record as one of them survived 180 days.In March 2019, two critically ill patients who had HeartCons implanted to extend their lives, survived.

There are at least 16 million people with failing hearts in China. For patients who are in advanced stages of heart failure, transplants are the only solution. However, transplants are limited by a lack of donors and many die while waiting.

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Queen Celebrates 73rd Anniversary

The Queen of England; Queen Elizabeth II, and her husband; Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, marked  their 73rd wedding anniversary by releasing a photograph of them reading a card made by their great-grandchildren, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, The Guardian reports.

In perhaps a symbolic reference to their long marital union, the Queen chose to wear a chrysanthemum brooch, made from sapphires and diamonds set in platinum. She wore the same brooch in photographs taken on their honeymoon at Broadlands in Hampshire, and again in pictures taken to mark their diamond wedding in 2007.

On their golden wedding anniversary, she paid very personal tribute to Prince Philip in a speech at the Guildhall in London, in which she said: “He is someone who doesn’t take easily to compliments, but he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years.”

The royal couple has spent much time apart since Philip, now 99, retired from public engagements in 2017, with him living largely on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk while she remained at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace. But during the pandemic lockdown, the couple have been bubbled together at Windsor Castle.

The colourful card, with a pop-out figure of 73, was one of several anniversary cards and letters sent by well-wishers to the couple, with a small pile shown on a nearby table.

The Queen, 94, was a 21-year-old princess when she married Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten on 20 November 1947. Their enduring relationship has lasted the longest of any British sovereign.

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Double Celebration For Eze-Ogba

...80th Birthday, 50 Years of Royalty

Its double celebration for the Ogba people and the Orashi region in River State as Oba Chukumela Nnam Obi II, the Eze Ogba of Ogbaland clocks 80 years and 50 years on the throne, joining the league of one of the longest reigning monarchs.

Oba Chukumela Nnam Obi II, a founding member of Conference of Traditional Rulers of Eastern States of Nigeria in 1985 was the National President of Traditional Rulers of Oil Mineral Producing Communities of Nigeria (TROMPCON) 1994-2000.

He served as the pioneer Pro-chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of Federal University of Technology, Owerri Imo State (FUTO) 1980-1984 and was appointed Chancellor of Federal University of Technology (FUTA), Akure, Ondo State 1992-2001.

The Oba served as Chairman of Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers 1972-1979, 1994-1996 and 2007-2009 respectively and was nominated by the Federal Government to serve in vision 2010 between 1996 and 1997 and also at the National Council of Nigeria Vision 1997-1998.

He served as a member of the International Committee on Chieftaincy and Royalty as Nigeria’s representative for FESTAC, 1974-1998, and is a patron of several national and international organizations.

Oba Chukumela Nnam Obi II, born on November 23, 1940, ascended the Eze Ogba throne on 19th December, 1970 and was presented with the Staff of Office by the Military Governor, Commander Alfred Papapriye Diete-Spiff now Amanyanabo of Twon Brass in Bayelsa State.

Meanwhile Senator George Thompson Sekibo has congratulated Oba Chukumela Nnam Obi II on the celebrations.

The Senator said the 80th birthday is very unique as it ushers the Oba into a new vista of royalty marking his 50th year on the throne.

He said both events are epochal as they were coming at a time of great concern for national peace, security, development and prosperity, – four issues that have defined his monarchy.

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Comedian Leads Protest In Ejigbo

Ejigbo LCDA chairman, Hon. Monsuru Bello Obe, appealed to the youths protesting against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the police today (Wednesday), assuring that federal and state governments are working together to address their demands.

Addressing the protesters led by Otoloorin Kehinde Peters also known as Kenny Black in Ejigbo, the chairman advised them to conduct their activity peacefully. He was represented by the Secretary to the Local Government, Mr. Paul Fregene. 

 Speaking on their behalf, Kenny Black said the atrocities of the SARS personnel were getting out of hand because they infringed on the fundamental human rights of citizens, adding that the protesters joined the protest to ensure that their voice in Ejigbo was heard.

Responding, Fregene urged them to conduct their protest in a peaceful manner so as to maintain law and order, cautioning them not to allow those with sinister motives to hijack the situation. 

The council chairman further implored the protesters to go about their lawful businesses as the authorities from the federal government has announced the disbandment of SARS division of the Nigeria Police. Ejigbo LCDA chairman, Hon. Monsuru Bello Obe, appealed to the youths protesting against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the police today (Wednesday), assuring that federal and state governments are working together to address their demands.

Addressing the protesters led by Otoloorin Kehinde Peters also known as Kenny Black in Ejigbo, the chairman advised them to conduct their activity peacefully. He was represented by the Secretary to the Local Government, Mr. Paul Fregene. 

 Speaking on their behalf, Kenny Black said the atrocities of the SARS personnel were getting out of hand because they infringed on the fundamental human rights of citizens, adding that the protesters joined the protest to ensure that their voice in Ejigbo was heard.

Responding, Fregene urged them to conduct their protest in a peaceful manner so as to maintain law and order, cautioning them not to allow those with sinister motives to hijack the situation. 

The council chairman further implored the protesters to go about their lawful businesses as the authorities from the federal government has announced the disbandment of SARS division of the Nigeria Police.

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Thugs Attack Protesters In Lagos

Armed thugs yesterday disrupted a protest against police brutality and extortion in Lagos State. The thugs, who arrived at the planned venue of the protest at Alausa, caused a commotion in the area.

A commuter, who witnessed the disruption, Adebimpe, said, “Some of the protesters are here already with some of us waiting for a bus. When the bus arrived, we were about to enter when we suddenly saw some men with knives and sticks running towards us.We all ran to safety. I was later told that they are after #EndSARS protesters.”

There have been protests in most parts of the country since Wednesday last week by Nigerians, mostly youths, who called for disbanding of SARS, accusing the police squad of corruption, high-handedness and harassment

On Sunday, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, disbanded the squad and on Tuesday, he set up the Special Weapons and Tactics Team to replace the disbanded SARS.

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Adeboye Endorses Protests

Pastor Enoch Adeboye, has endorsed the #EndSARS protests rocking the nation. Adeboye said this in a tweet on Wednesday evening.

The respected cleric tweeted, “Our daughters will not be able to prophesy and young men will not see visions if we don’t keep them alive. “I support the youths in this peaceful protest as they “speak up” to #EndPoliceBrutality #EndSARS #ENDSWAT.”

 Adeboye, who is a mentor to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, had earlier in the year embarked on a protest against the killings in several parts of the country.

He had two weeks ago called for restructuring the country, a move which was criticised by the Presidency. Thousands of youths have been protesting against the extrajudicial killings by policemen perpetrated mostly by men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.

The protests have continued despite the disbanding of SARS. About 10 persons have been killed in the protests according to rights group, Amnesty International.

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Ekweremadu demands State Police

Former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to see the decentralisation of policing and the institution of state police as the lasting solution to the impunity and shortcomings he is currently trying to fix in the federal police.

Ekweremadu regretted that the Bill to amend the constitution to create state police departments, which he sponsored in the 8th Senate as well as the current Senate, had not received the required political support.

Reacting to the disbandment of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and proposed setting up of the Special Weapons and Tactical Team (SWAT), Ekweremadu, in a statement by his Media Adviser, Uche Anichukwu, on Wednesday, said the Federal Government was still addressing the symptoms rather than the real illness.

He said: “The ongoing street protests over the excesses of elements in the Nigeria Police did not come to me as a surprise. As a matter of fact, I had always known, and warned severally that a day would come when Nigerians would no longer tolerate the worsening insecurity in the land and the excesses of those charged with protecting lives and property.

“The problem with our policing and the attendant insecurity and excesses are engraved majorly located in Section 214 (1) of the 1999 constitution, which provides that ‘There shall be a police force for Nigeria, which shall be known as the Nigeria Police Force, and subject to the provisions of this section, no other police force shall be established for the Federation or any part thereof’.

“It is also worsened by Section 215 (2), which goes further to declare that ‘The Nigeria Police Force shall be under the command of the Inspector-General of Police and contingents of the Nigeria Police Force stationed in a state shall, subject to the authority of the Inspector-General of Police, be under the command of the Commissioner of Police of that state.

“This informed my Bill for the Creation of State Police with adequate provisions in the mode of financing, control, and appointments of the high commands of such state police services to insulate them from any forms of abuse and give citizens roles in the various State Police Service Commissions. Unfortunately, this has not received the requisite political support, I call on the President and political stakeholders, once more, to seize the opportunity of the widespread demands for police reforms by Nigerians to do the right thing, addressing the structural challenges”.

Continuing, he stated: “Nigeria is the only federal state with unitary police. It has never worked anywhere. It is not working here and it will never work.

“Therefore, whether we call it SARS or SWAT, we will only be addressing the symptoms instead of the diseases until we decentralise policing to allow citizens and the states take charge of the security of lives and properties of its people.  

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#EndSARS: Wike Defends Stance

Residents of Port Harcourt last Tuesday defied the order by Rivers State Government banning protest and marched through major roads seeking an end to police brutality.

The state government, in a statement signed by the Commissioner of Information and Communication, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, had said it was needless for the people to go ahead with the #EndSARS protest since SARS has already been scrapped by the Inspector-General of Police.

The statement said law enforcement agencies have been directed to enforce the ban and “bring violators to book.”

The Protesters, carrying placards, marched through major streets in Port Harcourt to the Government House, where they presented their grievances against police brutality to the Rivers State Government.

Addressing the protesters, Gov. Wike called for a “total” reform of the Nigeria police, adding that he is committed to the security and welfare of Rivers people.

He said, “If we do not reform the police, the same SARS officers will be deployed to other unit of the force to continue their evil acts. It is not only to end SARS, already there is a pronouncement to scrap it. But every Nigerian should support the total reform of the police.”

“SARS cannot and has never been our friend in Rivers State. What we find in this country is that people play to the gallery. They hate people who speak the truth. Irrespective of the pressure, I will continue to protect my people,”he added.

Speaking to The Vortex, one of the organizers of the protest, popularly known as K.O. Baba stated that the “overwhelming” number of people who participated in the protest was an indication that Governor Wike’s ban on protest in Rivers State “fell on deaf ears,” as youths were determined to put an end to police brutality and all forms of oppression.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had announced the “dissolution” of SARS, following a nationwide protest.

Despite the announcement on the dissolution of SARS, protesters continued to march through the streets in various parts of the country expressing their grievances and calling for a total reform of the Police.

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Imminent Return of Biblical Famine

The Covid-19 pandemic may lead to a calamity of epic scale, with millions facing starvation worldwide, the head of the UN’s hunger-fighting body has warned.    Accrding to David Beasley, Executive Director of the UN World Food Program (WFP), “All the data we have, including WFP forecast that the number of people experiencing malnutrition will grow by 80 percent by the end of the year, … points to a real disaster.”

The rapid increase in the number of people who can’t feed themselves will be just an immediate outcome of the pandemic, which caused a disruption of food growth and logistics worldwide. More long-term damage is bound to materialize in the years to come.

WFP projections say Latin American nations face the most dramatic change in their situation, with the number of malnourished people increasing by as much as 269 percent, Beasley said. The same metric for countries in Eastern and Central Asia stands at 135 percent. Sub-Saharan Africa may see the number of their hungry almost double.

Global hunger is already high, Beasley warned. Unless bold action is taken now, “many will die, children will suffer from the consequences of malnutrition for many years, and the world will lose all the progress made in fighting hunger over the past decade,” he said.

This year some 138 million people in 83 countries rely on WFP for their food supply, the official said. For many of them the UN humanitarian body is the “last hope for survival”. In South Sudan 1.6 million people were added this year to the 5 million already requiring assistance. In Yemen, the WFP feeds 13 million.

The situation in Lebanon became particularly grim after a devastating blast two weeks ago in Beirut. The explosion not only destroyed stockpiles of grain, but also cut supply chains because the damaged port was used to deliver some 85 percent of the food that Lebanon needs.

Beasley called on international donors to provide additional funding to the organization to deal with the looming disaster.

The WFP needs $4.9 billion over the next six months to keep its humanitarian programs running.

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