Akwa Ibom State: Three arrested in Government Cyclists Face-off

UYO: Three commercial motorcyclists were on Tuesday arrested by the police for protesting the non-payment of the money promised them by the Akwa Ibom StateGovernment.

Members of the state Commercial Motorcyclists Union had trooped out to protest the non-payment of the N1bn promised them by the state government for the motorcyclists to get off the road.

The motorcyclists were advancing towards the Governor’s Lodge in Uyo when three of their colleagues were arrested.

Their Chairman, Mr. Samuel Peter, said Governor Godswill Akpabio had always kept promises made to the union wondering why this was an exception.

Peter blamed the Personal Assistant to the Governor on Commercial Motorcyclists, Mr.Udo Okpo, for the delay, saying he might have collected the money without informing the union.

He said, “The money is with Okpo. He cannot tell us that he has not collected this money from the government. Our governor has never promised to do something and failed. Even if he is offended, he may delay for a while but he will definitely do it.

“Tell Okpo to give us our money. We are not joking. Life has been rough with us since we were asked not to ply Uyo routes any longer.”

But Okpo denied receiving any money from the government on behalf of the union.

“I did not collect any money from the government. We have not even discussed the matter. If the money had been given to me, I would have given it to their chairman for distribution. It’s a blatant lie,” he said.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr. Etim Dickson, confirmed that there was a protest but said he was not aware that some motorcyclists were arrested.

He said, “The commercial motorcyclists actually protested. Protest is not the best way to get ones’s demands. The process might be hijacked by hoodlums. I am not aware of any arrest of the protesters.”

Injustice and Human Right Violation In The Nigerian State Of Akwa Ibom


” Akwa Ibom State Politics: The Injustice—Godswill Akpabio
Exposed Video #3

As you watch the video, please pay attention to the Press Conference
conducted by the former Chairman of ACN, Mr. Aniekan Akpan, who later
decamped to Akpabio and collected millions of naira in rewards. Enjoy!

Please click on the following link to watch the video:
http://youtu.be/NWBAbxVmhfs ” -Thompson Essien

Godswill Obot Akpabio’s hands of injustice will be tied behind his
back and stopped no matter how long it takes;  that is a promise. His
incursion into the United States justice system had given us hope that
his lying mouth and those of his collaborators will be silenced before
a jury, by now.

For the mayhem which Godswill Obot Akpabio, his friends and relations
Emmanuel Enoidem, Sunday Ibanga, and Nse Ntuen plotted and planned for
at least one year, then carried out first at Ikot Ekpene then followed
up at Uyo;  on March 22, 2011; Godswill  Obot Akpabio and his boi-bois
Assam E. Assam, Gabriel Ochong and Clement Ikpatt sought to depose
OduduAbasi Nicholas Edet and Thompson Essien. The entire world knew
why – Godswill Obot Akpabio wanted to shut-up the duo from speaking
out against Godswill Obot Akpabio’s lies,  atrocities, and crimes.
They failed then; they have failed now; and they will continue to
fail;  for TRUTH, DETERMINATION to fight injustice, and HONESTY are
mightier than bribery or sycophancy or corrupt power or selfishness!

It is worthy to note that these liars and criminals seeking to
implicate the innocent in atrocities committed by them, have now
developed cold feet from pursuing their lies at a United States Court;
as they had threatened by their application to depose. They announced
with fanfare in Nigeria that their deposition application had been
granted. Indeed it was. Why have they not deposed us till now?

Some,  given to playing both sides of the political divide for their
insidious personal interests continue to caution silence on our part,
over a non-case for deposition by Godswill Obot Akpabio and his
criminal-induced gang of liars and sycophants; as if such people  were
preparing us for trial. They do not speak on behalf of those who have
neither voice nor the freedom bestowed by the advantage of distance
from murderers, kidnappers, cultists, and criminal-minded rulers,  as
they do; yet they  do not want those who have opted and sacrificed
their safety to speak against evil, and to speak out against the
insidiousness of summoning the innocent to a deposition connected with
atrocities bordering on terrorism. They know that there is nothing
that Godswill Obot Akpabio will love more than for Thompson Essien and
OduduAbasi Nicholas Edet to remain silent over the atrocities
committed by Godswill Obot Akpabio and his government. They must not
have heard about David and Goliath!!

Our shouts against the atrocities committed by their tin-god, Godswill
Obot Akpabio will continue; because many back in Akwa Ibom State  have
indicated to us that lives have been saved because of our insistence
on repudiating  Godswill Obot Akpabio and his criminal gang. Besides
it is pleasing to God to oppose despotic, sectional, corrupt and
cultist rule. We will stay the modern prophets of our own time as the
likes of Elijah, Elisha, Ezekiel, David, Joshua, Jacob,  Moses and
others were in ancient Israel; and the likes of Gandhi, Martin Luther
King, and Nelson Mandela bestowed upon their people and the world.

We already know that not many are free to speak out against atrocities
as recorded on the contained DVD. When we published one in which there
were dead human bodies dripping blood in “election wards!” in a state
governed by cannibals like Godswill Obot Akpabio; (only cannibals will
kill other human beings for fun, for food or power as lions do; which
was done in that recording) there was utter silence from those whose
brothers and sisters are affected, and who will be affected themselves
if they lived in Akwa Ibom State. Many have chosen instead to talk
about things which are immaterial to the incessant and continuing
killings in Akwa Ibom State, under Godswill Obot Akpabio. Many have
sought to befriend those who have helped to perpetrate murders in Akwa
Ibom State; and to hide the murderers from justice. Now who did not
understand,  must understand,  what the parable about the easiness of
a cow or horse to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man
to enter the kingdom of God, must mean. That is the state of affairs
and one that some would rather Thompson Essien and OduduAbasi Nicholas
Edet should keep quiet about;  simply because of Akpabio’s intent to
depose the duo. I shake my head in dismay and in  horror at any people
that unfeeling for their fellow human beings!!!!
They do not want us to speak, yet many  of them have NOT  spoken
against such senseless killings as was shown from the wards in Ibiono,
Oron and other places at an election!!!!!
I have always wondered if some of those who have advocated that
Thompson and I remain silent under Godswill Obot Akpabio’s insults,
assault and atrocities are not tired of their own attrocities of
lining up with the devil;  whether in silence or in greed for
political positional inclusion.  They, particularly those of them who
seek favors from Godswill Obot Akpabio, or from his cultist and
criminal infested government; or who seek to befriend cultist agents
in the position of present corrupt and cultist Commissioners or PAs or
Deputy to the corrupt and criminal-minded Godswill Obot Akpabio, and
who are slated by the corrupt,  or have selected themselves , as the
corrupt men they are, to later-become governor/s by rigging,
intimidation, kidnapping and murder; as their boss did; ought to seek
from liars Godswill Obot Akpabio, Clement Ikpatt, Assam E. Assam,
Gabriel Ochong and their equally corrupt and sycophantic current
Attorney General, Ekpenyong Ntekim, the truth of what their deposition
application to the United States Court was meant to accomplish?
Instead of speaking against evil, many of them prefer to line up with
it – they are lining up now  to beg political  positions from corrupt
and thieving Umana Okon Umana. The judgement of the Lord is ouit of
their sights!!!!!!

It may surprise some of them to find out that some innocent people
falsely and deliberately accused, can stake even their lives to regain
their honored names.  That is something that no corrupt person can
understand because as far as they are concerned what matters most is
their pockets;  and what are inside those pockets. The trio of
OduduAbasi Nicholas Edet, Thompson Essien, and the corporate entity,
IPU, with all her members;  are such determined human beings and
corporate entity ready to stake all;  for JUSTICE and FAIRNESS FOR
ALL. We wait to confront Godswill Obot Akpabio, Assam E. Assam,
Gabriel Ochong, Ekpenyong Ntekim and the fugitive from justice,
Clement Ikpatt, or their lawyers in court; with truth that not even
Godswill Obot Akpabio knows we have; about Godswill Obot Akpabio’s
crimes in Akwa Ibom State. Godswill Obot Akpabio and his criminal
enterprise have backed themselves into a corner. We will wait and
watch Godswill Obot Akpabio and his every move from that corner. He
will with his own hands commit  hari-kari, at the appropriate time,
when confronted with the evidence we have gathered against his
atrocities. It is six weeks now or more, and counting, we are still
waiting to receive their summons to a deposition.

We know when to remain silent. That time is not now. Hence let those
who are either too afraid or too greedily ambitious for political
positions; and for the money they are hoping on stealing as their
friends have stolen;  to speak out against wrong-doing now,  remain at
their present grace. We neither envy them nor regret attacking those
who commit atrocities.  AND we will defend our honour and the honor of
our Union.
Godswill Obot Akpabio and his criminal gang must understand that
Godswill Obot Akpabio in particular will be confronted with  tons of
evidence which we have gathered implicating Godswill Obot Akpabio in
unimaginable attrocities committed by him; OR by his goons on
Akpabio’s orders. Whether they abandon their lying mission to depose
us or not, the evidence we have,  will wait for Godswill Obot Akpabio
till the appropriate time that we can use such evidence to bring
Godswill Obot Akpabio to justice. The crime of murder has no statute
of limitation;  and a time is coming that Godswill Obot Akpabio will
not be able to bribe,  or when bribe-takers will refuse to be
Charles Taylor got 50 years, today for atrocities he committed. All it
takes are a few who are determined to pursue justice.
Then Godswill Obot Akpabio and his crimnal goons will know what  truth
means; and before the common body of civilized men and women. Godswill
Obot Akpabio, if he has now decided to avert having his lying mouth
silenced in a United States Court,  will still have that lying mouth
silenced  by God;  if not silenced in another court system before
then, in any nation which has the fear of God and respect for humanity
at the root of its government.

We are determined to make Godswill Obot Akpabio pay for his crimes
against us and against humanity. Let all too afraid to speak out
against  Godswill Obot Akpabio’s crimes, criminal behavior,
atrocities, lies, stealing, kidnappings, murders and other injustices
understand that there are some who are not afraid of criminals,
whether on recognition of the attrocities committed by such criminals,
or through the application of absolute corrupt power as can be
exercised from such criminals;  such as Godswill Obot Akpabio and
others are exercising in Nigeria, today.  There are those who hate
injustice and crime with every fiber of their frame and soul. There
are those whose faith in God is unshaken. There are those who would
have confronted Godswill Obot Akpabio  with equal measures with which
Godswill Obot Akpabio has confronted innocent people like us, in our
State, before now;  but for their FEAR of God. We decided to continue
shouting against Godswill Obot Akpabio’s misgovernance, crimes and
hooligaism, while leaving RETRIBUTION and VENGEANCE to God;  for God
will pay  those to Godswill Obot Akpabio as HE had promised.

We believe that it is time for Godswill Obot Akpabio’s defeat.  His
defeat must  and will come in such a way as to become apparent to his
team of sycophants and in a way that will leave nothing but shame and
disgrace for their master;  as well as to servant , boi-boi, maid,
sycophant, spouse, sibing, and the self-centered,  whose
pre-occupation has been their future participation in the corruption
that has racked State and nation. Let Godswill Obot Akpabio,  and
Godswill Obot Akpabio’s gang understand that Godswill Obot Akpabio has
backed himself into a corner by his pursuit of the innocent from his
corrupt bastion in Akwa Ibom State,  into the judicial system of the
United States.  We await him and his gang of thieves and liars

OduduAbasi Nicolas Edet




Charles Taylor Convicted For War Crime

Judges at an international war crimes court have sentenced former Liberian president Charles Taylor to 50 years prison following his landmark conviction for supporting rebels in Sierra Leone who murdered and mutilated thousands during their country’s brutal civil war.



The Special Court for Sierra Leone found Mr. Taylor guilty last month on 11 charges of aiding and abetting the rebels who went on a bloody rampage during the decade-long war that ended in 2002 with more than 50,000 dead.

The 64-year-old warlord-turned-president became the first former head of state convicted by an international war crimes court since the Second World War.

Prosecutors asked judges at the Special Court for Sierra Leone to impose an 80-year sentence; Mr. Taylor’s lawyers urged judges to hand down a sentence that offered him some hope of release before he dies, the Associated Press reports.

Taylor will serve his sentence in a British prison.

He is expected, however, to appeal his convictions and will likely remain in jail in The Hague while the appeals process plays out.

At a sentencing hearing earlier this month, Mr. Taylor expressed “deepest sympathy” for the suffering of victims of atrocities in Sierra Leone, but insisted he had acted to help stabilize the West Africa region and claimed he never knowingly assisted in the commission of crimes.

“What I did … was done with honour,” he said. “I was convinced that unless there was peace in Sierra Leone, Liberia would not be able to move forward.”

However, judges ruled that Mr. Taylor armed and supplied the rebels in full knowledge they would likely use weapons to commit terrible crimes, in exchange for payments of “blood diamonds” often obtained by slave labour.

Prosecutors said there was no reason for leniency, given the extreme nature of the crimes, Mr. Taylor’s “greed” and misuse of his position of power.

“The purposely cruel and savage crimes committed included public executions and amputations of civilians, the display of decapitated heads at checkpoints, the killing and public disembowelment of a civilian whose intestines were then stretched across the road to make a check point, public rapes of women and girls, and people burned alive in their homes,” prosecutor Brenda Hollis wrote in a brief appealing for the 80-year sentence.

Taylor stepped down and fled into exile in Nigeria after being indicted by the court in 2003. He was finally arrested and sent to the Netherlands in 2006.

While the Sierra Leone court is based in that country’s capital, Freetown, Mr. Taylor’s trial is being staged in Leidschendam, a suburb of The Hague, Netherlands, for fear holding it in West Africa could destabilise the region.



Paul Eme is the first son of his father who is proprietor of a school. Paul was accused of being a witch by his step mother. His step mother took him to the Liberty church where the pastor pronounced him to be witch. His step-mother drove him out of the house. Paul has been living at CRARN for about one year

Paul’s father visits him at CRARN occasionally but is not willing to take him home due to the stigma associated with “child witches”
When asked to describe in his own words how he feels he said “I feel so bad when my step mother called me a witch. I could not play or talk with people”

Paul Eme’s Experience, a case study in A UNICEF report provided an important background to the wider context of the issue of children accused as witches and provided a fascinating and important insight into the very dehumanising and unacceptable situations for which Nigeria should have zero tolerance. The children at CRARN whose detailed stories, physical scars and tearful accounts in the wide ranging report spoke volumes.

There were stories of Burying alive; instances where a child has been buried up to the neck.


“The report summarises the findings of a research carried out in Akwa Ibom State, and in Eket Senatorial zone in particular, to investigate reports of prevalence of children being accused of witchcraft.

This study seeks to provide a descriptive analysis of the history, belief and practices of “child witches”.

The study summarises the key findings and recommendations made from the qualitative study involving a total of 80 FGDs and IDIs conducted. A few case studies were documented from the findings. The presence of children labeled as “child witches” is known to virtually everyone across the state and is practiced State-wide.

The children are called witches and blamed for untimely deaths in the family, broken homes, problem at work, loss of work, pain and sickness. These children who are labeled as witches are abandoned, ostracized and violated in several ways. The primary accusers and perpetrators of violence are members of the immediate family who attempt home –made remedies, which include beating, acid baths, setting ablaze and killing. The children are taken to churches, shrines and traditionalists who use one, or a combination of prayers, praise and worship, oil in the eyes and ears or to drink. Other extremely harmful remedies meted out include beating, chaining, sawing, tying up, herbal enemas and nails driven into the head. These superstitious beliefs have become a fertile ground for churches, shrines and traditionalists who have cashed in on the situation to provide a remedy in the form of exorcism and deliverance.

“Therefore, they may be the ones to prophesy that a child is a witch or a family member may bring such a child to them to be delivered. It is a common site in AKS to find up to five sign boards advertising churches, competing for space at a street junction. One can also find a plethora of banners promising miracles and deliverance, such as “CARRY YOUR BABY IN 90 DAYS” Some of these churches are highly organised; with several branches while others are one-man one room churches. The genesis of this issue has been attributed by respondents, to initiation by older witches as well as the presence of movies which have depicted children as witches who bring all manner of ill-luck in families.

“It is also thought to be passed on through food, so much so, that the name given to snacks received from another child is also called “witch”. These children are thrown out of homes by parents, ostracised by the community and end up on the streets eating from garbage. They may even progress to drugs and robbery and are in danger of being trafficked. They can be found in settlements in parks, near markets and filling stations and uncompleted buildings. There is also a high rate of teenage pregnancy amongst the girls. One of the striking findings is the high level of stigma and discrimination which the children go through.

“They are seen as defiled and capable of defiling. The extreme stigma robs them of any social support network from their families, communities and churches. They are called names at school and suffer mob attacks. They therefore go through both physical as well as psychological trauma.
Some of these children are being given shelter by child protection agencies of Government and Civil Society Organisations such as MOWASD, NAPTIP, CRARN and SSN.

These agencies provide shelter, feeding, education and medical care. There is however a danger in further increasing stigma when they are put in separate institutions and kept out of mainstream schools. There are a few recorded success stories of reunification with families and reintegration into communities, by CRARN. However, the vast majority of accused children continue to be stigmatised due to the negative mind set of the people.

“The recoded successes have occurred when the children have been taken in by their grandparents or other close family members who live in totally different communities. The best successes have been recorded in cases where the parents have kept the accusation secret from other community members. They have then taken the children for counselling at the child protection CSOs on a daily basis without having them live in.
“Public enlightenment efforts such as PACT, an annual enlightenment programme, and advocacy rallies such as the one held on the 15/5/08 World Family day, have yielded positive results.

“The positive results include commitment to passing of the Child Rights Bill into Law. An internet petition sponsored by Kelli Stowe, has been signed by more than 1,000 people in over 30 countries. Advocacy efforts such as a recently held Zonal workshop on child rejection in South-South States created an opportunity for the issue to be extensively discussed and for high level commitments to be extracted from key players such as the Governors, wives of Governors and Commissioners of relevant ministries.”

Among the disgusting findings of the report are the following:

The accusation may also involve the child being accused of initiating his/her siblings. Of the 140 children in CRARN, there were 14 families which had two or more siblings resident at CRARN. An example of children being accused initiating their siblings appears in case study 5 where Erit was accused of initiating her 5 and 2 year old sisters.

Most of the accused children were middle or last children in the family. Where the first son was accused it was usually by a step parent who saw the first son as a threat to her own child being the heir apparent. The culture of the high premium placed on the first son played out in the fact that most of the accused children were either middle or last children in the family.
The wide range of reasons for accusing the children highlight the variations in socio-cultural perspectives, and the fact that any enlightenment campaign will need to recognise the heterogeneous nature of the society.

The accusers or those who pronounce the child a witch include Parents, step parents, siblings, and pastors in churches or herbalists in “healing homes”; the accuser may decide to carry out the local remedy or may seek help from a deliverance minister, pastor or herbalist.
Of the 16 children in CRARN who filled the self – administered questionnaires the following were mentioned as accusers: Father-2, Mother- 2, Pastors-3, and Relations-6 and step parents-

iv) Place of deliverance
Deliverance takes place in the following locations
o Churches
o Prayer House
o Shrine
o Traditional medicine practitioners
v) Deliverers/Exorcists
Those who carry out the deliverance include some pastors and evangelists. A child may be suspected or pronounced a witch in a prayer house, during fasting or tarry night or may have been brought by the parent. Parents who have been reunited with their children after staying at CRARN believe that the counselling sessions are “a type of deliverance”.
vi) Ways of determining a successful deliverance
Those who claim to deliver use certain signs to claim a successful deliverance. These include vomiting and passing of stool. The gullible clients believe these to be signs despite the fact that the concoctions are so unpalatable that vomiting would be a natural consequence, or that the insertion of herbal enema would cause a child to pass stool frequently.

6.3 Methods of Deliverance These methods were listed by respondents as methods of deliverance which they had either experiences or had heard of:

i) Forced confession Some of the parents in the study claimed that their children confessed willingly to them. However he children when asked privately explained that they were left with no option than to confess for fear of beatings and to avoid the ordeal of further questioning. These confessions are most times made under duress or even hypnosis. Questions are asked repeatedly if she/he is going to the witch world, this questioning may be accompanied by threats until the child succumbs. If the child says “yes” may be beaten. Over time the children may hallucinate.

ii) Prayer The deliverance prayer may go on for days, months or even years. During this time the person administering the deliverance sees visions. This may be accompanied by praise and worship. Part of the deliverance or exorcism may include “assignment” such as buying certain items such as oil and leaving them at a road junction. Informants referred to this as casting out, breaking the yoke or exorcism

iii) Fasting Children are not allowed to eat or drink for periods of up to a week. Fasting may be seven (7) days, one month, or may be repeatedly every Saturday. Fasting may mean abstaining from both food and water. The parent/s of the child is required to join in the fast. They are usually kept in the church premises, and therefore, this constitutes a form of starvation.

iv) Oil, salt water and other liquid concoctions

In the process olive oil or concoctions are given to them to drink. Oil is rubbed on their bodies, on heads, in mouth, eye, ear, all over body. The other method is squeezing water and drinking of fluid squeezed from mbritam – a bitter plant.
Vomiting or defecating of any of these substances may be taken as proof that the deliverance has succeeded. Herbs are put in the in eyes or ears. “Holy water” and salt may also be used. Some of these concoctions are given in the form of an enema, which is a method commonly used by the medicine men.

v) Tying up or chaining
An example was shared by the respondents whereby Uduak Samson Eyo a 10 year girl was tied by the ankles and hung upside down for two days. When she was freed she escaped by running into a bush. This method may also involve the use of chains, blindfolding and being kept in dark room.

vi) Beating
Children may be beaten with the local stem-mbritam (see picture below). The use of a broom stick is also common. In the case of Michael Itah-Esan, he was flogged by a pastor of Jesus Revive Ministry. This left deep gashes in his body after which he was left in a bush to die. It was when people came to photograph the dead body that he was discovered to still be barely alive. (local plant mbritam-good at inflicting maximum pain)

vi) Hot poker up anus
An iron instrument or knife may be heated on the fire and inserted into the anus as a means of deliverance leaving behind serious burns.

vii) Torture by pouring Acid
One of the children at CRARN – Mary Sunday Dan, aged 9 years her own mother poured acid over her, after she was treated, a huge scar is testimony to the agony she could have gone through.

viii) Throwing in bush or abandoning in the market
I met two year old Emilia1 who was found wandering in the market for two days. She had been simply dumped in the market with no trace of who left her there. Abandonment may be preceded by isolation or locking up.

ix) Using a saw or knife
In the case of Jane Ikpezia, aged 8 years her mother used a saw and tried to saw off her head.2 Body marks and scarification are some times made and herbs inserted in the scars

x) Driving of nails into the head The internet report by journalists reported in the Guardian showed pictures of children who had nails driven into their heads and who ended up mentally ill, such a child exists at CRARN.

xi) Pouring of Petrol and setting ablaze
In the case of 10 year old Jeremiah Victor Friday, his own father poured petrol over him and struck a match and locked him in a room. He escaped by climbing out through the ceiling.
Case study 2
Two year old EMILIA was found wandering in the market for two days. She was simply dumped in the market with no trace of who left her there.
(Comfort Bassey) If child is not cleansed from the witchcraft, the child is given a local berry – esire.This berry is known to be very poisonous. The belief is that if the child is not a witch, he/she will survive after ingesting the poisonous berry .The community comes out to grind the berry and to give it in a large quantity to the child.

xii) Burying alive There are reports of instances where a child has been buried up to the neck.

xii) Drinking of cement There are reports of children being asked to drink cement mixture so that they could die. Others means: Of the 50 pupils in the FGD at CRARN, 20 had been beaten in a church, 21 had oil poured over them and 23 had participated in fasting and prayer. 6.4 Stigma and discrimination/exclusion Stigma is the common thread that weaves through

As a result of these key findings the following recommendations are being proposed:
1. Locate, track, number and document all affected children.
2. National Protection Systems should be strengthened 1
3. Advocate for the immediate passing of child rights Act
4. Establish family courts and a task force to protect children
5. Establish an agency to regulate churches.
6. Prosecute offenders and perpetrators.
7. Strict regulation by the National Film Censors board.
8. Have programmes that will enhance social change2
9. Expand pubic enlightenment programmes especially at the
grass root/community level.
10. Lobby for inclusion of child protection in the State school
curriculum in social or religious studies.
11. Harnessing the expertise of civil society and other partners such as Christian Association of Nigeria, political parties and oil companies.
12. Emphasise reintegration and reunification with families and communities for children already residing in shelters.
13. Provision of counselling centres for day case rather than residential centres
14. Invest in massive training of counsellors
15. Strengthen the protective role of families through promotion of parenting education.
16. Strengthen the protective role of communities through1non-coercive and non-judgemental approaches.

Report compiled by UNICEF ‘A’ Field Enugu, Nigeria

See main report with photos here

Culled from Elombah.com 

The ‘new AIDS of the Americas’: Experts warn of deadly insect-borne disease that can cause victims’ hearts to explode


PUBLISHED: 15:13 EST, 29 May 2012 | UPDATED: 17:06 EST, 29 May 2012

A little-known life-threatening illness caused by blood sucking insects has been labelled the ‘new AIDS of the Americas’ by experts.

The parasitic illness called Chagas Disease has similarities to the early spread of HIV, according to a new study.

Similar to AIDS, Chagas is difficult to detect and it can take years for symptoms to emerge, according to experts writing in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

asdfThe new AIDS? A parasitic illness called Chagas disease has been dubbed the ‘new AIDS of the Americas’ by experts. It is usually transmitted from the bite of blood-sucking insect species called Triatome bugs, which include ‘Kissing bugs’ (Triatomids)

An estimated 10 million people worldwide are infected with most sufferers in Bolivia, Mexico, Columbia and Central America, as well as approximately 30,000 people in the U.S., reported the New York Times.


Named after the Brazilian doctor who discovered it in 1909, Chagas disease is a potentially deadly illness spread by blood-sucking insects including Triatomids most commonly known as ‘kissing bugs.’

Like AIDS, the illness is difficult to detect and has a long remission period.

It spreads easily through blood transfusions and from mother to child.

Approximately a quarter of victims who contract the disease develop enlarged heart or intestines that can burst causing sudden death.

An estimated 10 million people worldwide are infected, including 30,000 people in the U.S.

Chagas is considered one of the Neglected Parasitic Infections, a group of five parasitic diseases that have been targeted by CDC for public health action.

It is estimated that in 2008 Chagas disease killed more than 10,000 people.

The disease - once largely contained to Latin America - has spread into the U.S due to increases in travel and immigration.

Due to the severity of the illness, the amount of people infected and the ability of prevention, Chagas is considered one of the Neglected Parasitic Infections, a group of five parasitic diseases that have been targeted by CDC for public health action.

Chagas commonly affects people in poverty-stricken areas and most U.S. cases are found in immigrants.

If caught early enough, the disease can be prevented with an intense 3-month drug treatment.

However, because of the lengthy incubation period and costly medication, Chagas is often left untreated.

Also known as the American trypanosomiasis, the disease spreads easily either through blood transfusions or, less commonly, from mother to child.

All blood banks in the U.S. and Latin America screen for traces of the disease.

Most blood banks in the U.S began screening for it in 2007.

Chagas is usually transmitted from the bite of blood-sucking insect species called Triatome bugs which release a parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi into the victim’s bloodstream.

The species includes Triatomids – black wingless beetles about 20mm in length commonly known as ‘kissing bugs’. Their closest relative is the Tsetse fly, found in Africa, which spread Sleeping Sickness (where the victim’s brain swells).

Chagas disease comes in two phases – acute and severe.

The acute phase may have no symptoms but can present a fever, general feeling of being unwell and swelling in one eye.

asdfVictim: Charles Darwin may have contracted the disease as he travelled the globe on HMS Beagle in his 20s

After the acute phase the disease goes into remission and it can take years before symptoms, such as constipation, abdomen pain and digestive problems, emerge again in the severe stage.

The parasite can eventually make its way to the heart, where it can live and multiply.

About a quarter of the people who contract Chagas, develop enlarged heart or intestines that can burst causing sudden death.

Although the drugs available are not as expensive as those for AIDS, there are shortages of the medication in poorer countries and little money is being spent on discovering new treatments.

Chagas disease is named after Carlos Ribeiro Justiniano Chagas, a Brazilian doctor who first discovered the disease in 1909.

Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine said last year that they believed Charles Darwin suffered from three different illnesses, including a Chagas infection.

The experts believe he contracted the disease during a five-year trip around the globe on the HMS Beagle in his 20s – and attributed it to his death of heart failure 47 years later.

The father of modern life scientists wrote in his journal that he had been bitten by a ‘wingless black bug’ during the expedition, where he visited South America.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2151815/Chagas-disease-New-AIDS-Americas-cause-victims-hearts-explode.html#ixzz1wKLuEHzd

2015: PDP Weighs Jonathan Options

2015: PDP Weighs the Jonathan Option

27 May 2012

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PDP Chairman, Bamanga Tukur


By  Chuks Okocha   Ahead of the 2015 presidential race, the Peoples Democratic Party has started weighing the options before it should the party field President Goodluck Jonathan, rumoured to be nursing a second term ambition despite his denial, or any other person.

The assessment, THISDAY gathered, is informed by the need to present a candidate who will not only be generally acceptable to party members nationwide, but whose candidacy would not trigger an intra-party crisis that could cost the party the presidential election. 

Party sources said PDP cannot afford to leave the presidential race to chance in 2015, given moves by the opposition, led by the Action Congress of Nigeria, Congress for Progressive Change and the All Nigeria Peoples Party, to rally opposition parties to team up to present a common candidate to face the PDP standard bearer.

The party, therefore, has started to evaluate the pros and cons of a Jonathan candidacy, should he decide to contest again.

According to a party source, “The consideration of the odds, obstacles, pitfalls and strengths of a possible Jonathan candidacy will make the party adopt strategies that would beef up his image and chances in places where the acceptance of his candidacy might be considered weak.

It will then execute measures to improve his acceptability in places where his support base is weak.

“What the party is doing is to weigh the odds as well as his chances zone-by-zone, the positions of the governors of the party and their possible political inclinations by the 2015 presidential primary election.”

Giving an interim zone-by-zone assessment of the situation, the source said, “In the south-south, the political scenario playing itself out is that there is the possibility of the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, contesting the presidential election as a running mate to either former Vice President Atiku Abubakar or any other person from the north.

We have seen the signs and the party is watching the emerging game.”

He said the party was uncertain of the political future of Akwa Ibom State governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, despite his promise to quit politics after his tenure.

“It is not known whether his utterances that he plans to quit partisan politics could be taken seriously or not, but only time will tell. So the zone – south-south – could be said to be neither here nor there, but his home state is solidly behind him,” he added.

The party is said not to be too bothered about the south-west, which is controlled by the ACN as the source said, “It is completely ruled out as a source of strength, at least for now.”

It was gathered that the likely position on a Jonathan candidacy in 2015 in the south-east was unclear because of the threat by the Igbo to contest the 2015 presidential election. However, it is not clear which of the four PDP governors from the zone would be able to rally support for Jonathan since all of them are completing their eight-year terms in office by 2015.

The party’s major worry, however, is the core north where some of the governors, particularly from the north-west, are suspected to have an eye on the presidency.  

At the last meeting of the Northern State Governors’ Forum in Kaduna, the chairman and Niger State governor, Dr. Babangida Mu’azu Aliyu, had said northern governors would strive to reclaim the presidency for the zone in the next election.

According to the source, “This is where the fear of the Jonathan’s men lies. There is this fear that the governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, is gradually being groomed to come out as a presidential aspirant. He is gradually being drawn into the national discourse.

“Take for instance, last week’s national discourse on security that was attended by top dignitaries from across the country. Former Presi-dent Olusegun Oba-sanjo and other top Nigerians were there. This is just part of the game plan.”

Still on the north-west, the source said Sokoto and Kebbi State governors would play very crucial roles because the governorship elections in the two states would hold in 2016 and therefore, the governors would have nothing to fear from the party during the politicking for the 2015 race.

Kaduna State as the home state of Vice President Namadi Sambo is crucial to Jonathan, if the vice president will not run, the source said, adding, “For now, it is still on our list of states that should be closely watched.”  

In the north-east zone, however, the PDP suspects that the governors of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako and Bauchi State, Isa Yuguda, might work against Jonathan.
For instance, the source said the party believes that Nyako could work against Jonathan for his insistence on making Alhaji Bamanga Tukur the national chairman of the party.

Nyako was one of the governors who opposed Tukur’s emergence as the PDP national chairman, but he had to back down following the presidency’s insistence.

“Nyako was the arrow head of the opposition to Tukur, as a military man with ties to General Ibrahim Babangida, we see him playing a game that may not be favourable to the Jonathan Project,” he said.

Two Youth Corpers Murdered in Cold Blood while on National Service





Corps members that were the victims of the Presidential post-election voilence.


By Simon Kolawole

Ukeoma Ikechukwu, on his facebook page, made a recommendation to his friends. He urged them to watch the video: “A Soldier’s Silent Night”. In his words, it is a “very heart-wrenching video everyone should see”. It is the touching story of an American soldier observing Christmas in a lonely world far away from friends and family—in the service of his fatherland. Well, Ikechukwu is dead. He was murdered in cold blood by rioters who said they were protesting against the results of last Saturday’s presidential election. Ikechukwu was wasted in far-away Bauchi: lonely, terrified, kilometres away from friends and family—in the service of his fatherland as a youth corps member. It is a heart-wrenching story everyone should hear.

His last phone calls were described as coming from “someone in distress”. His last post on his facebook wall was on Sunday, April 17, a day after the election, at 6:48am, via mobile web. He wrote (unedited): “Na wao! This CPC supporters would hv (have) killed me yesterday, no see threat oooo. Even after forcing underaged voters on me they wanted me to give them the remaining ballot paper to thumb print. Thank God for the police and am happy i could stand for God and my nation. To all corps members who stood despite these threats esp. In the north bravo! Nigeria! Our change has come.”
He was reported missing that day by friends and finally confirmed dead Friday, with thousands of tributes flowing across the social network sites.

He was not alone. Six other youth corps members were confirmed killed in Bauchi, where the candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, polled 1,315,209 votes (or 81.69 per cent), defeating President Goodluck Jonathan (of the Peoples Democratic Party) who scored 258,404 votes and did not even hit the 25 per cent mark. The corps members were reportedly chased to a police station where they sought refuge. But the rioters, who were said to be chanting “Sai Buhari”, overran the station and killed the young Nigerians.

The story of Obinna Okpokiri is as heart-wrenching as Ikechukwu’s. The 27-year-old was butchered and burnt to ashes—in the service of his fatherland. Okpokiri’s own circumstances were as gruesome as they could be. He had reportedly run to the Corpers’ Lodge as the rampaging rioters targeted the youth corps members who were the polling officers recruited by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the general election. As death loomed, the young Nigerians contemplated fleeing to the barracks, the only sanctuary in times of mob insanity. But they were not lucky enough. The rioters caught up with them, beat them up, slaughtered the ones they could and set them on fire. Human beings. Future leaders on the last lap of fulfilling statutory requirement before starting their careers. Slaughtered. Sliced. Soaked in petrol. Scorched. Reduced to ashes in the most callous fashion.
Okpokiri could have been in the United Kingdom savouring life some other way and living in the safety of a society that would go to any length to protect its citizens. He chose to return to his fatherland after acquiring a post-graduate degree in the UK. He chose to do the mandatory national youth service. He chose to obey the posting to Bauchi State, as against the mass hysteria of changing posting.

And, as it were, he chose to die.
The story of Ikechukwu and Okpokiri, mowed down in their infancies, is re-igniting calls for the scrapping of the NYSC—a body created in 1976 ironically to foster national unity. The corps members always appear to be the primary targets in ethno-religious riots in some parts of the country. There is now an online petition being mobilised to ask for the withdrawal of youth corps members from violent states, while some are calling for the outright scrapping of the scheme in the interest of safety and protection of the lives of the young graduates.

According to his profile, Ikechukwu worked at His Grace Network Limited as a manager, and studied at the University of Nigeria Nsukka between 2006 and 2010. He did his secondary school at National High School, Aba, from 1997 to 2003. His favourite quote, according to him, was: “When wealth is lost, nothing is lost. When health is lost, something is lost but when character is lost, all is lost.” His choice of music was “anything inspiring” and his favourite book was the Bible.
He seemed to have a strong religious bent, listing among his interests Dr. Tunde Bakare whom he called “Apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God”. (Ironically, Bakare is Buhari’s running mate.) He also listed House on The Rock (his church, it has turned out), Pastor Sunday Adelaja, The Experience Lagos (a yearly Christian music festival), Myles Munroe, and Pastor Bimbo Odukoya among his “interests”.

An anonymous writer wrote on Okpokiri in a blog Friday: “Let’s all give a moment of silence and think about the senseless loss of Obinna Okpokiri, 27 years of age, Estate Management graduate, Abia State University, butchered and burnt in Bauchi state. Can he be brought back? No, never, not ever! …I did not know Obinna directly but we had mutual friends here in London. Until recently Obinna was here in the UK, at his family expense, to pick up a post graduate qualification. Obi, as I will call him for the rest of this write up, like every young man had dreams and hopes and one of such was to go back and complete the mandatory NYSC. As a result he packed his bags, paid his way back to Nigeria to serve his fatherland in Bauchi where he was posted to do his National Youth Service.”
For Ikechukwu and Okpokiri, it is silent night. It is a heart-wrenching story.

Corruption, Kidnappings: US Report Indicts Nigeria Govt, Police, EFCC, Boko haram etc

A recent report on Human Rights Practices compiled by the United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, have indicted the entire Nigerian Institutions for corruption, election fraud and other irregularities; politically motivated and extrajudicial killings by security forces, including summary executions; breakdown of law

and order, human right violations, security force torture, rape, and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of prisoners, detainees, and criminal suspects.

Below are the highlights of the report

[Read the complete report here. OR http://www.elombah.com/us%20report.pdf]

INEC: International and domestic election observers considered the April 2011 presidential, gubernatorial, and legislative elections to be generally credible, orderly, and a substantial improvement over the flawed 2007 elections.  However, there were reports of fraud and irregularities, including vote rigging and buying, under-age voting, ballot stuffing, and political violence.

Immediately following the presidential election, supporters of the opposition Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, a northern Muslim, challenged the outcome of the election. Postelection violence in protest of Jonathan’s victory erupted in the north and in the Middle Belt States, directed towards local grievances and political targets, resulting in loss of lives,  property damage, and restrictions of movement. The April 9 legislative elections produced major changes in the National Assembly, as only about one-third of the incumbents in both houses were reelected, and opposition parties gained many seats.

POLICE: “Police routinely stopped drivers who did not commit traffic infractions, refusing to allow them to continue until they paid bribes. The Office of the Inspector General of Police attempted to strengthen the Police Monitoring Unit, which was charged with visiting police stations to search officers for signs of accepting bribes; however, the unit remained ineffective and made no arrests by year’s end.”

NHRC: The reports of state or federal panels of inquiry investigating suspicious deaths remained unpublished. Citizens could report incidents of police corruption to the NHRC; however, the NHRC did not act on such complaints during the year, and no other mechanism existed to investigate security force abuse.”

EFCC: On Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the report stated that officials of the anti-corruption agency reportedly singled out political opponents of the governing party in their arrest and detention of state, local, and federal government officials on corruption charges during the year.

GOVERNMENT: Impunity was widespread at all levels of government. The government brought few persons to justice for abuses and corruption.  “The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption; however, the government did not implement the law effectively, and officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. Massive, widespread, and pervasive corruption affected all levels of government and the security forces. The constitution provides immunity from civil and criminal prosecution to the president, vice president, governors, and deputy governors while in office.”

BOKO HARAM: The most serious human rights problems during the year were the abuses committed by the militant sect known as Boko Haram, which was responsible forkillings, bombings, and other attacks throughout the country, resulting in numerous deaths, injuries, and the widespread destruction of property; abuses committed by the security services with impunity, including killings, beatings, arbitrary detention, and destruction of property; and societal violence, including ethnic, regional, and religious violence.

KIDNAPPINGS: Continuing abductions of civilians by militant and criminal groups occurred in the Niger Delta, particularly in Port Harcourt (see section 1.g.). Other parts of the country also experienced a significant increase in abductions, some of which may have been politically motivated. On March 17, kidnappers abducted the 97-year-old mother of the PDP candidate for Delta Central senatorial district, Chief Ighoyota Amori.  The kidnappers demanded that Amori either drop his bid for senate or pay 100 million naira ($617,000).  On March 22, the Anti-Kidnapping Task Force of the Delta Waterways Security Committee freed Amori’s mother.  Whether Chief Amori paid the ransom was not known.

Read the complete report here.


..As Akpabio makes another visit in July

Akwa Ibom State Association of Nigeria, Inc., (AKISAN) is a premierorganization of indigenes of the Akwa Ibom State mostly in the United States pursuing social aims, not part of any government, and not-for-profit-making. It is a member-supported organization with a 501 (c) IRS status in the United States. This year its usual annual convention overlaps with already pumped up 25th Silver Jubilee celebration beginning from August 9 till 12 in Orlando, Florida.

Beneath this preparation floats a subtle matter that may very well explode on the face of the current national president, and one of Akpabio hatchet men, Mr. Buffer Eyo during the business meeting of the august event. Depending on how the matter and other contentious issues are handled, a serious bitter taste may be left for a long time in the mouth of its board and entire members who have supported the organization throughout the years. At the epicenter of what started as mere whispering into hush-hush and buzzing is another allegation of financial impropriety by the current national president, Mr Bufa Eyo.


In 2008, when the akwa Ibom State Chief Godswill Akpabio first attended the 21stConvention of Akisan in Washington District of Columbia, he pledged the sum of $100,000 to the organization. Mr. Obong Umana who emerged the winner of the 2008 hotly contested election to become the president travelled to, and returned from Akwa Ibom where the sitting governor redeemed his pledge. Mr. Umana immediately accounted for the money and turned it over to the board treasurer, Mr. Buffer Eyo, now the president. What happen to the money after it was handed over to Eyo is now a matter of contentious wrangling!


Last year, the governor also pledged this time the sum of $50,000 to the organization and after the convention Mr. Eyo, the current president, travelled to, and returned from Akwa Ibom where the governor again, redeemed his pledge. Sources from the organization have confirmed Mr. Eyo is yet to make account of the $50,000 to the treasurer of the board instead the national president presented a receipt claiming he used the money to settle hotel bills incurred by members of the governor entourage team who attended the convention.

The board chairman, Mr. Chris Oyobio is said to be very furious with the president but appears he is not going to rock the boat in view of his close tie with Governor Akpabio who may develop thin should he dare to cause a stir. Nonetheless, there are signals coming from different quarters that Mr. Eyo will be probed upon leaving office in a little over two months. The problem with this signal is Akisan never wrote into its constitution an immunity clause. A vehement point made by a furious member who is also prepared for the bubble bust contends that ‘Mr. Eyo can be accosted while in office to render accounts of his stewardship to the organization before he vacates the office August 12, 2012.’ The problem with this that Akpabio is now lobbying some of the aggrieved parties to mellow down

Undoubtedly, it appears some of the members of the association are either out of the loop or really afraid of being sued by Mr. Eyo, with Akpabio’s who already intimidated Mr. Eno Adams late last year with a law suit for writing against certain alleged financial improprieties against Mr. Eyo. That case was dismissed on March27, 2012 in favour of Mr. Adams. Though there are some who are not hiding it any more, they are not many who wants to talk about given that the man who now tele-guides AKISAN from the Akwa Ibom Hilltop Mansion is solidly behind Eyo.

Though, they feel as if legitimacy is a socially constructed and psychological right given to the president of AKISAN to exercise power. Once such power is constantly abused or perceived to be abused, every confidence and trust in the president is withdrawn. The problem is the constitution of the organization has no impeachable clause but mainly one door in, the same door out. For this reason, they have to deal with Mr. Eyo to serve out the remaining part of his term but they must compel Mr. Eyo to turn in the $50,000 to the board if that already has not taken place.

Akpbio who is billed for a three months holiday in the USA is not in any mood to see any turmoil associated with his name as it happened in his last year’s visit, which was marred by protest over his unprecedented human right abuse in his home state. A number of organisations, including some makeshift ones have been earmarked to give Akpabio awards some with quite uncanny names.

Written By

Mecky I. Peter.