Kano Emir, Sanusi, Weeps

The Emir of Kano, Alhaji Lamido Sanusi, on Saturday in Kano wept at the Government House, while reflecting on life-after-death.

As beads of tears rolled down the cheeks of the Emir, he reminded his subjects of the need to exhibit good character, honesty, good compassion and transparency while dealing with their compatriots.

While paying homage to Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, as part of events to mark the Hauwan Nasarawa in the ancient city, the monarch urged Ganduje to explore his wealth of experience in the task of developing the state as well as promoting peaceful co-existence among residents in Kano.

Also, the monarch advised Ganduje against relenting in his efforts to provide adequate security to the residents of the state, pointing out that education, health, agriculture and water were critical areas for the governor to focus his attention on.

In his brief remarks, the Emir stated further, “we have a big burden on our shoulders in the service to humanity. We need to remain trustworthy, honest and transparent in our actions and relations with humanity, because on the last day, we shall account for all our dealings before the Almighty Allah.”

The Emir also implored leaders to use the period of Eid-el-Fitri to reflect on the teachings of Prophet Mohammed by resolving that some time, some day, “we shall stand before our creator and answer for all we have done in our life time.”

Furthermore, he called on the indigenes of Kano to always remain law-abiding, irrespective of religion or ethnic differences.

He urged the authorities to stand up and face the security challenges bedevilling the society.

Responding, Ganduje said that his administration was determined to transform the state through the introduction of new projects and the completion of other projects inherited from the past administration.

Ganduje, who expressed dismay over a new method of begging in the state, described begging under false pretence as unIslamic. He said his administration will resist all attempt to make Kano the headquarters of street begging.

Copyright PUNCH.



Will – The most alarming conversation I had was with a British volunteer nurse (another Hero) who relayed countless stories of the grim reality of working on the Ebola ward. It was nine pm when I met Will at the grubby guest house where we were both staying and he had just left the Ebola ward with Sister Nancy. That day there had been a riot outside the hospital. A group of confused and angry young men started hurling stones at the hospital gates, a crowd had gathered and soon enough the police arrived with tear gas. Rumours emerged that the ‘riot’ was sparked by a woman claiming to be a nurse who spoke on radio saying that Ebola didn’t exist, it was just a way for health staff to steal blood, harvest organs and make money. The young guys arrived to take on the health workers.

When Will and Nancy left the ward that evening there was no other staff to replace them for the night shift as most of the local staff had fled due to the riot. They were both exhausted after having worked 14 hours and were forced to make the painful decision to leave patients unattended while they took a break before doing it all again the next day. Will was rattled by this dilemma, “We gave the patients water and paracetamol and then we had to walk out. Patients are dying the most horrible deaths, I’m expecting to find several corpses tomorrow morning,”.

Will told countless more stories of the indignity suffered by Ebola patients because there are simply not enough trained staff on the wards to adequately care for patients. Mothers watching their children dying, patients laying for hours next to corpses because “a corpse weighs a lot and can be hard to move on your own,” and the excruciating pain people were suffering in their final days of life because they are only offered panadol. And amidst all the sadness and tragedy, he also talked about moments of unexpected joy on the ward with patients singing songs and laughing while they lay sick in their beds.

I wondered what what was motivating someone like Will, a young British guy, arriving in Sierra Leone and risking his life doing something that so many others have turned their back on. “It’s the easiest situation in the world to make a difference. I’m not particularly experienced or skilled, but I can do the job and I am actually helping, ”

Lansana Fufuna – Outside the entry of the treatment centre is a constant gathering of people, mostly waiting for news of relatives and loved ones inside. Lansana (42) was standing anxiously alone when I met him, he had been returning to the treatment centre every day for the past three weeks to check on his relatives. His family had been hit hard, and inside were his aunt, two brothers, one sister and two uncles. “In my village Daru, people are dying everyday, more than 36 have died. Thank god my two children are OK, I’m hoping to see my other relatives again, in Allah’s name”.

I left Lansana standing at the gate and wondered what would happen to his family inside. It’s often hard for people to get information about their sick family and friends from outside the hospital. They are not allowed in the compound and talking directly to nurses can be challenging. Patients who are admitted are sometimes unidentified, some dying quickly with no-one identifying their body because they are too infectious. I was later told that Lansana had lost all seven of those relatives he spoke of.

Sierra Leone provides ‘the perfect storm’ for a catastrophic Ebola outbreak. It is a very poor country with a crumbling health system and a recent history of war and civil unrest. This lays the foundation for mistrust between the community and the state who in this situation are represented by the health workers. People do not believe what the government is telling them, information is being delivered ineffectively and too late and resources available for treatment are so limited that it is no wonder people with symptoms are hiding in villages.

I left Kenema a week ago and since then Ebola has made a new home in Freetown. Following the death of Dr Khan, Sierra Leone’s top Ebola doctor, those in power are finally taking notice. The President has announced a State of Emergency, the Centre for Disease Control has declared a level three health emergency, WHO is jumping in with a $100 million response plan, and the international media is all over the story. While recorded case numbers are still relatively low in Freetown (under 10), they are likely to rise and in an urban environment who knows how this will play out. We can only hope that mistakes made in Kenema are avoided in Freetown.

If you would like to contribute to the response, the King’s Sierra Leone Partnership based at Connaught Hospital in Freetown are on the front line. They are a slick team of clinicians and administrators who have a long term commitment to health systems strengthening, but in the face of this crisis are turning their skills to the Ebola response. While many agencies are pulling out, they are remaining with their local colleagues at Connaught to fight Ebola.

UPDATE 3/82014: I had an update from nurse Will at Kenema Treatment Centre, he said things in the past week had started to improve. There is the promise of a Red Cross clinical team expected to arrive in the next week which will mean more nurses on the ward.


 ‘I’m The President; There Is No President In Nigeria’ – Boko Haram Leader,


A screengrab taken on May 12, 2014, from a video released by Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram

Abubakar ShekauLeader of the Boko Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau has made another video appearance, his second in less than 72 hours, daring the United States and other world powers.

Coming on the heels of international solidarity with Nigeria on the search and rescue of over 200 female students of the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, Shekau, whose group has been designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization, FTO, by the U.S, boasted that none of the world powers could locate his whereabouts, no matter how hard they try.

Besides, he reiterated his threat to attack Abuja – the nation’s capital and refineries, the symbol of Nigeria’s economic power.

In a 56-minute video in which Shekau spoke in Arabic, Hausa, English and Kanuri, the wanted terrorist declared war on those he described as infidels, including Christians.

He also spoke on the fate of the abducted girls, this time, threatening to sell them. Earlier, he had called for a swap arrangement with the Federal Government for detained members of sect.

He said: “I am going to marry all these girls off; you cannot see them again. We will sell them in the market; there is a market where I will sell them.

“If you bring three trillion troops, we will not release the girls. We stand to deal with infidels.

“If they catch me, it does not stop me from what I am doing. They said anybody that catches me will be given $50million. So I am important; Obama and Jonathan are unimportant.

“You are looking for who? It is not a new thing that they are catching children and selling them. It is the owner that puts them in the market.

“We are stronger than America anywhere they are. If you want to defend do so because I am ready.

“Where do you say you will come and look for me? Do you know where I am since all these days?

“You are just searching in vain by looking at every nook and cranny.

“I don’t have a land; anywhere I find myself is my land because all land belongs to God”.

Shekau likened the sect’s campaign to the one being waged in Afghanistan – underlying the Nigerian terrorist group’s affiliations with the globally renowned Al-Qaeda.

He said: “The war we are fighting is like the ones in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is the war against Christians and infidels.

“Those fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, Indonesia, Pakistan, Yemen, Mali are my brothers. We will do Jihad. This is my message”.

Shekau also took a swipe at many countries and world leaders including the US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, Israel and Italy

He said: “Some of you (like Germany, Russia, China, Italy) think because we do not mention your names, you think we don’t know you people are involved.

“If I catch Jonathan, Obama and others I am going to sell them. Don’t think I am joking. God, you are my witness.

“If you (Obama, Jonathan, others) seek God’s forgiveness, He forgives. He is a merciful God. If you don’t seek forgiveness, I am going to cut you into pieces”.

He went on: “You Jonathan, you are watching me. If you like, go and bring everybody all over the world, you cannot do anything. Bring up human rights issue, you don’t know anything. Do Nigerians know their rights?

“I am the President; there is no President in Nigeria; there is no President in the world. I am the President in Islam and in the world”.

Shekau vowed that the spate of killings by the sect would continue in any part of the country.

He added: “We will kill until we get tired. We will kill all infidels until we get tired. We will kill unbelievers like chicken. We will tie them. We have decided what we will do.

“Any amount let them spend; we will bring this country down. We are stronger than America anywhere they are.

“We will open a killing pool for all those who have insulted us like George Bush, Obama and even Jonathan.

“I pledge to Allah my God to be faithful, loyal and honest. And you to your country. We will know who God will answer between you and I.

“There is no government existing in Nigeria. Do you think you have government?”

On the sect’s recurring attacks on FCT, the Shekau said they would also not ceasefire.

He added: “We are in Abuja, we will cause havoc. We will do Jihad. We are all Abuja residents. Very soon, we will come to Abuja.

“We are going to the refineries. We are going to the unbelievers. We won’t go to your (Jonathan’s) state; we will go to where there are refineries”.

Shekau listed the sect’s grouses against some world powers, including opposition to western education, democracy and recognition of homosexuality.

He said: “The war we are fighting is against democracy, constitution, Christianity and Western Education.

“I don’t have any relationship with Saudi Arabia, they are nothing. They are also unbelievers. I don’t follow white men. I am not going to follow anybody except God. I won’t have any relationship with anybody than God.

“You say you want to use democracy to cheat us or to deceive us. You are talking of government of the people by the people for the people. I am talking of the government of Allah by the Allah for the Allah

“What is the essence of allowing a female to marry a female? I don’t understand what they are saying. They said it is about freedom which I do not understand”.

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