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Strange disease kills 40 in Enugu community

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A strange disease has reportedly killed not less than 40 people in Igbo-Eze North Local Government area of Enugu State within a period of one month.

Three residents told TheCable on Thursday that the deaths were recorded from across three communities — Umuokpu, Ete and Ogwurugwu — in the last one month.

It is not immediately clear the cause of the deaths but the residents said victims were mostly youth and reported weakness, fever and headache before passing on.

Emmanuel Obi, the state commissioner of health, did not respond to calls made by TheCable, while Louis Amoke, spokesperson for the governor, said he could not confirm the incident.

An official at the local government, who pleaded anonymity, as he is not authorised to talk to the media, told TheCable they had just received reports of strange deaths from the communities but added that the cause is not known yet but ‘they become weak and suddenly die’

Onoja Boniface, a resident of Umuokpu, told TheCable via phone that at least five people have died from the community while Ete, where the development started, has recorded “more than 40 deaths.”

He said: “It started more than a month ago from Uni Ete, a village in Ete which has common boundary with Umuokpu. There were deaths of youths who might just have headache and before you rush them to hospital, they have died. Sometimes they vomit and die.

“Three days ago, in Ogwurugwu, a young man in the night complained of fever and before he was taken to the hospital, he stopped talking and the next thing, he died. Most of them are reporting fever, headache and weakness.

“My friend in Igogoro also told me about a lady who left Umuokpu and on reaching Igogoro, she started developing symptoms the same day and died.”

He added that there are rare cases of two people dying from the same community as “those dying are from different areas.”

Solomon Onu, a resident and convener of Concerned Igbo-Eze North Youths (CINY), also told TheCable that the communities had suspected a deity when the deaths began but now fear the existence of an unknown disease.

“Why people are raising now and not since is because we were initially attributing it to a deity but now, it has transferred to Umuokpu which has a border with Ete,” he said.

“We are suspecting some kind of diseases because with the way they are dying, it has come from Ete and Umuokpu and both have the same border while another.”

In a statement earlier issued on Wednesday, CINY lamented that health authorities “have not taken control of the situation as at the moment.”

“We, therefore seize this opportunity to urgently call on Igbo-Eze North Supervisory Councillor for Health, the Executive Chairman and Enugu State Ministry of Health to come to the rescue of our people whose lives are being threatened, to stem the spread before further deaths ensue,” the statement read.

When TheCable contacted Obioma Ogiri, the LGA public relations officer, she said she was busy and could not comment on the situation.

A message was later sent to her but no response yet.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is yet to respond to questions about the strange disease.

-TheCable

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400 suspected Boko Haram, bandits’ sponsors arrested

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Security agents have arrested about 400 businessmen for allegedly funding operations of Boko Haram and bandits in the country.

Daily Trust reported that the businessmen were arrested in an operation coordinated by the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), and in collaboration with the Department of State Services (DSS), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

President Muhammadu Buhari was said to have approved the operation in 2020.

The newspaper reported that an initial list of 957 suspects comprising bureau de change (BDC) operators, gold miners and sellers, and other businessmen is being acted upon.

A source told the newspaper that about 400 persons were arrested in Kano, Borno, Abuja, Lagos, Sokoto, Adamawa, Kaduna and Zamfara.

Names of the BDC operators arrested were given as Baba Usaini, Abubakar Yellow (Amfani), Yusuf Ali Yusuf (Babangida), Ibrahim Shani, Auwal Fagge, and Muhammad Lawan Sani, a gold dealer.

Those arrested are reportedly being kept in military and the DSS facilities in Abuja and other places.

“Because this is economic warfare against the insurgents and other militant groups, the president, when approving the operation directed that the NFIU take the lead as the country’s financial intelligence powerhouse,” Daily Trust quoted a source to have said.

The source added that “with the presidential approval, a task team was composed of personally selected senior officers who were deployed under the DIA to carry out the special assignment”.

“The main person coordinating the funding ring for Boko Haram is in our custody, he and his closest ally in the business,” he said.

Another source was quoted to have said about 19 BDCs owned by persons with “direct connection with Boko Haram” were uncovered, while over N300 billion was found to have been used in funding terrorism.

Apart from one person in Borno and another in Zaria, Kaduna state, the source said over N50 billion were traced in funding to the armed groups.

“A number of those arrested have divulged vital information including operational details of bandits and Boko Haram insurgents. But they are being kept to aid further arrests,” the source was quoted to have said.

Family members of those arrested, the newspaper reported, have been calling on the government for their release.

In 2020, six Nigerians were also jailed in the United Arab Emirates for allegedly funding Boko Haram.

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Former Ondo deputy governor agrees to return vehicles

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Former Ondo Deputy Governor Agboola Ajayi has finally agreed to return the two vehicles in his possession to the Ondo State Government.

The state government last week said it would embarrass Agboola if he failed to return the four vehicles.

But Agboola, who said he had only two vehicles, insisted they were part of his benefits.

The state government also petitioned the Ondo State Police Command to help recover the vehicles.

In a statement on Sunday, the former deputy governor said he was not the problem of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’s administration.

Agboola stated it was in the interest of everybody that Governor Akeredolu demonstrated good governance, transparent policy making and effective change.

He said it was unfortunate some members of the inner circle of Akeredolu have prioritised harassing him on a number of issues most especially the return of vehicles

Agboola said he hoped “these petty interactions would have ceased after the recent inauguration.

“To be clear – if the return of these two vehicles will make the administration focus more on the avalanche of pressing needs, challenges and predicaments facing the state most especially insecurity, the absence of governance and unpaid salaries across the entirety the Ondo public sector – then I’m ready to make the sacrifice and return the two vehicles which they so desperately need.

“I am not the problem of the present administration. I have moved on.”

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Pensioners demand payment of N35bn arrears

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Nigeria pensioners who retired from the electricity sector have urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to come to their aide in order to resolve the lingering issue of their owed N35billion pension arrears.

The pensioners under the aegis of Electricity Sector Retiree Welfare Association (ESREWA), led by its  President, Elder Benjamin Amako, asked President Buhari to save countless dying pensioners whose fate are tied to the delayed payment of their pension arrears.

Rising from its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja, Amako said every Nigerian, including President Buhari, knows the pathetic situation of pensioners in the country.

Amako said: “First we thank God that Mr President returned from his medical trip healthier, stronger and successfully. The news of his return gave us pensioners so much joy because we know  he will not sit quiet and watch more pensioners lose their lives because of humanly inaction. So far, his administration has ensured that pensioners gets their rights and this arrears we are asking for is our right.

“Interestingly, President Buhari had already directed that this same arrears (N35billion) be paid to us, but for over five years ago he issued the directive, the relevant authorities who it is their responsibilities to ensure we get this arrears for our dying members seems to be working contrarily.

“So for the past five years, these arrears have always been part of the National Budget under Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) budget and accordingly transferred to Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD). But sadly, we have not been paid a dime even as I speak, for reasons that are totally and obviously human making.

“So we are pleading with President Buhari, the SGF, Minister of Finance, Chairman Senate Committee on Power, Accountant General of the Federation, PTAD and other relevant authorities to save our lives by paying us this money without further delay.”

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