Sunday, 9 December 2012

Ghana incumbent President John Dramani Mahama declared Winner

Ghana incumbent President John Dramani Mahama won a new term with 50.7 percent of ballots cast in the West African state's election, the head of the Electoral Commission announced.

"Based on the results, I declare President John Dramani Mahama president elect," Kwadwo Afari-Gyan told a newsconference on Sunday in the capital Accra.

Ghana's main opposition party declared electoral fraud after election results showed the candidate of the governing National Democratic Congress was holding a slim lead.

The results came after the National Patriotic Party called on the electoral commission to delay the official announcement of the results, raising concerns about the conduct of the vote in a nation seen as a stable democracy in an unstable region.

Privately owned Joy News television said John Dramani Mahama, 54, had 50.03 per cent of the votes against Akufo-Addo's 48.05 per cent based on provisional results from 261 of 275 districts.
It said its findings were based on trends of pre-tallied votes in addition to an analysis of outstanding districts.

"It will be unfortunate for the EC [Election Commission] to go ahead to announce the elections," Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, the NPP chairman, announced in the capital Accra.

"We have significant problems and that need to be looked at ... These results cannot be forced down the throat of the people of Ghana."

He said the party had raised complaints to the electoral commission in a letter requesting an audit of results before their release.

But Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, an election commissioner, told Reuters news agency on Sunday he was not yet aware of the NPP complaint.

The vote, which started on Friday and stretched into Saturday amid technical problems, is seen as a test of whether Ghana can maintain 30 years of stability and progress in a region better known for coups, civil wars and corruption.

There were a total of eight presidential candidates. In the event that any of the candidates fail to receive at least 50 per cent of the votes, a run-off vote would be held on December 28.

Mahama was vice-president until July when he assumed the presidency after his predecessor John Atta Mills died due to an illness.

Courtesy: Al-Jazeera

Friday, 7 December 2012

Being left out puts youths with special needs at risk for depression

The challenges that come with battling a chronic medical condition or developmental disability are enough to get a young person down. But being left out, ignored or bullied by their peers is the main reason youths with special health care needs report symptoms of anxiety or depression, according to a study to be presented`123 April 29, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Boston.

Being bullied has been shown to increase students' risk for academic and emotional problems. Little research has been done specifically on how being a victim of bullying affects youths with special needs.

In this study, researchers led by Margaret Ellis McKenna, MD, senior fellow in developmental-behavioral pediatrics at Medical University of South Carolina, investigated the impact of bullying, ostracism and diagnosis of a chronic medical condition on the emotional well-being of youths with special health care needs.

Participants ages 8-17 years were recruited from a children's hospital during routine visits with their physicians. A total of 109 youths and their parents/guardians completed questionnaires that screen for symptoms of anxiety and depression. Youths also completed a screening tool that assessed whether they had been bullied or excluded by their peers.

The main categories of youths' diagnoses included attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (39 percent), cystic fibrosis (22 percent), type 1 or 2 diabetes (19 percent), sickle cell disease (11 percent), obesity (11 percent), learning disability (11 percent), autism spectrum disorder (9 percent) and short stature (6 percent). Several children had a combination of these diagnoses.

Results of the youths' answers on the questionnaires showed that being bullied and/or ostracized were the strongest predictors of increased symptoms of depression or anxiety. When looking at both parent and child reports, ostracism was the strongest indicator of these symptoms.

"What is notable about these findings is that despite all the many challenges these children face in relation to their chronic medical or developmental diagnosis, being bullied or excluded by their peers were the factors most likely to predict whether or not they reported symptoms of depression," Dr. McKenna said.

"Professionals need to be particularly alert in screening for the presence of being bullied or ostracized in this already vulnerable group of students," she added.

In addition, schools should have clear policies to prevent and address bullying and ostracism, Dr. McKenna suggested, as well as programs that promote a culture of inclusion and sense of belonging for all students.

Courtesy: Sciencedaily.com

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Presidential Media Chat:You are wrong about Odi, Obasanjo tells Jonathan


Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday rebuffed claims by President Goodluck Jonathan that the army invasion of Odi – a small community in Bayelsa state – in 1999 was a failure.

During last Sunday’s presidential media chat, President Jonathan had said that the invasion of Odi ordered by Mr Obasanjo in 1999 was a failure.

He had said: “After that invasion, myself and the governor entered Odi…and saw some dead people. Most of the people that died in Odi were mostly old men, women and children, none of the militants was killed.
“If bombarding Odi was to solve the problem, then it was never solved. If the attack on Odi had solved the problem of militancy in the Niger Delta, then the Yar’ Adua government would not have come up with the Amnesty programme. So, that should tell you that the attack on Odi never solved the militancy problem and we had more challenges after that attack on Odi.”

Reacting to these assertions, Femi Fani-Kayode, who served as Special Assistant on Public Affairs and subsequently Minister of Aviation during Mr Obasanjo regime, released a press statement claiming that the invasion of Odi not only killed the militants but decimated their capacity to wage acts of terror against the state.

The statement reads: “During a live broadcast of the Presidential Media Chat to the nation on the evening of November 18, 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan said that the military operation in Odi by the Nigerian Armed Forces in 1999, which was ordered by President Olusegun Obasanjo, did not solve the problem or stop the killing of soldiers, policemen and innocent civilians in the Niger Delta area by the terrorists and militants. He also said that all he saw in Odi after he went there on an official visit as Deputy Governor were the dead bodies of old people. With the greatest respect to Mr. President this is factually incorrect. He has either forgotten the relevant facts or he has been misinformed. Whichever way he is mistaken and it is important for those of us that proudly served the Obasanjo administration to respond to him in order to clarify the issues, clear the air and set the record straight for the sake of history and posterity.

“I had the privilege of being briefed about all the facts by President Olusegun Obasanjo himself and Col. Kayode Are, the former DG of the SSS, immediately after the Presidential Media Chat and I believe that it is appropriate to share some of those facts with members of the Nigerian public given the grave assertion and serious charge that President Jonathan has made. Those facts are as follows:
Why Army invaded Odi
“Five policemen and four soldiers were killed by a group of Niger Delta militants when they tried to enter the town of Odi in Bayelsa State in order to effect their arrest. This happened in 1999. After the brutal killing of these security personnel, President Olusegun Obasanjo asked the then Governor of Bayelsa State, Governor Alamieyeseigha, to identify, locate, apprehend and hand over the perpetrators of that crime.

“The Governor said that he was unable to do so and President Obasanjo, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, took the position that security personnel could not be killed with impunity under his watch without a strong and appropriate response from the Federal Government. Consequently he sent the military in, to uproot and kill the terrorists and to destroy their operational base which was the town of Odi. The operation was carried out with military precision and efficiency and it’s objectives were fully achieved. The terrorists were either killed and those that were not killed fled their operational base in Odi. They were uprooted, weakened, demoralised and completely dispersed. That was the purpose of the whole exercise and that purpose was achieved. The truth is that the killing of security agents and soldiers with impunity by the Niger Delta militants virtually stopped after the operation in Odi and remained at a bare minimum right up until the time that President Obasanjo left power eight years later in 2007. I advise those that doubt this to go and check the records.

“The same thing was done in Zaki-Biam in Benue State in the North-central zone of Nigeria in 2001 after 19 soldiers were murdered in cold blood and then brutally beheaded by some terrorists from that area. Again after the Federal Government’s strong military response in Zaki Biam, the killing of security personnel with impunity stopped. The objectives of the military operations in both Odi and Zaki-Biam were to stop such killings, to eliminate and deal a fatal blow to those that perpetrated them and to discourage those that may seek to carry out such barbarous butchery and mindless violence in the future.
“Those were the objectives and nothing more and clearly those objectives were achieved. There is no doubt that after Odi, there were still unrest, agitations, protests, kidnappings and the blowing up and sabotage of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta area but there were hardly any more attacks on or killing of soldiers and security personnel by the terrorists and militants because they knew that to do that would attract a swift and forceful reaction and terrible retribution from the Nigerian military.
Invasions objective achieved

“To stop and deter those attacks and killings was the objective of President Obasanjo and that objective was achieved. President Goodluck Jonathan was therefore in error when he said that Odi did not solve the problem of killings in the Niger Delta area by the Niger Delta militants. Not only did it stop the killings but it is also an eloquent testimony of how to deal with terrorists, how to handle those that kill our security personnel with impunity and how to deter militants from killing members of our civilian population and thinking that they can get away with it. If President Obasanjo had not taken that strong action at that time, many more of our civilian population and security personnel would have been killed by the Niger Delta militants between 1999 and 2007.

“By doing what he did at Odi and Zaki-Biam, President Obasanjo saved the lives of many and put a stop to the killings and terrorism that had taken root in the Niger Delta area prior to that time.”
The former Aviation minister also said Obasanjo’s comments last week on how to solve the Boko Haram problem were misconstrued and misrepresented in certain quarters.

“He never said that the Odi treatment should be applied to Boko Haram or that such action is appropriate in these circumstances. What he said was that a solution ought to have been found or some sort of action ought to have been taken sooner rather than allow the problem to fester over time like a bad wound and get worse.

“There can be no doubt that he was right on this because, according to President Jonathan’s own Chief of Army Staff, no less than 3000 people have been killed by Boko Haram in the last two years alone. That figure represents approximately the same number of people that were killed by the IRA in Northern Ireland and the British mainland in the 100 years that the war between them and British lasted and before peace was achieved between the two sides.

“The same number of casualties that the IRA inflicted on the people of the United Kingdom in 100 years, is the same number of casualties that Boko Haram have managed to inflict on our people in just two. This is unacceptable and it is very disturbing. The Federal Government must cultivate the courage and the political will to stop the killings by Boko Haram and to find a permanent solution to the problem.”

Courtesy: Channelstv

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Girl raped by boyfriend and his friends

A young man in Saudi Arabia was arrested on charges of rape and extortion. He was taken into custody after a young girl, 17, filed a police complaint against him.

The two met for the first time after the man had initially got in touch with the teenager through mobile chat messenger application 'Whats App'. The man forced the girl to meet him the first time. He lured her into his car and took her to his apartment and raped her, reports Saudi daily Sabq.

The 25-year old man raped her repeatedly and filmed those incidents and threatened to expose her by making images public on social networking sites.

The girl fell deeper and deeper into his trap. He not only raped her himself in his car and at his friends' farm house but also passed her around to his friends for some further sexual assault.

The girl called his bluff one day and the man uploaded an indecent
(read: semi-naked) image on Facebook in a bid to make her submit to his demands.

Finally, she approached the virtue police and they arrested the young man and his friends when they were about to force the girl to accompany them to yet another farm house to gang rape her.

 Courtesy: http://www.emirates247.com

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Text Of President Goodluck Jonathan’s National Broadcast On Flooding




Fellow Nigerians,
1. Over the past few weeks, unprecedented floods have ravaged many parts of our country, rendering tens of thousands of fellow Nigerians homeless, and causing massive destruction of property, farmlands, and infrastructure across the country.
2. I wish to express our deep commiseration with all those who have lost loved ones; those who have lost their property; as well as all the affected communities and institutions.
3. It is sad that this global phenomenon of devastating floods has come to Nigeria at this time.
4. I want to reassure all Nigerians that the Federal Government is prepared to do everything possible to mitigate the impact of this natural disaster.
5. I had earlier set up a Presidential Technical Committee to visit all affected areas with a view to properly assessing the impact of the floods.  The Committee has since submitted an interim Report.
6. The Report, which contained a number of recommendations, was presented to key stakeholders including the leadership of the National Assembly and Governors of the affected States.
7. The Technical Committee will continue to go round the country while the Vice President and I will also visit some of the affected communities. When we receive the Committee’s final Report, the Federal Government will further initiate medium and long-term measures to check future flood disasters.
8. In the meantime, relevant government agencies have intervened to provide relief to the affected persons in collaboration with the State governments.
9. The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has so far spent N1.314 billion to provide immediate relief materials.  The Ministry of Works has spent N556 million on the repair of collapsed bridges and the construction of bye-passes; while the Ministry of Environment has spent N95 million on sundry relief measures.
10. In addition to this, the Federal Government has decided on a number of measures to further ameliorate the situation.  These include the immediate provision of a total of N17.6 billion in direct financial assistance to the affected States and some Federal Government Agencies responsible for disaster management. The States will receive a total of N13.3 billion while the Federal Agencies will receive N4.3 billion.
11. Based on the present assessment, the States have been categorized into four groups: A to D.
All Category A States will receive N500 million each; Category B States, N400 million each; Category C States, N300 million each; and Category D States, N250 million each.
12. Category A States: Oyo, Kogi, Benue, Plateau, Adamawa, Delta, Bayelsa and Anambra.
Category B: Jigawa, Kano, Bauchi, Kaduna, Niger, Nasarawa, Taraba, Cross-River, Edo, Lagos and Imo.

Category C: Kwara, Katsina, Gombe, Ogun, Ondo, Ebonyi, Abia and Rivers.
          
Category D: Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Yobe, Enugu, Ekiti, Osun, Akwa-Ibom, Borno and FCT. 
    
13. To further intensify their intervention activities, the following agencies of the Federal Government have also been allocated funds as follows:
• Ministry of Works  – N2.6 billion
• National Emergency Management Agency – N1.1 billion
• Ministry of Environment - N350 million
• National Commission for Refugees – N150m
• Technical Committee on Floods Impact Assessment – N100 million
14. I have also set up a National Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation to assist the Federal Government to raise funds to mitigate the pains and ensure the effective post-impact rehabilitation of victims.  This Committee will be co-chaired by Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Mr. Olisa Agbakoba, while Dr. Mike Adenuga, Jr. will serve as the Chief Funds Mobiliser.
15. The full membership of the Committee will be announced immediately after this broadcast.
16. Fellow Nigerians, let me use this opportunity to thank State Governments, members of the National Assembly, private individuals, agencies of government, private sector institutions, NGOs, faith-based organizations, and philanthropic groups who individually and collectively have risen to the aid of persons and communities affected by the floods.
17. This humanitarian and compassionate spirit that has been on display in the past few weeks reassures us that, at critical moments, Nigerians are able to come together in pursuit of a common purpose.lk
18. My Fellow Compatriots, let me once again reassure you that this Administration remains fully committed to the welfare and well being of all Nigerians at all times.
19. May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
20. I thank you all.