August 4, 2021 ushers in another birthday for Nigerian industrialist and philanthropist, Abdul Samad Rabiu. The Chairman/ CEO of BUA Group who is easily one of the richest in the continent has in the last one year carved a niche for himself with his giving.
Hate him or like him, you cannot deny the fact that he played a major role in ensuring that many states were able to contain the onslaught of Coronavirus in 2020 and his post 2020- activities have helped in reinforcing the position that at times the rich can be humane. Curiously, it was the same year of the pandemic that he clocked 60, and decided to open a new vista in giving.
If there was one thing that shook the country’s health and indeed social fibre especially early in 2020, it was the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic.
Nigerians can at least heave a sigh of relief that the disease’s first and second waves were contained thanks to the various measures adopted by the various state governments as well as the Federal Government’s Presidential Task Force.
In a lot of ways Nigerians, especially the health workers as well as the other organizations directly involved in monitoring, containing the spread of the disease also worked round the clock to ensure that the prediction originating from America that Africa would be filled with corpses arising from Coronavirus deaths did not materialize.
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If anything, the statement by Bill Gates’ wife, Belinda pushed Africans, especially Nigerians to look inwards. Many rose to the occasion and happily the events and figures today have shown that, pushed to the wall, Nigerians can rise up to avert crisis of huge dimensions.
While many corporate organisations made pledges and were willing and able to stand out and be counted, Abdul Samad Rabiu’s BUA Group stood head and shoulders above many others in its response to the spread of the disease in Nigeria. The BUA Group reached out to many States, providing the needed financial support as well as material so that the level of readiness to combat the scourge would be raised. Not less than ten States benefited from this largess. This is apart from the billions that the organisation donated through the Organised Private sector initiative which also reached out through palliatives to all the states of the Federation.
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Abdul Samad Rabiu didn’t stop there. His face and voice was always on CNN and other media telling Nigerians that they could pull it off and successfully fight the pandemic. It was indeed a voice of wisdom and encouragement at a time when there was so much despair and it helped.
As the pandemic receded, he again came up with the Abdul Samad Rabiu Initiative for Africa which promised to help in developing Africa by funding projects education, health and social sector
In his speech at the launch Abdul Samad Rabiu, the CEO of BUA Group, stated that, ‘ I announce the launch of the Abdul Samad Rabiu Initiative, with an Africa Fund endowment of USD100million every year starting from this year, 2021; USD$50million to Nigeria and USD$50million to the rest of our beloved continent’.
With seven month of the year gone, ASR has touched Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Universities of Maiduguri, Benin, Ibadan, Ilorin with each of the Universities given 1Billion Naira each. Not only that some states have also become beneficiaries of his largess. Kwara, Akwa Ibom, Ogun, FCT have had grants running into billions of Naira while another 4 states are expected to benefit.
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Meanwhile outside of Nigeria, Ghana was recently given 3 Million dollars towards improving education, a gift that the West African nation received with open arms.
The BUA Chairman has set himself a daunting task of spending 100million Dollars Annually for the development of the continent. The ASR, his vehicle for pursuing this gargantuan dream has been working every week to show that this is achievable. Posterity will always remember men and women who saw challenges to mankind and took steps to turn around these challenges.
As the BUA Chairman marks his 61st birthday, we wish well and urge him not to relent. Africa has only a few leaders who give out at the level in which he is giving. Most leaders take away from the society and leave the people poorer. And for this he will always be remembered
——by Bamidele Ogundana
More Details On The SCOAN Crisis Emerge As Insiders Indict TB Joshua’s Wife
More details concerning the crisis at the synagogue Church of All Nations have emerged as Mrs Evelyn Joshua takes over the leadership of the Church.
Just yesterday, some videos making rounds on social media showed some disciples were forcefully evicted from the church yesterday while some were held hostage at the church.
In reaction to this, insiders who spoke to us in the SCOAN and who chose to be anonymous have let the cat out of the bag by revealing some unbelievable facts about the going on in the ministry.
Sources refuted the claims that the present crisis isn’t a case of leadership tussle, explaining that no one can be in the position to lead SCOAN except by pure grace and through the anointing of the Holy Ghost.
One of the sources noted that Prophet TB Joshua had led the ministry for over three decades and anointed five prophets whom he positioned to take over from him.
Another source explained that the issue on ground is that Mrs Evelyn Joshua claims that she is qualified to succeed her husband despite the fact that she was removed from being a trustee of the church by Prophet TB Joshua before he died.
“The issue has not been a case of leadership tussle in the SCOAN since the passing to glory of the General Overseer, Prophet TB Joshua. Leadership position in any Apostolic ministry like SCOAN can only be by pure grace of God through the anointing of the Holy Ghost. The late founder and General Overseer of the SCOAN, Prophet TB Joshua received the divine ordination to lead this great ministry for over three decades and God used him to anoint five Prophets who, according to the Senior Prophet were already positioned to continue after him. We gathered that even in an interview he granted This day newspaper before passing on to glory, he stated categorically that his wife is not involved in the ministry business and as such he could not display her. So it is not an issue of man’s ordination, election, self imposition or by any court injunction which could only be a reason for any contest. If God elevates one to such position of spiritual leadership, He would make him fit for it, otherwise it’s a dangerous mission!
The facts on the ground is that Mrs Evelyn Joshua claimed she was qualified to succeed her husband being the wife of the late Prophet. Meanwhile she had been removed from being a trustee of the SCOAN by the Prophet before his demise and this denied her any legal ground to assume the position.
Besides, we learnt that the late Prophet’s wife was nursing plans to introduce some new doctrines into the system which were inconsistent with what TB Joshua had laid down and practiced. The disciples who had been trained by the Prophet insisted that the status quo must be maintained. So this became the real bone of contention”
Furthermore, the source allegedly made it known that Mrs Evelyn Joshua allegedly got some lawyers to facilitate her return as a trustee of the church.
They explained how the five prophets trained by Late Prophet TB Joshua were forcefully evicted from the prayer mountain where they live through the security operatives.
“Mrs Evelyn now having the Church lawyers on her side, their plan was to bring Mrs Joshua back on board as a Trustee along with her first daughter, making three members of the family against one person who happens to be one of the Evangelists. The consequence of this is that Mrs Joshua and her two daughters would form a majority and a formidable force that could remove the other person and consequently, the family takes over the Church administration. And since agreement could not be reached after several discussions, in a bid to coerce the disciples to succumb to her quest, Mrs Evelyn Joshua resorted to harassment and intimidation against the disciples, including the prophets, using the Church Security personnel and some security agents from Ikotun Division.
This continued until the 9th of September when she allegedly claimed she had secured a court ruling to be added as a Trustee. She was also alleged to have invited some members of the Church and in their presence she was proclaimed a new trustee and immediately assumed the position of leadership of the Ministry.
As soon as this was done, some security operatives who claimed they were carrying out court order allegedly swung into action. They invaded the Church and the prayer mountain which is few minutes drive from the Church simultaneously. The prayer mountain has been the residence of the late Prophet, the five junior prophets and half of the Evangelists, while the rest Evangelists stay at Church. The five Prophets which includes an American, a Briton, a French and two Nigerians were swooped upon and forcefully ejected from the prayer mountain and carried to the Church. Their rooms were broken into and ransacked. Meanwhile, the Evangelists in the Church were also rounded up and manhandled by the security operatives and the Church Security personnel as they pulled them out of their various departments and some ex-workers and ex-disciples were immediately drafted in to take over those departments which includes the accounts, studio and Emmanuel TV transmission room.
The five prophets and the disciples, both Nigerians and foreign nationals were held hostage the whole day and their handsets seized from them. Currently, all the Nigerian disciples have been sent packing from the Church and the foreign ones are still held hostage. It was also alleged that they are making plan to deport the foreign disciples.”
However, their have been reports that the disciples were accused of looting church money. He debunked the rumors, describing it as a mere blackmail.
SDNON Hails Buba Marwa At 68, Commends His Fight Against Drug Abuse
The Society of Digital Newspaper Owners of Nigeria, SDNON, has today, September 9, felicitated with the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), OFR, on the occasion of his 68 birthday.
Commending his gallantry in the fight against drug abuse in Nigeria, President of SDNON, Otunba Femi Davies, in a statement noted that, it has not been business as usual for drug pushers since Brig. Gen. Marwa was appointed into office.
“We congratulate Brig. Gen.
Mohamed Buba Marwa, on the aspicious occasion of his 68th birthday, he is a distinguished Nigerian, and we at Society of Digital Newspapers Owners of Nigeria identify with his achievements, so far, in office as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA.
“Particularly, noteworthy, is his unique and innovative approach with which he is combating drug and substance abuse in the country,” Otunba Davies highlighted.
Speaking further, he noted that, apart from the thrilling achievement of Brig. Gen.
Mohamed Buba Marwa, also worthy of mention is that, he attained this feats in such a short time in office, and this is precursory to what the future holds for him.
“We have dutifully followed his activities, since assumption into office, we take cognizance of the Influence of his courageous leadership on the human and material development of our dear country.
“As he turns 68 today, we continue to pray for sound health, long life and more achievement in office and beyond.
“His leadership role and quest for excellence transcends his days both as former military governor of old Borno State and military administrator of Lagos State.
“He has an unmatched ability to discover, harness and develop potentials.
“On behalf of our teeming members, we join millions of well-wishers to wish him a Happy Birthday,” Otunba Femi Davies submitted.
5 Things To Know About the Delta Variant
The predominant COVID-19 strain has put the focus back on prevention
Even as people began to feel some hope—or at least cautious optimism—early this summer that the pandemic could recede to the background, there was still the threat that new mutations of the COVID-19 virus could bring it back, and it might be even stronger.
A major worry right now is Delta, a highly contagious SARS-CoV-2 virus strain, which was first identified in India in December. It swept rapidly through that country and Great Britain before reaching the U.S., where it is now the predominant variant.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) described Delta as more transmissible than the common cold and influenza, as well as the viruses that cause smallpox, MERS, SARS, and Ebola—and called it as contagious as chickenpox in an internal document, a copy of which was obtained by and reported on in The New York Times. The highest spread of cases and severe outcomes is happening in places with low vaccination rates, and virtually all hospitalizations and deaths have been among the unvaccinated, the CDC says. But the CDC released data in July that showed vaccinated people also can transmit Delta, which officials did not believe to be the case with other variants, and which led the agency to make a prompt revision to its masking guidelines.
Inci Yildirim, MD, PhD, a Yale Medicine pediatric infectious diseases specialist and a vaccinologist, isn’t surprised by what’s happening. “All viruses evolve over time and undergo changes as they spread and replicate,” she says.
From what we know so far, people who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus appear to have strong protection against Delta compared to those who aren’t. Recent data on “breakthrough cases, from the Kaiser Foundation (while based on limited available data) put these cases at well below 1% in the United States, and effectively 0% for severe illness and death. But anyone who is unvaccinated and not practicing preventive strategies is at high risk for infection by the new variant, doctors say.
Here are five things you need to know about the Delta variant.
1. Delta is more contagious than the other virus strains.
One thing that is unique about Delta is how quickly it is spreading, says F. Perry Wilson, MD, a Yale Medicine epidemiologist. Around the world, he says, “Delta will certainly accelerate the pandemic.” The first Delta case was identified in December 2020, and the variant soon became the predominant strain of the virus in both India and then Great Britain. By the end of July, Delta was the cause of more than 80% of new U.S. COVID-19 cases, according to CDC estimates.
The July CDC report confirmed this after an outbreak that occurred in Provincetown, Mass., after a crowded July 4 weekend, which quickly turned into a cluster of at least 470 cases. While the number of reported breakthrough cases in general has been very low in the U.S., three quarters of those infected in Provincetown were people who had been immunized. According to the CDC, even people with “breakthrough cases” carry tremendous amounts of virus in their nose and throat, and, according to preliminary reports, can spread the virus to others whether or not they have symptoms.
The CDC has labeled Delta “a variant of concern,” using a designation also given to the Alpha strain that first appeared in Great Britain, the Beta strain that first surfaced in South Africa, and the Gamma strain identified in Brazil. (The new naming conventions for the variants were established by the WHO as an alternative to numerical names.)
“It’s actually quite dramatic how the growth rate will change,” says Dr. Wilson, commenting on Delta’s spread in the U.S. in June. Delta was spreading 50% faster than Alpha, which was 50% more contagious than the original strain of SARS-CoV-2, he says. “In a completely unmitigated environment—where no one is vaccinated or wearing masks—it’s estimated that the average person infected with the original coronavirus strain will infect 2.5 other people,” Dr. Wilson says. “In the same environment, Delta would spread from one person to maybe 3.5 or 4 other people.”
“Because of the math, it grows exponentially and more quickly,” he says. “So, what seems like a fairly modest rate of infectivity can cause a virus to dominate very quickly.”
2. Unvaccinated people are at risk.
People who have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are most at risk.
In the U.S., there is a disproportionate number of unvaccinated people in Southern and Appalachian states including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, and West Virginia, where vaccination rates are low. (In some of these states, the number of cases is on the rise even as some other states are lifting restrictions because their cases are going down).
Kids and young people are a concern as well. “A recent study from the United Kingdom showed that children and adults under 50 were 2.5 times more likely to become infected with Delta,” says Dr. Yildirim. And so far, no vaccine has been approved for children 5 to 12 in the U.S., although the U.S. and a number of other countries have either authorized vaccines for adolescents and young children or are considering them.
“As older age groups get vaccinated, those who are younger and unvaccinated will be at higher risk of getting COVID-19 with any variant,” says Dr. Yildirim. “But Delta seems to be impacting younger age groups more than previous variants.”
3. Delta could lead to ‘hyperlocal outbreaks.’
If Delta continues to move fast enough to accelerate the pandemic, Dr. Wilson says the biggest questions will be about the heightened transmissibility—how many people will get the Delta variant and how fast will it spread?
The answers could depend, in part, on where you live—and how many people in your location are vaccinated, he says. “I call it ‘patchwork vaccination,’ where you have these pockets that are highly vaccinated that are adjacent to places that have 20% vaccination,” Dr. Wilson says. “The problem is that this allows the virus to hop, skip, and jump from one poorly vaccinated area to another.”
In some cases, a low-vaccination town that is surrounded by high vaccination areas could end up with the virus contained within its borders, and the result could be “hyperlocal outbreaks,” he says. “Then, the pandemic could look different than what we’ve seen before, where there are real hotspots around the country.”
Some experts say the U.S. is in a good position because of its relatively high vaccination rates—or that conquering Delta will take a race between vaccination rates and the variant. But if Delta keeps moving fast, multiplying infections in the U.S. could steepen an upward COVID-19 curve, Dr. Wilson says.
So, instead of a three- or four-year pandemic that peters out once enough people are vaccinated or naturally immune (because they have had the virus), an uptick in cases would be compressed into a shorter period of time. “That sounds almost like a good thing,” Dr. Wilson says. “It’s not.” If too many people are infected at once in a particular area, the local health care system will become overwhelmed, and more people will die, he says. While that might be less likely to happen in the U.S., it will be the case in other parts of the world, he adds. “That’s something we have to worry about a lot.”
4. There is still more to learn about Delta.
One important question is whether the Delta strain will make you sicker than the original virus. But many scientists say they don’t know yet. Early information about the severity of Delta included a study from Scotland that showed the Delta variant was about twice as likely as Alpha to result in hospitalization in unvaccinated individuals, but other data has shown no significant difference.
Another question focuses on how Delta affects the body. There have been reports of symptoms that are different than those associated with the original coronavirus strain, Dr. Yildirim says. “It seems like cough and loss of smell are less common. And headache, sore throat, runny nose, and fever are present based on the most recent surveys in the U.K., where more than 90% of the cases are due to the Delta strain,” she says.
It’s unclear whether Delta could cause more breakthrough cases—infections in people who have been vaccinated or have natural immunity from a prior COVID-19 infection. This question is being revisited after the Provincetown outbreak. “Breakthrough is a big question,” Dr. Wilson says. “At least with immunity from the mRNA vaccines, it doesn’t look like it will be a problem.” A Public Health England analysis (in a preprint that has not yet been peer-reviewed) showed that at least two vaccines are effective against Delta. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 88% effective against symptomatic disease and 96% effective against hospitalization from Delta in the studies, while Oxford-AstraZeneca (which is not an mRNA vaccine) was 60% effective against symptomatic disease and 93% effective against hospitalization. The studies tracked participants who were fully vaccinated with both recommended doses.
Moderna has also reported on studies (not yet peer-reviewed) that showed its vaccine to be effective against Delta and several other mutations (researchers noted only a ”modest reduction in neutralizing titers” against Delta when compared to its effectiveness against the original virus).
“So, your risk is significantly lower than someone who has not been vaccinated and you are safer than you were before you got your vaccines,” Dr. Yildirim says.
Will vaccinated people need booster shots to protect against Delta? Some experts say it’s too soon to know whether we will need a booster modified to target the Delta variant—or to bolster protection against the original virus. But both Pfizer and Moderna are working on boosters, although they would still face the hurdle of getting FDA authorization for them. While the Biden Administration officials has not made a commitment to boosters, in July it said a third shot of the two mRNA vaccines might be necessary for people over 65 and those with compromised immune systems.
Johnson & Johnson also has reported that its vaccine is effective against Delta, but one recent study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal, suggests that its vaccine is less effective against the variant, which has prompted discussion over whether J&J recipients might also need a booster.
There are additional questions and concerns about Delta, including Delta Plus—a subvariant of Delta, that has been found in the U.S., the U.K., and other countries. “Delta Plus has one additional mutation to what the Delta variant has,” says Dr. Yildirim. This mutation, called K417N, affects the spike protein that the virus needs to infect cells, and that is the main target for the mRNA and other vaccines, she says.
“Delta Plus has been reported first in India, but the type of mutation was reported in variants such as Beta that emerged earlier. More data is needed to determine the actual rate of spread and impact of this new variant on disease burden and outcome,” Dr. Yildirim adds.
5. Vaccination is the best protection against Delta.
The most important thing you can do to protect yourself from Delta is to get fully vaccinated, the doctors say. At this point, that means if you get a two-dose vaccine like Pfizer or Moderna, for example, you must get both shots and then wait the recommended two-week period for those shots to take full effect. Whether or not you are vaccinated, it’s also important to follow CDC prevention guidelines that are available for vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
“Like everything in life, this is an ongoing risk assessment,” says Dr. Yildirim. “If it is sunny and you’ll be outdoors, you put on sunscreen. If you are in a crowded gathering, potentially with unvaccinated people, you put your mask on and keep social distancing. If you are unvaccinated and eligible for the vaccine, the best thing you can do is to get vaccinated.”
Face masks can provide additional protection and the WHO has encouraged mask-wearing even among vaccinated people. The CDC updated its guidance in July to recommend that both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals wear masks in public indoor settings in areas of high transmission to help prevent Delta’s spread and to protect others, especially those who are immuno-compromised, unvaccinated, or at risk for severe disease. The agency is also recommending universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools.
Of course, there are many people who cannot get the vaccine, because their doctor has advised them against it for health reasons or because personal logistics or difficulties have created roadblocks—or they may choose not to get it. Will the Delta variant be enough to encourage those who can get vaccinated to do so? No one knows for sure, but it’s possible, says Dr. Wilson, who encourages anyone who has questions about vaccination to talk to their family doctor.
“When there are local outbreaks, vaccine rates go up,” Dr. Wilson says. “We know that if someone you know gets really sick and goes to the hospital, it can change your risk calculus a little bit. That could start happening more. I’m hopeful we see vaccine rates go up.”
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