Governor Nyesom Wike has accused the Nigerian Army of running illegal bunkering in Rivers State.
Assad Hassan, Epidemiologist at the state Ministry of Health, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Birnin Kebbi, that the cases were recorded between February and April.
The police in Akwa Ibom say they have recorded a breakthrough in finding the suspected killers of Akwa Ibom monarch shot dead eight years ago.
Human rights lawyer Femi Falana, has written an unprecedented letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, urging him to order the release 40 Nigerians who have been in “illegal custody” of the Nigerian Navy.
In a letter on Sunday, Mr. Falana said the individuals had been arrested and imprisoned without being arraigned in court.
According to the senior advocate of nigeria the “unlawful detention” contravened sections of the 1999 constitution and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Ratification and Enforcement.
Falana wrote, “We have received complaints from the family members of 40 Nigerian citizens who are being detained without trial on the orders of the Authorities of the Nigerian Navy,” the letter read.
“It may interest Your Excellency to know that the detainees have been held incommunicado in dehumanising conditions for periods ranging from six to eight months.
“In fact, some of the detainees are incarcerated in an underground military detention facility in Abuja while others are held inside one of the vessels impounded by the Nigerian Navy in Marina, Lagos.
“The detainees have been subjected to mental, psychological and physical torture contrary to the provisions of the Anti Torture Act, 2017.
“Furthermore, in utter contempt of court the authorities of the Nigerian Navy have defied valid and subsisting orders of competent courts for the unconditional release of some of the detainees.
“Apart from such contemptuous conduct the Nigerian Navy recently denied knowledge of the whereabouts of the 15 detainees held in a detention facility in Abuja.
“As soon as we pointed out that the remand order procured by the Nigerian Navy for the detention of the 15 detainees had been quashed by the Chief Magistrate Court in Apapa, Lagos State the Naval Authorities turned round to file criminal charges against 5 of them before a Court Martial.
“Since all the detainees are entitled to their fundamental rights to dignity and liberty guaranteed by sections 34 and 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and articles 5 and 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Ratification and Enforcement Act (Cap A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, we urge Your Excellency to direct the Chief Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, to either release the detainees from unlawful custody or arraign them in court without any further delay.
“In view of the fact that the illegal detention of the 40 Nigerian citizens for several months without trial has exposed the Federal Government to unwarranted embarrassment the Chief of Naval Staff ought to be sanctioned by Your Excellency.”
Mr. Dada Labinjo, a navy captain, and Sherifat Ibe Lambert (also known as Mrs Bola Labinjo), a lt. commander, have been reportedly in detention since September 2018 for an undisclosed offence.
Falana had recently asked Mr. Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), to take action against the naval authorities over the violations of the fundamental rights of the detainees.
How a positive outlook may buffer us from stress and ward off health problems
By Bob Holmes 05.14.2019
A sunny disposition isn’t just good for your mental health. It’s good for your body, too. It can even add years to your life. Sarah Pressman, a health psychologist at the University of California, Irvine, has spent her career investigating the link between positive emotions and physical health.
In the 2019 Annual Review of Psychology, she and her colleagues explore why a positive outlook generates physical health benefits. Knowable asked her about some of the high points, and how doctors and their patients can make use of the knowledge. This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
CREDIT: JAMES PROVOST (CC BY-ND)
Psychologist Sarah Pressman
University of California, Irvine
How did you get interested in studying this?
For decades, researchers have been studying all the detrimental ways that stress can make us sick and lead to pain, and minor and major illness. As a graduate student, I got interested in the opposite: What can protect our bodies against the harmful effects of stress? At that time, in the early 2000s, the field of positive psychology was really just starting. I saw a natural synergy there — there are these positive factors, and maybe they could be protective against stress and have health benefits, or at least protect us against health harm.
And does a positive outlook make a measurable difference?
The negative effect on your health of being socially isolated is stronger than the effect of being overweight, a regular smoker or a heavy drinker. That kind of comparison hasn’t been done yet in positive emotion research. But there’s a host of studies — probably in the dozens now — that show that people who are more positive tend to live usually five to 10 years longer than those individuals who are less positive. That’s a pretty large effect.
What causes this effect?
We have a lot of hypotheses. Positive emotion changes our stress perception so stressors don’t seem as bad. It changes how we react to stressors, and it helps us recover. Both our stress reaction and our stress recovery have been shown to predict important outcomes. Pick a disease — heart disease, for example. If you feel calmer, your blood pressure is lower, your heart rate is lower. And we know one of the things that predicts heart disease is arteries blocked up with plaques. And where do those plaques come from? Partially, from damage from high-speed, high-pressure blood. If your blood pressure is lower, and your heart rate is lower, you have less of that turbulent blood flow, and therefore over time you might have less damage to arteries and less plaque.
Positive emotions also change how our immune system works. We don’t know exactly how, but we do know that if I make you feel positive, if I make you feel calm, we change the numbers of your immune cells, and we tend to drop your inflammation level. For example, there’s a marker of inflammation called interleukin 6, or IL-6. People who are generally more positive, or who are induced to feel more positive, have lower levels of IL-6.
But even aside from that, when we are feeling positive, we’re much more likely to engage in healthier behavior. We take better care of ourselves, we’re more likely to sleep better and exercise, we have a better diet. People who are more positive tend to have more relationships, better-quality relationships. They’re more likely to be married and stay married for longer. If you have good relationships, those people will encourage you to take care of yourself.
That gives us some really compelling pathways for how this can happen, both on the behavioral end and by directly altering cardiovascular function, hormonal function, immune function. If I’m happy today, that doesn’t mean I’m going to live longer. But if I’m happy for a few years, that might make a difference.
How do we know that positive emotion causes better health, rather than the other way around?
To do the perfect study would require that we experimentally assign people to an intervention that makes them happier, or less happy, and see if that affects longevity. That has not been done. But we have a lot of studies of groups of people where we know the health and the emotional state of each person at the start. We control for sociodemographic factors, we control for medications and immune function. So we know that those people who were less happy at the beginning weren’t less happy because they were already more sick.
Then we can look over time. If you control for smoking and health at the start and you still see the effect of positive emotion five or 10 years later, it’s more suggestive than a study looking at people at just one point in time and just saying, “Oh, happy people feel healthier.”
In a classic study, people with a more positive outlook were less likely to get sick after experimenters introduced cold viruses into their noses. The researchers measured the volunteers’ sickness both objectively (by weighing a day’s worth of used tissues) and subjectively (by asking the volunteers if they had a cold).
Have you also done experiments?
We measured people’s naturally occurring positive emotions. Then they were experimentally wounded. It was kind of a nasty study, actually. We damaged their skin by putting tape on it over and over and ripping the tape off. We monitored to see how quickly water was being lost from the skin surface. As that water loss decreases, we know the skin cells are healing. This is really an immune-system function test, because the more quickly your immune system is able to traffic white blood cells to the injury, the faster you will heal. We saw about a 20 percent shorter healing time for those individuals who were more positive versus those who were less positive.
There is another study, not yet published, where we manipulated positive emotion. There’s something called the facial feedback hypothesis, where if you fake an emotion, it sends a message to your brain that you’re feeling that emotion. If we trick people into smiling by holding things in their mouth, it can trigger a positive emotion.
So we had people smile while getting a fake flu shot. Some people were smiling and others were not. Those who were smiling had about 40 percent less pain from that needle, and their heart rate recovered faster from the stress of it.
Do we know that positive emotions — and not just the absence of negative ones — are causing the benefit?
That we actually know really, really well. Through the last 20 years of research, almost every study does a good job of accounting for that by controlling for negative emotions.
Time and time again, you see that it really does seem to be the presence of positivity, independent of negativity, that’s driving health effects. It’s the presence of positive emotions, not the absence of negative ones, that can help undo stress. If I have to give a talk and I’m feeling neutral, that isn’t helping me — but if I can say, “Actually, I’m really excited about giving this talk,” that can change my stress trajectory. That’s very different than the absence of a negative emotion.
Are there health conditions where a positive attitude doesn’t help?
For individuals who have a serious chronic illness that’s far gone — stage 4 cancer, end-stage kidney disease — the data are inconsistent. Some studies show benefit, some show harm, some show no effect. If we’re talking about a minute immunological change from laughing, that’s not going to kill millions of cancer cells.
On the other hand, if you are feeling hopeful and positive, and able to adhere to your doctor’s recommendations, and take the medications that you’re supposed to, and exercise when you’re supposed to, and quit smoking, those things are helped by positive emotions, and can have an important role in helping at earlier stages.
This is something we have to work on, because if people want to design positive interventions for these severe illnesses, we have to really understand when it will be helpful. That’s a really important next step for the field.
Isn’t there a risk that people with serious diseases will be stigmatized into thinking it’s their own fault for not being more positive?
We certainly don’t want to say that. There’s absolutely no evidence in health psychology that being unhappy causes cancer, or causes disease to happen. If someone gets diagnosed with cancer, you don’t want to tell them to be happy all the time. There’s good evidence that keeping negative feelings locked up inside is harmful to our health. They have to go somewhere. You have to let it out — express your negativity and process it. Once you’ve accomplished that, we can try to teach you how to find benefit.
It is very important for people to deeply understand the power of mind over body, because if you are depressed and you are stressed it can be hurting you, and we want to help you cope with that. There is value in pursuing happiness. It’s not a selfish, silly, soft thing that you don’t have to do. This is actually an important piece of being a healthy human. And at a time when your health is compromised it can be especially important.
Are there ways to change people’s happiness level? Aren’t some people innately Eeyores and others Poohs?
Some work suggests that as much as 40 percent to 50 percent of happiness is based on genetics — you just luck into being born a more positive person. But that leaves a lot of room to manipulate.
Although some people naturally tend toward a more positive or negative outlook — like Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore — studies suggest that happiness is based on much more than genetics or innate setpoints. Exercise, relationships and personally meaningful activities can help an Eeyore see the bright side, which may also impact health.
CREDIT: TANUHA2001 / SHUTTERSTOCK
A good amount of our day-to-day wellbeing — maybe 30 percent to 40 percent — is due to how we choose to spend our time. We can choose to spend our time on things we know improve positive emotion, like spending time with the people we love, having good relationships, getting enough sleep, exercising.
But on top of that, there are some specific, well-researched interventions — little tweaks that can help you focus on positive things. We can train our brains to hang onto positive emotions, which should help promote that positive emotion in our daily lives. Some of the more popular activities are gratitude exercises, where before you go to bed you write down three things you’re grateful for, and meditation.
The nice thing about happiness is you don’t have to buy some expensive medicine. Much of this is free. Happiness is not just a luxury that rich people should be pursuing — it’s something that absolutely everyone should be investing time in every day
Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2019 general elections, has demanded N500m and a written apology from an aide to President Muhammadu Buhari on social media, Lauretta Onochie, for “spreading lies capable of damaging” his reputation.
In a letter addressed to Onochie and signed by his lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), Atiku took exception to Onochie’s post on Twitter which states, ‘Atiku on UAE watch list- Security Sources.’
According to the former vice president, he was never on any watch list.
He threatened to sue the vocal aide of Buhari for N2billion and cyber bullying if she fails to meet his demands.
The letter partly read, “We have our client’s instructions to demand and we hereby demand from you the following: That you publish and tender a written retraction and apology for the said libellous publication in six national dailies circulating in Nigeria and one international daily as well as on all social media platforms wherein the said publication was made.
“That you pay to our client through the firm, the sum of N500,000,000 only, representing minimal damages to assuage his already battered image wholly caused by your said defamatory publication.
“Take notice that if you fail or refuse to accede to our modest demands within the next 48 hours from the date of this letter, we shall be compelled to activate the full weight of the legal machinery against you without any further recourse to you.
“We shall be, in such a suit, claiming against you the sum of N2bn, representing exemplary aggravated and punitive damages.”
Mrs. Onochie is infamous for attacking persons who criticise her principal, Buhari.
Last year, she shocked Nigerians when she called the Christian Association of Nigeria as a “CAN of worms” after the group said Buhari had not been fair to Christians.
Terrorist groups in West Africa are dangerously trying to transplant the “Syraq” model of transnational destabilization to the Mali-Burkina Faso-Niger border triangle in order to turn it into a similarly lawless region like the frontier between those two aforementioned Mideast states used to be during the height of Daesh’s so-called “caliphate”, with this terrifying development proving that France’s 2013 military intervention in Mali has been a total failure as well as threatening to cause another Migrant Crisis to crash into Europe.
The “West African ‘Syraq’”
Terrorists thought to be affiliated with either Al Qaeda or Daesh ambushed Nigerien troops near the Malian border not far from the capital of Niamey and ended up killing at least 28 of them in a horrifying attack which bodes very negatively for the West African region as a whole. Terrorist groups in this part of the continent are dangerously trying to transplant the “Syraq” model of transnational destabilization to the Mali-Burkina Faso-Niger border triangle after a spree of attacks in this area over the past several months showed that it’s becoming just as lawless as the frontier between those two aforementioned Mideast states used to be during the height of Daesh’s so-called “caliphate”. This terrifying development poses very serious security risks for Europe because of the chance that it could quickly spiral out of control and catalyze another large-scale Migrant Crisis, thus potentially drawing it deeper into mission creep as it seeks to preemptively thwart this scenario.
Different Crisis, Same Origins
The origins of the growing West African terrorist crisis are identical to the Mideast one in that they can both be traced back to a US-led war on a regional leader whose destruction destabilized nearby fragile states and created a fertile ground for unconventional threats to take root. The US’ 2003 War on Iraq preceded the Hybrid War of Terror on Syria that led to Daesh’s rise, just as the 2011 NATO War on Libya triggered the large-scale exodus of highly trained and battle-hardened Tuaregs back to Mali where they quickly got to work carving out the separatist state of “Azawad” that was later hijacked by Islamic militants. The key difference, however, is that the Mideast states were always comparatively more stable than the West African ones, which is why the geographic scope of destabilization in the former was more limited than in the latter. Furthermore, while the Kurds have historically been a transnational issue in the Mideast, their Tuareg structural counterparts in West Africa were more historically successful in their campaigns precisely because of the said state weaknesses.
France’s 2013 military intervention in Mali was meant to reverse the massive gains made by the region’s proto-Daesh after the destruction of Libya and subsequent hijacking of “Azawad” by Islamic militants, while the follow-up “Operation Barkhane” and attendant assembling of the Paris-led so-called “G5 Sahel” military bloc of Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chadwere meant to sustain these gains and keep terrorist threats in check. That obviously didn’t happen, and not only did the chaos spread to the one-time Burkinabe bastion of regional stability, but it’s also contributing to perennially failed state Niger’s collapse that’s exacerbated by the challenge that Boko Haram simultaneously poses in its east. The “perfect storm” is evidently forming, but extra-regional hegemon France seems powerless to stop it since it already has its hands full dealing with its many domestic problems and protecting its Chadian ally from Libyan-originating rebel invasions.
EuroRealists To The Rescue?
Faced with the credible possibility of rising terrorist threats in the “West African ‘Syraq’” causing an out-of-control Migrant Crisis to crash into the bloc later this summer, the EU might feel compelled to step up is military activities there in order to thwart that worst-case scenario, which might receive a populist boost if EuroRealist parties pull off an impressive performance after the EU Parliamentary elections later this month. Italy has already positioned itself as a “frontline state” interested in actively doing whatever is needed to stop new migrant waves to Europe, so it’s not inconceivable that Salvini might try to use the EuroRealists’ possibly forthcoming mandate after the elections to lobby for the urgent dispatch of a multilateral EU intervention force (possibly through PESCO) to ensure that this scenario never transpires. Such an effort could be paired with a so-called “Marshall Plan for Africa” to satisfy the EuroLiberals’ socio-economic priorities there in exchange for their support of this military mission.
Whatever ends up happening, it’s quickly becoming increasingly clear that the rest of the world is being forced to take notice of the “West African ‘Syraq’” that’s forming in the Mali-Burkina Faso-Niger border triangle after a recent spree of terrorist attacks there drew international attention to the region. The latest one that killed at least 28 Nigerian soldiers comes on the heels of several in Burkina Faso that specifically targeted Christians and finally got the West to wonder what’s going on in this part of the world, especially since the memory of the Easter terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka is still fresh on people’s mind. If the EuroRealists do well in the upcoming EU Parliamentary elections, then there’s a real possibility that the bloc might begin seriously considering more robust multilateral military action in West Africa in order to thwart the worst-case scenario of another Migrant Crisis crashing into its borders, though there’s no telling if it’ll succeed where France has already failed.