Clinton urges U.S. to back AIDS fund
|Clinton has been praised for breaking down the stigma attached to HIV/AIDS||From: CNNfn.com
Courtesy of Nigeriaworld.com
April 27, 2001
Web posted at: 5:00 AM EDT (0900 GMT)
ABUJA, Nigeria -- Former U.S. president Bill Clinton has urged his country to give more money to a global AIDS fund suggested by the U.N.
Speaking at the African AIDS summit in Abuja where U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced his plan, Clinton said raising $7 billion a year to fight AIDS would not be too difficult, with $1.75 billion coming from the U.S..
"That's about the same amount the U.S. government spent last year on office supplies," said Clinton, who stepped down last January after a second four-year term.
Clinton's visit to Nigeria last August was the first by a U.S. president since Jimmy Carter in 1978.
After hugging AIDS victims on live television during his visit, Clinton was praised for helping break down the stigma attached to HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.
"I'm here because I care about Africa and I care about AIDS," he told the summit.
Africa accounts for more than 24 million of the world's 36 million AIDS cases, Clinton said, adding that the world could not afford to ignore Africa's AIDS problem.
"Last year AIDS killed more people in Africa than all the armed conflicts combined," Clinton said.
"Today it is Africa that is the epicentre of the AIDS crisis, but in a decade, unless we turn the tide, it may very well be India or China, or Russia and the other nations of the former Soviet Union where AIDS is now spreading faster than anywhere else in the world."
Clinton told the African leaders that developed countries would invest in Africa's fight against AIDS, but the African leaders, including Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo, Libya's Muammar Gaddafi and Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi, had to develop a plan.
"Those of us from the developed countries, we have to come up with the money, but everyone here has to come up with the plan," Clinton said.
Current spending on AIDS in developing countries totals around $1 billion annually.
Annan said he was aware that $7 billion sounded like a lot of money.
"But it is not at all impossible, given the amount of wealth in the world. In fact, it is little more than 1 percent of the world's annual military spending."
The global fund would fight the spread of AIDS and other infectious diseases, improve health care systems and provide research, education, testing, drug treatments and condoms, as well as care for orphans.
The money would come from governments, foundations, academics and the private sector, U.N. officials said in New York.
More than a dozen African leaders are attending the summit, organised by the Organization of African Unity and the Nigerian government.
Saudis keep ban on women drivers
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef reaffirmed that his government has no intention of allowing women to drive, the official Saudi Press Agency reported Thursday. Saudi Arabia is the only Persian Gulf state that bans women from driving. "It is not possible, and there are no studies on the subject at all," Prince Nayef said, referring to government inquiries on changes to the law. At a news conference, Prince Nayef was noncommittal when asked about another goal of Saudi women: identity cards, which currently are reserved only for men. "As I've said before, everything comes in its own time," Nayef said. Saudi women must cover all but their hands, eyes and feet when in public. They cannot travel, pursue higher education or get a job without the written approval of a male guardian.
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Date: Sat, 28 Apr 2001 18:50:25 +0200
From: "Africaservice" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Qadafi Accuses CIA of Spreading Aids Virus
Panafrican News Agency (Dakar)
April 28, 2001 - Abuja, Nigeria - Qadafi Accuses CIA of Spreading Aids Virus
The Libyan revolutionary leader, Col. Moammar Kadhafi Friday accused the US Central Intelligence Agency or CIA of being responsible for the spread of HIV/AIDS throughout the world. "The issue today, which no one dares address, is the origin of the virus;
namely who created HIV/AIDS. The door is totally closed. Even experts and
doctors present here in Abuja have not addressed that ticklish and very hot
issue," Kadhafi observed.
Speaking in Abuja at the closing ceremony of the African summit on HIV/AIDS,
tuberculosis and other infectious diseases, he said, "diseases like
tuberculosis are leprosy are known since a long time".
According to him, "CIA laboratories had lost control over the virus which
was tested on black Haitian prisoners. And it's not Kadhafi who says so, but
this is a truth divulged by scientists."
He refuted "the notion" according to which the disease was caused by monkeys
from Africa as utterly false and baseless".
"Our monkeys have always lived with us while the disease only emerged in the
last two decades. It's a recent disease that dates back to the 1980s".
To support his revelations, Kadhafi disclosed how health personnel
contaminated 400 Libyan children with HIV/AIDS in the paediatrics ward of
the Benghazi University Teaching Hospital (1,050km east of Tripoli).
"The defendants - one doctor and five nurses - admitted that they were
separately requested by the CIA and MOSSAD (the Israeli intelligence
service) to contaminate Libyan children", Kadhafi explained to the
astonishment of the summiteers.
One doctor and five nurses of Bulgarian nationality were arrested and jailed
for several months now in a Libyan prison after having been accused of
contaminating Libyan children with HIV/AIDS.
He described the act as "a catastrophe and odious crime. We will file the
case to WHO and the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red
Several of these children were transferred to European countries for more
in-depth investigations. A specialised centre in Paris had confirmed their
contamination by the virus.
The case was examined by the criminal court of Tripoli.
Kadhafi said the trial would have an international scope similar to that of
the Lockerbie affair.
Kadhafi also accused capitalist companies of engaging in "odious trade" by
sacrificing the lives of sufferers of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases
to make maximum profits.
He further accused those companies of prolonging the life of the virus and
delaying the marketing of drugs in a bid to gain more profits at the expense
of the millions of persons victimised by the pandemic.
He did not rule out the possibility that major western pharmaceutical
companies and firms end up formulating an efficient vaccine and a treatment
for that virus. But, he said, "they have preferred to exploit this human
catastrophe worldwide in order to enrich themselves".
Kadhafi criticised western countries of "spending billions of dollars on
weapons of massive destruction which kill hundreds of thousands of people
while relatively little money is being spent on AIDS control".
These capitalists, he insisted, "seem to take some pleasure in seeing us
And the Libyan leader emphasized that "HIV/AIDS is not a disease strictly
confined to Africa. On the contrary, he said, it's a pandemic that strikes
the whole planet even if it develops quicker in Africa because of poverty,
debts and other social evils colonialists have plunged us into".
Kadhafi later expressed satisfaction over the deposition with the OAU on
Thursday of the 36th ratification document of the African Union.
He urged African states to primarily rely on themselves and on their own
means to fight the AIDS pandemic.
Africa, he said, should "assume its responsibilities with courage and save
its riches including diamonds, gold, oil, gas, fruits, water to find the
necessary drug and save its sons".
"Africa is today on the right track. It has started, with the coming into
force of the African Union, its historic march for progress and
development", Kadhafi added.
ThisDay News [Dateline: 27/04/2001 00:05:43 ]
House Summons Danjuma over US Soldiers in Nigeria
Flays sack of Malu, others
From Chuks Okocha in Abuja
|The House of Representatives committee on Defence has invited the Minister
of Defence, Lt. General Theophilus Danjuma and the three Ministers of states
in charge of Army, Navy and Air Force to explain the continued presence of
the United States Military personnel in Nigeria.|
The invitation coincided with a reaction from the members of the House of Representatives from the North condemning the sack of the three service chiefs by President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Defence, Hon. Ahmed Mai Wada told newsmen in Abuja yesterday that a letter has been dispatched to the Minister of Defence, Lt. General Danjuma to appear before the House and explain some security issues including the continued presence of the US military personnel in the country.
Wada who said the Minister would appear before the House next week and did not give details of the agenda of the meeting with the minister, but gave indication that the presence of foreign military personnel in Nigeria will be the main issue for discussion, when he explained that: "though, we were told about their presence in Nigeria, but we want more explanations in view of the recent development and information available to us."
He said that after the meeting with the Minister of Defence that there is the likelihood that they may seek further audience with Obasanjo to hear from him why the three Service Chiefs had to retire.
Meanwhile members of the House of Representatives from the North have condemned the retirement of the service chiefs on the ground that they opposed the continued presence of US military personnel in Nigeria. In a press conference addressed, chairman of the Northern Legislators Forum, Hon Zakarie Malherbe, the members said that their investigations showed that the service Chiefs were sacked because of their disagreement with the Federal Government.
over the presence of "American Army personnel on our shores under the disguise of training of our military personnel."
The legislators condemned the presence of American Soldiers within the country's territory, which they said amounted to breach of "our national sovereignty and threat to our national security," adding "besides, Nigerians have not been made aware of this development."
Malherbe said that the forum found the action taken by the former service chiefs as "patriotic, nationalistic and professional and deserves commendation by well meaning Nigerians."
"We therefore call on all Nigerians to salute the courage of the three retired service chiefs in the defence of their fatherland and the military institution, which is vital to the democratic consolidation, which Nigeria needs at this critical period of our history," he said.
The forum, he said, however congratulated the new appointees and urged them to have the interest of the nation at heart in the discharge of their duties.
Responding to a question, Malherbe said that although the forum was not questioning the authority of the president to hire and fire but that the presence of the American soldiers which was the sole reason for the retirement was questionable.
Malherbe also dismissed the rumour that the retired service chiefs were sacked for plotting a coup.
Ericsson hits gold in Nigeria
(culled from Nigeriaworld.com/news/April 24 2001)
By Segun Aregbeyen
GLOBAL telecommunications giant Ericsson Corporation may have scored a triple in Nigeria''s burgeoning communications sector even as MTN intensifies efforts to have two heads of state launch its Nigerian network in June.
Industry sources revealed that Ericsson beat other top notch companies for an specified sum to clinch the contracts for the networks deployment of both MTN and Econet, Nigeria''s newest players on the telecom turf.
It is also known to be involved in NITEL''s GSM initiative, spefically, in the area of network build-out and re-configuration of existing digital exchanges to accommodate GSM operations.
Ericsson was reportedly favoured by the two competing interests for its offer of stronger and longer duration of technical support even though its quoted figure was far from being the lowest.
It was also said to be favoured because of its long and tested relationship with the two companies both of which it had executed similar projects for in the past in some African countries where the two companies had already established wireless networks.
The nation-wide projects are expected to be completed by May with a test-run conducted in the same month, while public service offer is scheduled for the first week of June.
However, an earlier completion date is not unlikely, particularly for MTN, which a company source said was keen on making history as the first company that gave Nigerians "the opportunity to say hello to the world via GSM."
According to the source, South Africa''s President, Thabo Mbeki is billed to be the personality honoured to receive the first international call from Nigeria through MTN''s GSM network and after that "the big guys at the MTN''s corporate headquarters in South Africa."
It is not yet certain whether this first no-expense call will be between President Olusegun and his South African counterpart or any of Nigerian''s serving Ministers of Communications.
What is certain is that MTN''s officials are enthusiastic on having two of the continent''s foremost leaders launch their network in Africa''s most populous nation by making the first conversation that will pass through the network.
Mbeki was said to have put his weight behind MTN''s bid for a GSM licence in what is seen as Africa''s largest telecom market as a way of further cementing relationship between the two countries.
MTN says it would pump some $ 1.8 billion (N198billion) in its roll out plans for the Nigerian market within five years in which it expects to have a subscribers base that exceeds six million.
This projection exceeds the total of five million mandatorily demanded of all three operators by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC).
Industry experts say the MTN''s projection may not be mere gimmicks. Dr. Chris Doyle of Charles Rivers Associates say with 120 million people compare with South Africa''s 45 million where both MTN and arch rival, Vodcatel have a combined 9.5 million lines in just six years, 18 million subscribers for three companies, under five years in Nigeria would be a more realistic figure than five million.
Engineer Titi-Omo-Ettu chief executive of Telecoms Answer
expresses similar optimism and thinks the extremely large and hyperactive nature of the Nigerian market, will be an inevitable propelling force that will shoot up subscription.
This is in spite of fears expressed in certain quarters that the country''s low GDP may not offer the operators enough solvent subscribers to help drive high volume voice traffic crucial to making profit.
86,000 Nigerians seek UK visas (culled fron Nigeriaworld.com/news/April 22 2001)
From Emezie Madu, Abuja
Anew vista has been opened for Nigerians seeking entry visas into the United Kingdom as the country has promised equal and fair treatment.
This was disclosed last week when the new British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Phillip Thomas, called on the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Chief Dubem Onyia.
The new helmsman disclosed that 86,000 Nigerians applied for British visas last year and that henceforth issuance of British visas in Nigeria would be timely and in most cases within 24 hours.
He commended Nigeria''s leadership role in West Africa, saying Nigeria is playing a fundamental role in West Africa.
Responding, Chief Onyia said Nigeria hopes that with the new team at the High Commission "We will be able to consolidate the existing friendly relations between both countries."
The minister advised the new high commissioner to avoid policies and areas that would bring the two countries into conflict. He called for the support of the British government in Nigeria''s role in Sierra Leone and Liberia.
But the Chief Press Secretary to the Minister, Mr. Ikechukwu Ani, said in a release yesterday that cases of rejected applications should not be ruled out since applicants with no genuine reasons of travelling to Britain will not be honoured.