No fewer than three persons including a boy were burnt to death on Sunday, in Lagos by the oil pipeline fire that engulfed the Abule Egba area of the state.
Several others who sustained various degrees of injuries have been rushed to an undisclosed hospital for medical attention.
Many residential houses and vehicles mostly trailers parked along the pipeline area were also burnt by the wild fire which was reportedly caused by the activities of the vandals who were stealing fuel from the government-owned pipeline.
This incident was not the first in the area as a similar one happened at a nearby Awori community just last year and a preceding one which left hundreds of residents dead in 2009.
It was, however confirmed that three people were lost to the current fire. Two of them, male residents were said to have just returned from a trip and were sleeping inside their trailers when the fire caught up with them.
The boy among them was in one of the nearby shops sleeping with his parents but reportedly ran for safety when the fire caught up with him and killed him.
All the three dead bodies were seen kept inside a Lagos State Emergency Health Service pick-up van at exactly 12:15 a.m. to be deposited at the morgue.
Tribune Online correspondent at the scene of the incident counted more than 10 houses along the pipeline and linking Ahmed Sodiq Street including houses No 4 and 8 jumping No 6 as well as more than eight trailers – some with containers, that got burnt by the fire, many of them to rubble.
As of 1.20 a.m., fire fighters were still battling to quench the remaining raging fire.
The major fire on the pipeline right from the hole dug to steal the fuel down to the adjoining Ahmed Sodiq Street, had, however, been put out.
Nevertheless, fire fighter officials from both the Federal and Lagos State government fire service were still at the scene of the incident.
Members of police force and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) as well as the Lagos State Emergency Management Authority ( LASEMA) were also on ground.
Many of them refused to be quoted by when interrogated as their seniors who had earlier got to the scene had left.
Even a senior official from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC), owner of the pipeline, on ground also refused to speak when approached for comments.
The tall man who it was learnt is in charge of the Southwest zone of the corporation, said “I just arrived and I am not for journalists for now.”
After then, he led a team to inspect damage done to the pipelines by the vandals.
However, one of the fire fighters from the Federal Fire Service from Apapa, a distance of about 20 kilometres apart, Mr Okon Udoh, said his team and other colleagues from the state government would keep vigil at the scene to prevent the fire from spreading if ignited again.
A pipeline belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has exploded in the Oke-Ode area of Abule-Egba, Lagos State, causing fear and panic in the area.
The sad development which occurred Sunday evening was said to been caused by vandals, who, in a bid to steal fuel broke the pipeline in a bid to steal fuel.
Confirming the incident, the Director-General, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Dr. Oluwafemi Okeosanyintolu, said, “There is a fire incident at Oke-Odo. We are already coordinating.”
Corroborating his claim, the Director-General, Lagos State Fire Service, Magret Adeseye, said, “Yes, a fire incident is ongoing.
“Three of our stations are present at the scene of the fire incident. The fire is still on, but under control, we deployed Agege, Alausa and one other fire stations to the area.
“The cause of the fire incident is still under investigation, no casualty has been recorded for now.”
The Supreme Court will on Monday deliver judgment in the appeals challenging the election of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State as well as Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State.
The apex court presided over by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, fixed the date after arguments have been taken from the lawyers involved in the legal battle.
The appellant in the case of Kano State, Abbah Kabir Yusuf, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had, through his counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), asked the Supreme Court to nullify the election that brought Ganduje to the office on the ground of the illegality of the election.
Awomolo in his argument informed the court that the Returning Officer with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had unlawfully cancelled elections in 207 polling units in the 44 local government areas of Kano State during the March last year gubernatorial election.
The senior counsel also pleaded with the apex court to nullify the result of the March 23, 2019, supplementary election conducted by the Returning Officer which led to the emergence of governor Ganduje adding that the supplementary election was unlawfully conducted after the purported cancellation
However, Dr Alex Izinyon (SAN), counsel to governor Ganduje urged the Supreme Court justices to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.
He said that contrary to the claim of the appellant, form EC8E is the final result sheet for the governorship election and not form EC8D adding that the appeal has no legs to stand upon.
Also, counsel to INEC, Ahmed Raji (SAN) sought dismissal of the appeal on the ground that there was no established evidence of election cancellation by any Returning Officer on the election day.
Raji told the Justices that the Returning Officer was unable to collate results in the 207 polling units due to violence and snatching of election results sheets.
He specifically informed the court that it was the agent of the appellant who allegedly snatched election results sheets prompting the conduct of the supplementary election in the affected polling units.
Raji pleaded with the apex court to uphold the concurrent findings of the election petition tribunal and the Court of Appeal and sustain the election of Ganduje has been validly conducted and lawfully declared as the governor of Kano state.
The All Progressive Congress (APC) Sokoto State chapter and its governorship candidate in the 2019 general elections, Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto has dragged Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal before the Supreme Court over his reelection.
Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto in his submissions challenged the judgements of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal and that of the Appeal Court that all dismissed his petitions for lack of merit.
Recall that the Tribunal and Appeal court had dismissed APC’s petition for lacking in merits on the 2nd of October and 22 of November, 2019 respectively.
The four-member justices of the Appeal Court, in their unanimous judgement read by presiding Justice Husseini, agreed that the petition filed by APC and its governorship candidate challenging the victory of Governor Tambuwal as upheld by the Tribunal was lacking in merit.
In pursuit of their legal course in the quest to upturn Tambuwal’s victory they, on Monday 2nd, 2019 filed an appeal before the Supreme Court on thirty-one grounds.
According to APC, dismissing its petition by both Courts was simply a miscarriage of justice, hence the call on Supreme Court to do the needful.
The APC said, in their Particulars of Errors as contained in the Notice of Appeal, that they are entitled to the reliefs sought in the Petition, having proved on the balance of probabilities and preponderance of evidence therein.
Northern Youth Progressive Forum Northern has appointed Bowen Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joshua Ogunwole as the ‘Garkuwan Matasan Arewa’.
The appointment, a traditional title which is the shield of the northern youths has taken effect immediately.
Speaking at the official presentation of the title at the university’s Council Chamber, the President of the forum, Abdul Malik Attahiru stated that the forum considered Professor Ogunwole for the title, because of his consistent support for youth development in Nigeria.
According to him, Professor Ogunwole has been in the vanguard of promoting the economic and political emancipation of youths and their unity in the last30 years of his interactions with the youth as a lecturer in the north.
He added that his continued interest in youth development even in the South West informed the congress to recommend him for the title at a meeting held in Kaduna as a way to encourage him. He noted that Professor Ogunwole has written his name in gold.
Comrade Attahiru, a Barrister by profession, called for the integration of all youths in the country so as to have a common forum for concerted efforts to protect the unity of Nigeria as a way to safeguard this country’s posterity.
He said: “Northern Youth Progressive Forum is the national body for all the northern Nigerian youths, covering all the 19 states in the north, including Abuja, with an objective to fortify peace and unity in the country. We are building bridges across religions, especially in the north. We believe that everybody cannot be Christian and everybody cannot be Muslim either. In view of this, we have engaged in a series of meetings with our traditional and religious leaders to intimate them with the importance of religious tolerance and accommodation of other tribes in the north.
“The forum has engaged itself in the promotion of western education as a tool to promote peace and development. We have had opportunities to talk to some states governors in the north to invest more in western education.
“It is also part of our agenda to change the fortune of the northern youths to be job creators and not job seekers, through entrepreneurship education campaigns. We also condemn all forms of socials vices and drug abuse, by campaigning against it.
“The future of this country lies in the hands of the youth. And if we want to better Nigeria, all hands must be on deck to sanitise the system. This is why all the youth, from the North, and the southern part of this county should come together and brainstorm on ways to sustain our diversity.”
While accepting the title, Professor Ogunwole, thanked the Forum for the honour as he pledged to continue to give his moral and kind supports for the progress of Nigerian youths, irrespective of tribes and religion.
According to him, youths have the potential to transform our society. He said Nigeria is endowed with foresighted youths leaders who can cause change to happen in this nation.
“With the little interactions I have had with them, I believe in them and their abilities to perform and succeed at any levels of leadership. We have seen students that caused a change to happen in the nations. If any nation underrates youth or students, such a nation is just putting itself in a path of oblivion. For these reasons, Bowen University invests in the lives of its students to make them relevant in their world,” he said.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday observed that the reason governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are standing alone in defence of the widely condemned judgment of the Supreme Court on Imo governorship election is that many of them are products of huge electoral manipulations.
In a statement issued in Abuja by Kola Ologbondiyan, its National Publicity Secretary, the main opposition party noted that the APC governors’ attempt at cheap blackmail will never stop the PDP and millions of Nigerians from the demand for the review and reversal of the judgment in which the Supreme Court “manufactured and donated fictitious votes to name a 4th position candidate the winner of the Imo state governorship election.”
The statement added: “It is rather not surprising to many that the APC governors could allow themselves to be enlisted to haul insults at the PDP with a view to blur and distort this grave miscarriage of justice because many of them are products and beneficiaries of electoral manipulations.
“The APC governors’ part in this script appears very glaring. Of course, who else will the flies support except a person with open smelly sore?
“This is also why APC governors are encouraging their party to engage in underhand measures and supporting injustice instead of following democratic processes.
“In comparing the Imo state judgment to that of Zamfara and Rivers states governorship elections, the APC governors forgot that Nigerians are abreast of the facts.
“The APC governors deliberately veiled the fact that they lost Zamfara and Rivers as a result of their internal wrangling over their failure to conduct a credible primary, which voided their votes and left the party with the second-highest number of votes as the winner.
“This is different from the judgment on Imo where fictitious votes were manufactured by the Supreme Court and donated to the APC to lift it from the fourth position and declared winner.
“In making their plea for the rejected judgment, the APC governors should explain to Nigerians how the Supreme Court, in its bid to award votes to APC, ended up declaring total valid votes of 950, 952 votes above the INEC’s official 823,743 a total number of accredited voters for the election.
“Can the APC governors explain to Nigerians how and where the Supreme Court manufactured the extra 127,743 votes above the number of accredited voters.
“What can they say to the fact that the Supreme Court could not produce the details of the votes from each of the fictitious 388 polling units, upon which it based the ruling?
“Furthermore, can the APC governors explain why the Supreme Court somersaulted on its declaration on a host of cases, particularly the Atiku vs Atiku case, that for a petitioner to succeed in allegation of infraction of any provision of the Electoral Act, especially one complaining about malpractice, the petitioner must call witnesses polling unit by polling units.
“The APC governors should therefore steer clear of the Imo judgment as the PDP will never abandon the determination to get the judgment reversed.”
President Muhammadu Buhari has observed that the lack of foreign investment is denying employable young persons the opportunity to work in the country.
In an article titled “A new case for a Commonwealth based on trade,” made available to the media in Abuja on Sunday, he said greater United Kingdom engagement with Nigeria will bring jobs in untapped sectors.
He said: “For my country, greater UK engagement in its economy would bring jobs to under-tapped sectors, such as agriculture and manufacturing. Millions of highly skilled, English-speaking but underemployed young people, are eager to work but without the opportunities that foreign investment can bring to create jobs and build businesses.”
The president noted that with the United Kingdom certain to exit the European Union, like many other Commonwealth leaders, he is also seeking a new settlement, “not only of closer relations between the UK and my own nation but of unleashing trade within the club in which we together shall remain.”
He observed that even though the relations between Nigeria and the UK are close and longstanding, it has become increasingly defined by Britain’s membership of the European Union.
He added: “A new free trade agreement would reconfigure this, presenting new opportunities for both. As the largest economy in Africa, my country of nearly 200 million people has a great deal to offer: Nigeria’s vast natural energy and mineral resources, unbarred through the ending of customs barriers, could help supply growth for companies in all corners of the UK.
“Greater access would also be forthcoming to one of the world’s fastest expanding groups of consumers – the Nigerian middle classes.”
Vernon Kruger has been sitting in a barrel suspended 25 metres above ground for more than two months.
Overlooking the South African town of Dullstroom, the 52-year old is about to break a Guinness world record … set by himself in 1997.
“Sleeping in this barrel is not very easy,” said Kruger, who usually works as a diver.
“It’s a very small place to curl up in and I have to lie in a foetal position.”
Kruger’s “home in the sky” is equipped with a drainage system for “all the waste”.
He has been washing twice a week in a small basin and surviving on food hoisted up by his team in a wicker basket.
The idea first came to his mind while climbing a palm tree on an island during a vacation.
“Somebody said … why don’t you break the record for sitting in a tree? First it was a joke and then I got a dare from my friends to actually do it,” said Kruger.
After a bit of research, however, Kruger discovered that a man from Indonesia had already broken the record by sitting in a tree for 28 days.
He scrapped the idea and one of his friends suggested “pole sitting”.
“The record was 54 days then,” said Kruger, who decided to take on the challenge and sat “on pole” for 64 days.
Despite the cramps and back pains, Kruger repeated the experience more than two decades later.
“It does get a bit frustrating up here especially because I can’t do many things for myself,” he admitted. “I need to rely on other people for absolutely everything.”
By Monday, Kruger will have spent 67 days in his barrel.
And to his team’s dismay, he plans to stay more.
“Vernon is not coming down when he breaks his record,” said organiser Fiona Jones. “He’s going to stay a little longer.”
“We’re concerned,” she added. “Because we’ve got to get him down.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday used his first official meeting with Vladimir Putin to warn the Russian leader not to repeat the 2018 chemical attack that almost killed former spy Sergei Skripal.
Downing Street said Johnson told the Kremlin chief on the sidelines of a summit on the Libya crisis in Berlin that ties between Moscow and London would not return to normal until Russia ended its “destabilising” activities.
Johnson “was clear there had been no change in the UK’s position on Salisbury, which was a reckless use of chemical weapons and a brazen attempt to murder innocent people on UK soil,” Downing Street said in a statement.
“He said that such an attack must not be repeated,” Johnson’s office said.
Russia has repeatedly rejected accusations that officers from its GRU military intelligence agency used a powerful nerve agent to poison Skripal in retribution for his work with British and other Western spy services.
Skripal and his daughter both spent days in a coma but survived and have since gone into hiding.
The incident further undermined London’s already difficult relations with Moscow.
Downing Street said Johnson had told Putin “they both had a responsibility to address issues of international security including Libya, Syria, Iraq and Iran”.
But the British leader also made clear that this dialogue did not mean London’s relations with the Kremlin were back on track.
“The prime minister said there will be no normalisation of our bilateral relationship until Russia ends the destabilising activity that threatens the UK and our allies and undermines the safety of our citizens and our collective security,” his office said.
London and Washington identify the GRU as Russia’s main security threat to Western interests abroad.
Both also accuse the agency of attempting to hack the world’s chemical weapons watchdog in The Hague in 2018 in order to spy on its investigation into the use of nerve agents in Syria.
British officials have identified the two Russians suspected of delivering the nerve agent to Salisbury as GRU agents Alexander Mishkin and Anatoly Chepiga.
Both men entered Britain using false passports and were captured on CCTV footage walking around the southern English town shortly before Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found slumped on a park bench.
Mishkin and Chepiga later told Russian television that they were tourists who went to Salsbury to look at the local cathedral.
The open-source investigations website Bellingcat argued last June that a GRU officer coordinated the attack from a London hideout using his phone and a few messaging apps.
Democratic US lawmakers leading the impeachment case against Republican President Donald Trump said on Saturday the president must be removed from office to protect national security and preserve the country’s system of government.
In a 111-page document filed before Trump’s Senate trial begins in earnest on Tuesday, the lawmakers laid out their arguments supporting charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress against the president.
“The Senate should convict and remove President Trump to avoid serious and long term damage to our democratic values and the nation’s security,” the lawmakers said, for the first time formally calling for the Senate to convict the president and remove him from office.
“The case against the president of the United States is simple, the facts are indisputable, and the evidence is overwhelming,” they said.
The document was an appeal directly to the senators to be impartial. “History will judge each senator’s willingness to rise above partisan differences, view the facts honestly and defend the Constitution,” the managers said in a statement noting “the President is not a king.”
Trump’s legal team issued a resounding rejection of the impeachment charges, which were read out in the Senate earlier in the week during formalities setting the stage for the trial. They are expected to release a longer, separate response to the Democrats’ pretrial brief on Monday.
Rejecting the charges, Trump’s lawyers reiterated the president’s insistence, echoed by many of his fellow Republicans in Congress, that the charges are nothing more than a partisan attempt to remove him from office, a “dangerous attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their president.”
“This is a brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election and interfere with the 2020 election now just months away,” they argued in a six-page document released on Saturday.
It was the first time Trump formally responded to the two articles of impeachment – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – that the Democratic-led House approved late last year.
Trump and Democratic lawmakers offered dueling arguments about the politically polarizing impeachment case involving Trump’s attempt to persuade Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden last year.
“President Trump categorically and unequivocally denies each and every allegation in both articles of impeachment,” the Trump lawyers’ document said.
As well as the charge of abuse of office for pressuring Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son Hunter Biden, Trump is also accused of obstructing Congress in its investigation into his conduct by refusing to hand over documents and barring administration officials from testifying, even when subpoenaed by House investigators.
The document filed by the Democratic House impeachment managers on Saturday explained why the House passed the two articles of impeachment, and listed evidence supporting the charges.
The evidence included references to information released in the past few days from Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, who was involved in Giuliani’s contacts with Ukraine’s government.
It also included a finding on Thursday by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) that Trump broke the law when he withheld military aid that Congress had designated for Ukraine. Trump is charged with withholding the $391 million in security assistance to put pressure on Kiev to announce an investigation of the Bidens, to boost his 2020 re-election prospects.
“An acquittal would also provide license to President Trump and his successors to use taxpayer dollars for personal political ends,” the Democratic lawmakers’ brief said. The trial in the Republican-led Senate is unlikely to lead to Trump’s ouster, as no Republican senators have voiced support for doing so and a two-thirds majority vote is required to convict.
Trump, at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, for the weekend, played a round of golf on Saturday.
The Trump lawyers, in their document, argued that the president acted at all times with full constitutional legal authority, said one of three sources close to Trump’s legal team who briefed reporters on a conference call on Saturday.
“We will take the facts head-on and we believe that the facts will prove, and have proven, that the president did absolutely nothing wrong,” the source said.
Amid the controversy trailing the new south-west security initiative, Amotekun, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has thrown his weight behind community policing at local, state and zonal levels, noting that there is no need for Amotekun to cause concern.
In a statement issued by his media adviser, Paul Ibe, in Abuja on Sunday, he said the setting up of such security outfits will complement the federal government’s effort given the enormity of security challenges in the country.
He wrote: “Because our security challenges are diverse in forms and impacts, it is thus incumbent that centrally controlled police architecture cannot exclusively deal with those challenges.
“Consequently, there is need for the creation of additional policing structures in the country to address the rapidly growing challenges of insecurity and crime.
“The time is ripe to seriously confront the reality of insecurity in the country by addressing the urgency of introducing state police, zonal police and community policing to complement the efforts of the current federal police.
“It is obvious that current levels of insecurity in the country are giving rise to major initiatives such as Amotekun and the issue need not be controversial in the first place.
“The police are likely to be more effective if they constantly operate in the same local community or local government because such closeness might create a bond with the local people, thereby enabling community cooperation and participation that would engender proactive outcomes in crime prevention.
“Nigeria is a vast country facing enormous security challenges and, therefore, there is the urgent need to create more security structures at the local levels to reduce the burden on the federal police.
“The issue of security shouldn’t be politicised and monopolised in the face of our current alarming security challenges characterised by the fear of even travelling on our highways by the citizens who might be intercepted by kidnappers and taken hostage for ransom.
“Local policing shouldn’t be mistaken for an effort to hijack the role of the federal police or competition with the federal government.
“The obvious inadequacies of the federal police to effectively deal with these rapidly growing security challenges make local policing not only desirable but also necessary.
“The police are more likely to be effective in areas where they are well known and trusted by the local communities who in turn are willing to share information about known criminals and criminal activities, thereby foiling those crimes before they are even carried out.
“It is a given perception that when people have a role in their own security, they are going to help to defeat the criminal in their tracks and that the more they are involved, the more likely they would perceive the police as their friends.
“In the envisage new order, states and local governments shouldn’t be reduced to peripheral players in policing and security matters. When local police structures are closest to the grassroots, emergency response will be more effective than the current unwieldy chain of command that renders local government chairmen ineffective when their people are under attacks.
“As a matter of fact, it is refusing to adopt new ways of doing things that pose a threat to the unity of the country.
“Therefore, Atiku Abubakar supports Community, State and Zonal Police to complement Federal Police to deal with insecurity in the country. It has never been this bad to the extent of threatening the unity of the country.”
The former presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) explained that as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution, the primary responsibility of government, at any level, is the protection of lives and property of the citizen.
He observed that in carrying out this function, the state employs different layers of measures to ensure effective and efficient policing.
According to him, it is without a doubt that in the past decade particularly, the current policing administration in the country had been stretched to its limits and it is obvious that the reality of the nation’s domestic security upheaval will demand of us to recalibrate our police systems.
He recalled: “In the First Republic, before we gravitated too much to the centre, policing was done federally with each native authority and region having some mechanisms to deal with little upsets that were the security concerns of those times.
“In the present day Nigeria, there is hardly any state of the federation that does not contend with some type of security challenges.”
Palpable tension has gripped residents of Abule Egba area of Lagos State as a pipeline explosion rocked the area on Sunday evening.
The explosion was said to have occurred from a ruptured pipeline caused by activities of vandals around the area.
Though the extent of damage and destructions in the area was yet to be ascertained, the fire was still raging as at the time of filing this report.
A 40 feet container which fell off its trailer has claimed the lives of two tricycle operators, 35-year-old Sunday Agbafor and 39-year-old Adidu Uchenna as well as one Mr Chika who is the conductor of the truck.
The accident happened around 9:20 am at Mercedes Avenue, Nkpor in Idemili North LGA of Anambra State on Sunday.
According to the Public Relations Officer, Anambra State police command, SP Haruna Mohammed, disclosed this to newsmen in a statement released in Awka.
He said: “A Mack trailer conveying a container with registration number XS 254 ENU, driven by one Amuche Chinedu ‘M’ of Ugwunagbo LGA of Abia State lost control and knocked down two tricycles with registration numbers AAH 774 UW and AWK 191 QN ridden by one Sunday Agbafor ‘M’ aged 35yrs of Onuofia Igboeze in Onicha LGA of Ebonyi State and one Adidu Uchenna ‘M’ aged 39yrs of Ugwunagbo LGA of Abia State.
“As a result, the trailer with the container fell into a deep erosion pit while the tricyclists together with the conductor of the truck one Chika surname and address unknown died on the spot.
“Police patrol team led by DPO Ogidi Division, CSP Mark Ijarafu, visited the scene.”
He said the remains of the deceased have been removed and deposited at Iyienu Hospital Morgue, Ogidi.
The police team also cleared obstruction created by the accident to enable free flow of traffic in the area.
Meanwhile, the truck driver who sustained injuries is currently receiving treatment at the hospital.
He said the Commissioner of Police, CP John Abang, while commiserating with the bereaved families ordered a discreet investigation to ascertain circumstances surrounding the incident.