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Kogi Tanker Explosion Claims Lives of Schoolchildren, Many Others, Buhari Mourns

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, said he was disturbed by the petroleum tanker explosion that claimed 23 lives earlier in the day in Lokoja, Kogi State.

Most of the victims of the tanker explosion, which occurred in the Felele area of Lokoja, along the Lokoja/Abuja Highway, were schoolchildren and students of the state-owned polytechnic located a short distance away from the scene.

A man from Okene was said to have lost six children to the inferno, while a family of five was wiped out in the accident that some referred to as the worst in the year so far.

The victims included five students of the Kogi State Polytechnic and three nursery pupils, who were on their way to school.

Also, pupils from the Baptist Academy, whose number had yet to be ascertained, were among those killed.

Also killed was a businessman, identified simply as Samson, alongside his wife and three children.

Samson was said that be dealing in sewing machines and wanted to drop off his children at school as had become his daily routine before opening his shop.

The 33,000-litre tanker, which was laden with Premium Motor Spirit and belonged to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, was said to have suffered brake failure around 8am and rammed into five cars, two motorcycles and three tricycles, killing all the occupants.

Buhari said the tragedy represented “another disturbing and saddening incident in the litany of tragedies that have befallen our country.”

Buhari’s position was contained in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, titled: ‘President Buhari mourns victims of Lokoja tanker explosion’.

Shehu quoted the President as expressing worry over the frequency of what he called “large-scale tragedies” in the country.

Buhari was also said to have regretted that the frequent incidents, which he described as a national scandal, were mostly caused by people’s indifference to safety standards.

The President was quoted to have said, “I am seriously worried about the frequency of these unfortunate and large-scale tragedies in the country, which cause needless deaths.

“These frequent incidents that result in loss of lives and property are a national scandal caused by our indifference to safety standards.

“Many accidents are preventable if proper proactive and precautionary measures are put in place or properly observed as routine policies.

“Ours is a country where we move on whenever tragedies occur instead of taking preventive safety measures to forestall future calamities.”

The President therefore called on the county’s transport authorities, traffic and road management agencies as well as law enforcement officials to sit up and enforce safety standards with more seriousness.

He added, “Refusal to do the right thing can cause potential tragic problems that harm innocent people.

“Nigeria is not having a shortage of laws and regulations, but our problem is lack of zeal to enforce those laws and regulations for the sake of public safety.”

He condoled with the state government and the bereaved families.

“I was about crossing the road when I noticed the driver of the tanker signalling of the impending danger due to brake failure, and before one could say Jack Robinson, the 33,000-litre tanker conveying Premium Motor Spirit fell on its side and started spilling the content, which caught fire and burnt all vehicles in the vicinity,” an eyewitness, who spoke on condition anonymity, toldPUNCH Metro.

One of our correspondents, who got to the scene a few minutes after the explosion, counted five burnt cars, three tricycles and two motorcycles.

Although the Sector Commander of the Federal Road safety Corps in the state, Idris Fika Ali, said 23 persons lost their lives, sources said close to 40 casualties might have been recorded.

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Lagos Relaxes Curfew, Now 8pm to 6am

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Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has reviewed the curfew imposed on the state to curb the civil unrest in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests against police brutality.

The governor made this known on Sunday evening in a statement by his Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso.

The commissioner stated, “The curfew in Lagos State has been reviewed. Restriction time is now 8 pm to 6 am.

“Lagosians are enjoined to plan their journey times as they go about their lawful businesses. Public schools remain shut till further notice.”

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Ohanaeze Dissociates Self Kanu’s Comments, Decries Attempt to Pit Yoruba Against Igbo in Lagos

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The apex Igbo socio-cultural and political body, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has dissociated itself from inciting comments made by the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, over the ongoing carnage in Lagos State.

President General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, said this on Thursday in a statement titled, ‘#EndSARS: Alleged destruction of Yoruba economic assets, the Ohanaeze position’.

He said, “We wish to state that Ohanaeze is also outraged by the vituperative and inciting outrage of the leader of IPOB on the #EndSARS activities in Lagos and disassociate the body completely from them.”

The organisation said the statement was in response to a press statement earlier issued by a pan-Yoruba group, the Apapo O’Odua Koya on the ongoing youth uprising in Nigeria particularly in Lagos as it relates to Ndigbo youths.

Nwodo said, “We find the statement disheartening, not necessarily because of the untruth in its sentiment, but that it’s obviously being engineered and targeted at the age long good relationship between the Igbo and the Yoruba.

“Ohanaeze strongly believes that the press statement is craftily drafted showing a skillful use of underhand tactics to achieve a set goal, which in this case is to set Yoruba against Ndigbo.

“We are ready to vehemently resist this in our time, knowing the historical affinity of these two great ethnic groups dating back to the days of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe through to the famous handshake across the Niger propagated by our iconic leader Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu- Ojukwu.

“This spontaneous relationship built by our forefathers over the years has been strengthened in the last three years by the political emancipation movement, being propelled by the Southern and Middle Belt Leadership Forum made up of four ethno-political bodies of Ndigbo, in the South East, Afenifere in the South West, PANDEF in the South-South, Adenomere and the Middle Belt Forum in the North Central Nigeria.

“Ohanaeze feels based on intelligence available to it that the motive of this disturbing statement is not only to overtake the mileage covered by this group in setting their people free from the hegemonic bondage but to ensure its destruction.

“Ndigbo are focused and unequivocal about what they want in a contemporary Nigeria as already articulated in the terms of engagement of this group which is to restructure Nigeria for a true federal system where justice and equity will reign.

“We therefore wish to refute any position being ascribed to Ndigbo even if such position is being adduced by an Igbo that is not within the realm of the struggle to free Nigeria as encapsulated in the terms of agreement of these ethnic nationalities.”

Ohanaeze denied allegations that the Igbo youth involvement in Lagos #EndSARS protest was part of a grand design to destroy Yoruba economy.

This, he said, was for the obvious reason that Ndigbo had most of their businesses scattered all over the country particularly in Lagos and would not be involved in crippling an economy they were active participants in developing.

“Only a fool living in a glass house uses stone to settle scores,” he added.

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Obiano Declares 24Hours Curfew As Hoodlums Attack Police Stations in Anambra

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A police officer and three other persons died on Thursday as hoodlums attacked various police stations in Anambra State.

The police officer, whose name is yet to be ascertained, was killed and burnt by hoodlums in Nnewi, Anambra State.

Police spokesperson, Haruna Mohammed, in a situation report, said three other people suffered various degrees of injuries.

He said the victims were rushed to hospital for medical attention, adding that they were responding to treatment.

He said five persons were attacked in Onitsha and taken to hospital for medical attention, where three have been confirmed dead while two others were receiving treatment.

He further disclosed that the protesters attacked Nnewi police station, set it ablaze and vandalised patrol vehicles and other property.

Mr Haruna listed other police formations attacked to include Nnewi Area Command, 3-3 Division, Ogbunike/ Isiuwulu, Nnobi, and Itchy divisions as well as Peoples Club police post.

The statement by the police reads: “On the 21/10/2020 at about 11:30 pm hoodlums in large number under the guise of “END SARS” protesters attacked Nnewi Police Station, set it ablaze and vandalised patrol vehicles and other exhibits but were prevented from assessing the armoury to cart away arm due to strong resistance placed by police men on duty.

“Similarly, on the 22/10/2020 between 3:30am and 5:pm,the hoodlums in large number equally attacked Nnewi Area Command,3-3 Division,Ogbunike/ Isiuwulu, Nnobi, and Itchy Divisions as well as peoples club police post, burnt Police vehicles and set the facilities ablaze carting away exhibits kept at the divisions.

“Meanwhile, one police officer was beheaded and burnt to ashes while three others sustained various degrees of injuries. The injured police officers were rushed to the hospital for medical attention and they are responding to treatment,” he said.

The spokesman said seven other police stations in the state namely, CPS/Area Command Onitsha, Ogidi, Awada, Inland Town and B Divisions successfully repelled the attacks and chased the hoodlums away.

“Also, police operatives in collaboration with members of the communities comprising youth, vigilante and community leaders at Okpoko, CPS Awka, Oraifite, Otolo, Amichi and Oba vehemently resisted attempts by the hoodlums to attack the police stations.

“However, five persons were attacked in Onitsha and taken to the hospital for medical attention where three have been confirmed dead by the medical doctor while two others are receiving treatment,” he said.

Mr Haruna said other government property burnt or destroyed include High Court Ogidi, Idemili North local council secretariat while the Zik statue at DMGS roundabout was vandalised.

The spokesman said some arrests were also made by the police.

Meanwhile, the state governor, Willie Obiano, has declared a 24-hour curfew in the state, beginning 8pm Thursday, to curtail the outbreak of violence in the state.

The governor made the announcement during a statewide broadcast.

According to the governor, the curfew has become necessary due to unpleasant incidents recorded so far, as well as rising tension in the land.

He declared that all schools and markets in the state be closed down, adding that all large gatherings in any form are banned.

While describing the anger of the #EndSARS protesters as justifiable, Governor Obiano charged youths in the state not to resort to violence.

“I am immensely proud of what you have achieved so far. But we must not succumb to the morbid attractions of violence; no matter the provocation, no matter how justified our anger and no matter how easy it all might seem. Violence does not yield fruitful results,” he said.

He said security agencies are on notice to do the needful, asking them to resist all efforts to provoke them to use extreme force.

“All law enforcement officers charged with ensuring compliance to the restriction on movement must resist the temptation of applying excessive force while attempting to bring the situation under control.

“We cannot afford to repeat the same mistakes that created the problem we are trying to solve in the first place,” he said

Mr Obiano assured all non-indigenes living in the state of their safety and security promising that “the government of Anambra State will not allow you to come to any harm.”

The governor called on stakeholders including the clergy, traditional rulers, youth leaders, among others, to lend their voices and help address the escalating situation.

He revealed that the sum of N200 million has been approved to compensate families of those affected by SARS brutality in the state.

He concluded that this is not the time for destructive rumours, but a time to unite and keep Anambra safe.

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