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Mob Lynches NSCDC Official, Another for Killing Nine Boys’ Brigade Members

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Pandemonium broke out on Monday at the Sabonline area, Gombe, after an official of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Adamu Abdullahi, and a yet-to-be-identified man were reportedly lynched for the killing of nine Boys’ Brigade members.

PUNCH Metro learnt that the Boys’ Brigade members were drawn from the St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Madaki, and two parishes of the Evangelical Church Winning All in Bamusa and Barunde, Gombe State.

The Boys’ Brigade members were said to be having an Easter procession when the incident happened around 1am.

Our correspondent gathered that the NSCDC official had wanted to drive through the procession, but was prevented by the brigade, which had blocked a lane on the road.

After some altercation, Abdullahi was said to have had his way.

The official, who was said to be unhappy with the initial action of the group, reportedly drove to his house and dropped off some occupants in his car.

He was alleged to have returned to the procession in his car.

Abdullahi allegedly switched off the headlamps of the vehicle and rammed into the group, killing nine people on the spot.

About 30 others were said to have sustained varying degrees of injury.

A member of the ECWA Boys’ Brigade, Michael Adeniran, said Abdullahi, a corps assistant, drove an official car of the NSCDC.

He said, “The incident happened around 1am. A salon car with the logo of civil defence was prevented from passing the road because of our procession.

“However, when our pastor prevailed on us, we allowed him to pass. After dropping off his girlfriends in his house, he drove back with his car and cleared our members. There was one other person with him in the car.”

Another eyewitness, Meshach Michael, said a mob pounced on the two men and beat them to death.

He said, “Immediately we saw what happened, we held the driver and the man with him and beat them up in anger. We wanted to burn the car, but we were stopped.”

The second occupant of the car was reported to be a policeman.

Our correspondent visited some of the survivors at the male surgical ward of the state specialist hospital.

One of them, who identified himself only as Godwin, wondered why the NSCDC official took the decision.

“This is not the first time that we would embark on this procession at the wee hours of the night,” he said.

Another survivor, Zakaria Ibrahim, said the action was premeditated.

The Gombe State Commissioner of Health, Dr Kennedy Ishaya, described the incident as unfortunate.

“The survivors have different degrees of injury; some have head injuries, and others lacerations,” he added.

The ECWA Secretary, Elias Tstakis, said the church was mourning the loss of its members.

“We discovered that the two men were deployed in the government house, but they chose to kill innocent teenagers,” he said.

The spokesperson for the NSCDC, Gombe command, ASC Sajid Saad, declined comment.

“I am on the road now; I can’t talk. If you are in Gombe, come to my office,” he said.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Mary Malum, said 10 people died.

She said, “There were 10 deaths and 30 injured victims are receiving treatment at the state specialist hospital and other private health institutions.”

The state Commissioner of Police, Bello Makwashi, who was said to have visited the scene of the incident, denied that the second occupant of the car was a policeman.

The Force spokesperson, Frank Mba, who confirmed 11 deaths in a statement on Monday, said the Inspector-General of Police, Adamu Mohammed, had ordered a thorough investigation into the incident.

He, however, said the accident was caused by brake failure, adding that the driver was on Gadan Malale Road and heading for the Central Roundabout in the area when tragedy struck.

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Man, Grandchildren Die of Suspected Food Poisoning in Imo

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A man, Moses Oguebuka, and two grandchildren, were on Tuesday found dead in Okwudor in the Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State.

The development, our correspondent learnt, caused tension in the community as the police took over the investigation.

A community source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told our correspondent that the man and his grandchildren ate dinner together.

He said the bodies of Moses, who was a widower, and his eight and 11-year-old grandchildren had been evacuated by the police.

The source said, “Their lifeless bodies were found in a room in the morning. It was the man’s mistress, who had come to check on him, who found the corpses. She quickly raised the alarm, which attracted the villagers.

“We don’t know what actually happened, but food poisoning is suspected. The deceased ate dinner together and were found dead the next morning.”

The state Commissioner of Police, Rabiu Ladodo, confirmed the incident and said investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deaths had commenced.

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Price of Cooking Gas Soars as Supply Drops

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The drop in the supply of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, popularly known as cooking gas, to Lagos has led to an increase in the retail price of the commodity, raising fears of an imminent scarcity in the state and many parts of the country.

The Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers said last Wednesday that terminal owners had increased the price of 20 metric tonnes of the LPG by 33 per cent to N4.2m within five days.

NALPGAM said efforts to extract the cause of the sudden price increase from the terminal operators had not been successful.

The Nigeria LNG Limited, which is based in Port Harcourt, uses a vessel to deliver the LPG to Lagos at least twice in a month and buyers take the commodity to different parts of the country through trucks.

The company only delivers volumes to government-owned Northern Oil Jetty terminal and Navgas terminal, a private facility.

Our correspondent gathered that over 34 off-takers involved in the distribution of the NLNG’s volumes across the country received supply from the terminals.

But investigations revealed that the vessel only delivered the LPG volumes to Lagos once in October and no supply had been received this month as of the time of filing this report.

The Liquefied Petroleum Gas Retailers branch of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers said on Sunday that the reduction in supply had led to about 90 per cent increment in gas price within a space of one week.

“It is likely that this ugly situation will continue if there is no urgent intervention, especially as Christmas and New Year approach. Just a week ago, in Lagos and some neighbouring states, 12.5kg LPG was sold between N2,600 and N3,000 at retail outlets. It is now sold between N4,000 and N4,500 owing to the sudden hike in the price by tank farm operators,” the LPGAR said in a statement.

Last week, the NLNG, in a letter seen by our correspondent, explained to off-takers recent delays and disruptions to the Lagos delivery schedule.

It said deliveries to Lagos had progressed uninterrupted until August when the LPG vessel, ‘Navigator Capricorn’, loaded a cargo in Bonny and then experienced a suspected piracy attack en route to deliver the cargo to Lagos.

The spokesperson for the NLNG, Sophia Horsfall, in an emailed response to questions, told our correspondent on Friday that the company delivered 12,000MT to the Navgas terminal in Apapa, Lagos on October 15, 2019.

“Before then, we delivered a total of 32,050MT (three cargoes) in the month of September to Lagos. Our next delivery for about the 10th of November will be to NOJ terminal in Lagos. We typically deliver at least two cargoes of the LPG each month to Lagos via NOJ and Navgas terminals,” she said.

The LPGAR called on the Federal Government and other stakeholders to urgently intervene in order to restore sanity.

“The situation is already forcing many users to abandon their cylinders and opt for other sources of cooking energy such as firewood and saw dusk irrespective of the attendant health risks and resultant environmental degradation that results from those alternative energy sources,” it added.

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Lagos Begins Demolition of Burnt Building at Balogun Market

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The Lagos State Government has commenced the demolition of the five-storey building that was razed at the Balogun Market on the Lagos Island on Tuesday.

The demolition began after Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu had visited the scene to commiserate with traders, who lost goods worth millions of naira to the inferno, which raged for about 23 hours.

According to the governor, the incident has brought to the fore the need for a total regeneration of the Lagos Island to prevent occurrences that can endanger the lives of the people.

According to him, the government will hold meetings with the owners of abandoned high-rise buildings in the area to fashion out better uses for such properties.

Sanwo-Olu said the government would conduct integrity test on all buildings in the Central Business District of the Lagos Island and revisit the master plan for the regeneration of the area.

Sanwo-Olu stated, “This fire incident presents discussion for a complete regeneration of the Lagos Island. Here, we have a lot of buildings as old as a century. Now is the time to look into the master plan for a complete regeneration of the entire area. All families must support our move to start the regeneration.

“We also have abandoned high-rise buildings on the island and we have done an audit of all these buildings. We need to have conversation with the owners on how we can put the abandoned properties to better use.

“There are a lot of traders, who wish to take their wares off the road and occupy these abandoned buildings. We need to talk to the owners and reach an agreement with them on a scheme that will make traders use the abandoned properties.

“I have summoned an emergency meeting with all local government chairmen. We cannot condone the reckless approach in which shops are allocated to people in a manner that is not coordinated. When problems arise, they come back to the state government. We will not fold our arms and wait for disasters like this to be repeated.”

The General Manager, Lagos Building Control Agency, Abiola Kosegbe, said the building suffered partial collapse, adding that the demolition had to be undertaken to avert disaster.

Kosegbe stated, “We had to do the needful; the fire is still raging and it is difficult for our officials to go too close. The inferno prevented us from doing all the necessary things.

“A part of the burning building has partially collapsed; everywhere in the building is still hot, so LASBCA, in conjunction with the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency had to go into the building, systematically bringing it down so that it will not cause other problems.”

The General Manager, LASEMA, Oluwafemi Oke-Osanyintolu, said, “We are pulling it down for reconstruction and we will also subject the surrounding buildings to a structural test. The policeman, who was rescued from the rubble of the collapsed portion of the building, has died.”

The acting Head, Lagos State Fire Service, Margaret Adeseye, said the fire raged for 23 hours, adding that it started on the second floor, where the generators were kept.

“The building in the Balogun Market suffered a partial collapse on Tuesday around 9pm during the course of extinguishing the fire. The challenge that we had was that the area had narrow roads and the human population affected accessibility to the building. We finally extinguished the fire before the governor came around 10am on Wednesday,” she stated.

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