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Pipeline Explosion: Abia Community Files N3bn Lawsuit Against FG

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Some residents of Osisioma Ngwa community in Abia State have filed a lawsuit against the Nigerian government accusing it of neglect after a pipeline explosion ripped through their homes.

The suit, filed by 80 victims before an Abia State High Court in Osisioma Ngwa, is seeking damages totalling N3.2 billion for the injuries and trauma suffered during the explosion.

Joined in the suit as respondents are the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

In October 2018, a system 2E petroleum pipeline belonging to the NNPC caught fire and exploded in Osisioma Ngwa destroying lives and properties. Some of the villages affected include Umuaduru and Umuimo, as well as residents of Uratta, Umuze, and Njiko Umunna autonomous communities.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said at least 60 persons died in the explosion. But the community put the figure to about 200.

In his reaction to the incident, President Muhammadu Buhari blamed the explosion on “vandals who pilloried the pipelines to scoop the products.”

According to the claimants, the fire incident left some of them with “fractured bodies, wounds and scalds.”

They alleged that the NNPC and PPMC were aware that their pipelines in Osisioma Ngwa community were ruptured and spilling out petroleum products into the community and did not shut them down.

They also accused the government of indifference to the “excruciating and blistering hardship” caused them by the explosion.

“In the wake of the tragic pipeline fire explosions and the traumatising and extensive losses suffered by the casualties of the fires, the defendants did virtually nothing to provide emergency or other relief to the claimants and their loved ones who were casualties of the explosions,” the claimants stated.

“Up till this time too, the defendants have not sought to identify or reach members of the affected communities who, against heavy odds, survived the pipeline fire incident, in order to find ways of supporting them through their rehabilitation process.”
Access to Justice, an advocacy group and lawyers to the claimants, said the lawsuit is aimed at holding the federal government and oil corporation to account.

 

“Access to Justice expects that there will, ultimately, be a day of reckoning for the impunity of both the government and the oil corporations towards the Osisioma Ngwa population,” said Chinelo Chinweze, senior programme officer at Access to Justice.

“And a day of justice for the victims of the pipeline explosions whose lives have been broken so horrendously and disdainfully by government and Nigeria’s state oil corporations.”

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Man Kills Self in Rivers After Lover Ended Relationship

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A middle-aged man, popularly known as Tailor, has committed suicide after his lover allegedly jilted him in Rivers State.

The incident, it was learnt, happened around 10pm on Saturday at Omuokiri village, Aluu community, in the Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.

It was gathered that the victim hung himself in the night after his lover abruptly ended their relationship.

An eyewitness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the man hailed from Kogi State, but lived in Aluu community, where he sew clothes for people.

The eyewitness added that the late tailor’s lover, whose name had yet to be ascertained, ended their relationship for reasons yet unknown after she visited him.

The source stated that neighbours tried to prevail on the lady to reconsider her decision to no avail, as she insisted on packing her belongings from the man’s apartment.

The source said, “The incident happened last night (Saturday). The young man was with his lover in the room when the problem started.

“The lady said she was no longer interested in the relationship. She packed her things and left the house. It was later that one of our neighbours found out that tailor had hung himself.

“As I speak to you, there is trouble in the compound, because the people of Aluu said what the tailor did was a taboo in the community. They have locked the gate and asked everybody to pack out till traditional cleansing is done in the compound.”

When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Nnamdi Omoni, confirmed the incident, adding that the police were investigating the circumstances that lead to the man’s death.

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Bandits Kill 13 Family Members, One Other in Kogi

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Fourteen people, including 13 members of the same family were killed in an early morning attack by suspected bandits on Wednesday in Agudu, in the Kogi/Kotonkarfe Local Government Area of Kogi State.

The state Commissioner of Police, Ede Ayuba, while briefing journalists on the activities of the command, said “the 13 family members were wiped out” by the attackers, adding that another person was killed, while six persons sustained injuries.

He said when the police got to the village, the bandits had left, adding that normalcy had been restored to the area.

The CP, who noted that the attack could have been triggered by age-long communal disputes in the community, described it as unfortunate.

He said, “A man and 12 family members were killed. His son is the only survivor. Another person was killed, while those injured have been taken to  the hospital.”

The police boss further disclosed that the killers of the late Innocent Ofodile, owner of popular Chuck’s Supermarket in Lokoja, who was murdered on Lokoja-Abuja Road, had been arrested.

He explained that one Vincent Omogor, who was arrested for kidnapping, confessed that he and his gang members were responsible for the killing of Offodile.

The CP said the gang carried out the killing “on the order of one of his shop attendants, who complained of not being attended to when he approached him for financial assistance when his father died.”

Meanwhile, parading 23 other criminals, the command’s Public Relations Officer, DSP William Aya, said the hoodlums were picked from different parts of the state.

The PPRO explained that the suspects were arrested for armed robbery, banditry, kidnapping, and possession of illegal firearms, among other crimes.

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‘I Have Killed Five Kidnap Victims’

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A suspected member of a kidnap gang, Musa Umar, has narrated his role as the executioner of the criminal group.

Umar, 22, was paraded alongside his gang members and other suspects in Abuja on Wednesday by the Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba.

The suspect revealed that he joined the gang in Kaduna about three years ago, adding that his duty was to kill kidnap victims.

The suspect, who spoke in Hausa, disclosed that he had so far killed three men and two women, all from Katsina State.

Speaking through an interpreter, he said, “I am a farmer and also a kidnapper. I was engaged to kill victims by my gang members and so far, I have killed five persons. They comprised three men and two women, and they were all from Katsina State.”

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