The number of deaths recorded in the pipeline explosion that rocked the Ekoro area of Abule-Egba, Lagos State, on Sunday, January 19, 2020, has increased to five.
The explosion was reportedly caused by the activities of vandals, who ruptured the pipeline belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in the area in a bid to steal fuel.
The explosion was said to have occurred during the operation around 8pm and sent shivers down the spines of residents who ran scampered for safety.
READ ALSO: JUST IN: Pipeline Explosion Rocks Lagos
According to the Director-General, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Dr Oluwafemi Oke-Osanyintolu, five fatalities involving three adult males, one female and a five-year-old child were recorded.
He stated that no fewer than 20 people who sustained minor injuries were given on the spot treatment, adding that the fire incident had displaced over 150 people.
Oke-Osanyintolu said, “Five fatalities including three adult males, one adult female and a five-year-old child were discovered.
“Also, 20 people were treated for minor injuries and discharged at the scene, while 150 people including children were displaced.
“The buildings affected are a storey building at No 18 Musa Erimo Street and four buildings, including a storey building and three bungalows on No 1, No 2, No 7 and No 20, Joel Nnadede Street, in Ekoro. Also, on Hamed Sodiq Street, a two-storey building on No 2 and two bungalows on No 4 and No 8 were affected, while on the NNPC power line road, three bungalows on No 45, No 47 and No 49 were razed.
“17 shops and 39 vehicles including 33 trucks, three cars and three tricycles were also affected. We will continue to keep members of the public abreast with updates”, he added.
Oil Thieves Arrsted, 43 Ammunition Recovered In Rivers
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps said its operatives recovered 43 ammunition during a gun battle with a kidnap syndicate operating at Okuru-Ama, waterside, near Port Harcourt.
The NSCDC Commandant, Rivers State Command, Michael Ogar, disclosed this while briefing newsmen in Port Harcourt, the state capital on Wednesday.
Ogar said the command’s Anti-vandal squad engaged the suspected kidnappers for about 25 minutes, saying the hoodlums fled on noticing the superior firing power of the operatives.
“Following a sustained Intelligence on the activities of a kidnap syndicate hideout discovered at an uncompleted building located in Okuru-Ama waterside our men swung into action and engaged the suspects in a duel gun battle for 25 minutes.
“They however escaped through the waterways when they discovered our men almost overpowered them.
“However, we were able to recover the following items at the scene of the occurrence: six AK-47 rifles magazines, three Tavor gun magazines, 43 Tavor K2 Ammunitions, 1 Breech block, charms with animal horns.
“Also, a wristwatch and an empty bag. Our men will continue to patrol the area as we enjoined the public not to relent in giving the command credible information that would lead to their arrests.
“You can rest assured that the informant’s identity would be jealousy protected”.
In another development the following, the state NSCDC commandant said 24 suspects for their alleged involvement in oil theft.
Ogar said the suspects attempted to vandalize pipelines belonging to the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, as well as for conspiracy, advance fee fraud, illegal possession of ammunition, obtaining by false pretence and other criminal offences.
He added, “The NSCDC Rivers State Command operatives in joint operations with the Military, Nigerian Police and the DSS attached to Abilli Integrated Service Limited arrested about 19 suspects while attempting to vandalize the Nigerian Agip Oil Company Pipelines.
“They were apprehended along a Toyota Sequoia Jeep SR 5 with Registration number Abuja RSH 645 KZ in a conveyance of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), 1 hard sawblade, a Toyota Camry with number plate Lagos ET 441 LSR, a Toyota Sequoia V8 with registration number Lagos BDG 590 CX laden with illegally refined AGO, a Honda Accord- Kaduna AH 978 MKK with 100 litres of illegally refined AGO concealed in cellophane bags, a Pump action and 2 Cartridges.
“While on routine patrol along the waterways the Command Anti-vandal Marine Team Impounded a wooden boat laden with unquantified litres of AGO, the suspects actually abandoned it and dived into the water while being chased by our men. Notably.
“Four other suspects were arrested for Sales of Pre-registered SIM Cards by our operatives in conjunction with the Nigerian Communication Commission, one Mr Akpan Daniel was also arrested for advanced free fraud and obtaining by false pretence to the tune of N3m which he claimed to have invested in a forex trading on behalf of the Complainant.”
Ogar assured that the corps will continue to fight against crimes and criminalities in the State, saying all the suspects would definitely have their time in court.
He further said the command has intensified the fight against oil theft and illegal oil bunkering activities to save the nation’s economy from saboteurs.
He, therefore, solicited the support and cooperation of the public through useful information to activate actionable intelligence that would help forestall criminal acts, “So that the State can be a safe haven for all dwellers.”
Youths Protest INEC’s Alleged Refusal To Conduct Bye-election In Akwa Ibom
Youths of Oron Union in Oron Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State had stormed the premises of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, along Udom Udoma Avenue Uyo in protest of what they described as ‘delay or tactical refusal’ by the commission to conduct a bye-election to fill the vacant office of the federal constituency.
The position was left vacant after the demise of Nse Ekpenyong
a former House of Representatives Member for the Oron Federal Constituency who died on April 23, eight months ago and his seat declared vacant on June 30 by the Speaker during his internment.
The youths of the area in a protest on Wednesday lamented that the absence of representation had deprived them of many benefits and rights from the National Assembly accusing the electoral umpire of nonchalance in conducting a bye-election in the area.
Displaying placards with various inscriptions such as “INEC sabotaging our constitutional benefits for 8 months of no representation, ‘Oron Federal Constituency deserves a Representative from National Assembly in Abuja, ‘We need a voice at the National Assembly,” among others, the youths urged the INEC National Chairman, Prof Yakubu Mahmood to ensure that the bye-election is conducted immediately in the federal Constituency.
The youths described the federal constituency as the largest in Nigeria with the highest oil producing communities in the Niger Delta.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, the International president of the group, Mr John Bassey flanked by the secretary, Maxi Mkpo recalled that INEC sometime in January conducted bye-elections for six constituencies in four states of the federation and wondered why Akwa Ibom would be different.
He enumerated the constituencies and states the bye-elections were conducted to include: Akure North/Akure South Federal Constituency, Ondo State; Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency, Plateau State; Pankshin South State Constituency, Plateau State; Ogoja/Yala Federal Constituency, Cross River State; Akpabuyo State Constituency, Cross River State; Ngor-Okpala State Constituency, Imo State.
The statement read in parts, “Today, we are gathered here to send a very strong signal to the Chairman of National Electoral Commission INEC Prof, Mahmood Yakubu over this perceived cruel disenfranchisement and broad daylight robbery of our constitutionally and democratically given right to representation at the green Chambers of the National Assembly, Abuja.
“INEC has technically avoided any process that could be initiated for the conduct of a bye-election in our federal constituency. As a people, we are deliberately being denied our right to representation as obtained in the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria.
”It is about eight (8) good months since the unfortunate departure of our Late MP in April 23rd, this year and the subsequent declaration of the seat vacant by the speaker followed by his internment on 30th June 2022. Hence, we are bitterly worried over what could be the justification for INEC not to facilitate the process of conducting a bye-election to fill the vacant seat.
“Recall, an indigene of Mbo LGA, Mr. Emmanuel Inyang, on October 12th 2022 embarked on a one-man protest to the Uyo office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over what he described as ‘unnecessary delay’ by the Commission to fill in replacement, for vacant seats in the National Assembly. This press conference is to re-emphasize and state our points of anger categorically and unequivocally to INEC about the looming dangers of its seeming refusal to conduct the bye-election and the many disadvantages of such an undemocratic delay to the Oro people.
“Our point is very clear and straightforward, we are calling on INEC to fast-track the processes of conducting a bye-election for this mega and oil-rich constituency to avert any future breakdown of law and order within the already volatile elections season and Niger Delta region.”
He also called on members of the parliament representing other federal constituencies within the state to join hands in solidarity in condemning such acts during sessions.
He added that further delay by the commission to accede to their request before the end of December 2022 will leave them with no option but to occupy the state headquarters of INEC from the first of January 2023 until the needful is done.
However, the Head of Operations of INEC in Akwa Ibom, Vincent Ogene addressing the youths assured them that the issue will be addressed.
Ogene commended the youths for their orderly and peaceful conduct nothing that the commission at the national level will give a directive on what is to be done.
Police Rescue Three Abuja Kidnap Victims, Recover Arms
The Federal Capital Territory Police Command has rescued three kidnap victims and commenced investigation into the Tuesday night security breach occasioned by armed robbery, shootings and abduction of some persons in the Kubwa Relocation Estate, off Arab Road area of the FCT.
The Commissioner of Police, Sunday Babaji, noted that the swift response of men of the command in an aggressive manhunt of the perpetrators, resulted in the rescue of three victims and the recovery of firearms and ammunition, including one AK-47 riffle, 25 rounds of ammunition.
The command’s spokesperson, Josephine Adeh, confirmed the development in a statement acquired by our correspondent Wednesday morning.
Adeh noted that preliminary investigation revealed that at about 7:30 pm on December 6, some armed criminals came into the Kubwa Relocation Estate, shot two victims, one Abel popularly known as Oshodi and another Abdulwahab (both other names unknown).
Adeh said, “The suspects while departing the scene, left with four victims possibly to enable them evade arrest by the approaching police response team deployed to the area on quick intervention.
“The two gunshot victims were immediately rushed to the hospital for medical attention but unfortunately, one of them, Oshodi could not survive as he was confirmed dead by the doctor, while Abdulwahab is still being attended to.”
A female corps member and seven others were abducted Tuesday night, while one was shot dead and another in critical condition resulting from gun wound.
Two victims also escaped as the armed men fled through the hills.
Meanwhile, the CP called for calm noting that the command had since deployed intelligence and other operational asset possible to fortify security in the entire Kubwa area and its environs.
Babaji assured that investigations had since commenced to identify the suspects and bring them to book to ascertain their mission and motives.
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