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Tinubu Flies Private Jet To S’Africa, Avoids Faulty Presidential Aircraft

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President Bola Tinubu and his entourage, on Tuesday, departed Lagos for Pretoria to attend the inauguration of the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, aboard two private aircraft, The PUNCH learnt.

The President was escorted by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, the Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat, and other government officials.

A source, who was among those who saw off the President, told our reporter that the President left with members of his team in two private jets.

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“They went in two private jets. Of course, you are aware that the presidential jets are no longer in good shape,” the source, who preferred not to be mentioned, said.

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Efforts to corroborate the report from the Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, and the Minister of Information, Idris Mohammed, were unsuccessful.

As of the time of filing this story, they neither picked up the calls nor responded to messages sent for clarification.

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Tinubu reportedly left the Presidential Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, on a Dassault Falcon 8X aircraft around 11:06 am.

According to the presidential spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, the President would attend the inauguration of Ramaphosa following his re-election as President for a second term.

READ ALSO: Top 10 Biggest Estates In Nigeria

The development came barely 24 hours after the Presidency replied to the objection by the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, to a demand for new aircraft for the presidential fleets.

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The House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence had recently called on the Federal Government to buy new aircraft for Tinubu and Vice-President Kashim Shettima.

The committee’s recommendation was contained in a report released after it investigated the status of the aircraft in the presidential air fleet.

Obi, on his X handle on Monday, however, described the move as unfortunate, saying it was coming at a time Nigerians were grappling with economic hardship occasioned by the Federal Government’s policies.

READ ALSO: FULL LIST: Fubara Nominates Caretaker Chairmen For 23 LGs

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But the Presidency, in a swift reaction, described Obi’s comment as insensitive, wondering if he would rather have the life of the President jeopardised by flying faulty aircraft.

Onanuga had queried the former Anambra governor’s intention on why the number one citizen should not have access to a new plane for his safety.

“Does Peter Obi want the President dead? Is that his wish? Does he want him to continue moving around in a rickety plane and die like the VP of Malawi and Iran President? Let him tell us. This is a basic thing any sane government will do. You can’t toy with your President’s welfare.

“Why will any right-thinking person still want the President to move around in it? In this way, it is the National Assembly that officially recommended that new ones should be bought. Sometimes, Peter Obi opened his mouth to make unnecessary statements,” he stated.

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Three Nigerians sentenced To 235 Years In US Prison

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A court in Mississippi, United States of America has sentenced three Nigerians to 235 years in prison.

The jury found all the three personguilty of mail fraud, wire fraud, identity theft, credit card fraud and theft of government property.

Oladimeji Seun Ayelotan, 30, was sentenced to 95 years in prison, while Rasaq Aderoju Raheem, 31, got 115 years jail term.

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READ ALSO: Applicants Decry N640,000 UAE Visa Fee Hike

Also, Femi Alexander Mewase, 45, received 25 years in jail.

They were convicted for running online scams.

They were said to have duped people of tens of millions of dollars.

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Deadly Blaze Kills Even In France

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An apartment building blaze early Thursday killed seven people in the southern French city of Nice and police were investigating the fire as a possible arson, authorities said.

The dead include three children – 5, 7 and 10 years old – and a 17-year-old teenager who tried to escape by jumping from a window, they said.

The apartment was occupied by a family believed to have Comoran origins, the regional prefect Hugues Moutouh said, referring to the southern African island nature.

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Ten people were inside when the fire broke out.

Rescuers were alerted at around 2:30 am (0030 GMT) to the blaze on the seventh floor of the building in the low-income neighbourhood of Les Moulins, known for being a drug-dealing hub, in the west of the city.

READ ALSO: 100-year-old WWII Veteran Returns To Normandy Beach In France To Marry 96-year-old Bride[PHOTOS]

In spite of the substantial resources deployed, “unfortunately seven people died during this fire”, firefighters said.

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Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on social media that the quick arrival of firefighters “probably prevented more deaths”.

Nice prosecutor Damien Martinelli said investigators were looking into a “criminal” cause for the fire.

“In light of the initial evidence, I have opened an investigation into acts of arson leading to death,” he told reporters at the scene.

The authorities said the blaze probably broke out on the building’s second floor and spread to higher floors.

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READ ALSO: Seven Sentenced To Life Imprisonment In S’Africa For B*rning Two Sisters To D@ath Over Alleged Witchcraft

Rescuers said that three people were taken to hospital, one of them with life-threatening injuries.

They said firefighters were confronted by a “raging apartment fire” on the seventh floor of the building. They carried out three aerial ladder rescues and evacuated dozens.

In total, 25 fire engines and 72 firefighters tackled the fire.

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Twenty people were evacuated to a temporary shelter, with Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi saying a crisis unit to help anyone affected by the fire.

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Biden Speaks Of Quitting Presidential Race If…

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US President Joe Biden said he could drop his reelection bid if doctors found he had a medical condition, as a top Democrat on Wednesday urged the 81-year-old to step aside.

Biden’s comments were the first time he has even slightly opened the door to abandoning the White House race, and came as Representative Adam Schiff, a key ally from California, urged Biden to “pass the torch.”

“If I had some medical condition that emerged, if somebody, if the doctors came and said ‘you’ve got this problem, that problem,’” Biden told the Black media outlet BET in an interview taped Tuesday, when asked what could make him rethink.

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Biden however defended his decision to stay on for a rematch with Republican Donald Trump in November, and explained why he had not handed over to a younger generation after one term.

READ ALSO: Biden Falters In Fiery Debate With Trump

“I said I was going to be a transitional candidate, and I thought I’d be able to move on from this, pass it on to someone else,” he said. “But I didn’t anticipate things getting so, so, so divided.”

Biden has been fighting for political survival since a disastrous debate against Trump nearly three weeks ago, in which his tired and confused appearance sparked concerns about his age.

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Schiff became the first Democrat to call for him to step aside since the assassination attempt against Trump on Saturday, which had briefly silenced the growing chorus against Biden.

READ ALSO: Russian Oil Depot Gutted By Fire After Ukrainian Drone Attack

A second Trump presidency will undermine the very foundation of our democracy, and I have serious concerns about whether the President can defeat Donald Trump in November,” Schiff said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times.

Schiff, who is expected to win a Senate seat this November, is a key White House ally in the legislature and shot to nationwide prominence as lead prosecutor during then-president Trump’s first impeachment trial.

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Biden was set to make a fresh attempt to prop up his candidacy in a speech to crucial Latino voters in the battleground state of Nevada later Wednesday.

– ‘Pretty damn good’ –

Around 20 House Democrats and one senator have now called on Biden to leave the White House race but Biden has refused, insisting he is best placed to beat Trump.

READ ALSO: Ex-Rep Rejects Membership Of Edo APC Gov Campaign Council

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Biden, Trump agree to election debates in June, September
Most polls show Biden trailing in a tight race, with Trump pulling ahead in key swing states but no dramatic movement since the debate debacle or shooting.

Biden said his mental acuity was “pretty damn good” in an NBC interview on Monday, one of a series of unscripted outings aimed at showing he has what it takes.

With pressure on Biden mounting, Democrats said on Wednesday they plan a virtual nomination for the president in the first week of August, ahead of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) on August 19.

Some Democrats have slammed the scheme, accusing the party of trying to ram through Biden’s candidacy and avoid a full discussion of alternative choices.

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Party chiefs say they need to carry out the virtual roll-call by August 7, which is the deadline set by the Republican-led state of Ohio for the submission of nominations.

Biden otherwise risks not being on the ballot in Ohio, the home state of Trump’s new running mate J.D. Vance.

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While Ohio’s governor has signed a law giving Biden more time, the DNC said it feared further legal challenges.

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“None of this will be rushed,” the heads of the DNC’s rules committee said in a letter to lawmakers obtained by AFP. “No matter what may be reported, our goal is not to fast-track.”

But several lawmakers are planning to sign a letter against the virtual nomination plan and others have criticized it, according to US media.

Biden insists that Democratic voters support him, but a poll by the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research said Wednesday that nearly two-thirds want him to step aside.

 

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