- Begins comprehensive investigation
Worried by the complaints over contamination of underground water in its host community, the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) has sealed off the Total filling station at the Akoka area of the metropolis.
The government said that the petrol station should remain closed pending the conclusion of its comprehensive water pollution investigation to determine the source and causes of water contamination being experienced by the Akoka community.
The General Manager, LASEPA, Dr Dolapo Fasawe, who ordered the closure of the station during an on-the-spot visit to the community, said that the directive was in response to the outcries of members of the community who alleged that water from their various water sources was being contaminated by the PMS spills from the Total filling station situated within the area.
She said: “As a responsive and responsible government, the safety and well-being of our people is paramount and must not be compromised for any reason; as an agency saddle with responsibility of regulating all environmental activities in the state, we own it as a duty to protect our people and shield them away from any form of environmental hazards that may likely have negative health impact on them, regardless of whose ox is gored, this is our mandate and on this we stand with our people.
“As a state with myriad business opportunities, we encourages entrepreneurship development and promotes business activities but not at the detriment of our people. Today’s action is basically intended to correct unfriendly habits that make our environment degraded and our people very susceptible to health issues.”
Dr Fasawe, who was accompanied by a member of Lagos State House of Assembly representing Somolu Constituency 1, Hon. Rotimi Olowo, and the Executive Chairman, Somolu Local Government, Hon. Abdul Hammed Salawu said that the directive was necessary in order to prevent health damage that may arise from indiscriminate exposure of the people to unsafe water and further ascertain the existence of unwanted substances in water sources within the community.
Meanwhile, the Total filling station representative, Yahaya Alliu, expressed the readiness of his organization to support the move initiated by LASEPA and its commitment to a friendly working environment that will further promote a rancour-free relationship with its host community.
Pregnant woman, baby, 13 others die in tanker explosion
A pregnant woman and her three-year-old baby, strapped to her back, were among 15 people feared dead while scores of persons were injured when a petrol tanker exploded at Upper Iweka on the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway in Anambra State yesterday.
The tanker crashed at noon after the driver lost control of the vehicle and it burst into flames.
The incident was the second tanker accident on the same spot this year which have claimed over 50 lives.
A witness said the woman had gone back to her shop after escaping from the flame of the fire from the drainage to go and bring out her money.
“The flame which followed the flow of the fuel running through the drainage channel had burnt the plank leading to her shop. As she stepped on the wood, it caved in and she felled into the drainage with the child on her back. Efforts to rescue her proved abortive as the flame coming from the surging fuel scared sympathisers away,” the witness said.
The accident occurred in front of Tronto Hospital, Onitsha. The head of the tanker pulled off and crashed about half a kilometre away while the trunk burst into flames.
The accident forced traders at Upper Iweka, Ochanaja, Iweka Road and Ozomagala to close shops abruptly as the fire followed the fuel flowing down the streets.
Property and goods worth millions of naira were razed at the Ochanja market, while a branch of a commercial bank was also torched.
Some vehicles were also burnt.
The accident drew out hundreds of onlookers, who thronged the Iweka Road while traders were fighting the fire with sachets water. At the time, firefighters were nowhere to be seen.
Some of the victims at the Ochanja, Agbo Romijus, Fabian Onah and Jude Nnamani, whose goods were completely gutted by fire, said the fire incident took them unawares.
The traders said they were sitting in their shops when suddenly the fire broke out. According to them, before they knew it, the fire had gutted their shops.
“We lost everything we have laboured for in life. We are finished and no hope to overcome this incident,” one of them said.
Nnamani, who was weeping uncontrollably, said “all my goods were gutted by the fire. We are passionately appealing to Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State to kindly come to our rescue because we have families and dependents and now we have no other hope.”
Witnesses said that an angry mob attacked the police and the Commissioner for Trade, Hon. Uchenna Okafor, who rushed to the scene to ascertain the extent of damage.
On seeing the convoy, the mob started throwing stones and other dangerous weapons at the government officials. This prompted the security operatives accompanied the officials to shoot sporadically into the air to scare away the surging crowd before they escaped.
The mob also chased away policemen from the Onitsha Central Police Station. In the process, some policemen were injured.
Some of the traders told our correspondents that they were angry because officials of the fire service were not seen anywhere as the fire raged for over six hours.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Haruna Mohammed, confirmed the death of the woman and her child.
He said the area had been cordoned by the police while investigations were ongoing to find out the immediate and the remote causes of the incident.
Officials of the state Fire Service explained that their operational vehicle had problems on its way to Onitsha from Awka hence the Delta State Fire Service had to come to Onitsha from Asaba to assist in fighting the fire.
Cybercrime: Court jails MAPOLY student
A Higher National Diploma (HND) Mechanical Engineering student of the Mashood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY), Abeokuta, Ogun State, Olalekan Oladapo Ogunremi, was yesterday found guilty of criminal impersonation and sentenced to six months in prison.
Justice Patricia Ajoku of the Federal High Court, Ibadan Division, commuted the one year punishment proposed for the 21-year-old student to six months.
The judge succumbed to his lawyer’s passionate plea that his client had missed two examination sessions owing to the criminal charge filed against him by the Ibadan zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Ogunremi had pleaded guilty to the one-count amended charge based on a plea bargain arrangement between him and the EFCC.
According to the anti-graft commission, the offence contravenes Section 22(2)(b) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act, 2015, and punishable under Section 22 (2)(iv) of the same Act.
Following his ‘guilty’ plea, the prosecution counsel, Babatunde Sonoiki, prayed the court to sentence the accused according to the terms contained in the plea bargain agreement which he and the defence lawyer, Tunde Lawal, jointly signed.
Though the judge reduced the jail term, she upheld other proposed punishments contained in the agreement, including forfeiture of items recovered during his arrest and investigation, and restitution of sums in foreign currency to his victims.
In a related development, the commission’s Ibadan office also arraigned two other accused before Justice Ajoku.
The accused – Samuel Tanimowo Owolabi (aka Dr. Keilah Forgey, Jame Romero, Romero Williams) and Ekene Kingsley Odinamba – were separately arraigned on charges bordering on obtaining money under false pretence and possession of fraudulent documents with the intent to defraud.
Their offences are contrary to Section 6 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act.
Owolabi, according to the 30-count charge preferred against him, swindled his victims of over $21,000. Odinamba’s four-count charge said he defrauded his victims to the tune of about $2,700.
The accused pleaded not-guilty to the charges when read to them.
Due to their not-guilty plea, prosecution counsel, Sanusi Galadanchi, prayed the court for a trial date and an order to remand them in prison.
The court fixed November 21 and 22 for the hearing of the first and second defendants’ bail applications, as she ordered that they be remanded in prison custody pending the dates.
Wife’s murder: I thought I was killing a goat –Husband
A 63-year-old man, Oluwatubosun Dahunsi, yesterday told Magistrates’ Court sitting in Owo, Ondo State, that he hacked his wife, Funmilayo Dahunsi, to death thinking he was killing a goat.
He said Funmilayo (38) cried for help “but at that point, her cry sounded like that of a goat”.
Oluwatubosun allegedly used a machete to hack Funmilayo to death on October 5, 2019 in Owo, headquarters of Owo Local Area of Ondo State.
The charge sheet reads: “That you, Dahunsi Oluwatubosun, ‘m’ on October 5, 2019, about 6.30a.m., at Ita-Ipele Camp via Owo in the Ondo Magisterial District, unlawfully (attacked with a machete) your wife, Funmilayo Dahunsi ‘f’ on her two hands, head, stomach, neck and her jaw with to death and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 316 and punishable under Section 319(1) of the Criminal Code Cap 37, Volume 1, Laws of Ondo State of Nigeria, 2006.”
The defendant, who is facing a one-count charge of murder, pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him.
The police prosecutor, Sergeant Suleiman Abdulateef, told the court that he had filed an application for the remand of the defendant in prison pending the advice from the office of the Director for Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Olatubosun, who had no legal representation, begged the court for mercy, saying he was only aware of what he had done after he had committed the act.
He said: “We only quarrelled over our children’s school fees. I never knew when I attacked her with a machete. It was after she died that I realised what I had done. Please have mercy on me and help me beg my children.”
The court asked the defendant if the victim did not cry for help during the assault and why he did not stop after the first cut.
He said: “She cried for help. But at that point, her cry sounded like that of a goat. So, I thought I was actually killing a goat. It was after killing her that my eyes became clear and I ran away.
“I don’t understand how it all happened. Please have mercy on me.”
According to the defendant, the victim already bore him five children. He said the eldest child, who was present in court is 22 years old, while the youngest is eight years old.
The Chief Magistrate, Mrs. Charity Adeyanju, granted the prayer of the prosecutor and ordered the remand of the defendant in the Olokuta Correctional Facility, pending the advice from the DPP.
Adeyanju adjourned the case till January 13, 2020.
Sex for grades: UI inaugurates ad-hoc committee
University of Ibadan (UI) has inaugurated an ad-hoc committee to investigate claims of sexual misconducts in the institution.
This came on the heels of sexual harassment allegations by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Africa Eye against two lecturers at the University of Lagos (UNILAG).
The inauguration of the committee is contained in a statement issued by the UI Vice-Chancellor (VC), Prof Idowu Olayinka, and posted on his Facebook wall yesterday.
He said: “The recent exposé of sexual misconduct in Nigerian universities is deeply disturbing and necessitates a reminder that the University of Ibadan maintains the tradition and standard of zero tolerance for sexual harassment and misconducts as contained in our Staff and Student Information Handbooks, the recently revised Gender Policy and Sexual Harassment Policy, and other allied documents as earlier approved by both the Senate and Council.
“Consequently, in order to ensure that the university is proactive in preventing incidents of sexual misconducts and be assured that the University of Ibadan is a safe space for staff and students, members of the university community are hereby notified that an ad-hoc committee has just been inaugurated by the vice-chancellor to, among others, investigate claims of sexual misconducts.
“To assist with their task, kindly communicate all relevant information on the subject matter to e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; and phone number 07033281680.
“Be aware that all claims will be processed through disciplinary organs of the university using our extant regulations and guidelines. Please, be assured that maximum sanctions will be imposed if the claims are substantiated and there will be no sacred cows, even while we ensure that there will be no witch-hunting.
“I trust I can always count on your usual understanding, support and goodwill. Thank you.”
Man jumps into lagoon over frustration
fficials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) and the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) yesterday rescued a middle-aged man who jumped into the lagoon.
The man, Desmond Abraham, who hails from Imo State, jumped into the lagoon on the Third Mainland Bridge, saying he was frustrated with life challenges.
Abraham said he decided to take his life following economic frustration and family issues he was currently confronted with.
The man was later directed to the Social Welfare unit of the state Youth and Sports Ministry for rehabilitation and counselling.
Meanwhile, speaking at the 2019 World Disaster Reduction Day with the theme: “Reduce Disaster Damage to Critical Infrastructure and Disruption of Basic Services,” the General Manager, LASEMA, Dr Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, said that beyond self-created disasters, calamities might strike in the form of natural disasters, terrorists’ attacks and accidents at any moment.
He said it was time Nigerians, irrespective of whatever challenges they might be going through, strived to reduce avoidable tragedies.
Oke-Osanyintolu said that LASEMA would continue to decentralise as well as strengthen its capacity for emergency management in all the 57 Local Government and Local Council Development Areas in order to improve on the response time during disasters.
He said: “In disasters, local governments are the first line of response, sometimes with wide-ranging responsibilities but insufficient capacities to deal with them. They are equally on the front line when it comes to anticipating, managing and reducing disaster risks, setting up or acting on early warning systems and establishing specific disaster/crisis management structures.
“A community’s ability to cope with an emergency can depend on its access to physical and human resources, social, economic and political structures and emergency management strategies. Without access to these resources, structures and strategies, the consequences of an emergency can be devastating to a community.”
Robbers kill sergeant, injure principal in Edo
Armed robbers on Tuesday killed a policeman, Sergeant Yusuf Igoche, and injured a school principal on the Benin-Lagos Expressway, Edo State.
The policeman and the principal were travelling together from Enugu State to Lagos, when they ran into the gunmen operating on the expressway.
The bandits laid ambush for victims when the ugly incident occurred. Sources close to the police command said the incident occurred about 3p.m. near the Benin-bypass.
The gunmen, who came out of surrounding bushes, rained bullets on the Lexus GX470 Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) in which Igoche and the principal were travelling.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. DanMalam Mohammed, confirmed the incident.
Igoche, with Force Number F/462248, who served as an escort to the school principal, died during a gun duel with the robbers. The principal sustained gunshot injuries. He was rushed to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) in Benin.
“The sergeant and school principal were returning from Enugu, when they ran into the robbery ambush. The sergeant was an escort to the principal. The sergeant confronted the robbers, but lost,” Mohammed said.
The commissioner pointed out that the case was under investigation and that a formal report had been made to the Edo State Police Command on the incident.
He said: “As I’m speaking with you now, we have already started investigation. I just sent a combined team of police officers into the bush. On that day, our men pursued them. The robbers abandoned their car, while other things were recovered from the car. I told our men to smoke the forest and used long range tear gas.
“When the robbers saw our policemen, they ran into the bush, but they didn’t know the terrain. They reached a dead-end and then abandoned their car there. Our men went there yesterday, but I sent them back today. There is the possibility that they will come out because wherever criminals operated and succeeded, there was almost 100 per cent possibility that they will come back.”
Operatives of the police command, in collaboration with other sister agencies, had a few months ago, with the assistance of the Edo State government cleared all forests and bushes which before now, served as hideouts for criminals on the Lagos-Benin Expressway.
The move was to make visible all dark spots and to allow motorists clearer view of the road.
Auto crashes claim 351 in Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau – FRSC
Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) yesterday said that road traffic crashes killed 351 persons, while 2,413 were injured between January and September in Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau states.
The FRSC Zonal Commanding Officer (ZCO) in-charge of Jos, Mr. Ayobami Omiyale, disclosed this while presenting a paper entitled: “FRSC and Road Traffic Management in Nigeria,” at the Police Staff College, Jos, Plateau State.
Omiyale, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said 4,446 persons were involved in 756 auto accidents across the three zones within the period under review.
The ZCO attributed the crashes to over-speeding, wrongful overtaking, underage driving, use of phone while driving, burst tyres, break failure and bad state of the roads.
According to him, the number of road traffic crashes reduced by 8.3 per cent in 2019 from the similar incidents in 2018.
He said: “The number of people injured also reduced by 9.7 per cent, but the number of deaths increased by 22.3 per cent.’’
Omiyale added that the number of people involved reduced by 7.9 per cent in 2019 relative to 2018.
Toddler Investments takes possession of Planet One
A fter almost three years of legal tussles, Toddler Investments Limited yesterday took possession of the building housing Planet One, a popular hospitality centre on Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Maryland, Ikeja in Lagos.
The management team of Toddler Investments Limited, accompanied by court officials, lawyer and security agents, took possession of the land about 2.30p.m. by writing “MIK/935/19 possession taken today 16/10/19 by Court Order” on some parts of the wall and building of Planet One Hotel.
Planet One was shut in April 2017 following a legal tussle between Wema Bank and Planet One Entertainment Limited.
The possession of the land was taken by Toddler Investments Limited, who leased the property to Planet One Entertainment Limited based on the Execution Order of the Lagos State Magistrates’ Court in Suit No. MIK/935/19.
Speaking with journalists after taken possession of the land, a legal representative of Toddler Investments Limited, Augustine Ezenwankwo (Esq) of Maclems Law Firm, said the property worth N4.56 billion had been destroyed, vandalised and looted since the Planet One was shut in April 2017 and handed over to a receiver/manager.
Ezenwankwo, therefore, called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and security agents to investigate sales of the property in May 2018 as well as vandalism and looting of the assets while the suit was still in court.
He said: “We are here for takeover of part of the asset of this property that belongs to Toddler Investments Limited. We leased part of the property to Planet One Entertainment Limited and there is a suit in court between Wema Bank and Planet One Entertainment Limited. The matter is still on pending and Wema Bank went as far as disposing the asset while the matter is still in court. And Toddler Investments Limited went to court and got judgement to take over their side of the property and that is what we have come to do.”
FRSC: Tanker fire destroys six buildings, shops in Onitsha
No fewer than six buildings and shops were burnt on Wednesday at Upper Iweka, on Onitsha/Awka Road in Onitsha, after a 33,000-litre diesel tanker fell and caught fire.
The Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Commission, Anambra Command, Mr Andrew Kumapayi, confirmed this to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka.
He stated that the incident occurred at around 12:44 p.m. Kumapayi said that the Fire Service Officials got to the scene of the fire promptly but could not put out the fire as their water pump developed a fault.
“The tanker lost control due to brake failure, the head of the vehicle pulled out while the tank containing diesel fell into the gutter spilling its content on the road and it caught fire due to the spill.
“The fire spread through the gutter and affected about six houses on the road and shops in Ochanja Market.
“No life was lost and no other vehicle was affected.
“The fire service got there on time but their pump developed a fault, they left the scene to fix the pump and restrategise.
“If the pump had functioned, the fire wouldn’t have spread to the houses and shops,” he said.
Kumapayi warned tanker owners and drivers to ensure that their vehicles were in good condition before plying the roads.
“The saving grace was the road bumps constructed by the state government; it prevented the tanker from ramming into buildings around the area,” he said.
Kumapayi said that policemen and FRSC officials were on ground to maintain order and ensure the free flow of traffic.
Lagos to prosecute of four police officers over extra-judicial killings
The Lagos State Government on Wednesday assured the public that it is ready and willing to prosecute four police officers indicted in an alleged extra-judicial killing of two people in Lagos.
The four dismissed police officers were identified as Inspector Fabiyi Omomayara, Sergent Olaniyi Solomon, Sergent Solomon Sunday and Constable Aliyu Mukaila.
According to the families, their late children, Ayodele Solaja and Ogheneovo Ebobo were murdered in the cold blood by a police team led by one Inspector Fabiyi Omowayowa at Iba New Estate Lagos on Monday, August 19, debunking claims by the police that the victims were robbers.
The two families had earlier cried out to the Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu, who launched an independent probe into the killings of their children by the police, as well as appealed to the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to look into the complicity of the advice given by the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the matter.
Meanwhile, the four policemen, who were earlier charged to court on a count of murder, were later released on a “no case to answer” advice by the DPP.
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