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UPDATE: 63 Vehicles, 98 Shops Burnt In Abule-Egba Pipeline Explosion

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No fewer than 63 vehicles, 98 shops, four tricycles, six houses and one church got burnt in the Abule-Egba pipeline explosion which reportedly began around 2am on Wednesday morning in Lagos.

Properties worth several millions of naira were destroyed as the fire from a petroleum products pipeline ravaged the area.

It was gathered that the affected streets were Arowolo, Shobowale, Iyalode Abule-Egba, Taiwo Adewole, Adepegba, Wamon Taofeek, Santos and Owode.

The explosion,we gathered, was as a result of the activities of suspected petroleum products’ thieves from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s pipeline in the Arowolo area.

An eyewitness, Junad Aderogba, said the fire arose from the activities of vandals scooping fuel from a pipeline, adding that the incident was a reoccurrence of a similar one on December 26, 2006.

The 48-year-old said, “This is the third time such a fire incident is happening in the area. The hoodlums, who vandalised the pipeline, came with three tankers to steal fuel. When they finished scooping the fuel, they did not close the pipe and the fuel passed through the gutter and flowed down to the abattoir.

“Some butchers, who were roasting cow skin at the abattoir, were not aware that there was fuel in the gutter. So, the fuel attracted the fire and that was what led to the fire outbreak.”

A visibly distraught widow, Nkem Esezobor, who sells foodstuffs and pastries in the area, said her loss was too much for her to bear.

She said, “A friend called me around 4am to inform me of the inferno but I could not come out at that time because I was alone in the house. By the time I got to the scene, everything in my shop had been destroyed by the fire.

“I lost my husband in July and I moved into the shop barely two months ago. What was lost in my shop was worth over N1m. I don’t know where to start from.”

An automobile mechanic, Mr John Ishola, said he had yet to come to terms with the loss.

He said, “I live in Sango, Ogun State. I was called by my friends in the Abule Egba area. By the time I got to the scene, all the vehicles in my workshop had been razed. When I called the owners of the vehicles, they were not ready to listen to my explanation. I don’t know where to start from now.”

A haulage truck driver, Saka Jibola, begged the government to come to the aid of those who lost properties to the inferno.

“Our members lost eight trucks to the fire. We want the government to help us. We all have families to take care of and this is our only means of livelihood,” he added

One of the residents, whose house was razed down by the fire, accused the police of being accomplices of the fuel thieves.

She said, “The police know those bursting the pipeline in order to steal fuel. Now, the situation has spiralled out of control and they have rendered many of us homeless.

“They are not just doing it; it is the police that have been shielding them. They are the ones who make it possible for the vandals to perpetrate the act. As of 11pm yesterday (Tuesday), policemen were chasing us into our homes after which they stood guard for the thieves. They should make arrests around here too, because some major stakeholders in the area also know about the activities of these thieves.”

However, some properties and a church, Jesus Chosen shepherd Ministry, were spared by the inferno.

Victor Aigbogun, whose shop was spared by the inferno, attributed it to providence.

“When I was called about the fire incident, the first thing I did was to go on my knees and pray. I told God to take control and I had the faith that my prayer had been answered,” he said.

The General Manager, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Mr Adesina Tiamiyu, said in a statement that the fire started around 2am.

“The spilled fuel from bunkering activities came in contact with an ignitable source and the impact resulted in the inferno, which razed several houses and cars. No fatality was recorded and the few people injured were immediately attended to by the Lagos State Ambulance Service and the agency’s paramedics,” Tiamiyu stated.

He added that a car lot inside a petrol filling station was affected by the inferno as several vehicles parked there were destroyed.

Giving an inventory of the burnt items, Tiamiyu said nine streets were affected with 38 vehicles, four tricycles, 71 shops, 30 rooms, two blocks of flat and one church auditorium burnt, while several other properties were salvaged, including the Just Rite mall, petrol filling stations and other facilities around Abule Egba bus stop, Awori and U-turn.

The LASEMA boss noted that investigation was ongoing to determine the cause of the inferno and the people involved.

The Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Chike Oti, said undercover operatives of the command were on the trail of the vandals.

He said, “The Commissioner of Police visited the area for an on-the-spot assessment and he was able to speak to the residents to be on the lookout for the vandals, who brought this hardship on the people.

“The source where the fire emanated from was also visited. The CP has detailed undercover operatives of the command to fish out those behind the fire outbreak.”

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Fayose Canvasses ‘Stomach Infrastructure’ To Save Lives Amidst Lockdown, Says Hunger Kills Faster Than COVID-19

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The immediate past Governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayo Fayose, on Monday called on governments at all levels, religious bodies, corporate organizations and well-meaning individuals to focus on strategic implementation of “stomach infrastructure.”

Fayose, in a statement made available to newsmen in Ado Ekiti through his Media Aide, Mr Lere Olayinka, said that his advice should be taken seriously.

According to him, hunger can kill faster than Coronavirus.

The former governor, who added that the human and economic losses, occasioned by the pandemic, would be mind-boggling, stressing “in the face of all these, leaders should remain as leaders and stand up for their people.”

He hailed the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for his pro-activeness and unrelenting efforts in the management of these challenges as well as his transparency and interface with the people.

Fayose particularly called on the Federal Government to emulate the Lagos State government and do more in the area of prompt information dissemination to stem the tide of misinformation in the country.

The statement read in part; “Regrettably, we all did not plan or ever imagined this level of attack, occasioned by COVID-19.

“Same has humbled the World Powers, not to talk of Third World countries like our country, Nigeria.

“The human and economic losses seem endless and in the face of all these, leaders must remain leader and stand up for their people.

“We all know the sit-at-home is inevitable; governors and council chairmen, as well as churches and mosques that have received allocations and offerings, must forget projects and embark on full-scale strategic implementation of ‘stomach infrastructure’.

“It is time to give back to the people, as nothing else will matter now. Yam, cassava, garri, and others can be bought locally and distributed, while bakers will be glad to be patronized to bake for people for free daily, while it lasts.

“This will help to enforce the government’s stay-at-home order effortlessly. The Federal Government will be making billionaires if the so-called palliatives and physical cash is managed by the wrong hands.

“I appeal to the general public to show understanding, knowing that our challenges outweigh our income as at today.

“Today, I am sure what is on the minds of ordinary Nigerians is: ‘on stomach infrastructure we stand’. This, if well implemented, will no doubt help to enforce the stay-at-home order effortlessly.”

NAN recalls that Fayose was an apostle of stomach infrastructure while in office as governor for the second term and made it the hallmark of his administration, despite the huge criticism that greeted the idea.

 

(NAN)

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COVID-19: I Never Said There’s No Hunger In Nigeria – Lai Mohammed

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has debunked some reports recently attributed to the federal government, describing them as fake news.

The Minister, while speaking on Monday at the daily press briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, lamented some elements were bent on distracting the federal government’s efforts at fighting the pandemic.

It the same vein, the National Coordinator of the PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, also described the belief within a section of the population that COVID-19 is an elite disease as grossly erroneous.

Mohammed decried the fact that those behind fake news were bent on distracting the work of the committee

The Minister denied ever saying there was no hunger in the country in response to complaints by a large section of the population in reaction to the restriction order and other stringent measures put in place to fight to the pandemic.

“Those who are bent on distracting the Federal Government through fake news from its focused fight against COVID-19 have not relented.

“The latest in this is the claim that I said there is no hunger in the land and that the federal government has made available N100 billion to Nigerians. It is fake. There was no time I said it nor anybody in the Taskforce said so.

“Two, they are also carrying fake news that members of the Taskforce have agreed on the sharing formula of the money that is coming into the Taskforce. Once again, it is false.

“These people are bent on distracting the government from its focus fight against COVID-19. One of the reasons we have this daily press conference is to give you updates on COVID-19.

“Any other news not emanating from either the ministers or this press conference related to COVID-19 cannot be attributed to us.

“The NCDC has a website and you can get an update on COVID-19. Some websites are notorious for this fake news and one of them is reporterspressng.com. I will advise Nigerians not to go there,” he said.

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JUST IN: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Moved To Intensive Care After Condition Worsens

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved to intensive care in hospital after his coronavirus symptoms “worsened”, Downing Street has said.

Mr Johnson has asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to deputize “where necessary”, a spokesman added.

The prime minister, 55, was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital in London with “persistent symptoms” on Sunday.

The spokesman said he was moved on the advice of his medical team and is receiving “excellent care”.

A statement read: “Since Sunday evening, the prime minister has been under the care of doctors at St Thomas’ Hospital, in London, after being admitted with persistent symptoms of coronavirus.

“Over the course of this afternoon, the condition of the prime minister has worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the intensive care unit at the hospital.”

It continued: “The PM is receiving excellent care, and thanks to all NHS staff for their hard work and dedication.”

Mr Johnson was initially taken to hospital for routine tests after testing positive for coronavirus 10 days ago.

His symptoms included a high temperature and a cough.

Earlier on Monday, he tweeted that he was in “good spirits”.

Last month, the prime minister’s spokesman said if Mr Johnson was unwell and unable to work, Mr Raab, as the first secretary of state, would stand-in.

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