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Many Die, Over 200 Houses Burnt As Fresh Pipeline Fire Rocks Lagos [ Graphic Videos]

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The National Emergency Management Agency on Sunday said two bodies had been recovered from the explosion site of a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation pipeline at Ile Epo axis of Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State.

Ibrahim Farinloye, Acting Coordinator, Lagos Territorial Office, NEMA, confirmed the development to the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.

However, from gory videos and pictures released by The Eagle Online, several persons died in the inferno that followed the fire outbreak.

Over 200 houses and vehicles were reportedly burnt as at press time.

Several persons also suffered varying degrees of injury from the fire.

NAN reports that the raging fire caused panic among the residents of Abule Egba, Ile Epo and Ekoro Road due to the thick smoke, which oozed out from the explosion scene.

Farinloye said several buildings and articulated vehicles were engulfed in the inferno which happened on Sunday night.

He noted that the cause of the incident had yet to be ascertained, saying emergency responders immediately swung into action after receiving distress calls from some residents of the area.

He said: “NEMA and Lagos State Emergency Management Agency officials are here.

“The Lagos State Fire Service officials are here trying to put off the fire.

“We have contacted NNPC to shut down the pipelines and so far, we have been able to recover two bodies.”

Dr. Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, Director General, LASEMA, also confirmed the incident in a statement.

Oke-Osanyintolu said: “A raging fire from the explosion of a vandalized NNPC pipeline has caused panic among residents within Awori, U-turn and Pipeline communities in Abule Egba.

“LASEMA, Lagos Fire Service are responding and are on top of the situation.”

It will be recalled that a similar incident had occurred on December 5, 2019, after some suspected pipeline vandals disrupted the Atlas Cove-Mosinmi Pipeline, part of the System 2B Pipeline at Peace Estate, Varies in Idimu axis of the state.

 

 

 

BIG STORY

COVID-19: Emirates Airline To Cut Up To 9,000 Jobs

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The scale of Covid-19’s impact on Emirates Airlines has been revealed for the first time with the carrier’s president saying they will “probably” have to cut up to 9,000 jobs.

Emirates, according to the report, had 60,000 staff prior to the crisis and announced on May 31 it had axed roles but did not reveal how many jobs were cut.

Sir Tim Clark told the BBC that the carrier had removed a tenth of its staff, which would leave 54,000 jobs after 6,000 were removed.

However, Sir Tim added: “We will probably have to let go of a few more, probably up to 15%.”

Prior to the cuts announced in May, Emirates was the sole holdout among the Gulf’s three major East-West carriers on retaining staff.

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad and Doha-based Qatar Airways axed staff as countries shut down their airspace as the virus spread.

Sir Tim acknowledged to the BBC the carrier, owned by a Dubai sovereign wealth fund, was “not as badly off as others” and was “heading for one of our best years ever” prior to the pandemic.

Announcing the cuts in March, the company said it would treat its staff “with fairness and respect”.

Its statement added: “We have endeavored to sustain the current family as is … but have come to the conclusion that we, unfortunately, have to say goodbye to a few of the wonderful people that worked with us.”

The number of total losses expected at Emirates comes the day after the British Airlines Pilots’ Association slammed proposals by carrier easyJet to use sick days as a factor when deciding which pilots to axe as part of its wave of redundancies as “unnecessary and wrong”.

Job losses have stretched far beyond the travel sector and throughout the entire UK economy.

A day after Chancellor Rishi Sunak set out his “plan for jobs” it was found that almost 10,000 posts are at risk at household-name firms on the high street as a result of the pandemic.

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BIG STORY

APC In Ondo, Who Do We Send? —- Moyo Odunlami

Peter Okunoren

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In the last couple of weeks, the race for who would win the All Progressives Congress (APC) ticket has been on in earnest and many wonders who would emerge at the primaries scheduled to hold July 20.

Asides needing a creditable candidate, Ondo APC is in dire need of rescue and ultimate restoration. Presently, the word on many lips is that among the list of 12 candidates, one man that distinctly ticks all the right boxes is Olusola Oke; he is marketable, beloved, and honorable.

Not a man new to the intrigues of politics, Olusola Oke, in many quarters has been known to be a bridge-builder, a party man, and an excellent patriot.

Having previously run against the last two governors of the state and graciously accepted defeat, his reemergence is like that of a phoenix ready shine from the embers of the political turmoil in which APC has been embroiled in over the last few months.

Asides being a well-loved, quality scion of Ondo, Oke’s right to candidacy does not only stem from his political know-how, but he has also built key friendships and partnerships that would bring unimaginable goodwill, both to APC and Ondo as a whole.

No doubt, the emergence of such a man as the APC gubernatorial candidate would do much to repair the reputation of the party as a beacon for good governance in Ondo State.

Oke as APC gubernatorial candidate would also recall lost party members who had previously decamped. He would be the rallying point for all, including those who are certain to decamp from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo.

Ondo APC is a party in dire need of a facelift and the reality is that Olusola Oke is the man, the only man that can restore it to its old glory, breathe new life into it, and ensure that the party retains its supremacy in the Sunshine State come October 10.

Moyo odunlami writes from Alagbaka Akure

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FBI ‘Kidnapped” Hushpuppi From Dubai, There Was No Extradition, No Court Documents Filed —- Lawyer

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A Nigerian man accused of a multimillion-dollar fraud and money laundering by the United States was kidnapped by the FBI from Dubai, his lawyer says.

Ramon Olorunwa Abbas – known to his 2.5 million Instagram followers as Ray Hushpuppi – and another cyber-heist suspect Olalekan Jacob Ponle (aka Mr. Woodberry) were arrested in Dubai, where they lived, in June.

They then appeared in a Chicago court on 3 July.

The United Arab Emirates has no extradition treaty with the United States but Dubai police said they had been extradited to the US.

Mr Abbas’ lawyer Gal Pissetzky told the BBC that his client, who posts on Instagram about his extravagant lifestyle, was not a criminal and had made his money legitimately.

“He is a social media influencer with millions of followers, with millions of people that respect and loved him, and he loved them, and that’s what he did. In today’s society, that’s a business,” he said.

Mr Pissetzky admits that he is not “100% familiar” with social media and his children consider him too old but he knows “that’s how people make money today”.

The Chicago defence lawyer’s argument that Hushpuppi was paid by designer brands for promotion has set the stage for what promises to be a long trial in American courts.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) accuses Mr Abbas, 37, of conspiring to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from frauds known as Business Email Compromise (BEC) and other scams.

It is the latest high-profile fraud case involving a Nigerian national in the United States but his lawyer says the US had no authority to transport him from Dubai.

In my opinion, the FBI and the government here acted illegally when they kidnapped him from Dubai without any legal process to do so,” Mr Pissetzky told the BBC.

“There was no extradition, there were no legal steps taken, there were no court documents filed, it was simply a call to the FBI. He is not a citizen of the United States, the US had absolutely no authority to take him,” his lawyer says.

But the Dubai police said in a Facebook post that the FBI director had thanked them for extraditing the two men.

“You’ll have to ask them about why they called it an extradition,” the US Department of Justice (DoJ) spokesman responded in an email.

In a statement about Mr Abbas’ initial court appearance, the DoJ said “FBI special agents earlier this week obtained custody of Abbas and brought him to the United States” without giving any further details.

Mr. Pissetzky is not convinced.

“If Dubai wanted to expel him, they should have expelled him back to Nigeria. I’ve never heard of anything like that. That is the real story here.”

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