A petrol tanker laden with diesel on Wednesday night exploded at Upper New Market Road, by DMGS Roundabout, Onitsha, destroying buildings, vehicles and properties worth millions of naira.
Fire fighters and a large dispatch of security personnel ranging from the Police, Army, Civil Defense, Road Safety and the Red Cross were on ground to assist in quenching the inferno.
According to eye witnesses, the tanker driver was negotiating the DMGS roundabout when it s fell with a loud thud, causing explosion immediately and spreading fire to several buildings, offices and shops within the area.
Meanwhile, the Anambra State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Tony Nnacheta, decried the enormity of the disaster but remained grateful to God that no death was recorded.
Reacting to the incident, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr. Johnson Kokumu commended the effort of the police in warding off miscreants who wanted to use the opportunity to steal.
The State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Mr Sunday Ajayi, on his part informed that “there will be an investigation into what caused the falling of the tanker as the driver should, ordinarily, be able to navigate the roundabout, if truly he is a driver”.
The Oyo State Government has confirmed the receipt of 7.2 billion naira as its share of the Paris Club over-deduction funds.
The government said the feat was achieved after spirited efforts by the State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.
The government said that 60% of the funds collected has been added to the Federal Allocation to the state to pay salaries of workers for the months of August and September 2016.
The state’s Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Toye Arulogun, made the disclosure on Wednesday during a media briefing.
Mr Arulogun explained that the funds did not come out fortuitously, but came out due to the doggedness, determination and tenacity of Governor Ajimobi in spite of the initial exclusion of Oyo State on the list of the beneficiaries.
He noted that the state government had announced in December 2016 and reiterated in early January 2017 that the state was excluded from the initial beneficiary states of Paris Club Over Deduction Funds.
The Commissioner added that the Governor had reassured the people of the state at different fora that he would work round the clock to ensure the state gets its share.
“The efforts of Governor Abiola Ajimobi have yielded fruitful results. We will all remember that Oyo State was initially excluded from the states that benefitted from the Paris Club over-deduction funds.
“The Federal Government claimed that the previous administration had already collected the state’s share.
“However, Governor Ajimobi was not at peace with the development and swung into action to ensure that the state was included on the list.
“The Governor therefore mandated the Ministry of Finance to reconcile accounts with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Abuja.
“The results of the reconciliation and the Governor’s spirited efforts led to the payment of 7.2 billion naira to Oyo State.
“We have used 60% of the funds received to pay salaries as promised by the Governor during the interfaith service of the Oyo State Government held on January 3, 2017.
“Oyo State appreciates the cooperation of the Minister and Federal Ministry of Finance officials who facilitated the payment that has brought some degree of succour to workers in the state and will enable government deliver some more projects as dividends of democracy,” Arulogun said.
The Niger State government has announced the death of the former governor of the State, Abdulkadir Kure.
He died after a brief illness in a hospital in Germany at the age of 61.
The Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Jonathan Vatsa, in a statement, says state government has declared a 3-day state-wide mourning.
It further stated that all flags should be at half-mast throughout the state during the period of mourning.
According to the Commissioner, the State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, has also declared a work-free day on the day of the burial of the former governor to enable residents accord the departed leader a befitting burial.
The statement expressed that the government would miss the wise counsel of the former governor, who despite political differences never failed to offer meaningful advice to the government.
“The intervention of the former governor during the recent labour crisis in the state was not only legendary but showed him as an elder statesman, whose main concern was for the good, progress and unity of the state.
“Engineer Abdulkadir Abdullahi Kure remain a leader who out of office showed concern for the development of the state.
“His statesmanship saw him jettisoning party affiliation when he personally intervened in the recent labour crisis in the state,” the statement concluded.
The Niger State government is desperately in search of investors to partner with in developing the Gurara Waterfalls Site to a World class standard.
The plan was announced by the state’s Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Honourable Jonathan Vatsa, at the maiden edition of the Christmas Carnival; first of its kind, organised by the Niger State Government in partnership with the ministry of information, culture and tourism.
Over the years, none of the different administrations has been able to put Gurara Waterfalls, one of the country’s greatest tourist attraction, to an admirable condition to stand the image of the tour site, as such waterfalls had done all over Africa and the world in general.
At the Gurara site, the Commissioner attributed the delay in the facelift of the site to the rise in dollar exchange.
He said, with the current rise in dollar against Naira, investors would spend more in the execution of the project.
Mr Vatsa prayed to God for a great and fast miracle before January 2017 on the exchange rate, believing it will help the state government in wooing more investors into the state, not only for the Gurara project, but for many more projects of the government.
He was confident that with the backing of the governor, the best is yet to be seen, as the government, according to him, is planning improvements and better programme in the coming year.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism was full of praise for the governor of the state, Dr. Abubakar Bello, for his continuous support to the Christian community.
Although the Christmas Carnival is linked to the celebration of the Christmas, a large number of the Muslim community turned out for the Carnival, a development that the Permanent Secretary said was a sign of the spirit of oneness.
The programme witnessed entertainment from the state cultural group – Gwape, the Gurara Traditional Group, the Boys Brigade band and the ECWA gospel band.
Guests were also treated to lots of food and drinks to their satisfaction.
Rivers State Commissioner for Information, Dr. Austin Tam-George, believes that the security situation in the state is not as bad as being reported and believed.
While admitting that the state has been in the news for the wrong reasons in recent times, he argued that incidents of violence are not peculiar to the state as other states across the country have had notable cases of violence.
Dr. Tam-George was the guest of Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday. He said: “There is this mythology that Rivers state is not safe, that is not correct.
“If you look at the pattern of violence that has characterized the political dispensation we are in, you will see that the situation is worse in many places.
“In the whole of the Northeast for instance, as you know, we have over 70,000 people that have been killed over the past seven years with more than six million people displaced.
“In Kaduna we have what looks like a low level of insurgency already underway. The whole of Southern Kaduna is under siege by so-called Fulani herdsmen.
“In Lagos we have seen inter-communal clashes between Hausas and Ibos in Mile-12 area where about 12 people were killed and over 40 cars burnt in just one incident.
“We have had pockets of audacious criminal activities in Ogun state and elsewhere. Se we’ve seen a pattern of insecurity and violence characterizing the kind of political system that we run.
“In Rivers state, we have had episodes of violence; sometimes criminality in some sections of the state and we have taken unprecedented steps (to curb it).”
The Commissioner reeled out a number of steps taken by Governor Wike, particularly the provision of financial and logistical support for the Police, adding that the state has a “very efficient security architecture” and the cases of violence are “not out of control”.
“Are we denying that that there are episodes of security challenges? No, but the situation is totally exaggerated,” he affirmed.
Dr. Tam-George also commented on the controversial audio recording released by Sahara Reporters alleged to be that of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.
In the recording, a voice purportedly of Governor Wike is heard in a telephone conversation arranging payment to some persons who are supposedly officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in exchange for their help in rigging the recently concluded legislative elections in the state.
The Commissioner reaffirmed the position of the state government not to be part of the panel set up by the Inspector General of Police to investigate this allegation and the crisis that trailed the rerun legislative election in the state.
“We will not be part of this, it’s just childish…We have no confidence in that panel and we will not participate in it.
“The Governor was not elected to get involved in this kind of nonsense. Our own focus is to deliver service to our people. So we will not be distracted by this kind of antics by the APC and their media supporters.”
Port Harcourt residents have expressed worry over the emergence of black soot across the city in recent days and the interview also was an opportunity for the Commissioner to address the matter and allay residents’ fears.
He explained that there are a range of factors that experts have suspected as causes of the black soot.
“The hypothesis is that they probably have A-level refining activities around the state. There is also the likelihood of the black soot originating from gas flares by major oil companies and the burning of tyres in some areas as well.
“What they have decided to do is that, rather than pin it down to one cause, why don’t we do test that we determine the actual origin of the black soot.
“The findings are still being awaited,” he said.
Mr Tam-George reiterated an appeal he made in his earlier statement that residents should stop the burning of tyres and major oil companies should “look at ways of using alternative strategies rather than flaring gas”.
He emphasized that the rest of the world is focusing on healthy and sustainable livelihood and the Rivers state government is working with several relevant agencies to ensure that it aligns with the vision to make the state an healthy environment.
Abia State has declared December 21, a ‘stay-at-home and work-free day’ for workers in the state civil service to enable them participate in the Local Government election.
In a statement by the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Strategy, Mr Bonnie Iwuoha, the government, however, said that movement was not restricted, as inhabitants of the state and the public were free to go about their normal and lawful duties.
“The work-free day is to offer workers with the Abia State Civil Service, who registered in their villages, the opportunity to go home and cast their votes,” the statement read.
It further said that the decision to make the day a work free day was to ensure that no electorate was disenfranchise.
The state government further advised citizens, especially the youths, to maintain peace, as they go about casting their votes for their preferred candidates in the Local Government elections.
The police and other security agencies were also advised to protect all citizens and ensure that law and order are maintained.
The Police said it had made provision for adequate security during the election.
The Oyo State Government has condemned the activities of hoodlums who invaded the Kudeti in South East Local Government Area and Isale Asaka under South West Local Government Area of Ibadan.
It says it will use the full apparatus of government to deal with any individual who engages in violence that is inimical to the peace in the state.
The Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Toye Arulogun, in Ibadan said that the government had directed relevant security agencies to deal with the hooligans.
According to him, such acts of thuggery and hooliganism would not be condoned in the state again.
The government appealed to residents of the affected areas to remain calm and consequently called on security agencies in the state to increase their presence in the areas and other areas too in order to forestall a recurrence of the ugly incidents.
“We want to assure our people that we value their well-being, lives and property and we will at all times live up to expectations to provide security for them,” the commissioner added.
Mr Arulogun said that the government would beef up security around the state during the festive period, stating that security, which is the foundation of development, would not be trivialised or taken lightly.
Informing reporters that some arrests have been made, the commissioner said investigations would be intensified to fish out disgruntled elements within the town and anywhere in the entire state.
Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, is scheduled to begin the inauguration of legacy projects executed by his administration across the state.
The Commissioner for Information, Mr. Kayode Akinmade, who disclosed this in Akure said, over 100 projects had been lined up for inauguration by the Governor before the expiration of his tenure in office by February 2017.
According to the Commissioner, the projects lined up for inauguration include the International Event Centre in Akure, also known as The Dome.
The event centre has three oval domes with full architecture, with the hall in each of the domes capable of sitting 5,000 guests and hosting three events simultaneously.
The Dome also has a complementing event hall and has the capacity to sit 3,000 with syndicate room stores.
Akinmade said: “The structure consists of three linked concrete platforms standing on an array of reinforced concrete columns and beams. All three platforms are roofed separately with Valmex Mehatop super able fabric on steel framed domes, with Dome 1 and 3 being the same size and Dome 2 being of a Sauder size.
“The complex is accessed from Dome 1 with the administrative section at the rear end of the structure. The domes are flanked on both sides by convenience spaces, while the dome platforms serve as exhibition spaces, VIP lounges, bars, syndicate room stores and clubs, among others.”
About 35 mega schools across the state will also be inaugurated, in addition to an ultra-modern 18-hole golf course designed to advance tourism in the state.
The Akure Democracy Park, with ample parking space to complement it, is also scheduled to be inaugurated; in addition to the Owo Township, Arakale and Oba-Ile Airport dualised roads, all with accompanying furniture; while the Civil Service Training Institute in Ilaramokin is also slated for opening.
Other projects set to be inaugurated, according to the Commissioner, are the Ondo Township Stadium; Chicken Processing Centre; Sericulture unit of the state’s Wealth Creation Agency; the Trauma, Surgical and Kidney Care Centres in Ondo; Comprehensive Health Centre, Igoba; Community Health Post, Adejubu; Doctors’ Quarters in Ondo and Ilaramokin; and Basic Health Centre, Isarun.
Others are health facilities in Bajare; basic health centres in Akomowa, Ojumu, Adaja and Ipinlerere; as well as the Emergency Medical Services Base in Ilaramokin and Bolorunduro, among others.
Also slated for inauguration are the Ado Road and the Akure semi-mechanised abattoir.
While stating that all the projects proposed for inauguration were unique in their different ways, Akinmade said that the semi-mechanised abattoir, for instance, would address the hygiene issue associated with regular slaughter slabs.
The popular Fayose market in Ado Ekiti, the state capital has been closed following the order of the State Governor, Ayodele Fayose for not complying with the rules and regulations of the market.
Channels TV correspondent reports that the market has been under lock and key for the past few weeks and this has not been the best of time for the traders, considering the season and as the yuletide approaches.
The Commissioner for Information, Lanre Ogunsuyi, has explained that “the market was closed due to the attack on the enforcement officers of the state government, (and) for now the market remains closed until the traders learn their lessons”.
The Governor has also explained that the market was closed “for not complying with the laws and order rules guiding the market”.
He said that traders should see themselves as brothers and respect the state government order.
Traders in the market have been warned in the past to stop obstructing access roads and walkways with their goods.
Efforts have been made by the traders to appeal to Governor Fayose for an amicable resolution of the matter but the efforts have not yielded the desired result.
For now, traders remain on the streets hoping that the market would be opened as soon as possible.
The Niger state government has called on the Federal Government to urgently revisit all dilapidated federal roads across the State, especially the Agaie, Katcha Baro road whose repair contract was re-awarded in 2015.
Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Jonathan Vatsa, made the call after a tour of federal roads across the state.
He said that “the over 30km road which cost the Federal Government about N17.5 billion was expected to be completed by January 16, 2016 as the contract was awarded in January, 2015.
According to Vatsa “The road has been abandoned and neglected; we want the Federal Government to visit Niger state because presently, no federal road is motorable.
“We cannot allow further delay in putting this facility (Baro port) into use.
“The Government’s idea is to open up the economy of the north through the Port.”
The road, if completed, will be the gateway from Baro Inland Port and would open the economy of the north to other parts of the country.
The 17.5 billion Naira the Commissioner referred to was part of the sum of 470 billion Naira approved in December, 2014 by the Federal Executive Council, for different contracts for the construction and rehabilitation of 17 roads and bridges across the country.
The Indian firm handling the contract has, however, said that the government should be blamed for the halt in the construction, adding that if it was mobilised upfront with 30 percent, the project would have gone beyond 50 percent completion.
The site engineer of the construction company, GR Building and Construction Nigeria Ltd, Mohammed Kamil, while lamenting the paucity of funds, said “ever since we came to site, we have not been able to get the 30 percent mobilisation fee. If they (FG) had paid us up to 30 percent, we would have constructed bridges and gone very far with work.
“Funding is our major problem, we have been here since last year, what they gave us is nothing to write home about. When we get money, we will finish the job. Complete mobilisation fee has not been made”.
He also lamented the deplorable state of the roads saying that “our trucks find it difficult now to bring construction rocks from our quarry sites before Lambata along the Suleja-Minna road because there are no good roads in Niger state anymore and there are no rocks nearby.”
The traditional head and Sheshi of Katcha, Alhaji Baba Adamu Umaru, also called on the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, hasten the construction of Agaie-Katcha-Baro road because of its economic importance.
“We are begging the Federal Government, we are suffering.
“Bring this road back alive. I remember during the time of Nigeria’s founding fathers, produce like cotton, groundnut and cattle skin were transported from Kano to Baro port and thereby exported overseas and we enjoyed this road.
“The Federal Government needs to act fast because the road has become a death trap.
“The nearest hospital to us is in Agaie and we have lost so many persons who were sick because before they were rushed to the hospital they died. To transport pregnant women who are about to deliver is very devastating because of the bad road”.