Once again vandals today disrupted fire fighting operations at the NNPC pipeline at the Arepo village in Ogun state.
The vandals attack forced some of the officials to run into the creeks while others ran for safety.
After several hours of disruption, NNPC officials entered into negotiations with the vandals which resulted into the withdrawal of NNPC security operatives in the operations. At about 1pm emergency managers could then freely proceed to the scene of the fire.
Meanwhile, the Ogun state commissioner of police has visited the site alongside his men to see to bringing calm into the environment so as to allow fire fighting operations go un-hindered.
NEMA officials who were able to gain access to the site of the incident said nine vandalized points were discovered on the pipelines.
According to officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the fire which started at about 10PM Wednesday night following a gun battle between NNPC security men and confirmed pipeline vandals is still raging and has not been put under control.
An official of NEMA, Ibrahim Farinloye, expressed his fear to Channels Television on the escalation of the fire.
Efforts by the NEMA officials to get to the scene of the incident to put out the fire was bypassed after a boat was secured to ferry the NEMA officials through but due to the sporadic shooting by the vandals, the mission was cut short, according to Mr Farinloye.
A raging fire has been reported at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipelines located at Arepo along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.
According to officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the fire started at about 10PM Wednesday night following a gun battle between NNPC security men and some unidentified individuals suspected to be pipeline vandals.
An official of NEMA, Ibrahim Farinloye, explained to Channels Television that the agency did not receive information regarding the incident until Thursday.
However, efforts by the NEMA officials to get to the scene of the incident to ascertain the extent of damage done has been hampered by the swampy nature of the area which has made access to the place difficult.
Mr Farinloye, however stated that the agency has been able to work-out the plan on how a canoe can reach the raging spot.
He also gave the assurance that officers of the fire service will on Friday be able to make their way through to quenching the raging fire.
A retired Group Captain of the Nigerian Air force, Mr Oladipo Ojikutu, has faulted the nation’s emergency plan on air crashes.
Group Captain Ojikutu testified on Tuesday before a Lagos State Coroner’s inquest into the 3rd of June Dana Air Crash which crashed into a building in densely populated Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos, claimed the lives of all the 153 persons on board and some other people on ground.
Mr Ojikutu told the Coroner, Magistrate Komolafe Oyetade, that an aircraft emergency was a local emergency and not a national one.
He explained that there was a need to empower all local governments to respond to air crash emergencies.
The Captain said that virtually all the emergency units that responded to the Dana Air Crash were clueless about how to put out an airplane fire.
“We don’t fight aircraft fire with water, but from the video footages of that day, I noticed they were using water and that didn’t help a bit,” he said.
He said a substance called foam chemical was supposed to be used.
The witness also testified that Nigerian Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) does not have sufficient manpower, adding that the last time the agency trained its staff was over 15years ago.
The Captain, who has 26 years’ experience as an Air Traffic Controller, said from the transcripts of the conversation between the Control Tower and the pilot of the ill-fated plane, there were gaps between what transpired.
He told the Coroner that the court was only given 13minutes excerpt of what was supposed to be about 44mins of conversation between the tower and the pilot.
He added that the Air Traffic Controller on duty did not respond immediately he got a distress call from the pilot and when he ought to have taken charge of the emergency response, he handed over to a subordinate.
A bomb has been discovered at the Revival Church in Lokoja, the capital of Kogi state.
Our correspondent in the state says that gunshots could also be heard in the town.
This development comes a day after the attack on the Deeper Life Church in Okene in which 19 people were killed, including the Church’s Pastor.
The Church which is located at Eika Adagu in Okehi Local Government Area is now surrounded by officers of the Nigeria Police Force and soldiers as family members of the deceased are coming around in tears, to identify their bodies.
It is still unclear how many people were wounded in the attack Monday night as a number of the church members sustained various degrees of injuries.
According to the Military spokesman, Lt. Col. Gabriel Olorunyomi, the gunmen surrounded the church in the middle of a worship service and opened fire with AK-47 assault rifles on the worshippers.
Soldiers searched for gunmen through the night, but have made no arrests as of this morning.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) spokesperson Yushau Shuaib said his agency has dispatched rescuers to the area.
Anglican Primate condemns attack
The Primate of the Anglican Church, Reverend Nicholas Okoh has condemned yesterday’s attack on a church in Okene, Kogi state which claimed the lives of sixteen people.
Reverend Okoh who spoke with journalists in Abuja said that securing places of worship should not be left in the hands of the church alone.
He called on government to expedite action to secure the lives of its citizenry.
Responding to the call for the resignation of the president by members of the Boko Haram sect, the Anglican Primate said that the sect members are not responsible for Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s election and should therefore not call for his resignation.
Another batch of Nigerian emigrants, including women and children who were evacuated from Libya, arrived in the country in the late hours of Monday.
The South-west Zonal Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Mr. Iyiola Akande revealed that out of 162 Nigerians originally scheduled to depart Tripoli, only 111 were received on arrival.
The evacuation was made possible by the Nigerian embassy in Libya, with the assistance of the International Organisation for Migration, NEMA and the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Recounting their ordeals, the returnees lamented the treatment meted on them by the post-war Transitional Ruling Council in the north African country.
The Coroner of Alimosho District in Lagos state, Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe, who is conducting an inquest into the recent Dana Air crash, on Thursday, issued a bench warrant on some oil companies and emergency relief agencies, compelling them to appear before him on Monday.
Those who the bench warrants were issued on include Red Cross Society of Nigeria, Conoil Plc, and Total Nigeria Limited.
The Lagos Coroner gave the order while responding to a submission made by Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) whose law firm, Falana and Falana Chambers, petitioned the Lagos State Chief Coroner, Justice Lateefat Okunnu, for an inquiry into the air crash.
At the resumed sitting of the inquest on Thursday, Mr Falana reminded the Coroner that some oil companies and emergency agencies that have been served with summons are yet to appear before it.
The human rights lawyer also suggested that the authorities of the Nigeria Police Force should be ordered to investigate the deaths of people that died on the ground, emphasizing that it is not the responsibility of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB).
He noted that the AIB is only to investigate the causes of the crash of ill-fated Dana airline.
Dana Air Flight 0992 crashed into a residential building in the densely populated Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos on the 3rd of June, 2012, killing all 153 passengers and crew on board and nine people also lost their lives in the affected building.
Magistrate Komolafe and other interested parties also agreed to schedule appearance of more witnesses following the submission of the counsel to the Nigerian Airspace Management, Mr. Obi Okwusogu (SAN).
The Magistrate also directed that any of the witnesses who are submitting deposition should forward it to the court two days before the day they would give evidence.
According to the schedule, Channels Television and AIT are to appear on Monday to show the clips of the crash on the day it happened.
The Lagos State Emergency Management Authority (LASEMA) and Julius Berger, who had earlier been summoned but failed to show up, are scheduled for Tuesday along with National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
The AIB which was represented by its counsel, Maureen Tsenongo at the hearing where she told the Coroner that she intends to submit a written deposition and requested to make appearance on Wednesday, August 1, 2012 to enable her bring its witness.
The Coroner also granted the request of the counsel to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Mr. Babatunde Irukera and his Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), C. Chiwete to appear on Thursday, August 2, 2012 and Monday, August 6, 2012 respectively.
The court proceeding with the Coroner was then adjourned to Monday, July 30, 2012.
Series of fire outbreak and explosions ravaged different parts of Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital on Friday, claiming yet to be confirmed number of lives.
The first incident happened after a barge carrying fuel exploded at the Abuloma jetty.
The blast at Abuloma occurred about 9.30AM and it is reported to have occurred as a result of the maintenance work being carried out in the vessel by welders.
A resident of Abuloma, Mr. James Israel, who witnessed the incident, told a news agency that “the welders were trying to seal an opening to block a leakage on the deck of the vessel’s fuel tank and in the process, the vessel exploded.”
“The welders died, but we cannot ascertain how many people died inside the vessel,” Israel added.
Atali on Rumuokwurusi-Igwuruta road in the oil-rich state was also engulfed by massive fumes on the same day after officers of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in the state, set five tankers, suspected to be loaded with illegally refined oil ablaze.
The JTF officers impounded the tankers in the area on Thursday night after which the tankers were driven into the bush in Agali, where they were set ablaze.
Spokesperson for the JTF, Operation Pulo Shield, Captain Sunday Samuel, said the tankers were involved in illegal bunkering, adding that the mandate of the JTF was to destroy products seized from illegal bunkerers.”
The Captain further added that six people were arrested as the tankers were impounded, adding that the suspects would be handed over to appropriate authorities for further investigation and prosecution.
Spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said the agency has mobilised first responders to both scenes to put out the fire.
Another inferno was recorded at the building of the Rivers State Newspaper Corporation where property worth millions of Naira was destroyed as fire gutted the second floor of The Tide Newspaper building, on Ikwerre Road of the city.
Also the Engineering Department of Sliverbird Rhythm FM was razed by an early morning fire that led to the privately owned station, go off air.
The series of inferno that led to unrest in the state is coming barely a week after the state government conducted mass burial for over 100 victims that died in an oil tanker explosion.
The Improvised Explosive Device (IED) that exploded at Wuse District of Abuja, on Friday night was thrown from a moving vehicle, the FCT Commissioner of Police, Aderele Shinaba has confirmed.
The explosion which shattered windows in nearby buildings and damaged seven vehicles, occurred outside the popular Kryxtal Lounge night club, along Aminu crescent road, opposite Etisalat office.
According to officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), there were no casualties from the explosion.
NEMA’s spokesman, Mr. Yushau Shuaib confirmed that explosion happened at about 10 minutes to midnight.
Confirming the attack to Channels Television, the Deputy Police Public Relations officer, Mr Frank Mba, said that the explosion was from a low level IED.
He also said that “crowd control at the scene of the explosion was perfect, thereby resulting in no loss of life.”
The PPRO assured residents of the FCT that “the police is working hard with other security agencies to ensure that Abuja residents enjoy the peace that they’ve always enjoined in the city.”
The bomb explosion in the nation’s capital, occurred just hours after President Goodluck Jonathan dismissed the National Security Adviser, Retired General Patrick Owoeye Azazi and appointed Retired Colonel Sambo Dasuki, to replace him. The president also dismissed the Minister of Defence, Mohammed Bello Haliru.
Officials of NEMA and security agents have cordoned the area and cleared the damaged vehicles.
No arrest has been made and no group has claimed responsibility for the action.
The National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) on Monday said that 137 bodies have so far been removed from the scene of the air crash involving a Dana aircraft carrying 153 passenger and crew from Abuja to Lagos. NEMA’s spokesperson, Yushau Shuaib, who disclosed this in a press statement, said the bodies have been deposited at the mortuary of the Lagos State University.
The statement also quoted NEMA’s Director of Search and Rescue, Air Commodore Alexander Bankole, as suspending the search and rescue operation till Tuesday after the body of a woman clutching a baby was recovered.
The General Manager, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Femi Oke-Osanyintolu had earlier on Monday told journalists that 25 of the bodies removed from the scene of the plane crash were intact while the others were burnt beyond recognition.
He said that the Lagos State Ministry of Health had initiated DNA tests on the corpses to ascertain the identities of the burnt persons.
Mr Osanyintolu said that 15 families displaced by the crash had been taken to the state relief camp at Agbowa-Ikosi in Epe, Lagos State.
“The major challenge we had yesterday was crowd control which hindered our gaining access to the scene but with the presence of security personnel, the evacuation has been easy,” he said.
“It is a national disaster; we urge the people to stay away to avoid more danger as the affected buildings will be pulled down.
“The place has to be epidemic-free as it is a residential area,” he said.