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Ankara blast: Turkey vows retaliation for deadly bomb attack

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Turkey has vowed to retaliate against the perpetrators of a powerful blast in the capital Ankara that left at least 28 people dead and 61 injured.

“Turkey will not shy away from using its right to self-defence at any time, any place or any occasion,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

Officials said a vehicle full of explosives was detonated as military buses were passing by on Wednesday.

Funerals are expected to take place later on Thursday.

No group has so far said it was behind the attack.

The US condemned the blast, with National Security Council spokesman Ned Price saying: “We stand together with Turkey, a Nato ally, a strong partner.”

The blast happened in an area close to parliament and military headquarters.

Large plumes of smoke were seen rising from the area and witnesses said the blast was heard all over the city.

Some of the victims were civilians.

In a separate development later on Wednesday, an explosion damaged a building housing a Turkish cultural centre near the Swedish capital Stockholm, officials said. No-one was injured.

It was not clear if the incident was linked to the Ankara blast.

In a statement released several hours after the Ankara attack, President Erdogan said: “Our determination to retaliate to these attacks, in Turkey and abroad, which aim at our unity, togetherness and future, is increasing with such actions.”

Mr Erdogan cancelled a planned trip to Azerbaijan on Thursday, while Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also said he would not go to Brussels where he was due to attend meetings about the refugee crisis in Europe.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag described the attack, which happened at about 16:30 GMT (18:30 local time), as an “act of terrorism”.

Security forces carried out a controlled explosion on a suspect package after the blast.

Turkey has been hit by a series of attacks in recent months, and there have been increasing concerns that the country could be targeted by another big attack.

It is not clear who was behind the blast in Ankara. Security sources blamed both so-called Islamic State (IS) and militants from the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), Reuters reported.

A government spokesman said the attack had been well planned.

BBC

Accidents

5  Die In Lagos-Ibadan Expressway Accident

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19 die, 26 injured in Kano auto crash — FRSC

Five persons were confirmed dead in an accident at NASFAT turning on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway on Wednesday.

Ten others sustained injuries in the accident.

Mrs Florence Okpe, the spokesperson for the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Ogun, confirmed the incident to newsmen in Abeokuta.

Okpe noted that the incident occurred at 9:56a.m and it involved a Daf truck marked KUT 561 ZZ, a Toyota Hiace bus marked GGE 84 YF, and a Man diesel truck without a registration number.

She said that the likely cause of the accident was dangerous driving on the part of one of the trucks.

”A total of 15 persons were involved, which comprised 11 men and four women.

” Ten were injured (six men and four women) while five persons were killed from the multiple crash,” she said.

The FRSC spokesperson said that the injured victims were taken to Famobis Hospital, Mowe, while the deceased were deposited at Idera Hospital morgue, Sagamu.

The Sector Commander, Anthony Uga, cautioned motorists on speed and reckless driving, advising them to drive defensively for safety. 

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Customs Suspends Noble Intention To Sell Rice At Rock-bottom Price

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Nigeria Customs Service’s noble intention to sell impounded rice to the masses at the rock-bottom price of N10,000 per half-bag has been suspended.

It would be recalled that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), on the directive of Mr. President, announced the commencement of a noble intervention aimed at alleviating the hardships faced by Nigerians and improving access to essential food items through direct disposal of seized edible goods condemned in competent courts of law and certified fit for consumption by relevant government agencies. 

Consequently, according to the Chief Superintendent of Customs and National Public Relations Officer, Abdullahi Maiwada, a pilot exercise was conducted on Friday, 23 February 2024, at NCS Old Zonal Headquarters, Yaba, Lagos state. 

Stated Maiwada: “The exercise was conducted following meticulous planning to address all potential risks that may emerge during the exercise. As part of our process and control measures, we had Nigeria Police and military personnel to ensure crowd control. We also fully equipped a medical team on the ground in anticipation of potential risks during an exercise of that magnitude. Their presence was part of our proactive approach to ensuring the safety and well-being of all participants.

“The disposal of the food items got off to a smooth start at about 0800hrs. We enjoyed the cooperation of the large crowd that obliged us, giving preferences to the elderly, people living with disabilities, pregnant women, and other vulnerable Nigerians who showed up for the exercise. This was the case up until about 1700hrs, as attested to by the over 5000 beneficiaries and members of the press. 

 

“However, unforeseen challenges arose when we ran out of stock and announced the continuation of the exercise the following day, leading to a regrettable outcome. The crowd became desperate and charged through our barricades in search of rice bags inside emptied containers. In the stampede that ensued, some fatalities and injuries were regrettably recorded”, the Service Spokesman stated, stressing that the Nigeria Customs Service extends its heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives during the unfortunate incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the affected families during this challenging time, and we assure them of our unwavering support. 

“We are working with Hospital Authorities to establish contact and engage directly with the victims’ families on their next steps. Following this incident, an internal investigation was initiated to understand the circumstances surrounding this unfortunate event. 

“As a service deeply committed to the welfare and safety of Nigerians, we recognize the need for heightened sensitivity and preventive measures in all our operations. 

“Considering the recent unfortunate event, we regrettably announce the suspension of this exercise until we establish what transpired on Friday, 23 February 2024. 

“This should help us to properly articulate more robust and comprehensive action that will not defeat the noble intention. We appreciate the understanding and cooperation of all Nigerians as we work towards addressing the challenges facing our nation’s food security”, the Imgemaker said further. 

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LASG Lifts RTEAN- Ban; Dissolves State’s Parks And Garages Administrators’ Committee 

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…To boost peace 

In furtherance of this administration’s quest to foster peace and smooth working relationships among union members in the transportation sector, the Lagos State Government has lifted the ban on the activities of the Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) in the State.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on transportation, Hon. Sola Giwa said on Monday that the government decided after careful consideration and extensive consultations with relevant Stakeholders, including members of the association, Trade Union Congress (TUC), and the general public.

Hon. Giwa further stated that the Lagos State Parks and Garages Administrators’ Committee which was set up to manage parks and garage facilities in the State has been dissolved with immediate effect.

He explained that the decision is made in the best interest of promoting unity and peaceful co-existence, ensuring the smooth operation of transport services within the State as well as helping to foster a more collaborative relationship between the government and the transport union, ultimately leading to improved services for the public.

The Special Adviser urged all parties involved to adhere strictly to the terms and conditions of the settlement reached for peaceful and sustainable operations in the transportation sector.

He also implored them to cooperate and work together towards building a better transportation system to benefit all Lagos State residents.

It would be recalled that the State Government suspended the activities of RTEAN across the State in September 2022 and constituted a Caretaker Committee to oversee the Affairs of the union.

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