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Etisalat sues MTN over Visafone acquisition



  • 30 die as speeding trailer tumbles down expressway

Etisalat Nigeria has sued MTN Nigeria and Visafone Ltd, challenging MTN’s use of the 800megahertz (MHZ) spectrum following the acquisition of Visafone.

MTN sued the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) over the imposition of N780billion fine on it by the regulator for harbouring some 5.2million pre-registered subscriber identity module (SIM) cards on its network in violation of extant rules.

Etisalat said it considered the action necessary to prevent the use of the spectrum by MTN at this time, as it will entrench the dominance of MTN in the retail data services market.

“You will recall that MTN Nigeria was declared dominant by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in 2013 and remains dominant in the wholesale leased line and retail voice markets.

“The use of the 800MHz spectrum to deploy broadband services ahead of its competitors, particularly those who prior to MTNs purchase of Visafone, held similar spectrum bands as MTN, will further entrench MTN’s dominance in the Nigerian telecommunications sector,” Etisalat said in a statement confirmed by its Head of Media, Chineze Amanfo, yesterday.

The telco said it had, in addition to the legal action and in line with Sec tion 86 of the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003, engaged the NCC to understand the basis of its decision to approve the acquisition. “As you are aware, the matter is already in court as such, we are restrained from commenting further on the matter,” the telco added.

In the meantime, no fewer than 30 male passengers died in the Adeosun area of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway on Sunday after a trailer conveying them tumbled down the road.

Over 50 other people sustained varying degrees of injuries in the crash, while two rams were killed.

The accident occurred on the portion of the expressway which had been recently reconstructed.

Our correspondents counted 25 corpses at the scene of the accident. Eyewitnesses said about five corpses had been taken to a mortuary.

Other victims of the accident, which occurred around 7am, were not removed until past 9am.

A victim, who lost two relatives, covered the faces of the deceased with clothes and broke down in tears.

Shouting the name of Allah as he wailed, the victim identified simply as Mohammed, refused all entreaties as he knelt down between the two corpses and wept bitterly.

One of the survivors of the accident, who gave his name as Mohammed Seripino, said the trailer was coming from Kaduna and had travelled all night.

He said each passenger paid N1,000 as transport fare, adding that the journey from Kaduna was smooth before the accident occurred.

“We are all Hausa. We were coming from Kaduna. Each passenger paid N1,000. This (accident) is not good,” he said.

An eyewitness, who gave his name as Yinka Dada, said he was seeing off his son, who was on his way to Lagos, when the accident occurred.

He said, “I saw everything. I was by the roadside when the accident occurred. I was with my son who was going to Lagos when I saw two vehicles speeding as if they were competing in a race.

“The other vehicle was able to control the wheel, while the driver of the trailer lost control, tumbled down the expressway, and spilled out the passengers one after another.”

Officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps at the Ibadan Tollgate Unit, who came for rescue operation, refused to talk to our correspondents.

“We cannot talk to you now. I am not the boss here. I have bosses who can talk to you later if you come to our unit at the tollgate. You can see we are busy now,” an official told one of our correspondents.

A police patrol van with two officials also visited the scene.

One of the policemen in the van told those with minor injuries to help those with critical injuries into the police van.

However, some sympathisers said the responses of both the police and the officials of the FRSC were poor, and began to rain curses on Nigeria’s political class.

An Electrical Engineering student of the Abdul Gusau Polytechnic, Zamfara, who did not disclose his name, said government should be blamed for the poor response to the plight of the victims.

The student said, “Our leaders have embezzled all the money that should be used to put infrastructure in place. This is why people are dying like rats.”

A middle-aged man, Onyekachi Otuonye, lamented rescuers’ response time to the accident.

Otuonye said, “This is deplorable. Even slaves should not be treated like this. Human lives should be treated with respect and dignity.”

A man in a cleric robe, who attributed the accident to witches and wizards, was shouted down by some sympathisers.

When the man brought out a book of his predictions on the accident that would occur on the road in 2016, sympathisers warned him to stop, saying there were no witches on the road.

One of the sympathisers, Biliaminu Awodele, who confronted the cleric, said, “Accidents happen all over the world, nobody dey blame witches and wizards, abeg, carry your yeye prediction commot here!”

However, the FRSC said 17 people died in the accident, while 79 others were injured.

The Oyo State Sector Commander, FRSC, Yusuf Salami, said the accident involved an articulated vehicle and a Peugeot J5 vehicle.

He explained that both vehicles were travelling to Lagos, adding that the accident was caused by impatience, speeding and struggle for right of way.

He said, “A Peugeot J5 with number plate, XS 626 LSV, and a DAF articulated vehicle with number plate, AA 902 MML, had an accident as both drivers were struggling for the right of the way. They were both going to Lagos when the accident happened around 9.30am on Sunday. It happened just before the campus of the Dominion University in Sepo, on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

“There were 96 people involved, with 17 confirmed dead. It is obvious that both drivers were speeding and suddenly lost control of the vehicles. The Peugeot bus was loaded with passengers and goods, but the casualty figure rose because the other vehicle was travelling to Lagos with huge number of illegal passengers.”

Nation with additional report from Punch


Tanker Tyre Explosion Sparks Chaos In Surulere



Tanker Tyre Explosion Sparks Chaos In Surulere

 Pandemonium engulfed Ekololu, a community in the Surulere area of Lagos, on Monday night when the back tyres of a tanker transporting fuel to a Conoil filling station burst into flames near the station.

The News Correspondent who resides in the area reports that the explosion of the tyres and the ensuing billows of smoke made residents living near the filling station flee for safety.

Observations by the newsmen revealed that staff from the filling station hurried out with fire extinguishers to combat the fire, which erupted around 9:00 p.m., just a few meters from the station’s entrance.

Emergency responders, including Federal and State Fire Services, as well as the Lagos State Emergency Management Authority (LASEMA), swiftly arrived at the scene following distress calls from the community.

The ill-fated tanker that caused the pandemonium

Upon arrival, the emergency teams assessed the unregistered truck carrying the petrol and raised concerns about safety measures while questioning the driver and filling station management.

They provided guidance and oversaw the safe discharge of the fuel using a long hose to transfer the petroleum product from the stranded tanker into the filling station’s reservoirs.

The Station Manager of the Conoil filling station, Mr Kunle Oniya, informed the emergency responders that the station possessed 20 fire extinguishers, which were promptly utilised to contain the fire and prevent its spread.

The incident led to a traffic gridlock, with vehicles unable to move in the area for nearly an hour.

Some residents shared their experiences of the ordeal with the newsmen.

A resident, Malam Shehu, recounted abandoning his dinner upon witnessing the fiery explosion.

He expressed gratitude that the fire was contained before causing further damage.

Another resident, known as Iya Abigail, described hearing people shouting while she was playing games, prompting her to flee in confusion wearing her nightclothes.

She prayed for continued safety in the community.

An elderly resident, who preferred anonymity, urged filling stations in the area to prioritise safety and the welfare of residents.

She noted that filling stations typically had insurance against fire and other disasters and suggested extending such coverage to vulnerable buildings in their host communities.

Recalling the chaotic events, she said that she heard the sound of an emergency whistle to alert the neighbourhood before hastily evacuating her home.

“I was watching TV and when the incident occurred, I had to blow the emergency whistle to alert the neighbourhood but I quickly dressed up before running out of the house,” she said. 

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Overspeeding Claims 7 Lives In Ibadan- Iseyin Road Crash- FRSC



Overspeeding Claims 7 Lives In Ibadan- Iseyin Road Crash- FRSC

…As 15 people sustain varying degrees of injuries

Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has confirmed the death of seven persons in a road accident that occurred on Ibadan-Iseyin road on Thursday.

The Public Relations Officer, FRSC, Oyo Sector Command, Mr Mayowa Odewo, said in a statement that the deceased were five male adults, one female adult and one female child.

Odewo said that 15 people also sustained varying degrees of injuries out of the 22 people involved in the crash.

He attributed the accident, involving a Nissan Urvan commercial bus, with registration number: SEY 254 ZY and a Mazda commercial bus, with registration number LGB 343 XA, to speed violations and fatigue.

Odewo stated that the 13 injured victims, including three male adults, nine female adults and one female child, had been taken to a nearby hospital for medical attention.

He said that four of the seven corpses of the victims had been claimed by their families, while the remaining three had been deposited at a morgue.

“The police from Motor Traffic Division (MTD) Police Division, Moniya, Ibadan, have taken possession of the two crashed vehicles, including bags and other valuables recovered from the scene,” he said.

The FRSC spokesperson noted that no victim was saved by the seat belt or other defensive gadgets.

He urged motorists to always obey traffic rules and regulations as well as adhere to all traffic cautions on the road to prevent avoidable crashes. 

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Man Dies After Falling Off Cruise Ship in Australia



Man Dies After Falling Off Cruise Ship in Australia

Australian police had found a man’s body off Sydney’s coast while searching for a cruise ship passenger who went overboard on Monday.
The man fell overboard before dawn near Sydney Heads, about 18 kilometers from the shore, with police and other emergency services launching a search, New South Wales police said.

At about 10.30 a.m. (0030 GMT), officers located the body and retrieved it, police said.

Police would now prepare a report for the Coroner and have launched an investigation into how the incident unfolded.

P&O Cruises’ ship Pacific Adventure was due to arrive in Sydney Harbour on Monday.

“We thank guests for their care, understanding, and patience on what’s been a distressing day for guests and crew,’’
a statement from the company said, as quoted by local media.

“Our thoughts are with the family of the guest at this difficult time.’’

The ship was returning to Sydney from a three-day trip to Queensland’s Morton Island.

– dpa

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