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Accidents

Forex scarcity, others cripple aviation’

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  •  As Incessant rain wreaks havoc on Lagos, Ogun

First Nation Airways yesterday said its inability to access foreign exchange (forex) for the maintenance of its aircraft is one of the factors crippling airlines operations in the country.

Its Director of Flight Operations ,Captain Chimara Imediegwu who spoke in Lagos said instability in the exchange rate was also having ripple effect on airlines’ maintenance schedule.

He said the delay at getting clearance approvals for aircraft spare parts at the ports is another major hurdle affecting airlines.

He however assured that barring  any hitches, FirstNation  will return to schedule flight operations September 15.

He also spoke of plans by the airline to increase its fleet size, adding that the officials of the aircraft manufacturer will arrive the country in two days to replace the engine  of its faulty airplane.

The airline had in a statement stated that it suspended flight operations because it was carrying out maintenance on its A319 fleet.

He said: “The airline planned these maintenance action well ahead and notified passengers. This will ensure that passengers continue to enjoy safe and reliable service that the airline is reputed for.”

Imediegwu stated that having contended with these challenges, the airline has planned ahead and kept the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) informed on the progress of the maintenance of its aircraft.

“In order to remain within the triple SSS-Safety Schedule and Service boundary, effectively regulating ourselves, FirstNation voluntarily grounded these aircraft as we await the arrival of the manufacturer’s team,” he said.

In the meantime, the rain that has been falling for the past 10 days in Lagos and Ogun states claimed two lives on Tuesday as a newly-wed teenager and a gatekeeper were killed in the states.

While the teenager, 16-year-old Faisa, was killed in the Agidingbi, Ikeja area of Lagos State, the gatekeeper, 27-year-old Joshua Moses, was electrocuted on the River Valley Estate, in the Ojodu Berger area of Ogun State.

PUNCH Metro learnt that Faisa was killed by a mudslide, which was said to have occurred due to the incessant rain.

Faisa and her husband, Muhammed, were reportedly married about 10 days ago in their village in Goza, Borno State, and had relocated to Lagos.

PUNCH Metro learnt that the deceased was alone in the house when the incident happened.

The corpse was recovered by officials of the State Environmental Health Monitoring Unit, who responded to a distress call.

Also present at the scene were officials of the National Emergency Management Agency, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Rapid Response Squad and the Lagos State Building Control Agency.

One of our correspondents, who visited the scene, gathered that the slum, which was on Dosumu Street, off Amara Olu Road, Agidingbi, was inhabited by Borno State residents who fled their homes to seek refuge from Boko Haram attacks.

It was also learnt that there were about 100 people staying in the slum, popularly called Kurata.

A resident, Umaru Mate, said the mudslide occurred around 10am, adding that three shanties were destroyed by the impact.

He said, “I went out very early this morning and returned around 10am. I was about going into my house when I heard a loud noise.

“About 20 of us rushed there and saw that three houses had been destroyed by the mudslide. We were able to rescue a man, Umar, his wife and their five children.

“The woman that died just got married to her husband in the village. They have not stayed up to 10 days in this place.”

Another resident, Hassan Aji, appealed to the government to find a better place for them.

He said, “We are all from Borno State. We left our villages because of Boko Haram. We relocated here about two years ago. Our villages are deserted. As I speak with you, I don’t know where my mother is. I have two wives and seven children and if the government sends us away from here, I don’t know where to go.”

Ibrahim Aliu, another resident, said they paid N24,000 per year as rent to some men who claimed to be working for the Lagos State Government.

The General Manager of LASEMA, Michael Akindele, said the slum was not habitable.

He said, “Three persons were discovered trapped in the mud.  The agency’s emergency response team was able to rescue two of them, while the third victim was recovered dead.

“The area is a buffer zone which is not good for human settlement. The Lagos State Government has been sensitising people staying in flood-prone areas and wetland to vacate such areas to avert loss of lives especially, during this rainy season.”

The spokesperson for NEMA, South-West Zone, Ibrahim Farinloye, said, “It is a mudslide which collapsed on shanties in the slum. A woman, 16-year-old Faisa, who got wedded about 10 days ago, was killed.”

The River Valley Estate incident occurred on Abiodun Bada Street, and PUNCH Metro learnt that the gatekeeper, Moses, was electrocuted at about 6.30am.

It was learnt that he had opened the gate for his employer to drive out when an electric pole fell on him.

PUNCH Metro gathered the rain had weakened the foundation of the pole which made it to fall on Moses, who reportedly resumed work in the apartment on Monday.

One of our correspondents gathered that immediately the pole fell on him, the gatekeeper was electrocuted.

The incident was reported at the Ojodu Abiodun Police Division, which sent operatives to remove the corpse from the scene.

A resident, who identified himself only as Yemisi, said the electricity distribution company had restored power to the estate a few minutes before the incident.

He said, “The gatekeeper was employed on Monday. He had opened the gate for his boss around 6am. It was raining at that time, and as he made way to close the gate, an electric pole fell and the high-tension wires fell on him.”

One of our correspondents learnt that the rainfall, which lasted for about 12 hours in several areas in Lagos and Ogun states, forced some residents to abandon their houses as a result of floods.

Several streets visited by PUNCH Metro in the Egbeda and Idimu areas of Lagos State were flooded as human and vehicular movements were also suspended.

One of our correspondents observed that many houses on Jimoh Street in Egbeda, Disu Akogun Street in Dopemu, Agege area, Jimoh Akinremi Street in Akowonjo, and Iju Road, Fagba area, were flooded.

A resident of Dopemu, identified only as Adeyemi, said his neighbours had packed out of their houses as the rooms were flooded.

He said, “As I managed to leave the house around 10am for my workplace, some of my neighbours whose rooms were submerged had already begun to leave their apartments. All the cars and buses parked on the street were submerged in water.”

A residentof Ijegun in the Isheri Osun area, identified as Bose Salau, said, “The flood mostly affected Gafaru Street. It filled the entire street.”

Our correspondent learnt that Afolabi Street along the LASU/Iyana Iba Expressway, as well as Idi-Araba area in Mushin were affected by the flood.

The Ogun State acting Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Abimbola Oyeyemi, confirmed the death of the gatekeeper.

He said, “The occupant of the apartment reported the electrocution to the police. The corpse has been deposited at the Mainland Hospital morgue in the Yaba area of Lagos State.”

Nation with additional report from Punch

Accidents

NIWA Condoles Actors Guild Of Nigeria, Victim’s Families Over Boat Mishap

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NIWA Condoles Actors Guild Of Nigeria, Victim's Families Over Boat Mishap

…As Ali Nuhu says recent deaths in movie industry rob the nation of legendary filmmakers

 The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), has conveyed its deepest regret over the unfortunate boat mishap which claimed four lives on Wednesday.

It could not yet be established whether or not, all the passengers wore lifejackets at the time of the incident.

A condolence message by Dakio Horsfall, the Acting General Manager (Marine) of the authority, on Thursday in Lokoja, said the management of the authority condoled with the Actors Guild of Nigeria and the victims’ families over the losses.

The mishap reportedly involved two boars on the River Niger en route to Asaba in Delta State at about 2:00 P.M. on Wednesday.

The accident, which involved an unregistered fibreglass boat with 12 persons on board and a privately owned wooden boat with a lone driver, left four persons dead, while seven others were rescued.

Horsfall said: “Preliminary reports indicated that the accident resulted from a frontal collision between the two boats due to overspeeding.

“Sadly, two people died at the scene of the accident, two more bodies were recovered 24 hours later off-site, while 7 persons were rescued.

“Consequently, the Authority commiserates with the families of the deceased persons and pray that the good Lord will repose the souls of the departed”.

He said that upon the receipt of the report of the accident through its community-based structure, the NIWA deployed its search and rescue team to the scene for immediate rescue activities.

NIWA Condoles Actors Guild Of Nigeria, Victim's Families Over Boat Mishap

According to him, the team and other stakeholders including the local divers, swung into action and have continued the search and rescue effort since Wednesday.

“As of the last count, one person is still unaccounted for.

“Also, the Marine Department of NIWA has activated its accident investigation mechanism to determine the cause(s) of the accident and make appropriate recommendations,” he said

The manager stressed the need for all users of the inland waterways to, mandatorily, adhere to all the established safety protocols, including the completion of passenger manifest at the loading and offloading points.

“The usage of life jackets on the waterways is mandatory, avoiding over speeding, and yielding to weather dictates, at all times,” he said.

Horsfall commended the Marine Police, local divers/ fishermen, Maritime Unions and other good-hearted Nigerians who rose to support the Authority in its rescue efforts.

“Nevertheless, NIWA hereby assures all Nigerians of its continuous efforts aimed at promoting safer inland waterways for the use of all”.

In another development, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC), Mr Ali Nuhu has said that recent deaths in the movie industry have robbed the nation of legendary filmmakers.

This is contained in a statement signed by Brian Etuk,  the Director of Public Affairs of the NFC in Abuja.

Nuhu described the death of Saratu Gidado (aka Daso) and John Odonwodo,  known as Junior Pope, as heart-wrenching for colleagues and film industry stakeholders.

”Their deaths, which occurred within the week has left  Nigeria’s movie industry in a state of mourning.

”Stakeholders have been pained by the frequent recent losses robbing the country of legendary filmmakers,  who have impacted and contributed greatly to the growth of Nigeria’s film industry.

“Their footprints within the development of the Nigerian film industry will not be forgotten,” he said.

Speaking about the late Gidado, the NFC boss said she caught the fancy and interest of Nigerians, particularly as a lead character in several of Kannywood films,  such as ‘Linzami Da Wuta’ and ‘Gidauniya’.

”She was a Zuma Film Festival(ZUFF)  2023 Life Time Achievers Awardee but sadly succumbed to death in the early hours of Tuesday, April 9.

“Odonwodo’s role in showcasing the professional competencies and screen delivery by actors is remarkable,  as can be found in ‘Honey Money’, ‘Blood Affair’ and ‘Wrong Initiation’ movies in which the late actor acted.

 “While Mr Ibu delivered that evoked laughter and comic relief,  leaving behind a gap to be filled, the refined gentlemen shall be greatly missed,” he added.

Nuhu pledged that the NFC would continue to support the film industry policy initiatives that promoted friendly and safe working conditions,  including medical, health and life insurance schemes for stakeholders.

Nuhu also sympathised with the immediate families, friends and associates of the deceased, as well as the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) and prayed that Almighty God grant them rest.

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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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