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Kaduna Train Attack: Reps blast Service Chiefs over failure to honour invitation



Reps to intervene in ASUU strike

… NRC commiserates with passengers, appeals to media on false information***

… As Don tasks FG to strengthen security, adopt technology to fight insurgency, banditry***

The leadership of the House of Representatives on Wednesday in Abuja frowned at the failure of the nation’s service chiefs to appear at a strategic security meeting.

The house leadership called the meeting in the aftermath of a series of terrorist attacks in Kaduna State.

Also read: Kaduna train attack: Death of TUC Secretary General shocking — Railway workers

The lawmakers, led by the Deputy Speaker, Rep. Ahmed Wase, expressed their disappointment at the service chiefs and refused to meet their representatives.

He said that the meeting followed a resolution of the house and the invitation letters sent to the service chiefs were very clear.

Wase said the house was not seeing the results of the money appropriated in the light of the recent terrorist attacks on the Kaduna International Airport and a Kaduna-bound passenger train.

The deputy speaker said that the parliament needed to ask questions that the service chiefs must answer in person, and not through representatives.

He said that sending representatives with excuses was not acceptable, saying that it was only in the Nigerian parliament that people are summoned and they would refuse to show up.

Wase said that the attacks were a result of a lack of synergy between the different arms of government, though the parliament had been very cooperative and faithful in the appropriation of funds.

In his ruling, Wase called off the meeting and rescheduled it for Thursday, March 31 at 3 p.m at the same venue.

In the meantime, the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has commiserated with passengers on board its AK9 train of March 28 that was attacked by terrorists.

In a statement, Mr Fidet Okhiria, NRC’s Managing Director, expressed regret at the lives lost due to the attack, while praying for the quick recovery of injured persons.

”The NRC deeply commiserates with all the passengers on board the NRC Ak9 train of March 28, their relatives and friends, the Government and people of Kaduna State and the Federal Capital Territory as well as the entire nation.

”In particular, we regret the death of eight of our passengers and security personnel attached to the train service, as well as the injury suffered by scores of our passengers, not to mention the trauma caused them and crew by the armed attack.

”We also earnestly pray for the speedy recovery of injured passengers, while praying that God grants the families of the bereaved, the fortitude to bear the loss,” Okhiria said.

The NRC boss, however, implored members of the press, social media sites, and the general public to desist from spreading false information at this delicate time.

He said: ”Our attention has, however, been drawn to the misleading and insensitive information circulating on social media with respect to the number of passengers on the train.

”For the avoidance of any doubt, please note that the Abuja-Kaduna service is run on a fully automated e-ticket system with entry and exit turnstiles that validate every passenger onboard our trains.

”Ticket checkers also validate the tickets of every passenger via electronic validators linked to the central system to verify the integrity of our manifest.

”About 398  passengers purchased tickets to travel on the NRC AK9 service, but 362 passengers actually boarded the AK9 service.

”The entire seat capacity of the train in question is 840 passengers; therefore, the figure of 970 being circulated cannot be correct.

“The AK9 service is the last service out of Abuja on a Monday evening and is usually at less than half capacity.

”Passengers on board the AK9 service on Monday have confirmed that the train was certainly not run at full capacity.

”The NRC is continuing its efforts to reach out to the passengers using the comprehensive manifest in order to obtain valid information about their present condition,” Okhiria stated.

In another development, Prof. Samson Ayanlaja, a former Vice-Chancellor of Crawford University, Igbesa, Ogun, has advised the Federal Government to strengthen security by adopting technology for surveillance.

Ayanlaja gave this advice in an interview with the newsmen on Wednesday in Ota, Ogun.

Reacting to the train attack on the Abuja – Kaduna rail line by suspected terrorists on Monday in which eight persons were reported killed, scores injured and many others abducted, Ayanlaja described the incident as unfortunate and anti-progressive.

“The so-called terrorists are making life difficult for Nigerians and the government at large.

“The Federal Government must evolve strategies to control these people causing mischief, kidnapping and killing innocent Nigerians,” he said.

The don appealed to the Federal Government to redouble its efforts at tackling security challenges in the country.

He suggested the installation of CCTV cameras in strategic places and empowering security agencies to have access to satellites to assist the security agencies to track down criminals.

Ayanlaja commiserated with the families of victims and prayed to God to grant them the fortitude to bear the loss.


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Health and Safety

GOUNI: After 18 Years, Varsity May Give Mass Burial To 33 Corpses



…Abandoned In Its Mortuary***

 Godfrey Okoye University (GOUNI), Enugu, has given families of 33 corpses abandoned in its hospital mortuary 21 days to evacuate them, failing which the corpses would be given mass burial.

Some of the corpses had been in the mortuary for more than 18 years.

Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Christian Anieke, told a news conference in Enugu on Sunday that the ultimatum, given on Nov. 13 became necessary to enable the university to renovate the mortuary.

GOUNI is owned by the Catholic Diocese of Enugu. It recently converted and upgraded one of its hospitals hosting the mortuary to serve as the varsity’s medical teaching hospital.

Anieke said the renovation and upgrading would make the mortuary a fitting one for a teaching hospital.

“We have gotten a court injunction to carry out the mass burial of the 33 abandoned corpses in our teaching hospital morgue.

“Some of the corpses have been in the mortuary for more than 18 years and it is quite challenging as we want to renovate and make the hospital a befitting one for a teaching hospital,’’ he said.

While confirming ignorance of what could be responsible for the long stay of the corpses, he opined that some probably had no relations or they were criminals.

“I am appealing to those who have corpses in the mortuary to come and remove them.

“We are talking about human beings here and not animals. Go and check if your relationship is there,’’ he admonished.

Anieke added that in Igbo tradition, families have to give a befitting burial to the deceased.

“`It is believed that if the dead is not given befitting burial it will have bad consequences on the family,’’ he said.

In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the teaching hospital, Prof. Cajetan Nwadinigwe, said many of the corpses did not have name tags, while about 14 of them bore the same name.

He said there were no records of dates in which some of the corpses were deposited at the mortuary, while it was evident that some had been there for more than 10 years.

“This is our basis of approaching the court and advertising the warning in newspapers for families to see,’’ Nwadinigwe said. 

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Health and Safety

Kidnapped UNTH Doctor Escapes From Abductors’ Den – NMA Confirms



…First crawled, then trekked a while before breaking into a run…!

Those who think educated doctors are weaklings would be shocked as the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) confirms the escape of an abducted resident doctor, Dr Orockarrah Orock attached to the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu State.

The kidnapped doctor who has now rejoined his happy family gave an account of how he first crawled like an agile soldier, before trekking miles, like a Spartan, to escape and secure freedom.

The Maritime First learnt that Orock attached to the Anesthesia Department of the UNTH was on Saturday night kidnapped within the hospital premises, while on call duty.

The Chairman of NMA, Enugu State Chapter, Dr. Celestine Ugwoke, who gave the confirmation to newsmen in Enugu on Monday, stressed that Orock miraculously made his escape after the kidnappers felt satisfied with the agreement by his wife to pay the ransom demanded,  decided to go and have a “nice time with their weeds and spirits and fell into a deep sleep”

Chairman of NMA, Enugu State Chapter, Dr Celestine Ugwoke

The abducted doctor thereafter, “”gradually crawled away from the spot he was kept in the kidnappers’ den and later trekked and ran a distance before sighting human activities”, before finally coming out, near the Four Corner Junction of Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway.

“He called his wife and the wife called the UNTH chief security officer that picked him up that midnight of Saturday. We are profoundly grateful to God for his miraculous escape,” he said.

The chairman, however, said that doctors had become endangered professionals in the state, as kidnappers always target them especially those working in tertiary health institutions in the state.

“We are really in trouble as doctors are now their target and we are living in fear as the kidnappers now chase us as if they are chasing rats,” he said.

The chairman said that any more abduction of any doctor in UNTH again, doctors in the teaching hospital would totally down tools adding that this warning would be extended to other tertiary hospitals in the state.

Ugwoke said that the association would be meeting with the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of UNTH to mandate to release of security protocol for the hospital, to ensure the safety of all doctors, management staff, staff, and patients in the hospital.

“We also want the hospital management to beef up security within the hospital, ensure adequate perimeter fencing of the entire hospital, and installation of Close Circuit Television Camera (CCTV) and its monitoring base within the hospital.

“As an association, we have previously met the state’s Commissioner for Health and the Commissioner of Police on the spate of insecurity our members face even in the discharge of their life-saving professional duties.

“All efforts through official letters and other means to pay a courtesy call on Gov. Peter Mbah and intimate him on the vital issue of doctors’ security in the state had proved abortive.

“Maybe, the government wants doctors to leave their duty posts and carry placards to the Enugu Government House before listening to us. This will be very bad if allowed to drag to this point,” he said.

Efforts made to get the Spokesperson for Enugu State Police Command, DSP Daniel Ndukwe, to speak on the matter proved abortive as he did not pick up several calls made to his cellphone.

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Health and Safety

Lagos Rallies Volunteer Groups On Environmental Conservation



Sanwo-Olu tasks MSMEs on digitalisation to harness AfCFTA benefits

The Lagos State Government rallied environmental groups to collaborate with it and explore innovative solutions to achieve environmental conservation.

 The Permanent Secretary, Office of Environmental Services, Gaji Omobolaji during a workshop for Coalition of Lagos Environmental Group (COLEG) at LCCI Building, Ikeja,  said the objective of the workshop is a commitment to the protection and preservation of the environment.  

Gaji, represented by the Deputy Director of Sanitation, Mr. Jide Adeoye said the Coalition of Lagos Environmental Volunteer Group (COLEG) is a coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations that offer non-profit voluntary services and intervention exercises across the State.

He mentioned that the group was created by the Ministry as an umbrella body to coordinate and regulate the activities of the group to check abuses as well as to ensure interventions carried out by the group are guided and focused to achieve maximum environmental gains.

“Consequently, this technical workshop will focus on training environmental NGOs registered as COLEG; cover expectations of the Ministry for the groups which includes proper processes for carrying out environmental interventions in the State as well as compliance with rules and regulations”, he said.

The Permanent Secretary said the duty of non-governmental organisations in the field of environmental conservation is truly invaluable, each playing a vital role in the collective effort to address various environmental challenges, adding that they are the driving force to provide innovative solutions, public awareness, and advocacy for achieving a sustainable future.

LASG Announces Traffic Diversion At Second Rainbow

*Sanwo-Olu, Executive Governor, Lagos State

He highlighted the environmental challenges faced in the state to include improper solid waste management, littering of public places, inadequate waste sorting and removal of recyclables leading to littering of the environment with PET containers as well as the impact of climate change and pollution, saying “All these are responsible for reducing the aesthetic and tourism potentials of Lagos State”.

The Permanent Secretary also gave the assurance of the government’s support, stressing that the present administration recognises the significance of NGOs in shaping environmental policy, implementing initiatives, and being the voices of conscience for the planet.

In a lecture, titled: “Process and Procedure for Environmental Interventions and Compliance with Lagos State, Rules and Regulations”, the Guest Lecture, Mr. Olasunkanmi Sojinu pointed out all areas where the NGOs can effectively partner with the Government, adding that the NGOs need to be a voice for the Environment.

He charged the NGOs and others, on the need to stop provoking the earth, adding that most waste can be used as raw materials for other products.  

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