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Tanker explosion in Lagos, 3 killed, 39 vehicles burnt

On 18 February, three people were killed and 39 vehicles burnt, as a fuel tanker exploded at about 1 am, causing a massive blaze at the Mile Two area of Lagos.

The tanker, with registration number XB 370 ATN and fully loaded with 33,000 litres of fuel, was said to have lost one of its tyres. Its driver thereafter lost control and the tanker fell on its side and exploded. A mighty fire spread fast through the entire area.

Three people who were fast asleep in nearby structures were trapped in the inferno and burnt to death. One of them was a local official of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), who was sleeping inside the union’s office; the other two were a driver and an attendant in the park. The charred remains of all three were taken to a mortuary in an ambulance at about 3 am.

The fire also razed many vehicles, mostly commercial cars and buses parked by their operators at the close of work the previous day. These included eight Toyota Hiace mini buses (each estimated at N6 million), two Space wagons, eight LT buses, a towing vehicle and 16 salon cars. It took several hours before a team of the Lagos State Fire Service, with nine fire-fighting trucks, eventually subdued the inferno.

The General Manager of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr Oluwafemi Oke-Osanyintolu, confirmed that three people died. The Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Police Command, Mr. Jaiyeoba Joseph, a Superintendent of Police, said 39 vehicles were burnt.

15 traders killed, burnt by gunmen in Zamfara State

Map of Nigeria showing Zamfara State

On 26 January, unidentified gunmen waylaid and killed 15 traders and then set their bodies ablaze near Birnin Magaji town in Zamfara State.

Local sorces said the traders were attacked as they were returning from a market in neighbouring Katsina State. They said the gunmen, numbering about 100, sprang from the bush and forced the open truck, in which the traders were travelling, to stop.

The Commissioner of Police in Zamfara State, Mr Tambari Yabo Mohammed, said: “The armed robbers waylaid the traders travelling back in an open truck and opened fire on them. They then loaded the truck with 14 bodies and burnt them”. He said a 15th victim died in hospital.

Although the Police chief suggested the attack may have been a case of armed robbery, local sources said it may be linked to some earlier incidents in Lingyado village in Zamfara State.

On 10 August 2011, vigilantes from Lingyado had evicted a group of people from the village whom they suspected of being behind a series of cattle and other robberies. Those evicted regrouped and attacked the village on 2 October, killing 23 villagers.

Commenting on that attack, the governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, had said: “From the information I have received, the attackers who are nomadic Fulani, invited their comrades from as far as Central African Republic, for the raid”.

Four children of Air Force officer burnt to death in Calabar

On 16 November, four children of a Nigerian Air Force officer (comprising three boys and a girl), were reportedly burnt to death in his apartment at the Air Force officers’ quarters along Ediba Road in Calabar, capital of Cross River State.

It is not yet certain what caused the fire; but some sources said the tragedy may have been caused by a candle the officer’s wife lit in their apartment during a power outage that evening, before going to a vigil at the Apostolic Faith Church. She left the four children sleeping inside. The sources said three of the children were burnt beyond recognition; the fourth, who suffered serious injuries, was rushed to hospital where he died.

However, the sources said the combined efforts of members of the Cross River State Fire Service and the Cross River State Emergency Response Service stopped the fire from spreading to other apartments in the multi-storey residential building.

The officer whose children died, was said to have been transferred to Abuja recently, but his family, still at his former location in Calabar, was yet to join him at his new post.

Violence after presidential elections: 4 INEC offices burnt, 500 laptops looted in Bauchi State

On 19 April, the Bauchi State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Senator Iliya Audu, disclosed that four offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were burnt by hoodlums in four local government areas of Bauchi State in the violence that followed the presidential elections.

Conducting newsmen round the burnt Bauchi Local Government Area office of the Commission, Senator Audu said four INEC offices were burnt down in Bauchi, Dambam, Misau and Jama’are LGAs while 500 laptops used for the voters registration exercise were looted by the irate youths. He also said that one of his officers was molested in Misau.

Senator Audu said no amount of violence, blackmail or intimidation would deter the electoral body from conducting the governorship and House of Assembly elections slated for 26 April. He said that in spite of the losses, the Commission was making every effort to conduct the remaining elections in the state on schedule.

PDP-ACN clash in Akwa Ibom: Police says 4 killed, 127 cars burnt, 45 persons arrested

On 23 March, the Akwa Ibom State Police Command presented its first official report on the violent clashes between supporters of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) on 22 March. According to the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Felix Osita Uyanna, who incidentally assumed duties in the state on the very day the violence erupted, the clashes claimed the lives of four persons – two in Ikot Ekpene and another two in Uyo.

The Commissioner said items burnt or damaged during the attacks included 127 Peugeot 307 Saloon cars and 157 tricycles (Keke Napep), all procured by the Akwa Ibom State Government and parked at the Idongesit Nkanga Secretariat in Uyo.

Mr. Uyanna said the local campaign office of the Goodluck/Sambo organisation, situated along Abak road, was also set ablaze. Furthermore, he stated that at Fortune High School, Uyo, belonging to Senator Alloysius Etok (representing Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District), 12 vehicles and the staff quarters were burnt, while various office equipment including computers, generators and water treatment plants, were destroyed.

The Commissioner of Police also said many persons sustained injuries during the violence and are being traced for “documentation”. He disclosed that 45 persons have already been arrested in connection with the violence.

He stated that “the modus of the criminal operation and the nature of the targets suggest a deliberate pattern in the execution style of the criminals”. The commissioner said investigation into the incident is on-going and suspects will be charged to court soon.

Mr. Uyanna urged members of the public to go about their lawful businesses without fear, assuring them that besides the increased collaboration between all security agencies in the state, more police and other security personnel are being deployed to stabilize the situation.

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