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Ibadan explosion: Three confirmed dead, as Govt indicts foreign miners

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…State sets up emergency centre, provides accommodation to victims

Three persons have been confirmed dead in an explosion that rocked Ibadan on Tuesday. This is as the explosion affected major parts of Ibadan in Dejo Oyelese Street, Adeyi Avenue, Old Bodija and Awolowo leaving many businesses, homes displaced.

Governor of Oyo State, Engr.Seyi Makinde also revealed that the death toll in the unfortunate blast had risen to three, stating that one more victim died in a hospital on Wednesday.

“We recovered one individual alive today (Wednesday) under the rubble. 60 of the 77 people hospitalised have been discharged,” the governor said.

“We are trying to uncover the identities of the people. We’ve done a few fact-finding on the company involved and yes, there are indeed some foreign names on the CAC documents of the company involved but these are still early days. We don’t have anything to cover,” he said.

The Governor clarified that the incident had nothing to do with terrorist attack, insisting that those operating illegal mining were responsible for the unfortunate incident.

“It is not anything that has to do with banditry and insurgency but illegal miners that stored explosives in a residential area,” the governor clarified.

Similarly, the Governor on Wednesday, during a press conference on the incident, held at the Briefing Room of the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan, vowed that: “Those who brought this tragedy on Oyo State will be brought to book.”

Governor Makinde called for calm, assuring that the state government has been on top of the situation and that it is leaving no stone unturned regarding the search and rescue of victims at the rubble of the incident as well as the welfare of victims and the security of their properties.

He maintained that it is a trying time for the state and that its people must draw on their strength and resilience and be their brother’s keepers.

According to the Governor, some measures already taken by the state government to address the situation include the setting up of an Emergency Operation Centre to oversee search and rescue.

He vowed that search and rescue efforts will continue until all lives in the vicinity of the blast are accounted for, adding that the state government has also made provisions with hotels to accommodate victims and those living close to the site of the incident once they are able to identify themselves.

Governor Makinde had, during the press conference, also revealed that President Bola Tinubu spoke to him to commiserate with families who lost loved ones to the incident as well as promise the support of the Federal Government on the situation.

He appreciated the President for also deploying the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), which he noted was on the ground at the scene of the explosion.

The governor recounted that so far, there are three deaths from the incident and that the number of the injured was about 77.

He warned residents of the state to be wary of spreading fake figures and misinformation regarding the fatalities and the number of casualties.

The press conference came shortly after the governor had visited some victims of the incidents at different hotels around Bodija, Idi Ape and Ikolaba axes, where the state government is providing accommodation and feeding for them.

He said, “Since yesterday, our security agencies, first responders, emergency services and all other relevant agencies have been working diligently as they carry out search and rescue operations.

“Just this morning, another individual was recovered from the rubble. I want to assure you that the search and rescue operation will continue until all lives within the vicinity of the blast are accounted for.

“We are aware that aside from the immediate perimeter of the incident, people as far as 25km away may have been affected physically or psychologically. We have, therefore, put the Emergency Operation Centre, which is being headed by Professor Temitope Alonge, to coordinate all search and rescue efforts.

“I would like to appeal to our people to remain calm as we do everything to provide succour to everyone concerned. Some numbers have been provided to reach out to the Emergency Operation Centre.

“I know the 615 is operational but there are additional ones: 07049948057 and 08147672009. If you have any information regarding any persons who may still be trapped within that perimeter. Please call that number and we will respond to you.”

The Governor appealed to those staying in any of the houses within 250 metres of ground zero to move out to government-provided accommodation until a structural integrity test was conducted on the buildings.

Makinde also issued a stern warning to individuals who might be planning to take advantage of the incident to perpetrate crimes, noting that security agents would deal decisively with such individuals.

He promised that the state would continue to provide regular updates regarding the actions it is taking through the EMO and its various back channels on and off social media.

While addressing journalists, the Head of the Emergency Operations, Prof. Alonge said an emergency response to the incident was to set up a team of about 40 doctors, 40 nurses and 25 medical students at the University College Hospital, Ibadan.

He added that victims that were injured were receiving medical attention in private and government hospitals and that most of them were in stable condition.

“Apart from doctors and nurses, we have added to our team physiotherapists, clinical psychologists and they were on ground yesterday to assess the psychological state of the survivors of this unfortunate incident.”

Also speaking on the security angle, the Special Adviser on Security to the Governor, Owoseni, said the area of the incident had been secured to ensure that hoodlums do not perpetrate crimes as a result of the explosion.

He, however, corrected misgivings and misinformation on the incident, saying, “We want to use this opportunity to correct misgivings. People have come out to say that Boko Haram elements have been allowed to invade Oyo State, especially Ibadan. This is incorrect.

“Some people have also said a helicopter flew over the place and dropped the bomb. That is, in its entirety, incorrect too. People have said construction sites around that place had used dynamite, and in the course of that, the incident happened. Let me say it is also not correct.

“We, from the security angle, can say that the preliminary evidence is indicative that for some time, people must have been storing explosives in that area, and it is not just fresh. It must have been something that had accumulated for some time. His Excellency has always said if you see something, you must say something.”

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Tinubu, UNFPA launch 2024 SWOP report in Abuja

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President Bola Tinubu, alongside the Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), on Wednesday, launched the 2024 regional State of World Population (SWOP) Report.

During the report launch, which has “Interwoven Lives, Threads of Hope: Ending Inequalities in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights” as theme, Tinubu was represented by Prof. Ali Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare.

Tinubu said “the theme comes with a narrative that reminds us that, globally we are composed of eight billion threads of hope, eight billion people interwoven with each of the threads being very unique.

“It is of note that Nigeria is among the eight identified countries to account for more than half of the projected increase in the world population up to 2050.

“The other countries are Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, Philippines and the United Republic of Tanzania.”

He, however, said that meeting the aspirations and hopes of the unique members of these interwoven threads, who are mostly women, girls and young people, places a great demand and a sense of duty on government to keep that hope alive.

“In addition, for each of the threads to be recognised and be relevant, there is need to sustainably invest in generating quality, well-disaggregated data that will help in ensuring none of the threads is un-woven.

“The regional inauguration of the 2024 SWOP report in Nigeria and the presence of the UNFPA Executive Director is a reminder that Nigeria should prioritise data generation to provide the baseline and showcase progress toward the indicators of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“One of such data generation exercise is the conduct of the National Population and Housing Census within the 2020 round of Population and Housing census (2015-2024).

“We are consulting and working closely with the National Population Commission (NPC) to get this exercise right. We count on the support of UNFPA and other partners to get it right.”

In her address, Kanem said that the report presents important data that shows that in many countries, inequalities in such key measures as access to healthcare have been reduced.

She added that in other places, however, disparities are actually widening, and inequalities still persist everywhere.

“The report indicates that since global measurements have been kept, two countries – India and Nigeria – have recorded the highest number of maternal deaths.

“The remarkable reduction in the number of women worldwide dying in childbirth, 34 per cent since 2000 is largely attributable to progress in those two countries.

“Nigeria’s achievement in reducing maternal death rate by more than 11 per cent between 2013 and 2018 must be applauded.”

The UNFPA boss also said there had been advances in combatting Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and harmful practices in Nigeria, with a 10 per cent drop in number of adolescents subjected to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the past decade.

She also said that politically, there had been progress as the proportion of women serving in parliaments more than doubled globally.

In spite of the gains, however, she said, progress was slowing, while by many measures it has stalled completely.

She noted that since 2016, the world made zero progress in saving women from preventable deaths during pregnancy and childbirth.

She explained that “one important reason, our report shows, is that we have not prioritised reaching those furthest behind.

“We see, for example, that barriers to healthcare fell fastest for women who are more affluent, educated and privileged.

“Many of these findings are the result of having better data than ever before. Thirty years ago, maternal mortality rates were only rough estimates.

“Today, data allows us to see clearly the unacceptable rates at which women are dying while giving life; data also shows the inequalities that are quite literally killing them.”

On Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) in Nigeria, she said that in spite of the progress recorded, it still remained high at over 1,047 per 100,000 live births.

Kanem, however, pledged UNFPA’s support for the country to change that statistic.

The Chairman, National Population Commission, Alhaji Nasir Kwarra, said that the theme of the report aptly amplifies issues that matter most beyond the numbers, emphasising the people that make up the numbers.

He requested that the UNFPA should relentlessly advocate for the conduct of the next census; support in the implementation of ideas and interventions to address key issues raised in the 2024 SWOP.

He said the implementation of the National Population Policy captured the commitments made in Nairobi (2019).

They include sexual and reproductive health, particularly of adolescent girls including prioritising family planning and keeping girls in school.

He said that the implementation would in turn, enable Nigeria manage its population, achieve the required shift in population age-structure for a Demographic Dividend (DD) to occur, as well as in the implementation of the DD Roadmap.

In a goodwill message, Sen.  Mustapha Musa, Senate Committee Chairman on National Identity and  Population, said the legislature deems the issue of population and development important.

“Particularly as it relates to the well-being of women, young people and girls, which connects with addressing the existing inequalities and ensuring that sexual and reproductive health and rights receive the deserved attention.

“I reiterate that the committee I chair will ensure that issues arising from the report will be given due attention.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that SWOP is UNFPA’s annual flagship report that features trends in the world population and reports on emerging themes in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

It brings them into the mainstream and explores the challenges and opportunities they present for international development.

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FG hails World Bank’s support to PWDs

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The Federal Government has commended the World Bank for providing technical and financial support to Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the country.
The Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD), Dr James Lalu, said this on Wednesday in Abuja, during a virtual meeting with officials of World Bank.
The meeting was convened to strengthen implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) number 10 and 17 for disability inclusion in Nigeria.
Lalu draw the attention of stakeholders to the need to redesign policies and programmes of the commission to conform with the global standard.
”We need policies redesign in the area of social protection programmes because World Bank has the capacity to stimulate disability inclusion and development programme” he said.
The Executive Secretary expressed commitment to improve the welfare of Persons with Disabilities.
Also speaking, Cindy Ikeaka, a World Bank Social Development Specialist said, the bank will continue to provide technical support to the commission to ensure effective delivery of the needs of PWDs.
Ikeaka also said that the bank was working with other Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government to ensure disability data collection.
”This will ensure proper data management of persons with disabilities ” she said.
On her part, Esther Bature, the Country Coordinator of Sightsavers in Nigeria said, her organisation will continue to strengthen national systems to deliver sustainable services.
”We supported NCPWD to develop a five-year national strategic plan and this plan requires different levels of intervention.
”We are happy to see that the World Bank has supported the commission to a kind of review to include monitoring and evaluation in the plan as well as developed several developments documents,” she said.Batur
Nature also thanked the World Bank for its assistance in building the capacity of the commission’s members of staff.
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IPMAN gives Soludo 1 month to address marketers’ grievances

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The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), has given Gov. Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra one month within which to address the demands of marketers in the state or face total shutdown of operations without further notice.

Marketers in the state reached this decision at the end of the statewide meeting held in Awka on Tuesday.

Mr Chinedu Anyaso, Chairman of IPMAN Enugu Depot Community, in charge of Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu States, who addressed Journalists after the meeting, said the association had reported cases affecting its members to the governor without any response.

Anyaso said the grievances of marketers in Anambra included the issue of consolidated revenue payable and withdrawal of all litigations against members based on multiple taxation which was not in line with the understanding IPMAN had with the Anambra government.

He said IPMAN discussed the problem of non-payment of debt amounting to about N900 million owed contractors who supplied diesel for powering streetlight projects in the state.

Anyaso also said that among the demands of the association was the demolition of part of the property of Chris Tee Nigeria limited, a marketer at Trans-Nkissi phase 1 along Onitsha-Otuocha road which was destroyed by agents of government.

He said IPMAN would not issue further notice upon the expiration of the deadline before shutting their outlets.

Anyaso thanked Chief Ken Maduako, a patron of the association, Mr Golden Iloh, member of the Anambra State House of Assembly and representative of the Anambra Internal Revenue Service, for their intervention and hoped that the Soludo administration would act on their plea to prevent the looming industrial action.

He commended Gov. Soludo for his efforts to make Anambra a peaceful and liveable state while urging him to make the business environment conducive for investors, especially oil marketers.

He pledged positive disposition of the association to continue to support his administration to succeed.

The chairman commended marketers for complying fully with the partial shutdown and attendance to the meeting, saying it was a great show of comradeship.

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