The Big 5: Nine die and several injured in Lagos Tanker explosion, Presidency says more people were killed under PDP era and other stories

These are the stories you should be monitoring today:

An explosion on Thursday occured along the Otedola Bridge axis of Berger in Lagos after a petrol-laden tanker exploded with the blaze reportedly engulfing about 50 other vehicles.

The accident which occured at about 5:30pm, caused a traffic gridlock which extended to the Third Mainland Bridge as vehicles were stopped on both sides of the road during rescue operation by the Emergency and Traffic Management Authorities.

Official reports from the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) says 54 vehicles were completely burnt in the inferno which occurred as a result of brake failure, while nine persons were killed and four persons suffered various degrees of burns.

The Presidency has hit back at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for what it described as taking advantage of the nation’s security challenge to play ‘cheap infantile politics’.

President Media Adviser, Femi Adesina, in reacting to the declaration by the PDP of seven days of mourning, during which flags in its offices nationwide would be flown at half-mast over the recent killings in Plateau, noted that more people were killed under their leadership, stressing that Nigerians are politically discerning, and could be hoodwinked by cheap antics.

Adesina further provided a quick checklist of some savage and brutal killings in Nigeria during PDP rule, between 1999 and 2015, for which no national mourning was declared, adding that the intendment of the statement is to show that wanton killings had been in the country for a while and the government working towards enduring solutions should be given the opportunity to do so.

Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun has said salaries of workers in states may be affected if the issues that led to the deadlocked meeting between the Federation Account and Allocation Committee (FAAC) and governors last week were not resolved.

Adeosun revealed this while briefing newsmen after a meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC), at the State House, Abuja on Thursday, said the costs presented by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) could not be justified, stressing that the returns into the federation account fell short of expectations and would hinder the government’s plan to save, taking into the consideration the current window of relatively high oil price which is likely not to last.

She added that an interface was however going on between the Commissioners forum, Ministry of Finance, Office of the Accountant General, CBN and NNPC and there is hope that they would reconvene FAAC within next few days.

Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau has condemned the protest organised by some groups in parts of the state over the recent attacks, which turned violent.

Speaking through a statement signed by Director, Press & Public Affairs, Samuel, Emmanuel Nanle, he said it was regrettable that the conveners of the protest under the umbrella of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Northern Zone of Plateau State; the Youth Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria (YOWICAN), Plateau State and Bazata Gospel Team allowed the protest to be hijacked by hoodlums who took advantage of the procession to destroy government’s properties, vehicles of civil servants and visitors to the Government House running into millions of naira.

Lalong added that his administration wouldn’t rest on its oars in fishing out the perpetrators.while government mourns the loss of innocent lives and has extended deep commiseration to victims of the unfortunate attacks.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday assented to two new bills.

Presidential Adviser to the National Assembly (Senate), Senator Ita Enang who disclosed this to State House Correspondents, stated the new laws as the Medical Residency Training Act (2018) and the Hydroelectric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (Establishment, Etc) (Amendment) Act, 2018.

Enang added that the medical law enacts and regulates the Medical Residency Training Programme for the training of Medical Practitioners and Dental Surgeons, which would be regulated and managed by the National Medical Post-graduate College of Nigeria

And stories from around the world:

Africa’s last representative at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Senegal lost  1-0 to Colombia in their group H decider to crash out of the World Cup and break African hearts.

Colombian Yerry Mina scored a header in the 74th minute from a corner to hand his team the maximum 3 points needed to stay top of the group.

In the other game, Poland defeated Japan 1-0 through a goal from Jan Bednarek, as Colombia and Japan go through in group H.

Senegal and Japan were tied on four points, but Senegal was worse off on yellow card count, leaving Colombia to face group G runners-up and Japan face the winner in group G.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told the leaders of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador on Thursday to end an “exodus” of illegal immigrants to the United States, urging them to dissuade people from even considering entering the country unlawfully. (Reuters)

US Defense Secretary James Mattis pledged Friday to maintain and strengthen the US security alliance with Japan amid fears that talks with North Korea could water down Washington’s longstanding security commitments in the region.

Mattis said the United States and its regional allies will maintain a “strong collaborative defensive stance” on North Korea, and that Japan will remain a “cornerstone” of regional stability. (AFP)

European Union leaders have reached an agreement on migration after marathon talks at a summit in Brussels after Italy – the entry point for thousands of migrants, mainly from Africa – had threatened to veto the conclusions of the entire agenda if it did not receive help on the issue.

In a compromise, new migrant centres are to be set up in EU countries on a “voluntary” basis, as they would determine who are “irregular migrants, who will be returned”.

The relocation and resettlement of genuine refugees would also take place on a voluntary basis, the agreement says. (BBC)

A man armed with a shotgun and smoke grenades burst into a newspaper office in the US city of Annapolis on Thursday, killing five employees in what police described as a “targeted attack.” (AFP)

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