By Albert Akpor and Lamidi Bamidele
To say that Lagos residents and by extension, the entire country was shocked beyond words as they woke up last week to the gory sight of aÂ shattered Atlas Cove jetty and the charred remains of naval personnel and some yet to identified persons after militants operating under the aegis of Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) invaded the major petroleum product distributive channel in the country.
Reason being that was not the first time militants will be attacking oil facilities. There have been several of such incidentsÂ at least since the agitation for resource control started in the Niger Delta region.Â But the situation, this time was different in the estimation of many observers.
This time it was clear that the militants, threw caution to the dogs,Â abandoned their usual creeks where they are known to persistently wreak havocÂ and stormed the city of Lagos.
An eye witness, one of the tug boat operators who watched the destruction of the oil facility toldÂ Â Vanguard Metro that the militants arrived Lagos three days earlier, stayed at the surrounding villages, including Takwa Bay, Lekki and the Ogogoro village during which they understudied the security network around the jetty.
â€œThat evening, say around 10.30pm, I saw about 15 boats with 10 persons in each of the boats heavily armed and were speeding towards the Atlas Cove area.Â Because of the way they were moving I knew there was trouble.
Honestly, nobody thought it could be Niger Delta militants until we started hearing persistent firing for almost one hour.Â After some minutes, we thought all was over only to hear a loud bang followed by high rising flames later.
People said the loud bang were dynamites that the militants planted on every strategic location at the jetty. It was in the morning the following day that we discovered that it was the Atlas Cove that had been attacked,â€ he narrated.
Julius Berger was again the saviour of the day as they were there with their fire-fighting equipment and their men.Â They also provided speedboats that transported pressmen to the place.
â€œIt seems in such emergency situations, we cannot do without Julius Berger in this country,â€ observed one of the journalists who visited the site.Â Indeed, according to one Geofrey Boukoru of Julius Berger marine: â€œWe swung into action when the news got to us and we got the fire under control and weÂ stayed for some time on ground in case of any eventualityâ€. No other governmental fire fighters were seen around.
The intensity of the bombing was very serious as coconut trees around the jetty were hardly recognized.Â Burnt machine guns and several rounds of ammunition burnt were seen, an indication that the armoury must have been attacked and probably some arms and ammunition carted away
Whereas the nation is yet to come to terms with the reason behind the recent bombardment of oil facilities even after the Federal Government had granted amnesty to th militants, some Nigerians who have condemned the attack are, however, of the view that the Niger Delta militantsÂ may not just be demanding for a fair share of the oil revenue.
Remarked an aggrieved naval personnel who spoke anonymously: â€œFrom what we are seeing, I think these people are not just asking for a fair share of the oil revenue because even after the Federal Government granted amnesty to them and have set up a ministry that will oversee to their plights they are still not satisfied; it seemed they want a country of their own.
They want to secede, perhaps.Â How can you reconcile the fact that a senior personnel of the rank of a Commander in the Navy, a trained officer that the country should be proud of, was slaughtered by some disgruntled elements in the name of militants.
This man did not die fighting war, he did not die after a protracted or brief illness if you like, but murdered in cold blood for a cause is either unaware of .Â This is bad, and it is totally unacceptable.â€
Lagos rewards best teacher with Rio car
Lagos State Government has awarded the best public school teacher to Mrs. Odukoya Taibat of Baptist Senior High School, Obanikoro and rewarded her withÂ of KIA Rio car.
The award, which is an annual event is organised by the government to motivate teaching, non-teaching and administrative staff of the Ministry of Education in the state.
Also, the award is an avenue to celebrate hard work and commitment to the teaching profession.
Presenting the awards, the Deputy Governor, Princess Sarah Adebisi Sosan, stressed that the quality of education could not be improved without the continual improvement of the teachers and the environment in which they work.
Her words: â€œIf we must reap the expected returns of this administrationâ€™s investment in education, we must motivate our teachers who have been the engine room of our achievementâ€.
Sosan assured the teachers that their welfare would always get appropriate attention, calling on them to cooperate with government policies in the discharge of their duties.
Four pupils and 19 teachers, including principals and head teachers received various awards in all the seven categories.
In her response, on behalf of the beneficiaries, the best teacher, Odukoya, a biology teacher, said she was overwhelmed by the governmentâ€™s gesture, adding that the award would stimulate them to be more efficient.
â€œThis is a laudable initiative of the state government. It will gear up other teachers to effectively discharge their duties,â€ she said.
She, however, advised other teachers to go extra miles in ensuring that every student in their classes performs well. According to her, there is no dull student, adding: â€œEvery student has his strength. The teacher only needs to put extra effort to bring the best out of every childâ€.
Eko Club condemns Atlas Cove attack
Eko Club has condemned the recent militant attack on the Atlas Cove oil facilities in the Apapa area of Lagos State.
A statement signed by the Clubâ€™s President,Â Prince Rabiu Adio Oluwa,Â on behalf of the entire members of the prestigious Eko Club, strongly condemned the militant attack in the state.
Prince Oluwa remarked that while the people of Lagos are in symphaty with the people of the Niger Delta over their ecological and miscellaneous problems, they will not fold their arms and watch their dear state being destroyed and put under state of fear and insecurity for no just reason.
According to him, the state cannot be used as a place to launch such attacks, because Lagos residents are peaceful in their state. The Club, therefore, called on the federal and state governments to make a statement on the issue to re-affirm the stateâ€˜s security and continued peaceful co-existence.