By Emma Amaize, Austin Ogwuda, CHIOMA OBINNA, OLA AJAYI, Wole Mosadomi, NDAHI MARAMA, SIMON EBEGBULEM, OLAYINKA LATONA & Bulou Kosin
MAIDUGURI — LAST weekend saw a harvest of deaths in different parts of the country with the highest toll coming from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital where the deadly Boko Haram sect continued its reign of terror.
This time a gun fight between members of the sect and Joint Task Force, JTF, left at least 41 people dead.
This came as two separate bombs planted at the All Christian Fellowship Mission and Faith Mission Church along Church Road, in Suleja Town, Niger State, exploded leaving four persons dead yesterday.
Tragedy also struck at Okpanam in Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State, following a fire outbreak that killed four children of same parents, including a new born baby, who was dedicated at a special thanksgiving service by the parents, penultimate Sunday. The gory tale of deaths continued in Katsina where a massive flood swallowed eight people.
Okogie advises FG on Boko Haram
The Achbishop of the Metropolitan See of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie, yesterday, advised the Federal Government not to go into any negotiation with the Boko Haram group, saying such move could put the nation in jeopardy.
Consequently, Okogie urged President Jonathan to urgently address the threat posed by the group.
Similarly, a fisherman was reportedly burnt to death in a pipeline explosion at Kunukunuma, Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State, while his wife, who was severely burnt, is lying crucially ill at an undisclosed hospital in Warri.
In Edo State, there was panic at the Benin Airport, yesterday, when a private jet overshot the run away when it landed. The jet with registration number 5N BEX which was said to have landed Benin airport from Lagos, reportedly had three persons on board
Pandemonium broke out in Maiduguri , the capital of borno state when members of Boko Haram exploded several bombs in Maiduguri which injured two members of the JTF, in a swift response, the soldiers killed 11 members of the sect. 30 persons were also feared killed by stray bullets.
JTF Commander, Major General Jack Nwaogbo, in a statement said the explosion and gunshots by Boko Haram members were successfully repelled by the JTF, which led to the killing of the 11 suspects, but could not give details of whether some innocent people were killed by stray bullets.
An eye witness told Vanguard that another bomb explosion hit London Chiki yesterday, leading to the death of an entire family, on their way to the Church.
Vanguard investigation revealed that when JTF arrived in London Chiki, they started shooting sporadically thereby killing 30 persons including a staff of the University of Maiduguri Demonstration Secondary School, Mallam Adamu Abdullahi.
The bombs went off at 2.00 pm at the All Christian Fellowship Mission and Faith Mission Church along Church Road, Suleja, Niger State, where most churches are located. It left no fewer than four people dead and several others injured. Corpses of the dead had already been deposited at the Suleja General Hospital mortuary while those injured were rushed to the Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital, Abuja.
Vanguard gathered that most churches had already ended their services, with few members still holding meetings in their various churches when the bomb went off.
The police could not be reached for comments at press time, but a top police officer in Minna, the Niger State capital confirmed the incident.
The Niger State Government has condemned the blast and assured that it will not be intimidated by those it described as reactionary forces and agents of darkness.
The actual cause of the fire was not immediately ascertained but Vanguard gathered that fuel hawkers sell fuel within the compound. The children were sleeping in the room while their parents were at their places of business when the fire incident happened, Vanguard learnt.Most part of the town had been without public power supply for upwards of three months.
The father of the children, whose name was given as Mr. Onyekwelu, a native of Oko, Anambra State, operates a patent medicine store while the wife sold foodstuff not far away from the house. They were in their respective shops when the disaster occurred.
Only one of the children, a boy, aged about 10, survived.
Warri pipeline explosion
In the Warri explosion, Vanguard learnt that the man, simply identified as Mr. Salmon was fishing with his wife near the pipeline when they heard an explosion, and he started his boat to run for safety, but that was his undoing, as the engine exploded immediately with fire all over him and his wife.
A source said he was burnt to death on the spot and his boat burnt beyond repairs, adding that the oil pipeline belonging to the Petroleum Pipeline Marketing Company, PPMC, which was ruptured sometime ago, was supposed to have been repaired, but had not been repaired before the incident.
The mishap of the 10-seater passenger aircraft which led to shut-down of the airport for over three hours and flight delays, forced some passengers to cancel their scheduled flights.
When contacted, Manager of the Benin Airport, Mr. Ben Obule, said: “I am on terminal leave. I cannot comment on what happened.”
One of the stranded passengers who spoke with newsmen, Prof. Friday Okonofua, decried the safety level of the country’s airspace.
He said: “I am not sure of airspace safety in Nigeria. This incident to me is something we need to investigate to know what led to the incidence. I remember when I was coming from Lagos and the plane could not land. We had to go back to Lagos.”
8 killed in Kastina as flood submerges Lagos, Ibadan
Eight persons were killed in Katsina metropolis, following a heavy downpour which also rendered over a hundred families homeless.
This came as rains also submerged most parts of the Lagos metropolis, yesterday, making virtually all roads impassable. In Oyo State, rainstorm blew off the roof of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Teaching Hospital, LAUTECH, Ogbomosho.
The rainfall, which started at about 4.00 p.m. yesterday, and lasted for three hours, caused many houses to collapse.
A visit round the metropolis indicated that the areas affected by the flood include Kofar Marusa, Sabuwar Unguwa, Kofar Marusa, Kofar Durbi, Kofar Sauri, Rafukka and Tudun Yan’lifidda.
Meanwhile in Ibadan, rainstorm blew off Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Teaching Hospital’s roof in Ogbomosho.
The building was said to have gulped about N24 billion according to the ex-governor’s spokesperson, Prince Dotun Oyelade.
When Vanguard visited the teaching hospital at the weekend, almost all the blocks of the four-storey buildings had their roof tops blown off.
Bricklayers and other workers were seen busy working on some of the buildings still under construction at the time Vanguard visited the hospital.