At least two people have been injured in a fire that engulfed a part of the Federal Secretariat complex in Abuja on Wednesday.
Eyewitnesses told LEADERSHIP that those injured had jumped from the second floor of the phase 1 of the secretariat where the fire started and injured themselves.
Officials of the Federal Fire Service (FSS) battled the fire for hours before it was finally put out after deploying four firefighting trucks.
Located in the three-arm zone of the nation’s capital, the complex houses major federal ministries, departments and agencies of government (MDAs).
At the time of filing this report, the cause of the fire was yet to be ascertained.
Also, the extent of damage is also not yet known, some vehicles were said to have been affected by the inferno.
It can be recalled that this was not the first time the secretariat will be affected by a fire outbreak.
In 2017, fire broke out on the third floor of the secretariat, in the building which houses the ministry of health.
The inferno, which was reportedly caused by an “electric spark”, was said to have been immediately put out by firefighters, but no lives or office files were lost in the incident.
Earlier this year, a fire had broken out at the headquarters of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in Abuja.
The incident came months after two buildings at the World Trade Centre in Abuja were also razed.
FG Threatens to Sanction Chinese Firm over Slow Pace of Rail Project
The federal government has threatened to sanction the China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) over the firm’s alleged failure to provide 85 per cent counterpart funding for the rail project in some parts of the country.
The Minister of Transportation, Muazu Sambo, decried the slow pace of work in the Kanu-Kaduna and Maiduguri-Port Harcourt rail lines.
Sambo gave the warning yesterday while briefing journalists in Lagos at the end of a tour of the Lekki Deep Seaport to ascertain the level of work done so far.
Sambo, who frowned at the attitude of the Chinese firm, said two years after the agreement was signed, CCECC had not provided any of its 85 per cent counterpart funds.
According to him, the agreement stipulates that CCECC is to provide 85 per cent of the project cost while the federal government provides the remaining 15 per cent.
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He said: “I have given them till October 2022 to fulfill their own part of the agreement or stiff sanction would be meted out to them.
“How could it be said that two years after the agreement was signed, CCECC is yet to provide a dollar?”
A former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, had in March accused the firm of playing politics with the Kanu-Kaduna rail project, urging the contractor to provide funding for the project.
Amaechi had said, “The pace is extremely slow, the equipment are supposed to be 2,000 plus, but what they (CCECC) have brought so far is 541, they claim that 300 and something equipment are in Kaduna. I will send people to check. Even if you add that all together, you will have 800 equipment in place of 2,000 equipment they are supposed to bring. That means something is wrong somewhere.
“I know they (CCECC) claim that there is no money, that we have not funded them. But what of their responsibility in the contract, which is to look for the money?
“CCECC has not brought money; the Chinese are no longer giving us money for more than three to four years now. So CCECC can’t afford to delay their responsibility to look for money for the project. That is what the Chinese must do.”
Oshiomhole praises Jonathan, says he left enviable legacies
Former Chairman of the All Progressives Congress,Adams Oshiomhole, has said ex-President Goodluck Jonathan left enviable legacies behind.
The former Edo State governor said no leader is appreciated until they leave office, explained that his disagreement with former President Jonathan was due to their differences in political interests.
He stated this at the one-year memorial lecture in honour of late Captain Hosa Okunbo, in Abuja on Saturday.
Oshiomhole said, “You (Jonathan) left legacies even though I had cause to fight because it is politics. The legacy you have left, there is no successor who can afford to do less.
“But the logic of multi-party democracy is that even an angel can be defeated. You have set a standard that none of your successors can afford to go below.
“Part of your (Jonathan) legacies was when you launched the almajiri school and your thought was that no Nigerian child should be left on the street and also appropriated special funds.
“These ideas are not new but what we lack is the will to transform it to practice. We never know who are our friends until when we are no more. No one is appreciated until he or she leaves office.”
Other speakers at the event were Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwase III decried the glorification of stomach infrastructure in Nigeria’s political culture, among others.
They described the late Captain Hosa Okunbo as a man with a large heart and spirit of philanthropy.
They noted one of his legacies that would continue to endure was that he nurtured and mentored many to become responsible members of the society.
Shaving Inibehe Effiong’s hair, beard a security measure, says NCoS
The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS), Akwa Ibom command, says the shaving of the hair and beard of Inibehe Effiong, a legal practitioner, is a security measure.
Effiong was sent to prison July 27 by the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom, Ekaette Obot, after the lawyer reportedly protested against the presence of armed policemen in court.
The human rights lawyer was in court to defend Leo Ekpenyong, a lawyer, in a libel suit filed by Udom Emmanuel, governor of Akwa Ibom.
Many Nigerians, including civil society organisations (CSOs), have called for the release of the human rights lawyer.
On Thursday, reports surfaced on social media that Effiong had been transferred to the Uyo correctional centre, and that the lawyer’s hair and beard had been forcefully shaved.
Speaking on the reports, Femi Falana, human rights advocate, said such action was a violation of Effiong’s fundamental human rights.
In a statement on Friday, Richard Metong, NCoS Akwa Ibom spokesperson, said the shaving was not done with blunt instrument as speculated on social media, adding that the action was “a security measure as well as a routine practice in the facility”.
“On arrival at Uyo, he was duly admitted into the facility and was also informed of the need to cut his hair and beards as a security measure as well as a routine practice in the facility, which he obliged and willingly allowed the barber using a clipper and not a blunt instrument as speculated on social media,” the statement reads.
Meeting told TheCable on Saturday that the decision to shave Effiong’s hair and beard was carried out to ensure his safety among other inmates.
“On the security aspect, you know that the cells where they stay is not only for one person. There are a lot of other persons, and if you know barrister Effiong very well, he has a very long beard,” he said.
“In case of an argument or altercation with somebody in the cell, it can lead to him being harmed in a way if there is anything ensuing between himself and other inmates.
“You know he is a very popular human rights lawyer and I’m also very sure that there are other persons he prosecuted their cases who are also in the same facility.
“So, we are also considering his own safety by asking him to please shave to be clean. It is for his own best interest. It poses security threat to him as he goes into the facility. We don’t want him to be harmed.”
Speaking further, Metong said the decision was in line with the personal hygiene clause stipulated in the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, also known as the Nelson Mandela rules.
Rule 18 (personal hygiene) of the Nelson Mandela rules states: “Prisoners shall be required to keep their persons clean, and to this end they shall be provided with water and with such toilet articles as are necessary for health and cleanliness.
“In order that prisoners may maintain a good appearance compatible with their self-respect, facilities shall be provided for the proper care of the hair and beard, and men shall be able to shave regularly.”
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