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Jonathan Declares 3-Day Mourning

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President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday declared three days of national mourning for those who lost their lives in a Dana plane crash in Lagos, according to a statement from Aso Rock Presidential Villa.

The Dana Air flight from Abuja to Lagos crashed a few kilometres to the airport with 147 people on board, according to an airline official.

The statement said Jonathan had cancelled all his public engagements scheduled for tomorrow and had also directed that the Nigerian flag be flown at half-mast for the three days of national mourning.

The President has also ordered the “fullest possible investigation’’ into the crash.

The statement said that in compliance with the President’s directive, the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, had already left Abuja for Lagos to oversee the crash investigations and present an interim report to the Federal Government as quickly as possible.

“The President joins all Nigerians in mourning all those who lost their lives in the plane crash which has sadly plunged the nation into further sorrow on a day when Nigerians were already in grief over the loss of many other innocent lives in the church bombing in Bauchi State.

“President Jonathan assures air travellers in the country that every possible effort will be made to ensure that the right lessons are learnt from the tragic loss of valuable lives in today’s plane crash and that further measures will be put in place to boost aviation safety in the country.

“He prays that God Almighty will grant the families of the victims of the plane crash the courage and fortitude to bear the irreparable loss,’’ said the statement signed by Dr Reuben Abati, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity.

Meanwhile, a spokeman for the airline, Mr Tony Usidamen, said that 147 people were on board the plane, 139 of them passengers.

In another development, investigations into the crash have begun, the Director-General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr Harold Demuren, said on phone yesterday in Lagos.

Asked if they were survivors among the passengers on board when the plane crashed, he said, “we don’t believe there are survivors.

“I am talking to you from the scene of the crash. Right now, our thoughts and prayers are with the families.”

Rescue efforts are being hampered by a huge crowd of onlookers, miscreants and sympathisers.

Our correspondents at the crash site at Iju, on the outskirts of Lagos, report that the inaccessibility of the site has made it difficult for rescue teams, which include the police, Red Cross, Army, FRSC, Nigeria Air Force and Fire Service to get to the plane.

The General Manager, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Dr Femi Osanyintolu, stated that the building on which the plane fell must be demolished for any rescue operation to take place.

He also said that they had to be cautious in demolishing the building because of its location in a residential area.

In a related development, a contract staff with the British American Tobacco Company, Mr Isaac Daniel, who resides in a two-storey building where the plane crashed, said he had lost everything to the incident.

Daniel said that he resided at the ground floor of the building with five members of his family.

He said that all his family members survived the crash but lost their certificates to the fire that engulfed the plane, adding that he was not at home when the incident occurred.

Eyewitnesses said that three lifeless bodies had been removed from the building.

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RSG Alerts On Orchestrated Media Campaign

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The Rivers State Government has raised alarm over alleged moves by some critics of the government to use selected media houses in the state to denigrate the state government.
A statement signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, yesterday, reads, “The Rivers State Government is aware of clandestine plans by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State to use selected media houses in the state to denigrate the government of Governor Nyesom Wike.
“This is as a result of the intimidating sterling performance of Governor Wike in infrastructure, healthcare, education, agriculture, rural transformation, housing development, administration of justice, social welfare and sports development.
“This orchestrated campaign spearheaded by a defeated and dumped governorship aspirant of the APC, Dr. Dakuku Peterside is designed to portray the government of Governor Wike as one that is not meeting the developmental aspirations of Rivers people.
“However, the uncommon transformation of the 23 local government areas as witnessed during the last six years of projects commissioning and flag off shows clearly that Governor Wike is actually meeting the yearnings of the people.
“The fact that Rivers people that turn out en mass at the various projects sites to heartily welcome their beloved governor and his guests drawn from all political divides is a clear indication that Rivers people can no longer be swayed by cheap politically induced blackmail.
“The truth of the matter is that the APC government that boasted that Governor Wike will not see money to pay workers’ salaries and execute projects has been humbled by the revolution in governance currently witnessed in the state.
“Instead of people like Dr. Dakuku Peterside and his acolytes to eat the humble pie, they are busy looking for cheap popularity through sponsored appearances in the media.
“No matter how hard these detractors push their propaganda, Governor Wike will never be distracted in executing his social contract with the people of Rivers State.
“In the next few weeks, more projects that have direct bearing to the lives of Rivers people will be unveiled.
“Governor Wike’s promise to continue working as if this is his first tenure and not abandon any project remains sacrosanct.
“Rivers people are watching those whose stock in trade is to dance naked and pray that they continue as merchants of mischief, falsehood and baseless allegations.”
“The people of Rivers State love Governor Wike whose outstanding achievements in salvaging the state from the dearth of basic infrastructural development required for speedy socioeconomic transformation has received national and international applause.
“Therefore, no amount of negative propaganda by the failed APC can diminish the legacy of Governor Wike in Rivers State.
“Rather than launder the thoroughly battered image of the APC, such media appearances by Dr. Dakuku Peterside and his cohorts will further expose APC’s penchant for lies and deception which is now a public knowledge.
“The former governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili, has confirmed that Governor Wike is the best Rivers State has produced.
“’I have been there. And I make bold to say Governor Nyesom Wike, you are the best,’ Dr. Odili said.
“Odili’s comment serves as an answer to those masquerading as informed commentators with puerile and suffocating commentaries”, the statement added.

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Bandits In Trouble As Super Tucano Aircraft Arrives

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The first batch of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft has arrived in Kano, yesterday, at about 12.34 pm.
The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, confirmed the arrival of the fighter aircraft in a statement.
“On hand to receive the aircraft were the Hon. Minister of Defence, Maj-Gen Bashir Magashi (rtd); Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen Farouk Yahaya; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao”, he said.

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We’ve No Patience With Failure, Oyedepo Lashes Out At Sacked Pastors

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The General Overseer and Founder of The Living Faith Church International also known as Winners’ Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo, has reacted to the recent sack of over 40 pastors by the church.
One of the affected Pastors, Peter Godwin, took to social media, claiming they were sacked for not generating enough income.
Godwin, who was in one of the church’s branches in Ekiti State, had claimed, “I was told by the management that the church doesn’t operate at a loss.
“They also told me that the total income that is being generated from my station should be able to cater for my welfare and accommodation, so as a result of low income, I’m hereby dismissed.”
Reacting to the allegation in a video posted on the social media, Oyedepo said the sack of the pastors was not about money, adding that the latter were sacked as a result of their failure and the church “has no patience with failure.
“Money? Nonsense! We have never lacked it, and yet, we have never prayed for it.
“We are just simply obeying God, and He is backing up what He is asking us to do. Awesome God,” he noted.
On those criticising the sack, the GO said, “People are confused about our ministry. I learnt some fellows said, you know, they are not bringing income, that is why they asked them to go”.
He added, “We asked you to go because you are unfruitful. Unfruitful! Blatant failure. Doing what there? We have no patience with failure here.
“When we employed 7,000 people at a time, social media was dead.
“We have more employees in this organisation than most of the states. No one is owed a dime salary and we don’t borrow, we don’t beg. Ask our bank whether we take overdraft.
“We are covenant bound, working in the light of God’s word, enjoying an open Heaven.”

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