Violence Claims 2,300 In Zamfara …As Nasarawa Gas Explosion Death Toll Hits 15

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L-R: National Organising Secretary, Social Democratic Party, SDP, Rt. Hon. Emeka Atuma, handing over the party's House of Representatives nomination form to SDP House of Representatives aspirant from Anambra State, Mr Uchenna Annie Okonkwo, at the national secretariat of the party in Abuja, last Monday.

The Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari has claimed that insecurity in the state has led to the loss of at least 2,300 lives from 2011 till date.
The governor said this while speaking at a special Town Hall meeting on security in Gusau, Zamfara State capital, last Monday.
The meeting was attended by Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed; Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali and Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu.
Yari said agricultural activities in the state had suffered a major setback because of insecurity and that over 25,000 cattle had been rustled.
“About 2,300 people have died in the state since 2011. Agriculture has suffered setback as a result of this security problem,” he said.
“In Zamfara, we are all Muslims, I don’t expect a Muslim to kill another [Muslim]. We should know that we are dealing with criminals.
“In 2014, we had only 24 soldiers in the whole of Zamfara State.”
The governor said since he assumed office in 2011, he has been facing security challenges.
“As a governor who has confronted insecurity since the inception of my administration, I have some experience,” he said.
On his part, Mohammed reiterated the spate of killings across the country “have fallen drastically.”
“Let me say straight away that the killings, resulting from farmers-herders clashes, cattle rustling, trans-border crimes and banditry, among others, have fallen drastically,” the minister said.
“Unfortunately, this has not received the kind of media coverage that was given to the killings.
“I appeal to the media to correct this. I have no doubt that the good people of Zamfara can testify to the drastic reduction in the activities of cattle rustlers and other bandits in the state since the Federal Government assembled a 1,000-strong military force, comprising the army, air force, police and the civil defence, to launch fierce attacks on the bandits terrorising the villages and towns of Zamfara State.
“The situation will continue to improve until the violence has stopped.”
Dan-Ali expressed his displeasure at connivance of locals with bandits.
“Most of us are giving information to bandits, please let us change that [narrative] with the security agencies,” the defence minister said.
Meanwhile, No fewer than 15 persons were, yesterday, feared dead with 40 others hospitalised with various degrees of injuries following a gas explosion at Monaco Gas Station situated in the premises of Natson Petroleum Nig. Ltd., in Lafia, the capital of Nasarawa State. Images from the scene of the explosion.
It was gathered that the explosion was caused by gas leakage from one of the reservoirs at the gas station.
According to reports, two motorists, who first noticed the leakage, attempted to flee but collided and went up in flames. About 17 vehicles, including two fuel tankers, motorcycles and three tricycles caught in the inferno, were burnt to ashes, at the hospital when correspondent visited the casualty unit of the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital, DASH, Lafia, it was observed that the hospital was littered with burnt victims of the gas explosion victims, as medical personnel were seen battling to save their lives.
Sympathisers were seen trooping to the hospital for a glance at victims, who were conveyed to the hospital by officials of Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, from the scene of the explosion.
It was further gathered that some of the victims were caught up in the inferno while plying the Lafia-Abuja Highway, especially students of the Nasarawa State Polytechnic, Lafia, who were going for lectures.
Al-Makura, who described the incident as “unfortunate”, condoled with the families of those who lost their lives, and assured that government would do its best to ensure that the survivors of the fire outbreak get the best of medical attention.
“Last night, I got a report that six people died as a result of the burns sustained from the incident, but this morning, I was told that three more people had been confirmed dead.
“We were able to transfer 17 victims, who had over 60 per cent burns out of the 37 persons affected to the National Trauma Centre in Abuja, but three among them later died.
“Shortly before I arrived here, another child died while being removed from a pregnant mother, who also suffered severe burns.
“So, at the moment, we have recorded nine deaths as against the large figures being speculated in the media,” Al-Makura said.
He said the remaining 14 casualties currently at the National Trauma Centre were responding to treatment.
“I have directed that all the victims be given the best treatment available and for those in critical condition, requiring to be moved abroad, the Nasarawa State Government will take care of their bills just to ensure they live,” he assured.
The governor called on residents of the state to obtain proper approval before siting their structures anywhere in the state in order to avert a repeat of such ugly occurrence.
“I have called for a meeting with the committee on development control for us to review approvals for siting all businesses that pose danger to the people, especially gas stations.
“We have agreed that existing stations must comply with the safe distance specifications,” he said.
He also said that he had directed the state fire service to cordon-off the area for the next seven days to ensure that it is totally safe for habitation.
“We discovered that gas was still leaking from the tanks and we are making contact with the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and other agencies with the necessary equipment to assist in evacuating gas from the area,” Al-Makura added.
It would be recalled that the Monaco gas station in Lafia was on Monday morning engulfed by fire when the tanker offloading the liquefied gas suddenly went ablaze.
The Chief Fire Officer of the Nasarawa State Fire Service, Mr Dogara Dalhatu, who confirmed the incident, attributed it to a spark around the vicinity where the gas was being discharged.
Dalhatu, however, said the inferno has been put under control by men of the fire service.
He said that about 10 vehicles, five motorcycles and three tricycles were destroyed by the fire.
However, security personnel have diverted the road leading to Monaco Gas Filling Station which went up in flames last Monday in Lafia to avoid another disaster.
Journalists, who visited the scene, yesterday, observed that personnel from various security agencies were on ground to control traffic on the road.
The State Fire Service, Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Federal Road Safety Corps, National Emergency Management Agency were at the scene Images from the scene of the explosion.
The Akwanga/Jos road was sealed from the Secretariat of Peoples Democratic Party to Lafia Township Stadium.
All vehicles coming from the East, Makurdi, Jos, Akwanga, Abuja were diverted from the main road through Government House via Bukan-Sidi.
Dalhatu said the situation was under control.
He said that the road was diverted to ensure that the scene was “very safe before it is reopened’’.
The Public Relations Officer of Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital Lafia, Ms Deborah Dangara, confirmed that some of the casualties were transferred to National Hospital, Abuja.
Dangara said that those who were seriously injured were the once transferred for proper medical attention due to inadequate facilities to attend to all of them in the state.