Three men have been arrested under the Terrorism Act after a man was killed in a car explosion outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital.
A taxi carrying one passenger pulled up just before 11:00 GMT on Remembrance Sunday, as a national two minutes’ silence was due to begin, and exploded.
The passenger was declared dead at the scene and is yet to be formally identified.
The male driver was injured and is in hospital in a stable condition.
Detectives from Counter Terrorism Police North West said three men – aged 29, 26 and 21 – were detained in the Kensington area of the city.
They said they were continuing to keep an open mind about the cause of the blast and were working with Merseyside Police as the investigation continued “at pace”. The security service, MI5, is also assisting.
Armed officers have carried out raids on properties on Rutland Avenue near Sefton Park, and around Sutcliffe Street and Boaler Street in Kensington.
Specialist officers remain outside a house on Rutland Avenue, in an operation police say is linked to the explosion.
Police negotiators are on the scene, a fire crew is on standby, and a number of residents have been evacuated.
A large cordon, guarded by uniformed officers, remains in place.
Carl Bessant, whose partner had just had a baby, was inside the hospital at the time of the blast.
“My partner is really shook up to be honest,” he said.
“We were so close and she was feeding the baby when it happened. We heard a loud bang and looked out of the window.
“We saw the car on fire and someone jump out… screaming, and there was someone inside the car.
“The hospital shut down, no-one in or out, so they said, but people were using the back entrance.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter: “My thoughts are with all those affected by the awful incident in Liverpool today.
“I want to thank the emergency services for their quick response and professionalism, and the police for their ongoing work on the investigation.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel also tweeted she was “being kept regularly updated on the awful incident”.
The first raid happened at about 13:00 GMT on Rutland Avenue in the Sefton Park area of the city. It’s about 0.75 miles from the hospital. It’s an area of the city with large Victorian houses.
The house that was raided had been split up into flats. Local residents said they had not seen anybody coming or going from the property for some weeks – they thought it was unoccupied. The street remains cordoned off and some residents have been evacuated.
Police were also seen at Boaler Street in the Kensington area of the city. It’s about a mile away from the hospital.
Eyewitnesses on the street said armed police arrived at about 14:00 and raided a house. They said they saw men being arrested and handcuffed. They were led by armed officers into a car. That street also remains cordoned off.
Chief Constable Serena Kennedy, of Merseyside Police, sought to reassure the public, saying events of this nature were very rare and that there would be an increased and visible police presence on the streets in the coming days.
A bomb disposal unit and fire engines attended the scene earlier, which remains cordoned off. Road closures are also in place.
Police were called at 10:59 to reports of a car explosion.
Phil Garrigan, chief fire officer of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, said the car fire had been “fully developed” when crews arrived shortly after 11:00.
“The operational crews extinguished the fire rapidly but… there was one fatality,” he said.
“Another individual had left the vehicle prior to the fire developing to the extent that it did. Our thoughts are with them and the families of those involved.”
Nick Aldworth, a former counter terror co-ordinator, said investigators would be looking to ascertain what happened inside the vehicle.
“They’ll be looking at what sort of damage has been caused, trying to get an assessment of what might have caused that blast,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“From what I’ve seen there is very little blast damage – a lot of fire damage but very little blast damage.
“So whatever was in that vehicle was either a low yield or didn’t work properly or was possibly an incendiary.”
Mr Aldworth explained it was common for investigations to be linked to terrorism quickly as it provides investigators with more resources from an earlier stage.
He added that it was entirely appropriate to involve MI5 to understand if it holds relevant information.
Liverpool Women’s Hospital said visiting access had been restricted until further notice and patients had been diverted to other hospitals where possible.
“We are reviewing our patient activity for the next 24-48 hours and patients should wait to be contacted for updates about any planned appointments or other attendance at the hospital,” chief executive Kathryn Thomson said.
Liverpool Women’s Hospital receives about 50,000 patients annually and is the largest hospital in its specialism in Europe.
Kaduna govt sacks 233 teachers over fake certificates
The Kaduna State Government has dismissed 233 teachers for providing forged certificates during their recruitment process.
Tijani Abdullahi, Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board, announced during a press conference in Kaduna on Thursday.
He claimed that the teachers were dismissed following inquiries from the institutions they claimed to have attended, which revealed they had presented falsified certificates.
According to the SUBEB Chairman, the decision to investigate the teachers’ certificates began in April 2021 as part of the Board’s responsibility to ensure that all teachers have the qualifications they presented.
According to him, the main goal of the exercise is to ensure that all of our teachers have the necessary credentials that constitute the fundamental qualifications for employment as teachers.
According to the Kaduna SUBEB Chairman, 451 certificates have been verified so far by contacting the institutions that awarded the certificates, with nine of the 13 institutions contacted responding.
“So far, the Board has verified 451certificates by contacting the institutions that awarded the certificates. Nine of the 13 institutions contacted have responded, as of today,” he said.
“The responses from the institutions show that 233 teachers presented fake certificates. This represents 51% of the 451 certificates on which responses have been received from the awarding institutions. One institution disowned 212 of these 233 fake certificates.
“The Board will dismiss the 233 teachers who presented these fake certificates, while their files will be forwarded to the Ministry of Justice to initiate prosecution for forgery. The Board will continue to check the integrity of the certificates presented by teachers to ensure that this critical profession is not devalued by impostors.
“As part of our duty of transparency, the names of the 233 teachers found to have presented fake certificates will be uploaded on the website of the Kaduna State Government today.”
The Board also announced that beginning in January 2022; it will administer a new competency test to 12,254 teachers as part of its ongoing assessment of teachers for their development as well as for better learning delivery.
It will be recalled that the Kaduna State Government hired 25,000 new teachers in 2017 after dismissing over 22,000 unqualified ones following a competency review.
RCCG parish launches dating site, says there’s no marriage in heaven
The City of David parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Victoria Island, Lagos, has launched a new dating website.
“There is no marriage in heaven!” declared the church on its official Facebook page, just days after the website went live. “We’re here to help you connect and, hopefully, meet your better half.”
A look at the website reveals that the dating platform connects adults in courtship and marriage.
Before being approved, prospective participants must register and have their information processed. However, participants are not required to pay any fees to use the platform.
According to the church, the platform’s goal is to connect people for courtship and marriage.
According to a statement on the dating site, users of the dating site were advised to conduct due diligence before connecting with other participants.
“The Redeemed Christian Church of God, City of David Parish makes no representations or warranties and expressly disclaims any and all liability concerning any damages sustained by any registrant as a result of connecting with anyone on this platform,” the disclaimer said.
The Parish Pastor, Idowu Iluyomade, said in a video posted to the platform’s Facebook page that people on the forum are of varying ages.
“We have from ages 20, 25 to 65,” Pastor Idowu said on social media.
The platform is already organizing virtual masterclasses for participants in which critical ingredients for a successful marriage are taught.
JUST IN: Amaechi visits Nnamdi Kanu in DSS custody
Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, a First Republic parliamentarian and former Minister of Aviation, on Thursday visited the detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, who is in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS).
This was made known by Kanunta Kanu, younger brother of Nnamdi Kanu via his known social media pages.
Amaechi visited Kanu alongside the co-Chair of the Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace, Bishop Sunday Onuoha. Nnamdi Kanu’s sibling said the visitors “had a meaningful interaction” with the IPOB leader.
“Chief Mbazuruike Amaechi and His Grace Bishop Sunday .N. Onuoha visited their son #MaziNnamdiKanu the leader of IPOB at #DSS Headquarters in Abuja today, where they hard a meaningful interaction,” Kanunta Kanu wrote.
POLITICS NIGERIA recalls that twelve days ago, Chief Amaechi, a nonagenarian, led Igbo elders to Aso Rock Villa where they met President Muhammadu Buhari and asked for Kanu who has been held since June, to be freed.
There, Buhari said the unconditional release of the IPOB leader, who is currently standing trial for treason, runs contrary to the doctrine of separation of powers between the executive and judiciary.
On Thursday, Justice Binta Nyako of a Federal High Court in Abuja rescheduled Kanu’s trial from January 19 to 18, 2022.
The shift in the trial date followed the abridgement of time granted by the Judge following a passionate plea to that effect.
Kanu’s lead lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor had approached the Court with an application seeking an order of the Court to accommodate the trial in November and December this year as against the earlier January 19, 2022.
The prosecuting Attorney of the Federal Government, Shuaib Labaran, however, told the Court that a counter affidavit opposing the request by the government has been filled and served on Kanu.
Justice Nyako informed Kanu’s lawyer that the application for time abridgement cannot be granted because there was no judicial time for such an issue.
During the drama that ensued, the case diary of the Court was read to the lawyer to establish that the Court has crowded pending cases.
Following the insistence, Justice Nyako agreed to shift other cases slated for January 18 to accommodate the trial which would last till January 19 and 20.
Justice Nyako ordered the DSS to allow Kanu to practice his faith, change his clothes and be given the maximum possible comfort in the detention facility.
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