Former President Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has paid tribute to the late Professor Lawrence Baraebibai Ekpebu who died aged 86 years.
In a condolence letter he signed, Dr Jonathan described late Ekpebu as an illustrious academic and diplomat who distinguished himself in service to the nation.
“I condole with the Ekpebu family and the Bayelsa State Government over the demise of Professor Lawrence Baraebibai Ekpebu. He was an academic and diplomat renowned for his excellence and contributions to peace and development in Nigeria.
“Prof. Ekpebu was an outstanding academic who worked as a lecturer at the University of Ibadan and rose to the pinnacle of his career.
The deceased also served as a Commissioner of Finance in the Old Rivers State under the administration of the first Military Governor, King Alfred Diete -Spiff.
“He was a symbol of honour and pride, not just to his ethnic group, the Ijaw nation, but to Nigeria at large for his outstanding academic records and diplomatic astuteness, especially during his time as Nigeria’s ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire.
“Ekpebu will be greatly missed by many across Nigeria, as he was a man of selfless service and love for his country and people.
“I pray that God will grant his family, friends and associates the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss. I urge them to take solace in the legacies of the departed statesman, who lived a life of accomplishment to the glory of God and humanity.”
Driver crushed to death as truck falls on passenger bus in Ogun
By Ige Adekunle
A passenger bus driver lost his life on Sunday evening when a truck fell on the bus at Toll Gate on the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway.
Ogun Sector Commander of Federal Road Safety Corps, Mr Ahmed Umar, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ota, Ogun, that the accident occurred at 5.20 p.m.
Umar said that the truck with registration number LND 634 YE, coming from Lagos and heading toward Sango-Ota, fell on the yellow passenger bus marked FST 744 YD.
The sector commander said that a male driver, who was the only occupant of the bus, died instantly.
“The corpse of the victim has been deposited at the morgue of the General Hospital, Ifo,” he said.
He said that the two vehicles had been towed away from the road to ease traffic.
Umar attributed the cause of the accident to reckless driving.
He warned motorists to desist from dangerous driving to save lives.
He commiserated with the family of the victim. (NAN)
Fire razes Oko food market in Anambra
A food market near the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State has been razed by fire.
Items worth millions of naira were destroyed in the market as a result of the fire.
It was gathered that the fire took place in the early hours of Sunday. There was no loss of life.
An eyewitness said the police who arrived the scene shortly after the incident, quickly barricaded the area to prevent people from looting the shops.
Police spokesman, Mr Ikenga Tochukwu, who confirmed the market fire, said the Commissioner of Police, Echeng Echeng, had ordered for a comprehensive investigation into the incident.
He said, “The Commissioner of Police, Echeng Echeng, is worried by recent fire incident which resulted into loss of valuable properties.
“The police quickly responded by cordoning off the area to avert hoodlums from taking advantage of the situation to loot, and contacted the fire service department.
“The fire was successfully put off but the cause is yet to be ascertained.
“The CP advised members of the public to always take precautionary measures to avert such ugly incidents and avoid storing highly combustible materials in their homes, offices or business premises as these are capable of causing a raging inferno.
“The CP enjoined parents and guardians to keep tabs on their children and keep inflammable substances away from the reach of children.
“Also in the event of an unavoidable fire outbreak, members of the public are advised to use fire extinguishers, and promptly call fire service station/office, the police and other disaster management outlets nearest to them for necessary assistance.”
Fire razes Warri market
Fire on Sunday razed at least 100 shops, including shanties, at the Ogbe-Ijoh Main Market in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta state.
Property and goods worth millions of Naira were destroyed in the inferno.
However, no casualty was recorded at the scene.
An eyewitness, who sells tomatoes at a spot near the market, said the fire started at about 2pm.
“I don’t know the cause of the fire.
“I was selling my tomatoes here when I saw flames coming out from inside the market and people started rushing to the scene,” she said.
One of the victims, who wept profusely, said she lost goods worth over N5 million in the fire.
The victim, who pleaded anonymity, said she borrowed a lump sum of the money from a microfinance bank for her shop.
“Where will I start from? How will I repay my debt? Government, please help me, I am dying,” she said, crying inconsolably.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that sympathisers, along with some of the traders in the market, were seen trying frantically to salvage some goods.
Firefighters had a tough time trying to put out the fire, while police and Army personnel as well as Red Cross officials were also at the scene.
The Secretary, Warri South Local Government Red Cross Division, Mr Cyril Kokarhaye, told newsmen that they were at the scene “to ensure normalcy”.
“We’re yet to record any casualties and can’t ascertain the extent of the damage.
“Our water truck has gone back again to refill,” Kokarhaye said.
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