- Terror Attack in London, At least One Dead, Several Injured
At least one person died in a terrorist incident in central London on Saturday night, the Metropolitan Police has said.
Police and ambulances were alerted to reports that a van hit people on London Bridge shortly after 22:00 BST.
Armed officers went to nearby Borough Market where they were responding to reports of stabbings in the area which is known for its restaurants and bars.
London Ambulance Service said at least 20 people had been taken to hospital. A number of people were treated at the scene for less serious injuries.
Prime Minister Theresa May described the incidents as “dreadful events” and will chair a meeting of the government’s Cobra emergency committee later.
The Metropolitan Police tweeted: “At 0025hrs 4/6/17 the incidents at #LondonBridge & #BoroughMarket were declared as terrorist incidents.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said it was an “horrific terrorist attack”. He added: “The situation is still unfolding and I would ask all Londoners and visitors to our city to remain calm and vigilant.
“We don’t yet know the full details, but this was a deliberate and cowardly attack on innocent Londoners and visitors to our city enjoying their Saturday night. I condemn it in the strongest possible terms.”
Eyewitnesses told BBC they saw between two and four people getting out of the van after the attack on the bridge and running towards Borough Market.
Gunshots were later heard in the area while one social media user posted a photograph appearing to show one of the attackers, with what seemed to be canisters strapped to his body lying on the ground.
The attack comes almost two weeks after 22 people died in a suicide bombing at a concert in Manchester.
In March, five people died in London when a car was driven at pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and a police officer was stabbed outside Parliament.
According to BBC, a security guard who oversees a number of pubs in the London Bridge area said he saw four people stabbed by three attackers.
BBC reporter, Ms. Holly Jones, who was on the bridge at the time of the attack, said a van driven by a man was “probably travelling at about 50 miles an hour” before it hit a number of people.
“He swerved right round me and then hit about five or six people. He hit about two people in front of me and then three behind.”
Five or six people were treated for injuries after the vehicle mounted the pavement and hit them, she said. “I’d say there are about four severely injured people. They all have paramedics assisting them at the moment.”
She said the van came from the direction of central London and headed towards the south side of the river.
Ms. Jones later reported seeing a man being arrested by police. She said he was handcuffed and had his shirt off.
She said a French woman was among the injured. She had said she did not know where two people she had been with were.
Speaking to the Press Association, Will Orton described being in a pub in the area and seeing people coming running inside.
“We didn’t really know what was going on,” he said. “We thought maybe there was a fight or something outside. And then there were almost hundreds of people coming inside.
“The bouncers did a really good job, they shut the doors and locked everyone in. There was panic – it seemed like it was literally outside the door. People were coming inside and saying they had witnessed people being stabbed.”
The prime minister said: “Following updates from police and security officials, I can confirm that the terrible incident in London is being treated as a potential act of terrorism.”
Mrs. May added: “This is a fast-moving investigation. I want to express my huge gratitude to the police and emergency services who are on the scene. “Our thoughts are with those who are caught up in these dreadful events.”
Downing Street said Mrs. May, who has been campaigning in the general election, returned to No 10 to receive further briefings from security officials.
On Twitter, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn described the incidents as “brutal and shocking”.
Transport for London (TfL) said London Bridge had been closed in both directions, while neighbouring Southwark Bridge had also been shut.
TfL said there were further closures in Borough High Street, where armed police and counter-terrorism specialist forces were later seen. On the north side of the river, Lower Thames Street was closed.
Meanwhile, Facebook said it had activated its safety check so people in London could post a message to let friends and relatives know they were safe.
Police said earlier they were also responding to an incident in the Vauxhall area a few miles away but later confirmed it was not connected to the London Bridge attacks.
SERAP Urges FG to Slash Politicians’ Allowances
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Chairman of Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Elias Mbam, to urgently review upward the remuneration, allowances, and conditions of service for Nigerian Judges, and reduce the remuneration of President Muhammadu Buhari and other political office-holders in order to address the persistent poor treatment of Judges, and improve access of victims of corruption to justice.
The appeal came on the heels of a nationwide industrial action by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) to press home their demand for financial autonomy for the judicial arm of government, and the federal government silence on the judiciary workers’ strike that has grounded court activities across the country.
In a letter dated April 10, 2021, which was signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said Judges should get all they are reasonably entitled to, and that it is unfair, illegal, unconstitutional, and discriminatory to continue to treat Judges as second-class people, while high-ranking political office holders enjoy lavish salaries and allowances.
SERAP expressed concern that the remuneration and allowances of Judges have fallen substantially behind the average salaries and allowances of political office-holders such as president, vice-president, governors and their deputies, as well as members of the National Assembly.
The letter read in part: “According to our information, the last review of the remuneration, allowances, and conditions of service for political, public and judicial office holders carried out by RMAFC in 2009 shows huge disparity between the remuneration and allowances of judges and those of political office holders.
“Judges’ work is very considerable but they cannot give their entire time to their judicial duties without the RMAFC reviewing upward their remuneration and allowances, and closing the gap and disparity between the salaries of judges and those of political office holders such as the president, vice-president, governors and their deputies, as well as lawmakers.
“We would therefore be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Incorporated Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel the RMAFC to comply with our requests.”
COVAX Delivered 38m Vaccine Doses To Over 100 Countries, Says WHO
The World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday announced that more than 100 countries have received life-saving COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX, the global mechanism for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
It said the milestone comes 42 days after the first COVAX doses were shipped and delivered internationally, to Ghana on February 24th.
In a statement, the United Nations’ Agency revealed that COVAX has now delivered more than 38 million doses across six continents, supplied by three manufacturers – AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and the Serum Institute of India (SII).
Of the over 100 economies reached, 61 are among the 92 lower-income economies receiving vaccines funded through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).
It, however, said despite reduced supply availability in March and April – the result of vaccine manufacturers scaling and optimising their production processes in the early phase of the rollout, as well as increased demand for COVID-19 vaccines in India – COVAX expects to deliver doses to all participating economies that have requested vaccines in the first half of the year.
According to the CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Dr. Seth Berkley, “In under four months since the very first mass vaccination outside a clinical setting anywhere in the world, it is tremendously gratifying that the roll-out of COVAX doses has already reached 100 countries.
“COVAX may be on track to deliver to all participating economies in the first half of the year yet we still face a daunting challenge as we seek to end the acute stage of the pandemic: we will only be safe when everybody is safe and our efforts to rapidly accelerate the volume of doses depend on the continued support of governments and vaccine manufacturers. As we continue with the largest and most rapid global vaccine rollout in history, this is no time for complacency.”
The WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “COVAX has given the world the best way to ensure the fastest, most equitable rollout of safe and effective vaccines to all at-risk people in every country on the planet.
“If we are going to realise this great opportunity, countries, producers and the international system must come together to prioritise vaccine supply through COVAX. Our collective future, literally, depends on it.”
Approved Ibom Deep Sea Port, Proposed $1.4B Fertilizer Plant Will Change Akwa Ibom’s Economic Status – Gov. Udom
Akwa Ibom State Government has said the approved Ibom Deep Seaport and the proposed $1.4 billion Fertilizer and Ammonia Plant are expected to change the economic status of the state.
The State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, made the assertion in an Easter message to the people of the state.
He maintained that with the recent approval and take off of the federal government’s approved Oil and Gas Free Zone and the ongoing construction of the Sterling Petrochemical Plant at Eastern Obolo, the state would be ready to dump its status as a civil service state.
The governor said the fertilizer and ammonia plants should be supported by all indegenes and residents irrespective of political affiliation because of its capacity to change the economic fortunes of the state.
The governor who commended President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the industrial projects in the state said construction work on the Ibom Deep Seaport would commence very soon.
“In recent past, we have been blessed with life-changing projects such as Sterling Petrochemical Plant in Eastern Obolo, where construction is in an advanced stage.
“Two months ago, the Federal Executive Council, (FEC) approved the license for us to commence the construction of our long desired Ibom Deep Seaport. Work would soon commence on this gigantic project. These are huge achievements for our State and our people.
“Ibom Deep Seaport will open up our economic fortunes; create employment and wealth opportunities for our people and throw open our State as a major maritime hub in our nation.
“We thank the President and the Commander in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) for this kind approval,” he said.
Continuing, Emmanuel said: “About three weeks ago, we signed a $1.4 billion Fertilizer and Ammonia plant with our Moroccan counterparts. The plant will again create huge employment and other supply chain activities for our people, which will transform us from a civil service oriented state to a fast industrialising one.
“These are huge achievements that should gladden the hearts of every Akwa Ibomite irrespective of political affiliations.”
He reminded the people of the state that the essence of Easter would be lost if the resurrection of Christ is not allowed to illuminate their souls through love and sacrifice to one another.
“Let the fishermen in the ocean fronts of Mbo, Okobo, Eastern Obolo and Ibeno love one another. Let the farmers in the rice plantations at Ini, Ikono, Ika, Onna and Nsit Ibom love one another.
“Let the civil servants and public servants, politicians in all political parties, members of all denominations, preachers of all faiths, love one another.
“When we let love drive our every action and every thought, when we let it drip from our lips and from our hands, then shall the joy of Easter be complete, and our State shall surely attain the lofty height set for it by our ancestors when they named it Akwa Abasi Ibom State.” the Governor stated.
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