Day: June 15, 2017

DINO MELAYE ESCAPES ALLEGED ASSASSINS BULLETS ONE MORE TIME

Dino Melaye, the senator representing Kogi West, escaped death on Monday in Lokoja when unknown gunmen attacked him during a rally in Lokoja.

Mr. Melaye, who represents Kogi West Senatorial District, was said to be rounding off his speech at the rally in front of Kogi State Polytechnic when the invaders attacked with guns and cutlasses.

Traffic on the Lokoja-Abuja highway was disrupted for almost one hour as motorists abandoned their vehicles and scampered for safety.

Traders at Lokoja main market also hurriedly abandoned their wares and escaped into nearby bushes and houses.

A student of the polytechnic simply identified as Saka Seidu and one other person were said to have been shot dead while two operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) attached to Mr. Melaye received gunshot injuries in the attack.

The Rector of the polytechnic, Mohammed Yisah, confirmed the death of one the student.

The senator’s Prado SUV was riddled with bullets and was towed to the Police headquarters in Lokoja.

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Wilson Inalegwu, who rushed to the scene, told newsmen that the assistant commissioner of police in charge of Criminal Investigation Department had been directed to commence investigation in the case.

Mr. Inalegwu, however, said Mr. Melaye did not notify the police of his intention to hold the rally, and called on politicians to give police adequate notice before holding any rally.

The state governor, Yahaya Bello, who later visited the scene, urged security agencies to investigate the incident with a view to bringing the culprits to justice.

The governor confirmed the death of one person in the incident.

He recalled that a report was made in February to the Presidency, the SSS and police alleging that Mr. Melaye and his cohorts planned to cause a breach of the peace in the state.

He, however, assured the people of the state of adequate security of life and property, and advised them to go about their daily activities as the situation had been brought under control.

Mr. Melaye had on April 15, 2017 escaped death when his house at Ayetoro Gbede in Lokoja was attached by gunmen.

Six persons, including the Administrator of Ijumu Local Government Area, suspected to be involved in attack, were arrested and later charged to court.

NAN


 

 

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DAVID LAMMY BRANDS GRENFELL TOWERS INFERNO “CORPORATE MANSLAUGHTER” AND CALLS FOR ARRESTS

A London MP has today branded the Grenfell Tower blaze ‘corporate manslaughter’ and demanded arrests are made because he fears hundreds may have died.

Labour’s David Lammy also said he was losing hope for close friend Khadija Saye, 24, and her mother Mary, who lived on the 20th floor but are still missing.

The furious Tottenham MP insisted that people must be ‘held to account’ for allowing the disaster to happen and said the police should arrest them.

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He said: ‘This [Kensington and Chelsea] is the richest borough in our country treating its citizens in an appalling way and we should call it what it is. It is corporate manslaughter.

‘That is what it is and there should be arrests made. It is an outrage.’

The cladding used on Grenfell Tower may have exacerbated the fire, it has been claimed.

Rainscreen cladding, which was added during the block’s refurbishment, can act as a ‘chimney’ for fires because of its ventilated cavities.

Many have speculated as to whether this could have made the fire worse, and led to it spreading quickly and trapping residents.

Jack Monroe, a former fire fighter, tweeted about the incident and said: ‘Whoever signed off on that cladding needs to be hauled before a court and held fully accountable for every single fatality and injury.

Chartered surveyor and fire expert Arnold Tarling, from Hindwoods, said that the process can create a 25mm-30mm cavity between the cladding and the insulation.

‘It produces a wind tunnel and also traps any burning material between the rain cladding and the building.

‘So had it been insulated per se, the insulation could fall off and fall away from the building, but this is all contained inside.’

He said not all insulation used in the process is the more expensive non-flammable type

‘So basically you have got a cavity with a fire spreading behind it.’

Rydon carried out an £8.6 million project, completed in May 2016, to modernise the outside of the building, which saw new cladding and windows installed.

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In a statement, the Sussex-based firm said it was shocked by the ‘devastating’ blaze, adding: ‘Rydon completed a refurbishment of the building in the summer of 2016 for KCTMO (Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation) on behalf of the council, which met all required building control, fire regulation, and health and safety standards.

The former chairman of the tenancy organisation connected to Grenfell Tower has described recent refurbishment work as a ‘disaster waiting to happen’.

The Tottenham MP said the fire amounted to ‘corporate manslaughter’ – although the cause has yet to be established.

Without identifying anyone he regarded as culpable, Mr Lammy pointed out that housing conditions in the capital were too often ‘unacceptable’ and urged the demolition of unsafe buildings.

‘These are poor Londoners but they are the lucky ones who are in social housing. Most of them will be the working poor in London,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Mr Lammy went on: ‘We know as politicians that the conditions in this country are unacceptable.’

‘We built buildings in the 1970s, many of them should be demolished. It is totally unacceptable. People should be held to account.’

Families have begun the desperate search for loved ones that have gone missing after the huge inferno engulfed a tower block in west London.

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Moments after cheating death and escaping Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, White City, relatives are now faced with the prospect of having to search for those who have gone missing during the ensuing chaos.

The Health and Safety Executive, the police and the fire service are now expected to launch a large-scale investigation and Rachel Adamson, Head of Regulatory Law at Stephensons law firm, said for an incident of this size it is very likely they will be considering criminal charges.

She told MailOnline: ‘Corporate manslaughter charges are often quite difficult to prove as they relate to the controlling mind of the business.

‘If an individual is thought to have been negligent, a charge of manslaughter by gross negligence may be considered.

‘There are a range of other potential charges, such as breach of fire regulations or breach of health and safety regulations, these are the tiers down from manslaughter.’

Investigators are expected to look at how recent renovation work was carried out, whether Construction Regulations have been adhered to, and what fire safety precautions were in place.

More than one resident has claimed that there was no central fire alarm system for the tower block – or it had failed – and only smoke alarms in individual flats were working.

There are also claims that there that there was no central sprinkler system – or it was also not working properly during the fire.

Others have claimed that the new cladding encasing the block added during last year’s £10million refurbishment by Rydon Construction caught alight ‘like a matchstick’.

The fire at Grenfell Tower broke out in the early hours of yesterday morning 

Cladding is a material attached to a building's frame to create an outer wall (shown in this graphic). The process of applying the rain-proof frontage can create a 25mm-30mm cavity between the cladding and the insulation behind it, shown between the first two layers

Cladding is a material attached to a building’s frame to create an outer wall (shown in this graphic). The process of applying the rain-proof frontage can create a 25mm-30mm cavity between the cladding and the insulation behind it, shown between the first two layers

Checks are to be carried out on tower blocks going through similar refurbishment to Grenfell Tower, policing and fire minister Nick Hurd has said.

Special arrangements have been made for MPs to question a Government minister on the Grenfell Tower fire this afternoon.

MPs would normally expect to hear a ministerial statement on a tragedy of this scale in the House of Commons, but this is not possible because Parliament has not yet formally reopened following the snap election.

But Speaker John Bercow announced on Wednesday that a meeting with a minister would be arranged. It is due to take place at 1.30pm in the Commons’ secondary chamber, Westminster Hall.

Fire minister Nick Hurd is expected to make a statement and take questions from MPs.

Mr Bercow said on Wednesday that the meeting could be attended by “colleagues gravely concerned about this matter”, but that it would not be an official proceeding of Parliament. It was not immediately clear whether the session would be televised.

Cut price cladding added to tower blocks built in the 1970s could be to blame for the rapid spread of a fire which claimed the lives of at least 17 people

 

CLADDING WAS USED TO ‘IMPROVE THE APPEARANCE’ OF THE BLOCK OF FLATS

 

A planning document released by the council in 2014 said: ‘Due to its height the tower is visible from the adjacent Avondale Conservation Area to the south and the Ladbroke Conservation Area to the east.

‘The changes to the existing tower will improve its appearance especially when viewed from the surrounding area.’

The document also makes repeated reference to the ‘appearance of the area’.

New plastic rain-proof cladding was installed at Grenfell Tower in White City, London, in May 2016 as part of a £10million refurbishment – but ‘went up like a match’ and helped the fire spread quickly from the fourth to 27th floor.

This evening it also was suggested that council penny pinching and accepting the lowest bid was to blame for the blaze according to one former worker.

Others said that the cladding chosen purely to make the block look ‘posher’.

The woman, who worked as a property manager for Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council for 20 years said the deadly blaze could have been prevented if the council had spent money upgrading it.

But Grenfell Tower, run by Tenant Management Organisation for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council, was not modernised during the employee’s two decades working in the property area of the authority.

Often fire alarms didn’t work and a new external fire escape was not installed because it would cost too much, she said.

She claimed new cladding fitted to the outside of the building last year caused the blaze to rip through the block because substandard and cheap materials were used in an effort to save cash.

She said: ‘They spent £1 million on cladding the outside of the building last year, and surveyors told the council not to use the cheapest possible materials, but they accepted the lowest possible bid.

‘The surveyors weren’t happy about it, but every time we brought it up with management they said ‘we hear you, but we simply can’t spend the money on upgrading the building’.

There are fears that that no one who lived on the top three residential floors may have survived the unprecedented fire

There are fears that that no one who lived on the top three residential floors may have survived the unprecedented fire

More than 600 residents desperately tried to escape the flames as the fire broke out in the middle of the night, with many woken by the screams of others and the smell of burning plastic

‘It was built in the 1970s and the council didn’t want to spend the money needed to bring it up to date because it would have cost so much money and taken so much work.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4606432/Corporate-manslaughter-


 

FOUNDER OF SECRET NIGERIAN FACEBOOK GROUP FOR WOMEN MEETS FACEBOOK FOUNDER

It is one of Facebook’s fastest growing communities and has become such a phenomenon that last week, Mark Zuckerberg asked to meet its founder. But what is Fin?

Female IN or Fin is a “secret” Facebook group that has recently clocked up over a million members, largely from Nigeria.

But it’s a secret that founder Lola Omolola wants you to know all about – if you’re a woman that is.

Though it has a vaguely romantic air, secret is just Facebook terminology, Ms Omolala says. It means invitation-only – you need to know a member to get in.

“It’s a safe place, for a woman who has something to say,” Ms Omolola explains.

“You don’t have to agree but it is her story, she can say it.”

The group is a sort of confessional space, where women share stories that they might be uncomfortable – or even afraid – to tell in person.

It doesn’t offer anonymity – members have to post under their real names.

And the stories are stunning, although they remain strictly confidential.

In the few days that I’ve been a Finster, I’ve read testimonies on domestic abuse, physical and emotional violence, child abuse and rape.

One woman speaks about the moment she told her parents she was about to have a child as a single girl of 17, another about finally being accepted as a lesbian by her mother after many years.

They are brave and intimate, telling of failed relationships or unconventional sexual preferences.

The posts are brutally honest but many of them are laced with self-deprecating humour.

Like the woman who mortified herself on a first date in front of a banquet hall of people or the lady who stole the keys of a bus driver after he bumped her car and refused to apologise.

Many of the stories speak of a distinctly Nigerian experience.

FIN womenFinsters meet up in real life too

Until recently the group was called Female In Nigeria, so it’s not a surprise that most of its members are just that.

“The Nigerian woman has been the core of this process, because I am a Nigerian woman,” says Ms Omolala.

A former journalist, she moved from Nigeria to the US in the early 2000s at the age of 24 and started the group in 2015.

She had had an idea to start something for some time – a forum where Nigerian women could talk openly about the issues that affected them. But it was the kidnap of the Chibok girls that drove her to do it.

“I knew the cause of it,” she says.

“When you grow up in a place where a woman’s voice is not even valid, everything reinforces that idea that we’re not good enough.”

It didn’t surprise her that a group of men could kidnap and enslave these girls, because they didn’t see them as equals.

“Between the ages of three and six I noticed that whenever a girl shows any sign of self-awareness she gets silenced. When I said anything I got a pinch – a real, live pinch.”

Those pinches came from aunties, uncles, even her mother but never from her father. And it’s him that Ms Omolola traces her early feminism to.

Her father was a part-time businessman and was often at home with the children while her mum worked as full-time haematologist.

“We never felt any gender disparity,” she says.

“I realise now how much effort it must have taken. It was not something he was just stumbling into. It was an active choice.”

Lola OmololaThe group are unusually open with each other

Fin started out as a group where women could discuss women’s issues – one of the first blogs was on domestic violence – and Ms Omolola expected it to be an abstract conversation.

But women responded with their own stories.

Almost instantly it became a place where people could share things they had never shared before.

“When we started I used to cry. I stopped sleeping, I stopped eating,” she says. “I was not ready for the stories that were coming out.”

“There were women who had been abused for 40 years and hadn’t told anyone. No-one should live like that.”

Now the group gets hundreds of applications for posts every day but they are managed and approved by a group of 28 volunteers. About 40-100 make it on the page.

Fin has strict rules. Above anything else, Finsters are not allowed to judge each other. Any negative comments are removed, as is the member who posts them.

“I noticed that those people who try to shut women up in real life, they came there,” says Ms Omolola.

“They are so deeply conditioned to work against their own interest.

“It’s the online version of the pinch and the shush.”

But the pinchers and shushers were persistent.

In a religiously conservative society like Nigeria, expressions of female sexual freedom were never going to go unchallenged.

Some members tried to get around the ban by commenting with passages from the bible which condemned the woman’s actions.

That inspired a second rule – no preaching.

“We prohibit religious-themed advice,” it says in the rules. “Fin is not a place of worship.”

Lola OmololaLola Omolola says she makes no money from the million-strong group

People have likened Fin and its founder to the devil, they’ve called the group evil, a corrupter of young women.

Ms Omolola says she has been the subject of concerted attacks by church groups. But she’s not worried.

“Most people think that the controversy would kill me,” she says. “They don’t realise that it’s actually empowering me.”

After amassing a million-strong membership and a high-profile meeting with Mr Zuckerberg, what is next for Fin?

Ms Omolola has dreams of expanding the group into bricks and mortar, providing centres where women can go to talk about their experiences in a safe space.

But that may be a long way off.

“It needs money and right now I have none,” she says. “I can’t even pay my rent.”

It’s something that she discussed with Zuckerberg and though Facebook haven’t offered funding yet, she’s still in conversation with it on how to move the group forward.

From day one, she says, she had offers from companies who want to advertise on Fin but she has refused to monetise women’s stories.

On Mr Zuckerberg’s prompt she is now focusing on promoting the message of the site – female empowerment and tolerance.

And she’s doing interviews for the first time.

 

BBC NEWS


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FORMER LONDON MAYOR BORIS JOHNSON FACES QUESTIONS OVER CUTS OF LONDON FIRE SERVICE

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson faces questions over his decision to slash London’s fire service while being the Mayor of London.

Johnson presided over the closure of 10 fire stations and the removal of 27 fire engines, despite previously promising not to remove them.

There are fears that many more tower blocks in London could be vulnerable to the type of blaze seen at the Grenfell tower.

Johnson repeatedly denied he had any plans to cut fire engines or fire stations, telling the London Assembly in 2010 that there were “no plans” to remove engines. Pressed on the issue, he said in a filmed meeting that “I don’t want to get rid of them. What’s the problem?”

When confronted by his opponents on the London Assembly about the broken promise in 2013, Johnson told Labour’s Andrew Dismore to “get stuffed.”

Fire crews were reportedly quick to arrive at the scene of the Grenfell fire. However, fire response times in the capital did increase following Johnson’s cuts to the fire service.

In 2015 questions were raised after a man jumped to his death from a housing block in Camden after waiting for crews to arrive.

One firefighter told the Camden New Journal: “The first question we were all asking about Camden was how long did it take to get there? The answer was more than double the time we should have done. We are trained and we are told that after five or six minutes a fire can become an inferno.”

He added: “Since the cutbacks, we have been stretched. It is not unusual for machines [fire engines] to be coming from much, much further afield – and we are constantly aware of that.”

Current London mayor Sadiq Khan last year ordered a review of fire service cuts across London, saying that he could not be sure Londoners were safe.

“The key thing is this, are we safe as a consequence of the cuts made by the previous regime?” he said on LBC.

“The short answer is I’m not sure. I’m starting to work to make sure I can be reassured that we are safe.”

Khan’s review subsequently found the service had coped with the cuts.

Theresa May’s new Downing Street chief Gavin Barwell is also facing questions after it emerged yesterday that he failed to release a government review of fire safety in tower blocks.

ARIANA GRANDE TO BE MADE HONORARY CITIZEN OF MANCHESTER

Ariana Grande could be granted an honorary citizenship of Manchester under new proposals put forward by the council.

Manchester City Council is suggesting a new system be adopted to help recognise people who have made an outstanding contribution to the city.

The proposal – which will be debated next month – would see Ariana Grande being the first recipient of this new honour for her role in organising the One Love Manchester concert.

‘This seems a fitting moment to update the way we recognise those who make noteworthy contributions to the life and success of our city,’ said Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council.

He added: ‘Ariana Grande exemplified this response. I think many people would already consider her an honorary Mancunian and we would be delighted, if the council approves the proposal, to make it official.’

The council will also hold an event later this year to celebrate people who made significant contributions in the aftermath of the terrorist attack.

GRENFELL TOWER FIRE DISASTER: DEATHS COULD REACH 100. 17 CONFIRMED

There are fears more than 100 people have died in the Grenfell Tower blaze after London’s fire chief announced that they aren’t expecting to find any more survivors.

Commissioner Dany Cotton said it would be a “miracle” to find anyone still alive in the charred shell, adding that there are still “unknown numbers of people” still inside the building.

Seventeen  people have been confirmed dead as families make desperate appeals for loved ones who have been missing for more than a day.

Nearly 80 people were treated at six London hospitals, including 17 who remain in critical care.

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Residents were trapped in their flats when the fire broke out at the tower in Latimer Road, North Kensington, shortly before 1am on Wednesday morning. One local community leader fears nobody on the top three floors survived.

Witnesses described terrifying scenes as residents jumped from their flats and parents threw their children out of windows in a desperate bid to save them – with reports a baby thrown from the sixth floor was caught. Some used ropes made from knotted bedsheets to escape the flames and smoke.

Heroic firefighters who battled intense heat in the desperate rescue of people from the Grenfell Tower blaze will be offered counselling to help them cope with the trauma of what they saw.

Hundreds of London’s firefighters battled through flames and thick smoke – many running up stairs as families fled – in a heroic attempt to save those trapped in their homes.

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And fire commissioner Dany Cotton says the brave crews will be offered counselling to help them cope with the tragedy.

He said: “I’m more concerned longer term about the mental impact on a lot of people who were here, people saw and heard things on scale they have never seen before.

“Going forward one of my main concerns about my firefighters is about their mental well being , and about doing trauma and care counselling for them.”

GRENFELL

The cause of the fire is not known at this stage, says the London Fire Brigade.

Meanwhile the PM  Theresa May paid a private visit to the scene of the disaster this morning and artist Adele attended a Virgil held at the scene last night

2 WOOLWICH, LONDON WOMEN WHO SCAMMED MEN OUT OF £100K CONVICTED OF ONLINE DATING FRAUD

An online dating fraudster from Woolwich scammed more than £100,000 from at least seven men, and police believe she may have targeted even more.

Grace Akintaro, 24, of Pettacre Close, found her victims on the Match dating website using the alias Amanda Jenson.

The men who contacted her thought they had found the love of their lives, but instead were bombarded with repeated requests for money.

They were asked to cover her travel costs so they could meet up, paying the money directly into her bank account, but “Amanda” never appeared.

Various excuses were given to explain why Amanda couldn’t meet them on that date, followed by more requests for money for travel expenses and more excuses why she didn’t appear again.

None of the men ever ended up meeting Amanda, despite transferring thousands of pounds into her bank account.

As well as travel costs, the men were also asked for other short term loans to pay for rent or other costs and would be given different bank account details they were told belonged to her mother or landlord.

Fake documents were used to provide evidence that Amanda Jenson was due to receive an inheritance from a relative and would then be able to pay the money back.

Amongst her victims include a man who had been tricked into handing over more than £46,000, and another who sent money from his wife’s death in service insurance policy from her employer.

Others lost proportions of their pension and another took out an equity release on his house.

All the men ceased contact with Amanda after it became apparent they would never meet her and were unlikely ever to receive their money back.

Police were alerted to the fraud after receiving information from four different men from across the UK saying they had been part of a romance scam. Three further victims of Akintaro’s scam were found as part of the investigation.

Most of the bank accounts involved in the fraud had an address of Pettacre Close, Woolwich, where Akintaro lived.

In total, Akintaro received £104,962.88 into accounts she directly controlled from August 2014 to December 2015.

As for Amanda Jenson, police could find no evidence that this person existed, and the picture Akintaro used on Match appeared to be of a woman who has no idea this fake profile exists.

Another woman, 22-year-old Victoria Nwogu, of Piedmont Road in Plumstead, received £3,490 into accounts she controlled as part of this scam.

Akintaro pleaded guilty to seven counts of fraud, while Nwogu pleaded guilty to money laundering, at Woolwich Crown Court yesterday, June 12.

 

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Grace Akintaro and Victoria Nwogu SCAMMED men out of over £104,000 in online dating scam

 

The women will both be sentenced at the same court on June 20.

Detective Constable Mark Cresswell said: “We managed to identify seven victims of this fraud but I suspect there are many more who have not contacted police.

 

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