No fewer than three (3) people were confirmed dead and at least one hundred and fifty (150) were missing in northern India after a broken glacier caused a major river surge that swept away bridges and roads on Sunday, police said.
The massive burst of water tore through the Dhauliganga river valley, destroying everything in its path, videos taken by terrified residents showed.
Three bodies had been found and a desperate search was underway for more, police said, and efforts are underway to clear villages in the stricken region of Uttarakhand state.
“We have located at least three dead bodies on the river bed,” a police spokesperson in the state told AFP.
“Our last update puts the missing persons number at 150, and there are 16 or 17 persons trapped inside a tunnel.”
Most of those missing were at the Tapovan power plant next to a dam that was breached by the surge.
Emergency workers were desperately trying to reach about 17 people trapped inside a tunnel at the complex that had been filled with debris.
Scores of mobile phone videos shared on social media showed the massive burst of water tearing through a narrow valley below the power plant, leaving roads and bridges destroyed in its wake.
Most of the villages being evacuated are on hillsides overlooking the river, which is a tributary of the Ganges.
“The district administration, police department and disaster management have been ordered to deal with this disaster,” Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said on Twitter.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was monitoring the relief operation.
“India stands with Uttarakhand and the nation prays for everyone’s safety there,” he said on Twitter.
Authorities emptied two dams in a bid to stop the flood waters reaching the Ganges at the towns of Rishikesh and Haridwar, where authorities have barred people from going near the banks of the sacred river, officials said.
The flash floods have caused damage to a dam next to the Rishiganga power plant and other infrastructure, Neeru Garg, a senior police officer in the region, told AFP.
Tension as NURTW factions clash in Lagos
There was palpable tension in the early hours of Thursday at the Obalende axis of Lagos Island following violent clash between rival groups of National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW.
The fracas which recorded gunshots started around 8:00am and saw several persons who were heading for work scampering for safety.
The clash, as gathered also left some property including buses vandalized while pedestrian and vehicular movements were restricted in the area.
Police authorities, on Thursday, however said its operatives were on to address the situation.
‘We can’t solve insecurity challenges with criminality’- Makinde
Oyo state governor, Mr. Seyi Makinde emphasized that his administration would not try to solve the insecurity challenges in his state by backing those bent on taking laws into their hands or carrying out jungle justice against perceived wrongdoers.
The governor stated that instead of backing a venture that is capable of throwing the country into ethnic crisis, the end of which cannot be foreseen, his administration would rather continue to support the security agencies in the state to do their works effectively.
He stressed that his government would promote good neighbourliness by encouraging the residents of the state to live together in peace and to face their common enemies, who are criminals of all shades and tribes.
Governor Makinde also stated that the administration will continue to do its best to provide opportunities for the people, as that is another way to reduce the tension in the land, saying: “One of the things we found out is that opportunities are very limited at the top. We will continue to do our best to strive to expand our economy and provide opportunities for a whole lot of our people. And we believe when we do that, the tension will definitely go down.”
The governor stated these in Akure, while addressing a meeting of South-West governors, national leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association (MACBAN) and heads of security agencies on the insecurity challenges in the South-West geopolitical zone, held at the International Culture and Event Centre, Akure.
Speaking further, Makinde declares that his government had foreclosed the option of backing anyone taking up arms against other ethnic nationalities resident in the state in the name of seeking justice as, according to him, such a step would have dire consequences for the society.
He stated that if government encourages residents to mete out justice through self-help to any ethnic nationality, due to the excesses of some of its people, it would amount to solving criminality with criminality.
The meeting had in attendance Governors Rotimi Akeredolu, Kayode Fayemi and Gboyega Oyetola of Ondo, Ekiti and Osun states, while Governors Mohammed Badaru (Jigawa), and Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi) and the national leadership of MACBAN were also present.
According to Makinde, who maintained that a lot of people commenting on the security situation in Ibarapa had been displaying ignorance, his government would solve the insecurity challenge its own way by continuing to encourage residents of the state to work and live together and to face their common enemies, who are criminals, kidnappers, armed robbers and bandits from all tribes.
He added that all hands must be on deck to lawfully fight crimes, saying: “We will continue to promote good neighborliness among our people and we will ensure that all of us go after the criminals together.
“We will continue to support our security agencies because they are also trying to maintain law and order in an atmosphere of pandemic and economic challenges. We will continue to provide support for the security agencies for them to do their work.”
The governor equally warned Nigerians to deal with the menace of fake news and sieve information on social media properly, noting that the rate at which fake news is being circulated portends great danger to the society.
Makinde warned against some elements seeking political powers at all costs, who he said, have resorted to misinforming the public and causing division among them, calling on such persons to desist from the path, as it is capable of causing tension in the country.
He said: “I can tell you for a fact that when the Kisi area of Oyo State, which shares international border with Republic of Benin was invaded, all hands were on deck. MACBAN, Operation Burst, local hunters and the communities all worked together to clear the bush.
“During my electioneering, a major decision I was going to take was to scrap all the LCDAs in Oyo State and stick with only the LGAs that are known to the constitution of Nigeria. During the campaign, all the people I met at a particular LCDA (I think it is Oriire South) were Fulanis. And they told me I should not scrap the LCDA because it was the only LCDA dominated by the Fulani people.
“After I got elected, I decided I would not scrap the LCDAs again. I didn’t get such knowledge by sitting in the armchair in my house but by going out into the field and interacting with the people.
“So, when people talk, you wonder if they have done any kind of comparison with what has happened elsewhere in the world. What are we going to do moving forward in Oyo State? Well, the first thing I will say is to tell you the things that we will not do; we will not use criminality to solve another criminality, because of the unintended consequences of such an action; nobody can predict where it will end.
“Once you are drawn out to support criminality, you don’t know where it is going to end. So, what we are going to do is to continue to encourage our people to work together; to face our common enemies – the criminals, the kidnappers, the armed robbers and the bandits. Those are our common enemies.”
He equally charged his colleague governors and others in positions of leadership not to be tired or to relent, saying: “I want to end by saying that our leaders should not be tired. They will abuse us but we should continue to strive to provide the leadership that this country requires at this point in time.”
While speaking earlier, the MACBAN Secretary, Alhaji Baba Othman Ngelzarma, who noted that the Miyetti Allah was meeting the South-West governors on the escalating crisis between herders and farmers, said the body will continue to encourage herders in the Southern part of the country to live in peace and eschew criminality.
At the end of the meeting, it was resolved, among other things, that night grazing and grazing by underage children would stop henceforth.
Oyo: ‘Most okada riders are spying for bandits, foreign kidnappers’ – Amotekun boss hints
The Chairman, South-Western Security Network codenamed ‘Amotekun’ in Oyo State, Col. Kunle Togun on Monday hinted that most commercial motorcyclists in the State are spies for kidnappers and bandits that have entered the Yoruba land from the porous borders of Nigeria.
Col. Togun informed that the foreigners who were ferried inside trailers into Oyo State among other States during the Covid-19 lockdown could not speak any Nigerian language but French whenever accosted by his men.
He averred that the warning from the State governor to traditional chiefs to stop allocating lands to herdsmen with no papers showing Nigerian nationality would go a long way to stem the spate of killing and kidnapping in Yorubaland.
The Amotekun boss who was responding to questions from reporters at his office in the State Secretariat at Agodi on Monday, said the greedy nature of some traditional and community leaders in many Yoruba towns led to high rate of insecurity, which he claimed the security outfit has been curbing.
He said, “Before Amotekun was established, the problem of Yorubaland since the invasion of the land by these herdsmen has been our traditional chiefs and leaders in Yorubaland, they take money, cows and cars from these people, and allow them to settle and wreak havoc in their domains.
“I have attended meetings of Obas in Oke-Ogun and I told them to stop giving lands to foreigners, these herdsmen are called Bororos in Oke-Ogun and Ibarapa areas, they are not Nigerians, what is happening should not be analysed in the area of religion, it is territorial expansion.
“Their leaders argue about the ECOWAS Free Movement law, but the one I am aware of is that anybody from ECOWAS country can go into another ECOWAS country without visa but you cannot stay there for more than ninety days at a stretch, some of these people have been occupying our land for years and they are not Nigerians.
“Most of them that were dumped here by trailers during the Covid-19 lockdown have turned to Okada riders, many are carrying wheelbarrows all over the place, selling carrots, orange and the rest, the Okada riders are their spies, we have noted that and we are working on government policy that will curtail the use of these people to foment crisis in Oyo State and the Yorubaland as a whole”.
Togun noted that Nigerians are the most security unconscious people in the world as he added that even the neighboring Benin Republic has a database and is more secure because according to him, security is supposed to be everybody’s business.
He said those that expected Amotekun to fail in Oyo State should be ashamed as the outfit would continue to be the pride of all Yoruba people at home and in the diaspora, urging the people of the State to continue to put their trust and support in the outfit.
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