Four People Stabbed To Death In London ON New Year’s Eve

Four people were reportedly stabbed to death in unrelated incidents in London on New Year’s Eve. A fifth victim is said to be in a critical condition in the hospital.

The unusually concentrated spate of violence adds to the growing concerns about knife crime in London which is at its highest level for five years.  At least 80 people were killed in stabbings in London in 2017, more than half of them under the age of 25.

Detectives launched four separate murder investigations into the overnight attacks, which took place away from the city centre, where more than 100,000 people had gathered to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks and five men have been arrested, police said.

“It is heart-breaking that, at a time when so many of us are contemplating what lies ahead in 2018, four families are dealing with the grief of losing a loved one to senseless violence and the callous use of knives as lethal weapons,” said police commander Neil Jerome.

Police registered almost 12,100 knife attacks in London in the year to March 2017, which left more than 4,400 people injured the highest figures in five years.

 

SGF Visits Ekwueme In London Hospital

The newly appointed Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha has visited Dr. Alex Ekwueme in his London hospital.

Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja on Monday.

Shehu said that the SGF, who was in London before Dr Ekwueme’s arrival, was received by his wife, Mrs Helen Ekwueme, on behalf of the Ekwueme family.

Mustapha told the Ekwueme family that the President and Nigerians were praying for his speedy recovery, adding that he believed that the doctors were doing their best.

Shehu said that the SGF, who was in London before Dr Ekwueme’s arrival, was received by his wife, Mrs Helen Ekwueme, on behalf of the Ekwueme family.

Mustapha told the Ekwueme family that the President and Nigerians were praying for his speedy recovery, adding that he believed that the doctors were doing their best.

President Buhari had approved immediate medical treatment of the former vice president outside the country, following a brief he received over his health condition.

Ekwueme, had collapsed in his Enugu residence few weeks ago.

Osinbajo in London for FT’s Africa Summit

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will leave for London this Saturday and return on Monday after delivering the keynote address at this year’s Africa Summit, with the theme “What Makes Africa Work, ” his spokesman, Mr Laolu Akande has revealed.

Akande said the summit would attract global leaders, economic experts, investors and intellectuals from Africa and around the world.

“Osinbajo will discuss the increasing economic prospects in Africa and detail the progress of the Buhari administration, especially through the Federal Government’s medium-term Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), to the global audience.

“The summit which will also include presentations from other leaders and speakers will feature first-hand experiences and interactions from government and business leaders in the continent while providing credible opportunities and encouraging foreign investments.

“So far, the yearly event has become a platform for the dissemination of a more accurate and beneficial narrative of the improving economic environment in Africa’’, he said.

Boko Haram: UK Committed To The Fight Against Terrorism

Joe Abuku, the Press and Public Affairs Officer, British High Commission to Nigeria and issued in Maiduguri assured Nigerians that The United Kingdom (UK) has reaffirmed its commitment to helping Nigeria succeed in its fight against terror.

The statement is coming after the official visit of the UK Minister for the Armed Forces, Nark Lancaster. Abuku quoted Lancaster as saying that the visit was a testimony to the strong defence relationship between the two countries. He added that the UK would continue to support and cooperate with Nigeria to fight international terrorism.

According to him, Nigeria is a key partner of the UK in West Africa. The visit has, he said, had facilitated discussion on how the two countries could continue to work together to meet the complex challenges facing them.

“The UK stands united with Nigeria in the international fight against terror. With our world class military expertise, we are helping the Nigerian military develop the skills necessary to tackle the threat of Boko Haram.

“From expert operational guidance and medical mentoring in the North East, to counter explosive device training across the country, the UK is leading the way in its commitment to supporting a safe and stable Nigeria,” Lancaster was quoted as saying.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Lancaster visited military formations in Makurdi and Kaduna, where he met personnel providing expert training to the Nigerian Armed Forces through the resident British Military Advisory and Training Team (BMATT).

The minister also met with UK personnel in the Liaison and Support Team (LST) based in the Northeast.

“The LST provides non-lethal operational advice and guidance to the Nigerian Armed Forces as they tackle the terror threat of Boko Haram.

“Courses and training packages delivered to date have covered topics including infantry skills and tactics, response to terrorist attacks, bomb scene management and airfield defence, operational planning and leadership, enabling the Nigerian military to tackle terrorist threats more effectively and better defend the provision of humanitarian relief.

“Over 40 UK personnel are deployed on an enduring basis in country to coordinate training and advisory support.

“The UK is not only increasing counter-terrorism cooperation with Nigerian partners, but British military personnel are also working alongside US and German allies in a multinational effort to step up counter improvised explosive device support.

“Alongside France and the US, the UK is assisting in regional coordination and intelligence sharing arrangements between Nigeria and its neighbours, with a small number of UK personnel deployed alongside the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) headquarters in N’Djamena, Chad.

“The UK was one of the first donors to support the MNJTF, with £5 million to help equip the force.

“Almost 700 UK military personnel have deployed on a range of short term training tasks in support of the BMATT since early 2015, many from 7 Infantry Brigade (the famous Desert Rats), and the RAF Regiment which is helping to develop its Nigerian counterpart.

“Over 28,500 members of the Nigerian military have received UK training and Defence education in this time.

“The UK remains committed to strengthening its strategic partnership with Nigeria, and will continue to deliver world class training to help the Nigerian military adapt to meet the modern security challenges facing the country”.

Lancaster also visited the headquarters of Operation Lafiya Dole at the Maimalari Cantonment, Maiduguri.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.- Gen. Tukur Buratai, who received him, said the visit was commendable as the cooperation between Nigeria, UK and international community had contributed significantly to the success recorded against Boko Haram.

He called for closer collaboration between Nigeria and the UK in the areas of training and intelligence gathering to ensure a successful campaign against terrorism.

Ex-Kaduna Governor Muhammed Dies In London Hospital

Mouktar Muhammed, one time governor of Kaduna state and retired senior military officer is dead.

The retired air vice marshal, died Sunday, October 1.

His death was announced through a Facebook post by his younger brother, Faruk Dalhatu.

According to him, my brother died in a London hospital.

The former governor was said to have died of cancer.

He was the first governor of Kaduna state after its creation in 1977 by the military administration of Olusegun Obasanjo.

Mouktar Muhammed earlier served as the minister of Housing, Urban Development and Environment from 1976 to 1977, following the coup that brought Murtala Mohammed to power.

He was the head of one of the military tribunals that tried and sentenced second republic politicians suspected of corruption under the military administration of Muhammadu Buhari, from 1983 to 1985 to decades in prison.

He spearheaded activities of The Buhari Organisation (TBO) from 2002.

Last year, he was named as chairman of the governing council of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

He held the title of Wazirin Dutse until his death and was deputy chairman of the Board of Trustees of Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF.

He was also chairman of Kano-based Freedom Radio.

World’s Most Expensive Embassy In London Costs $1 Billion

Osun Defender has learnt that the American Embassy in London is the most expensive in the world and includes safety features like a small moat. According to reports the structure cost $1 billion and would supposedly set a glittering jewel in the crown of American presence abroad, even as soaring deficits and unemployment continue to threaten the economy at home.

American diplomats will be trading their prime real estate near London’s luxurious Mayfair for a spot along the Thames in the industrial neighborhood Battersea. The move has been motivated by security concerns and overall decay at the current site, said U.S. Ambassador Louis Susman.

“We will replace our current embassy, which has become over-crowded, does not meet modern office needs and required security standards, and after 50 years is showing signs of wear and tear,” he said in prepared statements.

The current U.S. Embassy was designed in the 1950s by the American architect Eero Saarinen, who eschewed his usual soaring modernism to create the blocky and much-derided structure that opened in 1960.

The new embassy, designed by the Philadelphia-based firm KieranTimberlake, features far more amenities in its 500,000 square feet, including lofted halls and beaming “light art,” a bit of aesthetic diplomacy the State Department hopes will be more popular than the old embassy’s ominous bald eagle sculpture that has glared down at passing Londoners for 50 years.

And it is Britons who may be benefiting most from the new construction, said Williams, who did not expect to see many jobs created for struggling American workers in the massive project.

The State Department’s Bureau of Overseas Building did not respond to e-mail and phone requests for comment.

The new crystal fortress would be the most expensive embassy ever built, easily topping America’s sprawling compound in Iraq, which cost taxpayers some $700 million and was completed over-budget and years behind schedule. A new embassy in Pakistan is projected to cost $850 million.

 

Rescue Mission: Over 600,000 Londoners Sign Petition To Save Uber

Following the Transport Agency in London’s declaration of Uber being unfit to work in the country’s capital and stripping it of ot’s work licence, at least 600,000 people have signed a petition calling for Transport for London to reverse its decision.

20,000 Uber drivers have emailed the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who defended TfL’s decision on Saturday amid a growing backlash. “I know that Uber has become a popular service for many Londoners – but it would be wrong for TfL to license Uber if there was any way this could pose a threat to Londoners’ safety,” Khan said.

“As mayor of London I welcome innovative new companies that help Londoners by providing a better and more affordable service – but providing an innovative service is not an excuse for not following the rules. All companies in London must play by the rules and adhere to the high standards we expect – particularly when it comes to safety.”

According to reports Unions and Labour MPs have welcomed the decision. Wes Streeting, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on taxis, described it as a “courageous” move.

He said: “It finally draws a line in the sand to make it clear that no company, however big and powerful, will be allowed to flout our laws and regulations or jeopardise Londoners’ safety without facing serious consequences.”

But an increasing number of customers have expressed dismay at the news. Saturday night the Save Your Uber in London campaign on the Change.org website had gained nearly 600,000 signatures.

“That is the fastest-growing petition we’ve seen in the UK this year,” Kajal Odedra, UK director at Change.org, said.

TfL took the decision not to renew Uber’s licence for security and safety reasons. But the company, which intends to appeal, is puzzled as to why these issues were not raised during the renewal process. Uber passed its annual compliance audit in April but a series of pre-scheduled meetings with TfL were cancelled. Requests to meet Khan were also rejected.

Khan said: “I have every sympathy with Uber drivers and customers, affected by this decision but their anger really should be directed at Uber. They have let down their drivers and customers by failing, in the view of TfL, to act as a fit and proper operator.”

The mayor did, though, hint that a compromise could still be on the cards.

“I suspect it will take some time before this situation with Uber fully plays out,” Khan said. “In the meantime, I will continue to help support innovative businesses in London and to create a vibrant and safe taxi and private hire market.”

The former transport minister Lord Adonis tweeted that there was a need to find a way forward short of banning Uber. “On Uber, right course is for TfL to set out precisely & reasonably what Uber needs to do & give them chance to do it. Then happy Londoners,” he wrote.

Uber’s new chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, used a global email to staff to warn that TfL’s decision could “have profound negative consequences for the 40,000 drivers who depend on Uber for work and the 3.5 million Londoners who rely on Uber to get around”.

“It’s particularly discouraging that this is happening in the UK, where the team has led the way on partnerships to increase the number of wheelchair-accessible and electric vehicles on the road,” Khosrowshahi said.

He acknowledged that globalised businesses could not ignore what happened at the local level: “It really matters what people think of us, especially in a global business like ours, where actions in one part of the world can have serious consequences in another.”

Nigeria Gets Another Exemption From Oil Cut

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Non-OPEC countries have approved Nigeria’s exemption from oil production cuts.

A statement by the Director, Press Relations, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Mr Idang Alibi, said the endorsement was given by at a meeting of OPEC’s Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee on Friday in Vienna.

Nigeria was first granted production cuts at the November, 2016 Ministerial Conference and this was later extended in May at another Ministerial Conference, until the country stabilizes its crude oil production.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, said though Nigeria’s production recovery efforts had made some appreciable progress from October, 2016, it was not yet ”out of the woods”.

The statement quoted Kachikwu, who was at the Vienna meeting, as saying that though Nigeria hit 1.8 million barrels production per day in August, it was not enough justification for call by some countries for Nigeria “to be brought into the fold”.

”Nigeria as one of the older members of OPEC will continue to work for the good of the organisation and its member countries, respecting whatever agreements and resolutions are collectively made.

”Nigeria will be prepared to cap its crude production when it has stabilized at 1.8 million barrels per day,” he said.

The meeting noted that overall compliance by OPEC and Non-OPEC participating countries to the Agreement on oil production cut for August was 116 per cent, the highest since the agreement in January, 2017.

It said that the objectives of the accord were steadily being achieved with the gradual draw-down of inventories by nearly 50 per cent since the agreement came into effect.

Buhari Travels to London Next Week – Presidency

After attending the United Nation’s General Assembly in New York where he will deliver the national statement, President Buhari will travel to London on his way back to Nigeria.

This is according to the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina. In a statement by Adesina, “President Buhari will join other world leaders at the welcoming reception to be hosted by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, and also hold a bilateral meeting with the UN scribe.

“Equally, the Nigerian leader will hold a lunch meeting with President Donald Trump of the United States of America, along with other world leaders.”

During the General Assembly, Nigeria will participate in high level meetings on ‘Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse: Building Momentum for Change,’ the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, a High Level Event organises by the African Union under its theme of the year: ‘Roadmap on the Demographic Dividend: from Commitment to Action,’ among others.

It added, “Nigeria’s commitment to global peace, security and development will also be reaffirmed and where necessary, the need for increased international cooperation in the fight against corruption.

“Other priorities for the Nigerian delegation at UNGA 72 include strengthening human rights institutions; the rule of law; support for Internally Displaced Persons as a result of terrorist acts and recent flooding, and mitigating the effects of climate change.

“The Nigerian delegation will also canvass the support of UN member states for the Buhari administration’s efforts towards combating illicit financial flows in order to foster sustainable development.”

The President will be accompanied by the governors of Zamfara, Ebonyi and Ondo states, and key cabinet ministers.

Passenger’s Suffer Burn From Underground Train Explosion

Several passengers have been seen ‘badly burn’ following a possible explosion from an underground train in London, eyewitnesses said on Friday, as emergency services said they were responding to an “incident”.

Witnesses on the scene reported seeing passengers who had suffered facial burns and had hair coming off, with at least two women seen being treated by medics amid scenes of panic during rush hour.

“Explosion on Parsons Green District Line train. The fireball flew down the carriage and we just jumped out the open door,” said Twitter user @Rrigs, who posted pictures of a white bucket smouldering on the train.

The bucket looked like the type used by builders and there appeared to be cables coming out of it.

 “We are aware of an incident at Parsons Green tube station. Officers are in attendance,” London’s Metropolitan Police said on Twitter.

The station was closed, as well as an entire section of the District Line where it is located and police urged people to stay away from the area.

Metro.co.uk reporter at the scene was quoted by the paper as saying that some passengers were “really badly burned” and their “hair was coming off”.

The incident comes after a series of terror attacks that have rocked Britain this year, killing dozens of people and injuring hundreds, putting the capital on high alert.

British Foreign Secretary and former London mayor Boris Johnson appealed for calm.

“I’m afraid my information is limited and it really is important not to speculate at the moment,” he told Sky News.

“Obviously, everybody should keep calm and go about their lives in a normal way, as normal as they possibly can,” he said.

– ‘Covered in blood’ –

Passengers described chaotic scenes at the station in a leafy and normally quiet part of west London.

“There was panic, lots of people shouting, screaming, lots of screaming,” Richard Aylmer-Hall, 52, a media technology consultant, told the Press Association.

“There was a woman on the platform who said she had seen a bag, a flash, and a bang, so obviously something had gone off,” he said, adding that “some people got pushed over and trampled on.

“I saw two women being treated by ambulance crews,” he said.

BBC correspondent Riz Lateef, who was on her way to work, said there was “panic as people rushed from the train, hearing what appeared to be an explosion.

“People were left with cuts and grazes from trying to flee the scene. There was lots of panics.”

One passenger, named only as Lucas, told BBC 5 Live radio: “I heard a really loud explosion”.

“I saw people with minor injuries, burnings to the face, arms, legs, multiple casualties,” he said.

Another witness, Sham, told the radio station he had seen a man with blood all over his face.

“There were a lot of people limping and covered in blood,” he said.

Emergency services said they were called at around 8:20 am (0720 GMT).

Natasha Wills, assistant director of operations at London Ambulance Service said: “Our initial priority is to assess the level and nature of injuries”.

She said the ambulance service had sent “multiple resources” to the station, including a hazardous area response team.

Nigerian Doctor And wife In London Charged For Human Trafficking

A Nigerian doctor and her husband have been accused of trafficking a Nigerian woman to the UK before making her work 18-hour shifts and beating her when she asked for higher wages.

Dr. Ayodeji Adewakun, 44, and Abimbola Adewakun, 48, are alleged to have paid babysitter Iyabo Olatunji, just £20 a week for looking after their two young children at home in Erith, south east London.
Ms. Olatunji, 37, told Southwark Crown Court on Monday, May 8th, that she was also made to work long arduous days cleaning their house before staying late and cooking the couple dinner. She claims that when she asked for higher wages and was slapped by the couple.
The couple allegedly persuaded Iyambo Olatunji to leave her home in Nigeria to look after their two young children at their three-bedroom home in Erith, southeast London, in 2004. Ms. Olatunji, who had worked as a secretary for the local government in Nigeria, was forced to work 18-hour shifts cleaning the house and to share a bed with the youngest child. She also worked for Mr. Adewakun’s pastor father as a househelp in the 1990s.

Ms Olatunji, who did not have her own bank account, was originally promised a £450 monthly salary over a 15-month period, jurors heard.She told the court Ayodeji, or ‘Aunty Ayo’, ‘said she would look after me’.

She told the court Ayodeji, or ‘Aunty Ayo’, ‘said she would look after me’.

“She said I would be fine. She said she would pay me money, a salary. The salary would have been higher than the one I was earning in the local government.”

The Kent-based doctor promised her new childminder £450 per month in a contract signed by the couple and Ms. Olatunji which also set out a range of terms and conditions of her employment which began when she arrived in February 2004.
They included caring for couple’s two young children ‘at times agreed in advance’ during working hours ‘stipulated as Monday to Saturday’ six days per week between 7am and 5pm.
Ms Olatunji denied she was made aware of any duties expected of her outside of her babysitting role and added that she had never even had a bank account set up for her to receive her wages into.
‘I told Aunty Ayo ‘I do not have one’ but she just said ‘I have plans for you’,’ she added.
She said Ayodeji’s brother accompanied her to the British Embassy in Nigeria to get her passport and held onto it until they landed in the UK.
When she first arrived at the three-bedroom house she met the couple’s Hungarian au pair who showed her the children’s nursery, school and local park before leaving a week later with ‘a bad attitude’.
Jurors heard Dr Adewakun spotted Ms Olatunji chatting to the au pair and raged ‘Are you listening to her? She is not happy you are here because she is leaving.
“She is not a good au pair.” he said.
The court heard Ms Olatunji, who came to the UK with just five Nigerian Naira in her pocket, was not even treated to a t-shirt she liked during a family holiday to Euro Disney.
On their return, she claimed she was made to get up at 6am to get the children fed and off to school before tidying the home during the day and preparing meals for the evening.
“I am not sleeping at 8pm or 9pm – it is midnight,”said Ms Olatunji.
She recalled that the doctor and her husband sometimes did not return home from work until well after 10pm.
“Sometimes she would speak nicely to me – 25% nice to me, 75% anger,’ Ms Olatunji said. “She did not pay me. Both of them did not pay me, they just gave me £20 on Friday
She was even told a landline call to her parents back home was ‘too expensive’ and spent some of her wages on Africa Tel calling cards.
Ms Olatunji said she was slapped three times by the doctor when she asked for more money.
The first occasion, coinciding with her birthday, was documented in a diary she kept, which also detailed the lax payment schedule. Jurors heard the babysitter wrote:
“Aunty fight with me today.She slapped my face twice.. The day I will never forget in my life – the first time in history that somebody has slapped my face.”
Ms Olatunji claimed she was assaulted again twice before she reported her situation to Mrs Adewakun’s mother.
Dr Adewakun and her husband Abimbola, both deny obtaining services by deception and trafficking a person into the UK for exploitation.
Mrs Adewakun further denies assaulting Ms Olatunji and two further counts of fraud and trafficking a person into the UK for exploitation in relation to a second victim.
The trial continues.