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Nine dead as Storm Eunice batters Europe

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Storm Eunice killed at least nine people in Europe on Friday, pummelling Britain with record-breaking winds and forcing millions to take shelter as it disrupted flights, trains and ferries across Western Europe.

London was eerily empty after the British capital was placed under its first ever “red” weather warning, meaning there was “danger to life”. By nightfall, police there said a woman in her 30s had died after a tree fell on a car she was a passenger in.

Meanwhile a man in his 50s was also killed in northwest England after debris struck the windscreen of a vehicle he was travelling in, according to Merseyside Police.

Beyond Britain, falling trees killed three people in the Netherlands and a man in his 60s in southeast Ireland, while a Canadian man aged 79 died in Belgium, according to officials in each country.

A motorist was killed when their car crashed into a tree that had fallen across a road near Adorp in the Netherlands’ northern province of Groningen.

And in Germany, a motorist died after his car was hit by a tree near the town of Altenberge.

Dozens of homes were evacuated in The Hague amid fears a church steeple could collapse. Footage showed the steeple wobbling and a large piece of debris falling on a car.

As well as in London, the highest weather alert level was declared across southern England, South Wales and the Netherlands, with many schools closed and rail travel paralysed, as towering waves breached sea walls along the coasts.

Meanwhile Eunice’s winds knocked out power to more than 140,000 homes in England, mostly in the southwest, and 80,000 properties in Ireland, utility companies said.

Around London, three people were taken to hospital after suffering injuries in the storm, and a large section of the roof on the Millennium Dome was shredded by the gales.

One wind gust of 122 miles (196 kilometres) per hour was measured on the Isle of Wight off southern England, “provisionally the highest gust ever recorded in England”, the Met Office said.

At the Tan Hill Inn, Britain’s highest pub in Yorkshire, staff were busy preparing even if the winds remained merely blustery in the region of northern England.

“But with the snow coming in now, the wind’s increasing, we’re battening down the hatches, getting ready for a bad day and worse night,” pub maintenance worker Angus Leslie told AFP.

– ‘Sting jet’ -Scientists said the Atlantic storm’s tail could pack a “sting jet”, a rarely seen meteorological phenomenon that brought havoc to Britain and northern France in the “Great Storm” of 1987.

Eunice caused high waves to batter the Brittany coast in northwest France, while Belgium, Denmark and Sweden all issued weather warnings. Long-distance and regional trains were halted in northern Germany.

Ferries across the Channel, the world’s busiest shipping lane, were suspended, before the English port of Dover reopened in the late afternoon.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled or delayed at London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports and Schiphol in Amsterdam. One easyJet flight from Bordeaux endured two aborted landings at Gatwick — which saw wind gusts peak at 78 miles per hour — before being forced to return to the French city.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has placed the British army on standby, tweeted: “We should all follow the advice and take precautions to keep safe.”

Environment Agency official Roy Stokes warned weather watchers and amateur photographers against heading to Britain’s southern coastline in search of dramatic footage, calling it “probably the most stupid thing you can do”.

Climate impact?
London’s rush-hour streets, where activity has been slowly returning to pre-pandemic levels, were virtually deserted as many heeded government advice to stay at home.

Trains into the capital were already running limited services during the morning commute, with speed limits in place, before seven rail operators in England suspended all operations.

The London Fire Brigade declared a “major incident” after taking 550 emergency calls in just over two hours — although it complained that several were “unhelpful”, including one from a resident complaining about a neighbour’s garden trampoline blowing around.

The RAC breakdown service said it was receiving unusually low numbers of callouts on Britain’s main roads, indicating that motorists are “taking the weather warnings seriously and not setting out”.

The storm forced Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, to postpone a trip to South Wales on Friday “in the interests of public safety”, his office said Thursday.

Another storm, Dudley, had caused transport disruption and power outages when it hit Britain on Wednesday, although damage was not widespread.

Experts said the frequency and intensity of the storms could not be linked necessarily to climate change.

But Richard Allan, professor of climate science at the University of Reading, said a heating planet was leading to more intense rainfall and higher sea levels.

Therefore, he said, “flooding from coastal storm surges and prolonged deluges will worsen still further when these rare, explosive storms hit us in a warmer world”.

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2023: Buhari may meet Osinbajo, Tinubu, Amaechi, others

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President Muhammadu Buhari would this week meet with all the preidential aspirants of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

The meeting was called with a view to reducing the number of presidential hopefuls and also ensuring that all of them pledge to accept the outcome of the primary as was done during the APC presidential primary in 2014.

“The President will meet with the aspirants a few days to the primary with a view to ensuring that there is unity and harmony. He will also meet with the governors separately. The date is not fixed yet, but it should be this week if INEC doesn’t extend the deadline for the primary as we are all hoping,” said an APC chieftain who wished to remain anonymous.

“The President has a candidate. How to present the idea to the likes of Tinubu will be the challenge,” he added.

Buhari’s most senior spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, had said last week that the President indeed had a preferred candidate.

He stated, “In a previous interview when the President was asked whether he had a favourite candidate, he answered yes; but he will not mention him because mischief may happen to that person.

“That shows you that the President himself is interested in the process and he has a preferred candidate; but whether he will impose his candidate is what you cannot determine at the moment.”

When contacted on the telephone, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said he was not aware of any meeting the President would be having with the aspirants.

“I am not aware of any meeting as of now,” he said.

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Gunmen behead abducted Anambra lawmaker from Governor Soludo’s constituency, hang head in motor park

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Gunmen who abducted a member of the Anambra State House of Assembly, Okey Okoye, have beheaded him.

After beheading him, his head was reportedly displayed at a motor park in Nnobi, Idemili South Local Government Area of the state.

The incident, which happened on Saturday, created panic in the community, which had been witnessing a series of violent killings since last year.

Sources added that his body was not there and indications were that the killers removed the body.

“The Anambra lawmaker representing Soludo’s constituency, Okechukwu Okoye who was earlier kidnapped, has been beheaded by gunmen; the late lawmaker’s head was mounted at Chisco Park in Amichi community,” a military source said on Saturday.

Gunmen had last Sunday abducted the lawmaker who was representing Aguata II state constituency in Aguata alongside Cyril Chiegboka, his campaign director.

Governor Charles Soludo had said during the week that efforts were ongoing to rescue the Anambra lawmaker from his abductors.

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MC Oluomo allegedly demands N100million to support re-election of Oshodi Rep member

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Chairman of the Lagos State Parks Management Committee, Musiliu Akinsanya, popularly called MC Oluomo, is allegedly demanding N100 million to support the re-election of the member representing Oshodi Federal Constituency 1 in the House of Representatives, Hon. Bashiru Dawodu.

Dawodu, a medical doctor, rode on the back of MC Oluomo to win the election in 2019 after series of attempts in the past.

Dawodu presenting his Certificate of Return to MC Oluomo

Both, however, fell apart few months after Dawodu was elected due to irreconcilable differences .

MC Oluomo is said to be angry with Dawodu for not honouring agreements he (Dawodu) had with him prior to his victory in 2019.

MC Oluomo, who is seen as de-facto leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oshodi was said to have vowed to work against Dawodu’s re-election in 2023.

He is believed to be working for the emergence of a former Chairman of Oshodi/Isolo Local Government, Afeez Ipesa Balogun to emerge as the APC’s candidate for the House of Representatives election in the constituency.

However, party leaders in the local government including the Chairman of the council, Kehinde Oloyede Almoof had appealed to MC Oluomo to tone down his opposition to Dawodu and support his re-election.

It was gathered that MC Oluomo did not turn down the fence-mending approach because he said he did the same with Oloyede who was his former arch-enemy.

It was further gathered that MC Oluomo demanded N100 million from Dawodu before he gets his support.

The money according to MC Oluomo is to settle his aides and loyalists, who supported Dawodu in 2019 but were abandoned by the Rep member.

According to sources at the various fence-mending meeting, appeals to MC Oluomo to reduce the amount were rebuffed.

Another dimension has, however, been added to the involvement of Oloyede in the matter.

The sources revealed that the council chairman, Oloyede is supporting Dawood because of his own interest.

Oloyede has been eyeing the Rep seat before his election as the council chairman.

Oloyede’s calculation according to the sources is that should Dawood gets the second term, it would be easy for him (Oloyede) to contest for the seat in 2027.

One of the sources who does not want his name in print because of backlash said : “Oloyede is supporting Dawood because of his own personal interest. He believes supporting Dawood may work for him in 2027.

Continuing, the source noted that Oloyede would rather support Dawodu over any other candidates because others eyeing the seat are first timers, who may want to seek for re-election in 2027.

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