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Russia bombs Ukraine as Putin declares war on neighbour

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Russia launches ‘full-scale invasion’ in Ukraine

Russian forces have unleashed an attack of Ukraine on the orders of Vladimir Putin, who announced a “special military operation” at dawn, amid warnings from world leaders that it could spark the biggest war in Europe since 1945.

Within minutes of Putin’s short televised address, at about 5am Ukrainian time, explosions were heard near major Ukrainian cities, including the capital Kyiv.

The scope of the Russian attack appears to be massive.

Ukraine’s interior ministry reported that the country was under attack from cruise and ballistic missiles, with Russia appearing to target infrastructure near major cities such as Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol and Dnipro.

Explosions from artillery rockets lit up the night sky as shelling began near Mariupol, video showed.

A senior adviser to Ukraine’s interior ministry said that it appeared Russian troops may soon move on Kharkiv, which is about 20 miles from the border.

Locals in Kyiv sought safety in bomb shelters as explosions were heard outside the city.

Air raid sirens sounded over the capital and residents of Kharkiv sheltered in the city’s metro, scenes that haven’t been seen in those cities since 1941.

“Putin has just launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine,” said Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba.

“Peaceful Ukrainian cities are under strikes. This is a war of aggression. Ukraine will defend itself and will win. The world can and must stop Putin. The time to act is now.”

In a bid to justify the attack, Putin claimed “A hostile anti-Russia is being created on our historic lands.”

“We have taken the decision to conduct a special military operation,” he said, in what amounted to a declaration of war. He claimed it was for the “demilitarisation and denazification” of Ukraine, echoing a theme of Kremlin propaganda, the false claim that the Kyiv government is controlled by the far right.

“We do not intend to occupy Ukraine,” he said, and he had a chilling warning for other nations.

“To anyone who would consider interfering from the outside: if you do, you will face consequences greater than any you have faced in history. All relevant decisions have been taken. I hope you hear me,” he said.

As Putin was speaking and the first detonations were being reported, the UN security council was holding an emergency session, chaired by Russia itself, which holds the rotating presidency.

It was begun by the UN secretary general, António Guterres, who made a direct appeal: “President Putin – stop your troops from attacking Ukraine. Give peace a chance. Too many people have already died.”

Joe Biden issued a written statement saying: “The prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine tonight as they suffer an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces.

“President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering,” Biden said.

“Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable.”

Other world leaders also condemned the invasion. “I am appalled by the horrific events in Ukraine and I have spoken to President Zelenskyy to discuss next steps. President Putin has chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction by launching this unprovoked attack on Ukraine. The UK and our allies will respond decisively,” said Boris Johnson.

“We will hold the Kremlin accountable,” wrote Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the EU Commission, which had announced new sanctions against Moscow just hours before the attack.

The stage for the offensive was set on Thursday night, after the leaders of the two Russian-controlled territories in east Ukraine sent an official request to Moscow for military aid to “help repel the aggression of the Ukrainian armed forces in order to avoid civilian casualties and a humanitarian catastrophe in the Donbas”.

In response, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, used a video address to appeal to the Russian public for help after an attempt to speak to Putin was unsuccessful. “Do “Russians want wars? I would very much like to answer this question. But the answer is up to you,” he said.

He also vowed to defend the country, saying: “If someone attempts to take away our land, our freedom, our lives, the lives of our children, we will defend ourselves. By attacking, you will see our faces, not our backs, but our faces.”

 

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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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