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QUEEN’S FUNERAL: UK KEEPS NIGERIAN VISA CENTRES OPEN

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Queen Elizabeth II

The British High Commission offices in Abuja, Lagos and other locations in Nigeria will be closed on Monday, September 19, as the United Kingdom buries Queen Elizabeth II in London.

The announcement was contained in a statement posted on the official Twitter page of the United Kingdom in Nigeria, @UKinNigeria, on Friday.

The tweet, however, stated that the UK visa application centres in Abuja and Lagos would not be affected by the closure.

The statement read, “Our British High Commission offices in Abuja, Lagos and across the country will be closed on Monday, September 19, 2022 in observance of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral. UK visa application centres in Abuja & Lagos remain open. God save the King!”

Queen Elizabeth II died at the age of 96 on Thursday, September 8, 2022.

In announcing the death of the monarch on the day of her demise, the Royal Family had said in a statement, “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.

“The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”

The Queen’s children – Charles, 73; Princess Anne, 72; Prince Andrew, 62; and Prince Edward, 58, had flocked to her Scottish Highland retreat, Balmoral.

They were joined by Charles’s sons, Prince William, and his estranged brother, Prince Harry.

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DEADLY CROWD CRUSH DURING SALE OF SEIZED RICE IN NIGERIA

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Bags of confiscated rice for sale are seen in Lagos, Nigeria, in this photo shared by Nigeria Customs services on February 23, 2024. From Nigeria Customs servicesCNN — 

There was a deadly crowd crush during the sale of seized rice in Nigeria. The Nigeria Customs Service says it is investigating reports people were trampled to death during a sale of bags of confiscated rice amid growing anger over skyrocketing prices of food in Africa’s most populous country.

“There was a chaotic situation caused by the impatience of people to follow the laid down procedures and rules that were set up for the exercise,” spokesperson for the service, Abdullahi Maiwada told CNN on Saturday. “I can neither confirm or deny any deaths but we are investigating,” he added.

Long queues have formed outside the Lagos customs office since the commencement of the sale as thousands of locals struggle to grab a bag of the 25-kilogram rice selling at a discounted price of 10,000 naira ($6.80).

Some eyewitnesses said they saw people “trampled to death” Friday.

“A man just died in my hospital, he was stamped on after falling at the custom office trying to get rice. He was on the queue with his wife when he fell down and couldn’t get up on time which resulted to people stamping on him. So sad. Survived by very young children,” said one Nigerian doctor on X.

Last week, anti-government protests broke out in parts of the West African nation as the country battles one of its worst cost-of-living crisis that has seen inflation accelerate to nearly 30% – the highest in 30 years.

The local currency has also significantly depreciated, losing over half its value to the US dollar following its second devaluation in less than a year.

More than 80 million Nigerians live on less than $2 a day, representing “the world’s second-largest poor population after India”, according to the World Bank.

The customs service said the distribution of the seized bags of rice was part of the government’s plan “to tackle the pressing issue of food insecurity.”

The cost of rice, a staple food in Nigeria, has surged in recent months. It is now priced at over N70,000 ($47.60) per 50kg bag, compared to a range of 45,000 to 50,000 naira previously.

The customs service says it has been confiscating contraband rice from smugglers following restrictions on foreign rice imports by the Nigerian government.

Analysts welcomed the rice distribution initiative but questioned its viability in tackling Nigeria’s worsening food insecurity.

“Interventions in terms of food supply look like a good idea but there should have been a policy rolled out to define how this will happen,” political analyst Sam Amadi told CNN.

“There is some distribution in Lagos now, what about other parts of the country? Is it just a Lagos intervention? Is it going to be a one-off, or a consistent sharing and does it have the potential to make some impact?” he asked, adding that “there is a lack of intelligible criteria and framework.”

Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu, who has faced criticism over the spike in the prices of goods and services said he is “dedicated to evolving home-grown solutions to tackle our nation’s food security challenges head-on.”

His government came under fire last November over a budget that allocated funds for purchasing SUV vehicles for the presidency, amounting to N2.9 billion ($3.6 million), and to cover the cost of renovating the president’s residential quarters, estimated at N4 billion ($5 million) as the country grapples with mounting debts.

Tinubu said he trusts the country’s central bank to fix the issue of the plummeting local currency.

The Lagos government said Thursday it was rolling out plans to address the food crisis in the state. Its governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu announced the opening of special markets “across the state to sell food items at really affordable rates.”

“We aim to serve over 500,000 Lagosians with essential food items at rates that defy inflation” in addition to the construction of food hubs, Sanwo-Olu added.

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DOZENS OF HAMAS TERRORISTS SURRENDER TO ISRAELI SOLDIERS

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Dozens of Hamas terrorists surrendered to Israeli force s in northern Gaza Thursday, Dec. 7, according to reports.

The Hamas terrorists turned themselves in after being pushed back by the advancing Israel Defense Forces near Jabaliya, the Times of Israel reports.

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Photos show dozens of alleged Hamas terrorists lined up on a street, sitting in rows with their hands over their heads.

The men were stripped to just their underwear as the IDF troops lined them up.

In one clip, the dozens of Hamas members could be seen in the back of an Israeli military vehicle.

Channel 13 reporter Almog Boker estimated that more than a hundred Hamas fighters turned themselves in, the largest group to surrender to the IDF since Israel began its incursion into the Palestinian enclave.

However, Israel’s Kan News reported that the group of men were detained before the IDF could verify whether they were all in fact members of Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The New Arab, a Qatari-owned news outlet based in London, alleged that one of the men seen in the footage was Diaa Al-Kahlot, one of its correspondents reporting from Gaza.

Senior Hamas leader Osama Hamdan claimed that the people arrested in the video were unarmed civilians who were not affiliated with the terror group, Arabic broadcaster Al Araby reports.

The IDF has yet to comment on the arrests in Jabaliya.

Many watchers of the ongoing situation in Gaza had always believed it was a matter of time before the Hamas terrorists began to be captured or surrender in their numbers.

Hamas is already claiming the dozens of alleged Hamas terrorists rounded up were not it’s members. Before now, people have been wondering why upon all the footages of the war in Gaza most pro Hamas media organisations have been portraying most graphically, no wounded or killed Hamas combatants have been shown.

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MAN EATEN ALIVE AFTER JUMPING INTO TIGER CAGE IN PAKISTANI ZOO

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Joe Exotic in Tiger King

A zoo in Pakistan has been shut down after a man was mauled to death by tigers in an attack discovered during routine cleaning, officials said Thursday. The body was found on Wednesday morning in Bahawalpur’s Sherbagh Zoo in the eastern province of Punjab after staff spotted one of the three tigers with a shoe…

A zoo in Pakistan has been shut down after a man was mauled to death by tigers in an attack discovered during routine cleaning, officials said Thursday.

The body of the man who apparently eaten alive was found on Wednesday morning in Bahawalpur’s Sherbagh Zoo in the eastern province of Punjab after staff spotted one of the three tigers with a shoe in its mouth.

“The zoo is closed right now as we determine how the man got in,” Ali Usman Bukhari, a senior officer of the province’s wildlife department, which operates the zoo, told AFP.

The condition of the body suggests the attack happened late Tuesday night after he jumped into the cage and was eaten alive by the tigers.

“The autopsy report has not been released, however, evidence gathered from the enclosure points towards him being alive when he was attacked by the tigers,” Bukhari said.

“The tigers did not go out of the den to attack the man, he jumped into their enclosure,” he said.

“If we find a security lapse, we will address it. If need be, we will hire private security guards.”

The man eaten alive has not been identified and no family member has come forward to claim the body.

Speaking to media outside the zoo after the body was discovered on Wednesday, senior local government official Zaheer Anwar said all staff had been accounted for.

“Our assessment so far is that this appears to be a lunatic, because a sensible person would not jump into the den,” he said.

“You can see the den is secured. There are stairs behind the den, maybe he jumped from there.”

The three tigers present in the den when the body was discovered have been restricted to a smaller space while evidence is collected.

The zoo was built in 1942 by the ruling royal family of the former princely state of Bahawalpur and costs adults 50 rupees (18 cents) to enter.

Pakistan’s zoos are generally in a poor condition and frequently accused of disregarding animal welfare.

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