Today In History: September 16th

September 16, 1961

On this day, Dr. Michael Okpara, Premier of Eastern Nigeria and national president of the NCNC, and Chief S.L. Akintola, Premier of Western Nigeria  and deputy leader of the Action Group, jointly appealed to their party leaders, members and supporters throughout the country, “to exercise powers fairly in a way conducive to the peace and progress of the Federation.” The appeal followed the emergency meeting of the Police Council held in Kaduna on this day, and which was presided over by Alhaji Sir Abubarkar  Tafawa Balewa, the Prime Minister. The meeting was also attended by all the Premiers, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Kerr Bovell, Regional Commissioners of Police, the Federal Minister of Internal Affairs, Alhaji Shehu Usman Sarki, the Minister of State responsible for Police Affairs, Mr. Duro Ogundiran and the Eastern Nigeria Attorney-General, Mr. M. Ajegbo.

In the joint appeal, the two Premiers said, “In the interest of the solidarity of the Federation of Nigeria and the unity of her people, we individually and collectively, after mutual consultation and friendly exchange of views, solemnly resolve to use our influence to persuade all our men in authority to exercise these powers fairly and in a manner conducive to peace and progress of the Federation. We also agree to dissuade such of our supporters as may be tempted to take the law into their own hands or to indulge in any excess in the treatment of their fellow compatriots, but to think always of the good name of Nigeria and treat all Nigerian citizens irrespective of their political affiliation as brothers.”

The appeal, which was signed by both Dr. Okpara and Chief Akintola concluded: “We appeal to all leaders of our parties to use their influence to ensure the continuance of law and order, peace and harmony among the people of Nigeria.”

September 16, 2004

On this day, not less than 30 to 50 people were killed while siphoning fuel from a damaged pipeline in Imore town in Ori-Ade LCDA, carved out of Amuwo Odofin Local Government of Lagos State.

Crews of scavengers operating in dugout canoes powered by outboard engines had been boring holes into the petrol pipeline to tap fuel for several days before the explosion took place.

Witnesses of the disaster quoted survivors as saying a generator used by the fuel thieves to pump fuel from the pipeline caught fire and exploded, engulfing dozens of people scavenging for fuel in flames.

Fire-fighting teams battled huge flames that continued leaping around the blast site, sending plumes of dark smoke into the sky.

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