The main headlines from mainstream newspapers today, Friday, August 24, are focused on the weapon-laden ship bound for Nigeria which was intercepted and is being detained in South Africa; President Muhammadu Buhari’s Sallah rendezvous with some APC governors and senators, and the temporary closure of the Third Mainland Bridge for maintenance work.
The Nation reports that South Africa has detained a Nigeria-bound Russian ship for carrying illegal arms.
Following a tip-off, the cargo ship, LADA, was detained at the Port of Nura, near Port Elizabeth city. The detained ship had sailed since May from Ust-Luga, Russia, Baltic sea, visiting India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania ports prior to its arrival in South Africa.
South Africa’s criminal investigation organisation – The Hawks – carried out an investigation, which showed that the cargo was heading to Lagos and the United States.
Still on the issue of the cargo ship laden with arms, The Guardian reports that the minister of culture and information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, told newsmen that he did not have any information on the issue, as at press time.
The publication, however, reports that a spokeswoman for the Transnet state transport company spoke on the incident.
She reportedly said: “We are aware that she has dangerous cargoes – explosives and weapons – on board.” She, however, declined to give further details.
The spokesman for the Hawks police investigative unit, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, also stated: “This is a very, very sensitive matter. It is receiving attention.”
The vessel is said to have been stacked with 'weapons and explosives worth about $3.5m in 20 containers.'
On its part, This Day is shifting focus from the situation in South-Africa and reporting that in an apparent move to rally his base for the impending presidential election scheduled for February 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari met with some governors and senators from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Thursday, August 23, in his Daura, Katsina state country home.
The top party brass, led by Governor Rochas Okorocha, were hosted to lunch by the president who told them that the combined efforts of defectors and their backers in the opposition would not distract his administration from the good work it is doing for the benefit and development of Nigeria.
The president also told his visitors that the ruling party fully understands the country’s challenges, and is encouraged by the support of Nigerians in addressing them.
Mirroring the previous publication, The Punch is also focused on President Muhammadu Buhari’s comments during the visit to his Daura home, by some APC governors and senators.
According to the paper, the president said he would continue to do what he was expected to do in the leadership position God had given him.
He stated: “We are always encouraged when all our constituents are happy with the work we are doing and our genuine efforts to make sure that what we campaigned for in 2015 is still very much in our minds and we have not lost focus.
“In terms of security, economy and the fight against corruption, we have maintained focus. Even the opposition with all their resources cannot fault our identification of Nigeria’s priorities and the efforts being made to better them.
“We will continue to do what we ought to do in the leadership position God has placed us and we thank the constituents for the support.”
Rounding things off, Vanguard is beaming its spotlight on the temporary closure of the Third Mainland Bridge, and the hardships to be expected as a result.
The publication reports that the hardships are to be expected because most of the alternative routes announced by the Lagos state government are currently blocked by trucks.
The designated alternative routes include: Those coming from Lagos-Abeokuta, Agege, Ogba and Ikeja are to make use of Oshodi via Mushin Ojuelegba to connect Carter Bridge into Island; those from Ikorodu, Maryland are to make use of Funsho Williams Avenue, formerly, Western Avenue via Yaba to Oyinbo and connect Eko Bridge into Island.
Motorists from Okokomaiko, Festac, Oshodi-Apapa Expressway are enjoined to ply through Ajegunle via Marine Bridge to Ijora to connect Carter Bridge to Apongbon into Lagos Island. Also, motorists from the Island are expected to ply Eko Bridge and Carter Bridge into the mainland, while those in Lekki Ajah can also make use of Epe axis through Imota into Ikorodu.
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