Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - The explosion of a fully-loaded fuel tanker, bloodbath in Jos and the appointment of the first woman chief justice were the major stories in Nigeria this week.
The tragic incident occurred at about 7.30am Thursday when a tanker loaded with Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), while trying to avoid an oncoming Toyota Corolla at a bad section of the East-West Road, suddenly lost control, fell over and spewed its content which volume reached waist level and flowed like a stream.
The accident took place on Thursday, killing many at the outskirts of Okogbe community in the south south Rivers State.
"Tanker fire kills 200" was the headline of the Punch on Friday. The paper credited a panic-stricken survivor of the petrol tanker fire with the story that “The explosion sounded like an earthquake and many of the victims could not come out alive."
According to the Punch, the survivor, whose car was one of the vehicles involved in the accident that led to the falling of the tanker, only lived to tell the story by abandoning his car and running for dear life shortly before the tanker exploded.
Most of the dead victims were reported to be part of the crowd that gathered to scoop fuel at the spot of the fallen fuel-laden tanker on the East-West Road.
The Guardian headline on the story was "Hell on earth as hundreds die in Rivers fuel tanker fire."
Nigerians had earlier been served with stories from "The bloodbath on the Plateau". The story said the crisis in Jos, capital of the north central Plateau State, worsened on Sunday as suspected Fulani herdsmen murdered a serving Senator, a member of the state assembly and others at the mass burial of 63 victims of an earlier attack (Saturday).
The Punch screamed "Bloodbath in Plateau", reporting that the Senate had confirmed the death of Senator Gyang Dantong and the Majority Leader of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Gyang Fulani.
“I can confirm that the Senator (Dantong) was a casualty of the attack. He was attending a burial of those who were killed on Saturday. We are also told that the Majority Leader of the House of Assembly of Plateau State was also killed,” spokesman for the Senate, Eyinnaya Abaribe, told The PUNCH on Sunday.
The Nation ran the story with two headlines -- "Senator, 103 others die in Plateau bloodbath" and "Boko Haram claims responsibility for Jos attacks."
According to the paper, the Boko Haram sect said on Tuesday it was behind attacks in Jos, Plateau State, last weekend that killed at least 65 people, but security forces disputed that, blaming the violence on localised ethnic clashes.
"We praise God in this war for the Prophet Mohammad. We thank Allah for the successful attack in ... Plateau State on Christians and security men," an email in the local Hausa language from the Boko Haram's spokesman Abul Qaqa said.
The email was sent to reporters in Boko Haram's home base in Maiduguri from an address previously used by Qaqa.
But there are doubts about the level of Boko Haram's involvement because security forces said when violence broke out on Saturday they were engaging nomadic Fulani herdsman who often clash with indigenous tribes in the volatile "Middle Belt", where the largely-Muslim north meets the mostly-Christian south.
The Sun on Monday headlined its story "Horror in Plateau as gunmen kill Senator, Majority Leader, others." The paper reported that gunmen suspected to be Fulani heardsmen were again on the rampage in Plateau State Thursday, killing a Senator, the Assembly’s Majority Leader, among scores of others.
Last Saturday, the gunmen attacked six villages in Gashish district in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area, killing at least 20 people and injuring over 15 others. With Thursday's attack, the death toll may have risen to 104.
The Guardian summed up "Grief, fear reign in Plateau, Nigerians mourn victims".
The newspapers also reported the confirmation of Justice Alooma Mukhtar as the new Chief Justice of Nigeria. She therefore becomes the first woman to hold that post.
Shortly after her confirmation by the Senate, Justice Mukhtar pledged to sanitize the judiciary.
The Punch, with the headline "I’ll cleanse the judiciary of bad eggs – New CJN", reported that newly-appointed Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Alooma Mukhtar, on Wednesday said there was corruption in the nation’s judiciary and pledged to rid the system of “bad eggs”.
It said Mukhtar, the first female to be appointed as the CJN, assured the Senate, while defending her appointment by President Goodluck Jonathan, that there would be “internal cleansing” to shore up the image of the third arm of government.
She said, “Corruption is in every system of our society and I cannot pretend that it is not in the judiciary. What I intend to do to curb this is to lead by example and to hope and pray that others will follow.
“As the chairman of the National Judicial Council, I will encourage internal cleansing based on petition.”
Mukhtar’s submission confirms critics’ allegation that the judiciary even as the last hope of the people has been taken over by the pervasive corruption in the country.
The Tribune also ran the story under the headline "Senate confirms Aloma Mukhtar as first female CJN".
It quoted the new CJN as saying that she was saddened by the poor perception of the judiciary by the public, insisting that she would try as much as possible to restore the confidence of the general public in the judiciary after she must have flushed out bad eggs.
"CJN-designate Aloma: I will cleanse Judiciary", was the headline in the Trust.
-0- PANA VAO/MA 14July2012