Thursday 5 November 2009

Gunpowder, treason and plot + Nigeria road carnage

Today in the UK, we celebrate the failure of what nowadays would no doubt be called a terrorist attack – the attempt of Guy Fawkes and his fellow Roman Catholic conspirators to blow up the House of Commons in 1605. It will be interesting to see whether the recent disastrous decline in the reputation of MPs will lead to guys being burned or fireworks set off with any less enthusiasm.

It is not just that so many of our representatives seem to have been quite happy to rip off the people who elected them, it is also that so few seem to have been interested in doing their job. They have stood by as the Labour government has stripped us of our civil liberties, and they evidently do not bother to read most of the poorly drafted, ill thought out laws they pass under the instruction of the party whips.

For Nigeria, though, today is the anniversary of a disaster that DID happen. On November 5, 2000, one of the country’s perennial jams had brought traffic to a standstill on the Ife to Ibadan motorway. Then along came a rather decrepit petrol tanker which could not stop, and ploughed into the stationary vehicles.

Within seconds it blew up, and a huge fireball devastated the area. No one knows exactly how many people were killed, but it could be up to 200. Police were later accused of causing the original jam by setting up a roadblock so they could extort money from motorists, though major traffic accidents are nothing unusual in Nigeria. (see my blog of Oct 12)

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