Wednesday, 17 January 2024 04:32

About the massive explosion that rocked Ibadan, this is what we know so far

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No fewer than 10 persons were feared killed and 15 others hospitalised on Tuesday at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State, following an explosion that rocked the Ibadan metropolis.

There was serious panic in the ancient city around 8 pm over the explosion, whose cause could not be confirmed on Tuesday night.

Among the affected areas were a section of the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Oyo State House of Assembly, the residence of the former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Bola Ige, some buildings at Ologuneru, Apete, New Garage, Bashorun, Akobo, Sango and Eleyele.

One of our correspondents, who was at the scene of the explosion that occurred at Adeyi Avenue, Bodija Estate, Ibadan, Oyo State capital on Tuesday,  reported that no fewer than 10 bodies were recovered from the site and taken away in ambulances.

As of press time, rescue workers believed that some persons were still trapped under the rubble and efforts were ongoing to rescue them.

A social worker at UCH, who did not want his name in print because he had no authority to speak on the matter, told one of our correspondents that the hospital had received no fewer than 15 victims.

“The victims will not be less than 15,” he said.

Glass windows, doors and ceilings were shattered in the affected areas.

Major roads were deserted while residents were forced indoors by security operatives, including the police, Western Security Network, code-named Amotekun, and local vigilantes, who took over the affected areas.

The cause of the blast could not be confirmed. Some residents of the affected areas claimed it was caused by earth movement while others described it as a blast of an Improvised Explosive Device.

Thick smoke rented the air in the affected areas which resulted in the hospitalisation of the victims in various hospitals.

Security vehicles were sighted conveying the victims to some selected hospitals in the state capital for medical attention.

Also, it was gathered that at least three buildings collapsed as a result of the explosion.

In videos shared on social media, a white pickup van with the inscription Bodija Patrol van was seen conveying what was suspected to be the dead bodies of some of the victims, though the state police command told our correspondent via a WhatsApp message that casualties could not be ascertained.

Another short video also showed some of the places affected by the explosion, with an accompanying male voice calling for help.

“Please, we need help here. These are the people. We need help. Police, Army, and everybody else should come and rescue people here,” the male voice pleaded.

In a video currently in circulation, a yet-to-identified lady said the apartment her mother lived in collapsed as a result of the impact of the loud bang.

The distraught lady said, “I was not there, but my mum stays in Adeyi with my sister and my son. They are badly injured. The house collapsed on them. They are stitching their legs and arms. They are in the hospital beside Ace Mall.”

Another person, who claimed he escaped with his wife and two daughters, recounted how the house they were in practically caved in due to the explosion.

Also seen at the supposed site of the explosion was a mangled body as the sympathisers around the victim lamented the absence of police and emergency responders.

In a statement, the state government, through the Commissioner for Information, Dotun Oyelade, confirmed the explosion.

He said, “There are various interpretations of the incident but it is important for us to state categorically that the state government has taken over and is in full control of the unfortunate occurrence in order to mitigate the incident.

“All security service chiefs, including paramilitary chiefs and fire service operatives, have been deployed by the governor to reign in the spillover from the explosion.

“The Governor, Seyi Makinde, therefore, implores citizens to calm down and rest assured that their interests are being looked after.”

Also, on its verified X handle, the Oyo State Government urged residents to remain calm, noting that an investigation was underway to unravel the cause of the explosion.

“The Oyo State Government is aware of reports of an explosion in Ibadan. Residents are urged to remain calm as security agencies are investigating this to determine the source and cause of the incident,” the X post read.

The police also confirmed the explosion.

The police spokesman, Adewale Oyefeso, said the explosion happened around Dejo Oyelese Street Bodija Ibadan around 7:44 pm.

He said the cause of the explosion was unknown, and no casualty could be confirmed as the search continued on Tuesday night.

“The Commissioner of Police Oyo State Command, in the company with some senior officers and other responders, is on the ground for on-the-spot assessment and rescue operation.

“The Oyo State Police Command has also deployed armed and plainclothes officers to forestall any breakdown of law and order,” the police spokesman said.

A University of Ibadan student, who spoke with our correspondent on the telephone said, “It is true. We all heard the sound, and it was very loud. The cloud is cloudy with smoke. It happened at Bodija, and we in the UI area could see the smoke. Even those at Sango and Ojo heard the sound. In fact, we are all in a room, scared for our lives.”

Motunrayo Adegboro, another resident of Barika, about 15 minutes away from the site of the blast in Ibadan, confirmed the incident to one of our correspondents on Tuesday night.

An X user, @WillieWinehouse, tweeted, “A f***ing bomb just exploded in Ibadan! My entire house and street are in ruins!! What is going on?”

Another X user, @the_beardedsina, said that there were serious casualties and medical personnel were needed.

He tweeted, “Please retweet if you see this. If you are a medical professional in Ibadan and close by, please; our help and assistance are needed at Adeyi Avenue, Bodija. There are serious casualties there. Please help share.”

Survivors recount incident

Survivors of the explosion claimed that dynamite used by miners triggered the explosion which led to loss of lives and property in the community.

One of the survivors identified only as Mohammed said, “When the spark started, it was from the electricals and I brought out my fire extinguisher trying to help. My neighbour told me that it had passed an extinguisher and we needed to call the fire service. I told my son to bring my phone for me to call the fire service before the fire touched dynamite brought home by some miners in the building.

“The explosion threw me away and I thought I was dead. My children and wife are currently at the hospital receiving treatment.”

Another survivor who identified himself as Olaide, noted that they were called out to help douse a fire when the dynamite exploded.

He said, “We didn’t know that they brought anything home. We were only trying to help when we fell. I didn’t know when I woke up. I just found myself lying on the floor. It was scary.”

Lives, property lost

Our correspondent who was at the scene of the explosion saw no fewer than 20 victims being rescued while some were dead.

However, the total number of casualties remained unknown as of reason time.

Not less than 20 houses were affected in the explosion and at least 10 houses were completely damaged.

Our correspondent counted at least 15 vehicles that were completely damaged and more than five cars partly destroyed.

Search and rescue operations ongoing

As of press time, a rescue operation was still ongoing at the site of the explosion.

Rescue workers believed that some persons were still trapped under the rubble and efforts were ongoing to rescue them.

Officials of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal team are investigating to confirm the type of explosive that triggered the explosion.

Still on the explosion, Special Adviser to Makinde on Security Matters, retired CP Fatai Owoseni, gave the following update:

1. No one could authoritatively say what the nature of the explosion is

2. The impact is felt at about 500m radius

3. The explosion happened around Dejo Oyelese Close, Off Adeyi Avenue, Old Bodija

4. There's no need for anyone to go there to see what's happening. Security operatives are there and rescue workers. It's good that they should have clear access to rescue people as some may be buried under rubbles

5. Oyo State governor has instructed hospitals to admit anyone that's brought in from the explosion site and start attending to them immediately

6. All residents in the affected areas are advised to leave their house this evening, just in case of secondary explosion.

7. All hotels are to allow people who come in from the explosion site and around it. The state government will settle them.

 

Punch/NewsScroll

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