Ibadan Explosion: Oyo to prosecute three held over explosion

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Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde on Wednesday, received an official report regarding the explosion that occurred on January 16 in the Old Bodija area of Ibadan. The incident resulted in the loss of five lives, injuries to 77 individuals, and the destruction of 58 houses.

Fatai Owoseni, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, a retired Commissioner of Police, informed journalists that the report associated three individuals with the explosion.

He stated that legal action would be taken against these individuals.

The report, reportedly consisting of conclusions from medical, security, and engineering teams established by the government, was also disclosed.

Addressing newsmen shortly after the presentation of the report,  Owoseni said, “Three persons of interest have been identified in connection with the cause of the unfortunate incident, and they will face prosecution based on the investigation carried out.”

He explained that a Closed Circuit Television in one of the affected houses captured the footage of how the incident happened, stressing that the state government would bring the perpetrators to book.

“The character of the explosive is known as ‘Water Gel Type Based Explosive’ and the explosion was triggered by an electric spark. The government will check on the immigration status of all the people of interest since a majority of them are from Mali. The street where the incident happened was Aderinola Street and not Dejo Oyelese Street, as earlier reported. The epicentre of the tragedy is No. 8A and No. 8B.

“We have been able to report that the swiftness with which security was deployed to the epicentre had so far successfully made the state fully secure the environment. And with the security that was provided, the state has also been able to prevent untoward happenings, especially opportunistic crimes that hoodlums always take advantage of such situations to carry out. We can recall that an emergency situation centre was put in place by the governor and was located at the premises of the state Housing Corporation, Ibadan.

“The EOC has so far collated information, data of things that happened there and some of the data collated include census of the respective houses and the fatalities that were affected, including the extent of losses suffered.

“As of 6 pm on Friday, February 3, which was the 18th day of the incident, a total of 335 affected persons registered at the emergency situation centre including 16 companies or business operators, churches, mosques, three schools and the University College Hospital also approached the centre to report on their losses.

“The losses reported also include fatality, injuries of various degrees, damages ranging from total collapse and submerging of houses, houses that suffered collateral damage and the ones that suffered minimal damages.”

Owoseni noted that the governor, last week, signed an Executive Order, “which has placed obligations on people that deal with explosives or do businesses where they use explosives,” to report within 72 hours.

He, however, said, “As of the time the 72 hours lapsed, no one came forward. And the second phase is where we are now, which states that anyone that comes in possession of harmful substances should declare to the office of Special Adviser of Security to the governor within 24 hours.”

Mbim Okutinyang, Chairman of the Nigeria Institute of Structural Engineers and lead coordinator of the team responsible for assessing the structural integrity of the affected houses, stated that his team inspected 282 houses. Out of these, only four houses require demolition due to the extent of damage. He mentioned that they are still awaiting the seismic report.

Temitope Alonge, Head of the Emergency Operation Centre, reported that a total of 80 victims were treated in various hospitals following the incident. At the time of the press conference, only five patients remained admitted.

Alonge explained that four patients were undergoing treatment for injuries sustained in the explosion at the University College Hospital and were at different stages of recovery. Additionally, one patient was receiving care for a spinal cord injury at the Redeemers Hospital.