Four persons were reportedly killed while another sustained serious injury when an ancient ‘Odan’ tree fell during a heavy windstorm in Saabo area of Oyo town, Oyo State, on Monday.
According to reports, the ancient tree provided shelter for butchers, mini buses and commercial motorcycle operators with its far-spreading branches.
Akeebu Alarape, chairman, Saabo market, said that the tree was about 100 years old.
Alarape said four different sawyers invited to cut the tree did not succeed until a fifth sawyer was able to cut parts of it for rescue operation to begin.
A resident trader in the area, Kareemot Ejide, 65, said she had known the tree since her childhood days.
According to Akeem Ojo, Head of Operations, Western Nigeria Security Network, codenamed Amotekun, in Atiba Local Council Development Area, the tree fell at around 6pm.
“A female student of Federal College of Education (Special), Oyo, a woman with a baby strapped to her back and a boy she was holding were pulled out from under the tree.
“One person was seriously injured and was taken to a private hospital in the area, while motorcycles and mini bus parked under the tree were damaged,’’ Ojo said.
He added that the presence of Amotekun personnel at the scene was to prevent rioting and looting of goods in the market.
Seun Oguntona, chairman, Sooro Local Council Development Area, Oke-Isiwin, Oyo, confirmed that those affected were people who took shelter under the tree during a heavy downpour.
He added that those trading under the tree would be relocated, urging people in the area to always stay indoors and not take shelter under trees when it rained.
Oguntona debunked insinuations that the tree was fetish, adding that the person that planted the tree died 30 years ago.
He stated that though the man was a “Sango’’ traditional religion faithful, he planted the tree to provide shade for people.