Governor ‘Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has received the official report of the January 16, 2024 explosion at Aderinola Street, off Adeyi Avenue, Bodija, Ibadan.
The report, which include findings of the medical, security and engineering teams, was submitted to the governor, at the Executive Chamber of the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan, on Tuesday.
Speaking to newsmen at the Briefing Room of the Governor’s Office shortly after the presentation of the report, the Special Adviser on Security to the Governor, COMPOL Fatai Owoseni (rtd), said that three persons of interest have been identified in connection with the cause of the unfortunate incident.
He said that the identified persons will face prosecution based on the investigation carried out.
Owoseni also clarified that the street where the incident happened was Aderinola Street and not Dejo Oyelese Street, as widely reported, adding that the epicentre of the tragedy is No. 8A and No. 8B.
The Special Adviser revealed that the character of the explosive is known as “Water Gel Type Based Explosive,” adding that the explosion was triggered by an electric spark. He further explained that a footage from a Closed Circuit Television (CCTC) in one of the affected houses showed how the incident happened.
He assured that the state government would bring the perpetrators to book, stressing that the government would check on the immigration status of all the people of interest since majority of them are from Mali.
“We have been able to report that the swiftness with which security was deployed to the epicentre had so far successfully made the state to 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 would recall that an emergency situation centre was put in place by the governor, and was located at the premises of Oyo 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 6p on Friday, 3rd of February, 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 UCH 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,” he said.
Owoseni, who spoke on the Executive Order signed by the governor on safe handling and storage of harmful substances in the state, said that residents of the state should interface and share useful information with the his office at No 2, Oba Akenzua Crescent, Onireke, Ibadan, or through an email address, [email protected].
“There is an Executive Order that was signed by the governor last week, which has placed obligations on people that deal with explosives or do businesses where they use explosives. Obligations have been created under that Executive Order, which define what harmful particles or substances are.
“The first phase of the Executive Order, which is to declare within 72 hours as to whether you are in possession of explosives or harmful substances has passed. I can tell you that, 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 24hrs,”Owoseni added.
Also speaking, the chairman, Nigeria Institute of Structural Engineers and lead coordinator of the team that carried out structural integrity on the affected houses, Engr. Mbim Okutinyang, said his team covered 282 houses, noting that only four of the houses would have to be demolished due to the degrees of the damage.
He, however, added that the seismic report was still being awaited.
In his contribution, the Head of the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC), Prof. Temitope Alonge, said a total of 80 victims were managed across various hospitals following the incident. He, however, added that only five patients are on admission as of the time of the press conference.
He explained that four of the patients are being treated at the University College Hospital (UCH) and are at various levels of recovery, while one patient is at the Redeemer’s Hospital being managed for a spinal cord injury.
According to Alonge, most of the cases at UCH will likely be discharged within the next one week, adding that some of the affected victims that experienced medical disorder such as respiratory illness had been treated, while those with symptoms suggestive of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are being attended to by clinical psychologists from UCH, led by Mrs. Funmi Olowa.
He emphasised that the site of the incident has been cleared of radioactivity, explaining that EOC invited the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NNRA) to conduct another screening on Sunday, February 4.
“The good news is that there were no radiations outside of normal,” the EOC Head stated.