…Residents Count Losses
By: Adefeso Ola
RESIDENTS in various parts of Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo State, were terrified yesterday as a deafening sound, which appeared to be a massive explosion shook most parts of the city.
There were, however, unformed reports that many people were feared dead following the explosion in Ibadan.
It was not immediately clear what caused the Ibadan explosion or where it originated. Windows were reportedly blown out at several locations, including at a pharmacy and a restaurant.
The number of casualties could not be confirmed as of press time.
Major places in Ibadan metropolis and the outskirts of the city felt the ground shaking some minutes before 8 pm.
According to information gathered by Vanguard, the heavy sound shook the School of Nursing hostel of the University College Hospital and shattered all the windows.
Some residents of Ologuneru, Owalla, Isokan, Ekerin, Eleyele and parts of Apete also said they felt the shaking.
At Ologuneru, the gates and fence of a building shook but did not collapse.
Other places affected are Olodo, Apata, Iyana church, Sango, Agbowo, Bodija Housing and others.
There were contradictory reports regarding the terrifying sound.
A resident of the area, Mr Babatunde Arowosafe said: “My daughter and wife who were in different places at the time of the shaking ran out saying they felt a heavy thud on the ground. My daughter said she heard it at the back of the house while her mummy said she heard it on the roof.
“I was sitting in the living room when the earth shook. I thought something hit my gate and I was about to rush out when my boy said he heard the gate of the neighbour’s house shake too.
Some residents from Bodija, Obasa, Mokola, Oke Itunu, Barracks and Gbaremu also shared their experiences.
He said: “I was alighting from a car when I heard a deafening noise. People ran helter-skelter. I felt things were rolling.”
Also affected was a popular mall at Bodija Housing Estate, Ibadan. All the roofs of the mall collapsed.
Some hoodlums capitalized on the incident and started looting the mall.
Another resident in the Adeyi area of Bodija said: “There was a loud explosion here and there are some casualties”. This, could not be verified as there’s no one to confirm its authenticity.
Similarly, some residents said houses and cars far from the scene of the explosion were impacted by the blast wave.
A panic-stricken resident said: “We heard a loud bang around 7:30 pm. Dominos shattered, Ace Mall in Bodija destroyed.”
Patients run out of UCH
One of the nurses at UCH, Leye said in her status that some patients were confused and started running.
Investigation to identify cause of Ibadan explosion ongoing —Police
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, in Oyo State, Mr Adewale Osifeso said: “Explosion around Dejo Oyelese Street Bodija Ibadan around 7:44 pm on Tuesday 17/01/2024.
“The cause of the explosion is unknown, and no casualty could be confirmed as the search continues.
“The Commissioner of Police Oyo State Command, in the company of 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 plain clothing officers to forestall any breakdown of law and order.”
Also speaking, Special Adviser on Security to the Governor, Fatai Owoseni, who is currently at the scene, revealed that the state government had ordered that victims should be taken to every available hospital with the assurance to foot the bills.
Owoseni also disclosed that arrangements had been made for construction companies to erect lighting equipment to aid rescue efforts while a crane would also be moved to the scene to ease rescue efforts.
NEMA confirms explosion
Also reacting to the Ibadan explosion, the Zonal Coordinator for the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, in the South-West, Saheed Akiode, stated that emergency responders including the operatives of the Fire Service in Oyo State were deployed to the scene of the incident on Awolowo Way by Adeyi Avenue, behind a Central Mosque, in Bodija.
It was an uncommon explosion — Oyo govt
Reacting to the said explosion, Oyo State Commissioner for Information, Mr Dotun Oyelade described it as an uncommon explosion.
Oyelade said: “Residents of Ibadan and the immediate environment experienced an uncommon explosion about 8 pm this evening.
“There are various interpretations of the incident but we need to state categorically that the state government has taken over and is in full control of the unfortunate occurrence to mitigate the incident.
“All security service chiefs including paramilitary chiefs and Fire Operatives have been deployed by the governor to rein in the spillover from the explosion.
“Governor Seyi Makinde, therefore, implores citizens to calm down and be rest assured that their interests are being looked after.”