Survivors of the explosion that occurred at Dejo Oyelese Street, Bodija, Ibadan, Oyo State on Tuesday 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 Alhaji 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.
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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.
Oyo gov, police react
The governor of Oyo State, ‘Seyi Makinde, arrived at the scene of the explosion around 2am on Wednesday and called for calm.
He said, “
We visited the scene of the explosion which occurred at about 7.44 pm yesterday, 16 January 2024 in Bodija, Ibadan. This unfortunate incident resulted in death and injury to residents in the vicinity and also affected properties. We have already deployed first responders and all relevant agencies within Oyo State to carry out comprehensive search and rescue operations. These operations will continue throughout the night.
Earth moving equipment, ambulances, emergency lights, and security were deployed to the scene of the incident. The wounded and injured are being treated and moved to public and private hospitals within Ibadan. Medical personnel are on standby at these hospitals to provide all needed assistance to the injured. We have visited UCH to see some of those injured during the incident.
In total, we have 77 injured victims so far, most of whom were treated and discharged and 2 fatalities. May their souls rest in peace and may God give their loved ones the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.
I have directed that the medical bills of all victims be covered by the government. We will also be providing temporary accommodation for those whose houses were affected and ensuring that they are supported to rebuild their lives.
Preliminary investigations by the security agencies revealed that illegal miners occupying one of the houses in Bodija had stored explosive devices there which caused the blast. The investigations are ongoing. All those found culpable for this will be brought to book.
I urge all residents to please call 615 for any emergencies they may be experiencing at this time and to remain calm and stay away from the immediate scene of the incident to allow rescue operations to be carried out without interference.
We are grateful to the first responders, security personnel and all those who are at the scene to assist with the rescue operations as well as the medical personnel taking care of the injured.
Please say a prayer for those who have been affected by this disaster as we continue with the rescue operations.”