In a significant development following the catastrophic explosion on January 16, 2024, at Adeyi Avenue, Old Bodija, Ibadan, Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, was officially presented with the comprehensive report of the incident on Tuesday.
The investigation, aimed at uncovering the causes and culprits behind the explosion, has led to the identification of three ‘persons of interest’ who are now slated to face legal actions for their involvement.
The tragic event, which unfolded at Aderinola Street within Adeyi Avenue, Old Bodija, resulted in the loss of five lives and left 77 individuals injured, in addition to causing significant damage to 55 houses in the vicinity.
The aftermath of the explosion prompted a thorough investigation by a combined team of medical, security, and engineering experts tasked with providing a detailed account of the incident.
Governor Makinde, upon receiving the report at the Executive Chamber, Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan, was briefed on the investigative teams’ findings.
The Special Adviser on Security to the Governor, Fatai Owoseni, who addressed the press after the presentation of the press 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 gave footage of how the incident happened, insisting 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 would recall that an emergency 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 p.m. on Friday, February 3, which was the 18th day of the incident, a total of 335 affected persons registered at the emergency 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.
“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 defines 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 24 hours.”
The Chairman, Nigeria Institute of Structural Engineers, Mbim Okutinyang, who is also the lead coordinator of the team that carried out structural integrity on the affected houses, said his team covered 282 houses and that only four of the houses would have to be demolished due to the degrees of the damage, adding that the seismic report was still being awaited.
The Head of the Emergency Operation Centre, Temitope Alonge, said 80 victims in total were managed across various hospitals following the incident but that only five patients were 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 and are at various levels of recovery, while one patient is at the Redeemers Hospital being managed for a spinal cord injury.