By Albert Akpor, Evelyn Usman, Monsur Olowoopejo Ifeanyi Okolie & Bunmi Azeez
LAGOSâ€”TWENTY-THREE years after the death of Mr. Dele Giwa, founding editor of Newswatch Magazine, via a parcel bomb, commercial activities were temporarily stalled yesterday on Ikorodu Road, Onipanu, Lagos, after an explosion rocked a nine-storey building where Superscreen Television has its offices.
Eyewitness’ account revealed that the explosion, which was suspected to be a parcel bomb, chopped off the two hands of the man who allegedly came to deliver it, presumably the result of poor timing or wrong handling by the master-minds.
The explosion, which took place on the sixth floor of the nine-storey building â€˜Logemo Houseâ€™ (occupied by Superscreen Television) also affected the staff who presumably received the parcel. However, the fate of the staff could not be ascertained at the time of filing this report.
The eyewitness, who craved anonymity, said the parcel was meant to be delivered to some senior management staff of the TV station. â€œHowever, none of the senior staff was around the station when the messenger arrived,â€ he added.
Mr. Dipo Isaac, the Chief Operating Officer of the TV station, who confirmed the explosion, said it was actually addressed to him but fortunately he was away at the time.
When contacted, the Lagos Police Command Spokesman, Mr. Frank Mba,Â could not say if the explosion was caused by a parcel bomb blast or not, adding that the matter was still being investigated and that the messenger should be able to assist, ”when he gets better”.
The police said as soon as they learnt of the incident, they immediately drafted anti- bomb squad to the scene where the messenger was picked up and rushed to the hospital.
There were, however, different accounts on how the explosion which sent fear down the spines of staff of the various companies in the building happened.
Another version said an unknown visitor who demanded to see one of the management staff of Superscreen, gave the combustive substance to a receptionist on the ground floor about 1.45 p.m.
The visitor was said to have pointed a gun at the receptionist when the latter demanded that the content of the sealed package be revealed.
Gripped with apprehension, the receptionist ignorantly exacted pressure on the package while on the sixth floor, where to his surprise, a deafening sound which left him sprawled on the floor occurred.
Another eyewitness said the bomb carrier had his two hands chopped off..
The incident caused stampede as fear-stricken staff and other visitors reportedly ran in different directions for safety, though the building was not affected.
Police Anti-bomb squad who visited the scene, reportedly found two other explosives yet to be detonated.
Indications were that but for the incident, there could have been a disaster that might have resulted in the loss of lives and property.
But the police in a sharp reaction said the victim had not been identified as a staff of any of the companies in the building.
Police begin probe
Mba said investigation had begun to ascertain whether the substance was a bomb. Policemen, he added, evacuated the frightened staff from the building.
He could also not give the identity of the victim, saying â€œhe had not been identified by anyone as a staff of either of the companies in the building. Our interest is for the man to get well first before ascertaining whether he was the person that brought the combustive substance or not.
â€˜â€™We cannot also say whether the substance was a bomb until when scientifically proved,â€ Mba stated.
In another development, while the anti-bomb squad battled to put the situation under check, a robbery gang attempted to attack a petrol station directly opposite the building but the policemen on ground were able to checkmate their move.