Calabar – The police have confirmed that 20 persons were injured, two of them in critical conditions, in a gas explosion at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in Calabar on Friday.
The Commissioner of Police in Cross River, Mr Henry Fadairo, said that the explosion was caused by gas cylinders in the bank.
Fadairo said that the explosion, which caused panic in the state capital, was not a bomb blast as speculated.
“The team of experts handling the situation confirmed that 18 persons were injured while two others are in a critical situation.
“The explosion was caused by gas cylinders in the CBN. It is not a bomb blast as it is already being speculated in some corners.
“The police, the navy, the army, road safety marshalls and the civil defence were on ground to help the state fire service to bring the situation under control.
“We also assisted the medical team to convey the victims to the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital where they are being attended to,’’ he explained.
The explosion happened at about 11 a.m.
An eye witness, Mr Ndubuisi Okeke, said the explosion occurred as he was coming out of a bank which shared boundary with the CBN.
Okeke said that the huge explosion caused panic, saying: “I am afraid if that explosion did not claim the lives of CBN staff because it was too heavy.’’
A nurse attached to the state fire service who preferred anonymity told NAN that she prayed the victims survived because some of them were seriously injured.
The CBN office is currently under tight security with armed policemen deployed in the area.