By Bose Adelaja
LAGOS—Residents of Badagry, Lagos, yesterday, witnessed an unusual phenomenon when an Iroko tree suddenly burst into flames.
The incident reportedly occurred at about 7p.m. Sunday night at the Post Office area of the ancient town, and the flames burned till midday yesterday.
It was gathered that while the tree, said to be about 250 years old, was in flames, the leaves remained fresh. Vanguard gathered that the tree, which serves as a shrine, has a wall erected round it and a white cloth tied round the trunk.
The shrine shares boundaries with the Badagry Post Office. Some of the residents were said to have alerted men of Lagos State Fire service, who rushed to the scene to prevent the fire from spreading.
However, the fire could not be put out. Instead, it became more intense, until some traditionalists advised the fire fighters to discontinue.
Eyewitnesses’ account said as at 3p.m., people were trooping to the scene to catch a glimpse. Also, neighbours were advised to vacate the area until the fire was put out. It was gathered that the tree was gradually losing strength as one of its branches fell at about 2.30p.m, yesterday.
In a telephone conversation, a white cap chief, the Gengen of Badagry Kingdom, Onuosekan Gbowa, said the incident was the third.
According to him, “this kind of thing occurred in the 70s, 80s and this is the third. This is where we perform traditional rites every nine days. Nobody ignited the fire and nobody can put it out because it is miraculous and we are going to consult Ifa oracle over it.
“It poses no threat to the land and people are advised to go about their businesses.”
Contacted, the Director Lagos Fire Service, Razak Fadipe, confirmed the development, describing it as mysterious.
He said: “Residents around the scene have been advised to temporarily vacate the area to ensure safety of lives and property, which is paramount to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.”