•Blasts in S’West not ordinary —Aare Adams
•Victims recount ordeals
By Dayo Johnson & Dapo Akinrefon
AKURE—THE National Space Research and Development Agency, NASRDA, weekend, disagreed with the Ondo State Police Command over the cause of Saturday’s explosion that injured 13 persons and destroyed over 70 houses.
An explosion rocked Akure at about 1am on Saturday, wreaking havoc and making a crater on the Akure-Owo highway.
The Police Commissioner, Adie Udie, had disclosed that the explosion was caused by explosives meant for a quarry company in Edo state.
Adie explained that the vehicle conveying the explosives which were on transit through the state developed mechanical problems before they exploded opposite the church and school buildings.
But NASRDA, in a statement, faulted the Police boss over the cause of the explosion.
The spokesperson of the agency, Dr. Felix Ale, however, said: “The explosion could be a natural phenomenon of a suspected fall of a meteoric from an asteroid belt on great speed from space.”
Ale said: “The global space community has a catalogue of a near-earth object that is potentially hazardous to humanity and they are constantly being monitored by organisations such as the National Space Research and Development Agency across the globe.
“Some of these natural occurrences may once in a while, escape observation and occur naturally as it is likely the case in the Akure explosion.”
We’re still investigating—Police
However, the Ondo Police Command has assured that it will make public its findings.
In a statement, the Police Command said: “The investigation is on, right now, the police from Ondo are in Ibadan, but they must be on their way back because some people are saying there was no explosive.
“We know that policemen escorted the explosives, from the explosive unit. If there is nothing, what would they have escorted? If they did not carry anything, why would they stay there?
“We all knew that there was an explosion, there was a vehicle involved, the vehicle was shattered beyond recognition.
“But we are still awaiting the result of the investigation because the CP said he was going to tell everyone whatever is found in the investigation. Since the accident happened in Ondo State, we must ensure a proper investigation is conducted.”
Stop distracting security agencies, Akeredolu warns
Similarly, Governor Akeredolu has warned against various slants to the weekend explosion in Akure.
A statement by the Information and Orientation Commissioner, Donald Ojogo said security agencies should not be distracted.
He said: “Expectedly, various slants have characterised the incident even as several claims trail the unfortunate blast.
“The Government of Ondo State wishes to appeal to all to be calm and refrain from flaunting theories that are capable of distracting the security agencies in their investigations.
“For now, no reports of casualties have been recorded; but the impact of the explosion has had a devastating effect on several buildings including schools and a Church.
“In the meantime, Governor Akeredolu advises people to be careful and take precautions not to rush to the scene. This, according to him, is pertinent because the blast, the scene and its immediate effects are already security concerns.
“This is more so that no one can confirm if undetonated devices are still stuck in unseen corners, especially in the gully already created by the blast.
“It is, therefore, in the public interest for people to allow security experts access to the area by de-populating the scene. Security agencies will keep the public informed of developments as they unfold.”
We heard a loud bang —Victims
Some victims of the explosion, who spoke with newsmen, shared their tales of woes even as they counted their losses
One of the victims, Mrs. Temilade Ganiyu, a 50-year widow, narrated how she was awakened by the loud noise from the explosion, adding that her 10-room bungalow has been torn to shreds.
She said: “The walls of my building cracked and all the window panes were destroyed beyond repair.”
Another widow, Mrs. Ibrahim Balikis (40), said she saw a whole side of her six-bedroom bungalow reduced to rubbles.
Also, Messrs Ibrahim Adam, Samuel Elias and Ayeni Babatunde, had their three-bedroom structures collapsed as a result of the explosion.
They disclosed that they were harboured by their neighbours as their homes had become dangerous to stay.
How explosion happened—Eyewitness
Meanwhile, an eye witness of last Saturday’s explosion, who was visited in the hospital, Mr. Richard Solomon, said the incident was like a night turning to day.
Speaking at UNIMEDTH, Akure, Solomon said that he and his motor boy escaped death because they heeded the warning of the mobile policeman that alerted them of the danger ahead.
He said: “I was coming from Jos, Plateau State. I was carrying some goods to Ogun State and about half a kilometer to the blast spot, a mobile policeman flagged us down that there was danger ahead.
“I then parked the vehicle by the roadside. We sat inside the vehicle and suddenly, the sound came and we saw a ball of fire in the sky, everywhere turned white and it was like the daytime.
“As we sat in the truck, iron from nowhere shattered the glass of the vehicle and cut off the leg of my motor boy.”
Blasts in S’West not ordinary —Aare Adams]
Meamwhile, the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, yesterday, called on the Federal Government to launch a proactive investigation into the recent blasts which occurred in three South-West states of the country, stressing that the incidents are beyond ordinary blasts as claimed by the government.
Reacting to the latest blast in Akure, Ondo State, Adams declared that the Yoruba are not convinced that it was an ordinary blast, but suspected to be bomb blast, which must be duly investigated.
In a statement, he said: “We are not convinced that, all these are not an ordinary blast, but a bomb and therefore it is important and necessary for the government to carry out a proactive investigation on these incidents which occurred in a spate of three weeks in Lagos, Ekiti and Ondo States.”
Buttressing his claim, with Lagos blast, he said from records, a pipeline fire is expected to burn houses and not uprooting houses from the foundation as it occurred in Lagos, adding that, in view of that, it was beyond pipeline bust, but bomb blast.
He said: “I was at the Lagos incident, and I am not convinced that it is an ordinary pipeline fire. From history, if there is a pipeline incident, the fire will only consume buildings, destroy properties and not pulling down buildings to its foundation.
Also on the Ondo State incident, we are not convinced of the Commissioner of Police’s submission.
“The South-West Governors should be vigilant. Information at our disposal has it that other South-West are the next target. The Federal Government should diligently investigate the incidences.”