Many residents, including a father and his son, are still missing following the explosion that rocked Bodija area of Ibadan, Oyo State, around 8pm on Tuesday.
The explosion was said to have been caused by a large amount of explosives stored in the neighbourhood by some illegal miners.
In a video from the scene of the incident on Wednesday morning, a man removed from the rubble was seen being stretchered by emergency responders into a waiting ambulance as some residents wailed over their missing relatives.
Some people were heard in the background urging the responders to quickly attend to the victim, saying he was still breathing.
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“The children are at the UCH but we have not seen their dad,” a middle-aged man said tearfully.
“I have people (trapped here). I am the painter working on buildings around here. The explosion occurred 10 minutes after I left here. I heard the sound of the explosion. The incident would have met here if not because of a church programme I went for,” he added.
“My friend’s number is no longer reachable. That (pointing at the scene) is his car under mine. I called him several times last night, but he didn’t pick up. We are looking for him and his son. His house crumbled,” a resident who escaped the explosion said.
There explosion which shook Bodija and environs had claimed two lives and left over 70 hospitalised as of Tuesday night.
Social media users have shared videos and pictures of large-scale destruction affecting filling stations, malls, fast food outlets and residential buildings.
A residential building was said to have caved in at Eleyele part of the ancient city, leaving residents trapped.
Governor Seyin Makinde, in a statement after visiting the site and hospitals where the injured are receiving treatment, confirmed that two people died while 77 were injured.
He posted the statement on his verified X Page (formerly Twitter) in the early hours of Wednesday.
He said, “Preliminary investigations by the security agencies revealed that illegal miners occupying one of the houses in Bodija had stored explosive devices there which caused the blast. The investigations are ongoing. All those found culpable for this will be brought to book.
“We visited the scene of the explosion which occurred at about 7.44 pm yesterday, 16 January 2024 in Bodija, Ibadan. This unfortunate incident resulted in death and injury to residents in the vicinity and also affected properties.
“We have already deployed first responders and all relevant agencies within Oyo State to carry out comprehensive search and rescue operations. These operations will continue throughout the night.
“Earth moving equipment, ambulances, emergency lights, and security were deployed to the scene of the incident. The wounded and injured are being treated and moved to public and private hospitals within Ibadan.
“Medical personnel are on standby at these hospitals to provide all needed assistance to the injured. We have visited UCH to see some of those injured during the incident. In total, we have 77 injured victims so far, most of whom were treated and discharged and 2 fatalities. May their souls rest in peace and may God give their loved ones the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.
“I have directed that the medical bills of all victims be covered by the government. We will also be providing temporary accommodation for those whose houses were affected and ensuring that they are supported to rebuild their lives.”
The Governor urged all residents to “please call 615 for any emergencies they may be experiencing at this time and to remain calm and stay away from the immediate scene of the incident to allow rescue operations to be carried out without interference.
“We are grateful to the first responders, security personnel and all those who are at the scene to assist with the rescue operations as well as the medical personnel taking care of the injured. Please say a prayer for those who have been affected by this disaster as we continue with the rescue operations,” he added.
By Afeez Hanafi
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