By Emeagi Emeka Williams
Lagos woke up to a lethal explosion yesterday at the Abule Ado,Amuwo-Odofin Local Council Development Area of the state which has left families,business owners and others enumerating wanton losses. The explosion which happened at about 9.00 hours and heard from various areas of the state,left over 300 houses in debris,scores of people dead and unnumbered others with varying degrees of injuries.
The site of the explosion was a petroleum or gas pipeline but directly opposite the Bethlehem Girls College,a boarding school facility owned by the Catholic Church. Right inside the expansive facility we’re various hostels for students,residence for nuns and Catholic Church for worship.
As soon as the explosion rocked,the structures most of which are storey building went down in rubbles and people got buried underneath or within.
Victims included school children,teachers,parents,visitors and worshippers (since it was a Sunday morning). And north,east,south and west- several meters away from that spots,magnificent building and other sorts were brought down by the Killer bang that started a huge fuel fire which gave fire fighters,mostly from military formation a real tough time to contain.
The presence of men and officers from the Nigerian armed forces,was a pointer to the magnitude of the disaster.
The Nigeria Police,the Civil Defence Corps,Peace Corps of Nigeria,the Red Cross,LASEMA and various other Lagos State agencies were on ground.
As usual,the zone became a tourist site of some sort,but this time,there was weeping,wailing and gnashing of teeth. Yes,observers,newsmen,Lagosians who came from far and near watched the frustration,pain and hopelessness that enveloped people who suddenly became homeless,mourners and victims of an ugly vicissitude;such that befell Ijegun,Abule Egba and Koko Delta State explosion victims.
As the sad reality starred everyone in the face,questions such as,”Is this a mere pipeline explosion or a terrorist attack?;Why did the explosion shatter roofs,break down buildings,quake the earth too heavily and affect different streets hundreds of metres away? were on the lips of shocked and Nigerians.
Some youths who spoke to pressmen in the area claimed that over 200 students and other people were inside Bethlehem Girls College when the explosion and fire started. They also said that ambulances have been carting away dead bodies and wounded people from the school and areas affected.
Some other findings revealed that about 500 police officers and men who included men of the anti-bomb squad were on ground,and that the naval hospitals,as well as private hospitals in the area were already filled to capacity due to the massive transportation of victims.
When the Naval Commander,commanding the Western Naval Command,Nigerian Navy,OB Daji spoke to a team of journalists(including Timeswatch),he said that the explosion from his on the spot assessment,resulted from a collection of cylinders by dealers of cooking gas. He also said that the explosion affected homes because the homes are too close to the pipeline. Daji said finally that the authorities such as LASEMA are doing indepth works to ascertain cause and the extent of destruction.
As the billowing smoke and dust die down as usual,the worry on the minds of Nigerians is – What happens next? Many fear that if the ugly disaster of Abule Ado is anything connected to bombs or dynamites,who did the planting,were would they hit next-and who will save Nigerians?