The death toll from the explosion that rocked Ibadan, the Oyo State capital on Tuesday, January 16, has risen to five, according to the state government.
The explosion spread over a radius of 14 kilometers and many homes were damaged. Giving an update on Channels Television’s Politics Today program last night, Governor Seyi Makinde said two deaths were recorded on Tuesday and another victim died in hospital on Wednesday.
However, in a new update on Thursday, the Special Assistant on Security to Governor Seyi Makinde, Fatai Owoseni, said two more bodies had been recovered.
“Rescue operations are still ongoing. Three people were injured yesterday, and this morning, almost half an hour ago, we received information that two more bodies were recovered this morning by security forces assisting medical teams.” He said.
During the program, an aide to the governor said the state government will ensure diligent prosecution of those directly or remotely involved in the tragic incident.
He said the government was working with security agencies to carefully gather information to avoid perpetrators escaping justice.
According to him, this is to increase people’s trust in the government and promote transparency in governance.
Mr Owoseni said: “There was a lot of discussion and a lot of interaction with the public so that they could see transparency about what the government was doing.”
“The security agencies, especially the police, the DSS, and the EOD unit of the Nigerian Army team, will make sure that anyone directly or indirectly involved in this incident will be brought to justice.”
The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) of the mining company indicted in connection with Tuesday’s explosion in Bodija area of Oyo State. Governor Makinde said that some of the certificates had the names of foreigners listed as owners.
He also said that out of the 77 people hospitalized, 60 injured people have been discharged and the state government has recovered one victim from the blast site.
“On Wednesday, we found one person alive under the rubble. Of the 77 people who were hospitalized, 60 have been discharged.”
“We are trying to identify the people involved in the explosion. We have established some facts about the companies involved. Indeed, there are some foreign names in the CAC documents of the companies involved, but it is still early days. There is nothing to report,” the Governor told Politics Today.
Gov. Makinde said the state had identified persons of interest that security agencies should invite for questioning, adding that the state government had no reason to cover up.
The governor said preliminary investigations by security agencies revealed that the explosion was caused by illegal miners who had occupied one of the houses in Bodija, adding that the explosion It added that it happened on the street. However, it could be heard and felt in many parts of the city.
He said: “Preliminary investigations by security authorities revealed that illegal miners occupying a house in Bodija had stored explosives, which caused the explosion. Investigation is in progress and all those responsible will be held accountable.”
“We have already deployed first responders and all relevant authorities in Oyo State and are carrying out extensive search and rescue operations. These operations will continue throughout the night.”
The Governor appealed to people living in houses within 250 meters of ground zero to move to government-provided accommodation until a structural integrity audit of the building is carried out.
Mr Makinde also warned that security forces would take firm action against those who may be planning to take advantage of the incident to commit crimes.
He assured that the State would continue to provide regular updates on the measures it was taking through various back channels both within and outside EMO and social media.
Director of Emergency Operations, Mr. Alonge, told reporters that the emergency response to the incident was to assemble a team of about 40 doctors, 40 nurses and 25 medical students at the University Hospital Ibadan.
He added that the injured victims were being treated at private and government hospitals and most of them were in stable condition.
“In addition to the doctors and nurses, we also included a physical therapist and a clinical psychologist in our team who were on the scene yesterday to assess the mental health status of the survivors of this unfortunate incident,” Mr. Alonge added.