CONTRARY to popular belief that the midnight explosion along Owo-Akure highway, Akure, the Ondo State capital, was caused by asteroids, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has attributed the incident to a bomb blast.
Reacting to previous stories, he said that a vehicle conveying explosives to a secure storage facility in an unidentified state developed mechanical faults and that before that could be fixed, the explosives it was conveying caught fire, leading to a massive explosion.
According to the governor, the security operatives accompanying the convoy in which the affected vehicle was traveling noticed smoke coming out of it and before they could put out the resulting fire, the truck exploded.
He said that the vehicle was still buried in the rumble and that there might be more undetonated explosives in it.
“I have been briefed by the security chiefs that in the early hours of Saturday, 28 March, a vehicle in a convoy transporting explosives to a storage facility in a neighbouring state developed a fault while in transit along the Akure Owo Road about 2km from the Akure Airport,” said Akeredolu.
“Security personnel and other individuals transporting the ordinances noticed smoke from the vehicle. After several attempts to extinguish the resulting fire failed, the vehicle and its consignment ignited causing a massive explosion that was felt in Akure and its environs.”
“Presently, efforts are being made to ascertain if there are casualties. Following my visit to the scene, I have directed that the area be cordoned off to allow the explosive ordinance department/bomb squad to extricate the vehicle buried underground because it is unclear if there are still explosives that are yet to be detonated. Everything is under control and I will be updating the public on any new developments.”
He, however, sought the opportunity to enlighten the public about precautionary measures on the COVID-19 disease.
He advised residents to stay calm, safe and to take responsibility in the fight against the virus.
I have instructed the State Ministry for Works to commence the rehabilitation of the alternate route, a rural road through Iluabo, due to the importance of the Akure-Owo Road. We will also engage the Federal Government on how to fast track the repair of the damaged portion. pic.twitter.com/5VIdiBJ8KZ
— Arakunrin Akeredolu (@RotimiAkeredolu) March 28, 2020
Meanwhile, Funsho Esan, the state Commissioner for Environment earlier told The ICIR there were no casualties recorded in the explosion.
He said the incident occurred at about midnight and it affected public structures and residential houses.
“The government is still investigating the matter. In an hour from now, we will come out with the actual cause and I don’t want to give fake news also,” saID Esan, in a phone interview on Saturday morning.
“There are speculations. It’s not too far from where I stay but nobody can say what actually caused it.”
The commissioner said the scene of the blast was a short distance from his residence, “about five kilometers,” but no one could clearly identify what went wrong.
However, he promised to make an inquiry and get back to the reporter.
“I won’t want to give wrong information. We are still trying to ascertain the cause.”
The ICIR further asked if any officials from the environment ministry had been deployed to visit the scene of the incident scene, he merely responded ‘they must have visited.’
“They must have visited but I’m yet to be there. One is trying to be careful because it was very massive… It shook the entire place.”
“It happened around 12 midnight along airport road on the way to Owo, after Akure. But nobody died. No one lives around there.”