Ibadan residents blame Malian illegal miners over explosion
Residents of Adeyi Avenue in Bodija, Ibadan, Oyo State, have blamed Malian illegal miners for the explosion that rocked the ancient city on Tuesday night.
The explosion left at least three persons dead, scores of others injured, and property worth billions of naira destroyed.
This is just as President Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday, called on the relevant government agencies to “fish out” and “punish” those responsible for what he called “reckless behaviour” that triggered a devastating blast in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital Tuesday night.
This was as he expressed sadness over the incident he described as “worrisome.”
At least three persons were confirmed dead and over 80 were injured in the explosion which also destroyed several buildings, vehicles, and other property.
A resident of Adeyi Avenue, who simply identified himself as Apa, in an interview with journalists in Ibadan on Wednesday, said there were no illegal mining sites in the area.
He, however, blamed illegal miners from the West African country, Mali, who lived in the area for the explosion, adding that the Federal Government should send illegal miners out of the country.
Apa said his neighbour agreed with him that the explosion was caused by explosive materials, which the Malians used for illegal mining.
Recounting his experience, he said, “When I called my neighbour, she said, ‘You remember those Malians?’ There must be equipment they’re using for doing their mining work that must have exploded, and that equipment is not a cheap material. It’s something that’s very heavy.
“If the explosion had happened in Odogbo barracks, then one would say yes, they have all sorts of things there. That thing is not supposed to be kept in this type of environment. And wherever such equipment is kept, it must be under-regulated humidity. Maybe the temperature would have triggered it, and that’s my own suspicion.
“There is nothing like illegal mining here. It’s miners that live here that brought the equipment and they are Malians.
“This is a lesson for the Nigerian government to decide whether we still want to keep such people in our country. Malians do a lot of things apart from this; they cause a lot of havoc. The government should start thinking about what to do with them, and if you find out they don’t have documents to live in this country, you know what to do.”
Speaking to journalists on the explosion, another Bodija resident, Taiwo Salami, said, “Many have died. We saw corpses all over the street last night (Tuesday). It just has to stop. Not only in Ibadan, in Niger, in Sokoto, in Abuja, everywhere.
“There is chaos and disorder in this country. This is not the country everybody wants to live in. This is not the country of our dreams. It’s just ridiculous. Where do people start from? Lives have been lost. Can they be gained back? They cannot! Everybody woke up yesterday, thinking this is 2024.
“This is January for goodness sake. Is this how we are going to start the year? How many more of such do we have in other neighbourhood that we are not even sure of? I’m tired.”
On the scale of damage, he said, “Everything is gone, everything. The whole house is gone. All the vehicles, all the properties, everything is gone. In fact, this whole area, all the houses would have to be demolished. Every single house must be demolished because their structural defects are evident; there are cracks everywhere. Everything has to be demolished and probably rebuilt. You’re talking about billions here.”
Meanwhile, the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, who visited the scene of the explosion, confirmed the casualties adding that the explosion occurred at Adeyi Avenue, Bodija. However, settlers say the blast was heard and felt kilometers away in many parts of the city.
Makinde said preliminary investigations by security agencies revealed that the blast was triggered by illegal miners occupying one of the houses in the Bodija area of the ancient city.
Makinde further revealed that the investigation revealed foreign names in the Corporate Affairs Commission documents of the company involved in the Ibadan blast.
The governor, while appearing on Channels TV Politics Today, Wednesday promised to uncover the identity of all those involved in the blast.
He explained that the explosion revealed the failure of the neighborhood association, adding that they failed to report the activities of illegal miners in the area to law enforcement agencies.
“Yes, we are trying to uncover the identity of the people involved. We have done a few fact-finding on the company involved. And yes, there are indeed some foreign names in the CAC documents of the company involved, but these are still very early days. We don’t have any reason to cover anything.
“It is a failure of the neighborhood association because we always admonish our people. If you see something that doesn’t look right, then bring it to the attention of the authorities and then they will do something about it. So, people within this neighborhood are aware of some of these things. But it was never brought to the attention of the authorities.
To prevent an occurrence, Makinde said he would seek approval from President Bola Tinubu to compel miners with explosives to store them with the military.