Rotimi Akeredolu, Ondo State Governor, said a vehicle moving improvised explosive devices caused the explosion that rocked Akure, the state capital.
The explosion which occurred in the early hours of Saturday split the Akure-Owo Road into two, destroying over 50 buildings.
Akeredolu, who inspected the scene of the explosion on Saturday, said he was briefed by security chiefs that the vehicle was moving the IED to a storage facility in a neighbouring state when it broke down along the Akure Owo Road, some 2km to the Akure Airport.
The governor said the explosion, which destroyed over 50 buildings, happened in the process of fixing the vehicle.
He said, “I have been briefed by the security chiefs that in the early hours of Saturday, March 28th, 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.”
He warned the people of the state to stay away from the spot where the vehicle exploded, advising them to maintain a respectable distance to avert another disaster should another explosion recur.
“Do not also forget that coronavirus is in the country. I thank God that there has not been any recorded case in Ondo State,” he said.
Many were injured in the explosion that cut Akure-Owo Expressway into two.
Some people at the scene of the incident, lamented the levity handling of security equipment wandering what becomes the fate of those who had suffered considerable damage.
The Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Ondo State Chapter, Revd John Ayoola, who also visited the scene described the magnitude of the explosion that rocked Akure, the state capital in the early hours of Saturday morning as a “national disaster”.
He said, “This is beyond description. I’m speechless. This is a national disaster because the volume of destruction we have seen here is beyond what one can see and imagine. The entire structure and compound are littered and shattered.
“When I saw the text this morning, I quickly went to the hospital to see one or two persons that were injured. Though their condition is stable now but getting here, I know this must have been divine for them to be in that state looking at the massive destruction we have seen here.
“Almost all the structures and buildings were destroyed in one way or the order beyond repairs.”
In his reaction, the Commissioner of Police in Ondo state, Undie Adie, told newsmen on Saturday that the Akure blast occurred when a truck loaded with dynamite exploded.
“The truck was coming from Lagos State to Edo State; unfortunately, along the road, their vehicle developed a fault and the driver noticed it.
” In fact, from the explanation of the escort commander, they had to try to move it away from where there were houses.
“When they parked and came out and noticed there was smoke coming out from the engine, the driver’s effort to put it off was not possible and fire broke out,” he said.
The commissioner said the police escort had to deploy the standard professional drill in handling the incident.
” We thank God that this area houses a church and school; fortunately, the school, because of the closure, had no student.
“But we have commenced investigation and I have called the managing director of the company who was to receive the consignment,” he said.
Adie admonished residents of the area to stay far away from the scene of the incident to avoid unnecessary accidents.
He said that personnel of the EOD in the command had been on the ground since the incident occurred to cordon the area.
Also. Speaking, Brig.-Gen. Zakari Abubakar, the Commander of 32 Artillery Brigade, Akure, urged residents to remain calm, saying the security agencies were on top of the situation.
Mr Rotimi Adeleye, the State Commander of FRSC, said that men of the command had been deployed on the road to ensure order on the highway.
He said that an alternative road had been provided for motorists.
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