Tension in Ondo as 20 injured, property destroyed in explosion

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The Ondo State capital, Akure, was thrown into chaos Saturday as no fewer than 20 persons sustained varying degrees of injuries in an explosion that rocked the town.

Buildings, including residential houses, shops and schools were destroyed by the explosion.

The development also rendered about 70 persons homeless as their houses and personal belongings were destroyed.

The explosion, which occurred at Eleyowo-Iluabo along Owo-Akure road in Akure North Local Government Area of the state, was reportedly caused by a truck headed for Edo State that reportedly carried a load of dynamite.

Commissioner of Police Mr Undie Adie, who confirmed the incident, debunked rumours making the rounds that the blast was as a result of a bomb explosion.

He said the owner of the truck that conveyed the dynamite had spoken with him and that preliminary investigation showed that the substance that exploded was indeed dynamite.

The police commissioner said that the truck which contained the explosive device was conveying dynamite for a quarry company in Auchi, Edo State.

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According to the chief of police, the consignment of dynamite was bought in Ibadan, Oyo State, en route to Auchi, Edo State.

He said the vehicle broke down in Shasha market and later in front of Aina Awawu group of schools where it eventually exploded, the destroyed structures caught within the wide blast radius.

Adie said the policemen who were escorting the truck at distance told the occupants to leave the vehicle before it exploded.

Among the buildings that were destroyed by the explosion were Aina Awawu International College which is a full boarding school and a building housing the ‘Possibility Church’.

The Principal of Aina Awawu International College, Roland Kayode, who said he was informed of the development by the school’s security guard, said that he was thankful to God as no of the student were in school due to the shutdown of schools occasioned by the spread of the novel coronavirus disease.

The founder of Possibility Church, Mrs Olayemi Adesida, who was in church when the incident happened, said that the building collapsed on her while she struggled her way out from under the debris.

She explained that 10 members of the church were injured as a result of the blast, adding that the victims are currently recuperating at the hospital.

Meanwhile, Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has visited the scene of the explosion to assess the extent of damage, with an appeal to the residents of the area to steer clear of the scene of the explosion.

The governor appealed to all residents to be calm and refrain from flaunting theories that are capable of distracting the security agencies in their investigations.

Governor Akeredolu also advised people to be careful and take precautions not to rush to the scene.

This, according to him, is pertinent because the blast, which created a large crater at the scene of impact, and its immediate effects are already security concerns.

“This is more so that no one can confirm if undetonated devices are still stuck in unseen corners, especially in the gully already created by the blast.

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“It is, therefore, in the public interest for people to allow security experts access to the area by depopulating the scene. Security agencies will keep the public informed of developments as they unfold.

“Owing to the road that has been cut-off, an alternative route will be worked on immediately for commuters plying the route,” the governor stated.

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