#Editorial

Lessons From Ibadan Explosion

There is no gainsaying the fact that Nigeria is choked by many contradictions, in her quest for development. Some of these complications arise from the illegal exploitation of its natural endowments. Due to the queer manner public interests have been administered over the years, dubious Nigerians, often with collaboration with foreigners, would take undue advantage of public assets and natural resources. The immediate implications of this are that; properties are destroyed, lives are lost, taxes are filtered away, and endemic criminality is entrenched.

NIGERIA has experienced various explosions across the country in recent times, largely due to negligence. After the unfortunate one witnessed in Ilu-Abo, Akure, Ondo State in 2020, the one that happened at Bodija, Ibadan, Oyo State, that was in the news few days ago, was another unfortunate explosion too many. The devastation and loss of lives that characterised the explosion in the residential area were avoidable, and blamable on impunity, as it was highly condemnable that the handlers of the explosives would store them in a residential area, thereby recklessly endangering the lives and properties of innocent residents.

AS Nigerians await details of the report of investigation conducted on the explosion that has been submitted to President Bola Tinubu by the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, the latter had unambiguously indicated that the explosion was caused by foreign miners of Malian extraction. While we are of the opinion that the ownership of the mining company whose indiscretion led to the explosion might not be contestable, we are of the view that it was obvious the operators displayed sheer lack of respect for law, and their activities were unchecked by relevant government agencies. We are not also sure the company linked to the explosives and explosion is licensed to operate.

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THIS is more so as illegal mining has been listed as a veritable machine fueling criminality and insecurity across the country, with Zamfara, Oyo, Nassarawa, and other states losing their spaces to criminal explorations and vociferous contestations between criminal gangs. The Hope wonders why the residents of Bodija did not unmask the nefarious activities of moving explosives in the areas by these mining operators before the dastardly act, but we are also reminded that such report would have been ignored by security agencies that might be profiting from such unwholesome practice. In most bracingly worrisome manner, the Minister for Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, shocked Nigerians when he informed the whole world that criminal individuals behind illegal mining threatened him. What an audacity of criminality against the government!

AT another level, we are of the opinion that the present negatively-skewed federalism being practiced in Nigeria is largely responsible for the huge gap between the issuance of licenses and monitoring of the people licensed by the federal government, with total disregard to state and local governments. No doubt, security agencies are also culpable of not detecting the dangerous storage of explosives in residential areas or making arrests in similar situations that occurred in the past. We, however, commend the governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, for signing an Executive Order prohibiting the storage of harmful substances in residential areas.   

AS we bemoan the loss of lives and properties to the unfortunate Ibadan explosion, we must seriously look forward to prevent such in the future, as governments at all levels should be alive to their responsibilities of protecting the lives and properties of their citizens. Security agencies should always conduct adequate surveillance and monitoring of our environment. The Hope similarly believes that the onus is also on the citizens to report to security agencies anything that they consider to be security breach in their community. This is more so as security agencies should purge themselves of corrupt behaviours that could impinge on the discharge of their onerous duties.

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WE also call on affected citizens to take the culprits to court, for adequate compensation. It is expected that a serious company that is into such a volatile business of mining that requires the use of explosives would have required insurance in place to respond to losses. We are pained that Nigeria appears not to be ready to learn from past errors, as represented by the Akure/Ondo explosion that massively wrecked havoc on properties. Most curiously, that the Ibadan explosion happened in Bodija, which is the nexus where the governor’s office is, raises critical security concern. Nigerians, more than before, should heed the national platitude that they should “see something; say something”.

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