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Victims of Ibadan explosion accuse govt of neglect

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The Oyo State Government has been accused of abandonment over the Bodija explosion.

 

This accusation was made by victims who were formerly residents of the area.

 

In the aftermath of the Bodija explosion, about five people were confirmed dead, 55 houses were damaged and 78 persons sustained injuries.

 

The explosion rocked Adeyi Avenue, Old Bodija, Ibadan, in the Ibadan North local government area of the state, on Tuesday, January 16, 2024.

 

It was recently observed that a few landlords whose buildings passed the integrity test conducted by the state government had begun the renovation of their property.

 

Though security operatives of the Nigerian Army, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and Amotekun were still at the various entrances leading to the scene to maintain law and order, owners and artisans were being allowed movement with vehicles bringing in materials needed for the repair of damaged buildings.

 

Most of the affected residents were being accommodated by the state government in a hotel in the city.

 

Some of the victims, who still resided in the hotel, on Monday, lamented alleged abandonment by the government.

 

One of the affected residents, Ayo Ogunlola, said, “We are victims of the Bodija explosion, with most of us having our houses sited within the corridor of the explosion and our houses and property were destroyed.

 

“The Governor, Seyi Makinde, in his character as a responsible leader, decided to house most of us who were homeless in various hotels. We were originally housed at Calton Gate Hotels, a gesture we sincerely appreciate. On February 16, the hotel management decided to forcefully evict us using various tactics.

 

“They stopped giving us food and went to the extent of harassing us with armed guards in our rooms. We were eventually relocated to Orchard Hotels with a standby instruction of one meal per room, irrespective of the number of occupants. Some of us decided to boycott the food because it was humiliating.

 

“Unfortunately, the hotel has started maltreating us. The so-called one meal has been stopped and light is gradually being withdrawn. We know we are guests of the state government.

 

“We want to make it clear today that most of us are in the hotel today because the result of the integrity test for most of the houses has just been released, and renovation just commenced.

 

“Also, the restoration of electricity, which is entirely the job of the government and Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company is still on hold, by implication, no electricity in our part of the estate. Are they expecting us to move to the estate without basic facilities? We want quick and urgent intervention, we cannot stand this humiliation again.”

 

Another victim, Ibrahim Adekunle, said, “It is so difficult here, but our main body, I mean the association of landlords, is making moves towards seeing the governor and making a presentation on behalf of everybody.

 

“We expect the government to take action. They have written a letter to the governor and are only waiting for a date when they will meet with us.”

 

Also speaking, Taiwo Adebiyi said, “We thought that after our relocation here after three days, they would come to pay us a visit but nothing like that happened. The only government official who came, who is the Director of Protocol, was called when the management of the hotel was harassing us with the threat to eject us.

 

However, a statement by the state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Dotun Oyelade, on Monday, debunked the insinuation that the government had abandoned the welfare of victims of the Bodija explosion.

 

He said, “The government has debunked the insinuation that it has abandoned the welfare of victims of the Bodija explosion in Ibadan. The rumour is unfair and unnecessary.

 

“Ever since the January 16 explosion, the government has been spending between N15m and N20m weekly on accommodation and feeding for the victims in the past eight weeks.

 

“As we speak, the government has spent over N160m on accommodation and feeding alone for the victims who were immediately accommodated at the hotels and 38 of them still residing in the various hotels.

 

“In the same vein, the government has picked up a medical bill of over N17m while those still in hospitals are being actively catered for.”

 

Oyelade also said that N2m is spent weekly, amounting to N16m in eight weeks, for security operatives to protect the property left behind by the victims.

 

On the rumour that some of the victims were ejected from their hotels, the commissioner said nothing could be farther from the truth.

 

“One of the hotels at Idi-Ape informed their occupants that they would like to fumigate their premises and the government took it upon itself to immediately arrange transportation for the explosion victims to be accommodated in another hotel at Jericho together with members of their families.

 

“The government does not think making an issue of fumigating a facility is the correct thing to do because such exercise is routine and the prerogative of the hotel owners.

 

“On the accusation that victims’ meals have been reduced to one, the government sees this as equally spurious because many hotels provide complimentary breakfast, and most of our wards go out in the daytime, hence, the government’s decision to provide dinner.”

 

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