February 07, (THEWILL) – The Oyo State government says it has identified three suspects in connection with the recent explosion at Bodija, Ibadan, Oyo State, for possible prosecution.
However, Fatai Owoseni, Special Adviser to the Oyo Governor, who made this known on Wednesday, said some suspects, who are indigenes of Mali, have fled Nigeria.
He identified the suspects as immediate and extended family members of the main person who rented the property, but said to have left Nigeria about three years ago on health grounds.
Emphasing the challenges of getting the suspects due to the exit of Mali from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Owoseni said Oyo state would be seeking assistance from Interpol to bring in the suspects.
“There is also a conclusion, so far, that there are three persons of interest that can be immediately prosecuted. The main person that rented that property had left Nigeria about three years ago on health grounds, and he left some of his extended family members at that property, including his wife.
“Among the three persons of interest that the investigating team can prosecute now are those people that were in occupation of that house as of the time the incident happened and based on the findings deducted from their interrogation and investigation that was carried out.
“It is still an ongoing process. Some persons of interest weren’t there when the incident happened and they were believed to have fled.
“The state is aware that Mali where majority of these people of interest originated from has exited ECOWAS. But there is an Interpol protocol under which we can also get assistance to bring them in.
“It is also worthy of mention to say that the particular name that had featured so much on social media has not been really found connected with that explosion but he has been interrogated.
“The immigration status of all those people of interest have also been checked”, he said, adding that a water gel explosive triggered by an electric spark caused the explosion.
Giving the results of the integrity test conducted, chairman, Nigerian Institution of Structural Engineers, Mbim Okutiyang said it checked 282 houses within 500 metres radius from the epicentre and four are considered dangerous to live in and would be marked for complete demolition.
He, however, noted that the assessment team had attempted to check 423 houses within the 1kilometre diameter from the epicentre but couldn’t access about 141 houses as many of them were under lock and key.
Okutiyang said the 278 were deemed habitable as they had repairable issues like blown-off roofs, broken doors, shattered windows, and damaged burglary.
He said the institution would be giving advice on how concerned persons can go about repairing their houses.
On his part, the incident manager, Professor Temitope Alonge said only five out of 80 victims were presently on admission at the University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan and at the Redeemers Hospital.
Out of the five on admission, Alonge said one was being managed for Spinal cord injury, while surgeries had been carriied out on others who had injuries with lower limbs.
He added that four victims suffered perforated eardrums as a result the high decibels of the blast, some of whom will have surgical repair of their ripped-off eardrums.