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  • News - South West - Lagos
  • Updated: October 11, 2023

Lagos: Bombs Discovered By Army In Ikeja 21 Years After Explosion

Lagos: Bombs Discovered By Army In Ikeja 21 Years After Expl

Authorities in the Nigerian Army have discovered explosives at the scene of the Ikeja bomb blast after 21 years and nine months of the tragedy.

The explosion, which reportedly claimed about 1,100 lives and displaced over 20,000, occurred on January 27, 2002, at the Military Cantonment in Ikeja.  

Many were also injured and rendered homeless in the unfortunate incident that resulted in the destruction of in and around the area.

Announcing the discovery on Tuesday at the flag-off of the “Exercise Clean Sweep”, the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant-General Tajudeen Lagbaja, disclosed that the army has begun the movement of the remaining unexploded ordinance to one of its bases in Ajilete, Ogun State.

Lieutenant-General Tajudeen Lagbaja

According to him, the initial clearance operation done in 2002 ensured some degree of safety in the Ikeja Cantonment and environs. 

Lagbaja revealed that the 61-day exercise would take place from October  10 to December 10, with the mobilisation of engineers’ plants and other necessary equipment to the site.

“There will also be movements and disposal of recovered unexploded explosive ordnances from Ikeja Cantonment to the Nigerian Army Range at Ajilete in Ogun State during this exercise.

“The objective of Exercise Clean Sweep is to totally disinfect the epicentre of the Ikeja bomb blast and clear it of all verified and suspected remaining Unexploded Explosive Ordnance. This will aid in putting the site to future safe and productive use by the Nigerian Army and the larger Ikeja community.

“I must state at this point that exercises of this nature are time and resource-consuming. It has taken this long to finalize the clearance operation, not because of a lack of will but because it requires long-term planning and acquisition of relevant expertise and equipment. 

“I am happy today, to report that the Nigerian Army, with the support of the government and our international partners, has got what it takes to embark on such an ambitious and arduous cleanup.

“This briefing is a sensitization campaign to adequately notify the people of Lagos and Ogun states of the cleanup exercise.

“It also serves as an avenue to seek the support and collaboration of the Governments and the good people of Lagos and Ogun States for safe and smooth conduct of Exercise Clean Sweep,” he said.

“I wish to assure the general populace, especially Lagos and Ogun states residents, that the exercise will be conducted in the most professional manner with all necessary safety and security measures emplaced in line with global best practices.”

“To further reassure the citizenry, I have directed that adequate sensitization and awareness on the impending exercise be carried out on popular electronic, print, and social media. I implore the people of Lagos and Ogun states to not panic on sighting the movement of heavy vehicles and equipment as well as the sound of demolition of recovered Unexploded Explosive Ordnance at the Nigerian Army Range Ajilete, in Ogun State.

“The Nigerian Army equally seeks the cooperation of relevant government agencies and parastatals in Lagos and Ogun states, such as the State Emergency Management Agencies, the Federal Fire Service, Federal Road Safety Corp, Nigerian Police and the Department of State Services towards ensuring the success of this clean up exercise.

“The best compensation we can give to the victims of the 2002 bomb blast is to make the site and others secure for those living to avoid reoccurrence,” Lagbaja added.

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