The multiple explosions that occurred on Tuesday in a residential area in Benin, capital city of Edo state were caused by improvised explosive devices, (IED) and not bombs as formally insinuated by many. This is according to the Military authorities in the state.
The multiple explosions which rocked the city occurred in the afternoon of Tuesday at house number 41, Zumizumi street, off Sakponba road, Oka 3, and had caused major panic and tension in the ancient city, causing many to attribute it to invasion by men of the dreaded Boko Haram.
The first of the explosions went off sometime after 2pm, it ripped through the perimeter fence of the building and destroyed other properties. It happened when Chinedu Elue a patent medicine dealer who occupies the house, set fire on refuse he allegedly swept from the house he moved into about nine months ago.
Addressing journalists at the scene of the incident on Wednesday, the Commander, 4 Brigade, Nigeria Army, Benin, Brigadier-General Faruk Yahaya, said it was evident that improvised explosive device materials were the cause of the explosions.
He said: “We heard of the explosion here and I came for an on-the-sport assessment and before I came today (Wednesday), my personnel were here, even yesterday, almost immediately it happened.
You know that when there is an incident, we get to know what happened. But sometimes, there is need to come and see what it is, so that you can brief appropriately.
“By my assessment and by that of others, it is obvious (that) it is not a terrorist attack. It is not an attack on this place. The people around here can bear witness; we don not think it is an attack. Perhaps, you can describe it as an accident or something that was buried there that has maybe exploded.
“We are grateful to God that when the thing happened, there were no people very close by. The incident would have been bigger; what happened to nearby houses is as a result of vibration from the explosion.
“What I will only urge all of us to do is to be vigilant. Security is everybody’s business. When you see something you do not understand, you suspect and report to security agencies.
People are living in communities; when there is somebody alien to them, they know they can easily establish his mission. And if they are not satisfied, they can relay to the agencies.
The people who perpetrate criminal activities are living with us and, by and large, we know them.
If we are more vigilant, we can avoid a lot of things.
“I am not in a position to say what the building in which the explosion occurred was meant for. But security agencies are always on the trail of criminals, all types of them.
“Sometimes, they can be kidnappers, armed robbers or even cultists. Based on information, we conduct what is called cordon and search, to search an environment or a place we suspect.
But to say what was there two years ago, I am not in a position to say so. But what we saw suggests that whoever was there was having the material (IEDs) you saw. Probably they keep them there; when they want to use them, they carry them.
But when they were raided, they abandoned the place and did not remember to carry what they left. And thank God they (criminals) did not carry them. If they had, they would have used them somewhere else.” the army general added.
Meanwhile, the landlord of the house before the one where the explosions occurred, Mr. Johnbull Omoruyi, has expressed shock over the severe impact of the explosions on his house.
The 61-year-old retired civil servant who spoke to journalists at his house on Wednesday, said occupants were fortunate not to have been around, else, they would have been telling a different story by now, as shattered window glass, PVC ceiling in all the rooms are everywhere.
“I was out when my daughter called me to say I should come, that something was happening. It is a big shock to me. I just retired from civil service last year. The anti-bomb police said it was bomb planted there”.
Also narrating her experience, Mrs. Elizabeth Omoruyi, who was home when the explosion occurred, gave a terrifying account of what transpired, saying, “I thought I was in hell.”
“I was sleeping when I heard a loud bang. I thought I was in hell. The wooden shelf in my caravan fell on me. I didn’t know what was happening. I managed to push the shelf away from on top of me, but I passed out”.
“Neighbours later came to help me up and out of the caravan. When I managed to go into my room, I couldn’t believe what I saw, it was like a war zone.”
The distraught couple begged for assistance to rebuild their house.