Environmentalist Warns of Potential Health Hazards Following Ibadan Explosion
By Femi Akinola
In the aftermath of the recent explosion that rocked the Bodija area of Ibadan, independent environmentalist and waste management consultant, Mr. Tajudeen Oyewole, has issued a stern warning about the potential long-term health effects resulting from the environmental hazards caused by the incident.
Contrary to initial claims by the state government that the blast was from dynamite, explosive experts now assert that it originated from a lethal bomb.
Oyewole emphasized the far-reaching consequences of the explosion, stating that it could lead to chronic diseases, ranging from cancer to heat-related illnesses.
He underscored the impact on air, water, soil, and the overall environment, asserting that the aftermath of such an explosion could adversely affect mental health and disrupt the delicate balance of ecosystems.
The expert highlighted the interconnectedness of human and ecological factors, emphasizing their significant influence on human health.
“The explosion in Ibadan will definitely affect organisms and growth. It is an environmental factor that will bring health disparities across the immediate environment of the blast,” declared Oyewole.
Furthermore, he expressed concern about the pollution of fresh water, forests, and air in the vicinity of the explosion, asserting that the stable climate, clean air, and preserved nature essential for good health would be compromised for an extended period.
In response to the incident, Governor Seyi Makinde assured the affected residents that those responsible for the explosion would be held accountable. He attributed the blast to Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) used by illegal miners in a Bodija GRA building.
The governor pledged to cover the medical bills of victims and provide temporary accommodation for those whose houses were affected, promising government support in rebuilding their lives.
However, explosive experts, including retired US Army personnel Mr. Yinka Ogunsanya, contested the governor’s assertion, suggesting that the explosion was likely from a single lethal bomb rather than dynamite.
Ogunsanya highlighted the distinctive characteristics of the explosion’s epicenter and the damage pattern, indicating a design and intent inconsistent with typical mining dynamite.
The President of the Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN), Dele Ayankale, further emphasized that legitimate mining companies adhere to strict regulations for the storage and use of explosives. The revelation that explosive materials were stored in a residential area raised concerns about unauthorized usage, as mining explosives should be stored in designated and secure facilities.
“You must obtain a permit, and the military must know the quantity of explosive you’re buying. Then you must stored the materials in the appropriate place in their magazine, and there is a register for it. You must also obtain permits from the relevant ministry; t’s these permits that miners take to a government licensed explosive dealer to be able to any specified quantity. The movement if explosive materials from the point of purchase must also be accompanied by an explosive officer from the Bomb Disposal Unit of the Nigerian Police,” Ayankale emphasised.
As investigations into the explosion’s cause continue, the Minister of Solid Minerals, Dele Alake, has directed ministry mine officers to collaborate with Oyo State Government officials in the inquiry.
The Ministry aims to determine whether the explosion resulted from illegal acquisition and storage of mining explosive devices, signaling a commitment to tighten regulations around the use of explosives.
The aftermath of the blast has left an indelible mark on the Bodija community, with extensive damage to houses, a messy environment, and a rising casualty count. As the investigation unfolds, residents grapple with the immediate and potential long-term consequences of the devastating explosion.