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‘I Don’t Know Where to Start From’ — Survivors of Ibadan Explosion Recount Losses

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‘I Don’t Know Where to Start From’ — Survivors of Ibadan Explosion Recount Losses

Survivors of the explosion that destroyed the Dejo Oyelese Close in Ibadan on Tuesday are now grappling with the reality of losing their homes, livelihoods and fortune, the press has gathered.

Though the exact casualty count of the explosion is still unconfirmed, eyewitnesses told the press that at least five dead bodies were recovered on the day of the incident. The Oyo State Government also said that at least 77 people were injured, but beyond the human cost, the Guardian reported on Monday that at least N34.5 billion worth of houses were lost due to the explosion. According to the report, the loss of cars and other critical infrastructure would stretch the figure to N50 billion.

The press returned to the scene of the explosion on Saturday to speak to survivors. On arrival, the pressmet residents and survivors attempting to salvage their belongings from the ruins. Some of them spoke to THE PRESS about their experiences on the day of the explosion and how it would affect their livelihoods going forward.


THE PRESS met Olusanmi picking through the rubble alongside an elderly domestic worker on Saturday. Olusanmi and his aid had removed considerable dirt from some of the house appliances they could salvage.

Olusanmi, who suffered a relatively minor injury to his hands and head, described what he knew about the explosion. Most poignantly, he recounted how much he lost and how his family might suffer financial consequences in the aftermath of the explosion.


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Houses in Dejo Close After the Explosion

“What I am most concerned about right now is my wife’s recovery,” Olusanmi told THE PRESS.

“She was in the kitchen to return a cup on the day of the explosion. My children were somewhere in the house, and I was just considering exiting the house at the time. All I heard at the time was a loud bang that swept me off the floor.”

I was lucky enough to escape with these minor injuries, at least compared to what my wife is suffering right now. My two kids were not harmed in the incident either. That I am most grateful for. My wife, however, fractured her leg bone, one of her legs, aside from other minor injuries that she suffered.

“The soldiers have been gracious enough to allow us access today. But at best, I would only be able to salvage a few house appliances, maybe clothes. But my family lost all of our properties.

“My car was also destroyed in the incident. That car is barely three years old, and I just paid off the loan that funded it. You know how it is in the civil service, don’t you?”

Dejo Oyelese Close In the Aftermath of the Explosion

“If you’re asking about finances, all I can say is that I don’t know where to start from. Let’s even start with the basics. I must say kudos to the hospital and maybe the government for the intervention. But they won’t do everything for you – clothing for my kids, food for them and my wife. My children are staying with a relative now, but soon, I’d have to think about getting a new shelter rented.”

“In the long term, I know my wife’s business will be affected. She has a provision stall in Bodija Market. She is not young anymore, and fractures take time to heal. I’d assume she will be on bed for a while and not able to work. I also assume that recuperation will cost money. So, we have all of that to deal with.”


In another part of the Dejo Oyelese close, Mrs. Balogun, who used to be a domestic worker with one of the residents, appeared torn between gratitude and despair.

She was mumbling some words of gratitude under her breath when THE PRESS first encountered her. However, her expression betrayed that of gratitude; she appeared to be dazed by the sight.

When THE PRESS engaged her, she described how she had left her employer’s house about an hour before the explosion happened and how the explosion would affect her job.


Houses in the Aftermath of the Explosion

“I would have been there. It could have been me. I had just finished doing the last part of my cleaning that day,” Balogun said.

“I work as a cleaner and sometimes a nanny inside the close. I had just closed about an hour before the incident. When I even heard the explosion at my house in Agbowo, I didn’t think much of it.

“I have not heard from my boss, but neighbours told me that Madam is seriously injured. I don’t know if the phones are gone in the blast. There is nothing left of their house.

“If I can even locate them, I don’t mind helping them in whatever way I can without worrying about any cost. Where does one want to start from?

“Even if I didn’t lose my life, I don’t expect to return to any job. I can only imagine what the family is going through. I usually work in shifts; I use the money to augment whatever I make from the sales of footwear.

“It’s the money that caters to the school fees of my children, my two daughters. Their father is late. It’s a case of the ripple effect. My employer’s family suffered the more dire consequences, but I am also suffering. The Yoruba will say the bird is comfortable when the tree is comfortable. I am here today to see if I will get news about their safety”.

While presenting a report about the explosion to Tinubu on Monday, Seyi Makinde, the Oyo State Governor, stated that his administration would do what it could to support the victims of the explosion.


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