•Offices, vehicles damaged, anti-bomb office reduced to rubble
The Commissioner of Police in Ekiti State, Mr Asuquo Amba, says the command has commenced investigations into an explosion that went off at the old state secretariat in the early hours of Saturday.
The incident happened at the Oke Ori Omi area of Ado Ekiti, the state capital, throwing the entire state capital into confusion.
The explosion, which occurred at about 7.05am in the Explosion Ordinance Disposal unit situated within the old secretariat, reduced the EOD building into rubbles and shattered windows and ceilings of the government offices compound.
Affected offices included those of Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs; State Boundary Commission; Directorate of ICT; the Ekiti State Traditional Council Chambers; Office of Strategy and Transformation; Ekiti State Signage Agency and Nigeria Union of Journalists Correspondents’ Chapel.
Also, the windscreens and windows of some government vehicles, those of some NUJ Correspondent Chapel members parked in the compound as well two vehicles of the police anti-bomb unit were affected by the explosion.
Residents of the state capital from far and near were thrown into panic as their buildings allegedly shook due to the reverberating effect of the explosion, which was felt in virtually all parts of the state capital.
Although a Saturday, many civil servants whose offices were located in the compound, thronged the area to ascertain the safety of their personal effects in their offices and the extent of damage to nearby properties.
A source said one of the guards, who was on night duty in the old government secretariat, said he laid flat on his face for his safety when the explosion went off.
Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi; his deputy, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi; Commissioner for Information, Mr Muyiwa Olumilua and his Local Government Affairs counterpart, Prof Adio Folayan; the Chairman, Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers, Oba Adebanji Alabi and the state Head of Service, Mrs Peju Babafemi, were among the top officials to first visit the scene to assess the situation.
Fayemi said the EOD office should not have been located in the area, saying, “It ought to be in a far distance,” as he advised the state Police Commissioner to ensure the office was relocated to a distant place.
The police commissioner, while addressing journalists at the site, said he suspected that the explosion was caused by counter-terrorism accessories kept in the EOD Office.
Amba said, “Let my men from anti-bomb department checking around conclude their job. Officers of the anti-bomb are combing the place.
“This is the office where they keep detonation accessories. The explosion must have been caused by equipment kept in their stock house.
“The area has been cordoned off. We are going to devise means of ensuring improvement in the storage of the equipment next time.
“We are happy that there is no loss of life and no casualty. Some of these devices are used to detect bombs and to detonate them. Some of them could detonate on their own and that must have caused the explosion,” Amba stated.
Olumilua in a statement appealed to members of the public not to panic, but go about their normal duties.
He stated, “An initial on-the-spot assessment confirms that there are no casualties and the area is secured with no further threats. Members of the public are advised to go about their normal duties.”