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Security agencies deny Boko Haram role in Edo explosion

By Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu and Michael Egbejule, Benin City
04 February 2016   |   12:28 am
SECURITY agencies including the army and police in Edo State yesterday dispelled rumours that the explosion that rocked Zomi Zomi area in Upper Sokponba Road on Tuesday afternoon was an attack from Boko Haram.

ExplosionResidents count losses to explosion
SECURITY agencies including the army and police in Edo State yesterday dispelled rumours that the explosion that rocked Zomi Zomi area in Upper Sokponba Road on Tuesday afternoon was an attack from Boko Haram.

When The Guardian visited the scene of the explosion yesterday, residents continued to count their losses as family members and friends visited some of the affected houses.

The Brigade Commander, 4 Brigade of the Nigerian Army in Benin City, Brig.-Gen Faruk Yahaya told journalists when he visited the scene yesterday that: “We heard of the explosion here and I came for an on-the-spot assessment to know what happened, 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’t think it is an attack. Perhaps, you can describe it as an accident or something that was buried there that 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, report to the security agencies. People are living in communities; when there is somebody alien to them, they know.

“I am not in a position to say what the building was meant for. What we saw suggests that whoever was there, was having the material (IEDs) you saw. ‘’

Relics of destruction littered house number 41 Zomi-Zomi Street, in Oka 3, where the explosion left residents in pandemonium with houses and properties worth millions of naira destroyed.

Recounting the sad incidence that engulfed no fewer than three building within the vicinity of the blast, an occupant of house number 39, Pa. Johnbull Omoruyi said the blast that erupted from the next compound to his was heart troubling and ear deafening.

According to him, he was away from home at about 2pm Tuesday when he got a phone call that his house was hit by a blast from an explosion from the neighbouring compound, he ran home immediately from his place of work.
He said the explosion, destroyed his house completely and called on government and well-meaning Nigerians to come to his aid.

He said the former tenants in the building about two years ago, were suspected of engaging in criminal activities and a combined team of crack policemen, army, navy and other security agencies raided the house several times in search of the occupants without success.

Omoruyi noted that the continuous invasion of the house by security operatives however gave an indication that the occupants were on the wanted list of the police, which apparently led to the house been abandoned by the occupants.
Police said investigation was still going on but that no case of terrorism has been established.