Friday Olokor, Tukur Muntari, and Ted Odogwu
The Kano State Police Command and residents on Tuesday disagreed on the cause of the explosion recorded in Sabon Gari, Kano.
The explosion rocked the Aba Road of the area in the early hours of Tuesday, killing nine with many others injured.
The state police command had earlier confirmed the death of four persons during what he described as a gas explosion, and not a bomb blast.
However, a tweet from the National Emergency Management Agency’s Twitter handle read, “Nine dead bodies have been recovered so far from the rubble of a collapsed building beside a primary school following an explosion from a gas cylinder at Aba Road in Sabon Gari area of Kano State.
“DG @nemanigeria Mustapha Habib Ahmed was at the site of the incident and coordinated the rescue operations. NEMA is presently coordinating the rescue operations with sister agencies,”
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Sama’ila Dikko, had while giving an update on the incident, said it was a gas explosion from a welder’s shop close to a nursery and primary school.
The explosion, which occurred around 9.30am on the road near a private school, Winners Kids Academy, destroyed a residential building and shattered part of the school.
The police boss said, “The explosion brought the building down, and people were buried in rubbles from where four dead bodies were recovered.
“It wasn’t a bomb blast. It’s a gas cylinder explosion. The seller’s shop is on the ground floor of the building where the school is located.
“So, when the cylinder exploded, it brought down the building, and the pupils got injured. There wasn’t a bomb blast.”
Corroborating the commissioner’s report on the cause, the state government, however, in a separate statement by the state Commissioner for Information, Muhammad Garba, said the incident happened at an animal feed store opposite the school along Aba Road, Sabon Gari area of Fagge Local Government.
But an eyewitness, Mansur Babajide, said, “As far as I am concerned, it was not a gas explosion, but a bomb, due to the high-density vibration,” emphasising that it shook houses located about five kilometre away from the scene of the explosion.
According to him, the sound of the explosion vibrated the premises of his workshop, located on Burma Road, which is about five kilometres away from the scene of the explosion.
Another eyewitness, who resides within the vicinity, Luke Okenwa, said it was not a gas explosion, stressing that there are no gas cylinder dealers within the vicinity, adding that what happened was an indication that suicide bombers must have infiltrated the city, which calls for intensified vigilance to forestall a future occurrence.
“I, therefore, call on fellow indigenous community residents to be extra-security conscious, as well as report any strange face within the vicinity to security agents for appropriate action, ‘’ he said.
Following the explosion, local businessmen within the vicinity hurriedly closed their business premises and trooped out to the explosion scene, where they gathered in groups to discuss the unhealthy development.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, expressed shock over the explosion.
The minister also commiserated with the families of the victims and the state government over the tragedy, describing it as painful and calamitous.
“This is a tragedy. A gas explosion, a collapsed building, the death of many victims and persons still trapped in the rubbles. This is a very sad incident. I sympathise with the families of the dead and the government of Kano state.
“The spate of explosions in the country recently is alarming. We call on the appropriate authorities to do something quickly to stop further explosions and building collapse in the country,” a statement quoted the minister as saying.
In the same vein, the New Nigeria People’s Party expressed shock over the incident. The party called on the state government to ensure that those dealing with combustible and materials were not permitted to operate near schools to avoid a recurrence of such tragedy.
The party made its position known in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Agbo Major, in Abuja.