Search Site: OnlineNigeria

Close






Lagos bomb blast avoidable –Ex-Army chief

Posted by By TESSY OKOYE on 2008/01/26 | Views: 496 |

Lagos bomb blast avoidable –Ex-Army chief


Six years after the Ikeja Military Cantonment bomb blast that wrecked devastation and sent hundreds to their early grave, it has been revealed that the disaster could have been averted if necessary steps and recommendations made to the Senate Committee on Defence had been treated as top priority.

Six years after the Ikeja Military Cantonment bomb blast that wrecked devastation and sent hundreds to their early grave, it has been revealed that the disaster could have been averted if necessary steps and recommendations made to the Senate Committee on Defence had been treated as top priority.

The revelation that the disaster happened due to negligence on the part of those in authority at the time was made by Brigadier General George Emden (Retd), the then Commandant of the cantonment. He spoke with journalists on the immediate and remote cause of the explosion in Lagos on Thursday.

Emden said it had become necessary to speak up and let Nigerians know what actually happened on January 27, 2002, and to give honour to whom it was due, and preserve the memory of those who lost their lives.

In his word: “The bomb blast was a big landmark in my life and in my military career which spanned a period of 34 years. I want to make it clear that though the incident seems unavoidable at the time, it was avoidable. Whatever happened on that day was due to insensitivity on the part of those who were our leaders.”

According to Gen. Emden, when a letter got to him about project inspection to be carried out by the Senate Committee on Defense on all facilities in the cantonment on October 4, 2001, he felt it was an opportunity to highlight the imminent danger and state of Armour Transit Depot (ATD).
“The ATD was obsolete and needed special attention to be paid to its volatility then. The ATD was instituted in the late 50s, before the independence. When the initiative was taken, it was conducive. But when development moved to the cantonment, it was no longer safe to have it there. Most of the bombs were decayed. There were 33 shells, which were stocked to the brim.

“There were also situation of items we did not need in ECOMOG, both Seirra-Leone and Liberia being back-loaded and stored in Ikeja Cantonment. It got to a stage that every little space in the open was littered with small, medium and high calibre bombs, both for tanks and artillery pieces. I made them understand that the day the bombs would go off, Lagos would be on standstill. Based on this, before they left, they directed that the Major General in charge of that section write a special letter for them, which they left with. It was a glaring fact that that it would happen, the only thing we did not know then was when.”

The tragedy he lamented did not take long to happen, because barely four months after, the bombs went off.
“When I got information about the chaos, which was suspected to be a military coup then and saw the sparks blazing in the sky, I knew exactly what had happened. It was an accident waiting to happen. It would have been averted if those at the top and strategic level reacted promptly to the situation,” he stressed.

When the former Senate president, Ayim Pius Ayim, visited the cantonment after the bomb blast, he said he saw the report of the recommendation when he assumed office, and it was sent to the Presidency to be budgeted for, but unfortunately it was deferred.

Read Full Story Here.... :
Leave Comment Here :



Add Comment

* Required information
1000
Captcha Image

Comments (1)

Gravatar
New
Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.