At about 1:00am on Saturday 28th March 2020, the loud noise of an explosion woke up every resident of the city of Akure and its environs in Ondo state.
The immediate report released by the police stated that the explosion was due to a fault developed by the truck that was legally transporting a consignment of some explosives meant for a quarry company in Edo state. The unfortunate incident occurred along the Akure Owo road. This report was also the position of the executive governor of the state: His Excellency Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu in a statement he made on the matter. However, some “eyewitnesses” and residents of Akure and its environs who visited the scene
of the incident expressed reservations as to the actual cause of the blast.
While some claimed it was bombs being transported to the northern part of the country that exploded when the truck conveying it developed fault, others believed it might have been a deliberate missile lunched on the Southwest as a means of intimidating the Ondo state people and its government; more importantly a message to the governor for his leading role in the creation of the Southwestern Nigeria Security Network code name “Amotekun”.
The visit of one Professor Adekunle Adepelumi, of the Department of Geology, Earthquake and Space Weather Laboratory, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife to the site of the explosion and his pronouncement (verbal report) after a “detailed analysis” of the incident however added another spine to the unfolding narrative.
According to him, evidences from his analysis pointed to a conclusion that “a meteoric from an asteroid belt that travelled at a great speed from space impacted the location at an angle of 43 degrees and created an ejecta at south-western part”. The professor claimed that the incident was a natural occurrence (disaster) and not man made as being speculated that it was a bomb blast. He further emphasized that “no evidence of buried vehicle, buried ordinance or improvised explosive device (IED) was found”.
The explanation of Prof Adepelumi was however not widely believed or accepted as the cause of the incident. More so, some residents have claimed to find the crankshaft and other metallic parts believe to be from the truck carrying the explosives form or near the site of the incident in contrary to what the Prof reported.
While yours truly is not an astrophysicist, space or rocket scientist and will not dare to challenge the authority of specialists in that field, to a casual observer; the near perfect circular cone-like impact rather suggests more of a rocket/missile warhead impact at a trajectory of an angle greater than 43° and not that of an irregularly shaped asteroid from the outer space. More investigations are required to ascertain whether the blast was actually due to an extra-terrestrial element or not. It will be desirable if the Nigerian National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) can look into this matter, get in touch with Prof Adepelumi and in collaboration with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Russian federal space agency (Roscomos) and other space agencies around the world to look into the incident for data verification and confirmation. Whatever the true cause of the Akure blast may be, here are the facts: there was an explosion and people were terrified and intimidated. The Nigerian government at all levels are not generally known for being transparent and forthright with information with its citizens. In view of the high level of insecurity of lives and properties in the country, the least the government could do is to ascertain the true cause or causes of this incident and every other unrest in the country and address them with all honesty, openness and respect that the people deserve.
People deserve to know the actual cause of this incident in order to avoid idle speculations and
To everyone whose buildings have been damaged or lost other valuable properties through this unfortunate and scary incident; the sympathies, good thoughts and prayers of the people and yours truly are with you. When the truth become manifest, we hope that compensations for damaged and or lost properties will be provided by either the government, the quarry company or their insurance company.
Until the dark cloud of secrecy and mistrust of the government occasioned by the effects of several other past insecurity incidences in the country is cleared, the Akure blast of Saturday 28th March will remain in the mind of the people as either a genuine unintended mishap due possibly to human error or a deliberate cover-up to send warning messages to the people of southwest Nigeria especially when the dots with previous blasts at Ekiti and Lagos states in recent past are connected.
Dr Akinbowale Olusa
Ondo State 2020 Governorship Aspirant
African Action Congress (AAC)