From Paul Orude Bauchi
Residents of Azare, the headquarters of Katagum Local Government Area of Bauchii State, have shed more light on the explosion that occurred in the ancient city last Sunday.
They told The Sun correspondent in an exclusive interview that no lives was lost and nobody was injured the accidental explosion.
Their accounts revealed that the explosion happened at a facility that used to serve as office of the Native Authority headquarters in pre independence Nigeria which now serves as garage.of.ghe Katagum.
Several offices including the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Zonal Offices, National Population Commission, Sharia Court, National Security and Civil Defence Corps among others are located in the garage,.a stone throw from the Police Area Command office which was bombed by Boko Haram some years back and still lying in ruins.
Speaking with our correspondent who visited the explosion site, Malam Azare, a staff of Katagum Local Government Area whose Works Department is domiciled in the area, said a fire set set by unknown persons to burn the bush behind the garage which was inhabited by snakes and rodents was the immediate cause of the explosion.
Azare said the fire ignited a box containing dynamite that was buried in the ground for over 45 years which led to the explosion.
A resident, Hisseini Ibrahim said he and one of his friends saw the fire burning the dry grass ferociously and tried to quench it with water.
” We were raking grass when we saw the fire so we attempted to quench it, with water” he told The Sun.
” Then from nowhere we heard deafening sound and the whole place was envelope with smoke and we ran out.
“When it subsided we return and everyone was asking what was the problem. Some said it was battery of a motor vehicle that exploded. Others said that it was a tire of a vehicle.that burst into flames. It was later that the experts explained what happened but no one was killes.or injured”
The security agencies swiftly responded and cordoned the area.
Daily Sun correspondent beheld a deep hold where the dynamite.tbat caused the bang used to lie for over four decades.
The Bauchi State Commissioner of police, Aminu Alhassan, who visited the sight of the explosion in company with the State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, said the development was as a result of dynamite or explosives devices.
Alhassan revealed that the explosion destroyed a house, a mosque and school In Azare.
Our correspondent reports that the wall of the house destroyed had been mended after the governor’s visit
The Commissioner of Police said the explosives occured after some cleared the grass and burn them around the area.
“We suspected may be the explosives device like dynamite was buried in the area for more than three decade , because the road construction company once lived in that Place, and sometimes back when Boko Haram attacked Azare Police Station , they followed through the same route where the device exploded”.
The Commissioner said Anti Bomb disposal unit had cordoned the place to carry out further investigation, because even today two explosives were discovered in the area.
Governor Mohammed later.on Sunday paid sympathy visits to the Emir of Katagum Alhaji Umar Faruk II and Galadiman Katagum Alhaji Usman Mahmood Abdullahi,
Governor Mohammed pledged to pay compensation affected victims and expressed gratitude to God that no life was lost as a result of the incident.
He expressed appreciation to the Emir of Katagum for his exemplary leadership style nothing that he usually leaves his palace at night and go round his domain to encourage security operatives in their effort to protect lives and properties of citizens
The Emir of Katagum Alhaji Umar Faruk II thanked the Governor for the visit and assured him of their cooperation in his effort to provide security to lives and properties of his subjects.
He commended the Governor for his care concern and commitment to provide adequate security to the people of the state.
Owner of the House affected by the blast Alhaji Muhammadu Baba said the place where the dynamite exploded was a katagum local Government garage.
“We were shocked, frightened, worried and confused when we heard the loud sounds which shook buildings but with God’s intervention, no life was lost, but, it damaged so many buildings”
He expressed gratitude to the Governor for his concern and his pledge to compensation them for what they have lost saying it would definitely reduce their trauma.