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January 27 2002: 18 years after, Nigerians remember victims of Ikeja bomb blast


Ikeja bomb blast

Today, January 27 marks the 18th year of the accidental detonation of bombs from the armoury of the Ikeja Cantonment in Lagos which claimed thousands of lives.

It was a black Sunday in the city of Lagos on that day as the armoury which was said to contain “high calibre bombs” went up in flames around 6 pm on Sunday, 27th January 2002, resulting in a series of explosions in and around the cantonment.

The explosions affected areas up to 50 km. away from the scene of the incident, mostly affected were residents of Ikeja and Oshodi, the closest to the cantonment.

Following fears from the sporadic explosions which was already raining down artillery shells over thousands of homes, panicking residents of the cantonment and Oshodi areas started scampering for safety. Thousands of people headed for Ajao Estate along the Muritala Mohammed International airport road end of Oshodi/Isolo Local Government Area.

When the fleeing residents got to Ajao Estate, still in fears, they started crossing the stretch of canal trying to cross to Oke-Afa in Isolo, in the process, many sank while a few others survived with injuries.

About 700 people reportedly died in the canal, but sadly the bulk of the thousands of victims reportedly killed by the explosions did not die close to the cantonment.

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Most of the victims died in the canal which is several kilometers away from the cantonment. Many children were separated from their parents

The explosions which continued throughout the night and into the following afternoon caused damage to a number of buildings in and around the cantonment, resulting in displaced persons and loss of property.

The victims were buried at Oke-Afa by the Lagos State Government.

18 years after, some Nigerians on social media are paying tributes to the victims of the explosion.

Lawmaker representing Egbeda/Ona-Ara Federal constituency at the House of Representatives, Akin Alabi tweeted:


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