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Bodija Explosion Fallout: 10 Still Missing as Residents Demand Accountability and Emergency Preparedness Overhaul



In the aftermath of the tragic explosion that rocked the Bodija community in Ibadan on January 17, the Bodija Estate Residents Association (BERA) revealed on Wednesday that approximately 10 individuals are still unaccounted for. Expressing their concerns during a consultative meeting, Mr. Muyiwa Bamgbose, the President of BERA, conveyed the gravity of the situation, stating, “If the person was seen yesterday and was not seen today or you can’t find him again, then you need to get worried. But I believe it’s nearer 10 now.”


BERA, acting as the umbrella body for all communities in Bodija, not only highlighted the urgency of locating the missing individuals but also called for substantial assistance for the victims of the explosion as they strive to rebuild their lives. The association emphasized the need for continuous care and support for those whose lives were unexpectedly altered by the tragic incident.


President Bamgbose acknowledged the widespread impact on victims, some of whom incurred medical expenses out of pocket and sought treatment outside designated hospitals. He specifically mentioned Redeemers Clinic, which offered free treatment without maintaining records, illustrating the complex and multifaceted aftermath of the explosion.


Despite commendation for the swift response from the Federal and Oyo State Governments, Bamgbose raised concerns about the lack of proper organization in providing hotel accommodation to victims. He expressed apprehension about potential shortcomings in the government’s efforts, pointing out the chaotic nature of the situation.


“While commending the efforts of the Federal and Oyo State Governments, Bamgbose noted the need to learn from the explosion to better prepare for emergency operations. ‘The response to the incident, though quick, was uncoordinated. This is what led to the various lapses still being experienced by victims,’ he said.”


In the call for improvement, President Bamgbose stressed the necessity of learning from the experience to enhance emergency response protocols. He underscored the importance of addressing gaps in the system to ensure more effective responses to emergencies, be they floods, fire outbreaks, or other unforeseen events.


One striking revelation during the meeting was the lack of demographic records, a challenge that hampers efforts to trace residents and occupants of the affected house. President Bamgbose expressed concern about the difficulty in obtaining accurate information even from the records of the State Housing Corporation. The absence of comprehensive records poses a formidable obstacle in determining the fate of individuals who may have been caught in the blast or went off the radar.


Moving forward, President Bamgbose announced the community’s commitment to rectify this deficiency by proactively getting to know their neighbors. He emphasized the importance of not just identifying the occupants but also understanding the property’s ownership, the residents’ occupations, and fostering a sense of community.


As the Bodija community navigates the aftermath of the explosion, the collective call for accountability, improved emergency preparedness, and a renewed focus on community engagement resonates as a pivotal step toward healing and resilience. The story unfolding in Bodija serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of proactive measures, collaboration, and empathy in the face of unforeseen tragedies.

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