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16 YEARS REMEMBRANCE – IKEJA CANTONMENT BOMBING

16 years ago today, over a thousand Nigerians lost their lives in the Ikeja cantonment bombing. Sunday, January 27, 2002 was particularly a gloomy day for many families in Lagos State. The trouble, which eventually sent many to their graves prematurely, started around 5pm when there was a sudden explosion, like an earthquake. The loud bang shook the entire Lagos city, as if bombs were detonated behind the windows of each of the residents.


Being an unprecedented occurrence and not knowing what was actually happening, people, understandably, started running helter-skelter. And whilst scampering for safety, they heard several other explosions, of same intensity, the vibration shattered windows, roofs and brought down buildings several kilometres away.

Unknown to many, the explosion, which sounded for about seven times and almost ripped the metropolitan city apart, was coming from Ikeja Military Cantonment. It was later gathered that some high calibre bombs kept underground at the military facility were not well stored, which led to the accidental discharge of the bombs. Another version said there was a fire outbreak at the Armoured Technical Dump within the facility which later spread to where the bombs were stored and triggered the deadly explosions.

Within seconds, there was commotion across the city, and as people were running for their lives, the stampede led to deaths, and by the minute, the death toll rose. Out of panic, people jumped into fire, some ran into moving vehicles and were knocked down while some were burnt to death by the raging fire.

One location that seemed to record the highest number of deaths was a large canal at Ajao Estate which links Oke Afa in Isolo. Unfortunately, the canal had been covered by water hyacinth, and as people ran into the supposed ‘bush’, they were being drowned in the water. People stepped on themselves and many more were drowned. Children, parents and several others were killed, while some families were completely wiped off.
We remember the victims today and pray that their souls continue to rest in peace.
16 years ago today, over a thousand Nigerians lost their lives in the Ikeja cantonment bombing. Sunday, January 27, 2002 was particularly a gloomy day for many families in Lagos State. The trouble, which eventually sent many to their graves prematurely, started around 5pm when there was a sudden explosion, like an earthquake. The loud bang shook the entire Lagos city, as if bombs were detonated behind the windows of each of the residents.

Being an unprecedented occurrence and not knowing what was actually happening, people, understandably, started running helter-skelter. And whilst scampering for safety, they heard several other explosions, of same intensity, the vibration shattered windows, roofs and brought down buildings several kilometres away.

Unknown to many, the explosion, which sounded for about seven times and almost ripped the metropolitan city apart, was coming from Ikeja Military Cantonment. It was later gathered that some high calibre bombs kept underground at the military facility were not well stored, which led to the accidental discharge of the bombs. Another version said there was a fire outbreak at the Armoured Technical Dump within the facility which later spread to where the bombs were stored and triggered the deadly explosions.

Within seconds, there was commotion across the city, and as people were running for their lives, the stampede led to deaths, and by the minute, the death toll rose. Out of panic, people jumped into fire, some ran into moving vehicles and were knocked down while some were burnt to death by the raging fire.

One location that seemed to record the highest number of deaths was a large canal at Ajao Estate which links Oke Afa in Isolo. Unfortunately, the canal had been covered by water hyacinth, and as people ran into the supposed ‘bush’, they were being drowned in the water. People stepped on themselves and many more were drowned. Children, parents and several others were killed, while some families were completely wiped off.
We remember the victims today and pray that their souls continue to rest in peace.

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