Gas Explosion Rocks CBN in Calabar, Leaving 18 Casualties
By Rotimi Olarenwaju, Calabar
There was apprehension along the ever busy Calabar road on Friday as gas cylinders exploded within the premises of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in Cross River State, leaving 20 casualties on its trail.
Investigation by CONCORD Weekend reveal that the incident, which caused traffic gridlock along the road, happened at 11am.
According to an eye witness, Mr. Ndubuisi Okeke, who said he was on his way out of Access Bank that shares a fence with the CBN, the incident was frightening.
He said the sound of the explosion was massive, adding that it caused panic within that part of the metropolis.
“The explosion occurred around 11.am this morning. The explosion was too heavy to behold.
“I was afraid if that explosion would not claim the lives of CBN staff because it was too heavy,” he explained.
Meanwhile, the State commissioner of police, Mr. Henry Fadairo, in a telephone interview shortly after, confirmed that the incident was caused by a gas cylinder within the CBN premises.
He dispelled the rumours in town that an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) triggered off the explosion, urging the populace not to panic, but go about their lawful duties.
Fadairo said: “The team of expert handling the situation confirmed to me that 18 persons were injured, while two others were said to be in a critical situation.
“The explosion was caused by gas cylinders in the CBN. It is not a bomb blast as it is already being speculated in some quarters.
“The police in company of the Navy, Army, FRSC and the Civil Defence were on ground to help the state Fire Service to bring the situation under control.
“We also assisted the medical team to convey the victims to the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, were they are currently being attended to.”
Concord Weekend reports that the CBN office is currently under tight security with armed policemen, while vehicular movement had since been restored.