The Ikeja Cantonment Bomb Blast Of January 2002

An armoury (a place where weapons are kept) at the Ikeja military cantonment in Maryland, Lagos, Nigeria, which were contained with “high calibre bombs”, was reported to have blown up in flames at about 6.00 pm (local time) on Sunday 27 January 2002. This explosion resulted in a series of explosions in and around the cantonment.

The explosion was the accidental discharge of explosive devices of a large stock of high explosives at a military storage facility in the city of Lagos, Nigeria. This incident happened on the 27th of January 2002.

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The fires created by the debris from this explosion burnt down a large section of Northern Lagos, and also created a panic that affected some other areas of the office. Following the explosion and the flames that came from it, so many people dispersed with fear and stumbled into a concealed canal and drowned in the process.

After several research and investigation done, the aftermath of the explosion are believed to have killed at least 1,100 people and caused over 20,000 people displaced, with many thousands injured or homeless, according to WHO.

The explosion affected areas up to 50 kms away from the Cantonment and there were tremors in a number of buildings, with windows shattered and roof tops blown off, as a result of the explosions.

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People who were actually unaware of the cause of the explosions, fled from their homes to seek refuge outside. The incident caused a lot of pandemonium and confusion, as a result of which many family members were separated while trying to seek refuge.

Following the explosion, the Government used Radio and Television to get people to be calm and to reassure the citizens that the explosion was an accident at the Cantonment and not a Military Coup, because that was the ongoing rumor at the time.

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Ambulances were immediately provided from several parts of Lagos in order to carry wounded people to hospitals and also to carry the unfortunate dead bodies to the Mortuaries. The government also set up centres where people can make enquiries about their possible missing family members. As well as, provision for displaced persons, both inside and outside the cantonment.

The World Health Organization made efforts to provide medical needs of the victims of the explosion and to join other stakeholders for immediate response and assistance.

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