Police forensic experts, who are investigating the blasts that rocked Apapa, Lagos, are yet to rule out bomb explosion as they are yet to ascertain the actual cause of Wednesday’s twin explosions.
The forensic team had earlier encountered some hitches as security operatives attached to the Folawiyo Energy Limited (FEL), the tank farm, refused to allow men of the anti-bomb department access to the FEL premises.
The initial police explanation that the explosion was caused by gas cylinders and not bombs, further fuelled the suspicion of the anti-bomb disposal unit who were keen on establishing why and how a cylinder exploded around a petrol depot.
The first thing the forensic experts set out to do was to when they got to do the site of the blast was to look for the remains of the gas cylinders, Thisday reports.
Although it was yet unclear if they succeeded in finding the cylinders that allegedly caused the blast, sources said its discovery would lead to uncovering whether the explosions were caused by bombs or whether it was triggered by faulty appliances.
“We are yet to rule the incident out because certain factors must be cross-checked. Do not forget that gas is a major component of explosives,” a source told Thisday, stressing that Explosives Ordinance Depot (EOD) of the Lagos Police Command was yet to rule out the incident being a bomb explosion as investigations continue.
“It is the gas that even makes the explosions worse because of the fragmentation in the gas. It would take EOD experts to ascertain what truly happened in this case.
“Because of the extent of the blast, the gas might have been used to fuel car air conditioning systems because gas makes a bigger effect. You can never underestimate the effect of gas.
“When our men are taken to the range for periodic training exercises, we are often set to task to construct a local bomb and we often use gas to make the effect louder,” he said.
The source added: “We don’t want to incite panic among residents of Lagos unnecessarily and that is why we are taking time to investigate. During investigations, if we see residue of explosives, we can then conclude.
“It is this post-blast investigations which would reveal if the components have explosive substances because the explosion might have been caused by carelessness in handling of the gas.”
Meanwhile, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PRO), Ngozi Braide, who was at the scene, said the explosion was caused by fuel-laden tanker and not a bomb as alleged.
“I may not be able to tell you the number of people that died but I will be coming up with a statement later. We have commenced investigation. In cases like this, you just do not go and be making statements up and down,” said Braide.
“After the investigation, we will come up with what transpired and make it known to the press. We don’t know if the tank farm explosion was linked to that of the car.
“There is nothing whatsoever suggesting that it was a bomb explosion. It was a tanker loaded with fuel that burst into flames. Policemen are on ground there now and we cannot yet ascertain the casualty figures. But everything is under control,” the Lagos PPRO said.