Tragedy struck on Friday morning as 18 people were roasted alive and others sustained various degrees of burns when an explosion rocked the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, located at Calabar Road, by the Millennium Park, Cross River State.
According to Vanguard, the explosion took place at about 11:45AM, setting the main edifice of the bank on fire and trapping many staff and visitors in the inferno.
The newspaper quoted an official of the Federal Fire Service at the Margaret Ekpo International Airport, Calabar, as saying “I cannot give exact figures of how many people are dead, but many people were burnt beyond recognition while many sustained third degree burns”.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, added that rescue operation was ongoing to ensure everyone still remaining in the building is brought out as quickly as possible.
The source of the explosion was yet to be known as at press time but there is conflicting reports that it was from a locally made improvised explosives device while others say it was the gas tank at the generator house that exploded.
No official of the bank was available to address the press on the cause of the explosion but the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 6, Mr. Baba Bolanta, said so far, 18 persons were casualty, “but no death has been recorded”.
A team of mobile policemen and soldiers have cordoned the scene of the explosion while efforts are being made to rescue those trapped in the building.