Investigation conducted in the aftermath of the explosion that rocked an Islamic school in Sapele, Delta State, is not a bomb.
Reliable sources revealed that the explosion was from a locally made device thrown by some disgruntled element in the society, at the Central mosque located along a road by Hausa Road junction with heavy Muslim population. According to eye-witness accounts, the device seemed like big knock-out used in festive period like this – Xmas and New Year celebrations.
“If it was a bomb, it would have shattered some buildings, and shake houses in the vicinity, but even fluorescent bulbs were still intact during the blast”, one of the eye-witness said.
The eye-witness added that if it was a bomb, it would have affected some buildings. “People were not running all about for safety even though knock-out blast could cause injury and panic”.
A resident of Sapele who wants anonymity said the explosion could be a revenge by the Christian community in response to the spate of actual bombings in some parts of the north which killed several people, including that on Christmas day in a church in Niger State.
Another resident who spoke with Vanguard said the device resembled “Ogbinigwe”, used during the Biafra war.
A source claimed that the explosion could be traced to the rivalry in the Sapele Muslim community between the Nada group – a core, separate entity who does not want to be associated or worship with the Yoruba people.
“The incident is more political than religious, looking at the rivalry in the quest for leadership of the Muslim community. The spiritual leadership of the community in the past had followed a kind of quota system with the Yoruba and Hausa observing a kind of turn-by-turn arrangement which has recently collapsed.”
By this explanation, the belief in some quarters that the Sapele explosion was a revenge against what Boko Haram was doing against Christians in the north may not be corrected, that Moslems also are victims of the Boko Haram attack the northerner states. Also that Moslems and Christians in Sapele had lived peacefully together for several decades in friendship as many of the Muslims were born and bred in the town.
Our source also indicated that an experienced military officer (retired) who inspected the particles of the device said it was locally made and those who made the explosion are still living in Sapele.
“The question of insecurity has become a national problem. If there is no security in Sapele, there cannot be security in Abuja, Calabar, Lagos, Ibadan, Kafunchan or any place for that matter”.
Meanwhile, security has been tightened among the victims. Some of them are in Sapele General Hospital and other hospitals in the state. Although, at the time of this report, no arrest has been made and nobody has claimed responsibility.
The chief imam of Sapele Central Mosque, Alhaji Muhammed Usman was reported to have said the explosion was done “to exterminate the Muslim pupil” and called on the government to tighten up security around Muslim community in Sapele.
As at the time of the incident, it was estimated that about 50 children within the ages of 7 and 15 were in the Koranic class, but only six were seriously injured.
The police authorities have however assured of security and that efforts are being intensified to fish out the perpetrators while the residents were urged to remain calm.