Normalcy returns after Boko Haram scare in Abuja

By The Rainbow

IT was 'morning after' Friday in Abuja as normalcy returned after the alleged Boko Haram bomb scare.

It was exactly 3.07pm on Thursday when a loud noise was heard and pandemonium set in Abuja the afternoon.

The scare was the possibility of Boko Haram insurgents staging another entry into Abuja as a petrol station opposite the NNPC Towers was on fire.

The explosion occurred when a petrol tanker, caught fire while discharging its product.

According to an eyewitness, by the time the fire was noticed, it had extended to one of the underground tankers, causing explosion that reverberated to most parts of the Business Central Area.

The smoke that resulted from the explosion sent the message of a possible attack on the NNPC Towers to most residents, causing panic everywhere as people made frantic efforts to reach their relatives who work in the NNPC and its subsidiaries.

Indeed, The Guardian was told how some staffers, feeling threatened made attempt to jump down from their offices, believing the explosion occurred within the complex.

The management of the NNPC promptly evacuated its staffers and offered the services of its fire fighting equipment in an effort to put out the fire.

A source at the NNPC said: 'The workers from the four wings of the complex have been evacuated for safety and the NNPC has also deployed its fire fighting equipment to the scene in order to fight the fire.

'The reason most people initially felt it might be a bomb by Boko Haram insurgents is because of the impact of explosion. Of course, people wanted to jump down from their offices thinking the situation was worse, but the management did exactly what was appropriate by evacuating the offices. I can also say there is no casualty as the evacuation process was done perfectly.'

The Guardian also learnt that there is no casualty in the Conoil filling station and the adjourning Oando filling as most workers were evacuated before the actual explosion took place.

But another eyewitness blamed the incident on the carelessness of the petrol attendants who were alleged to be selling product from other tanks while the offloading was going on.

The eyewitness said the fire would have been put off at the initial stage if one of the workers had monitored the discharge by the tanker.

Normalcy has since returned as workers of the NNPC returned to their duty posts yesterday and the workers of the burnt petrol filling station also returned to work to take stock of the incident.

Although selling of petroleum products to motorists was yet to commence at the station, the environment was calm with the floor still covered with water and black particles that told the story of the horror.

The Tafawa Abubakar Road that was closed to motorists as a result of the fire incident has also been opened to traffic.