FROM: JUDEX OKORO, CALABAR
EXPLOSION rocked a section of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Calabar office yesterday, injuring 18 staff and left three in critical condition.
Saturday Sun investigations revealed that the incident happened about 11:00am when banking activities were at the peak.
An eyewitness account told our reporter that the explosion might, have been as a result of some electrical sparks as the bank premises was undergoing renovation.
The account said because of the on-going renovation, the staff have been operating in some temporary shelter, which could have caused an over-load of some of the facilities of the bank, possibly causing the explosion within the premises.
According to the account, “the explosion was so loud that it would be a miracle if nobody died instantly”.
The explosion at the bank, located on Calabar road, caused traffic gridlock between 11.00am and 2.00pm as security operatives from the Navy, Police, Army and Civil Defence cordoned off the axis to forestall miscreants rushing into the premises.
As at the time of filing this report, officials of the state Fire Service and FRSC, were seen at the premises trying to evacuate the injured persons and to bring the fire under control.
Speaking to newsmen at the scene of the incident, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Henry Fadairo, said the explosion was caused by gas cylinders in the CBN office.
Fadairo said that the explosion, which has caused panic in the state capital, Calabar, was not in any way connected with bomb blast as speculated in some quarters.
He said, “The team of experts handling the situation confirmed to me that 18 persons were injured while two others are said to be in a critical condition.
“The explosion was caused by gas cylinders in the CBN. It is not a bomb blast as it is already being speculated.
“The police in company with the Navy, Army, FRSC and the Civil Defence were on ground to help the state Fire Service to bring the situation under control.
“We also assisted the medical team to convey the victims to the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, where they are receiving treatment’’, he explained.
A staff, who preferred anonymity, told Saturday Sun on phone that though nobody had died as at the time of filing this report, some of the bank’s staff were severely injured.