The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has set-up a special investigation team to unravel the immediate and remote cause of the explosion that occurred at Ogbese near Akure, the Ondo State capital early on Saturday 28 March.
The probe comes after an investigating team of geo-physicists from Obafemi Awolowo University debunked the police explanation for the blast.
Contrary to the police explanation that the explosion was caused by a dynamite-loaded truck which exploded, the Ife team said the explosion came from a falling meteorite from an asteroid belt.
The team led by Professor Adekunle Abraham Adepelumi said:
“The field evidence point to a conclusion that a meteoric from an asteroid belt that travels at a great speed from space impacted the location at an angle of 43 degrees created an ejecta at South-Western part. No evidence of buried vehicle, buried ordinance or IED was found”,
According to the Force Headquarters spokesman, Frank Mba, the new probe is headed by the Commissioner of Police in charge of the Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit, Force Headquarters, Abuja, CP Maikudi A. Shehu.
Members include police officers from the Police Bomb Disposal Squad (Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit).
The specialised arm of the Police oversees explosives and ordinance operations of the Force including controlled detonation, safe evacuation, sweeping, assessment, analysis, intelligence and investigations touching on bombs and all forms of explosives related incidents.
Mba said the investigation team will work jointly with experts from the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) – the nation’s leading Research and Development Institution that is the sole repository of all geo-scientific data.
The Agency has a state-of-the-art laboratory with the capacity and expertise to carry out a wide range of geo-scientific examinations including Laboratory/Forensic Examinations, Geochemical Analysis of Rocks, Minerals, Water, Sewage, Soil Samples and Site Investigations amongst others. The IGP hopes that with the involvement of NGSA, the quality and integrity of investigations into the explosion will be greatly enhanced.
IGP Adamu enjoined people living around the scene of the incident to avoid the area so as not to tamper with evidence that could help investigations.
The Ife team of geo-physicists, led by Professor Adekunle Abraham Adepelumi carried out a detailed insitu analysis of the impact site and surroundings on Sunday. The team has issued a preliminary report.
The team found a circular impact crater with 21m diameter and 7.8m depth which suggests a natural phenomenal.
“Water was found oozing out from the edges of the crater.
“A preliminary insitu vibration, noise, seismicity, water analysis, radioactivity studies, rock and soil investigation were carried out.
“Our findings suggest that the impact of the blasting covers 1km radius of the surroundings of the crater. No evidence of fire or burning of anything was found within the vicinity. No evidence of radioactivity radiation was found within the crater and immediate vicinity.
“The field evidence point to a conclusion that A METEORIC FROM AN ASTEROID BELT THAT TRAVELS AT A GREAT SPEED FROM SPACE IMPACTED THE LOCATION AT AN ANGLE OF 43 degrees created an ejecta at South-Western part. No evidence of buried vehicle, buried ordinance or IED was found.
“However, crack opening that vary in thickness from 3mm to 4metres occurs on the wall of most of the buildings but not at the base of the buildings.
“Also, foreign rocks and strange metallic objects were found within the crater.
“Most of the destruction occurs on top and roof/ceilings of the buildings. Circular holes that measures between 1 to 2 inches were also created and observed on the screens of at least eight (8) cars that were parked nearby about 100m from the impact site.
“From our Earthquake and Space Weather Laboratory, the scientific evidence that we obtained this morning between 12 midnight and 2am corroborate the field observations of Meteoric from the Asteroid belt impacted the area”.