Wednesday, January 27, 2010

January 27, 2002 - Commemorating the victims

It was a beautiful Sunday in January 2002.  We just returned from Church. I had bearing entered my room when there was a sudden vibration. I rushed out and I saw hubby standing in the sitting room with shock all over his face! "What was that?" I asked. He replied, "I don't know." Some minutes later, another I felt another vibration and this time I asked hubby "Is this an earthquake? Abeg o!"

These vibrations were so serious that louvres were rattling and other items in the house were moving! That was why I thought it was an earthquake. There were also thunderous sounds following the vibrations. Somewhere in between all these, I saw the breaking news on television that the explosions and vibrations were as a result of bomb exploding in the armoury in Ikeja Military Cantonment! What!!!!

I did not know the extent of the damage and havoc until I went to work the next day. My office was somewhere on the Island. The whole office was scattered as if it was burgled. Files were all over the floor; tables upturned...

Most of that day was spent talking about the incident...

The news had it that somany lives were lost as a result of stampeding. Some people were looking for their loved ones. It was such a dark period in the city of Lagos.

I stopped by at my Mum's place in Isolo on my way home after work. There were large cracks on the walls and most of her dishes were broken. I got more tales about the whole incident. I was informed that people ran out of the houses out of fear and panic. Not knowing what was happenning. She said, thankfully, she waited, tried to understand before taking any action. She added that a friend of hers who lives in Ajao Estate jumped from a balcony and broke her leg in the process. My Mum was still in shock. I encouraged her to calm down and rest. My brother's gist was different. He said he was outside with some friends when the whole thing started. He saw people running down the street in panic and like a typical Lagosian, he was about to run as well. Fortunately, a neighbour called him back and told him to stay within the compound. He said the neighbour told him not to panic.

The most shocking news was that as a result of the panic and stampede, several people, including children, women and men were drowned in the Oke-Afa Canal! Some bodies have been claimed but some were not claimed. The unclaimed bodies were buried in a mass grave by the canal. A cenotaph was later erected at the mass grave for the unclaimed bodies. Year after year, the Lagos State Government set out some few hours to lay wreaths at the cenotaph in Oke-Afa.

It is exactly 8 years after that black Sunday in Lagos. The activities around that site for the past one week has got me thinking. The roads were patched and padded. The cenotaph now wears a new look. Enough beautification has taken place there. I even hear the Governor of  Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola will be on ground to give a befitting commemoration for the people buried at there.
Let us say prayers for the families that lost their loved ones on that ill fated day - Sunday 27, January 2002.

4 comments:

Suru said...

Wow it makes it more personal when you hear the stories being told from the people. May the lives lost not be in vain and thank God your family was okay.

Dee! said...

I have no choice but to be thankful. May the affected families find solace in God! No amount of money can bring back the dead.
Thank you for visiting and do come again!

StandTall-The Activist said...

How time flies! 8 year but the scar is still fresh...

Dee! said...

Yes, time flies but the scar stay fresh! May Almighty God heal these scars in Jesus Name. Amen!

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