There was an explosion in the premises of the Calabar branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria on Friday morning. As many as Eighteen people were killed in the explosion, while others sustained third degree burns.
The explosion which took place at about 11.45 am trapped many staff and visitors within the premises with nowhere to escape, this in turn caused a high casualty fire. A team of mobile policemen and soldiers assisted by nurses and personnel of the Nigeria Security and civil defense Corps were seen keeping guard over the place while officials of the Federal and State Fires Services were putting out the fire and rescuing those trapped in the building.
“I cannot give exact figures of how many people are dead but many people were burnt beyond recognition while many sustained third degree burns; rescue operation is going on to ensure everyone is brought out soon” said an Official of the Federal Fire Service at the Calabar Airport.
The source of the explosion is at yet unknown but it is speculated to be some locally made improvised incendiary device. Others believe it was the gas tank at the generator house that exploded.
Ambulances from the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH and General Hospital Calabar were brought in to evacuate the dead and those wounded while rescue efforts were being made to extricate those still inside.
No official of the bank has made a statement on the cause of the inferno yet but the Assistant Inspector Genral of Police, A I G Zone six, Mr Baba Bolanta estimates at least eighteen casualties.