Friday, 5 February 2016


FOURTEEN years after the Ikeja Military Cantonment bomb blast that led to the death of over 1,000 Lagos residents, some  families of the victims are still playing the waiting game for compensation  promised by both the Federal and state governments. The Lagos State Government under the administration of past Governor Babatunde Fashola paid compensation to 70 identified families of victims while about 84 families have been excluded uptil now.

The 84 families  however, cried out to the present Federal Government and in particular state government under the leadership of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode asking them to look into their cases afresh with the aim of accommodating them . They made the call at the site of the mass burial, where prayers were offered for the repose of the souls of the dead.Devoid of the usual activities where relatives, government officials throng  the place for the remembrance of the victims every January 27, the aggrieved families this year, made their way into the mass burial site, named, January 27, 2002 Memorial Arcade, and offered silent prayers. The Ikeja Army Cantonment bomb blast, which took place on January 27, 2002, is said to be the most tragic event ever in the history of Lagos State. So many lives were lost in the dark, murky water hyacinth covered canal separating Ajao Estate and Ejigbo, Oke Afa.
Families of victims
During the 10th anniversary, Lagos State government fulfilled its promise of compensating the various families of the deceased. Only 70 families were paid N250,000 with a promise to verify names of the second batch comprising 84 families for compensation. There, however, seems to be an endless wait for the second batch to receive their compensation.
When contacted, Vice-chairman of the group under the umbrella of “Families of victims of 2002 Ikeja Military Cantonment Bomb Blasts” Comrade Ise Christopher, lamented how they have been tossed around in vain despite several written letters and petitions as well as attended meetings with the state government and the Lagos State House of Assembly. As at press time, the families were still waiting for the compensation without any positive response from governments.
Christopher on behalf of the group, however, appealed to present administrations both at the federal and the state level, saying, “We are using this oportunity of the 14 year remembrance, though, no government official was present here for the event, to appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Ambode to revisit the case by bringing a deserved change to our own in accordance with their “change mantra.”
“We have all the valid papers to our claims. We implore the present administrations to redeem their pledge of paying compensation to all the victims. “We have on good authority that billions of money was realized for compensations from both local and international donors in the wake of the disasters that could adequately take care of those verified for compensation.
“A total compensation would amount to 154 families, that is, 70 already compensated families and 84 families yet to be compensated. And going by the fact that N17.5 million was given to 70 families, with each getting N250,000, payment if same is paid to 84 families yet to be compensated it will only amount to N38.5 million. This is definitely, not out of reach of government by all standards.
“We are appealing to governments to have compassion on us by cushioning our loss too, though, no amount of money could exchange for dear life, at least it will go a long way in assuaging our plight.” Indeed, January 27, 2002 was horrendous in the history of Lagos and the entire nation. The Ikeja military cantonment was a large military cantonment and storage area in the city of Lagos, situated north of the city centre near the districts of Isolo and Onigbongo councils.
It will also be recalled that Lagos State Government about two years ago cancelled any further official commemoration of the event on the basis that all the enumerated families had been compensated.


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