21 years after Lagos Cantonment blasts: Army begins removal of unexploded bombs
Lagbaja with Sanwo-Olu
Published By: Kazeem Ugbodaga
Twenty-one years after the devastating Ikeja Cantonment Bomb Blasts in Lagos, the Nigerian Army is set to begin the removal of unexploded bombs from the cantonment to a safe location.
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant-General Taoreed Lagbaja, said this on Monday when he visited Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu at the State House, Marina.
Lagbaja said his visit was to inform the Governor about the Army’s activities to be conducted in Lagos, noting that the exercises were designed to further entrench the peace and stability “we have enjoyed in Lagos.”
He said: “The Nigerian Army has put together a ceremony to remove unexploded ordnances at the site of the 2002 Bomb Explosion in Ikeja cantonment. The objective is to make the area safe and securely remove unexploded ordnances to a safe location in Ajilete area of Ogun State.
“We are ushering in the last three months of the year where citizens travel across the country for festivities. We need to provide safe and secure passage for the people travelling. We have put together three security exercises to prevent any form of breaches and these will be flagged off on Tuesday in Lagos.”
Lagbaja expressed his appreciation for the “tremendous support” the people and State Government accorded to the Army units and formations.
The Army boss acknowledged the infrastructure renewal programme of the Lagos Government, stressing that improved infrastructure would go a long way in helping the military respond rapidly to security situations requiring quick interventions.
He said military personnel will be major beneficiaries of the Lagos’ Blue and Red Line rail projects, as the trains would aid personnel’s commuting.
Speaking, Sanwo-Olu said the Army has earned the citizens’ confidence and respect as a member of the nation’s armed forces, given its sense of commitment, dedication and patriotism.
Sanwo-Olu said: “We are grateful to the Army and its men for their dedication to the country at this difficult time in different parts of the country. You have continued to uphold the constitution, maintain high integrity and stick to the best rules of engagement to protect the sovereignty of our country. The Army is well respected by the citizens, given the commitment, dedication and sense of patriotism in discharging its statutory roles.
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“The 2002 Ikeja bomb explosion was a trying moment for the Army, given the magnitude of the damage. But the event never weakened the resolve of the military.
“The Army has continued to live up to their responsibilities provided by the constitution and the sacrifice paid by soldiers to keep the territorial integrity and peace of our country would not go unappreciated. Lagos State Government is committed to ensuring that the Army gets all the necessary support for your security operations.”
Sanwo-Olu hailed the Nigerian Army for committing to the rules of engagement and professionalism in its peace mission across the country.
The Governor said the Army had continued to live up to the expectations of their roles as provided by the constitution, stressing that the sacrifice paid by soldiers to keep the territorial integrity and peace of the country would not go unappreciated.
The Governor assured the Army boss that the state government would rebuild a military primary school in Orile demolished for the construction of Lagos-Badagry Expressway.
He sought for the cooperation of the military personnel in restoring sanity back to the Lagos-Badagry corridor, where the state government has been clearing illegal shanties built along the expressway.
Sanwo-Olu also appealed for cooperation among military personnel in the ongoing enforcement across Lagos, including Okada ban enforcement.
He noted that the ongoing enforcements were geared towards bringing sanity back to the State and preserving public assets.
The Governor said: “We have collective responsibility to keep Lagos safe for commercial activities. It is important to acknowledge the complementary effort of the 9 Brigade of the Nigerian Army in supporting our security architecture in Lagos, with OP-MESA operatives working with the police to ensure our safety. That synergy among all security agencies is all that is required to maintain security.”