A suspected Malian miner in Ibadan, Oyo State, Sawane Youssouf, on Wednesday, said he neither owned nor rented the house where an explosion was recorded on January 16.
Youssouf is believed to be the owner of the building where the explosion that killed five people, injured 77 persons and damaged 58 houses at Adeyi, Old Bodiji in Ibadan occurred.
The state governor, Seyi Makinde, while giving an update, had linked the explosion to the activities of a Malian suspected to be carrying out illegal mining activities in the state.
The governor, on Wednesday, signed into law Executive Order 001, 2024, on handling and storage of harmful substances.
He proceeded to the ground zero of the blast after signing the order.
While speaking with newsmen at the ground zero, the governor said, “I just signed an Executive Order on handling and storage of harmful substances. If you are caught in the state not following the law, the law will take its full course. There is zero tolerance on handling of harmful substances.”
Youssouf, in a statement he signed, titled, ‘Bodija Explosion: My Own Side of the Story,’ in Ibadan, the state capital, said though the incident was unfortunate, his activities as a miner were legal.
He said, “I felt the need to, once again, state my own side of the story to clear the minds of the public about my alleged involvement in the sad occurrence.
“Insinuations are rife that I am the owner of the Ground Zero building where the explosives that led to the explosion were stockpiled and warehoused, prior to the incident.
“It is against the above that I categorically state and declare here again now that I am not the owner of the building and explosives in question. While it is true that l am into mining in Oyo State, all my activities are legal, in accordance with the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution.”
Youssouf added that he also didn’t have “anything to do with the explosives that led to the huge loss of human lives and the collateral destruction of property at the scene of the incident.”
The statement added, “I am using this medium to appeal to the state government, security agencies and other appropriate authorities to beam their searchlight further to reveal the identity of the real owners of the building and the explosives that led to the explosion of January, 16.”
He, therefore, promised to make himself available whenever he is needed to assist security agencies in the course of further investigation into the sad incident.