The Nigeria Air Force has alerted the government and the public of the dangers posed by tonnes of disused bombs kept at one of its bases in central Nigeria, if they are not urgently and safely disposed.
Group Captain E. M. Eno, head of the bomb unit of the Nigerian Air Force Tactical Command, based in Makurdi, Benue State, told reporters on Monday that bombs and explosives were still being kept at the base more than 10 years after they expired, posing a grave danger to the public.
He said the air force command urgently needed funds to safely dispose of the bombs and avert the potential danger.
"The bombs have become unstable and when they're unstable you can't predict them," he told reporters.
The attention of Minister of Defence Rabiu Kwankwaso was drawn to the situation during a recent visit to the air force base, Eno said. Air force authorities, he added, hope that the government will respond urgently.
A series of explosions at an army munitions dump in Nigeria's biggest city of Lagos in January 2002, not only triggered panic and damaged scores of buildings in the city of 13 million, but left more than 1,000 people dead.
Air force munitions experts say the bombs in Makurdi are not only larger in quantity but also of a higher calibre than those that exploded in Lagos.
As a preemptive measure the air force authorities have started informing communities living near the base of the proximity of danger. In reaction some families have started abandoning farms and leaving their houses near the base, Makurdi residents said.
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