Nigeria marked on Monday the first anniversary of the blasts at a munitions dump in the biggest city, Lagos, in which more than 1,000 people died. A special memorial was unveiled at the site where scores of unidentified victims were buried.
The city was thrown into panic as multiple explosions blasted off, after a fire spread to the munitions depot at the Ikeja Military Cantonment on 27 January 2001, spewing flaming mortars and missiles into the surrounding neighbourhood.
Most of the victims were residents of the Oshodi/Isolo neighbourhood near the military base. They drowned while fleeing from danger in the murky waters of Oke Afa canal.
Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, led officials and the clergy to hold a commemorative church service at the burial site on the bank of the canal.
"The magnitude of the tragedy that befell us was mirrored not just by the over 1,000 lives that were lost," Tinubu said. "Twenty-three schools were completely destroyed and hundreds of other public institutions and private businesses were ruined."
The governor called on President Olusegun Obasanjo's government to take extra precautions to ensure the safety of equipment in military facilities across the country, particularly those located near densely populated neighbourhoods.
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