News

Several OAU students injured as gas explosion spreads to off-campus hostel

 

At least seven students of the Obafemi Awolowo University  (OAU) sustained injuries of varying degrees
after a gas explosion affected an off-campus hostel.

 

Poplat, a fuel station located in the Lagere area of OAU’s
host community in Ile-Ife, Osun state, suffered an explosion on January 9.

 

Sources in the university community said the explosion was
triggered by a leaking gas container in the fuel station.

 

Early reports said the explosion occurred with a loud bang
at around 5 pm, initially leading to panic across the town.

 

The fire had spread to a nearby student hostel before the
Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Osun State Fire
Service intervened.

 

Abbas Ojo, president of the OAU student union government,
said the hostel, which is also owned by the management of the Poplat fuel
station, houses up to 95 percent of the university’s off-campus community.

 

About 11 rooms were affected in total,
three were severely burnt, and one was completely damaged.

Adeolu Odedire, director of OAU’s student affairs
department, said between seven to 10 students sustained injuries of varying
degrees.

 

REMOVING ALL GAS PLANTS

“It is not a hostel managed by the university. We were not
in any partnership with the owner of the hostel who also happens to own the
fuel station where the gas explosion took place. The whole construction there
was questionable,” Odedire said.

 

“There were no safety measures. You can’t have a  fuel station, put a gas plant behind, and
then have hostel construction in the next available space. It’s a new place.

 

“We were even surprised that a hostel had cropped up there
when the whole thing happened.

 

“Notwithstanding, we’re trying to see how we can work out
some compensation for the students from insurance. No student was badly
affected. No deaths occurred. But some sustained injuries.”

 

Ojo, in a statement, said student
leaders are in talks with Ogundoyin Popoola, the proprietor of the gas plant.

 

He said the union is seeking an immediate removal of the gas
plant in all Popoola’s filling stations in Ife.

 

Ojo said fixing of the affected rooms and full compensation
for completely burned rooms are also in the pipeline.

 

The SUG president also said the union is pushing for the
provision of accommodation for affected students and refund or quick repairs
for those with running rents.

 

 “Additionally,
medical bills are to be covered, and renovations are to commence on habitable
rooms,” Ojo added.

 

“An integrity test on the hostel was requested before
students are returned to the hostel.

 

“This will allow us to ascertain if the hostel is still
habitable and still has the strength to accommodate that number of students.”

 

Ojo, as of the time of filing this report, affirmed that
Popoola has agreed to all demands and work is already in progress.

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