This Day In Nigerian History: 27th January

On Sunday 27 January 2002, an armoury at the Ikeja military cantonment in Lagos, Nigeria, containing “high calibre bombs” went up in flames at about 18:00 hrs local time.

The initial explosion was reportedly caused by a fire which spread from a nearby market, and which resulted in series of explosions within and around the cantonment.

Large explosions continued throughout the night and into the next day, resulting in massive damage to the principal blast area covering approx 1.5 square km.

The explosions eventually impacted areas up to 50 km away from the scene of the incident, and 2 Local Government Areas (Ikeja and Oshodi/Isolo with population of about 1.03 million people) were the most affected.

Majority of fatalities occurred not from the actual explosions, but due to subsequent panic after the incident. Many hundreds perished when fleeing crowds spilled over into the Oke-Afa canal.

Over 1,000 people are known to have been killed, but the figure could be up to 2,000. It is estimated that up to 20,000 people were directly affected by the incident.

Structures destroyed by the explosions included offices, residential buildings, business centres and schools.

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