Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has recalled the 2002 Ikeja bomb explosion, describing it as a trying moment for the army, given the magnitude of the damage it caused.
The explosion, which happened on January 27, 2002, reportedly killed about 1,100 people with over 20,000 displaced.
Sanwo-Olu, however, noted that the tragic incident did not weaken the commitment of the Nigerian Army in carrying out its constitutional responsibilities.
The governor spoke on Monday when he received the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, who was on a courtesy visit, at Lagos House, Marina.
According to Sanwo-Olu, the army has earned the citizens’ confidence and respect as a member of the nation’s armed forces., given its sense of commitment, dedication and patriotism.
He said: “We are grateful to the Army and its men for their dedication to the country at this difficult time in different parts of the country. You have continued to uphold the Constitution, maintain high integrity and stick to the best rules of engagement to protect the sovereignty of our country. The Army is well respected by the citizens, given the commitment, dedication and sense of patriotism in discharging its statutory roles.
“The 2002 Ikeja bomb explosion was a trying moment for the Army, given the magnitude of the damage. But the event never weakened the resolve of the military. The Army has continued to live up to their responsibilities provided by the constitution and the sacrifice paid by soldiers to keep the territorial integrity and peace of our country would not go unappreciated. Lagos State Government is committed to ensuring that the Army gets all the necessary support for your security operations.”
The governor also appealed for cooperation among military personnel in the ongoing enforcement across the state, including Okada ban enforcement, adding that the enforcement was geared towards bringing back sanity to Lagos.
“We have collective responsibility to keep Lagos safe for commercial activities. It is important to acknowledge the complementary effort of the 9 Brigade of the Nigerian Army in supporting our security architecture in Lagos, with OP Mesa operatives working with the police to ensure our safety. That synergy among all security agencies is all that is required to maintain security,” Sanwo-Olu added.
Lagbaja who was in Lagos for the clearance of Unexploded Ordinance (UXO) at the 9 Brigade Military Cantonment, Ikeja, informed the governor about the army’s activities to be conducted in the state.
The COAS noted that ahead of the festive season, the army has put together three security exercises to prevent any form of breaches, which will be launched on Tuesday.
He said: “The Nigerian Army has put together a ceremony to remove unexploded ordnance at the site of the 2002 Bomb Explosion in Ikeja cantonment. The objective is to make the area safe and securely remove unexploded ordnances to a safe location in Ajilete area of Ogun State.
“We are ushering in the last three months of the year when citizens travel across the country for festivities. We need to provide safe and secure passage for the people travelling. We have put together three security exercises to prevent any form of breaches and these will be flagged off on Tuesday in Lagos.”