By Usman Shuaibu
An explosive expert, Professor Bala Basque Jack Yakubu has cried out over the pile of rusty, undetonated civil war bombs abandoned in several locations within the south east and south-south zones fifty years after the Nigeria-Biafra conflict.
The renowned expert regretted that powerful forces at the corridors of power have continued to frustrate Federal Government plans to remove the bombs despite the high security risk of having corroded explosives within residential areas.
Some of the devices were retrieved earlier after the war and destroyed but a large quantity still remains at locations already marked before the work stopped abruptly.
Professor Yakubu, who raised the alarm in an exclusive interview with our reporter in Abuja, disclosed that at the moment, there are about 1000 locations where more than 40, 000 unexploded ordinances can still be found. He disclosed that more than 2000 people have already been killed or wounded and people will continue to fall victim to the explosives except they are removed.
The United Nations, he said, granted Nigeria over N88 billion for the demining exercise but the money cannot be drawn by the nation until the clearance project resumes.
“If the government does the job well, especially in providing adequate compensation for aggrieved communities, it will be easier to claim the grant.
“It is our hope and we are appealing and praying that the president will act quickly [to complete the removal process] so that children unborn will remember him as the person who removed lethal arsenal from their communities.
Continuing, Professor Yakubu said “The delay in clearing the ordinance has lingered and has been truncated by political arguements between bureaucrats and others who felt that the war was unnecessary to have been started in the first place.