PEN International urges Makinde to ensure accountability, transparency in Ibadan explosion tragedy
Folu Agoi, President of PEN International Nigeria Centre, has passionately appealed to Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, urging swift action to bring those responsible for the tragic Ibadan explosion to justice, while calling for transparency in the matter.
The devastating incident, resulting in loss of lives and extensive property damage, was, according to Agoi, entirely preventable.
The plea was made during a poignant virtual gathering organised by PEN International Nigeria Centre, where a special reading was dedicated to the victims of the bomb blast via Zoom. Notable writers, OluKorede S. Yishau from Houston, USA, Tade Ipadeola, a lawyer and poet from Ibadan, and Akeem Lasisi, a journalist and poet from Ibadan, Oyelola Ogunrinde from Lagos, participated in the reading.
During the session, Olukorede Yishau presented his poem “Explosives don’t Discriminate,” Oyelola Ogunrinde shared her poignant piece “Thus Spake Einstein and Oppenheimer,” Tade Ipadeola honoured the deceased with his poem “Harry Garuba, Unnumbered,” inspired by the Ikeja Cantonment bomb blast, and Akeem Lasisi reflected on the tragedy in his poem “Bodija, As we bury our unwilling dead.”
Following the readings, Agoi and Secretary of PEN International, Nigeria Centre, Dagar Tola, engaged the authors in a discussion on the role of writers in such challenging situations. Yishau emphasised how writers play a crucial role in reminding society of the value of human lives, asserting that the deceased should not be reduced to mere statistics. Oyelola shared her personal experience, recounting how the event prompted her to call her sister in Ibadan, inspiring her to write a poem about the shattered family pictures. Lasisi and Ipadeola, both residents of Ibadan, conveyed the personal impact of the incident on them, underscoring the importance of documenting such events for historical record.