Yesterday’s fuel tanker disaster got us thinking – what are some other devastating tragedies that struck this country? We did some research and found the 10 deadliest accidents in the history of Nigeria.
10. January 20, 2012 attack. A group of gunmen in police uniforms entered five police buildings and freed all of the inmates. They proceeded to bomb the buildings, as well as two immigration offices and the local office of the State Security Service in Kano. They later drove around the city in cars and motorcycles, shooting pedestrians and battling with police. 185 deaths.
9. Ibadan tanker truck explosion on 5 November 2000. On a stretch of motorway connecting Idaban and Ife to the East, about 250 km north of Lagos a large petrol tanker, bringing fuel to Ifan, was travelling on the road at high speed, when it suddenly encountered the traffic jam and attempted to come to a halt. At this point, the poorly maintained vehicle suffered a total brake failure, and ploughed straight into the queue of cars ahead. Up to 200 deaths.
8. Jos riots, November 28-29, 2008. Electoral workers did not publicly list the winners of the elections, and rumors began that the election was won by the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), barrister Timothy Gyang Buba, defeating the candidate for the All Nigerian Peoples Party. People from the largely Muslim Hausa community began protesting even before the results were released, and started to attack Christian homes and churches by midnight. 381 deaths.
7. Asaba massacre on 7 October 1967. During the Biafran Civil War in Nigeria federal troops entered Asaba, rounded up hundreds of Igbo men of Asaba and shot them. Up to 500 deaths.
6. Yelwa massacre. A series of related incidents of mass violence between Muslims and Christians which took place in between February and May 2004. The first incident occurred on February 4, 2004 when armed Muslims attacked the Christians of Yelwa killing more than 78 Christians including at least 48 who were worshipping inside a church compound. On May 2, 2004 local Christians responded to the February incident by attacking Muslims in Yelwa resulting in roughly 630 dead. Over 700 deaths.
5. 2010 Jos riots. Clashes between Muslim and Christian ethnic groups near the city of Jos. started on 17 January and lasted at least four days. Houses, churches, mosques and vehicles were set ablaze during the fighting. At least 200 people were killed. Hundreds of people died in fresh clashes in March 2010. The slaughtered villagers were Yoruba, mostly Christians, slain by machete attacks from the Hausa-Fulani, a group of Muslim herdsmen. 992 deaths.
4. 2001 Jos riots. Riots involving Christians and Muslims in Jos over the appointment of a Muslim politician Alhaji Muktar Mohammed as local coordinator of the federal poverty alleviation program. The clashes started on September 7 and lasted nearly two weeks, ending on September 17. Over 1,000 deaths.
3. 2009 Boko Haram uprising. A conflict between Boko Haram and Nigerian security forces. Violence across several states in northeastern Nigeria left hundreds dead, with around 700 killed in the city of Maiduguri alone, according to military officials. Over 1,000 deaths.
2. Lagos armoury explosion. A detonation of a large stock of military high explosives at a storage facility in Lagos on 27 January 2002 burnt down a large section of Northern Lagos, and created a panic that spread to other areas. As people fled the flames, many stumbled into a concealed canal and were drowned. Over 1,100 deaths.
1. Odi massacre. An attack carried out on November 20, 1999, by the Nigerian military on the predominantly Ijaw town of Odi in Bayelsa State. The attack came in the context of an ongoing conflict in the Niger Delta over indigenous rights to oil resources and environmental protection. Prior to the massacre, twelve members of the Nigerian police were murdered by a gang near Odi, seven on November 4 and the remainder in the following days. In revenge, the military invaded, exchanged fire, and then proceeded to indiscriminately attack the civilian population and the town’s buildings. Every building in the town except the bank, the Anglican church and the health center was burned to the ground. Up to 2,500 deaths.
Just like the Boko Haram disasters, we wonder when these types of self-inflicted disasters will end. Many other countries suffer natural disasters like volcanic eruptions, but we are plagued with corruption, and deaths arising from terrorist attacks, greed, and carelessness of a few.
Once again, we ask, where will Nigeria’s salvation come from? Who will save us?