What triggered explosion at National Theatre – RATTAWU chair 

Chairman of the Radio, Television, Theatre, and Arts Workers Union of Nigeria (RATTAWU), Usman Habib, National Theatre chapter, has alleged that the explosion at the old CBAAC premises within the National Theatre premises was caused by the unauthorised transloading of refined petroleum products and LPG.

The incident occurred on the night of Friday, December 30, resulting in the destruction of buildings, vehicles, trucks, and numerous cylinders.

Habib said that the General Manager, Prof Sunny Ododo, had been warned about the dangers associated with the illegal operations of oil dealers in a report dated September 25, 2023.

The report titled, “Report of Nordal duty of Saturday 23 September, 2023” read in part: “On Saturday 23 of September, 2023, I moved around to observe the activities taking place within the National Theatre premises.

“There were on-going construction works taking place at the Entrance ‘C’ gate, the lawns and the piling works opposite the Entrance ‘B’ gate. I observed that the illegal and dangerous activities were still taking place at the former CBAAC land near the artists’ village which I had earlier notified the authorities as far back as the second quarter of year 2022 about the transloading of refined petroleum products from the trucks into jerry cans and drums and also LPG from the trucks into coking cylinder of different sizes. This has continued despite the hazard involved.

“I sighted a gas truck driving into the National Theatre premises through the entrance B gate at about 12:50pm. When I headed to the CBAAC land, I saw a gas truck parked outside with inscription Gasland on it, while another one with inscription PetroCam gas was driving out around 12:58pm.”

Meanwhile the Concerned Stakeholders of the National Theatre has reiterated its called on the Ministry of Arts and Culture and Creative Economy to investigate the operations of the management of the National Theatre in the light of the Friday night explosion.

Spokesman of the group, Olalekan Ayinde, blamed the National Theatre management for the explosion for leasing out the portion of land for illegal petroleum and LPG transloading without the board approval and risk assessment.