The suspected 8 a.m. explosion that was reportedly heard up to 15 kilometers away, blowing away roofs of nearby buildings, is said to have occurred after a truck hit gas cylinders in a gas processing plant located in the populous town.
Archbishop Adewale said that the cause of the morning fire, which had caused devastating effects in its wake, is still to be ascertained.
“We do not have an official duly investigated explanation for the explosion yet,” the Nigerian Prelate said, and added, “All we know is that a truck accident was involved, the Pipeline going through the community was involved as well as a stack of gas cylinders. All these together by some series of cause and effect are said to be the cause of the devastating explosion which very badly affected our Bethlehem Girls College, Abule Ado as well as many other buildings in the vicinity.”
According to the Archbishop, the staff quarters at the school, the Administrative Building, the refectory and hostel buildings were levelled to the ground as a result of the impact of the explosion.
The only building that was left standing, he said, was the convent housing the nuns in charge of the school.
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Those who claimed to have seen Sr. Henrietta a day before the fire accident described her as a hardworking nun who went on with her business, supervising students who were taking their exams in the school.
“I still saw sister Henrietta yesterday as she was hurrying about, trying to organize the students writing exams at the school and also trying to get the students ready for me to come for their writing workshop. I didn't know that was the last time I would see and talk to her,” Frank Banjo Twitted.
Banjo was responding to a tweet by Augustine Mario, MFV, who wrote, “Rev. Sr. Henrietta Alokha SSH, Principal of Bethlehem Girls College, Abúlé Ado… struggled to rescue her students in the pipeline fire explosion in the morning of March 15, 2020. The roof fell on her in the process.”
Sr. Henrietta who reportedly died while she was being taken to hospital has been praised as a heroin who put her life on the line to save girls who had been under her care.
“She used her life to save the lives of her students. Eternal rest grant unto her, let your light perpetual shine on her. May her gentle soul rest in peace,” said Ojo Odeleke in a comment on Facebook.
Ali Emmanuel Anezi Melchizedek, in another comment, wrote, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. Sister, you have done well with a pure heart trying to save others. It takes only a good one who values others to lose his or her life for others.”
He added, “I weep for you sister but whenever I remember whom you have been serving with your pure heart, I feel relieved because I know you're already in the company of the saints. Goodbye Saint.”
Fr. A.N. Abiagom wrote, “(I) came online a while ago, the news of the explosion at Abule Odo near Festac flashed my eyes. Saddened at the report of another pipeline explosion as it is often assumed, the death notification of Sr. Henrietta moved me to putting down this note of appreciation to a beautiful soul.”
The Nigerian cleric described Sr. Henrietta as a nun who did not flee at the explosion “but remained to see to the safety of the students put under her motherly care… Report has it that she died after rescuing her students without being able to rescue herself. What kind of love was that? The love of the Gospel which lays down its life for others.”
Fr Abiagom eulogized, “Sr Henrietta, when you woke this morning, neither you nor your students saw the explosion coming. You could have all vacated the premises before Sunday became black on you. Life is filled with surprises that keeps us wondering either in joy or in sorrow.”
The Nigerian cleric further eulogized the late Sr. Henrietta, “That heart that thought first of the others before itself in the face of death, will ever be remembered from this day onward. Good night to a beautiful soul. Rest in peace.”
Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.