No fewer than four persons were feared killed while another person was badly injured after a heavy storm uprooted a Gigantic Popular ‘Odan’ tree in Saabo Area of Oyo city on Monday.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the ancient tree was a shield for butchers, mini buses, and commercial motorcycle operators.
Alhaji Akeebu Alarape, Chairman, Sabo Market, Oyo town, told NAN that the tree was about 100 years old before succumbing to the heavy storm on Monday.
Alarape said four different sawyers invited to cut the tree did not succeed until a fifth sawyer was able to cut parts of it for the rescue operation to begin.
Speaking on the incident, a resident trader in the area, Mrs. Kareemot Ejide, 65, said she had known the tree since her childhood days.
Also speaking on the incident, Mr. Akeem Ojo, Head Operations of the Western Nigeria Security Network, “Amotekun’’ in Atiba Local Council Development Area, the tree fell at about 6 p.m.
“A female student of Federal College of Education (Special), Oyo, a woman with a baby strapped to her back and a boy she was holding were pulled out from under the tree.
“One person was seriously injured and was taken to a private hospital in the area, while motorcycle and minibus parks under the tree were damaged,’’
He noted that the presence of Amotekun personnel at the scene was to forestall break down of law and order by hoodlums who may want to perpetrate evil by looting goods in the market.
Mr. Seun Oguntona, Chairman, Sooro Local Council Development Area, Oke-Isiwin, Oyo, confirmed to NAN that those affected were people who took shelter under the tree during a heavy downpour.
He added that those trading under the tree would be relocated.
He called on the people in the area to always stay in-door when it’s raining and to avoid taking shelter under trees when it’s raining.
He debunked the rumour that the tree was fetish, adding that the person that planted the tree died 30 years ago.
Oguntona said that though the man was a “Sango’’ traditional religion faithful, he planted the tree to provide shade for people.