Four people were reportedly killed and another seriously injured when an old majestic ‘Odan’ tree fell during a severe windstorm in the Saabo area of Oyo town on Monday.
The Nigeria News Agency (NAN) reports that the ancient tree has served as a shelter for butchers, minibuses and commercial motorcycle operators with its branches extended at a popular food market in Oyo town.
Akeebu Alarape, president of Saabo market, Oyo town, told NAN that the tree is around 100 years old.
Mr Alarape said four different sawyers asked to cut the tree were unsuccessful until a fifth sawyer was able to cut parts of it so the rescue operation could begin.
Local resident trader, Kareemot Ejide, 65, said she had known the tree since she was a child.
According to Akeem Ojo, chief of operations of the security network of Western Nigeria, “Amotekun” in the development zone of the local council of Atiba, the tree fell around 6 p.m.
“Federal College of Education (Special) student 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 taken to a private hospital in the area, while the motorcycle and minibus parks under the tree were damaged,” Ojo said.
He added that Amotekun’s presence at the scene was aimed at preventing riots and looting of goods in the market.
Seun Oguntona, president of the Sooro Local Council Development Zone, Oke-Isiwin, Oyo, confirmed to NAN that those affected were people who took refuge under the tree during a heavy downpour.
He added that those who traded under the tree would be relocated.
He urged locals to always stay indoors and not take shelter under trees when it rains.
He denied the rumor that the tree was a fetish, adding that the person who planted the tree died 30 years ago.
Mr Oguntona said that although the man is a devotee of the traditional “Sango” religion, he planted the tree to provide shade for the people.
Efforts to get Oyo State Command police public relations officer Adewale Osifeso to respond were unsuccessful because he did not take his phone calls.
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