Four persons were feared killed and another seriously injured when an ancient majestic ‘Odan’ tree fell to a heavy windstorm in the Saabo area of Oyo town on Monday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the ancient tree provided shelter for butchers, mini buses and commercial motorcycle operators with its far-spreading branches at a popular foodstuff market in Oyo town.
Akeebu Alarape, chairman, Saabo Market, Oyo town, told NAN that the tree was more than 100 years old.
Mr 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 rescue operation to begin.
A resident trader in the area, Kareemot Ejide, 65, said she had known the tree since her childhood days.
According to 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 mini bus parks under the tree were damaged,’’ Ojo said.
He added that Amotekun’s presence at the scene was to prevent rioting and looting of goods in the market.
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 urged people in the area to always stay in-doors and not to take shelter under trees when it rained.
He debunked the rumour that the tree was fetish, adding that the person that planted the tree died 30 years ago.
Mr Oguntona said that though the man was a “Sango’’ traditional religion faithful, he planted the tree to provide shade for people.
Efforts to get the Police Public Relations Officer, Oyo State Command, Adewale Osifeso, to react were not successful as he did not pick his phone calls. (NAN)