An ancient majestic ‘Odan’ tree fell to a heavy windstorm in the Sabo area of Oyo town on Monday evening killing four persons with another seriously injured.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the ancient tree provided shelter for butchers, minibusses, and commercial motorcycle operators with its far-spreading branches at a popular foodstuff market in Oyo town.
The chairman, Saabo Market, Oyo town, Akeebu Alarape, told NAN that the tree was about 100 years old.
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.
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 minibus 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 indoors and not to take shelter under trees when it rained.
He debunked the rumour that the tree was a 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.