It was a relief of sorts for residents to learn that no life was lost to the explosion on a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) vandalised pipeline Thursday morning along the LASU/Isheri Road, Iyana-Odo Bus Stop on Igando axis of Alimosho council area of Lagos State. Residents and motorists were seen scampering for safety as the fire raged furiously.
Those earlier unaware of the incident were woken to reality by the thunderous sound and fleeing crowd. The burnt facility, it was reported, connects the Ayobo community in the Ipaja end of Lagos mainland.
According to an official of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), the pipeline was tampered with by unknown vandals, resulting in the inferno.
It was observed by emergency responders on the ground that no corpse was found on the scene of the exploding, confirming that the incident claimed no casualty.
Security officials were also seen in and around the area ensuring the safety of lives and property as well as managing the situation.
Speaking with The Guardian, a resident, who pleaded anonymity, vandalism was regular in the area, adding that vandals scoop fuel virtually every night in the locality.
“Most of the youths in this area are involved in the ‘illegal business.’ It is a regular way of life for them, he said.”
Some vandals were reportedly seen at the location prior to yesterday’s explosion but could not be ascertained if it was the group that ignited the fire.
LASEMA Public Relations Officer (PRO), Kehinde Adebayo, who confirmed the incident, said the inferno had been put out, warning residents to steer clear of the area.
He added that the police had launched an inquiry to unravel the immediate and remote causes of the explosion as well as bring the perpetrators to justice.
The latest incident comes rely three years after a similar occurrence at Ije-Ododo in the Ojo area of the state instigated by suspected vandals.
In the last 30 years, over 20,000 people have died and property worth billions of naira lost to pipeline blasts nationwide.