Vandals burst NNPC pipeline in Lagos

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…Two dead, over 10 houses, 11 trucks burnt

By Olabode Jegede

Two persons have been reportedly feared dead and over 10 houses are believed to have been gutted by the Pipeline fire explosion at Abule -Egba area in Lagos State on Sunday evening belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Abule Egba became popular following the death of over 200 persons at the scene of fire explosions that occurred on pipeline belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in 2006.

The fire explosion of yesterday according to eye witnesses occurred as a result of the activities of suspected vandals who destroyed one of the oil pipelines in the area to siphon  product.

According to these eye witnesses, the fire that started around Ile-Epo bus stop was said to have spread to Abule-Egba and Ekoro Road.

The raging fire has displaced several residents who left  their abodes for fear of being caught up in the  inferno while those living afar were keeping vigil and ready to flee should the fire reach their areas.

However, Lagos State Government has reacted promptly to the incident through the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso.

He said that, “A pipeline fire has been reported at Abule-Egba. LASEMA and other security/emergency agencies have activated its machinery to fight the fire”.

Two bodies bodies have been recovered by LASEMA.

The Director General, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, Dr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu said “a raging fire from the explosion of a vandalised NNPC pipeline has caused panic among residents within Awori, and Pipeline communities in Abule Egba.

“LASEMA, Lagos fire service are responding and on top of the situation,” he said earlier.

Oke-Osanyintolu, however, confirmed that two adult male were burnt to death, with 11 trucks and seven houses razed.

It would be recalled that on December 18, 2018, there was a fire outbreak at Isopako Awori, Abule-Egba area of Lagos State.

The fire emanated from NNPC pipeline that was deliberately ruptured by vandals in their bid to siphon PMS from the broken pipe.

The consequence was a huge ball of fire that consumed about 100 houses and 77 vehicles worth several millions of naira.

Based on the development, operatives of the State Anti-Robbery Squad, Ikeja, were detailed to investigate the incident and ensure the arrest of those behind the crime.

The operatives mobilised to the scene and picked up some pieces of evidence for analysis, which led to the arrest of a suspect, who confessed to committing the crime.

Meanwhile, unconfirmed report from a source in NNPC  revealed that the corporation lost $745million to pipeline vandalism between January and December 2019.

The source revealed that the loss  represents the figure  captured directly by the corporation during transportation of products through the pipelines. When added to other sources, the unconfirmed report shows that the corporation lost $2billion to vandalism during the year.

For instance, the official said that  for a product sent through Warri pipeline only 30 per cent of product was delivered at the depot which made the corporation to shut down the pipeline completely. He described communities and houses along the pipeline as thieves sabotaging the corporation and the nation. This, he said informed the recent demolition of certain houses near the corporation’s pipeline at Ijegun area of Lagos state.

Additional report   shows that 436 breaches occurred  on NNPC system 2B pipelines between Atlas Cove and Mosimi depot.

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