A yet to be ascertained number of persons may have died while scores injured in a midnight fire explosion involving petroleum pipeline belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) at the Takwa Bay Beach in Lagos.
Those who died in the explosion were said to have besieged the sight of spillage to scoop fuel. Nobody could say what cause the explosion, rather they attributed it to greed on the part of vandals who drill holes on exposed pipeline to scoop for fuel.
Not too far from the site of the explosion, in a pit allegedly dug by suspected vandals, a pool of petrol was seen. Some of the villagers alleged that it is from the pool that the actual scooping took place.
Some of the villagers who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the the Vandals come to the areas in canoes laden with several hundreds of 50 liter Jerry cans.
According to the villagers, the Vandals, haven filled the Jerry cans with products, tire them to several yards of ropes with which they dragged the already filled Jerry cans across the murky waters to a p,ace considered safe before they would eventually load them on to their boats.
These they say is to avoid the prying eyes of security operatives from identifying what they are carrying.
However,, rescue workers were yet to recover any body at the sight of the explosion, but the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Public Relations Officer (PRO) in the South-West Zone, Ibrahim Farinloye while confirming the incident said Relations of victims may have carted away bodies of the deceased persons for fear that government agencies might use it to track down the where about of vandals.
He stated that suspected Vandals punctured the pipeline at Takwa Bay area. He said that the pipeline takes petroleum products from Atlas Cove at Apapa, to Ejigbo and Mosemi depots both in Lagos and Ogun States respectively.
According to him, the activities of the Vandals around the punctured area led to an explosion at about midnight.
Though, supply valves have since been shutdown to suffocate the fire, but that efforts was still ongoing to track down either victims r fleeing members by security agencies.
“Safety officials from NNPC Atlas cove base worked from the tine the incident was reported around midnight to put out the fire. It was not until around 10am that the fire was completely put out. Cooling process has commenced while pumping of prices will start soon” he added