Dec 18, 2012 – NNPC Oil Pipeline Explosion In Ije Ododo, Lagos: Fuel Thieves Burnt To Death
An explosion occurred at the site of a vandalised NNPC oil pipeline yesterday in Lagos. Some oil thieves were feared to have been burnt to death while scooping fuel at a vandalised pipeline at Ije-Ododo, near Ijegun in Iba Local Council Development Area of Lagos State, Southwest Nigeria.
According to a witness, the raging fire started around 9 p.m. yesterday when about 30 oil thieves loaded in two canoes arrived the scene and started scooping fuel into hundreds of 50 kilogramme jerry cans.
However, nemesis caught up with them when fire was ignited and consumed the whole environment, including the thieves, their jerry cans and other materials.
A source told P.M.NEWS at the scene of the fire that the oil thieves usually came to the area in canoes and after scooping fuel, they travelled on the stream to the Festac axis.
As at the time of filing this report, the fire was still raging and a thick smoke enveloped the area. No fire fighters were available. But some men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, (NSCDC) and NNPC officials were at the scene to assess the situation. The NSCDC leader, who identified himself as Baiye, said his team was facing serious challenges. “You can see that the fire is still raging. We can’t go far to examine the damaged pipeline or know the number of people killed because the pipeline is buried under water,” an NNPC official stated.
Some residents of Ije-Ododo who spoke with our correspondent claimed they suspected oil thieves who vandalised the pipeline in the community conspired with the police in their nefarious activities.
The Divisional Police Officer, DPO, at Isheri-Oshun Division could not be reached as at the time of filing this report.
Some churches located near the scene of the fire have been moving their movables out of fear that it might spread to their churches and consume them.
Speaking with P.M.NEWS, the Information Officer, National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, for Southwest, Ibrahim Farinloye said NEMA was informed of the fire at about 9 p.m. on Monday night. Farinloye said both state and federal fire fighters called at the scene of the fire but could not do much because it requires a technical way to handle. He likened the manner of the fire incident to the vandalisation of the NNPC pipeline at Arepo in Ogun State.
According to Aluko Olanfemi, leader of the Apostolic Church at Festac, the residents got wind of the plan of pipeline vandals activities because such fire occurred in 2002 and the people have always been at the alert. Aluko said residents have contacted the police and State Security Service, and even wrote the Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola to assist nip in the bud the nefarious activities of the bunkerers.
Our correspondent reported this morning from the fire scene that there was sporadic shooting by the vandals while the fire was still raging and security agents had to seek reinforcement.