19 June 2014, Lagos – Scores were killed and several others injured on Tuesday after an early evening explosion that rocked one of the pipelines belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) at the Takwa Bay Beach area of Lagos.
Although the inferno had been contained as at press time, the entire area was still pervaded with a thick smoke and the stench of petrol.
According to eyewitness accounts, some vandals had beforehand, visited the area, vandalised the pipeline and successfully siphoned fuel by digging a pit where the stolen products from the ruptured pipeline flowed into.
Although the cause of the explosion was yet to be ascertained, the deceased and injured persons were said to have been among those that stormed the site of the spillage to scoop fuel after the vandals had disappeared.
Some of the villagers who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the vandals had stormed Takwa Bay in canoes laden with several hundreds of 50 liter jerrycans.
According to the villagers, the vandals had filled up their jerrycans with the stolen products, tied them to several yards of ropes with which they dragged the already filled cans across the murky waters to their take off point, where a boat was kept for onward transportation of the products.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Public Relations Officer, South-west Zone, Ibrahim Farinloye, who confirmed the incident to THISDAY, said no corpse had been recovered yet.
He said the relatives of the victims might have carted away the bodies of the deceased persons for fear that government agencies might use it to track down the whereabout of the vandals.
He said: “These vandals had punctured the pipeline at Takwa Bay area, which takes petroleum products from Atlas Cove at Apapa to Ejigbo and Mosemi depots both in Lagos and Ogun States respectively.
“The activities of these vandals around the punctured area led to an explosion at about midnight. Although supply valves had since been shutdown to contain the fire, efforts are still ongoing to track down either victims or fleeing vanda;s by the security agencies.
“Safety officials from NNPC Atlas Cove base worked from the time the incident was reported around midnight to put out the fire. It was not until around 10a.m. that the fire was completely put out. Cooling process has commenced while pumping of products will start soon.”
In another development, Farinloye said the corpse of the lone victim of Tuesday’s boat mishap at Tincan Island has been recovered and the corpse handed over to the family members accordingly.
– This Day