21 March 2014, Abeokuta – A pipeline belonging to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation burst into flames in the early hours of Thursday in Ilora Village, Ogijo, Sagamu Local Government Area, Ogun State while suspected oil thieves were siphoning oil.
As of press time, no one could tell if there was any casualty or not as officials of the NNPC, Ogun State Fire Service, and the National Emergency Management Agency, who were the first responders were unable to locate where the hose that was used in siphoning the oil went to.
Our correspondent, who visited the area, learnt that the oil thieves passed their hose from the pipeline through a swamp which was not accessible.
The hose was said to have traveled through a distance of about four kilometers.
The Spokesperson of the National Emergency Management Agency, South-West Zone, Ibrahim Farinloye, said the fire started around 3.30am and was put out by 10.30am.
He said, “Around 3.30am, we received an alert about an explosion along the Ilora Village, near Ogijo in Ogun State that a pipeline had exploded.
“Immediately, the NNPC and other rescue officials were alerted. Around 7.30am, they got access to the place, which was a very dangerous swamp.
“When we got there, it was discovered that some hoodlums had vandalised the pipeline and two valves were installed between the breakages. Thereafter, they installed a very long hose from that point to a far distance that we have yet to trace. But we learnt that they were loading tankers in an unidentified area.”
He said the fire could have escalated if not for the timely intervention of the officials, adding that normal oil transport had resumed.
Farinloye said, “If there will be any casualty in that incident, which is not unlikely, it will be at the point where they were loading the trucks with the stolen oil. And I guess they must have also evacuated them.
“The residents of the Ilora community and others living within pipeline areas must protect the pipelines because if it continues like this, how are we going to survive in this country?”
– The Punch