Log inLog Out
Local NewsEntertainmentRelationshipLifestyleTechnology
How government neglect burnt Abule-Egba

Hussein Gollo

Jan. 21, 2020

A day after burst petrol pipelines led to a fire incident that killed at least five persons and razed houses, trucks, cars and livestock in the Ile-Epo, Abule-Egba area of Lagos, residents are still pointing the finger at relevant security agencies and the state government for their plight.
The pipelines belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), exploded at about 8pm on Sunday, January 19, after suspected vandals allegedly ruptured the facility in a bid to scoop fuel for sale at the black market.
Over 30 houses were razed and hundreds of people were left homeless, after pipelines belonging to the NNPC exploded at Ile-Epo, Abule-Egba area of Lagos. [Pulse]
Over 30 houses were razed and hundreds of people were left homeless, after pipelines belonging to the NNPC exploded at Ile-Epo, Abule-Egba area of Lagos. [Pulse]
Sabotage and rupturing of pipelines by vandals are common criminal activities in Abule-Egba and environs.
Over 30 houses were razed and hundreds of people were left homeless, after pipelines belonging to the NNPC exploded at Ile-Epo, Abule-Egba area of Lagos. [Pulse]
Over 30 houses were razed and hundreds of people were left homeless, after pipelines belonging to the NNPC exploded at Ile-Epo, Abule-Egba area of Lagos. [Pulse]
Residents and business owners at the scene of the carnage tell Pulse, amid billowing smoke and charred remains of livestock, that the security operatives deployed to the area to protect lives and property, haven't been doing their jobs.
'It could all have been avoided'
According to Mojeed Owoade, a Muslim cleric in the area, the incident and deaths could have been avoided.
Over 30 houses were razed and hundreds of people were left homeless, after pipelines belonging to the NNPC exploded at Ile-Epo, Abule-Egba area of Lagos. [Pulse]
Over 30 houses were razed and hundreds of people were left homeless, after pipelines belonging to the NNPC exploded at Ile-Epo, Abule-Egba area of Lagos. [Pulse]
Owoade says residents began smelling petrol in the air on Sunday afternoon, hours before the fire began gutting buildings from beneath the ground. All attempts to reach out to government agencies to warn them about an impending fire, proved abortive, they say.
The government agencies that were reached did nothing to avert the inferno, residents say through tear-soaked eyes.
"This fire didn't start just like that. Around 8:00 pm, most of my friends informed me that they had been smelling petrol in the neighborhood all afternoon. We did call emergency numbers, which was before the explosion, but they didn't come. It was after the whole place went up in flames around 9:00 pm, that government agencies and emergency personnel began arriving.
Over 30 houses were razed and hundreds of people were left homeless, after pipelines belonging to the NNPC exploded at Ile-Epo, Abule-Egba area of Lagos. [Pulse]
Over 30 houses were razed and hundreds of people were left homeless, after pipelines belonging to the NNPC exploded at Ile-Epo, Abule-Egba area of Lagos. [Pulse]
Over 30 houses were razed and hundreds of people were left homeless, after pipelines belonging to the NNPC exploded at Ile-Epo, Abule-Egba area of Lagos. [Pulse]
"When the fire fighters arrived, they couldn't even do anything until the fire extinguished naturally."
Another Ile Epo resident who identifies himself as Samuel Tayo , says no one would have died if government was up to its primary responsibility of protecting lives and property.
According to Tayo, "Immediately the incident happened, prompt action was lacking. Our country isn't a good country. If we have security and provision for certain things, this wouldn't have happened in the first place."
Alfa Olowomi says the government failed the people of Abule-Egba once more when it really mattered.
According to Olowomi who says he's lived in Abule-Egba for 40 years, fire incidents in the area are common, because of pipelines that snake through the community. He however adds that Sunday's incident is the worst he's witnessed.
" The white man says prevention is better than cure, and another person asserts that prevention is cheaper than cure. For years now, residents have been taking steps to draw the government's attention to the fact that fuel keeps leaking from pipelines. If they really care about us, this wouldn't have happened. Nobody really cares about us..." Olowomi says.
Over 30 houses were razed and hundreds of people were left homeless, after pipelines belonging to the NNPC exploded at Ile-Epo, Abule-Egba area of Lagos. [Pulse]
He adds that, "We do believe that the government can help us by tarring the road. We believe the pipes won't be this exposed if we have good roads here. We lost a lot last night. We couldn't sleep in our houses. What could be more devastating than this?"
Security operatives not doing their jobs
Olowomi also appeals to the government to ensure that security personnel tasked with keeping the area safe, actually do their jobs.
Over 30 houses were razed and hundreds of people were left homeless, after pipelines belonging to the NNPC exploded at Ile-Epo, Abule-Egba area of Lagos. [Pulse]
"Help us beg the security people to protect us and not be selfish, help us beg them. The fire has happened and we don't want anything like this to ever happen again. We've had enough. Although, we have security operatives here, they don't care about us. We don't even know if they are protecting us or themselves, " he adds.
Folarin Adio, a business manager in the area, says the damage done by the fire is a lot. He also wants the government to deliver on its promises to the people.
In Adio's words; " The government is meant to protect us. Our goods are damaged. Goods valued at millions of Naira have gone up in flames, and we don't want this to happen again.
"We are begging the government to deal with those perpetrating crimes like this. We have security men that are managing the pipelines, but they are not doing their jobs. The government shouldn't just deploy security personnel here, they should monitor them as well."
Security personnel at the scene of the incident declined comments for this story.
However, the Lagos State Governor has vowed to clampdown on vandals henceforth.
0
Comments
Sign in to post a message
You're the first to comment.
Say something
Recommend
Log in