…many dead, several houses destroyed
. Incident caused by gas cylinders explosion – NNPC
By AYOOLA OLAOLUWA
Several people were Sunday morning killed in Lagos when a massive explosion rocked the city. Many also sustained various degrees of injury in the incident.
The explosion which went off at Abule Ado area of Ojo, in Amuwo Odofin LCDA, reverberated and shook houses several miles away, throwing residents of Surulere, Amuwo Odofin, Oshodi, Ikeja, Alimosho and environs into confusion.
According to eyewitnesses, the blast occured around 9.am when many worshippers were on their way to church for morning service.
The fire was eventually extinguished about 3.30 pm through the combined efforts of officials of the Lagos State Fire Service, Federal Fire Service, and the Nigerian Navy Fire Tender.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), however, denied rumours that the explosion was a bomb blast, maintaining that it happened when a truck hit gas cylinders around the corporation’s pipeline right of way.
This is contrary to speculations of pipeline vandalism and even bombing as the cause.
Kennie Obateru, NNPC’s Public affairs Manager, said preliminary findings indicated that the impact of the explosion was so huge it led to the damage to an NNPC pipeline.
The cylinders were said to be stacked in a gas processing plant located near the corporation’s system 2B pipeline right of way.
Obateru said following the report of the explosion, the corporation quickly halted ongoing pumping operations on the Atlas Cove-Mosimi pipeline which was active at the time.
The NNPC’s spokesman however assured that the temporary shutdown of the petroleum products pipeline would not affect the normal supply of products to the Lagos and its environs.
He said NNPC had already mobilised its in-house combined team consisting of health safety environment experts, medical and security personnel from its nearby satellite depot in Lagos.
He also added that Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director, and other top management members of the corporation have departed to Lagos for an on-the-spot assessment at the scene of the incident.
The acting Coordinator of NEMA in Lagos, Mr Ibrahim Farinloy, who spoke to newsmen at the scene of the blast, said that fifteen people, including a couple and their two sons were killed in the incident while the injured were rushed to the Nigerian Navy Hospital, Ojo Cantonment for treatment.
Farinloye said over 50 buildings, including Bethlehem Girls College and a popular hotel, were damaged in the explosion .The agency also confirmed that 60 students of Bethlehem Girls College located within the are sustained various degrees of injury in the incident.
“The resulting fire later spread to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation oil pipeline passing through the area even though the pipeline had been shut down as a precautionary measure.
One of the victims of the incident, Mr Abayomi Abeyi, said his building was severely damaged while his wife sustained injuries from the explosion.
A worshipper of a white garment church, Ebenezer Dada, said they were giving offering in church when the blast went off, bringing down the roof. Another survivor said his house, a two-storey building was also damaged.