Scores of people were feared dead when some pipelines belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation exploded at Takwa Bay Beach, Lagos State, following the activities of suspected vandals.
Petroleum Pipeline Explosion
Spokesperson for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Ibrahim Farinloye, who made this known to newsmen said huge fire has engulfed the area where the pipeline exploded.
He confirmed that the lines of fuel distribution through the affected pipelines have been shut down.
"Valves and supplies have been shut down to suffocate the fire."
Farinloye disclosed that the incident happened in the wee hour of the night, adding that safety officials from the Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC) Atlas Cove base are already working to put out the fire.
It was gathered from a source who spoke on condition of anonymity that hundreds of residents gathered to scoop fuel from an oil spillage when the pipes went into flames. He said most of the people scooping fuel were killed in the explosion.
The immediate cause of the explosion can still not be ascertained, though it was blamed on the activities of vandals who drill holes on exposed pipeline to scoop fuel.
A pool of petrol could be seen in a pit allegedly dug by suspected vandals not far away from the scene of the explosion. Some of the villagers alleged that the scooping was taking place in the pool. They said the vandals came to the area in canoes laden with several hundreds of 50 liter Jerry cans.
The villagers said, the vandals filled the Jerry cans with the products, tied them to several yards of ropes with which they dragged the already filled Jerry cans across the murky waters to a place considered safe before they would eventually load them on their boats in order to avoid being caught by security operatives.
Meanwhile, rescue workers are yet to recover any body from the scene the explosion, but Farinloye, has alleged that relations of victims may have smuggled away bodies of the victims so that security operatives can use them to track the location of the vandals .
He said that the suspected vandals drilled the pipeline at Takwa Bay area, which takes petroleum products from Atlas Cove at Apapa, to Ejigbo and Mosimi depots in Lagos and Ogun States respectively.