*Gas cylinder explosion responsible for blasts – NNPC
*Shuts down petrol pipeline, assures of steady fuel supply
*15 corpses, including a family of four recovered – NEMA
*Buhari consoles families, victims of Lagos explosion
It was a black Sunday for residents of Abule Ado, Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos State, following alleged gas explosion which occurred after a truck hit some gas cylinders stacked in a gas processing plant located near the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC’s System 2B Pipeline Right of Way.
The explosion is currently the highest that has ever happened in the history of Lagos State in terms of property destruction.
A total of fifteen person was confirmed dead including a family of four (father, mother and two sons) who were on their way to church, while 200 residents were rendered homeless as the explosion destroyed 70 buildings including Bethlehem International Girls Catholic School in the community.
The explosion which occurred around 8.45 am on Sunday, cast one’s mind back to January 27th, 2002, Ikeja Military Cantonment bomb blast, when an armoury at the military base, containing “high calibre bombs” went up in flames at about 6.00 pm killing about 1,100 people in the process.
The incident which happened at the front of Bethlehem international catholic school, according to resident is more than a pipeline explosion.
According to a Civil Defense Operative, Akinwale, who spoke with our reporter at the scene, “I can swear with my life this is no pipeline explosion. I have seen lots of pipeline explosion but I have not seen anything like this. The sound woke me up in my house. It very clear that these vehicles were not burnt, they compressed by the impact of the explosion.
Another resident, Uzoma Phil, said that “I was in my house down, when it happened. Sincerely I thought the world had come to an end because the way everywhere was vibrating. Glasses of our building shattered and the roofing sheets destroyed. The government needs to investigate this explosion because it seems like a planned attack.
iBrandTV gathered that a Revered Father and Sisters who were officiating the church service at Bethlehem Girls College when the explosion happened were rescued from the debris, unfortunately Rev. Sis. Henrietta Alokha SSH, Principal of the school who struggled to rescue her students in the explosion became a victim, as the roof fell on her in the process. She died on the way to Navy Hospital.
Apart from the truck that was burnt other vehicles within the scene were compressed like squeezed leaves.
Buhari consoles families, victims of Lagos explosion
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has commiserated with families who lost loved ones, and all those affected by explosion in Abule Ado, Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos State, on Sunday.
The President also condoled with the Lagos State government and all residents affected by the unfortunate incident, which left many injured and destroyed property.
President Buhari in a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu said: “I have received with sadness the news of this unfortunate incident which caused loss of lives and property.
“A misfortune of whatever scale anywhere is a tragedy to the country, and while the NNPC makes efforts to determine the cause of the incident, I send my deepest and profound sympathises to the victims, their families, government and people of Lagos State.”
Gas cylinder explosion responsible for blasts – NNPC
NEMA says 15 die in Abule Ado, Lagos explosion
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) says 15 corpses, including a family of four, have been recovered from the scene of Sunday’s explosion which occurred at Abule Ado, Trade Fair axis of Lagos State.
No fewer than 60 students of Bethlehem Girls College located within the area who sustained various degrees of injuries in the incident were also taken to the Nigerian Navy Hospital in Ojo Cantonment.
Mr Ibrahim Farinloye, Acting Coordinator of NEMA in Lagos, said that the couple and their two sons were caught by the explosion on their way to church around about 9a.m. on Sunday.
Farinloye said over 50 buildings, including Bethlehem Girls College and a popular hotel, were damaged in the explosion.
He said: “The resulting fire later spread to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) oil pipeline passing through the area even though the pipeline has been shutdown as a precautionary measure.
“The fire was eventually extinguished about 3.30pm through the combined efforts of officials of the Lagos State Fire Service, Federal Fire Service and Nigerian Navy Fire Tender.”
Students stabilised at the Navy Hospital – NAVY
Also, Rear Admiral Oladele Daji, Staff Officer, Western Naval Command, told newsmen that the students were stabilised at the Navy Hospital, adding that those who have fully recovered would be discharged soon.
Daji said although the cause of the incident was still unknown, some residents of the area told security operatives that there was a large number of industrial gas cylinders close to where the explosion occurred.
He said the Nigerian Navy in collaboration with other security agencies had began clearing the pipeline right of way across Lagos State, adding that the government should revoke the Certificate of Occupancy of houses sited very close to pipelines.
We’ll carry out thorough investigation to unravel the cause – LASEMA
On his part, Dr Olufemi Oke-Osayintolu, Director General, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), said the government would carry out a thorough investigation to unravel the cause of the explosion.
“Our advice to people is that there is no need to panic. We are on top of the situation and the fire has been put out through collaboration by the various agencies.
“We can neither smell gas nor petrol, we can’t really say this is what led to the fire. We are still waiting for the outcome of the result to know the cause of the fire outbreak,” Oke-Osanyintolu said.
One of the victims of the incident, Mr Abayomi Abeyi, said his building was severely damaged while his wife sustained injuries from the explosion.
Abeyi, who is the Chairman, National Union of Road Transport Workers, Mile 2, Amuwo Odofin Branch, appealed to the Lagos State Government to come to the aid of the victims of the unfortunate incident.