An explosion occurred at the site of a vandalized NNPC oil pipeline yesterday in Lagos.
Some oil thieves were feared to have been burnt to death while scooping fuel at a vandalized pipeline at Ije-Ododo, near Ijegun in Iba Local Council Development Area of Lagos State, Southwest Nigeria.
According to a witness, the raging fire started around 9 p.m. yesterday when about 30 oil thieves loaded in two canoes arrived the scene and started scooping fuel into hundreds of 50 kilogram jerry cans.
However, nemesis caught up with them when fire was ignited and consumed the whole environment, including the thieves, their jerry cans and other materials.
A source at the scene of the fire said that the oil thieves usually came to the area in canoes and after scooping fuel, they travel on the stream to the Festac axis.
As at the time of filing this report, the fire was still raging and a thick smoke enveloped the area. No fire fighters were available. But some men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, (NSCDC) and NNPC officials were at the scene to assess the situation. The NSCDC leader, who identified himself as Baiye, said his team was facing serious challenges. “You can see that the fire is still raging. We can’t go far to examine the damaged pipeline or know the number of people killed because the pipeline is buried under water,” an NNPC official stated.
Some residents of Ije-Ododo who spoke to news men claimed they suspected oil thieves who vandalized the pipeline in the community conspired with the police in their nefarious activities.
The Divisional Police Officer, DPO, at Isheri-Oshun Division could not be reached as at the time of filing this report.
Some churches located near the scene of the fire have been moving their movables out of fear that it might spread to their churches and consume them.