Residents of Ijegun community in Lagos State have foiled a fresh pipeline incident barely five days after a raging pipeline fire killed over a dozen people in the small town
The community has been prone to recurring pipeline vandalism since May 2008 and is located in the Igando-Ikotun Local Council Development Area of Lagos State.
Agency reports said residents rose to the occasion and thwarted what could have been another deadly explosion on Tuesday after vandals attempted to open a pipeline at a market in the community.
The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) at the Isheri Oshun Police Station, SP Rafiu Akinlade, who spoke on the incident, said policemen responded immediately they were alerted on the vandalism.
“As soon a call got to me from the community, I immediately sent out my team but on getting there, the vandals had abandoned their tools and fled.
“However, my men have collected all the tools and pipes they came with for their operation. Although we are yet to apprehend the vandal, investigation is going on,” Akinlade told NAN.
A resident of Ijegun community, Mr Victor Mbuba, also told NAN that residents became apprehensive when they heard screams, prompting scores of people to start removing their belongings.
“The smell was thick and this caused panic and fear of another explosion because the memory of the immediate past inferno was still shocking.’’
Another resident, Vitalis Okonkwo, a student, said his family ran out to safety, following shouts in the neighbourhood.
“When we perceived the fuel split all over the area, we ran out along with others in the neighborhood for fear of being trapped in another explosion.
“Most people are yet to return for fear of another explosion because anything can happen. Nobody wants a repeat of the July 4 explosion,” he said.
His neighbour, Mrs Bridget Umeorah, appealed to the Lagos State Government to provide security in the area to discourage pipeline vandalism.
On May 16, 2008, Ijegun was devastated by a massive explosion after a bulldozer struck and ignited an oil pipeline. The truck used in road rehabilitation damaged an oil pipeline, causing a fire outbreak that killed over 100 people and damaged property, estimated at millions of Naira.
Oil pipeline vandalism is rampant in oil-bearing Nigeria, perpetrated mainly by unscrupulous people seeking fortunes to make their living
Ijegun village is a northern suburban community that was originally in Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos before being excised by the then government of former Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu into Igando-Ikotun Local Council Development Area of the State. – NAN