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Ijeododo Pipeline Explosion: Vandals Combat Rescuers

By on December 19, 2012

The pipeline explosion at Ijeododo in Iba Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Lagos State has continued to burn as fire fighters are confronted with natural and manmade setbacks.

Fire fighters are finding it difficult to calm the situation because of the thick forest, besides the resistance vandals have put forward, shooting at the rescuers.

The rescue team comprise of officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Nigerian Security, and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Nigerian Police Force (NPF).

According to the NEMA Director, General Ibrahim Farinloye the explosion occurred about 11pm on Monday.

Farinloye said rescue operations began only yesterday because of the difficulties the terrain posed besides the time.

He said, “The pipeline exploded in the dead of the night, but rescue operations could not be carried out and was scheduled to start by 5.30am yesterday.

“But the scheduled rescue operation was botched by the vandals who shot sporadically to scare the team.

“However, NNPC officials were contacted and they shut down the pipelines to limit the damage and further loss of products.

“We could not carry out the rescue operation or an assessment of the devastation because the vandals were shooting at us.

“The rescue team had to take cover because their safety is important. It was when things calmed down that we moved in to do our job.”

He said it was after the access route was cleared that the rescue operation really began.

“At the 7th Avenue end of FESTAC Town, one hundred and fifty (150) pieces of 50 litre-Jerry cans and 46 bags that can contain 150 litres of fuel were recovered. Efforts to reach the Commandant, NSCDC, Obafaiye Shem, failed.

In a recent development, Officials of Lagos State Emergency Agency (LASEMA) said the flow station had been shut, and “the fire should die off soon.”

According to a resident, Comfort Onwumere who said she has resided in the community for over 10 years, “We did not sleep here yesterday. I ran out with my children without wearing cloth.”

Another resident, Kazeem Olukabi said, “We had to run because pipelines surround this community and the entire community can be engulfed if care is not taken,” adding that the fire has happened before, which is not a new thing and not a serious cause to the problem. The problem is with the government who keep allowing vandals to put their lives and those of the community at risk, he said.

Besides the NSCDC, NPF, Fire Service, the Navy were also involved in the rescue efforts

Unfortunately, no arrest was made, according to NSCDC’s Lagos Command Public Relations Officer Mrs. Kehinde Bada.

Bada said they recovered a large quantity of petroleum products, which would be handed over to NNPC soon.