Lagos explosion scene comparable to aerial bombardment – ERA

Abule Ado Fire; Bystanders at the location
Abule Ado explosion: Bystanders at the location
Abule Ado Explosion scene.

The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) said the impact of Sunday’s explosions at Abule Ado, a Lagos suburb, could be likened to aerial bombardment.

The agency, however, urged the Federal Government to carry out a forensic investigation on the blasts.

The agency, in a statement by its Head of Media and Campaigns, Philip Jakpor, said: “Vibrations from the blast shook many parts of the state and was felt as far as Iba, Okokomaiko, Agege, Alimosho, and Surulere, among others.

“Lagos State government had earlier stated the incident was not in any way linked to pipeline vandalism but could not provide details on the cause of the incident but the NNPC insisted it was caused by a truck that hit some cylinders stacked in a gas processing plant located near the corporations’ system 2B Pipeline right of way.

“The Federal Government should not be too casual to conclude that the incident was an accident. The accounts of the NNPC on the real cause of the blast is unconvincing and raises some questions.”

ERA/FoEN Deputy Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi, added: “There is something suspiciously different about this explosion.

“The scale of destruction is nothing like any of the pipeline explosions we have monitored and documented for several decades.

“The incident’s scale of destruction could only be likened to military-grade explosions or aerial bombardment. We can’t treat this casually as an accident caused by a truck.

“With the current security challenges facing this country, it is extremely premature to draw conclusions without conducting a forensic investigation of this particular blast.

“Not even the accidental detonation of bombs at the Ikeja cantonment caused this scale of destruction and ruins.

“The government must conduct a comprehensive investigation to establish if this was a crime or an accident.

“And there are questions begging for answers: Who drove the truck? What is the truck doing on a pipeline on Sunday morning? Was the gas plant opened on a Sunday? Was the content of the truck weaponised?

“And for the NNPC that has admitted some level of culpability by confirming that the primary explosion came from its gas truck, it should immediately initiate the process of providing remediation for the affected families and businesses while its officials found to have through negligence orchestrated this massive destruction, should be made to face the law.”

While commiserating with the families of those who lost their lives and those that lost properties and businesses, the group urged the governor to immediately set up a task force on pipeline security.

“It is unfortunate that the federal agencies saddled with the protection and security of pipelines have failed woefully.

“The governor as the chief security officer of the state needs to act in a way that will put an end to these perennial deaths and destruction since Lagos sits on a web of oil and gas pipelines.”