Emergency workers reach pipeline explosion source

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Emergency workers have reached the source of a pipeline explosion that occurred at Ije-Ododo in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State, 24 hours after the incident.

When PUNCH Metro visited the site on Wednesday, some carpenters were seen constructing special bridges to enable rescue workers to pass through the swampy terrain.

It was observed that fire-fighting equipment and other rescue materials brought by officials of the fire service and men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps could not reach the area on time.

But the spokesperson of the National Emergency Management Agency, Ibrahim Farinloye, later confirmed that the officials of the agency and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation got to the fire source at 2pm.

“The radius of the fire coverage is about six metres. It has four smaller points. There are no casualties,” Farinloye said.

The carpenters working on the special bridges confided in our correspondent that they were not likely to complete the work on time.

One of the carpenters, who identified himself only as Wale, said the swamp was too deep and could be dangerous.

He said the depth of the swamp was up to eight inches in some area while some measured close to 14 inches.

Wale said that was why they were taking their time to construct the makeshift to avoid drowning in the course of trying to extinguish the fire.

He said the fire still raged on because the vandals constructed a pipe there to scoop fuel and linked it through the swampy terrain up to Abule Ado area in Festac Town.

Meanwhile, some residents have appealed to the government to construct a road linking the area with Festac town to reduce the incidence of pipeline vandalism in the area.

The Akinrogun of Ije-Ododo, Chief Taiye Ododo, said it was unfortunate that the government was only making money from the area without developing it.

Ododo said, “This is the third time this is happening. If the government is sincere, it would have done something to check the menace.

“As you can see, the NNPC security post there is almost desolate. It is impossible for NNPC security men to guard such a dangerous terrain at night.

“The products they always scoop are taken to the town. What are the security agencies doing about that? They should warn the people of Abule Ado.”

Another resident, Mr. Wale Akindele, urged the government to open up the place to check the recurring menace.

“Interestingly, these vandals usually discharge their products at Festac area. How come they are not apprehended by the police or other security forces? It seems these vandals are working with some bad eggs in the police,” Akindele said.

Some okada riders are making brisk businesses as a result of the unfortunate incident.

Since the incident happened on Tuesday, the area has become a Mecca of some sort and okada provides a veritable means of transporting passengers in the neighbourhood.

An okada rider, who identified himself simply as Okafor, said many people had been going to the scene and had been patronising them very well.

“We make double what we used to make before. It is unfortunate the incident occurred but life must go on,” he said.

Because of the terrible terrain, firefighters who came with all their equipment and materials found it difficult to access the area.

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