Victims of the Ile-Epo pipeline explosion says, “They blamed the government for not responding on time”. A resident of the, Mr. Adebayo area said “We have been calling the Lagos State emergency number (112) immediately the environment was filled with the smell of spilt oil”.
In their words as reported by the News agency:
Around 7 pm, we started smelling fuel in the area. Nobody knew the reason for that but being in an area where there is a pipeline, we sensed danger and started making calls to the 112 Lagos State Emergency number. During those periods, people were already running away from the area. Suddenly, we heard a loud noise and everything went up in flames. The fire service came very late. We waited and waited before they came. When they did, it was already too late. The deed had been done.
Another victim, Tosin, whose mother operates a shop that got burnt around Pipeline Road, Ile-Epo said that if the fire service had arrived before the fire started, they would have contained it. He said, “Some people are spreading wrong information about what happened. I was out with friends when my mum called that there was fuel spill around the environment and if I am outside of the area, I should stay there. Immediately, I left where I was with my friends and decided to go and see what was happening in the area. When we got to the junction of Pipeline Road, we could smell the fuel. That meant that there was a leakage somewhere. I told my friends that we needed to leave that area fast but Wale (a friend), said we should wait but don’t go closer to where the smell was. I called my mum and she said that the whole family have left the area and that they have gone to stay at our church at Ile-Epo side. While, I was talking to her, I heard people speaking on the phone and telling the fire service people to come quick. During those periods, there was no fire yet. I think I stood there for over 30 minutes, when I suddenly heard an explosion. That was when we ran to the other side of the road and watched as houses started burning. When the fire service came, I checked my time and it was around 9 pm”.
Everyone identifies poor protection of the pipelines and slow response time as the major cause of the mishap. We are calling on the Government of the day to do more in the area of securing utility facilities to keep off vandals and also beef up the emergency response structure, not only in Lagos State, but also all over the country.
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