A pipeline explosion occurred at Ijegun, in the Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State in the early hours of Thursday, with two unidentified bodies, as well as many vehicles and shops burnt in a raging fire.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that despite the efforts of fire fighters who responded promptly, the fire, which started at about 1.20 a.m. raged for over eight hours.
NAN recalls that a similar inferno happened in April, 2008 where several school children, men, women, houses and property worth millions of naira were lost.
According to dependable sources close to the area, the pipeline exploded as soon as some vandals tried to escape with a tanker which they used for the theft of petroleum products from the petroleum products pipeline.
NAN reports that residents living several kilometres away from the fire point at the Isheri community and Kudeyibu Estate scampered from their homes in panic as the flames escalated and spread close to a gas station in the area.
Security personnel from various agencies collaborated to control the large crowd that fled from their homes to escape from the unfortunate incident.
The traditional ruler of Ijegun, Oba Nureni Akinremi, told NAN that despite several efforts to orientate some miscreants in the community against pipeline vandalism, some have failed to become law abiding.
“I have made several efforts to speak with my people through my chiefs and community leaders, yet, some people have remained adamant.
“We really need to keep the security agents on regular surveillance in this area because it was the same area that was affected in a similar incident some 11 years ago,’’ he said.
NAN reports that the fire affected parts of the Ijegun Community Primary and High School, the Catholic Church fence, and several other buildings.
Meanwhile, the fire has now been contained to the pipeline, though NAN correspondents reported that smoke was still bellowing from some scattered spots in the area.
Witnesses told NAN that firemen from the Lagos State Fire Service arrived early at about 4:00 a.m. and had reinforcements from other stations in the metropolis, as well as emergency personnel from the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.