pipeline vandals putting our lives in danger –lagos community residents
National assets in Nigeria are constantly under attack from vandals and economic saboteurs and at times with the support of insiders. The activities of vandals have resulted in a huge loss of lives and resources with pipeline explosions accounting for a larger percentage of these losses.
Another pipeline which resulted into destruction of lives and property occurred in Baruwa area of Lagos State on December 5. Residents of the Baruwa area of Lagos and Isheri raised the alarm as fire raged through the swamp in the area as a result of an explosion which occurred after the NNPC pipeline in Baruwa was ruptured by vandals.
A leader of a white-garment church had reportedly led two persons to a section of the swamp for spiritual cleansing before the fire started. While they were inside the river, hoodlums tampered with the pipeline and fuel spilled flowing down the river. Oblivious of this, one of the three people on the spiritual cleansing exercise was said to have struck a match to light a candle which was part of the activities for the spiritual cleansing exercise.
The match ignited a fire and the whole area was engulfed in a fire killing one of them, another was badly injured and the leader reportedly escaped although seared.
The fire which raged through the swampy area destroyed everything on its path and the two wooden bridges which link Isheri with Baruwa was partly destroyed by the fire. This destruction has made residents of the areas close to the pipeline cried to government and security agents to be more vigilant in protecting the facilities.
The President of Diamond Estate
Residents Association, Mr Olaniran Olasoji, told our correspondent in an interview the pipeline did not pass through the estate but anytime there was a leakage as a result of vandals’ activities fuel flowed down the swamp and this posed a great danger to residents of the estate especially those whose houses were very close to the swamp.
He said the explosion occurred less than a week the association invited fire experts to train residents of Diamond Estate on how to handle fire.
“We do not know the identities of those who ruptured the pipeline. The pipeline does not pass through our estate, but we are under threat of the activities of vandals.
“We always tell residents of houses close to the swamp not to burn anything because such might cause an explosion if there is a leakage.
“Pipeline vandals are putting everybody’s life at risk and when fuel flows down the swamp and there is fire along the path, the fire can spread anywhere.
That was why we called the Environmental and Safety Department of the NNPC when the last one happened. We always call them anytime we start smelling fuel odor. We usually asked them to check their facilities and see if there anything wrong with it.
“We called the NNPC officials each time we smelled petrol and ask them to come, and check the pipeline if there was a rupture of leakage there.
“We used to look at thick smoke billowing into the sky each time there was an explosion as a result of activities of pipeline vandals. But the fire burned through the swamp and came close to our estate this time.
“This is because some structures have been built immediately at the back of our fence. I think these structures are illegal because I don’t know who will give approval that houses should be built on the floodplain. But we are asking that the government should come and check if the structures there have approvals. With houses on the floodplain, if there is a leakage there may be an explosion and the tragedy that may result would be massive. The government has to prevent this.”
Another resident of the estate, Folasade Adeoye, told our correspondent that security agencies should step up their surveillance in the area to prevent vandals from further putting the lives of the people around in danger.
Adeoye said, “I think they can use a drone to monitor the pipeline and the machine should be deployed night and day. With this security agents would know even before any illegal activity is carried out there.”
One of the residents of Baruwa area, Taye Adeniyi, told our correspondent that the neglect of the area by the government was one of the reasons why hoodlums always have a field day breaking pipeline and siphoning fuel with ease.
Adeniyi said, “You can see that the roads that connect this area, ( Isheri) Baruwa is not tarred. There is no bridge across the swamp except the two wooden bridges built by private individuals on which tolls are paid. If you do not want to pay tolls on the wooden bridges, then you will have to go through Egbeda to Baruwa which is much longer and time-wasting because of the traffic snarl you will encounter.
“The two wooden bridges are partly damages by the pipeline fire, and this is a threat to commuters in two areas.”
A commercial motorcyclist plying Iseri-baruwa, Moruf Tajudeen, expressed fear that breaking of the pipeline had been going on for a long time in the area, saying government and security agencies needed to pay more attention to the area to stop stealing of fuel and destruction of lives and properties which usually followed.
Taju said, “NNPC should be more serious in protecting the pipeline. If there are insiders in the corporation, they should look for a way to sack them. These pipeline vandals are putting our lives at risk, and this must be stopped.”