Black Sunday: Lagos shakes under explosion, 25 dead, 70 houses destroyed

Black Sunday in Lagos caused by multiple explosions has resulted into the death of no fewer than 25 persons and many buildings were destroyed.

Many people were trapped underneath many buildings in Abule Ado, in Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area.

A family of four consists of the father, the mother and their two boys were among the dead.

Acting Coordinator of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in Lagos Mr Ibrahim Farinloye said the couple and their two sons were caught by the explosion on their way to church.

No fewer than 62 people, including pupils of a girls boarding Catholic secondary school were  injured and taken to hospitals.

A loud sound was heard in many parts of Lagos which resulted to destructions of many vehicles.

The Director-General, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr Olufemi Oke-Osayintolu, said “the cause is unknown”

The NEMA coordinator said: “We are going to find out what really happened. I have been to so many blasts scenes, especially Maiduguri and I can tell you that I do not know if a single bomb can have this kind of effect we have seen here. Not even an IED can.

“It is during post emergency phase that we will know what happened here.  From the information gathered, the truck was carrying score stone and the truck was about 1t metres away from the pipeline.

“We also gathered that the blast was heard before the fire broke out. If it was pipeline fire, it should be the other way round. That is why anti-bomb squads have been invited.”

But the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said: the explosion was “as a result of gas  explosion which occurred after a truck hit some gas cylinders stacked in a gas processing plant located near the corporation’s system 2B Pipeline Right of Way.”

Farinloye said 17 bodies, including those of the family of four, had been recovered.

According to him, over 50 buildings, including Bethlehem Girls College and a popular hotel, were damaged

He said: “The resulting fire later spread to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) oil pipeline passing through the area even though the pipeline has been shut down as a precautionary measure.

“The fire was eventually extinguished about 3.30p.m. through the combined efforts of officials of the Lagos State Fire Service, Federal Fire Service and Nigerian Navy Fire Tender.”

Also, Rear Admiral Oladele Daji, Staff Officer, Western Naval Command, told newsmen that the pupils were stabilised at the Navy Hospital.

Daji said although the cause of the incident was still unknown, some residents of the area told security operatives that there was a large number of industrial gas cylinders close to where the explosion occurred.

He said the Navy in collaboration with other security agencies had begun clearing the pipeline right of way across Lagos State, adding that the government should revoke the Certificate of Occupancy of houses built very close to pipelines.

Dr Oke-Osayintolu added that the government would carry out a thorough investigation to unravel the cause of the explosion.

“Our advice to people is that there is no need to panic. We are on top of the situation and the fire has been put out through collaboration by the various agencies.

“We can neither smell gas nor petrol; we can’t really say this is what led to the fire.

“We are still waiting for the outcome of the result to know the cause of the fire outbreak,” Oke-Osanyintolu said.

“The fire was eventually extinguished about 3.30p.m. through the combined efforts of officials of the Lagos State Fire Service,  Federal Fire Service and Nigerian Navy Fire Tender.

“The DG later issued a statement in which he  said  that “the primary cause of the explosion is unknown.”

‘There were a number of secondary explosions which have caused significant damage to multiple buildings, including the leveling of a church to ground zero and the destruction of St Margaret’s girls hostel.

“The causes are yet to be determined while security agents are investigating the cause of the explosion and recovery and rescue activities were carried by the Ministry of Special Duties, LASEMA men of the Lagos State fire service crew, Federal fire service department, Safety Commiission, LABSCA and other first responders.

“We sympathise with the families of the dead and wish the injured quick recovery. We appeal for calm and urge residents to shun fake news.”

Speaking to reporters at the scene, Commissioner for Special Duties Taiwo Martins appealed for calm so that rescuers could do their jobs effectively.

“I will like to tell Lagosians to stop this habit of gathering where there is emergency. People should stop turning it into sight seeing and taking photographs and all that. Basically, we are on top of the situation. We are going to access the damage. The moment the fire is gone totally, we will begin investigation and we will be able to come up with the cause.

“We will continue awareness and advocacy on our people to desist from harmful practices. We are appealing to our people; there are certain habits they just have to stop.

“The first thing is to allay the fears of the people. Yes, it was an explosion that was heard but an explosion does not necessarily have to be a bomb like people are saying. Nobody has done investigation to confirm it is a bomb. We will look into all possibilities; we are not going to ignore any possibility but then when you have pipes or gas it can explode and may cause such effects. But at the end of the day, we will be able to ascertain what it is that really caused it.

“Fears of people trapped are speculations. What I can tell you is that LASEMA has confirmed some bodies were recovered and some people rescued.

“Those figures are figures we must ascertain before giving out. Then, once the fire is down and we are sure the place is safe, all these places are going to be taken down and if there are still bodies there, we will confirm it but to the best of my knowledge I am not sure.

“We have a responsible government.

Similar incidents like this have happened and Lagos state Government has never abandoned the people,”

%d bloggers like this: