Monday, May 20, 2024
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Residents of the Pipeline Road, Ipaja, Lagos State, were shaken on Monday after a Mack tanker conveying 33,000 litres of suspected stolen Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) exploded in front of the Honeyland Schools.

Three vehicles and some property were burnt in the inferno before the intervention of emergency management workers from both the state and federal agencies.

It was gathered that the tanker was being driven out of the pipeline area when an electric wire fell on it.

A spark from the wire was said to have ignited a fire, which led to the explosion around 3am.

It was learnt that the hoodlums, who vandalised the pipeline, had successfully driven six fuel-laden tankers away from the community without any incident, but the seventh tanker exploded and caused the inferno.

Residents lamented over the complicity of security agents and oil workers, claiming that a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation hose was used to syphon the fuel from the broken valve into the tankers.

Three burnt cars were counted at the scene, while the carcass of the tanker was abandoned in the middle of the road.

The cars, it was gathered, belonged to taxi drivers at the Ipaja motor park.

Two plastic drums of water in a house beside the scene were melted by the heat of the fire.

The scene was cordoned off by security officials.

A former Chairman of the Ipaja motor park, Saliu Mustapha, whose Toyota Picnic was burnt, said the vandals were heavily armed.

Mustapha stated, “Some loaded tankers had already gone with fuel. This tanker was the last. However, the tanker ahead of it mistakenly ran into a wire across the road, snapping it in the process.

“That was how the wire fell on this tanker, which was following closely behind. There was a spark and then an explosion.

“People wanted the driver to get to the main road to reduce the damage to property, but the fire was too much and everybody ran away.

“When security operatives attempted to apprehend the driver, he brought out a gun and threatened to shoot anybody who came near him.”

He noted that aside from his vehicle, a Toyota Camry and Hyundai car were also burnt.

The driver lamented that his source of livelihood was gone and wondered how he would survive.

He added, “The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps officials were around when the hoodlums came. They said they could not face those boys because of their sophisticated weapons.

“I have come to the conclusion that there is no security in this country. We don’t have any security.”

Another eyewitness, Oladokun Idowu, said the vandals had been coming to the community for the past three days.

He explained that they were backed by some men, who appeared to have military training.

Idowu stated, “There was power supply at the time the fire started. We called the fire service and they extinguished it. We don’t know the owner of the burnt tanker. It does not even have a number plate.

“The government is to blame for what is happening. If the government had brought soldiers here, this would not have happened without anybody challenging the vandals.”

However, a volunteer emergency worker told journalists that the truck had a number plate, which was removed by some persons.

The official, who refused access into the restricted area for safety consideration, said the number was embossed in certain parts of the truck.

A distant camera shot of the truck, however, revealed that the owner could be a member of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, as the union’s sticker was conspicuously pasted by the passenger’s side.

The spot were visited where the pipeline was vandalised and the NSCDC and NNPC officials working there.

The NNPC hose alleged to have been used for the operation was still on the ground as two men battled to fill the dug up area with mud.

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