BY JOSEPHINE OBUTE
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Zubairu Muazu, on Thursday warned hoodlums and pipeline vandals to desist from further vandalism of oil pipelines in the area or face the law.
Muazu speaking at the scene of the pipeline explosion decried the huge loss caused by the vandals and cautioned residents to be vigilant and be security conscious.
“I sincerely sympathise with the victims of explosion but I must warn all intending vandals to beware of further action as strict surveillance will be ensured,” he said.
He also frowned at the presence of a gas station cited beside the pipeline.
He said it should be relocated because it was a security threat to the community.
Muazu commended the various security agencies that jointly collaborated to maintain order in the area.
Also speaking, the Director-General of LASEMA, Dr Oluwafemi Oke-Osanyitolu, said that the victims of the fire outbreak were immediately attended to by his men.
“Twelve victims were rescued by my men; two were burnt to death, four on intensive treatment at LASUTH while the other eight were taken to the Gbagada General Hospital.
“The two that lost their lives had been taken to the mortuary in Yaba, while we have collaborated with other security agents to control the crowd,” he said.
He said that the fire started after the vandals tried to escape with the last tanker which, unfortunately, was intercepted by security agents which later exploded.
Also, the acting Director, Lagos State Fire Services, Mrs Margaret Adeseye, said that she deployed her men to the scene immediately she got a call.
“I was alerted some few minutes after 5 a.m., and I immediately sent out our fire fighters.’’
Adeseye added that she had four trucks with water to the spot which he said her men used to bring the fire under control.
“We assure the residents of the area and Lagosians that the fire will b brought under control as more fighters are collaborating with other security agents there,” she said.
The spokesman of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr Ibrahim Farinloye, told NAN that as soon as he was informed at 5.42a.m., he collaborated with the NNPC to shut down the valves.
“Immediately I was alerted, I called the NNPC so that the fuel valves would be shut down, before we moved in to ensure safety of victims and residents.
“About 31 vehicles were burnt, 12 injured while two died,” he said.
According to him, the fire exploded when the vandals resisted arrest by the security agents who tried to apprehend them.
Meanwhile, the president of Tanker’s Driver’s Association, Ejigbo, Mr Akani Mauruf, said that the apprehended tanker was not from his jurisdiction and called for a thorough investigation.
“The said-tanker exhibit is not from my depot, this menace needs proper investigation so that the vandals will be brought to book,” he said.
NAN reports that a similar incident happened at the same spot in May 2008.
It was caused by a caterpillar that was involved in the grading of a road that was under construction. (NAN)