Nigeria: Senators Worried About Lagos Pipeline Explosion, Open Investigation

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Fire fighters.

Nigerian senators have expressed worry over the recent pipeline explosion in Ijegun, Lagos State.

The lawmakers tasked one of the Senate ad-hoc committees to investigate the incident.

The explosion which claimed many lives occurred on July 4 in Ijegun, Igando/Ikotun Local Council Development Area, Lagos State.

In a motion on Wednesday, Adeola Olamilekan (Lagos-APC) put the death toll at 12 while he said over 40 persons sustained burns.

He said the inferno led to the destruction of 30 vehicles while two secondary schools, namely Ijegun Junior and Senior Secondary School, 20 other buildings, as well as goods worth millions of naira, were destroyed.

The lawmaker blamed the incident on activities of oil thieves who vandalise pipelines to siphon petroleum products.

He said, "The Senate is worried that the pipeline explosion followed the pattern of a similar explosion at Abule- Egba, Ajeromi- Ifelodun in Lagos State on Wednesday, December 19, 2018, and elsewhere with similar huge losses;

"The Senate regrets that despite the reoccurrence of these explosions over the years from mostly the activities of vandals, no enduring solution has been found to prevent the ugly incidents;

"The Senate is further aware that in addition to official/general security for pipelines protection from vandalisation, the Nigeria National Petroleum Company, NNPC and Pipeline and Product Marketing Company, PPMC, in time past engaged local/ community vigilantes to monitor and help secure the pipelines."

Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun-APC) described the vandals as highly trained professionals "who require a careful strategy to overcome". He proposed three solutions.

"What we can do now is to encourage NNPC to deploy the technology. If you see the sophistication of their weaponry, they overwhelm the local people. They almost overwhelm our security

"And if we need to strengthen our law, this is the time to do it. Whenever these vandals are caught, they should be made to face the law.

"We should also encourage people with local knowledge."

Bala Na'Allah (Kebbi-APC) said the Senate must come up with 'reasonable resolutions' and review of pipeline security.

"We must look at what security provisions we made in the past and see the inadequacies so we can formulate better ones," he said.

Other lawmakers who spoke on the motion called for the use of technology to fight the vandals.

The senators thereafter observed a one-minute silence in honour of the victims.

As part of resolutions, the lawmakers urged the National Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Ministry of Health to urgently attend to the medical needs of those hospitalised.

They also resolved that the Ijegun pipeline explosion be added to the investigative mandate of the ad-hoc committee set up by the Senate on Rivers State explosion due to their similarities and occurrence at almost the same period.

Adopting an additional prayer, the Senate resolved to task its petroleum committee to fast-track work on the Petroleum Industry Bill once constituted.

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