Pipeline Explosion: Tracking Abule Egba fire incidents

Abule Egba area of Lagos State in the last 14 years has recorded three fire outbreaks resulting from an explosion caused by vandalisation of  Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC pipelines.

The latest was the Sunday incident where five people died deaths and properties worth millions of naira were destroyed. The fire was said to have started at about 8 pm on Sunday evening while the vandals were breaching the pipeline in an attempt to steal fuel.

The Director-General, of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, tweeted that three adult males, one female, and a five-year-old child died in the fire.

Also, 20 people were treated for minor injuries while 150 people including children were displaced, he said.

Also destroyed were eight bungalows, 2 storey buildings 17 shops, 39 vehicles including 33 trucks, three cars, and three tricycles.

In 2006 not fewer than 260 people were killed and 60 injured in an oil pipeline blast in Abule Egba, which occurred after vandals broke the pipeline carrying fuel and residents in the area were trying to scoop fuel from the ruptured pipeline.

Also in 2018, spill from a tanker carrying fuel which vandals were using to ferry fuel burst in flames with no death recorded but properties worth millions of naira were destroyed in the fire.



The standard international pipeline operating procedures and practices is expected to include alarm management, Leak Detection Systems, LDS, and Supervisory Control & Data Acquisition, SCADA, which would help to detect leaks and vandalised pipelines but Nigeria does not have such manpower, according to a study.

during his visit to the scene of the fire accident,  Group Managing Director of the NNPC  said the corporation is working with residents actively to reduce incidents of pipeline vandalism in the country to the barest minimum.

“Unfortunately this incident has happened and we lost five lives and there are many people who were injured, and that is very pathetic for us.

“These activities are happening within communities. People are aware of what is happening, and if we allow them to continue doing what they are doing, they will kill all of us and everybody along this corridor will be affected,” he said.



    The Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, in the Federal Ministry of Petroleum exercises the statutory supervision and control of the oil and gas industry including the pipeline sector with legislation and guidelines on the operation and maintenance of the pipeline.

    The ICIR in a phone conversation with Wole Akinyosoye, DPR’s contact person at the Lagos zonal office sought to know why the occurrence of pipeline explosions in Lagos state could not be stopped

    “I would want to talk to you about this issue but I can’t do that on the phone if you can come over to my office then I can be able to discuss these issues with you,” he said.

    Efforts to reach Paul Osu, spokesperson of the DPR on phone also failed, as he failed to pick up. A text message sent to him was not responded to at the time of filing this report.

    Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

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