UNCOVER! How Security Officers 'Collude' With Vandals Who Caused Fire in Abule-Egba, Lagos

Respite has yet to come for residents of Abule Egba, Lagos, three days after
the inferno that ravaged shops and vehicles in the area.

On Wednesday, while other residents of the state were lost in dreamland, residents of the area were jolted out of their sleep around 2am by a massive pipeline fire that engulfed the neighbourhood.

Though no life was lost in the inferno, about 11 streets, including Awolowo, Shobowale, Iyalode, Taiwo Adewole, Adepegba, Wamon Taofeek, Santo and Adewole, tucked in the Ojokoro Local Council Development Area, were affected by the inferno, which left sorrow and tears in its wake.

Also, no fewer than 63 vehicles, 98 shops, a church, houses, petrol stations and others, spreading across the affected streets, were razed in the pipeline fire, which residents continued to bemoan.

The inferno was reportedly triggered by an explosion arising from oil theft by a syndicate that had surreptitiously been scooping and selling petrol from some of the breached pipeline dotting parts of the community.

It was learnt that the Wednesday incident occurred when a spillage from their fuel tanker stationed at Arowolo used in siphoning fuel from a vandalised pipeline spewed fuel that meandered through drainage channels to the abattoir area in the community.

The Punch gathered that the suspected oil thieves did not close the pipe after scooping fuel and the product flowed unhindered.

When the product flowed to the abattoir, some butchers, who were roasting cow skin, were unaware that there was fuel in the gutter and the fuel hugged the fire resulting in an inferno.

Traders and others in the market, worried by the incident, traced the source of the inferno to a breached NNPC pipeline at Arowolo.

This was not the first of such incident in the area however. In 2006, over 200 persons were roasted in a pipeline explosion in the Abule Egba area.

A source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of fear that those behind the dastardly act might identify him, said the illegal fuel scooping was carried out by some people in the community.

He alleged that the hoodlums were not alone in the illicit act, accusing some security operatives of conniving with them.

He claimed that a particular tanker used to siphon fuel from the vandalised pipelines was parked on Arowolo Street for a long time but the security operatives on surveillance in the area pretended not to notice it.

The source said, “The incident did not come to many residents as a surprise. Many persons are aware that they scoop fuel from the pipelines in the area but many residents were afraid to report it.

“The residents’ fears were compounded by the fact that security personnel usually pretend as if they do not see a fuel tanker having an exit door parked in the area. For the hoodlums to have such audacity to engage in illegal act unchallenged speaks volumes of the complicity of regulators and law enforcers. 
The area has been barricaded, yet no presence of security personnel to ensure enforcement.”


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