Many of the vandals who died at the scene of Saturday’s pipeline explosion at Arepo, Ogun State, were evacuated by colleagues immediately after the incident, a source has said.
The source, who asked not to be named for security reasons, said pipeline vandals usually do not leave the bodies of their dead colleagues at the scene.
The source said, “Six canoes were found at the scene. They must have brought people there. Whenever a pipeline explosion occurs, the mode of operation is always to get the casualty out of the scene as soon as possible.
“The three bodies found probably sank at the time, which was why their colleagues could not recover them and evacuate them immediately. The number of those who died in the explosion could be very high.”
PUNCH Metro learnt on Monday that the bodies of the dead vandals found floating in the creeks were retrieved and taken for burial in Majidu, Ikorodu Road, by emergency officials late on Sunday.
Spokesperson for the National Emergency Management Agency, Ibrahim Farinloye, also said the fire had been put out on Sunday evening.
He explained that the damaged pipeline had been repaired while the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had even resumed pumping of petrol through it.
Farinloye explained that there was a pipeline explosion at Ije-Dodo, Ojo Local Government Area, on Monday, the same spot where a huge explosion had occurred on December 18, 2012.
“The pipeline was vandalised at two points. The people of 7th Avenue would have been in serious danger if the fuel coming out resulted in a fire outbreak,” he said.
He, however, explained that the vandalised pipeline was being repaired.
On Monday, emergency workers had done their works at the damaged pipeline at Arepo while NNPC officials had finished their repairs. All that remained at the scene were security agents stationed on the way to the creeks.
Although there were unconfirmed reports that vandals who died at the scene numbered about 30, only three bodies were found at the scene on Sunday.
Meanwhile, hoodlums have vandalised another pipeline belonging to the NNPC in Epe area of Lagos State.
The hoodlums were said to have ruptured the pipeline and scooped some petrol before fleeing.
The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps however recovered 111 kegs of petrol which were left behind by the vandals.
The commandant, NSCDC, Lagos State Command, Shem Obafaiye, said the petrol was recovered on Sunday night. He said NSCDC operatives were able to discover the goods through surveillance in the area
He said, “We got information and I mobilised our men to come on duty and when they came last night they called me that the vandals ran away when they saw them coming. However, they were able to recover 111 jerrycans of petrol.”
Obafaiye said it had become necessary for security to be beefed up around oil pipelines and urged members of the public to continue to report cases of pipeline vandalism in their area to the appropriate authorities.
“There is something called community policing and we have to go back to it. It will involve baales, chiefs and leaders of the community. They will be charged with the responsibility of overseeing every activity going on these pipelines,” he said.
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