Three persons have been confirmed dead in a pipeline explosion at Eroko road, Abule Egba area, Lagos.
The explosion, which happened on Sunday night, also left many trucks and houses burnt.
The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) said the explosion was as a result of a vandalised NNPC pipeline in Abule Egba.
Early reports indicated scores of persons were severely injured.
The specific time of the outbreak was not immediately clear, but multiple social media claims indicated it was between 10:00-11:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Sky-high flames billowed from the areas where the explosion affected, sending thousands of residents scampering for safety.
Early reports also said the fire broke out at Ile-Epo Bus Stop along Abeokuta Expressway, spreading instantly to nearby Abule Egba before another explosion was heard in Fagba and Ekoro Road — all densely populated suburbs north of Lagos but several kilometres apart.
We have not been able to independently verify the accounts, most of which came from social media users who have not yet responded to requests for additional comments Monday morning.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, which feeds the pipelines, has shut supplies to the lines as part of efforts to contain the fire. Emergency officials were also said to have been mobilised to the area to attend to victims.
Nosa Okunbor, the spokesperson for LASEMA, said “two adult males and an infant lost their lives while 11 trucks laden with 40feet containers were destroyed and seven buildings razed down by the inferno.”
“Though preliminary report on the Ilepo fire outbreak had it that it was a pipeline fire which cause could not be ascertained, however, Situational Report from further investigations later revealed that the inferno was as a result of pipeline vandalism,” he explained.
Mr Okunbor added that the swift response of fire fighters, first responders and LASEMA team led to the explosion being successfully curtailed.
“The inferno has been completely put off with details revealing that the valve where the vandalised petroleum products emanated from, had been cut off totally from source at the NNPC Station.”
The agency said the collaboration by the NNPC eased the entire recovery process in no small measure, as supply of the highly inflammable fluid was cut off at source contributed immensely to curtailing the resultant fire.
LASEMA said no injuries were recorded by the responders during the operation, while the commodities recovered have been evacuated.
A similar explosion from damaged pipelines killed over 700 people in December 2006 in Abule Egba. Another explosion occurred in December 2018 at the same neighbourhood, but with fewer casualties.