NIGERIA: Panic as people continue scooping fuel from a vandalized pipeline in Lagos

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According to reports, residents of Fagbile Estate, Isheri Ijegun Road, a suburb of Lagos, have fled their homes as a result of a broken petroleum pipeline which spilt its content in the area.

One of the residents told newsmen, on condition of anonymity, on Thursday in Lagos that she was woken up by the smell of fuel from the broken pipeline.

According to her, she saw some people carrying fuel in different kegs at about 6.00 am when she woke up to prepare food in her shop.

“At about 6.00 a.m, when I came out to prepare food, I saw the movement of people from the direction of the broken pipeline carrying kegs and buckets of fuel.

“I became afraid that if the pipe is not repaired, a repeat of the Ijegun fire might occur,” the women said.

As at the time of filing this report, movement of commercial motorcycle operators, popularly known as Okada, had been restricted around the area to prevent fire outbreak.

Newmen gathered that the pipeline was allegedly broken by vandals in the early hours of Thursday, and the residents are urging concerned authorities to urgently intervene.

Dr Ibe Kachikwu, Nigeria’s minister of Petroleum Resources, in 2017 revealed how Nigeria can put an end to pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta region. The Minister who made his mind known during a town hall meeting in Akwa Ibom said the militants must be given an enabling environment in their region that will empower them.

News men reported that the group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), explained that with the high level of vandalism by the Nigerian Delta Avengers, the infrastructure in the oil sector will not get back to work until after about 15 to 20 years.

“Modular refineries are going to be the answer to our problems in the future. We talk about the militants and their agitations; the reality is that until we begin to put things in place that would have these so-called ‘militants’ find opportunities in the sector, the destruction is going to continue.

“I have appealed to those who are breaking oil pipelines for now, the Niger Delta Avengers and everybody else, and as you know, we are engaging in negotiations for us to find peace this week and be able to enter a truce that stops all the destruction,” Kachikwu was quoted to have said.