Nigerians are still in shock over the massive explosion that happened in the Abule-Ado area of Lagos metropolis and caused horrendous damage.
The incident claimed the lives of 17 people, including that of the Principal, Bethlehem Catholic School, who died while rescuing trapped students.
Director-General of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Dr. Olufemi Damilola Oke-Osanyintolu, at a media parley with journalists, disclosed that 588 people were displaced from their respective homes by the explosion. Currently 102 of the displaced persons are being accommodated at the relief camp at Igando in Ikotun-Igando Local Council Development Area, Lagos.
Oke-Osanyintolu further disclosed that 340 buildings were affected by the impact of the explosion, the boom of which was heard by people in a church in faraway Ejigbo LCDA, and it sounded like a huge rumbling thunder of the kind that you hear just before a downpour, except that on the fateful hour, the sun was shining brightly.
There are still conflicting claims as to the cause of the explosion, which has been blamed on gas cylinders. The Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers (NALPGAM) have said that their preliminary investigation revealed that liquefied petroleum gas, also known as cooking gas could not have been responsible for the explosion which happened on the fateful day.
The association stated in a report: “An LPG plant in the vicinity of the explosion as well as two LPG storage vessels with their contents in a skid plant located in a petrol filling station close to the scene of the explosion were still in intact without any signs of damage done to them. Some quantities of 50kg gas cylinders with their contents intact belonging to a nearby gas cylinder retailer were not damaged. This thus lends credence to the fact that the explosion had no direct or remote connection to LPG.”
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, claimed that the explosion was caused by a truck which hit a stack of gas cylinders located close to the corporation’s system 2B Pipeline Right of Way in the area.
In the light of conflicting claims as to the real cause of the explosion, it is imperative that the Federal Government should conduct a thorough investigation into the explosion.
It is commendable that the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Red Cross Nigeria and other humanitarian services responded quickly, to rescue victims trapped in the rubble of the collapsed buildings.
It was in the course of the rescue operations that a three-year-old baby girl, identified as Favour, was pulled out alive.
• Comrade Ekene Okonkwo and Augustine Nwaobi, Chairman and Director of Media and Publicity, Young Citizens of Nigeria (YCN ) wrote from Lagos