A breached pipeline spill that resulted into an explosion in Alimosho area of Lagos State on Thursday has left a man having a spiritual bath at a river into which the pipeline passed through dead.
The deceased who had gone to the river for a spiritual bath was unlucky while the second victim, a prophet, who reportedly took charge of the bath, was in very critical condition.
According to the locals, they were burnt at the Abegunri River through which petroleum pipelines passed with the fire affecting at least four other locations within the swamp.
It was reported that the victims were warned to leave the place, the warning which they ignored.
Speaking on the incident, a source revealed that vandals had breached a pipeline, causing a spillage in the river.
“A man who drove a jeep and parked at Two Story with a White Garment Prophet came early morning to bathe. They brought sacrifices of fruits and about four white chickens. We advised them not to enter the water and showed them the fuel but the men insisted that it was the last day of the prayer and the bath must be done. They entered the water and the prophet tried to light a candle as part of their sacrifice. Fire started. That was how they got burnt,” a resident said.
The residents who decried frequent vandals’ activities on the pipelines, claimed that the criminals usually came up to four times a week with tankers. According to them, the vandals were usually escorted by armed security agents.
Speaking on the incident, the Director-General, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) Dr Femi Oke-Osayintolu said the situation had been brought under control.
While stating that the fire has been localised, he revealed that a holistic investigation would be conducted on the issue.
According to Oke-Osayintolu, the prophet who sustained over 70-degree burns was rushed to the Alimosho General Hospital, where he was being treated.
Also speaking on his visit to the site, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) in charge of Operations Mohammed Ali appealed to residents to always volunteer information on criminals’ activities.
“Before this happened, one or two residents must have noticed activities of the vandals but they never volunteered such information. It was when this happened that our people got information and then rushed here to tackle it.
“Moving forward, we should work together rather than shifting blames. We have given out our telephone numbers, the control numbers are there as well. People should reach us and they should rest assured we will be there for them.
“This incident is quite unfortunate. Under normal circumstances, when someone is being warned of inherent danger, he or she is expected to give peace a chance. I was made to understand they were warned before they came here for their spiritual bath. NNPC officials warned them, police officers and other people around that petrol were spilling through the water to this end, and they saw it.
“One of them said on Thursday was their last day for the spiritual bath, and there was no going back. That simply means he saw danger and decided to dip his hands into it. They paid with their lives. We all know petrol is highly inflammable and with just a strike of a match, everywhere would be engulfed by fire.
“There should be no hiding place for anyone either conspiring or enabling this crime. We want to know those behind it. If there is any policeman they know who is in the business, they should tell us. If they don’t feel safe providing information to the local police, they should contact the command headquarters, and we assure that they will be treated with the utmost confidentiality. “