Residents of Omoboriowo Street at Pipeline bus stop, Igando-Ikotun Road, Lagos; and its environs were temporarily displaced on Friday as a result of activities of suspected pipeline vandals.
Petrol gushed out from the vandalised pipeline of Atlas Cove-Mosimi System 2B Pipeline channel around 1am, flooding houses and drainage channels, forcing dwellers to flee their homes at night.
City Round learnt that the fuel spilled heavily to neighbouring areas, including Old Garage at Ikotun Junction, New Garage Ikotun Junction, Ikotun Market and Igando/Ikotun Local Council Development Area.
It took hours of combined efforts of officials of the Lagos State Fire Service, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, National Emergency Management Agency, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, among others, to restore normalcy.
Many commuters were stranded and had to resort to trekking as vehicular movement was restricted along the corridor to avoid possible fire outbreak, while residents ran to safety amid fears of an imminent explosion.
“All of us ran to Bolorunpelu (a neighbouring bus stop),” a woman, Beatrice Akinwumi, said of how she and her family members escaped. “Some people have fled to Mushin. Fuel was gushing into our compounds. It flooded all the premises. We all ran out at night.”
Another resident, who identified himself as Rafiu, said the smell of the fuel was so pungent that it almost choked his children.
He lamented that pipeline vandalism had become a recurring incident in the Igando area, urging the government to be proactive to avert tragedies.
He stated, “Everybody ran out of their room in the night. The smell of the fuel almost choked up my children. We couldn’t talk. I trekked from here to Iyana Ejigbo before I couldn’t perceive the smell again. It was God who saved us.
“It (pipeline vandalism) has been happening constantly in this community since last year. There was a time the vandals abandoned their tankers and pumping machine at a spot and ran away. One happened just last month.”
Commercial activities were also paralysed for several hours as fuel flowed into many parts of Ikotun Market.
“There is a lot of fuel inside the market. Nobody could open their shop. It has reduced a bit now (at 10am). It was really much at night. We have been in fear since 1am. We are not safe,” a trader, Afusat Babajide, said.