The explosion in Abule-Ado, a suburb of Lagos, was caused by too much pressure on pipeline, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said on Monday.
NEMA Southwest Coordinator Ibrahim Farinloye told reporters that the explosions had nothing to do with bomb blast or Improvised Explosives Devices (IED). Preliminary security analysis, he said, shows that eight-tonne truck laden with core stone, which was parked on the pipeline, exerted too much pressure on it.
According to Farinloye, the truck stayed on the pipeline overnight and exerted too much pressure on the pipeline.
The NEMA boss explained that fuel that escaped the pipeline saturated the atmosphere, formed a whitish substance and exploded.
Commissioner of Police (CP) in charge of the Explosives Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Maikudi Shehu told our correspondent that there was no IED at the scene, adding that his men were still conducting investigations from samples collected.
“I can tell you that there was no IED there. The blast was not caused by IED. I am still expecting the report of findings from my officers to know exactly what happened,” he said.
Residents claimed the truck, which was moving into the street to a construction site, got stuck on the pipeline overnight and exerted its weight there.
“The truck stayed there for so long and with its weight on the pipeline, the fuel in the pipe which is about eight-foot deep was trying to force its way out. That was how a smoke-like substance started forming from under the truck and soon developed into a cloud that covered the entire area and then the blast,” said a man who claimed to be an engineer.
Some residents were moving into nearby houses of their friends while businesses resumed inside the International Trade Fair market.
More residents count losses
Forty-six-year-old Shedrack Okoyeze whose house was affected lamented that the disaster also affected his brother’s.
“My house has been destroyed and my brother’s house was also affected, his wife, who is not in Nigeria, has been calling to know his whereabouts. Later, I received a call from Navy Town Hospital and I told them to be taking care of him. I was told that they are demanding N45,000 and I told my friend to pay so that treatment could commence. At the moment, I have not seen my friend, Chucks.
“When I got to Navy Town, I was told that his situation has gone critical and they need to take him to LUTH and that they don’t have enough bed space in the hospital. All his head has been bandaged.
“My brother told me to come to his house to search for money. I have been searching the rubble to get money for his recovery in the hospital. I cannot even start scattering here.”
A trader, Uche Ugboaja, said: “It is only God that can compensate us, we do not know what could have happened if we were around. We were in church when this incident happened and we thank God our lives were secured.
“I cannot give an estimate of what I have lost, it is a tremendous loss. We are still gathering our things. I do not know it is only God that will decide. We are looking up to God for onward direction. We started parking this morning because we could not get here yesterday because of the crowd and the fire that was still burning.
“The explosion happened directly opposite our house so we could not get into the compound. We lost three lives here. A man, wife and a relative were the victims. We are appealing to the government to come to our aid.”
More relatives searching for their loved ones visited hospitals and the scene to identity bodies.
While some wailed uncontrollably, others were seen consoling them as emergency workers battled to control the crowd for the second day.
Udeze Lillianzita, who worked with the Bethlehem School, said she had already left for church when she got a distress call. She said: “I wouldn’t have survived the incident if I had not left for church. I am unhappy that some of my colleagues were lost to the incident. I was with Irene and others before I left for the church; unfortunately, I didn’t meet them alive.”
Haruna Kani said he lost his sibling, Ali Kani, 50, a guard at the college to the disaster. He said his brother worked there for about 20 years and was trapped while on duty.
Another man identified simply as Adams said he lost his younger sister, Irene Uwakwu, a cook at the college. He said her body was among those recovered yesterday.
As at 7:12 pm, over 148 persons of the affected population have registered at the information desk opened at the scene.