By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Musa Adamu
Forty Eight hours after the Abule-Ado disaster caused by Gas explosion in Amuwo Odofin local government area of Lagos State, the Senate Tuesday mandated its joint Committees on Petroleum (Downstream), Petroleum (Upstream) and Gas Resources to carry out thorough investigation of the remote and immediate causes of the explosion.
This is as the upper legislative chamber urges its members and federal government to contibute heavily into the N2billion emergency relief fund set up by the Lagos State Government.
It also directed that National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA and Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to immediately send relief materials to affected victims and offset medical bills of hospitalized ones.
Resolutions of the Senate to this effect, followed a motion on urgent need to investigate explosion at Abule-Ado, LGA, Lagos, resulting in loss of lives and massive destruction of property, sponsored by Senator Solomon Adeola (APC Lagos West) and two others.
Leading debate on the motion, Senator Adeola said that the explosion which occurred near the Lagos Trade Fair Complex, caused no fewer than 23 deaths including that of a family of four on their way to a church service as well as the Principal of Bethlehem Girls College, Rev. Sister Henrietta Alokha who died while rescuing her students.
The lawmaker regretted that the explosion suspected to have been caused by an articulated vehicle loaded with granites hitting filled gas cylinders or pressuring NNPC pipeline at a point near NNPC’s 2B pipeline right of way, injured hundreds of persons, totally destroyed multi-billion naira properties and businesses including 200 buildings and 2,500 vehicles within a radius of over 40 square meters of the blast in the densely populated neighborhood as well as other collateral destruction many kilometers away.
Adeola, who raised the motion via Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate’s Rule, disclosed that there have been a recurrence of similar explosions in recent times in the same area as happened in 2016, 2018 (Abule-Egba), 2019 (Abule–Egba) 2020 (Ijegun), and 2020 (Ile-Epo, Oke-Odo).
The lawmaker, who commended various government establishments and individuals on their prompt roles in putting out the inferno resulting from the explosion and mitigating its spread as well as rescuing victims, nparticularly lauded the Lagos State government for its prompt response to the national disaster, especially by the setting up of “Abule-Ado Emergency Relief Fund” worth N2 billion for the victims with initial take off of N200 million.
In her contribution, Senator Uche Ekwunife (PDP Anambra Central) said there is need to upgrade the nation’s pipelines that are now obsolete to avoid incessant explosion of pipelines.
She alleged connivers in pipeline vandalization in the country and stressed the need to employ the services of local vigilantes in guarding the pipelines from being vandalized.
On his part, Senator Sam Egwu (PDP Ebonyi North), called on state governments to demolish structures that are built on pipeline area to save Nigerians from a reoccurrence of explosion.
In his remarks, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, recalled that similar incidence occurred sometimes last year and Senate took very far reaching 17 resolutions and sent to the Office of the Secretary to Federal Government, OSGF on the November 13, 2019but regrettably, non of these resolutions have been attended to.
“I want to advise the Executive arm of government that when we take resolutions of this nature, we take them with all the seriousness they deserve. I also wish to advise that when our drivers carry loads, they should be mindful of the fact that they should not go beyond the weight of the vehicle,” he said.