The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has finally issued a statement to the public, explaining the actual cause of Sunday’s catastrophic explosion in FESTAC, Lagos.
According to the statement that was signed by Dr Kennie Obateru, the Group Managing Director in charge of NNPC’s public relations, the catastrophe was caused by a gas explosion.
The NNPC also stated that preliminary investigations revealed that a truck had rammed into some cylinders that were stacked in the gas processing plant that was located close to the NNPC’s system 2B Pipeline Right of Way.
As Nairametrics had reported, the resulting explosion was so massive that at least 50 houses were destroyed. Many cars were also left damaged, even as an average of 15 people lost their lives, unfortunately.
Meanwhile, to further inspect the site of the accident as well as the extent of the damage, the NNPC’s Group Managing Director, Mallam Mele Kyari, flew into Lagos late Sunday evening, along with some other top management of the company. He later gave a situation report via his personal Twitter account. He said:
“Departing explosion site. Explosions caused by spark that ignited fire from extensively charged atmosphere that emanated from gas cylinder leakages. NNPC pipeline also impacted and ignited. Fire being contained by combined efforts of NNPC, LASG NN and FFS.
“Lagos explosion update: NNPC pipeline right of way (ROW) encroachment by gas handling vendors and construction of houses enabled the explosion and aggravated the impact. Working with LASG and security agencies to clear the ROW.”
These explanations by the NNPC and its GMD have confirmed initial reports that linked the deadly explosion to gas leakage. A video on Twitter even shows how gas kept leaking and infiltrating the air around the Abule Ado area, long before the blast.
Following the explosion, the NNPC said it had quickly stopped pumping operations in its Atlas Cove-Mosimi pipeline which runs through the affected Abule Ado area. The company also said that it mobilised some of the key staff from its Satellite Depot (including health safety experts, medical personnel, and security personnel) to assist with relief efforts.
The temporary shutdown of the NNPC’s Atlas Cove-Mosimi pipeline will not affect the supply of petroleum products to Lagos and its environs, the statement from the company assured.
The statement also appealed for calm, whilst commiserating with the victims and their families.