Another pipeline explosion rocks Oyo community

By The Citizen

For the second time in two weeks, activities of pipeline vandals on Saturday night led to heavy explosion at Alapata community area in Ido Local Council of Oyo State. The community is located along Apete-Akufo road.

The National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA), according to its zonal spokesman, Alhaji Ibrahim Farinloye urged the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to shut down supplies so as to curb the intensity of the fire.

About a fortnight ago, activities of vandals who operated at Elebu community of Apata had led to similar explosion.

Though no life was lost in the explosion, various farmlands were however destroyed while men of the anti-vandalisation squad of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Police, NNPC team and SSS were seen ensuring security at the scene

The heavy bang, which resulted in pandemonium, was caused by the activities of vandals whose activities forced petroleum product out of the valve pit swimming into the stream and spreading into adjourning areas.

The scooping hose of vandalised pipe, which was found burnt at the valve pit, was reported to have been passed into a location where vandals' conveying truck was located.

A farmer, Alhaji Fatai Ayilara told reporters that the security operatives had been put on notice when some strange movement was noticed around the pit last Wednesday.

'We suspected some strange movement around this area since Wednesday and we informed the security. About eight of them came around and we went round together. On Friday when I closed from work, I observed that they had tampered with the valve pit. I went round and realised the padlock was intact. There was no damage to the iron there too. I also thought the footprints I saw along the bush path were that of security. Then on Saturday morning, I observed massive noise from the pit hole. I went to inform some members of the community to call the attention of security to it.   However, before we got back, fuel had already started gushing out and swimming into farmlands, stream and adjourning areas. We informed security and I left. I was later informed that the place caught fire. You can see the burnt hose they used by the pit. We need a bridge here. If there is a road constructed here because this road is linked to Apata area, people will ply the route and it will reduce the activities of vandals.'

The Chairman of Ido Local Council, Prof. Adeniyi Olowofela, called on the NNPC to use available safety fund to fund a joint security patrol of pipeline in the local government

Olowofela, who spoke with reporters at the scene of the explosion, fingered an insider among the vandals.

He then charged the National Assembly to set aside special fund for communities where pipeline vandalisation takes place as reparation for ecological destruction.

'You must note that those doing this must have sound insider knowledge of how to do the job. I told the management of NNPC that we needed to look for a way of jointly funding a patrol team of NNPC pipelines in the local government so that we will not be just an undertaker when they have wrecked havoc. It will be a joint effort between the community, NNPC and the council.'