Last Sunday was a black one for residents of Abule Egba, a suburb of Lagos in Agbado-Oke-Odo Local Council Development Area. A ravenous fire occasioned by a pipeline explosion claimed no fewer than six lives, while scores of vehicles, buildings and shops in the area were also burnt.
The explosion, which occurred at about 8.30 pm, according to residents, was triggered by vandalised pipelines belonging to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in the community.
Official figures released by the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) put death toll at five, while the number of buildings razed was put at 37. Scores of people were also wounded in the explosion,which ravaged Ekoro community, Pipeline road, Igoke Estate as well as Ahmed Sodiq and Joel Inadede streets.
The tragic death of a woman, identified simply as Hajia Ramot, and her baby gives the shivers. Eyewitnesses on Ahmed Sodiq Street said Ramot was running away from the fire that had engulfed her residence, holding her baby girl to her chest when she stumbled and fell. She was instantly consumed by the raging fire.
Oblivious of the fate that had befallen Ramot, her innocent baby, who had slipped off her arms when she fell down, crawled to a spot near a slab in front of a razed building on number 8 on the street where her mother was burning, and was also burnt to death.
Waliu Akanbi, a resident, said: “The fire had gutted the woman’s house and she was trying to run into safety when fireballs from the adjacent building at number 8 fell on her. She fell down and was burning.
“The innocent baby who had slipped off her arms walked up to her while she was burning and was also roasted. It was such a gory sight as everyone battled to save their lives. Their charred remains were evacuated this morning.”