By Henry Umoru, Abuja
The Senate has begun a probe into the massive gas explosion occurred at Cele Bus Stop, Iju-Ishaga in Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government Area of Lagos State.
Consequently, the Senate has mandated its Senator Sabo Muhammed, APC, Jigawa South West led Committee on Petroleum Downstream and Senator James Manager, PDP, Delta South led Senate Committee on Gas Resources to carry out a holistic investigation into the remote and immediate causes of these explosions with a view to prevent reoccurrence.
The Committees were given two weeks to report back at Plenary. The Senate observed a Minute Silence in honour of innocent Nigerians that lost their lives in the unfortunate national tragedy.
The Upper Chamber also resolved to write a Condolence letter to the People and Government of Lagos State as well as direct the 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 victims.
The Senate has urged Regulatory and Licensing Authorities like the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, State Town Planning Authority, the Fire Service and the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC to review the modus operandi, safety procedures and licensing regimes of this potentially combustible business and mode of transportation of gas in Nigeria.
Resolutions of the Senate were sequel to a motion titled, ” Urgent Need to Investigate recent Gas Explosions in Lagos West Senatorial District resulting in loss of lives and massive destruction of property” and sponsored by Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, APC, Lagos West
Presenting the motion, Senator Adeola said, “The Senate: Notes that on September 24, 2020, a massive gas explosion occurred at Cele Bus Stop, Iju-Ishaga in Ifako-Ijaiye LGA, Lagos State;
Further Notes that the explosion caused serious body injuries to no fewer than 44 persons while destroying 36 buildings including a church, an event centre and a plank market as well as destroying 26 vehicles within a radius of 300 metres of the explosion;
“Regrets that the explosion believed to have been caused by the burst tyre igniting a gas leak of a stuck 30 tonne Gas Tanker attempting to extricate itself from mud totally destroyed multi-billion naira properties and businesses of many citizens.”
According to him, the Senate “Further notes that just about two weeks later on October 10, 2020, a similar gas explosion occurred at Candos Road, Baruwa, Ipaja-Ayoba, Alimosho LGA when an LPG Tanker in process of discharging gas at a gas plant exploded from sparks of a running power generator in the plant;
“Regrets that in this second tragic incidence 18 lives including a father and child were lost with scores sustaining injuries while 25 houses and 16 lock-up shops fill with good worth millions of naira were burnt;
“Aware that the Tanker Owners Association in Nigeria estimates that over 80% of all articulated vehicles as the ones involved in these incidents lack safety protocol requisite to their operations and plying of public roads;
“Further aware that there has been a recurrence of similar explosions in recent times in the same senatorial district as happened in 2016, 2018 (Abule-Egba), 2019 (Abule – Egba) 2020 (Ijegun), 2020 (Ile-Epo, Oke-Odo) and Abule Ado.”
Senator Adeola said that the Upper Chamber is “Worried that Nigerians living and conducting legitimate businesses in my densely-populated senatorial district now live in justifiable fear of not only losing their lives or those of love ones from these frequent explosive fire disasters but also their properties and investments.”
He said that the Senate “Commends officers and men of LASEMA, Lagos State and Federal Fire Services, Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps and ordinary Nigerians on their prompt roles in putting out the inferno resulting from these explosions and mitigating its spread as well as rescuing victims.”