THE Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), Nigeria’s environment advocacy group says reason given by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as the cause of the Abule Ado blast investigated by BBC Africa Eye was questionable.
The group stated that the increased spate of pipeline breaches and gas explosions across the country, including the gas explosion in Iju-Ishaga on September 24, called for the introduction of adequate and stringent regulations on the storage of petroleum products in the country.
Philip Jakpor, CAPPA, Director of Programmes, in a statement, said the NNPC claimed that the explosion was caused by a truck that hit an assemblage of gas cylinders near one of its petroleum pipelines was contradicted by the BBC Africa Eye investigation.
Jakpor noted that based on forensic investigations and the analysis of specialists, the gas cylinders found at the site had nothing to do with the incident.
Akinbode Oluwafemi, CAPPA Executive Director, said the investigation exposed the crime of negligence by the NNPC which made them culpable in the death of affected Nigerians.
“BBC Africa Eye has exposed a case of criminal negligence against NNPC officials who allowed a truck to be on the pipeline possibly for several days. What happened to those billions NNPC budget for pipeline surveillance every year?” Oluwafemi said.
Reinforcing the need to hold the NNPC accountable for the Abule Ado incident, he insisted that NNPC needs to tell the truth.
“Nigerians are entitled to the truth, they deserve to know and see justice done in cases like this. That was why we called for the forensic investigation of the blast when it happened. The BBC has graciously conducted that investigation the government refused to do. Nigerians are, however, waiting for the government to act on these startling revelations.
“Those who caused such manner of deaths and destruction as a result of their negligence must be prosecuted. Nigerians must know the owner of the truck that caused the incident and what the truck was doing atop a gas-conveying pipeline owned by the NNPC,” he said.
While commending Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor of Lagos State, and his administration for setting up a N2 billion relief fund for victims of the blast, the CAPPA boss urged the state government to operate the scheme more transparently so that Nigerians can easily verify those contributing to the fund, and the beneficiaries.
Among the casualties in the Abule Ado, blast includes Reverend Sister Henrietta Alokha the Principal of Bethlehem High School, and a newly wedded couple and their unborn baby which claimed a total of 23 lives.
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