Abule-Egba in danger…!
• Residents live on petrol-contaminated water
• Fuel sold from overhead tanks
The disaster of December 26, 2006 explosion that killed over 700 people appears to be fading into distant memories among residents of Abule Egba area of Lagos State.
But for the few who still feel traumatised by the gory scenes of the tragedy, they have raised the alarm over indiscriminate spillage of fuel from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipelines that run through the community.
The NNPC System 2B pipe that runs from Atlas Cove to Ejigbo depot and onward to Mosinmi depot in Ogun State is laid through the area claiming a Right of Way (RoW) on Segun Akinola Street through Baale Bakare Way in Awori bus stop, Abule Egba.
Community leaders are pointing accusing fingers at the landlord of a one-storey building on Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway and his sister, who have found solace in making illicit brisk business from the large deposit of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) in his well.
While many of the residents have their wells contaminated by oil spillage, there seems to be an unusual deposit of petrol in the identified building or an outright vandalisation of the pipelines to scoop fuel.
During the day, there is nothing that suggest any untoward activities in the area until at night when under the cover of darkness, petrol is scooped into jerry cans of various sizes and loaded into vehicles to unknown destination.
Fuel is also sold lesser than the official rate of N145 per litre to residents of the area based on the buyer’s bargaining power.
The Guardian gathered that the ‘oil’ well, which was initially operated manually has been properly equipped with a more advanced technology to scoop fuel and it is always under lock and key to deny other tenants of the building of the ‘magic fuel’.
It was discovered that almost all the houses in that axis, including Oribamiwaola Mosque, GTBank, Wema Bank, and a Celestial Church of Christ parish have their water highly contaminated with fuel. In fact, workers at the banks, the Muslim faithful and their Christian counterparts are now wary of using the water from the wells, as they now resort to depending on sachet water for survival.
A resident, Ajayi Olatomi, told The Guardian that “all public water dealers are selling contaminated water except for one dealer called ‘Wonders Shall Never End’. That is where everybody that cares for clean water buys from. The irony is that the place is situated close to the right of way.”
Olatomi said the situation is worrisome because everybody in the area is now in a tensed mood with fears that another round of explosion could rock the place if action is not taken to fix the burst pipe and oil spillage.
“We have cried out to many government officials, including the NNPC, Nigerian police and the Nigeria Civil Defence Corps, but there has been no meaningful action taken to repair the damage till date,” he said.
When contacted, the spokesperson of the Pipelines Products Marketing Company (PPMC), Israel Edjerin, promised to mobilise its response team to take proper action on the matter, though nothing has been done as at press time.
Due to the construction works on the new bridge to be situated at Abule Egba junction, the right of way has been converted to a temporary alternative route to ease traffic on the axis.