By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
Sequel to the pipeline explosion which rocked Lagos on Sunday, 15th March, 2020, an Islamic human rights organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has called on the Federal Government (FG) and the National Assembly (NASS) to find urgent solution to constant pipeline explosions in Lagos State. It will be recalled that series of explosions occurred in Abule Ado, a Lagos suburb, on Sunday killing at least 15 persons and injuring several others. About 50 buildings, including a school, were completely destroyed.
The appeal for solutions to regular pipeline explosions which have become a recurring decimal was made on Tuesday, 17th March, 2020 in a press statement issued by the director of MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
The statement reads:
“The incidence of pipeline explosions in Lagos has become perennial. Lagosians are dying daily in their hundreds from constant pipeline explosions. Properties worth billions of naira are lost to deafening explosions and uncontrollable conflagrations.
“The long history of pipeline explosions and its regimented repetition make it mandatory on both FG and the NASS to find an urgent solution to it. We call attention to the status of Lagos as Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre. This can drive away foreign investors who are already established in Lagos as well as discourage prospective foreign investors. Nobody wants to sink money in an endangered zone.
“The list of explosions and their frequency in Lagos are frightening. More than 300 people were killed in Abule Egba when a pipeline exploded during vandalisation on 26th December, 2006. A bulldozer which struck an oil pipeline caused another huge conflagration that led to about 100 deaths in Ijegun on 15th May, 2008. Fifteen houses and 20 vehicles were destroyed.
“Another oil pipeline vandalisation mishap killed several people in Abule Egba on 30th June, 2009. Baruwa area of Alimosho had its own taste of large scale death and destruction due to the same reason on 5th December, 2019. Many people were killed. Again on 19th January, 2020, five fatalities were reported and several properties destroyed when oil pipeline vandals caused another explosion in Ekoro area of Abule Egba.
“The latest explosion at Abule Ado on Sunday, 16th March 2020 in which 15 people were killed while 50 houses were destroyed is one calamity too many. This carnage must stop.
“MURIC appeals to FG to take drastic actions against pipeline vandals. We suggest the creation of an anti-vandalisation unit in any of the security agencies similar to the anti-terrorism and anti-kidnapping units already in existence.
“Our message to Lagos lawmakers in the NASS is this: How many Lagos lawmakers have deemed it fit to visit the scene of the latest fire incident? Who is going to comfort the victims? Where will they sleep? How will they feed? Kudos to Lagos State government for doling out N2 billion for immediate relief but where are the people’s representatives at the federal level?
“Why is Nero dancing while Rome is burning? Your constituency is burning while you stand akimbo. We want to hear your voices on the floors of the Red and Green chambers. You must speak up for Lagos. You are not there for yourselves but for Lagosians. Cry out loud until the mountains, the hills and the valleys echo your voices. Lagos must not burn down.
“Nobody should tell us it cannot happen. London was almost completely razed down by a fire which burned for five whole days from 2nd September to 6th September, 1666. The fire started in the King’s bakery in Pudding Lane, near London Bridge. It destroyed four-fifth of the whole city. 13,000 houses went down and King Charles II had hundreds of thousands of homeless people on his hands. This must not be allowed to happen in Lagos. It will be the worst humanitarian disaster in Africa for decades.
“We charge residents to give information about oil pipeline vandals to security operatives. Every citizen must be a self-appointed policeman because security is every man’s business. The dogma in security circles is ‘Keep quiet and lose everything, including your life’.
“We warn oil pipeline vandals against excessive drive for materialism. Greed leads to self-destruction. The Glorious Qur’an urges men to stop running after money and properties. The Qur’an asks rhetorically whether man thinks that money can make him live forever (104:1 – 3). Even the Bible advocates self-satisfaction and reliance on God: ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will wear…’ (Mathew 6:25).
“Finally, we appeal to FG for a special relief package for victims of Sunday’s disaster. The Lagos State government has graciously released N2 billion as an initial relief fund. As the father of all, Lagosians are waiting for FG’s special intervention.”