Pipeline vandalism sparks explosion in Ibadan

Security agents tried to douse the impact of the explosion.

A heavy explosion rocked the Alapata community of Ido Local Government area in Oyo state late Saturday after vandals stormed the community to scoop petroleum products from the pipeline that passes through the community, located along Apete-Akufo road in Ibadan.

Though no life was lost to the incident, farmlands were severely destroyed.

Men of the anti-vandalisation squad of the Civil Defence Corps, the Police, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and State Security Service were seen at the scene struggling to douse the impact of the explosion.

As at the time of filing the report, the valve pit was still burning while thick smoke covered the air.

Residents said there was a heavy bang which forced them to scamper for safety when the explosion occurred on Saturday.

A farmer within the neighbourhood, Fatai Ayilara, told journalists that he had noticed some strange movement within the area since Wednesday, adding that he had to bring the development to the notice of security operatives.

“About eight of them (security men) came around and we went round together. On Friday when I closed from work, I observed that they have tampered with the Valve Pit. I went round and realized the padlock was intact. There was no damage to the iron there too. I also thought that the foot prints I saw along the bush path were those of security operatives.

“Then on Saturday morning around 10am I observed massive noise from the pit hole. I went to inform some members of the community to call the attention of security to it,” he narrated.

Mr. Ayilara said before they could return to the scene, vandals had outsmarted them.

“Fuel had already started gushing out and swimming into farmlands, stream and adjourning areas. We informed security and I left. I was later informed that the place caught fire,” he said.

The farmer said the community is in dire need of a proper bridge to connect them to the city, arguing that if there was traffic around the area, vandals would not have the chance to operate.

The Chairman of the Ido Local Government Area, Adeniyi Olowofela also challenged the NNPC to use available safety funds to fund a joint security patrol of pipeline in the local government.

Mr. Olowofela, a professor, while speaking with newsmen at the scene of the explosion, alleged involvement of an insider in the act.

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