By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The Senate yesterday mandated its committees on Petroleum Downstream, Gas Resources and Petroleum Upstream to investigate the remote and immediate causes of the explosion that took place in Lagos, urging lawmakers to donate to the N2 billion Abule-Ado Emergency Relief Fund.
The Senate mandated the committee to bring out suggestions to prevent reoccurrence and report back to the chamber in two weeks.
The Senate also urged the federal government and members of the National Assembly to donate to the N2 billion “Abule-Ado Emergency Relief Fund,” and directed that National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development should immediately send relief materials to affected victims and offset medical bills of hospitalised victims.
The resolutions of the Senate followed a motion on urgent need to investigate explosion at Abule-Ado, Amuwo Odofin LGA of Lagos State, resulting in loss of lives and massive destruction of property, sponsored by Senator Solomon Adeola and two others.
Leading debate on the motion, Senator Adeola said that the explosion which occurred near the Lagos Trade Fair Complex, caused no fewer than 23 deaths including that of a family of four on their way to a church service as well as the death of the school principal of Bethlehem Girls College, Rev. Sister Henrietta Alokha who died while rescuing her students.
The lawmaker regretted that the explosion totally destroyed multi-billion naira properties and businesses including 200 buildings and 2,500 vehicles within a radius of over 40 square meters of the blast in the densely populated neighbourhood as well as other collateral destruction many kilometers away.
Adeola disclosed that there have been similar explosions in recent times in the same area as happened in 2016, 2018 (Abule-Egba), 2019 (Abule– Egba) 2020 (Ijegun), and 2020 (Ile-Epo, Oke-Odo).
He expressed concern that Nigerians living around this axis or going about their legitimate endeavours 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.
The lawmaker commended officers and men of NEMA, LASEMA, Lagos State and Federal Fire Services, Nigerian Navy and Air Force, other security agencies, NNPC and ordinary Nigerians on their prompt roles in putting out the inferno resulting from the explosion and mitigating its spread as well as rescuing victims.
He further commended the Lagos State government for its prompt response to the national disaster particularly the setting up of the “Abule-Ado Emergency Relief Fund” worth N2 billion for the victims with initial take off of N200 million.
In her contribution, Senator Uche Ekwunife (Anambra Central) said there is need to upgrade the nation’s pipelines that are now obsolete to avoid incessant explosion of pipelines.
She said that there is connivance in the pipeline vandalism, stressing the need to employ the services of local vigilantes in guarding the pipelines from being vandalised.
Senator Sam Egwu (Ebonyi North), on his part, called on state governments to demolish structures that are built on pipeline area to save Nigerians from similar explosions.
Senators James Manager (Delta south), George Thompson Sekibo (Rivers East) and many others supported the motion, noting that stringent measures should be taken to guard against a reoccurrence in the near future.
In his remarks, the president of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, recalled that similar incidence occurred sometimes last year and Senate took very far reaching resolutions totally about 17 and sent to the office of the Secretary to Federal Government (SGF) on the 13th of November, but regrettably, non of these resolutions have been attended to.
“I want to advise the executive arm of government that when we take resolutions of this nature, we take them with all the seriousness they deserve. I also wish to advise that when our drivers carry loads, they should be mindful of the fact that they should not go beyond the weight of the vehicle,” he said.