Three hundred victims of Agbado/Oke-Odo pipeline explosion, on Thursday, commended the efforts of the Lagos State Government at the Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDP) Camp in Igando and solicited help from other Nigerians.
Some of the victims spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
One of the victims, Mr Olalekan Fadairo, a former member of staff of the defunct Nigeria Airways, said he lost his building at No 20, Karimu Agbado-Oke Odo as a result of the pipeline explosion.
He commended the love and care given to all the victims by the state government and staff of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) since Jan. 22 when they were brought to the IDPs camp.
“Some LASEMA staff who were deployed to the camp were very hospitable. They always played with us and usually fulfilled all our needs and want on daily basis.
“Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu came with the Deputy Governor and Director-General of LASEMA on Saturday and promised to solicit support for us from other agencies like the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
“The explosion that happened due to pipeline vandalism brought us to the camp in Igando since Jan 22.
“When I came back from the Church on Sunday evening, my wife called me while I was bathing that she was perceiving gas all over the house and immediately I came out of the house, the whole environment had been polluted.
“We were breathing gas and while we were meditating outside, the leaking petrol came with fire and burnt our house including other people’s buildings in the area,” Fadairo said.
Another Victim, Mrs Calista Chukwu, said that after the explosion, she thought all hope was lost but she thanked God for the support the state government had been rendering to them.
“We rented a room apartment at No 34 Pipeline Oke-Odo. The explosion burnt my husband’s car and the whole building.
“My husband who is a stroke patient fainted in the process of getting him out of the building but we thank God for the support of the Lagos Health Care who revived him and now his blood pressure had come down drastically.
“I love this environment if only the Lagos State Government can allow us to be retained in this place. We are eating nourishing food three times daily,” Chukwu said.
She urged the state government to concrete the pipeline to avoid constant vandalism, saying that they hardly slept in the environment due to bunkering activities of tankers at all times.
Mrs Helen Oseni, a resident of No 45 Pipeline Oke-Odo, urged government to assist those displaced in building houses so that her children and her step children would not turn to miscreants.
Oseni said that she came back from the market and saw the house burning, saying that she just carried her grandchild and escaped.
“I just collected N100,000 from a micro finance bank to buy and supply planks for export. The money and all our property burnt to ashes.
“We inherited the building from my late husband but now the building was burnt totally. Two of those mechanics that worked in front of our building also died in the explosion.
“We are pleading with the Federal Government to support Lagos State Government to assist us meaningfully,” Oseni said.
Another victim, Mr Adebowale Odugbesan, who resides at No 4, Joel Nnadede Estate, Pipeline Oke-Odo, pleaded that the government should assist them with some money to build new houses.
Odugbesan noted that his family was rendered homeless due to the explosion.
Odugbesan, who supplied stationery to schools lived at No 2, Joel Nnadede St. Igboke Estate.
He said that he went to church at Lagos Island with his family and before getting home he received a call that his house had got burnt.
He commended the efforts of the Lagos State Government in providing temporary shelter for him and his family and providing food as well as some token to visit their relations while in camp.
Another victim, Mrs Taiwo Odugbesan, said she was living with her brother with her three children. selling foodstuffs and provisions in front of the house.
“I just stocked my shop for the new year and all the whole building including my shop got burnt.
“The dress I am putting on now was given to me by LASEMA officials and they also provided school bus for our children to take and return them to the camp daily.
“We are well taken care of by LASEMA and Lagos State Government brought foods, live cow, fish, vegetables, eggs, yams and other things and we always cook bu ourselves according to the time table,” Odugbesan said.
In his response, the Director-General, LASEMA, Dr Oke-Osanyintolu, said government opened the Igando IDPs Camp at 6 a.m. and closed it by 11 p.m.
Oke-Osanyintolu said that they allowed the victims to go for their businesses and provided hybrid feeding by allowing the camp occupants to cook for themselves, saying that the agency only provided them with equipment and foods.
“We have nutritionists to ensure that what we give are adequate.
“The Ministry of Health has conducted the nutritional status of children in the IDPs camp so that we will be able to plan their feeding according to their nutritional status.
“We established three committees, such as Elders Committee who work with the Camp Commandant to ensure the day-to-day running of the IDPs camp.
“We have Feeding Committee that takes care of the feeding and also a Disciplinary Committee to ensure that occupants of the IDPs camp keep to the rules and regulations inside camp,” he said.
According to him, all the ministries in Lagos State are involved and coming to play their roles and responsibilities as directed by our Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
“The Ministry of Women Development is coming to the IDPs camp to empower the women through skills acquisition and women are also coming to take care of children’s education at the camp.
“Gov. Sanwo-Olu has put a lot of things in place to ensure that these IDPs are okay and to ensure that their traumas are removed before living the IDPs camp after three months,” Oke-Osanyintolu said.
He said that before government returned the victims back to their communities, it would empower them through skills acquisition and also rent apartments for others.
Oke-Osanyintolu said that the governor had appealed to Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and other organisations to come to the aid of the 300 victims and ameliorate their suffering to make them go back to the society soonest.
The director-general, however, said that in line with Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s agenda of Greater Lagos, the government would play its part, urging the citizens to do their own part.