Enforcement of periodic integrity checks, effective surveillance, prompt response mechanisms, community participation in decisions bothering on security and safety of pipelines, eradication of poverty through the protection of local livelihoods are immediate measures government must implement to contain incessant pipeline explosions and the attendant massive loss of human lives and property, the Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth, Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), has said.

The environmental rights group in a statement issued in Lagos yesterday described last weekend's pipeline explosion in Ilado village near Lagos as a tragic loss of human lives and a shame on the government for its failure to put in place measures to end pipeline-related accidents.

Apart from actions to forestall future pipeline explosions, government, ERA added, should mandate corporations to restore all sites of pipeline spills and explosions across the country to their natural states, pointing out that pipeline spills have become a major environmental problem in the nation.

An explosion had occurred at about 3:00 a.m. on the 12th of May at the site of a spill from a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipeline that transports refined products from the corporation's Atlas Cove depot to another depot in Mosinmi, Ogun State, killing over 300 locals who had stormed the spill site to scoop free fuel.

"The spill explosion in Ilado is a big shame on this country; it is simply telling the world that Nigeria is doing nothing about pipeline safety. Eight years after Jesse, the world media feasted on pictures of charred bodies of hundreds of Nigerians who are victims of poverty, victims of government and corporate negligence. It is a shame," says ERA Executive Director, Nnimmo Bassey.

"Blaming vandals in every pipeline spill case begs the real issue, it is escapist. Some of these pipelines are not buried, some of them are old, they are mostly poorly maintained. Just few weeks ago, it took civil action by local communities of Oke Odo, another Lagos suburb, to force NNPC to clamp a spill and safe the lives of over a thousand people who would have been similarly roasted in fire. Today, the pipelines in Oke odo are still not buried. They are there on the streets and motorists drive over them without knowing they are petrol pipelines."

ERA said its officials that visited the Ilado explosion site and surrounding villages gathered that the spill that led to the inferno occurred several months back and that if there was no connivance between NNPC officials and the security agents patrolling the area, the Ilado tragedy would have been averted.

Nnimmo further lamented that "Oil spill has become a great environmental tragedy in Nigeria, polluting streams, farmlands, the air and destroying lives. Most of the spills sites have become wastelands. They are never restored.

"we strongly believe that it is time that corporations are compelled to restore all the spill sites across the country so as to ensure that local economies like farming and fishing become profitable again for the impoverished communities that this pipelines traverse", he added.

Green Hotlines
Green Hotlines
Is there a spill, pipeline rupture, fire, gas flare, water, land or air pollution in your community or one you know about? Do you need assistance to respond, and prevent future occurrences or have you noticed any activity that threatens the environment?

In the event of any ecological disaster or threat to the environment, call our toll-free GREEN LINES:  08031230088 & 08031230089