On March 16th, 2020, an explosion dangerous enough to cause the loss of several lives and valuable property occurred in Abule Ado, FESTAC town. Lagos.
Seeing as 2020 has had an unfair share of tragedies, from the Coronavirus, to the market fires, to inter-ethnic violence, yet another incident of the mass loss of lives and property is a reality anyone would have swapped at any cost possible.
Which is why everyone should be especially angry at the FESTAC pipeline explosion. Because while the exact number of victims is up for debate, whether a sand tipper which caught fire and spread to a neighbouring pipeline or simply pipeline vandals are to blame — what is 100% excused from negotiation is that this disaster, and the severity of its casualties could have easily been avoided.
As proof, here are the reasons why the FESTAC fire explosion should never have happened:
Lagos has had one too many pipeline explosions for adequate safety measures around pipelines to remain unavailable.
Abule Egba in 2020, 2019, 2018, a largely residential area in Lagos has repeatedly suffered through instances of pipeline explosions with several lives and property lost. For the fact that said areas haven’t been vacated, with the residents relocated to safer areas by the government, is very telling of the government’s interest in people’s lives. It is why the FESTAC pipeline explosion will not be the last incident of this nature Lagos faces.
Beyond being a residential area, the government approved the construction of a secondary school in an area teeming with explosives.
I guess the government is only concerned with unapproved residential areas when the residents are despondent and sitting on prime real estate.
The fact that this happened and emergency response crews weren’t immediately deployed to the area.
Emergency evacuation in the hours preceding the FESTAC explosion would have saved countless lives.
If that isn’t enough to get you riled up, check out the government’s routine response to needless loss – a tweet.
Statements and more statements. No word on when they will be accompanied by decisive action.
But most heartbreaking, is how nameless and faceless the victims of the FESTAC pipeline explosion will remain.
Our thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences go to the families of the deceased, noting Rev. Sr Henrietta Alokha, who bravely lost her life while rescuing students of Bethlehem Girls College. The many still injured and the countless others stuck, trying to find a means to recover from the devastation of the pipeline explosion.