The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) says 15 corpses, including a family of four, have been recovered from the scene of Sunday morning explosion which occurred at Abule Ado, Trade Fair axis of Lagos state.
No fewer than 60 students of Bethlehem Girls College located within the area who sustained varying degrees of injuries in the incident were also taken to the Nigerian Navy Hospital in Ojo Cantonment.
Mr Ibrahim Farinloye, Acting Coordinator of NEMA in Lagos, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the couple and their two sons were caught by the explosion on their way to church around about 9:00a.m. on Sunday.
Farinloye said over 50 buildings, including Bethlehem Girls College and a popular hotel, were damaged in the explosion.
He said: “The resulting fire later spread to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) oil pipeline passing through the area even though the pipeline has been shutdown as a precautionary measure.
“The fire was eventually extinguished about 3.30p.m. through the combined efforts of officials of the Lagos State Fire Service, Federal Fire Service and Nigerian Navy Fire Tender.”
Also, Rear Admiral Oladele Daji, Staff Officer, Western Naval Command, told newsmen that the students were stabilised at the Navy Hospital, adding that those who have fully recovered would be discharged soon.
Daji said although the cause of the incident was still unknown, some residents of the area told security operatives that there was a large number of industrial gas cylinders close to where the explosion occurred.
He said the Nigerian Navy in collaboration with other security agencies had began clearing the pipeline right of way across Lagos State, adding that the government should revoke the Certificate of Occupancy of houses sited very close to pipelines.
On his part, Dr Olufemi Oke-Osayintolu, Director General, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), said the government would carry out a thorough investigation to unravel the cause of the explosion.
“Our advice to people is that there is no need to panic. We are on top of the situation and the fire has been put out through collaboration by the various agencies.
“We can neither smell gas nor petrol, we can’t really say this is what led to the fire.
“We are still waiting for the outcome of the result to know the cause of the fire outbreak,” Oke-Osanyintolu said.
One of the victims of the incident, Mr Abayomi Abeyi, said his building was severely damaged while his wife sustained injuries from the explosion.
Abeyi, who is the Chairman, National Union of Road Transport Workers, Mile 2, Amuwo Odofin Branch, appealed to the Lagos State Government to come to the aid of the victims of the unfortunate incident. (NAN)