Govt begins probe into cause
Tragedy struck at the popular Mobolaji Bank-Anthony Way, early yesterday morning, as a gas tanker exploded, killing five persons with about 13 persons severely injured. This is even as Sheraton Lagos Hotel, which is one of the properties located within the vicinity of the inferno, has assured the safety of its guests and property.
About 25 vehicles parked in the premises of the OPIC Plaza near the scene of the explosion were also razed as occupants of properties around the scene scampered for safety. It took the intervention of the Commissioner of Police, Lagos Command, Hakeem Odumosu to control the crowd and ensure successful management of the the situation. Confirming the explosion, the Director-General, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Dr Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, the first responders worked to control the spread to the adjacent properties as well as the nearby petrol station until 0400hrs Friday.
Osanyintolu said: “The resultant explosion affected the OPIC Plaza leading to an inferno which damaged 22 parked vehicles within the premises. The state government has swiftly begun investigation to ascertain the cause of the explosion,this was disclosed yesterday by the Director General, Lagos State Safety Commission, Lanre Majola, while speaking with newsmen after inspecting the damage caused by the explosion. According to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Majola said: “Our investigation is going on. At the end of the day, we will publish our report, and if we find out that anyone is liable, we will prosecute the person.
“We believe that bad practices cannot just continue in this country. Just to reiterate, we will complete our investigation, make it public and if we find out that there is any form of negligence by any means or firm or shape, we will certainly ensure that the law takes its course.” He said the government recently held a meeting with stakeholders where the need to have very strict standards, especially with the handling of gas, was emphasised. Majola said the incident could have been avoided if the prerequisite safety standards were followed by the truck conveying the LPG. “We have been told that the truck spilt its content. Ideally, every truck should have two safety valves. “In the event that there is an external force, it will keep the content protected. “Even if there is a little bit of escape, it won’t cause as much damage,” he said. Also, Mr Abiodun Arole, Managing Director, OPIC, while describing the incident as a very big tragedy, commiserated with the victims on behalf of the Ogun State Government. Arole said: ” I am currently speechless because I never expected that the level of damage would be this much. “My primary concern here is not so much about what we have lost in property, but the lives that have been lost.” He also disclosed that the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency would carry out an assessment and integrity test on the property before any further decision could be taken by OPIC.