Nigeria's fuel vultures back on the job

OWN CORRESPONDENT, Lagos | Wednesday

SCAVENGERS, undeterred by the death of some 60 people in last week’s fuel pipeline fire in Nigeria, have begun scooping up fuel around another leak site.

Security agents guarding the Atlas Cove Jetty, a few metres from the site of the inferno near Lagos port, stood by and watched as villagers created a mini-market to sell fuel, the Guardian reported.

The managing director of the state agency maintaining the pipelines was expected to visit the scene of the fire and the fuel scooping this week, but admitted that the agency could not monitor all the pipelines, stretching over 5 000km across the country.

At least four newspapers published front-page photographs of scavengers scooping fuel into jerry cans, plastic buckets and other receptacles.

“People have taken to scooping up the diesel because there is no other means of livelihood. Our waters have been contaminated by the fuel and we cannot go fishing on the high seas,” villager Toyin Adeniyi told the Guardian.

Other villagers said that they were collecting fuel to help authorities clean up the polluted environment, The Punch said.

Petrol and diesel fuel were flowing from the unrepaired leak. Diesel gushing from the burst pipeline formed a large pool in the shallow waters of the lagoon, where around 60 people were consumed by flames last Thursday.

Villagers said that fresh leakages were noticed on Saturday, the same day fire fighters finally succeeded in putting out the blaze.

Lagos State Governor Bola Tinubu has ordered a judicial inquiry into the deadly blaze, the latest in a series of similar disasters.
Just over two years ago, 1082 people died when a pipeline blew up at Jesse, near Warri in southern Nigeria. In July, more than 300 died in new blazes near Warri. - AFP

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