The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, expressed its willingness to provide the N2 billion relief fund set up by the Lagos State government to support the victims of last Sunday explosion which claimed the lives of 30 people and left over 5,000 people sustained various degree of injury.
The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance sponsored by Hon. Enitan Dolapo-Badru and 22 others.
In his lead debate, Hon. Dolapo-Badru stressed the need for Government to come to the aid of the over five thousand families of Abule-Ado near Lagos International Trade Fair Complex in Amuwo Odofin Federal Constituency, Lagos, where the gas plant explosion killed over 30 people , injuring over 200 others and destroying over 500 buildings worth billions of naira.
According to him, “on Sunday, March 5th 2020, Ado Soba of Amuwo Odofin, Lagos was rocked by Gas Explosion resulting in a catastrophe, the magnitude of which is a national disaster.”
He argued that the unprecedented destruction orchestrated by the gas plant explosion killed over 30 people including the Principal of Bethlehem College Rev. Sr. Henrietta Alokha, Mr. Obi lyio and his wife and two children Tochukwu and Kachi.
He stressed that “the explosion is so horrific that the epic center of the blast created a gory cave and sent tremor and inferno into its immediate and far surrounding which resulted in a lot of destruction of lives and properties.”
The lawmaker maintained that about 500 buildings that housed more than five thousand people were destroyed in the gas plant blast and thousands of people have been rendered homeless.
He said “besides those that died, more than two hundred people who are injured by the explosion who suffered various degrees of injuries are receiving medical treatment in different hospitals and many people are still trapped underneath wreckages of collapsed buildings while several vehicles parked in the area were destroyed and the pupils of Bethlehem College who were trapped underneath the wreckage of their hostel and chapel were being pulled out of the rubble during which the Principal of the College, Rev. Sr. Henritta Alokha lost her life as she attempted to rescue the pupils.”
He announced that even though the Lagos State government has set up a relief fund of N2 billion with an initial deposit of N250 million paid into the relief fund by the State Government, there was the need to partner with the government in addressing the immediate needs of the victims.
While speaking on the extent of the damages caused by the incident, Hon. Dolapo-Badru said: “The explosion was massive. I have never seen anything like it before. People in places like Victoria Island heard the explosion. Why people pray to wake up and go about their business, these people woke up and suddenly, the roof of their houses were blown off and several lives lost.
“A whole family was wiped out and there was a young man who was planning to get married this weekend. It was a very sad day for the nation.”
In his contribution, Hon. Oghene Emmanuel Egoh, in whose constituency the incident took place, described the explosion as a devastation of the highest order and a national calamity and appealed to members and Nigerians to support the effort of the state government.
Also speaking, Chairman, House Committee on Finance, Hon James Faleke, said no amount of compensation can replace the lives of those who died in the explosion, blaming it on inconsistencies of government policies which allow for the construction of gas stations in residential areas.
He said in other countries, pipelines carrying inflammable materials are buried several meters below, adding that it is unfortunate that in Nigeria, pipelines carrying petroleum products left on the surface or buried only 10 meters deep.
Hon Faleke claimed that on the day of the explosion, the NNPC said it was pumping fuel from the Atlas Cove, but stopped immediately they heard the explosion.
In the bid to avoid a reoccurrence of the disaster in the area, Hon Faleke said as a result of similar incident in Kaduna, all gas depots and fuel stations located in residential areas should be closed, adding that it was the only way to put a permanent stop to future occurrence.
While supporting the motion, the Deputy Minority Leader, Hon Toby Okechukwu who described the incident as unfortunate, harped on the need to take drastic measure in the bid to halt the spate of human and material loses, as well as economic consequences.
To the end, the House resolved to investigate the immediate and remote cause of the explosion, and mandated National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to give material assistance to the over five thousand people who suffered various degrees of injuries, those whose relatives died and those whose houses and properties were destroyed in the gas plant explosion.