Story from Kenneth AFOR, Lagos
After 7 months of the horrific and devastating gas pipeline explosion belonging to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) at Ado-Soba, Abule-Ado, Amuwo-odofin Area in Lagos State which claimed more than 20 lives on Sunday, March 15th, 2020, some residents whose buildings were severely damaged are lamenting about Lagos State Government’s abandonment of their buildings after promises were made to them.
They are pleading that the state government should come to their aid to reconstruct their buildings so that lives can return to normalcy for them.
Although, virtually all of the residential houses in which their roofs were ripped off due to the effect of the blast have since been fixed by owners and landlords of the buildings, for residents like Mr Brisibe Broseley Awe, a former President of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) from 1998 to 2001 and Mr Fasola Olalekan, a rental service businessman, whose buildings were just about 150 metres to the spot of the explosion are still waiting for Lagos government’s attention.
Mr Awe, a retired civil servant who is a Pastor and his Church, ‘Our Father The Most High God Ministries’ at No. 14, Gani Adams Road, Ado-Soba, is still living in the house, the same damaged condition that was affected by the blast of the explosion after he managed to replace half of the roofs’ building to accommodate his wife and children.
He told Neptune Prime in an interview that since the explosion, his church and members of his congregation have not been able to return to Sunday services as usual because his church building has since remained the way it was after the explosion.
He recounts that on that fateful day fortunately for him, his family and members of his church did not hold service as usual because he had travelled to Bayelsa State for a burial ceremony.
The severity of the blast according to him ripped off the iron door frames of the church building, the roofs of the rooms, kitchens, toilets, bathrooms and other rooms where guest ministers stay, creating cracks on the walls as well as disengaging blocks that serve as supports for the walls.
“I was not around, that day, so my congregation was not around. I went to Bayelsa State for a burial ceremony.
“On the 15th of March, at about 8:30 am, there was this mighty blast that ripped off the roofs of the church building, my residential building and the rooms meant to accommodate ministers who occasionally come for ministration,” said Mr Awe.
Although, he said that officials of the Lagos State Government who introduced themselves as engineers came to him personally with some documents and took pictures of his building and since then they have not reached him on the next line of action.
“The government reached me personally, some people came here and introduced themselves as engineers from the state government, they came here with all particulars, they took photographs of everything and later on, we were thinking that they were going to do something.
“Since then, the government promised that they were going to do something but up till now, nothing has been given to me.
Recall that the Lagos State Governor, after two weeks of the explosion, promised residents and families whose relatives were affected by the blast that the government would provide some sorts of compensation but for residents like Mr Awe and Olalekan they have not been compensated.
“I heard that some weeks later, they compensated families who lost their loved ones and those injured as a result of the explosion, they were given N2.5 million each, but nothing came to me,” he said.
Mr Awe noted that the only succour provided by the government was during the lockdown period of COVID-19 pandemic in which they were given 10 kg of rice for two families to share and 15 kg of beans with other food items.
“In May, I don’t know if it was the government, they came around, they said because of the explosion they wanted to share some relief materials.
“Some were given small bags of rice about 10 kg for two families to share, 15 kg bags of beans, and other things, that was all and after that nothing came to me, we have been expecting that they will do something, we’ve been hearing on the radio and television that they gave monies to those whose houses were affected,” Awe said.
However, Mr Awe noted that Lagos state government has concluded all the assessments that needed to be carried out, and that they have left his only house untouched which he single-handedly built, he is pleading that the Lagos State Government should reconstruct his house, he since managed to replace half of the roofs of the building.