Repair of Nigerian pipeline begins after tragedy

Other News Materials 19 May 2008 05:59 (UTC +04:00)

Engineers began repair work Sunday on a Nigerian pipeline that burst in Lagos, triggering an explosion and an inferno in which at least 15 people were killed, AFP reported.

"Engineers and technicians of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) have begun the repairs of the damaged pipeline in Ijegun," on the northern outskirts of the city, a Lagos state official told AFP.

"It is in the interest of everybody that the pipeline is speedily repaired. Then, other issues raised by the explosion will be handled," said the official who demanded anonymity.

Officials put the death toll at 15, including children, disputing the Nigerian Red Cross's claim that around 100 people were killed in Thursday's explosion.

Authorities in Lagos have promised to compensate families of all those affected by the oil pipeline blast.

More than 30 people were injured in the accident, which occurred when an excavator at a road construction site accidentally burst the pipeline, triggering the explosion and a blaze which engulfed bystanders.

The Lagos government and the state-run NNPC have traded accusations over responsibility for the tragedy.

Pipeline fires are commonplace in Nigeria, Africa's biggest oil producer, in part because of poor pipeline maintenance but also because of vandalism by thieves trying to siphon off petrol to sell on the black market.