Death toll in Nigeria petrol pipeline fire rises to 12

LAGOS (AFP) – The death toll from a fuel pipeline blast in Nigeria’s commercial hub Lagos has risen to 12, a senior official said, after 10 victims died of their injuries from last week’s explosion.

A huge fireball was sparked by vandals who broke open a state-run pipeline in order to steal petrol in the Ijegun area of the city last Thursday, in the latest in a string of similar tragedies.

Two people were killed immediately in the inferno, which consumed more than 30 vehicles as it tore through the area, with a further 20 admitted to hospital, many with severe burns.

Ten of those injured have since died “due to the high degree of burns suffered by these victims, which is almost 100 per cent”, said Permanent Secretary in the state Health Ministry Titilayo Goncalves on Monday.

“We are doing everything possible to ensure that no other life is lost,” she added.

People stand by watching as a burnt vehicle is being lifted away from the road into a truck following an oil pipeline fire at Ijegun in Lagos on July 4. – AFP

She said the remaining victims in hospital intensive care were responding to treatment.

Emergency officials said security agents intercepted thieves as they were transferring the petrol to their trucks last Thursday.

The vandals then allegedly spilled the fuel into drainages and set it on fire in a bid to escape arrest.

Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer and exporter, runs a network of pipelines that transport crude and petrol across the vast nation.

Hundreds of lives have been lost in recent years from fuel theft that culminates in a fire or explosion.