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Preventing gas explosions in 2022

Preventing gas explosions in 2022

Every New Year, millions of Nigerians write down their resolutions, attitudes they would want to stop. For thousands of families who lost a loved one, a friend, or property to gas explosions that rocked different parts of the country at different times in 2021, the resolution is likely to be a break from avoidable explosions. This is in view of the fact that 2021 saw a record six gas explosions, which were 300 percent more than the 2 recorded in 2020. Prior to 2020, there was even no gas explosion since 2015.

All the gas explosions Nigeria witnessed in 2021 were not caused by natural disasters. They were caused by human errors. This also means that they have human solutions. All that is needed is the leadership in making the changes that are needed.

The first occurred on 13 April at Iyasoko Street, Agboju area in the Amuwo-Odofin Local Council of Lagos State. The explosion left many people injured. The second explosion on 12 May, took place at No. 7, Oke-Igbore Titun, behind Anglican Church, Abeokuta South Local Government, Ogun State. Three people lost their lives and four were left injured.

Less than a week after, on 19 May, a 34-year-old woman and her two children were burnt beyond recognition in a gas explosion at Amekpa area, in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State.

The next day, a fourth explosion rocked the Marque Event Centre on the premises of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, Ogun State, on 20 May. It claimed the lives of two people.

Two days after, on May 22, a gas explosion occurred at the CSCC construction yard at Onikoko area of Abeokuta, Ogun State. Two people were injured from the explosion. The explosion affected many buildings and vehicles were also destroyed.

The government at every level must do better in 2022. Companies found in non-compliance with stipulated safety measures should be shut down until the measures have been sufficiently addressed

The final gas explosion was from a Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) tanker that exploded while on the motion at Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Ikeja on 17 June. No fewer than 25 cars were also destroyed while a part of the building was severely damaged by the explosion. Five persons died from the explosion while 13 were injured. One of the casualties was Niyi Odetoye, President of Town Planning Consultants of Nigeria (ATOPCAN).

In all the cases, the government both at the state and federal levels expressed “shock” sent condolence messages to the family, promised to carry out an investigation, and eventually failed to present any update on what the outcomes of the investigations were nor the steps that are taken to prevent a reoccurrence. No one is held accountable for the role they played in the gas explosion.

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For instance, following the explosion at Mobolaji Bank Anthony, Ikeja, the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) while reading its preliminary report said it was a clear case of negligence on the part of the truck company.

“Close investigation further revealed that the LPG gas was ignited by the exposed fire from the kitchen of the New Chinese restaurant, which followed the trail of the LPG gas, resulting in the combustion of the gas tanker outside the compound,” LASEMA noted. Till date, Lagos residents are still waiting for the government to announce that it has commenced prosecution of the people involved. Yet without punishment, there will be no deterrence.

The government at every level must do better in 2022. Companies found in non-compliance with stipulated safety measures should be shut down until the measures have been sufficiently addressed. Some of these safety measures include installation of an effective water suppression system for skids, strong barriers for tank farms, pressure relief valve on Pipe work, emergency response management, leak detection ban control system, adequate and appropriate fire extinguishers, and emergency shutoff valve. Once all these measures are put in place, gas explosions will become a rarity in our Country.