Four people were killed and several shops and vehicles destroyed by a fire after a vandalized oil pipeline went up in flames near Lagos over the weekend, according to local emergency services contacted by AFP.
Mobile phone footage showed a huge blaze and thick smoke from the accident scene. Ibrahim Farinloye, an area coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency, told AFP that his team found the bodies of two men, a woman and her baby at the scene of the fire.
The incident took place in the Abule Egba region near the economic capital Lagos. This first-ever incident this year is the latest in a long series that has been going on for years.
Pipeline accidents are common in oil-rich Nigeria. People looking to steal oil attack pipelines resulting in fires and oil spills which contribute to ecological disasters. In the Niger Delta region, attacks on pipelines to siphon fuel for sale on the black market has become common place.
Fuel shortages which are common in Africa’s biggest oil producer have fueled smuggling rings. The looting of oil pipelines followed by fires has become commonplace, fuelling a growing traffic of fuel that goes beyond Nigerian borders.