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15.03.2020 Nigeria

Nigeria gas explosion kills at least 15: emergency services

By AFP
Houses, lorries, cars and motorbikes were torched in the blast.  By Benson IBEABUCHI (AFP)
LISTEN MAR 15, 2020
Houses, lorries, cars and motorbikes were torched in the blast. By Benson IBEABUCHI (AFP)

A gas explosion in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos on Sunday killed at least 15 people, injured many more and destroyed around 50 buildings, emergency services said.

Houses, lorries, cars and motorbikes were torched in the blast.

"15 bodies have been recovered now. So many people have been injured," national emergency services spokesman Ibrahim Farinloye told AFP, adding that around 50 buildings were also destroyed in the explosion which was followed by a fire.

The blast happened at around 8:00 am (0700 GMT) destroyed around 50 buildings in the residential district of Abule Ado.

According to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) the blast was caused by a truck that "hit gas bottles stacked up in a gas processing plant.

A Red Cross official said they were still recovering bodies from the scene.  By Benson IBEABUCHI (AFP) A Red Cross official said they were still recovering bodies from the scene. By Benson IBEABUCHI (AFP)

"The impact of the explosion was so huge that it led to the collapse of nearby houses and damage to an NNPC pipeline," the company added.

"We are recovering dead bodies as we speak and putting them in bags," said local Red Cross official Adebola Kolawale.

"We have a school here and it's a residential area. And we have a trade fair here as well."

Among those inspecting the damage was Lagos resident Abibola Ayo. He said that although he lives three kilometres away, the blast was so strong he felt it in his home.

The blast destroyed around 50 buildings in a residential area.  By Benson IBEABUCHI (AFP) The blast destroyed around 50 buildings in a residential area. By Benson IBEABUCHI (AFP)

In front of a crowd of onlookers, rescue workers sought to remove rubble from a girls boarding school which has more than 250 pupils.

Pipeline and tanker truck explosions are common in Nigeria, where most people live in poverty even though the country is the biggest producer of oil on the continent, with around two million barrels per day.

Some incidents happen when residents try to siphon off oil or petrol from pipelines or when tanker drivers have accidents on the country's ill-maintained roads.

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