On the 20th of February 2013 the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) was alerted about the likelihood of explosion in Ijegun, a community in Ikotun Local Government Area of Lagos which had witnessed a devastating pipeline rupture on May 15, 2008.
The community spokesman, Mr. Oluseni Soewu who raised the alarm, revealed that a section of the ground floor of the building his family resides (which was also gutted in the explosion during the pipeline rupture) gave way on the morning of Monday February 18and immediately after, the strong smell of petrol could be perceived in the environment, thus necessitating a warning to occupants of the building to avoid anything that could ignite a fire. Community people residing in other buildings also complained that the smell of petrol emanating from the earth around their premises since the pipeline rupture five years ago had worsened in recent time.
The explosion in 2008 occurred when an earth mover belonging to Hitech, a company contracted by the Lagos government to dualise the Ijegun-Isolo-Jakande Estate road, unknowingly ruptured a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipeline which runs across the community to other parts of the state.
Before the incident, the shallow depth of the pipeline had been a cause of worry to the locals who had written to the NNPC some weeks before to do something about it so as to forestall ruptures. Unfortunately, the corporation neither acknowledged receipt of the letter nor bothered to reply.
On the day of the incident, it took the combined effort of men of the fire service and volunteers to put out the fires which had incinerated over 40 locals, mostly school pupils of a nearby school, destroyed 15 homes, 20 vehicles and other property running into millions of naira.
Subsequently the NNPC claimed it had carried out repair of the pipeline and remediated the environment. The community people have continued to counter this claim, saying the corporation only did a shoddy job since their environment still emitted the noxious odour of petroleum products.