By Joan Odafe
The Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, has called on the Federal and Lagos State Government to compensate victims of the March 2020 Abule Ado pipeline explosion in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Adams made the call on Sunday in Lagos at a memorial prayer in honour of those who lost their lives during the pipeline explosion on March 15, 2020.
NAN reports that the event, organised by the Soba Landlords and Residents Association (SLARA), was held at the site of former Bethlehem Girls College where five people, including the School’s Principal, Rev. Sis. Henriatta Alokha, died.
Adams, who is also the Chairman of the Association, said the event was to ensure that memories of the incident; the lives lost, the losses incurred and the damage to the community, was not forgotten.
He added that it was also to remind the government of the promises made to the victims and urged them not to relent in fulfilling them.
According to him, it was unfortunate that the association had to resort to publicly reminding the government of their promises.
He noted that 30 people including the Association’s Vice Chairman, his wife and two children, died instantly from the explosion, and over 300 houses were destroyed during the explosion.
“The governor was here, even the speaker of the house was here, some South-West governors were here and they made promises to those affected by the disaster that certain amount will be paid as compensation.
“We are using this opportunity to appeal to the LASG, as a state with honour and the economic nerver centre of our nation that they fulfill all promises made to the victims,” he said.
“The federal government should also do something tangible for the victims,” he said.
Adams disclosed that the Association had taken legal action against the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over the disaster.
He appealed to LASG to upgrade the status of the traditional ruler of the community in recognition of his efforts at developing the area.
Also, Vice Chairman of SLARA, Mr Philips Akinduro, urged LASG to help improve the lives of the members of the community by fulfilling its promises to the victims.
He said the state had set up a N2 billion trust fund for the victims with an initial contribution of N250 million and another N200 from The Governors’ Forum.
“Many of our landlords borrowed money to do renovations that you see today.
“Many of our members were hospitalised, only few have paid the hospital bills,” he said.
Akinduro urged LASG to release monies that had been contributed so far to help cushion the suffering of the victims.
The traditional ruler, Mr Jimoh Agbebeji, said the community was yet to recover from the incident and would appreciate every help rendered to the victims.
He commended Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Chairman of Amuwo Odofin Local Government for responding to the community’s distress call when the incident occurred. (NAN)