Abule-Ado Explosion: Succour comes for victims one month after as government pays families N2.5m

Succour finally came for victims of gas explosion in Shoba community in Abule-Ado, Lagos State on Wednesday April 22, 2020, exactly 38 days after the explosion threw the community into confusion and mourning.

The Lagos State Government, on Wednesday, commenced the payment of N2.5 million compensation to the next of kin of those who lost their lives in the explosion.

It was black Sunday in Abule-Ado, a community near Festac, on March 15, 2020. Neusroom had reported that the explosion killed more than 20 people, including the administrator of the Bethlehem Girls College, Rev. Sister Henrietta Alokha and a newlywed couple who family members said had a plan to travel to Canada two days after the incident. Over 130 buildings and properties worth over N2 billion were affected by the explosion.

The loud blast was heard in different parts of Lagos, including communities more than 50 km away from the scene. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had said the explosion was caused by a truck which hit a stack of gas cylinders, but some residents of the community hold a contrary opinion, saying that they believe the explosion was caused by a bomb.

A day after the explosion, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu had set up a N2 billion relief fund for the victims of the explosion and announced that the state government would be committing N250 million to the fund immediately. He then called on corporate organisations and individuals to support with donations for the victims.

"I have set up Abule-Ado Soba emergency relief fund. It is a N2billion fund and the state government will immediately be putting N250 million in the fund. Overnight, I have gotten three banks to open accounts for that fund. This is certainly beyond what the state government can undertake on its own. I am aware that some of my fellow governors have called and I have also received phone calls from the private sector. So what this fund will do is to give everyone the opportunity to be part of it and to be able to donate into it," Sanwo-Olu said.

38 days after, the Lagos State Government has commenced the payment of N2.5 million to the next of kin of each deceased victim of the explosion. Deputy Governor Dr Obafemi Hamzat coordinated the committee set up by the State to compensate the victims and presented cheques to the families on Wednesday.

"Today we presented cheques to the families of the 23 deceased victims of the Abule-Ado explosion. We hope the money will help provide some relief even as they miss their loved ones," Hamzat tweeted.

"We are also working with safety, power and other stakeholders to find a lasting solution to issues."

It's quite rare for disaster victims in Nigeria to receive compensation from the government barely two months after a tragic incident.

While the compensation for families of victims of Abule Ado explosion came relatively early, victims of the January 19, 2020 pipeline fire in Abule Egba and December 19, 2018, fire explosion caused by vandalized pipeline also in Abule Egba, Lagos which destroyed properties worth hundreds of millions of Naira, are still waiting for government to fulfill its pledge to compensate them.

Sanwo-Olu during a visit to the relief camp set up for victims of the Abule Egba fire on Saturday January 25, 2020, had said he will be meeting with the management of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to discuss compensation for victims of the January 19 pipeline fire in Abule Egba. The people affected by the explosion in the region are still waiting for the government.

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