By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Government has said it would be meeting with the management of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to find a way of paying compensation for victims of the January 19 pipeline fire in Abule Egba, area of the state in which several buildings and properties worth millions of naira destroyed in the process.
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu made the remark on Saturday, when he led delegation on a sympathy visit to 300 displaced victims currently being resettled in Igando Emergency Relief Camp in Alimosho by the state government.
Sanwo-Olu said the government would also be discussing with the corporation on measures to be taken in finding a lasting solution to incessant pipeline vandalism in the state.
Recall that Sanwo-Olu was on a week-long working visit to the United Kingdom (UK) when the incident occurred. However, his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, earlier, led cabinet members and top Government officials on a visit to the scene of the fire last Tuesday.
The Governor said the compensation plan would be extended to those whose properties were razed in the inferno, adding that some of the victims who rented homes in the area would also be supported to re-adjust back to their normal lives.
He said: “As a responsible Government, we need to go back and have a thorough discussion with NNPC on what kind of lasting solution we are expecting and compensation we can make available for the victims so that we can resettle them back into their community.
“We will also be looking at various forms of affordable accommodation for some of them, who rent homes in the community.
“We have taken enumeration and we know the status of each of the displaced families that are clustered in this relief camp. We will work with the records for the compensation and everyone of them will be reintegrated back to their community.”
Sanwo-Olu described the disaster as “regrettable”, saying the government felt the pain of the innocent victims who bore the losses of the pipeline vandalism.
According to the governor, the state took the step to resettle the victims at a relief camp in order mitigate the effect of damages as well as ensure they were not left to their fate and in deplorable conditions in their moments of despair.
“For the period the victims will be settled in the relief camp, we will ensure our responsibility both medically and nutrition-wise; we will take care of them until the coast is cleared for them to return to their community,” Sanwo-Olu assured.
In appreciation, the excited victims thanked the governor, describing the relief programme as an “unexpected gesture.”