There was pandemonium today in Pogo Minna of Niger state, as a depot of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was gutted by fire.
The leakages from the pipes at the Depot which caused the fire was noticed on Saturday night, and Vanguard reported that some black marketers stormed the area and started scooping fuel from the leaking pipes which later caught fire.
Though no life was lost, it was gathered that the fire started around 11am yesterday and this greatly affected traffic along the Minna-Suleja road as vehicles could not pass through leaving commuters stranded. Security Agents including the Police, Civil Defence and Niger State Emergency Agency, (NSEMA) were all at hand to spread to the main NNPC Depot, and also kept the miscreants away from further scooping.
“We have been on ground since yesterday the leakage started but despite our presence and vigilance, these desperate miscreants or black marketers eventually caused the fire outbreak as they still sneaked to the gutters to start scooping.”
“However, we were able to dislodge them from the scene later and this eventually saved the situation from getting out of control and also averted casualties” a staff of the depot said.
A resident of the area Malam Abdul Baba Mohammed who confirmed the incident, disclosed that when the leakage started towards Saturday night, it ran through the gutters which later attracted the black marketers to the area who started scooping.
“Despite the presence of security men including Police and Civil Defence among others, the boys refused to stop and the fire eventually started but the prompt arrival of the state fire service to the Scene saved the situation from totally going out of hand.”
The Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Mallam Ibrahim Yahaya, on the other hand said, “for now we have not been able to ascertain the level of damage because our primary objective is to see that the fire is totally put off and prevent these black marketers from further scooping in order to safe lives.”