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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 December 2006, 18:28 GMT
Nigeria vows to curb oil blazes
Firefighter tackling the blaze in Lagos, Nigeria
The intense heat hampered recovery efforts
Nigeria's government has promised measures to avoid future disasters, after a pipeline explosion killed at least 260 people in Lagos.

Pipeline fires occur frequently in Nigeria as people try to scoop up fuel leaking from pipes that have broken or been vandalised.

Information Minister Frank Nweke told the BBC the government was encouraging people to report pipeline vandalism.

He said Nigeria was investing in more refineries to end petrol shortages.

May 2006: At least 150 killed in Lagos
Dec 2004: At least 20 killed in Lagos
Sept 2004: At least 60 killed in Lagos
June 2003: At least 105 killed in Abia State
July 2000: At least 300 killed in Warri
Mar 2000: At least 50 killed in Abia State
Oct 1998: At least 1,000 killed in Jesse

"The government is encouraging the establishment of more refineries... so there will be less incentive for people to try to profiteer from the sale of petroleum products," Mr Nweke told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

He said the government had solved the problem of fuel shortages, "but there's this expectation that there may be some sort of scarcity, so people begin to hoard and to profiteer".

Some 2,000 people have died in similar incidents in recent years in Nigeria.

Although Nigeria is Africa's largest oil exporter, it suffers regular shortages of petrol and diesel because it relies on imports of refined fuel from the West.


Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo said he was "shocked and saddened" by the vandalisation of an oil pipeline that led to Tuesday's disaster.

Hundreds of people in a Lagos suburb were scooping fuel from a pipeline punctured by thieves when it exploded.

It took the emergency services hours to extinguish the flames and many of the bodies were burnt beyond recognition.

Adding his voice to the condolences, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan called for "a review of the country's fuel supply management, as well as a thorough regional review of risks that could lead to other environmental or technological disasters in West Africa."

Some of those injured in the blast are believed to have gone into hiding to avoid arrest. Others may not have gone to hospital because they lack money to pay for treatment.

'Burnt to ash' in Nigeria blast
12 May 06 |  Africa

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