New evidence obtained by BBC Africa Eye contradicts the official unsubstantiated explanation for the cause of an explosion that had 23 people killed and brought to dust a girls boarding school in Lagos, Nigeria, earlier in the year.
The blast occurred in Soba, a residential neighbourhood of Lagos, on March 15th, 2020, at about 8:56 am.
In its reaction to the incident after the explosion, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) claimed the explosion was as a result of a truck that accidentally hit a gas cylinder depot near one of its petroleum pipelines.
But new evidence indicates that the NNPC’s explanation for the cause of the blast, that decimated over 100,000 square metres of Lagos, is incorrect but rather a “blame shifting” one.
A new footage evidence filmed at the explosion site, five minutes before the blast, shows a catastrophic leak of vaporised liquid at the exact location where the NNPC high-pressure petroleum pipeline runs beneath the ground through that area. The BBC found there was no gas processing plant at the explosion spot.
Moreover, analysis of gas cylinders found at the site after the blast indicates they could not have been at the centre of the explosion when it happened.
Three specialist engineers – including experts in LPG gas safety, petroleum pipeline safety, and explosions analysis – who have examined video footage all confirm the huge leak of vaporised liquid could not have come from gas cylinders.
The BBC spoke with eyewitnesses who corroborated this claim. None of them mentioned gas cylinders or saw a collision, but four of them independently said the leak was coming out of the ground beside the heavily laden truck.
The evidence the BBC has uncovered indicates the heavily laden truck stopped on an eroded, unsurfaced road that had been softened by rainwater. This could have pressured the pipeline to breaking point, releasing a cloud of vapourised flammable petroleum product that ignited.
Watch the full documentary below