Nigeria Pipeline Blast Kills Over 200

Thieves trying to steal gas from a pipeline in Lagos, Nigeria have caused an explosion that has killed over 200 people.

At least 200 people were killed Tuesday when a pipeline carrying petroleum products exploded in Nigeria’s biggest city of Lagos, a Red Cross official said. The death toll was expected to rise. Ige Oladimeji, a senior official for the Nigerian Red Cross, said his workers had documented “over 200 and still counting.” “We can only recognize them through the skulls, the bodies are scattered over the ground,” he said.

Hundreds of bodies could be seen jumbled and fused together in the raging flames at the blast site. Intense heat kept rescue workers back, as smoke billowed over the heavily populated Adule Egba neighborhood. The blast shook the neighborhood after dawn, Nigerian Red Cross spokesman Umar Mairiga said. Raging fires were hindering further recovery, he said. Many people had been injured, he said.

It wasn’t immediately clear what was flowing through the pipe. Witnesses said people had rushed to the ruptured pipeline to collect fuel when the flames ignited. Nigerians often tap into pipelines carrying refined fuel, scooping up the raw product in buckets or plastic bags. Spilled fuel spreading in pools sometimes ignites, immolating people nearby. In May, more than 150 people died in a similar explosion in Lagos.


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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Mark says:

    Thieves trying to steal gas

    I must be left-of-center because the word “thieves” feels a bit off. I might have used “desperately poor people” instead.

  2. Ticketplease says:

    Stupid is as stupid does. Like the people who get killed as they go to the bomb blast that just killed 10 or 15 people, lookie-loos, burn baby burn. And as you can see I’m NOT left of center. You don’t like the conditions in your area, MOVE!

  3. Christopher says:

    Mark, you are some piece of work. Maybe you can post your feelings about how it is President Bush’s fault?

    And of they are so desperately poor, I wonder why they don’t direct their energy to the fledgling democracy there and for capitalism so at least their children can live lives of abundance? Hmmm…good question huh.

  4. Anon says:


    Though my natural inclination is to view these kind of incidents as evolution at work, I’m not going to try to judge these victims without further information.

    But you seem to be implying that a human being could never find oneself in such a situation so desperate that finding the next meal is of greater immediate priority than establishing democracy.

    For example, if you were a poor North Korean right now, would you be on the front lines of political activism? What happens to your family when you are thrown in jail, or worse? Call me cowardly if you want, but my first priority would be my family.

    There are always those so noble to risk it all for the greater cause. Me, I’m not so noble. I would be willing to take some risks for a cause, but probably not to a great degree. Luckily, I have never been put in the position where I had to find out exactly how noble I was. Many others, braver than I, have sacrified their lives to give me this situation of freedom and prosperity, and for that I am very fortunate and grateful.

  5. Christopher says:

    Comment in violation of site policies deleted.

    Do you think that the funding fathers didn’t face horrible fates if they failed in their endeavors? George Washington faced the loss of his wealth and life (to be hung as a traitor)should he have failed, as did all of the leaders of the American Revolution. Yet they were all, leaders and soldiers alike, people just like you and me.

    You mention the North Koreans as if they were facing some sort of bad snow storm. They are not. They all freely choose to live under tyrannical dictators. Safe and starving in their falling-down homes with no cars or appliances and hardly any electricity to run them-all because, like you, they do not have the courage to stand up for what is right for themselves and their children. If you lived there would you want that for your children? Would the prospect of your own personal safety override your desire that they live their future lives without terror and poverty, and instead in freedom?

    Would I be worried about my own demise and leaving my children fatherless? I would work hard to relate the importance of fighting for their freedom-one of the greatest gifts God ever gave us-if I should not return to them.

    Iraqi citizens who do everyday things such as work at their jobs or search for work, shop for food and visit relatives, and vote all under terrible danger are all much more heroic than you will ever be. American soldiers who freely volunteer to serve in Iraq and come away from their experience with intense hope for that country-you are not fit to tie their boots.

    Comment in violation of site policies deleted.

  6. Mark says:

    Mark, you are some piece of work. Maybe you can post your feelings about how it is President Bush’s fault?

    I did not say anything about Bush.

    And of they are so desperately poor, I wonder why they don’t direct their energy to the fledgling democracy there and for capitalism so at least their children can live lives of abundance? Hmmm…good question huh.

    How do you know they are not?

  7. Anon says:


    Did you not read where I clearly acknowledged and was grateful for the sacrifice of others?

    While I understand your sentiments, I think that the perspective of an individual North Korean is somewhat different. If all North Koreans rose up to overthrow the regime, the risk to any one person is small. Many would probably be willing to take that risk.

    But the problem is that as a single individual, most of them can do nothing. So the trade is not really: will you take a 5% risk if you knew that it would guarantee that your child will live in freedom and wealth? Rather, the trade is: will you take a 50% risk of death knowing that you as an individual will most likely die an impotent death?

    In hindsight, we can look at the deaths of people like Nathan Hale and believe that their deaths were worthy. That is because the American Revolution succeeded. But what about all the failures? Were their deaths also worthwhile? If so, who is honoring them?

    What about the death of some unknown Kurd who rose up against Saddam Hussein? What did he gain? Nothing but death for him and his children. Who knows what might have happened had he lived? Perhaps he would have been able to find his way to a better life for him and his children.

    As to telling your children that you fought for freedom, the situation I am painting is not where they grow up fatherless. It is where they would starve to death without you as a provider.

    Again, I should point out that I’m painting a purely hypothetical scenario. I don’t know necessarily that the facts in any one country match my scenario. I just wanted to state that I think there are plausible situations where game theory leads to a non-optimal overall outcome, simply because not enough people are willing to risk futile deaths for them and their families.

    I should also point out that I’m not painting a scenario like a US citizen during WWII. The tradeoffs there are different. I would have known that even if I died fighting, there was a high probability that my death would not be in vain, and that my children would therefore live in freedom as a result of my sacrifice.