There was pandemonium in the Wharf Apapa area of Lagos yesterday following an explosion at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC depot in which no fewer than four people reportedly died.

Meanwhile in a swift response, the Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division of the corporation, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu in a statement said the explosion was caused by hoodlums who interrupted the discharge of fuel at the depot.

But a source at the scene of the tragedy, which happened around 4am, told our correspondent that some hoodlums swooped on a vessel, identified as MT HISTRIA IVORY, while discharging Premium Motor Spirit also called petrol in an attempt to scoop the product being discharge, which gave rise to huge spillage, thus causing the explosion and subsequent inferno that engulfed the entire area.

According to the source, no fewer than four people lost their lives as a result of the explosion.

It was further gathered that efforts by the fire service unit of the jetty to put out the fire out could not yield the desired result, thus prompting the invitation of officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, the Lagos State Fire Service, the Nigerian Navy, the Federal Fire Service and the Nigerian Ports Authority fire service to quell the raging fire after about one hour operation.

Investigations also showed that the fire incident, which lasted for about one hour destroyed some of the product receiving facilities at the jetty.

But the NNPC-chief image maker, Ughamadu has ruled out the possibility of product scarcity as a result of the incident, assuring motorist and other consumers that there would be adequate supply of the product across the country.

“The NNPC has deployed a team of engineers in the jetty, while the repair of the affected parts will commence immediately.

“The fire was caused by the activities of hoodlums who were scooping fuel spilled from ships discharging fuel at the jetty.

“NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr Maikanti Baru, who has been fully briefed on the incident, described the occurrence as unfortunate, assuring the public that the NNPC has more than 1.6bn litres of Premium Motor Spirit, otherwise called petrol, enough to last for 48 days.”, the statement also said.