The Lagos State Government has empowered over 300 victims of the Abule-Egba pipeline explosion with vocational training for them to be self-employed.
The Director-General, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the training would prepare them for life after leaving the Internally Displayed Persons (IDPs) camp at Igando.
Oke-Osanyintolu told NAN, on the sideline of graduation ceremony of the trainees, on Wednesday that the state government had provided equipment to all the victims, having acquired necessary skills and vocation in several crafts.
“This is part of steps to prepare for reintegration back to the society after the unfortunate explosion that disrupted their lives,’’ the DG said.
He explained that that the graduation was taking place after four weeks intensive training conducted by officials of the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, in partnership with LASEMA.
“The four-week training has enabled them to acquire requisite skills and knowledge in different vocations that included soap making, batik/tie-and-dye, hairdressing, fabric design, Ankara craft, throw pillow, event decoration, catering, stoning and make-up/gele-tying.
“The training started on June 15 and is terminating today, after their six months sojourn in LASEMA’s Igando relief camp where their psychological, physiological and mental well-being had been catered for by the state government.
“Today, 300 beneficiaries received between N150,000 and N250,000 financial assistance.
“The financial assistance, coupled with the skill acquisition and vocational training programme is for the total benefit of victims toward their easy reintegration back into the society.’’
Also speaking, the LASEMA Camp Commandant, Mr Bosun Olukolade, described the relationship between officials and the victims at the camps as one of the best in terms of cooperation and compliance to the rules of the camp.
He urged them to emulate good etiquette they had learnt in the camp, reminding them of maintaining social distancing and avoiding crowd environment.
The Chairman, Community Development Area (CDAs), Abule-Egba Pipeline, Mr John-Taiwo Okunebe, commended the Lagos state government, LASEMA and other stakeholders for their support throughout their stay in the camp.
Okunebe commended the state government for providing working tools to the 300 victims, who participated in different skills to help them face the society again.
The chairman, however, pleaded with the government to provide good roads around the pipeline areas to curb the illegal vandalism.
Okunebe said that illegal activities of hoodlums had resulted in the explosion which had rendered many of the people homeless while some lost their love ones.
One of the beneficiaries, a 15-year-old victim, Michael John, appreciated the government and promised to establish himself on catering skills that he had learnt.
Another beneficiary, Ms Abraham Cecilia, a 28-year-old single mother said she was grateful for the opportunity rendered to her by the state government.
Cecilia added that although she love fashion, “now I can make hairstyle and get some money to care for her three years baby’’.
She said that during her six months stay at the camp, she learnt how to relate with many people and to be tolerant with one another.
Evangelist Olasunkanmi Ibitola, who lost his building during to the explosion, said he could make soap and was ready to expand the soap business.
NAN recalls that a pipeline exploded in Abule Egba area at about 8.00 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 19, killing some people and displacing scores others.