The Lagos State government has arraigned an oil marketer, Alhaji Waidi Fasola, owner of Fash Oil, whose gas plant caught fire in 2020 killing some residents and destroying properties before the state high court in Ikeja.
The state docked Fasola on a 30-count charge of an act of recklessness leading to the death of seven persons and the destruction of several houses and shops in the Baruwa Ipaja area in Ayobo-Ipaja local government area of Lagos State before Justice Oyindamola Ogala.
The 64 years old defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge, which was read to him in both English and Yoruba languages.
He was accused of unlawfully permitting the discharge of LPG (cooking gas) from the tanker to his gas dump without taking adequate security and safety measures leading to the unfortunate incident.
Fasola was said to have committed the offence on October 8, 2020, at about 5:45 am at No 61b, Cardoso road, Baruwa, Ipaja in Ikeja judicial division, when his loaded truck was discharging LPG into a dump located in his company.
The prosecutor claimed that the defendant’s” negligence and “unlawful permitting the discharge of LPG, (gas) into the tank” which led to the deaths of Aderinsoye Olamilekan, Aderinsoye Mowa, Mohammed Abubakar, Abike Oluwasanmi, Evans Udom, Adebowale Aisha, Adeleke Olusola Amos and. Adeleke Okywadarasinmi.
The alleged unlawful act of “failure to take precautions against danger”, according to the prosecution also led to severe bodily harm to Adebisi Micheal, Adache Blessings, causing severe burnt to Bose Oyelumade, Nuru Nasir, Ayo Ademisoye, Emmanuel Evans Udom and bodily injuries to Omorieghe Josephine, severely burnt to one Usman Yakubu, Ronke Gbele, Mrs Juwon Abiodun as well as inflicting head lacerations on one Sunday.
Apart from the deaths and bodily injuries, the prosecution equally alleged that the failure of the defendant to take adequate precaution led to the burning of houses, shops and destructions of some apartments in the vicinity of the ill-fated fire incident.
The prosecution claimed that more than five houses and seven shops were gutted by the fire ignited by the gas explosion, while some of the properties were simply damaged.
The prosecution listed some of the houses burnt to include the one belonging to Alhaji Jelili Adebowale at No 21b, Cardoso, two houses belonging to Rev Joseph Akinola Ogungbamigbe situated at Nos 2 & 4 Ogungbamigbe street, the one belonging to Alhaji Waheed Bello at No 63 of the same street, while the fire destroyed ceilings of the house of Apostle Dr Femi Akinsola at No 1, Unity Street, destroying ceiling and windows of a house at 12 Mirakinyo street belonging to Madam Arowoseso.
The destruction also affected four shops at 51, Cardoso street belonging to Alhaji K. A. Sanni and a shop belonging to one Alhaja.
After his arraignment, the prosecution counsel, Abike Oluwasanmi urged the court to oblige them a date to commence his trial.
But the defence counsel, Dele Adesina (SAN) who did not oppose the trial date pleaded with the court to release the defendant to him as a Legal Practitioner, pending when his bail application will be formally heard by the court while promising to ensure his production in court whenever he is needed for trial.
In a bench ruling, Justice Ogala granted the request to release the defendant to the lawyer and also fixed May 23 for commencement of trial.