Africa

Nigeria in pictures: The firemen of Lagos

A fireman cools off after petrol tankers, belonging to an oil service company, caught fire at Ogba neighbourhood in Nigeria"s commercial capital Lagos February 2, 2010. No injuries were reported. Image copyright Akintunde Akinleye

It is not uncommon for fuel tankers to burst into flames on the streets of Lagos, Nigeria's largest city. For the last decade photographer Akintunde Akinleye has been capturing the moment firemen turn up:

Image copyright Akintunde Akinleye
Image caption Fuel tanker explosions are so common in Lagos that local media have been known to report multiple fires in one night.
Image copyright Akintunde Akinleye
Image caption The state governor Akinwunmi Ambode recently blamed frequent tanker explosions on drivers' carelessness causing crashes. Bad brakes have also been blamed.
Image copyright Akintunde Akinleye
Image caption The fire service is not well equipped for a city the size of Lagos. There are very few fire-fighting vehicles and they have been known to go to the scene of a fire without water.
Image copyright Akintunde Akinleye
Image caption The fire service in Lagos is not a particularly big one - there are 13 fire stations in a city of about 20 million people. Its equipment is also not designed to cope with Lagos' many high-rise buildings.
Image copyright Akintunde Akinleye
Image caption However, it is the best-equipped service in Nigeria, though the firemen risk their lives for poor pay. Fire is not the only risk - they have been attacked by angry people who accuse them of arriving late.
Image copyright Akintunde Akinleye
Image caption Firemen are also vulnerable to attacks from people who do not want them to put out fires so they can use the confusion of a fire outbreak to loot.
Image copyright Akintunde Akinleye
Image caption Reports after this fire in 2012 said people tried to loot this wreckage of a plane. It had fallen from the sky and burst into flames when it hit a printing works.

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