Inspector-General of Police Sunday Ehindero on Saturday called for increased surveillance of pipelines in Nigeria to avert associated deaths arising from pipeline vandalism.
"Communities and officials have greater role to play in securing the pipelines," Ehindero said at the Inagbe beach on the outskirts of Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria.
He said the police would not relent in their efforts to protect lives and property, but asked the people who are directly on ground, for intensified cooperation.
Assessing the extent of death and destruction caused by the pipeline explosion at the Inagbe beach, Ehindero described the scene as "pathetic."
According to the Lagos state government, close to 200 decomposing corpses died in the pipeline explosion would be given a mass burial.
Officials from the Lagos State Ministry of Health, the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency and the Nigerian Red Cross were putting final touches to the burial plan after which the area will be disinfected.
Thirty-five more bodies were recovered on Saturday by divers and there are indications that more bodies would be recovered.
Inagbe beach is neither residential nor populous, but hundreds of young men and women had converged there to tap fuel from a vandalized petroleum pipeline.
It is adjacent to Ilado, where about 100 people were burnt to death in a similar incident in 2005. Lagos State Health Commissioner Tolani Kasali, who visited the site on Friday, said the burial was being delayed to allow for the recovery of more bodies.
"A lot of work still needs to be done in the area including fumigation to prevent pollution," he said.
While describing the incident as "catastrophic," Kasali called on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to be more protective of its pipelines through continuous monitoring.
Lagos State Police Commissioner Emmanuel Adebayo told reporters that it was unimaginable that human beings could take such risk and cause economic sabotage and called on the government and the NNPC to put in place an enlightenment campaign against pipeline vandalism.
Similar explosions and deaths had occurred at Jesse in Delta in 2000, killing close to 1,000 villagers, at Atlas Cove in Lagos in 2001, killing dozens, in Abia in 2003 killing 125 people, and in Ilado in 2005 where about 100 perished.