Generator fumes kill two brothers in Lagos

The increasing cases of deaths resulting from generator fumes have continued to raise fears in the country on the safety of using generator set.

Tragedy struck at Ojota area of Lagos on Tuesday when two brothers were found dead in a shop owned by their sister due to generator fumes allegedly inhaled while sleeping.

Spokesman for the police in Lagos, DSP Bala Elkana confirmed the incident on Wednesday. Elkana said they slept in the shop and put on the generator in the same place.

According to him, they were found dead by their sister on Tuesday morning.

“On May 21, at about 7.30am, Ogudu Police Station received an information that on the said date at about 6.30am, one Emmanuel John, 21 years and John Paul, 22 years were found dead.

“They died as a result of generator fumes they inhaled while asleep. We gathered that the duo put on a generator and locked themselves inside the shop, resulting to their death,” Elkana said.

The deceased were recently brought from the village for some skills acquisition before the sad incident. Relatives of the deceased had evacuated the corpses for burial.

Epileptic power supply experienced in Nigeria has been the major reason people switch to generating sets, and has become a must-have in very homes and business centres.  Generating set, emits a poisonous gas carbon monoxide (CO), usually due to the incomplete combustion of the fuel supplied.

CO is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, non-irritating and toxic gas produced primarily during the incomplete combustion of carbonaceous fuels and substances. CO poisoning is responsible for the death of more than 50% of the fatal poisonings reported in many countries

CO competes with Oxygen on the four iron sites of the haemoglobin molecule. The affinity of the haemoglobin for CO is about 210 times greater than for Oxygen, which makes the competition extremely hard for oxygen. CO attaches itself to the haemoglobin molecule to form carboxyhaemoglobin (COHb). This decreases the total capacity of the blood to transport oxygen around the body

The severity of CO poisoning depends on the concentration of CO, length of exposure, and the general underlying health status of the exposed individual. For instance, exposure to 600 ppm for 1 hour would produce throbbing headache, prolonged exposure (5 hrs plus) would progressively lead to vomiting, collapse, coma and death.

Nigeria currently has the highest rate of fatalities caused by air pollution in Africa and 4th highest in the world with 150 deaths per 100,000. Also, according to the data collected by the World Health Organization (WHO):

Nine out of 10 people across the world breathe air containing high levels of pollutants, and that this leads to 7 million extra deaths a year.

This puts the global figure of 9 million deaths, three times as many those caused by HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, and 15 times more than war and other forms of violence.

Users often locate generators near or in their homes due to population density, generator theft and noise to neighbours. Poorly serviced generators, low-quality fuel, and negligence on safety issues, also contribute to the air pollution from generating sets. Nigerians must begin to transit to cleaner sources of energy.

According to a Data on Genset Import/Export Trade, from United Nations Statistics Division in 2016, generators worth $51.055 million  were imported   in 2014/2015, and the figure is projected to hit $450 million by 2020. The data further revealed that Nigeria is the second biggest market for generator   driven economy in Africa,   after Egypt whose import stood at $58.6 million, followed by   Ethiopia $19.9 million; South Africa $18.6 million and Congo $6.9 million. Million.

In the report published by All On, “To discourage the importation, production and assembly of diesel/petrol generators and encourage the use of clean energy and energy efficient off-grid equipment, the import duty levied on wholly petrol and diesel generators be increased by an additional 2.5% every two (2) years from the start date of the Regulation imposing the additional levy”. If implemented, it will go a long way to ease transition towards cleaner sources of energy.

About Olumide Durotoluwa 71 Articles
Olumide writes regularly on Greenergie, with interests in clean tech, business modelling, and analytics. Contact him directly via

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