• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
businessday logo


Over 60 burnt to death in Imo- Rivers illegal refinery explosion

Rivers oil community explosion

An explosion related to either crude oil or gas has occurred at a location between Rivers and Imo states today, Saturday, April 23, 2022, and over 60 persons are feared roasted to death.

Initial outcry said it was a gas explosion, but latest hints from the place said it could be an oil bunkering site. Footages from the place showed roasted bodies lining up along the path, showing that people were trying to escape. If confirmed to be scooping site, it would not be the first in the oil region where massive deaths have occurred in such horrible circumstances. It may not also be the last.

BusinessDay gathered that the location could be between Okuizu and Abacheta on the side of Imo State or Egbema on the side of Rivers State.

Sources from the boundary area and the local council said the incident happened in Abacheke, Egbema in Imo State but also affects the people of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local council of Rivers State who are very close neighbours.

Other sources said the fire raged across farm lands.

The chairman of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local government of Rivers State, Vincent Job, has confirmed the tragedy and commiserated with the families of the Egbema victims.

Read also:  Soot: Don’t destroy recovered crude oil vessels, trucks, expert tells Rivers

A statement by the chief press secretary of the council, Ndu Ajie, condemned the activities of illegal refiners, but conveyed the chairman’s deep-seated condolences to the families of the victims.

The statement warned youth’s to desist from illegal oil refining or any nefarious activities capable of truncating their future but should channel their energies towards meaningful ventures.

Job called for calm as he revealed that law enforcement agencies would continue with investigations.

Meanwhile the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) has confirmed the incident said the disaster happened on an illegal bunkering site in that area.

Zonal Director of NOSDRA, Ekanem Ime, told newsmen that the agency has began investigations to ascertain the cause of the fire incident but that it would not immediately confirm if it is a gas explosion or crude oil fire incident.

The NOSDRA boss said the agency is also investigating the company’s pipeline that the illegal bunkering is feeding from.

It was also gathered that the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) now the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) may join NOSDRA to embark on a joint investigation visit by next week.