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Vandalised pipeline explosion in Rivers State kills 20 residents

Reports suggest that the inferno was triggered by attempts by suspected oil thieves to light mosquito coils, neglecting the dangers associated with illicit oil activities.

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Vandalised pipeline explosion in Rivers State kills 20 residents

In a devastating incident, at least 20 lives have been lost following an explosion from an illegal oil tapping point in Omoku, Ogba/Egebema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State.

The catastrophe unfolded on a Sunday morning when local youths reportedly broke a pipeline owned by a multinational oil company operating in the area.

Eyewitnesses revealed that chaos ensued as individuals started using jerry cans and buckets to scoop fuel from the vandalised pipeline.

While 20 persons are feared dead, numerous others have sustained varying degrees of burns and are currently receiving treatment in different hospitals in the vicinity.

The tragic event, described as “a very terrible incident,” prompted reactions from local residents, highlighting the grim aftermath of oil-related activities.

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A source explained, “If you go to the General Hospital and other private clinics in Omoku, you will see many of the injured people scattered all over the place in both government and private hospitals taking treatment.”

Reports suggest that the inferno was triggered by attempts by suspected oil thieves to light mosquito coils, neglecting the dangers associated with illicit oil activities.

The chairman of Niger Delta Youth Movement, ONELGA chapter, Emeka Ukwuosah, urged local youths to pursue meaningful endeavors and desist from engaging in oil bunkering.

Ukwuosah emphasised the need for heightened vigilance by security agencies and called on multinational oil companies to upgrade their facilities to prevent similar incidents.

The Assistant Secretary of the Onelga Security Peace Advisory Council, Emeka Agbabere, attributed the tragic event to illegal oil bunkering, lamenting the lack of compliance with previous calls to halt such activities.

Despite efforts by the vigilante group, the Community Development Committee, and local youths directed by a monarch to curb oil bunkering, the incident has raised concerns about the effectiveness of anti-bunkering campaigns.

The aftermath of the pipeline breach resulted in an immediate and intense fire, claiming the lives of 19 individuals on the spot, with an additional 12 reported dead in two different hospitals.

The Rivers State Police Command spokesperson, Grace Iringe-Koko, stated that the incident had not been officially reported, promising to provide updates soon.

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