Dozens killed by explosion at illegal refinery in Imo

Many people were feared dead on Friday night when an explosion rocked an illegal crude oil refinery in the Abaezi forest in the Ohaji-Egbema local government area. IMO status. PREMIUM TIMES has learned that several people were also seriously injured and six vehicles swept away in the incident. State Petroleum Resources Commissioner Goodluck Opiah, who visited the area on Saturday, said the incident was unfortunate. Opiah described the illegal supply of oil as a “suicidal business”. During his on-site assessment visit, the commissioner said he could not confirm the true number of casualties. “At the moment I cannot really confirm the number of deceased because many relatives have removed the bodies of so many others,” the commissioner was quoted as saying by local media. Multiple witnesses in the local media, however, put the number of victims between 100 and 200, as of Saturday. The commissioner said the state government declared the owner of the illegal refinery, Okenze Onyenwaoke, wanted. He advised Mr. Onyenwaoke to immediately make himself available to the police. “Most of the people participating in this act are from Rivers, Bayelsa and other neighboring states and it is a sabotage of our people to allow this illegal act to continue. “In addition to this calamity, the act has destroyed the aquatic life of the community. Our people before now were predominantly farmers and fishermen. “Look around you, you will find smoke rising from this illegal act. If this isn’t enough to make one person stop, I think the community is headed for what I can’t describe,” said Mr. Opiah, a native of the area. An area resident, Daniel Opara, told PREMIUM TIMES that most of the victims of the incident were young. He said that the people could not escape because the fire covered the entire forest. “I rarely see older people involved in this illegal act. They are mostly young,” she said. Mr. Opara, however, could not say whether the people were all from the state or from neighboring states. “It’s a popular business here. I think they make it there, that’s why they take so much risk,” he added. A video clip filmed at the scene of the incident and shared on various social media platforms shows horrific images of victims burned beyond recognition littering the environment. Oil theft, known as “fueling” in the local parlance, has been a matter of concern to many stakeholders across the country. The Nigerian government was reported to be losing an estimated $4 billion a year due to oil theft activities. In Rivers State, air pollution, especially soot in and around Port Harcourt, the state capital, has been attributed to the operation of illegal oil refineries. Read More Related News Here Let here it in the comment below if you do have an opinion on this; Dozens killed by explosion at illegal refinery in Imo