Death Toll in Pipeline Explosion in Abia State, Nigeria Hits 150

Theodore Orji

A senator, Theodore Orji (Abia Central), has blamed Friday’s pipeline explosion in Abia State on alleged negligence by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Nigeria Police.

The incident occurred on Friday in Umuaduru and Umuimo villages in Osisioma Ngwa Local Government Area of the state. At least 24 persons were confirmed dead from with the senator saying about 150 died.

The Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Chikwendu Kalu, has said the state government would probe the explosion.

He said the state government would institute an investigative panel to ascertain the immediate and remote causes of the explosion.

Even though the NNPC said the explosion was caused by oil thieves, Mr Orji said otherwise. He also said the number of deaths recorded had reached 150.

“It was a fire outbreak not because of vandalization but dereliction of duty by NNPC and police. They knew that it was leaking and they even charge villagers N1200 to scoop fuel from the leaking place.

“So it was a phone that rang that day that caused the fire outbreak. Chairman of the local government had called the depot manager but he didn’t come,” he said.

The Senate mandated the committees of Petroleum Resources (downstream) and Police Affairs to investigate the incident and report back in two weeks.

It also urged the NNPC to immediately repair any damage that was caused by the explosion and mandated the National Emergency Management Agency to send relief materials to survivors.

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Meanwhile, the Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has commiserated with the people and government of Abia over the pipeline explosion which killed scores of people in the state.

He also donated N10m for the rehabilitation of survivors.

This is contained in a statement issued by the Atiku Media Office on Wednesday in Abuja.

The pipeline explosion claimed some lives and destroyed properties on October 12, in Umuimo and Umuaduru communities in Osisioma Local Government Area of Abia State.

The vice presidential candidate and former Anambra Governor, Peter Obi, representing Atiku, visited the affected communities in company with Abia Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, and other officials of the state.

Atiku said the news of the explosion was very devastating and that it was particularly touching that so many lives were lost in the incident.

He said that the fatal incident should raise the red flag for proper safety measures along all pipeline beds across the country.

 

 

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