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General News of Friday, 3 March 2023


12 people burnt to death in Rivers oil pipeline explosion

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At least 12 people have been confirmed dead following an oil pipeline explosion from an illegal oil bunkering site in Rivers State, South-south Nigeria.

The incident occurred in the early hours of Friday in the Rumuekpe community, in the Emohua Local Government Area of the state.

The police spokesperson in the state, Grace Iringe-Koko, said in a statement in Port Harcourt on Friday that the identities of the victim were unknown.

“Preliminary investigation by the Police Command indicates that the victims were scooping crude products when the site caught fire.

“Five vehicles, four Tricycles (Keke NAPEPs), and one motorcycle were all burned to ashes,” Mrs Iringe-Koko, a police superintendent, said.

Pipeline sabotage, illegal oil bunkering and refining have been on the increase in the oil-producing Niger Delta despite efforts by the government at tackling the menace.

Security agents have frequently discovered crude oil being tapped from a web of pipelines owned by oil companies in the area and refined into products in makeshift tanks.

The illegal oil business has resulted in severe pollution of the environment and many fatal accidents.

The latest incident brings to 32 the number of people that have died in the Rumuekpe community because of illegal bunkering in less than two years.

Guardian newspaper reported in October 2021 how the illegal refining of petroleum products killed 20 people in the Rumuekpe community.

According to the newspaper, youths of the community were siphoning petroleum products from several pipelines within the stretch of the community when an explosion occurred.

Business Day newspaper reported in April last year that over 60 persons were killed in Imo-Rivers illegal refinery explosion. The incident occurred at the boundary area of Rivers and Imo States.