… five cars, tricycle, others burnt
At least, 12 persons have been confirmed dead following an early morning explosion at a crude oil tapping point in Rumuekpe community, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The incident occurred at about 2 am on Friday when one of the buses loaded with crude went up in flames while trying to navigate to an illegal refining point in the area.
An environmentalist and executive director of Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre, Fyneface Dumnamene confirmed the incident to our correspondent.
Dumnamene said the explosion occurred at the Trans Niger Pipeline operated by the Shell Petroleum Development Commission.
He stated, “Report reaching YEAC-Nigeria through its Crude Oil Spill Alert System and members of its One Million Youth Volunteers Network of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters in the Niger Delta” in Rumuekpe Community, Emuoha, has it that an explosion at a crude oil tapping point has left many people dead.
“The explosion happened at about 2 am today, Friday, March 3, 2023, when one of the buses that were loaded with crude oil to drive to another area where the refining will take place in artisanal refineries kicked his vehicle leading to the explosion.
“The explosion and fire which left dozens including women dead and burnt beyond recognition with many other vehicles and tricycles burnt to ashes at the tapping point were said to be on the Trans Niger Delta Pipeline that passed through the community.
He added that all those who were at the exact tapping point in the “pit” got killed while some of those who had loaded the crude and waiting to load including women were killed by the explosion.
It was gathered that security operatives and firefighters have been deployed to the scene as of the time of filling this report.
The spokesperson of the Rivers State Police Command, Grace Iringe-Koko also said four vehicles, a tricycle and one motorcycle were burned to ashes.
The statement added that “preliminary investigation by the Police Command indicates that the victims were scooping crude product when the site caught fire.
“So far, about 12 persons are believed to have been burnt to death. The identities of the victims are still unknown.
“Five vehicles, four Keke NAPEP, and one motorcycle were all burned to ashes.
“Meanwhile, the Rivers State Commissioner of Police has again admonished members of the public to stay away from illegal oil bunkering.”
She advised members of the public to report any incident or development they believe has the potential to lead to crime or breakdown of law and order to the police for prompt action.