It has been reported that at least 50 people died in a gas explosion after explosion occurred on Osisioma pipeline in Aba, Abia state.
An official said late Saturday, there is possibility that the death toll might rise.
“At the moment, we have 50 casualties but we will have a comprehensive report on Monday when we go to all the hospitals,” Evans Ugoh, southeast regional head of the National Emergency Management Agency, told Anadolu Agency.
Ugoh said the explosion occurred in the early hours of Saturday when people were scooping fuel from a damaged pipeline through which the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, ferries refined crude oil to its depot in Enugu, the capital city of Enugu state.
“The pipeline caught fire when they were scooping fuel, resulting in a huge explosion. A whole building was razed in the inferno while dozens of people were injured,” he said.
Meanwhile, the NNPC, has directed its subsidiary, the Petroleum Products Marketing Company, PPMC to commence trucking of products to avert shortage of products in the region.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), had Thursday night reported that its oil pipeline along the Osisioma axis near Aba Depot is on fire.
The fire affected its System 2E pipeline network.
The corporation suspects the incident might have been caused by oil thieves who had hacked into the line to intercept flow of petrol from Port Harcourt to Aba.
NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, confirmed fatalities and loss of properties in the ensuing inferno but did not give figures.
Ughamadu said the corporation’s safety experts, along with men of the Abia State Fire Service, had swung into action to contain the situation, saying updates on the situation would be provided as events unfold.
Ughammadu told our Correspondent that several buildings and lives were lost and actual figures are being compiled in collaboration withthe Nigerian Security and Civil Defence, NCSDC.
Ndu said as an interim measure, the Corporation has ordered PPMC to resort to trucking of products to ensure it has minimal effects on distribution efforts.
NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, expressed shock at the wanton willful destruction of lives and properties occasioned by the incident.
The GMD prayed that God reposes the souls of the innocent ones that perished in the incident, even as he warned members of the public against tempering with oil and gas facilities many of which he said were inflammable.
Dr. Baru called on host communities to create avenues to moderate criminal tendencies of a few bad eggs living among them.