Nigeria: 'There May Be More Pipeline Fires in Abia Communities'

(file photo).
15 October 2018

Umuahia — A group in Abia State, Osisioma Ngwa Youths Congress (ONYC) has warned imminent pipeline explosion in their community.Public Relations Officer of the group, Princewill Nwabueze, said the warning became necessary following leakages of some pipelines in multiple points.He told The Guardian yesterday that that they would sue the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to compel it to provide succor to recent victims of pipeline explosion, which caused the deaths of many people in their communities.He disclosed that leakages have been reported along the pipelines, causing fuel to be flowing into peoples' houses at Umuaduru and Mbutu Umuaka communities.

"We are at this scene now trying to see how to relocate our people to safety, we have just contacted the state police Commissioner to help the people," he said.

He said the attention of the NNPC had again been drawn to these new leakages as was done before the last week incident.He explained: "There has been multiple pipeline leakages for over four years which were reported to the NNPC for necessary repairs. Today fuel has started flowing into people's houses."

He said the people would today march to the NNPC depot in Aba to protest against this negligence, or establish whether it is a deliberate plan to kill the people and destroy their property.When our correspondent contacted the state police commissioner, he said he was yet to get a report from his area commander in Aba.

Nwabueze disclosed that death toll from the inferno that occurred last Friday has claimed 60 lives.He said the pipeline explosion, which took place simultaneously at Umuimo and Umuadure communities in Osisioma Ngwa villages.He expressed concern that the pipelines have been faulty for some years back, efforts to make the NNPC to fix the problems yielded no fruits, and lamented that the NNPC still pumped products through the leaking pipelines without performing the needed repairs.

'While we cannot absolve some of the victims of their own errors, or dismiss the possible fact that many of them went to scoop the gushing products, we emphatically state that there was no case of vandalism on the pipeline."The number of casualties at the Umuimo scene was comparatively low because men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were on ground to keep people away from the location," he said.He, however, added that they failed to replicate the same action at the Umuaduru site, where the number of casualties was outrageous.

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