Not less than 18 people, including a pregnant woman, have lost their lives following an explosion in an illegal oil refining site in Ibas community in the Emuoha Local Government Area of Rivers State.
News About Nigeria gathered that the painful incident happened late Sunday night when some people in the community were scooping petroleum products.
Confirming the tragic incident, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, gave the casualty figure as 18.
According to a statement by the spokesperson of the NSCDC, Rivers State Command, Olufemi Ayodele, the deceased included a fresh graduate and a lady whose wedding was scheduled for next month.
The NSCDC spokesperson revealed that, 18 persons were burnt to death while 25 persons at the site were rescued by operatives.
Ayodele also stated that preliminary investigations showed that the explosion was caused by a local refinery cooking pot constructed close to an oil reservoir that contained combustible materials.
He said the burning temperature eventually became too high and the environment gutted the fire.
Ayodele therefore called on stakeholders and residents of the community to partner with NSCDC inorder to fight against oil bunkering which according to him has done more harm than good to the people.
“There is a need for conscious effort and stronger collaborations with the traditional institutions, community youths, and religious leaders amongst others to fight against oil bunkering activities in our various communities and this begins with giving credible intelligence and information to the NSCDC which remains the lead agency in the fight against vandalism of oil pipelines and protection of critical national assets and Infrastructures in Rivers State,” Ayodele said.