Imo: Over 100 lives lost in fire at illegal refinery

Over 100 persons were fear roasted in an explosion that rocked illegal refinery sites in the boundary between Imo and Rivers states.

Fyneface Dumnamene, Executive Director, Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC) who broke the news to Vanguard said the incident may have occurred at Abacheka, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area (ONELGA), Rivers state, but Police Public Relations Officer, Rivers Command, DSP Grace Iringe-Koko clarified that it is, “Not Rivers state, please. It is under Imo state jurisdiction.”

Fyneface had asserted that said some residents in Omoku including members of YEAC’S One Million Youth Volunteers Network of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters in the Niger Delta raised alarm over the incident at dawn.

Fineface who shared gory pictures from the razed site of the artisanal refineries narrated, “Specifically, the explosion which also burnt several vehicles that were waiting to buy the illegal products is said to have occurred in a community in Egbama area called Abacheka.

“Several bodies burnt beyond recognition lay on the ground while others who may have attempted running for safety are seen hanging on some trees branches.

“We recall similar incident happened in Rumuekpe Emohua LGA in which over 30 persons died just like last week at the Bonny/Nembe Jetty where some persons including innocent children also lost their lives in a fire incident the Rivers State Government attributed to both gas explosion and illegally refined petroleum products at the Jetty.

“That this kind of fire death still happens means the Government’s war against the menace declared by the Governor Nyesom Wike January 1, 2022 has failed to achieve its intended objective.

“We call on youths in the state to shun kpofire and align with YEAC, the National Facilitator of Project with Artisanal Crude Oil Refiners (PACOR) for Modular Refineries in the Niger Delta to demand immediate establishment of Modular Refineries and Presidential Artisanal Crude Oil Refining Development Initiative (PACORDI) among others as alternative livelihood opportunities for the youths.

“We also call on the Rivers government to reactivate the Committee on Alternative Livelihood Opportunities for Artisanal Refiners headed by the Deputy Governor to join YEAC in facilitating alternative livelihoods for Rivers’ youths involved in kpofire”.

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