17 February 2016, Owerri—An inquisition in respect of the gas explosion and fire incident at Intercorp Gas Plant, Nnewi, Anambra State, was yesterday flagged off in Owerri, by the Zonal Office of the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR.
Some notable participants at the event included the Managing Director of Chikason Group, Mr. Linus Ilozue, the General Manager of Intercorp Oil Nigeria Limited, Mr. Austin Nwagboso and DPR officers from Lagos, Enugu, Aba and Owerri.
Addressing the participants earlier, the Zonal Operations Controller, ZOC, Ogbuefi Morrison Nwokedi, recalled with grief that 11 innocent citizens lost their lives in the incident.
“The tragic accident occurred at a time when people were preparing for the festive season with the anticipation of joy and fanfare that comes with the end of year season. Unfortunately, 11 of them didn’t make it. The loss is irreparable”, Nwokedi said.
Continuing, the ZOC explained that as a Department bestowed by law, to regulate the oil and gas industry in Nigeria, they have a responsibility to find out what went wrong, share the learning points with others, as well as forestall a recurrence.
“Indeed, we have taken time to investigate the immediate and remote causes of the incident, visiting the site on December 26 and 31, 2015, and January 20, 2016. We have asked a lot of questions and are now here to share our findings,”Nwokedi said.
He also explained that the Mineral Oils (Safety) Regulations 1997, MOSR, is clear on the responsibilities of DPR, when an accident occurs in an oil or gas operation under licence or lease. Vanguard recalls that the second session of the inquest will involve relations of the deceased citizens and eye witnesses to the incident.