13 September 2018, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — Abia State was thrown into mourning on Friday as pipeline explosions in Unuimo and Umuaduru communities in Osisioma Local Government Area of the state claimed at least 40 lives, with several houses razed.
Our correspondent gathered that the explosions occurred on a badly vandalised Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, pipeline which supplies products from Aba to Enugu fuel depot, but has not been in used for a long time, until products were pumped into it on Thursday.
As a result, villagers flocked to the vandalised points to scoop the leaking petroleum products, which led to the explosion on Friday morning. Scores who sustained various degrees of injuries, are receiving treatment in various hospitals.
Public Relations Officer of Osisioma Ngwa Youth Congress, Mr. Nwabueze Princewill, who confirmed the incident, described the situation as a colossal loss.
Princewill, who blamed the NNPC for the explosion, said the youth body will take up a legal action against the company to get justice for the deceased persons.
“We want to officially confirm the tragedy that has befallen our community, Osisioma Ngwa. The leadership of the Osisioma Ngwa Youth Congress has taken time to visit the various sites. It’s a colossal loss.
“Over 40 persons are already dead, and properties worth millions of naira lost.
“The incident is the solely the fault of the NNPC. While we mourn this loss with a heavy heart, we will take legal measures to make sure we get justice on behalf of the deceased. In no time we will make available a comprehensive report,” the youth leader said.