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12 die in Rivers explosion caused by oil vandals



12 die in Rivers explosion caused by oil vandals

An early morning explosion at a crude oil tapping point in Rumuekpe, in Rivers State’s Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, has killed at least 12 people.

Around 2 a.m. on Friday, one of the buses carrying crude oil caught fire while attempting to navigate to an illegal refining point in the area.

Fyneface Dumnamene, Executive Director of the Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre, confirmed the incident to our correspondent.

According to Dumnamene, the explosion occurred at the Shell Petroleum Development Commission’s trans-Niger pipeline..


He stated, “Reports reaching the YEAC-Nigeria through its Crude Oil Spill Alert System and members of its One Million Youth Volunteers Network of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters in the Niger Delta in Rumuekpe community, Emuoha, have it that explosion at a crude oil tapping point has left many people dead.

“The explosion happened around 2am on Friday, March 3, 2023, when one of the buses loaded with crude oil tried to drive to another area where the refining will take place in artisanal refineries.

“The explosion and fire, which left many, including women, dead and burnt beyond recognition with many other vehicles and tricycles burnt to ashes at the tapping point, was said to be on the trans-Niger Delta pipeline that passed through the community.”

He added, “All those who were at the exact tapping point in the pit got killed, while some of those who had loaded the crude and waiting to load, including women, were also killed by the explosion.”


The spokesperson for the Rivers State Police Command, Grace Iringe-Koko, in a statement said 12 people died in the explosion.

She added that four vehicles, a tricycle and one motorcycle were burnt.

The statement added, “Preliminary investigation by the police command indicates that the victims were scooping crude product when the site caught fire.

“So far, about 12 persons are believed to have been burnt to death. The identities of the victims are still unknown. Five vehicles, four Keke Napep, and one motorcycle were all burnt to ashes.”


A spokesman for the SPDC, Michael Adande, confirmed the explosion, saying a technical team was working with relevant government agencies to put out the fire from the incident.

“Thereafter, an investigation into the incident by a government-led joint investigation team will commence to ascertain the cause of the incident,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Rivers Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps has decried the activities of illegal oil bunkerers in the state.

The state Commandant, Michael Ogar, made the remark when he visited the scene of the explosion on Friday.

He also confirmed that 12 persons died while scooping crude from a burst pipeline linked to an illegal bunkering site when fire suddenly ignited.


“We totally condemn the defiant behaviour of those engaging in illegal oil bunkering activities in Rumuekpe community.

“The explosion claimed the lives of 12 persons whose identities are yet unknown, while five cars and four tricycles were burnt to ashes.

“We condole with the families of those who lost their lives in the accident and call on perpetrators to learn a big lesson from this heinous act,” he added.

The Chief Executive, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Gbenga Komolafe, in a statement, said an investigation had started into the incident.


Komolafe stated that NUPRC would take necessary measures to ensure that all safety and environmental measures were put in place during the investigation.

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