Mixed reactions trail death of over 100 persons in Imo oil bunkering explosion

MIXED reactions have trailed the death of more than 100 persons in an explosion at an oil bunkering site in Imo State on Friday night.

While most Nigerians expressed shock over the incident, some others blamed oil bunkering on the high rate of poverty and hunger in the country, which they say would not allow the illegal activity to stop.

At least 109 persons died when an illegal crude oil refining site at Abaezi forest in Ohaji-Egbema Local Government Area of the state exploded.

Residents woke to see the firestorm, which burnt scores of people involved in the business beyond recognition.

Charred remains littered the forest following hours of the blaze that raged throughout the night and prevented terrified residents from coming close.

The inferno also consumed at least six vehicles.

However, some victims escaped with varying degrees of burns.

Providing an update on the tragedy Friday night, the Head of Operations of the National Emergency Management Agency, Ifeanyi Nnaji, said 109 bodies were recovered from the forest.

Multiple reports also said many people involved in the activity drowned while attempting to escape.

The State Governor Hope Uzodinma sympathized with family members of the victims but condemned the illegal business.

Represented by the state commissioner for petroleum resources, Goodluck Oprah, Uzodinma said all the victims were burnt beyond recognition.

He said, “Most of the people engaging in this act are from Rivers, Bayelsa and other neighbouring states, and it is sabotage for our people to allow this illegal activity to continue.”

While decrying the impact of the tragedy on agricultural and aquatic lives in the area, the governor appealed to the people to desist from the business, which he described as suicidal.

Some Nigerians who commented on the disaster in different posts on a Facebook Page, “Egbema United HQ”, allegedly created for Egbema people said the business would continue in the area.

Screenshot of reactions to the calamity on Egbema Community Facebook Page (1)

Checks by our reporter showed that the majority of people who wrote on the platform expressed sympathy over the incident. Most of them also condemned the activity.

Temple Ndubuokwu opined that residents of the area would not desist from the business despite the tragedy.



    He wrote: “Our people won’t hear. After a while, they will continue.”

    Eng. Gideon Nkemakolam said: “If bunkering stops, Egbema will be hell. No home for everyone… Raping and all sot of evil will be on the high side.”

    Similarly, Tony Jay wrote: “Before saying no to bunkering, you should consider that after saying no to it, you would still end up dying of hunger.”

    Collin Dubem also said: “Saying no to bunkering, does it stop people from dying?”

    Marcus bears the light, and he beams it everywhere. He's a good governance and decent society advocate. He's The ICIR Reporter of the Year 2022 and has been the organisation's News Editor since September 2022. Contact him via email @ [email protected].

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