Police commence investigation into Rivers explosion

THE Rivers State Police Command has commenced an investigation into the explosion that claimed many lives in the state on Sunday, October 1.

The explosion occurred at an illegal oil refining site in Ibaa community, Emuoha Local Government Area of the state.

According to the Force, pipeline vandalism was the primary cause of the fire, and the investigation was intended to identify the criminals and bring them to justice.

This information was contained in a statement titled WRivers State Police Command Addresses Fatal Pipeline Fire Tragedy,” released on Wednesday, September 4, and distributed to reporters by Grace Iringe-Koko, the state police command’s spokesperson.

On Monday, October 2, the state spokesperson for the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Olufemi Ayodele, said 25 injured victims were rescued while 18 persons were burnt beyond recognition.

However, the Police said 20 people were injured, and 15 others were burnt to death, even as reports claimed about 35 died.

The Police, in the statement, described the explosion as devastating.

“On Sunday, October 1, 2023, at 23:30 hours, the Rivers State Police Command received distress information about a tragic fire explosion at Ibaa community, Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State. Regrettably, 15 individuals, among them a pregnant woman, lost their lives in this devastating incident, while an additional 20 people suffered various degrees of burn injuries.

“These casualties were a result of an explosion at an oil pipeline owned by a major oil company, which had been illegally accessed for crude oil extraction within a forested area,” the Police stated.



    The Force noted that its patrol team from Rumuji Division promptly arrived at the scene, documented the incident with photographs, and facilitated a dignified evacuation of the deceased for proper burial by their families.

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    It stressed that those who sustained burn injuries were swiftly transported to nearby medical facilities for treatment.

    “The Rivers State Police Command has initiated a thorough investigation to ascertain the root cause of this pipeline vandalisation with the intention of bringing the culprits to justice,” the statement added.

    The Rivers State Police Commissioner, Nwonyi Emeka, implored parents and guardians to take responsibility for guiding their children and wards from activities that could disrupt the quest for peaceful and sustainable development throughout the state.

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