Explosion at Nigerian illegal oil refinery kills over 100

  • Bunkering web site was on border of Rivers and Imo states
  • Illegal refining in Niger Delta fuelled by unemployment, poverty
  • Blast comes after latest crackdown by Rivers state governor

YENAGAO, Nigeria, April 23 (Reuters) – More than 100 individuals had been killed in a single day in an explosion at an illegal oil refining depot on the border of Nigeria’s Rivers and Imo states, an area authorities official and an environmental group stated on Saturday.

“The hearth outbreak occurred at an illegal bunkering web site and it affected over 100 individuals who had been burnt past recognition,” the state commissioner for petroleum assets, Goodluck Opiah, stated.

The bunkering web site was within the Ohaji-Egbema Local Government Area of Imo state within the Abaezi forest that straddles the border of the 2 states.

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Unemployment and poverty within the oil-producing Niger Delta have made illegal crude refining a beautiful enterprise however with lethal penalties. Crude oil is tapped from an internet of pipelines owned by main oil firms and refined into merchandise in makeshift tanks.

The hazardous course of has led to many deadly accidents and has polluted a area already blighted by oil spills in farmland, creeks and lagoons.

The Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre stated a number of autos that had been in a queue to purchase illegal gasoline had been burnt within the explosion.

The border location is a response to a latest crackdown by the Rivers state governor on illegal refining in an effort to scale back worsening air air pollution. read more

“The Rivers state governor has made a push not too long ago to stamp out illegal refining in Rivers so it has to maneuver to the fringes and neighbouring states. In the final month or two, there have been a number of raids and a few safety brokers concerned had been tackled,” Ledum Mitee, former president of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), stated.

At least 25 individuals, together with some kids, had been killed in an explosion and hearth at one other illegal refinery in Rivers state in October. read more

In February, native authorities stated that they had began a crackdown to attempt put a cease to the refining of stolen crude, however with little obvious success. read more

Government officers estimate that Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer and exporter, loses a mean of 200,000 barrels per day of oil – greater than 10% of manufacturing – to these tapping or vandalising pipelines.

That has pressured oil firms to repeatedly declare pressure majeure on oil and gasoline exports.

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Additional reporting by Julia Payne in Lagos, Writing by Julia Payne and MacDonald Dzirutwe, Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Ros Russell

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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