Residents of Komkom community in Oyigbo local government area of Rivers state were left in shock and apprehension on Saturning following the explosion of an oil pipeline.
The explosion, which claimed ten lives, affected the pipelines supplying crude oil to eastern states.
Nnamdi Omoni, the state’s police spokesperson, said the villagers went there to scoop the product before it triggered the explosion.
“The casualty rate is what we cannot ascertain for now. There has been speculation. We have not been able to get an accurate figure. In the next couple of hours, we will get that because our men are still there, including the area commander, to ensure that there won’t be breach of peace,” he said.
“We have been able to restore normalcy. It was unfortunate that when the pipeline caught fire, the villagers went there to scoop the product and in the process, the fire caught them. Moreover, we have been able to take some to the hospital.
“Engineers from Shell were there for routine maintenance of the pipelines. So, they were lawfully there to carry out their duty. Unfortunately, by accident or design, there was an explosion, which we have put under control. The fire was put out, but the villagers in their quest to maximize the situation, some of them were consumed by the fire.”