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Tragedy Strikes as Illegal Oil Tapping Point Explodes in Rivers State



In a devastating incident, over 30 lives were lost in an explosion at an illicit oil tapping site in Omoku, Rivers State. The catastrophe unfolded on a Sunday morning when local youths allegedly breached a pipeline owned by a multinational oil company, resorting to using jerrycans and buckets to extract fuel.

While the death toll is feared to be 30, numerous individuals sustained varying degrees of burns, prompting their admission to different hospitals in the area. A community source expressed profound grief, highlighting the severity of the incident and the revelation that youths were responsible for breaching the company’s pipeline.

Visits to both the General Hospital and private clinics in Omoku reveal the injured scattered across facilities, receiving treatment for their burns. The inferno, ignited by suspected oil thieves attempting to light mosquito coils, originated from a pipeline deemed obsolete, belonging to one of the operating oil companies in the region.

Addressing the aftermath, Emeka Ukwuosah, Chairman of the Niger Delta Youth Movement, ONELGA chapter, condemned the ongoing oil bunkering within ONELGA. Ukwuosah urged security agencies to intensify efforts in monitoring the situation and called upon multinational oil facilities to upgrade their aging infrastructure to prevent such incidents.

Emeka Agbabere, Assistant Secretary of the Onelga Security Peace Advisory Council, attributed the tragedy to illegal oil bunkering. Despite the vigilante group, Community Development Committee, and local youths receiving directives from a monarch to halt oil bunkering, the incident unfolded, resulting in immediate fatalities and subsequent deaths in hospitals.

Expressing dismay at the failure of repeated campaigns to deter youths from illegal bunkering, Agbabere called for a collective effort to curb such activities. While awaiting further details, the state police command spokesperson, Grace Iringe-Koko, assured investigation into the tragic event. Iringe-Koko was yet to provide additional information at press time.

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