After more individuals died from their injuries, the death toll from an explosion at an illegal refinery in southern Nigeria has risen to over 100. According to police, the explosion happened late Friday at an unauthorized facility between the southern oil states of Rivers and Imo. The death toll has risen to 110 from 80, as additional people succumbed to their injuries, “stated National Emergency Management Agency spokesperson Ifeanyi Nnaji (NEMA).
Hundreds of individuals “with severe burns” are still in hospitals, according to Ifeanyi, who supervises NEMA activities in the area. He stated earlier Sunday that at least 80 people had died, but that more could die from their injuries. “We learned that a number of bodies had been discovered in adjacent bushes and forests, as some illegal operators and their customers scurried to safety.” It was full of burned-out cars and jerry-cans that had been used to get stolen oil and petroleum products, says Nnaji.
The explosion happened late Friday at the site of an illicit refinery, although police could not say how many people were killed. An inquiry is ongoing, according to Idris Musa, the chairman of the state-run National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency. “Several people died,” he said, “especially those who were doing illegal oil refining and putting fuel in boats.”
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari called the occurrence a “national disaster” and a “catastrophe,” according to his office. He stated that the backers of the illicit refinery “must all be apprehended and brought to punishment.” Leader: Nigeria’s security and intelligence agencies have been told to step up their fight against illegal refineries.
According to Imo state officials, police were looking for the suspected owner of the illicit refinery. The owner would be prosecuted, according to Goodluck Opiah, the state commissioner for petroleum sources. The blast, according to Opiah, also wiped out aquatic life in the nearby area, which is primarily used by farmers and fishermen. He said that the offenders were from neighboring states in the region, and that those responsible should be charged as “economic saboteurs.”
As part of its anti-theft operations, the government has dispatched the military to raid and dismantle illegal refineries in the Niger delta. Hundreds of illicit refineries still litter the swamps, creeks, and seas of the impoverished Niger delta, producing spills and degradation of the environment despite the government’s crackdown.
The security authorities, according to Tunji Oyebanji, chairman of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Downstream Group, “are not doing enough to curb unlawful refining in the Niger delta.” As long as security forces are lackadaisical in enforcing the law, unwholesome behavior will fester, “he stated. He advocated harsher penalties for illegal operators and their clients. He remarked, referring to the local phrase for stealing and illicit refining, “the motivation for bunkering should be avoided.” “No one will do it if there is no demand for unlawful things.”