No fewer than 10 persons lost their lives at the Kom Kom axis of Oyigbo in Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State when a pipeline exploded yesterday.
Community sources said the pipeline belonged to Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), but Shell’s spokesman, Bamidele Oladosu, said there was no record of any explosion on any SPDC facility in Oyigbo.
A resident of the area, Jude Nwanma, said people of Izuoma, where the incident occurred, woke up to a thunderous explosion that occurred from a pipeline that crisscrossed the village.
Nwanma said more than 10 persons died in the explosion.
He said the explosion caused pandemonium in the area as residents scampered for safety.
“It was around 08:00am when we heard a loud explosion. Most of the residents were still in their houses when the loud explosion occurred. I woke and gathered all my family members together before we moved out of the house.
“As we were moving out I saw billows of smoke coming from the pipeline not very far from my house. I saw many persons running out of their houses too. I did not exactly know what was happening. We just heard a loud explosion which was followed with billows of smoke.
“It was later that I learnt that the explosion occurred in one of the pipelines and that more than 10 persons lost their lives in the incident,” he said.
The Chairman of Oyigbo Local Government Area, Gerald Oforji, who confirmed the story, said 10 persons died in the explosion.
Oforji said the bodies of the victims were recovered from the scene when the fire was put out, but that no house was destroyed.
When contacted, the Rivers State Police Command Public Relations Officer, Nnamdi Omoni, confirmed the story, but said he was yet to be briefed on the number of casualties.
Omoni said the incident occurred when workers of a company were carrying out repair work in one of their pipelines at Kom Kom in Oyigbo.
He said the state police command had commenced investigation into the incident.