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10 feared dead as pipeline explodes in Rivers

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There was pandemonium on Saturday at the Oyibo Local Government Area of Rivers State following an explosion in a pipeline in the area. About ten persons were reported killed from the tragic accident.

The incident reportedly occurred in Kom Kom community of the LGA, about midday yesterday. Sources close to the scene said the explosion sparked off fire which supposedly burnt the victims.

The Police in the state confirmed the incident but could not ascertain the actual number of casualty as at the time of filing this report.

Meanwhile President Muhammadu Buhari has asked for a thorough investigation to determine what is responsible for the gas pipeline tragedy in Oyibo Local Government Area of Rivers State in which several fatalities were reported.

The President, according to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, is extremely pained by the losses of life in the incident and expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and to the government and people of Rivers State.

Confirming the explosion, spokesman of the State Police Command, Nnamdi Omoni, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said, ‘It is true that there was pipeline explosion in Kom Kom area of Oyibo LGA, but we cannot ascertain the number of casualties now, but our men are there to calm the situation and do the necessity.”

He said the State Police Command has commenced full scale investigation on the incident.

Also, the Executive Chairman of the council, Gerald Oforji, confirmed the incident and put the number of lives lost at 10

Oforji said the bodies of the victims were recovered from the scene after the fire was put out.

He said that no house was destroyed when the explosion occurred.

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However, earlier reports said the affected pipeline belonged to SPDC. But the spokesman of Shell, Bamidele  Oladosu, was reported to have denied any report of explosion on the company’s Oyigboland facility.

A source in NNPC, who spoke in confidence yesterday evening, stated that the exploded pipeline was conveying Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) from Port Harcourt to Aba, before vandals tampered with it to steal fuel, leading to the explosion.

The top official of NNPC also insisted that the pipeline was not that of the Anglo/Dutch oil giant, the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), as being insinuated.

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