Southern Nigeria: Gas Explosion Causes Fear

An explosion occurs at a fuel station in north Accra, capital of Ghana, Oct. 7, 2017. The explosion happening late Saturday left at least two people dead. (Xinhua/Shi Song) (yk)

Scores of local residents have been reported missing in southern Nigeria following a gas explosion at a trunk line at the Niger Delta area, local authorities confirmed on Saturday.

The incident since Friday has caused panic in the Nembe area of the southern state of Bayelsa, as many residents, including women and children, fled for safety, the local Nembe Chiefs Council said.

Nengi James-Eriworio, a spokesman for the Nembe Chiefs Council, told Xinhua that at least six communities were affected by the disaster. Fishing is the source of livelihood of the local Nembe people.

“This incident has caused massive destruction of the area with air and water heavily polluted,” James-Eriworio said.

The cause of Friday’s explosion is not known. And no injuries or other casualties have been confirmed so far.

However, almost 60 or more people have also been reported missing, a top security officer in Bayelsa told Xinhua by telephone on Saturday.

“It is not clear whether those missing, including women and children, are dead or alive,” the security source said.

The creek trunk line is operated by Aiteo Group, based in Nigeria’s oil hub Port-Harcourt.

The trunk line carries crude to the Bonny export terminal. The pipeline is also jointly owned by Shell Petroleum Development Company, Oando, and Agip.

For many years, communities around Nigeria’s onshore Niger Delta have complained of large spills from oil pipelines.

Local and foreign oil firms operating in the area have also blamed the oil spills on sabotage, illegal refining, and theft by the local people. Enditem

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