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Explosion at Rivers Illegal Refinery Kills Pregnant Woman and 17 Others

Tragedy struck in the Ibas community of Emuoha Local Government Area in Rivers State as an explosion at an illegal oil refining site resulted in the loss of 18 lives, including that of a pregnant woman. The incident occurred late on a Sunday night when individuals in the community were involved in the illegal scooping of petroleum products.

According to a resident named Emmanuel, there were more than 40 people at the site, all engaged in scooping crude oil when the area suddenly erupted in flames. Tragically, seven people lost their lives inside the pit where they were working, and approximately ten were burned beyond recognition due to the intensity of the fire.

Emmanuel further reported that about 30 individuals died at the site, while over 15 were rushed to the hospital for medical attention. Regrettably, three of them reportedly passed away while en route to the hospital.

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) provided a confirmed casualty figure of 18. The spokesperson for the NSCDC in Rivers State, Olufemi Ayodele, revealed that among the deceased were a recent graduate and a lady who had her wedding scheduled for the following month.

Preliminary investigations suggested that the explosion was caused by a local refinery cooking pot constructed in close proximity to an oil reservoir containing flammable materials. As the burning temperature rose, it eventually led to the eruption of the fire, resulting in the tragic loss of lives.

Ayodele emphasized the importance of collaboration with various community stakeholders, including traditional institutions, community youths, and religious leaders, to combat illegal oil bunkering activities. He called on residents to provide credible intelligence and information to the NSCDC to aid in the fight against vandalism of oil pipelines and the protection of critical national assets and infrastructure in Rivers State.

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