The death toll from Friday’s oil pipeline explosion in two Abia communities in Osisioma local government area of the state has risen to 24, the commissioner of Police, Mr Anthony Ogbizi, has said.
Ogbizi made this known while briefing newsmen in Umuahia on Saturday, after visiting the scene of the explosion.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Benito Eze, the state commander of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, had on Friday, confirmed to newsmen that 19 persons, including a nursing mother, died on the spot.
“When we visited the two communities on Saturday, we were informed that 14 people had died at Umuimo, while 10 died at Umuaduru. Some of the victims who sustained various degrees of burns were said to be asleep, when the incidence occurred. They were subsequently taken to nearby hospitals and traditional medicine homes for treatment,” he said.
According to the police boss, management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Aba depot, blamed the explosion on spillage from a pipeline that was undergoing maintenance.
“According to the information we obtained from the NNPC depot in Aba, the spillage occurred on a pipeline that conveys product from Aba depot that was undergoing maintenance.”
He said that the incident was being investigated by the command in conjunction with other security agencies in the state to determine the possible cause.
NAN reports that the explosions occurred simultaneously at about 2.47am and 3am at Umuaduru and Umuimo villages respectively, both in Umueze Autonomous Community in Osisioma LGA.
Meanwhile, an undisclosed number of victims who sustained severe burns, are still receiving treatment in different hospitals in the area. (NAN)
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