More than 100 people have been killed in an explosion at an illegal Nigerian oil refinery

  • The bunker was on the border of rivers and emo states
  • Illegal refining in the Niger Delta was triggered by poverty
  • Blast following the recent repression of the Governor of the Rivers State

YENAGAO, Nigeria, April 24 (Reuters) – Burnt bodies were scattered between palm trees, cars and vans on Sunday in a weekend blast that killed more than 100 people at an illegal oil refinery on the border of Nigeria’s rivers and Emo states.

The flip flops, bags and clothes belonging to the dead were scattered on the floor, which was darkened by oil and smoke, while still emitting smoke in some places even though it rained all night.

“Many people have died here. I beg the government to take care of this,” business bike rider Uche Vogue told Reuters at the scene of Saturday night’s bombing.

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The Nigerian Red Cross went on Sunday to assess the bombing, which destroyed part of the Abyssinian jungle, which borders the Overseas State of Ohoji-Ekbema in Emo State.

Nigerian President Mohammed Buhari said in a statement that he would intensify the ban on illegal refineries after describing it as a “disaster” and a “national disaster”.

Unemployment and poverty in the oil-producing Niger Delta have made illegal refining attractive, but often with deadly consequences. Crude oil is pumped out of a network of pipelines owned by large oil companies and refined into temporary tanks.

The process has led to dangerous accidents and has already polluted an area affected by oil spills on farmland, streams and ponds.

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On April 24, 2022, a man stands at the scene of an explosion that killed more than 100 people in an illegal crude oil bunker in the Abyssinian jungle in the Ohaji-Ekbema local area of ‚Äč‚ÄčNigeria’s Emo state. REUTERS / Tife Owolabi

The Center for Youth and Environmental Protection said several vehicles parked in line to buy illegal fuel were set on fire.

“A fire broke out in an illegal bunker, which affected more than 100 people,” said Goodluck Ophia, the state commissioner for petroleum resources.

The location of this border is a reaction to the recent repression of rivers on illegal treatment in an attempt to reduce bad air pollution. read more

“In the last month or two, there have been a number of trials, and some security agencies have been involved,” said Ledam Mitti, former head of the Okoni People’s Movement for Survival (MOSOP).

An explosion and fire at another illegal refinery in Rivers State in October killed at least 25 people, including some children. read more

In February, local authorities said they had launched an operation to refine the stolen crude oil, but apparently were not successful. read more

Government officials estimate that Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer and exporter, loses an average of 200,000 barrels of oil a day, more than 10% of production, due to illegal tapping or damaging pipes.

This has forced oil companies to continue to declare Force wages on oil and gas exports.

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Further reporting by Felix Onua in Abuja and Julia Payne in Lagos, edited by Julia Payne and McDonald Dijrudway, edited by Raisa Kasolovsky, Rose Russell and Alexander Smith

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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