Twelve persons have died following an explosion from a crude oil tapping point in the Rumuekpe community in Emuoha Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The explosion is believed to have been caused by the activities of illegal artisanal refiners operating on the trans-Niger Delta Pipeline in the area.
“A preliminary investigation by the Police Command indicates that the victims were scooping crude products when the site caught fire,” the spokesperson of the Rivers State Police Command, Grace Iringe-Koko, said in a statement.
“So far, about 12 persons are believed to have been burnt to death. The identities of the victims are still unknown.”
Some of the victims were burnt beyond recognition and the destruction of property worth millions of naira.
“Five vehicles, four Keke NAPEPs, and one motorcycle were all burnt to ashes,” she added.
Channels Television gathered that the incident occurred in the wee hours of Friday when one of the buses loaded with crude went up in flames while trying to navigate to an illegal refining point in the area.
An environmentalist and Executive Director, Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre, Fyneface Dumnamene said he received news of the incident through its crude oil spill alert response system.
“Rivers State Commissioner of Police has again admonished members of the public to stay away from illegal oil bunkering and avail themselves of the following hotlines to report any incident or development they believe has the potential to lead to crime or breakdown of law and order: 08032003514, 08098880134,” the police image maker added.