Oyigbo Pipelines Explosion …Eye Witnesses Reveal Gory Details. Polycarp Nwaeke
New revelations have emerged on the Oyigbo Oil Pipelines explosion that claimed several lives last Sunday.
Isidore Onyeneho, an eye witness and resident of Kom Kom, where the tragedy occurred dozens of people were burnt beyond recognition.
Speaking to our correspondent Onyeneho narrated how a co-tenant who went in search of his brother that early Sunday saw charred human bodies at the scene of the accident.
According to him, the tenant had gone to the area shortly after the explosion occurred to check on his brother who had earlier left for business, but whose phone number was not responding when it was dialed.
Isidore said “On reaching Kom Kom, very close to the scene of the pipelines explosion, I could not cross to the other side to enter vehicle to the market where my brother does his business because thick smoke had enveloped everywhere. More horrifying to me were the charred bodies of human beings burnt beyond recognition. Some of them had already cremated, while hands, legs and heads of others could hardly be recognized.
Another Kom Kom resident who gave her name as Nkechi, expressed shock over the death of a young palm wine tapper. She said the boy was not scooping fuel, but had gone to tap wine, a profession he uses to eke out a living, adding that, the raging inferno caught up with him on top of the tree and burned him to ashes.
The cause of the explosion could not be immediately ascertained, but some residents said it came from old NNPC pipes which had been over due for replacement, and begging for attention.
The residents said the Pipelines Products and Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of NNPC responsible for maintaining them did not care.
A company (name withheld) which claims to have the contract to maintain the pipelines spoke in a popular radio station that they had earmarked those pipes for repairs and was preparing to carry out maintenance on them before the tragedy occurred.
Kom Kom residents have described his explanations, as an afterthought.
The Vortex also gathered that the fire occurred as some boys took advantage of the rusty pipes and ruptured them in a bid to scoop fuel.
Many Oyigbo residents have condemned what they called the shoddy handling of the incident by the chairman of Oyigbo local government council, Mr. Gerald Oforji. They said unlike his boss, Governor Wike, who would have rose to the occasion, the council boss treated the matter casually.
Nwanna Ike who spoke to our correspondent, condemned the council chairman’s hasty statement in the media that no life was lost in the explosion without any investigation before his announcement.
Meanwhile, President Buhari has sent condolences to the people and government of Rivers state over the incident. In a condolence he sent through his media aide, Garba Shehu, Buhari directed that investigation be carried out to find the cause of the explosion.
When contacted, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Rivers State command, DSP Nnamdi Omoni said his men were still conducting search and investigation into the incident and would get to us on conclusion of the search.