Fire gutted a section of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation in Pogo village, Paikoro Local Government Area of Niger on Sunday, with fire service officials still trying to put out the fire.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Niger Police Command on Sunday had deployed armed personnel to prevent people from scooping petroleum products at the NNPC pipeline that exploded in Dagbo community, Paikoro Local Government Area.
The Commissioner of Police in Niger, Mr. Dibal Yakadi, said that deployment became necessary in view of the lightning that occurred following a downpour on Saturday night, which led to the explosion of NNPC’s pipeline in the area.
Director-General, Niger State Emergency Management Agency, Ahmed Inga, told newsmen that the situation was very pathetic.
He advised people living in the neighbouring villages to vacate immediately as state fire service was still battling to put out the fire.
According to him, they cannot assure residents of the nearby villages of their safety because of the gravity of the fire.
He also appealed to the villagers who have petrol in their houses to take them away to avoid being trapped by fire.
He lamented that despite the number of fire fighting machines, the fire is still raging uncontrollably.
He said that the fire service personnel are doing everything humanly possible to bring the situation under control.
He, however, advised villagers around the depot to vacate the entire area for their own safety.
“I can’t guarantee their safety because of the enormity of the raging fire at hand,” he said.
The police commissioner had also directed Paikoro Divisional Police officer to ensure that all trucks are evacuated far away from the depot to Minna metropolis.
“We have directed truck owners to immediately remove their trucks to Minna town for their good,” he said.
The Director, Health and Safety of the NNPC, Mr. Alexander Egwudale, who confirmed the incident, however, declined to comment.