Northern Nigerian Breaking News

Over 100 feared dead as illegal refinery explodes in Imo

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A fire which engulfed an illegal crude oil refinery complex in Abaezi forest, in the Ohaji-Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State, has killed at least hundreds of people.

Approximately 150 others, according to eyewitness reports, suffered major burns.

The State Commissioner for Petroleum Resources, Goodluck Opiah, who spoke on behalf of Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State during his visit to the scene, said the fire claimed the lives of a large number of young people.

He said, “at the moment, I can’t really confirm the number of the deceased because many family members have removed the corpses of so many others.”

Okenze Onyewoke, the proprietor of the illegal refinery, has been proclaimed wanted by the Imo State government, according to Opiah.

He said, “apart from this calamity, the act has destroyed the aquatic life of the community. Our people before now are predominantly farmers and fishermen.

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“Look around, you’ll find smokes coming from this illegal act. If this is not enough for any person to stop, I think the community is heading for what I can’t describe.

“Most of the people who are engaging in this act are from Rivers, Bayelsa, and other neigbouring states and it is sabotage for our people to allow this illegal act to continue.

“I wish to appeal to our youths to desist from making themselves available for this illegal act. This is a suicidal business they got themselves into.

“On behalf of Imo State Government, we condole with the bereaved family. Imo State Government pray God gives the family of those who lost their lives the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”

qed

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