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Breaking News: Pipeline explodes in Delta State, many gone missing

There was confusion in Delta State on
Thursday after an  explosion affected the
Nigeria Gas Company pipeline at the
Ugbokodo community near the Warri
Refinery in Okpe Local Government Area of
Delta State.
The incident, which local community
sources told our correspondent occurred at
about 4am on Thursday, forced residents of
the community to scamper for safety in the
bush when they discovered that the raging
inferno was advancing towards their
It was gathered that some residents,
including children, who fled into the bush
following the raging fire were still missing
as at about 4:30pm when our
correspondent was leaving the community
to file this report.
The PUNCH learnt that the explosion was
as a result of leakages from a gas pipeline
in the community, which the community
had allegedly reported to the management
of the Nigeria Gas Company.
It took the combined efforts of the men of
the fire services from NGC, Warri Refinery
and other agencies to put off the fire about
at about 8am.
So far, the authorities have not said that
any life was lost in the incident.
Residents of the community who later
protested the development accused the
management of NGC of negligence,
claiming that the community had reported
the malfunctioning pipeline to NGC’s
Ekpan-Warri office at some point.
The protesters, led by the Unuevworo
(traditional) of Ugbokodo community,
Tobore Ajisha, alleged that the explosion
could have been prevented if the leaking
pipeline had been fixed when the
community leaders reported the matter to
NGC officials in writing.
Ajisha disclosed that the community had
also placed a call to the management of
Nigeria Gas Processing and Transporting
Company when they noticed the explosion
in the affected pipeline, but the NGPTC
reportedly refused to act quickly until the
fire gathered momentum.
He alleged further that two pipelines
operated by the NGC in the community
were currently ruptured, adding that they
could result in further explosions in the
community if they are not fixed.
“After the explosion, many of our residents
who fled into the bush for safety have not
been found.
“Some of them also sustained injuries from
stampede that happened when everyone
was scampering for safety. They have been
taken for treatment.
“Our farms and fish boats were affected in
the incident. We are appealing to the
federal and state governments to wade into
the issue.
“Before today’s (Thursday) explosion, we
have written to NGC office here to
intervene, but they didn’t listen to us. Now,
see what their negligence has caused us,”
Kenneth Etioyibo added.
Efforts to speak with the NGC’s spokesman
in Warri area office, Violin Antaih, were
unsuccessful ,as calls and SMS sent to him
were neither answered nor replied.
But confirming the explosion, the
Commander of the Joint Task Force,
Operation Delta Safe, Rear Admiral
Suleiman Apochi, said he had yet to get a
full briefing about the development.

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