NNPC Pipeline Fire Explosion Kills 20 People in Sapele,Delta State
An early morning pipeline inferno on Tuesday May 24, 2011 reminiscence of the Atigwo- Jesse Pipeline fire conflagration of October 17, 1998 that left thousands of persons dead has reoccurred in the neighbouring Okpe community of Eko, Ovwore-Amukpe community near Jesse by the River Ethiope bank while claiming over 20 people that were fishing and doing some other unskilled jobs.
According to an eye witness account, the fire started in a circumstances yet to be ascertained at press time with a loud noise and heavy fog, together with heavy flame while killing all those working on their farm lands, fishermen, sand dredgers, sand divers, all those scoping fuel from the burst pipes as well as burning the new brigde across the river Ethiope.
Evangelist Flourish Agoda, the Secretary General of Idjerhe Development Union (ICDU) who spoke to Journalists in Jesse over the unfortunates incidence said that the fire is not from the Jesse Kingdom because it is from the other side of River Ethiope opposite Atigwo village the direct site of the Jesse October 17th 1998 pipeline inferno, stressing that the people of Jesse only saw the fire already in flame and discovered that it was not from their community, warning emphatically that no one should linked them with the fire that it is not from their community but in their neighbouring community of Ovwore.
He explained that considering the magnitude of the incidence, there could be casualties but he could not ascertain the numbers from now because it is still raging and the river is still there to prevent the people of Jesse from visiting the site to establish the degree of lost to properties and human beings.
He maintained that since the fire incidence of 1998 the community has put in place effective mechanism to checkmate the excesses of youths in the area from visiting pipelines and other antisocial-vices in the area, stressing that it was due to this that help the youths from visiting the pipeline area for years now. He said the youths of Jesse does not need more advices has they already know the danger inherent in tempering with pipelines which they were ignorant to before the very incidence that claimed thousands of lives in their community.
An indigene of Ovwore- Amukpe community, Mr Sunny, who spoke to Huhuonline.com on phone, said staff of NNPC are already at the site of the fire battling to put it off and effects immediate repairs to the broken pipeline which caused the spillage that resulted to the fire outbreak.
He appealed to the government at all levels to immediately expedite action by sending relief materials to its Ovwore Community because they no longer have drinking water and as their farm lands has been devastated by spilled oil and refine fuel saying that properties worth millions of Naira were destroyed by the pipeline explosion, even residence of Sapele confirmed that they all perceived the smell of fuel before the explosion occurred in the early hours of yesterday money.
Meanwhile, officials of the NNPC are yet to react to the incident just as sources at the state Government House, Asaba say that a team from the State Emergency Relief Agency have been dispatched to ascertain the situation on ground.
As at the time of filing this report, Wednesday, May 25, 2011 , the heavy fog is still in the sky as residents complain of choke from the smoke.