From Tony John, Port Harcourt
There is panic in Oduoha community in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State following a gas pipeline explosion that occurred in the area.
Daily Sun has learnt that a gas pipeline that runs through the community to a terminal in Bonny exploded in the early hours Wednesday.
It was further gathered that two separate gas pipelines operated by Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) and Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) run on the same line where the incident occurred, making it difficult to ascertain who the operator of the affected line is.
A community source disclosed that, as at 12 noon, there were still vibrations and leakage from the pipeline, causing panic in the commuity.
The local council chairman has also confirmed the incident, saying that no casualty was recorded.
The Paramount Ruler of Oduoha, His Royal Highness, Ferdinand Ogbuehi, speaking on the incident, said that many residents have already fled for safety.
‘From 4 am till now, the people have been living in fear. The vibration has sent many packing. We are not at rest at all. We have not seen this type of thing before. We want the government to come and see what is happening,’ he said.
‘We have announced to the people that nobody should go there. We don’t want a fire outbreak from that place to destroy our community. We want the government to come. We are afraid of going closer to the place.’
The Community Development Committee Chairman of Oduoha, Napoleon Ewule, noted that the community had contacted the two companies whose facilities are on the line, adding that they have promised to visit the site to ascertain whose facilities were affected.
‘About 4:12 am, we heard an explosion. We were thinking that an aeroplane had crashed in our community,’ he said.
‘I called on the youths and we went there to see what happened. As we got there, we noticed the explosion. The effect is much. We came back and told our people to avoid the area. We called on NLNG to find out what is happening.
‘We have two pipelines there, one for Agip and another for NLNG. When they come for inspection, we will know who owns the one that exploded.
‘The effect is much in the community now, the smell and the pepperish heat. The government should come in and stop the leakage.’
Meanwhile, at press time, no official confirmation or statement has been issued by any of the relevant government authorities in respect of the development.