From: TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
An explosion at an oil facility supposedly operated by Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) has rocked Rumuji Town in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State
Although, no casualty was recorded, there were conflicting reports on the cause of the explosion, which has caused panic among residents of Evekwu, Rumuji, Rumuodogo and Ibaa communities in Emohua LGA.
Some sources claimed the incident was as a result of equipment failure, while others said it was an accident, dousing the fear that it was caused by suspected militants.
One of the sources, Chief Ndudirim Amadi, told journalists that the incident occurred at about 1:00pm, adding that it was caused by much pressure on the pipeline.
Amadi noted that the facility was high press pipeline between Rumuji and Evekwu communities, which was operated by NLNG and marked “keep off”.
He pointed out that the pipeline exploded on its own due to high pressure, which could no longer be contained by the facility.
Amadi said, “I don’t know what caused it. But, I think the pressure was much on the pipe; that was why it exploded. It has caused fear in our community. The force from the crude coming out of the pipe, has caused quake everywhere.”
Amadi added that the incident has caused a lot of damage to the people of the area, stressing that farmlands and crops have been destroyed by crude from the facility.
Another source, simply identified as Chikukere, said on phone that the incident was an accident, stressing that the danger mark of “keep off”, scared people from getting close to the pipelines.
He alleged that a company, Integrated Data Services Limited (IDSL), a subsidiary of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), was on operation around the facility before the incident occurred.
According to the source, IDSL, which uses explosives like dynamite and grenades in its operations, was at work around the area as at the time of the incident.
He pointed out that vibration from the explosion that was detonated by IDSL caused the accident, saying that the crude product flowed uncontrollably.
Meanwhile, the State Commissioner for Environment, Professor Roseline Konya, has confirmed the incident, saying that the pipeline belonged to the NLNG.
Konya said the State government was on top of the matter and NLNG had assured to respond to the incident swiftly, urging residents not to panic.