Illegal oil bunkering fire claims several lives in Rivers

*An illegal oil refinery site in the Niger Delta

Mkpoikana Udoma

Port Harcourt — Many persons have been feared dead following a fire incident at an illegal oil bunkering site around Okari Jetty, in Okrika Local Government Area of Rivers State.

SweetCrude Reports gathered that the incident happened last Monday night, as many including two fishermen lost their lives in the fire explosion as people swarm to scoop petroleum products at NAFCON creek in Okrika.

Confirming the incident, the Chairman of Okrika Local Government Council Chairman, Mr Akuro Tobin, said only four persons died in the incident.

Tobin said the fire began when people involved in oil theft were scooping oil.

He said, “There was nothing like explosion in Okrika but a case of oil theft which federal government has been against.

“I hardly respond to such questions but because I am also fighting against crude oil theft, l have decided to respond.

“It is not true that 16 persons died as speculated. Fire did not cause an explosion; the vessel didn’t explode. These boys went stealing oil, whether some of them went with cigarettes, I don’t know, the area caught fire when they went to scoop oil.

“So, there was no pipeline explosion. If it’s a lie you can confirm from the refinery. But the numbers they claimed died is not true, only about four persons died.”

Meanwhile, the Police Public Relations Officer in Rivers State, Superintendent Grace Iringe-Koko, has claimed that the incident was yet to be reported to the Police.

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