Nigeria: Tragedy Strikes Imo State: Tanker Explosion Claims Over 30 Lives in the Depths of Ohaji/Egbema Forest

Nigeria: Tragedy Strikes Imo State: Tanker Explosion Claims Over 30 Lives in the Depths of Ohaji/Egbema Forest

By Ahmad Hadizat Omayoza, Mamos Nigeria

In a catastrophic incident that unfolded on Tuesday, chaos and despair gripped the community of Obitti in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State as a tanker, suspected to be utilized by oil bunkers, erupted in a massive explosion, leaving over 30 individuals feared dead. The tragedy unfolded in the forest at Ndorama pipeline right of way within the Obitti rubber estate.

Reports indicate that the explosion occurred amidst the illegal activities associated with oil bunkering in the area. The victims, suspected to be involved in vandalizing the pipeline right of way, faced a horrific fate as the tanker they used for the illicit operation exploded, resulting in a devastating loss of lives.

As the community reels from the aftermath of this calamity, varying accounts have emerged regarding the circumstances leading to the explosion. Some eyewitnesses narrated an exchange of gunfire between rival groups vying for dominance in the oil bunkering business, while others suggested a planned attack orchestrated by leaders involved in the illicit activities. A community leader, speaking anonymously, claimed that the victims inadvertently trespassed into the territory controlled by an influential kingpin, who is also alleged to be a politician.

An eyewitness captured the tragic scene in a video, detailing the events leading to the explosion. According to the witness, the vandals arrived in a tanker suspected to be used for illegal bunkering, dug deep into the ground to locate the pipeline, and tapped into it, transferring the stolen oil into the parked tanker hidden within the forest. Unfortunately, luck eluded them, leading to the catastrophic explosion that claimed numerous lives.

Reacting to the incident, Henry Okoye, the Imo State Police Public Relations Officer, stated that the command had initiated a high-powered investigation team to ascertain the immediate cause of the explosion and apprehend those involved. The investigation aims to shed light on the circumstances surrounding the tragic event and bring justice to the victims.

This appalling incident raises concerns about the prevalence of illegal oil bunkering activities in the region and the need for enhanced security measures to curtail such dangerous practices. As the community mourns the loss of lives, the investigation into the incident becomes pivotal in understanding the dynamics of the oil bunkering trade and preventing future tragedies.

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