Many people are feared dead following an explosion in an illegal oil refinery in Rumuekpe community, Emohua Local Government Area, Rivers State.
It was gathered that the site of the oil refinery known in Ijaw parlance as “kpo fire” burst into flames killing most of its operators and injuring others. Sources said one of the cooking pots caused the blast.
A local security commander, Frank Nwazimutor, confirmed that five of the dead victims hailed from his village.
Nwazimutor expressed concerns over the tragedy and blamed the proliferation of illegal oil refineries on lack of provision of employment opportunities for the people by the government and the companies.
He said: “It would interest you to know that Rumuekpe is one of the communities that have the highest (number) of oil wells in Rivers State, but it has remained underdeveloped, with no standard health facilities, school, electricity, no water or other social amenities.
“The situation had in 2005 reportedly resulted in communal crisis and destruction of properties, and inhabitants fleeing the community for years before intervention from some stakeholders.”
The police and other authorities in Rivers are yet to speak on the matter.