By Davies Iheamnachor
PORT HARCOURT – Evekwu community in Odegu clan, Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State, the host community to the gas pipeline belonging to Nigerian Agip Oil Company which exploded on Tuesday has said over four people died in the incident.
Residents of Evekwu and it close neighbour, Rumuji, who were still counting their losses to the gas pipeline explosion, yesterday, disclosed that the incident claimed several lives and destroyed the economic life of the people of the area.
The communities accused the companies, Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas and Agip, who are jointly operating the gas line of neglect, stating that the companies have not visit ascertain the level of damage done to the people.
Rev. Chris Idika, a leader in Evekwu, said disclosed that over four people died during the incident and that three have been buried while one has been deposited in the mortuary.
Idika explained that the four victims were in their farms and died as a result of the gas, adding that the community recovered their corpses after the gas had gone down.
He also said the remains were immediately buried at the community’s evil forest based on tradition and that several others are suffering respiratory problem while many others have been hospitalized as a result of the incident.
Idika said: “After the explosion, it was much later we heard cries from the farm and we heard that gas pipeline exploded at the farm side. We have two pipelines there, one is owned by Agip while the other is owned by NLNG. The company has not visited the community.
“We have lost three people by death and according to our tradition demands anyone that dies in the bush because of any controversy we don bury them at home neither do we keep them to avert further deaths. Anybody that is in doubt can come and see their graves at the evil forest very close. There is also another dead body we just discovered on Thursday evening in the bush and we have deposited it in the morgue.
Meanwhile, the paramount ruler of Rumuji community, Eze Ohna Christian Elechi, who narrated his ordeal in the incident said: “The experience was worse than that of Nigeria Civil. We never knew where to run to. We thank God that this was not a rainy season if not more people would have died.
“Since this thing happened we have recorded over nine deaths, in the bush and people who inhaled the gas and got choked and other who are hypertensive. Several people got various degrees of injuries. The government should come to our aid.”