By Michael Eboh
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, yesterday, stated that pipeline vandals and petroleum products thieves have triggered a fire outbreak on its oil pipeline along the Osisioma axis, near Aba depot in its System 2E pipeline network.
The NNPC, in a statement in Abuja by its Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, confirmed fatalities and loss of properties in the ensuing inferno.
He said safety experts of the NNPC, along with men of the Abia State Fire Service, had swung into action to contain the situation, saying updates on the situation would be provided as events unfold.
Ughamadu noted that the incident might have been caused by suspected oil thieves who had hacked into the line to intercept flow of petrol from Port Harcourt to Aba.
Also speaking on the incident, Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr. Maikanti Baru, expressed shock at the wanton willful destruction of lives and properties occasioned by the incident.
Baru prayed that God reposes the souls of the innocent ones that perished in the incident, even as he warned members of the public against tampering with oil and gas facilities many of which he said were inflammable.
He also called on host communities to create avenues to moderate criminal tendencies of a few bad eggs living among them.