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Carry out a census on affected families, INC asks Buhari, Uzodimma

Death toll rises to 110 —NEMA
By Chinonso Alozie, Owerri

The Imo State government, yesterday, directed security operatives to comb the forests in Ohaji/Egbema local government area in the state to fish out operators of illegal refineries and their locations in the forests in the area.

The Imo State government through the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, revealed this to newsmen in Owerri, while commiserating with families of victims of last Friday night’s explosion at an illegal oil refinery in Abaezi community in Ohaji/Egbema LGA in the state.

The government also directed the fumigation of the illegal oil refinery explosion site in Abaezi, a community for environmental safety.

Emelumba said: “Imo State Government yesterday condoled with families of victims of last weekend’s illegal refinery fire disaster at Egbema. The government deeply regrets that more than 70 Nigerians lost their lives in the unfortunate incident even when they were engaged in illegal activities, including sabotaging the nation’s economy.”

He added: “Governor Hope Uzodimma has directed immediate evacuation of the charred remains of the victims for mass burial, while the area should be fumigated for environmental safety. The governor has also assured that the Imo State government will do everything humanly possible to stamp out illegal bunkering and illegal refinery in the state.

“Both operators and patrons of illegal bunkering and refinery have been ordered to cease operation forthwith having realized that the consequences of their actions could lead to mass murder. The government has directed security agencies in the state to intensify their search for the owners of the illegal refineries and ensure their immediate arrest and trial.

“The statement further directed security operatives to comb all parts of the state to flush out illegal refinery operators and bunkers for the safety of citizens and economic growth of Nigeria,” the Imo govt said.

Carry out census on affected families, INC asks Uzodimma

The Igbo National Council, INC, yesterday called on the federal government and the Imo State government to conduct a census on the affected families of the last Friday night explosion that killed over 100 lives and burnt vehicles in an illegal oil refinery in Abaezi community, Ohaji/Egbema local government area of the state.

INC President, Chilos Godsent made this call while speaking to newsmen in Owerri, regarding the level of damage the inferno caused the affected families.

According to the group, by doing the census, the authorities would appreciate the level of suffering the unemployed youths in the oil-rich communities are currently passing through.

INC said: “The Igbo National Council (INC) condemn in its totality the ugly incident that occurred at Abaezi in Ohaji Egbema Local Government Area on the night of Friday 22nd April 2022 where over One Hundred (100) Igbo Youths were burnt and roosted like goats in a forest at Abaezi, Ohaji Egbema Local Government Area Imo State at the site of illegal refinery activities.

“The INC is very shocked that seventy hours after the ugly incident, the Executive Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodimma and President Muhammadu Buhari have not physically visited the deadly site to condole with the Abaezi people, Ohaji Egbema People, Imo people, the Igbo Nation and Nigeria for this irreplaceable generational loss”.

Consequent to the above, the Igbo National Council INC, therefore call on the Imo State Governor and President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately visit the site and also declare a state of emergency on youth employment in South-East and South-South geopolitical regions.

Death toll rise to 110 — NEMA

Also yesterday, the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, disclosed that the death toll in the explosion has risen to 110.

Acting Head of Imo/Abia Operations Office of the agency, Mr Ifeanyi Nnaji, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, on Monday.

Nnaji said more dead bodies were recovered in Orashi River, near the scene of the incident on Sunday, while some died at various hospitals to increase the total casualty figure.

NAN reports that an illegal refinery situated at the Abaeze forest in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government exploded on Saturday and killed no fewer than 100 people.

Emergency workers in Imo led by Nnaji had been on ground since the incident to carry out rescue operations and evacuate dead bodies.

The NEMA boss further disclosed to NAN that arrangements were on to carry out mass burial of the corpses.

When asked the cause of the disaster, Nnaji said “we are yet to ascertain what led to the fire disaster.

“Those who should tell the story and give insight to the incident are all dead, we are still on the ground, we will soon come out with a report on the incident”, he said.

Nnaji further appealed to the government to create the enabling environment for genuine business to flourish within the oil-producing communities in Imo, to discourage youths from engaging in illegal activities.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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