At least 13 persons died in last Thursday’s Agip pipeline explosion along Tebidaba-Clough Creek trunk line in the mangrove swamp of Azuzuama, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
Bayelsa State government confirmed the death toll in a statement yesterday. It said victims of the explosion are staff of Bayelsa State Ministry of Environment and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA).
The statement by the Information and Orientation Commissioner, Esueme Dan-Kikile, also said that six staff of an indigenous oil servicing firm, M. G. Vogas, a soldier on guard duty and two Agip staff, were also killed in explosion.
Also among the dead is an indigene of the host community of Azuzuama, who was part of the Joint Investigation Visit, JIV, team.
“Bayelsa State government regrets to confirm the occurence of a fire explosion of July 9. From available information, the incident occurred during repairs of pipeline, following an oil spill.
“The incident resulted in the death of 13 persons. Government uses this opportunity to condole with the families of the deceased on this tragic loss.
“Government also sympathises with the injured persons and affected communities, and assures them of adequate support towards the treatment and recovery of the injured.
“Government is working with relevant agencies to ensure a comprehensive investigation and to unravel the cause and circumstances of the explosion.
“We will also determine and undertake appropriate measures to fully address this tragedy and to prevent future occurrence.
“In the meantime, government wishes to appeal to the affected families and immediate communities in the incident area for their cooperation in the efforts to properly address this disaster and its sad consequences,” Dan-Kikile said.