Dozens of peopleare feared dead in the wee hours of yesterday, when a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipeline exploded at Arepo, Ogun State when it was being vandalized.
According to reports, trouble started after different groups of vandals stormed the creeks in boats loaded with empty jerry cans and engaged in a verbal confrontation over ownership of a section of the pipeline.
One of the group leaders, whose identity was given simply as Killer, was said to have ordered the other groups to vacate the creeks, stating that he was the owner of the section they invaded.
Leaders of other groups reportedly told their boys to break another section of the pipeline, from where they began to siphon the product.
In the process, a member of Killer‘s group allegedly fired a shot at the broken pipeline, resulting in an inferno.
National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA)’s South-West spokesman, Ibrahim Farinloye, when contacted, could not confirm the number of casualty. He simply stated that the agency could not give details since it was yet to access the terrain.
“An unconfirmed report on a clash between different groups of vandals at Arepo around midnight has led to pipeline explosion.
“NNPC has been alerted about the explosion and has immediately shut down supplies to suffocate the fire, while efforts are on to put it out by the NNPC safety unit.
“No one can confirm if there are casualties or anyone injured because no agency is yet to access the scene which is swampy. No one can confirm until we get to the scene,” he said.