An oil pipeline exploded in a residential area in Nigeria last Saturday. The operating company NNPC speaks of several deaths. The exact number of victims is still uncertain but local media reports indicate a much higher casualty rate than previously reported.
Up to 200 people have died due to the incident. According to NNPC The villagers probably siphoned off oil from a leak in the pipeline when the explosion occurred, said authority spokesman Eke Onyekachi on Saturday. The number of victims could continue to rise. The accident occurred near the village of Umu Aduru in the southern federal state of Abia. Illegal tapping is a major problem not only in Nigeria, but in many other African countries.
However, critics blame the operator for the explosion. They claim that NNPC’s negligence led to leaks in the pipeline and it were these leaks that caused the explosion. Some 2,000 young people from communities in proximity to the pipeline system gathered at the Aba Depot and barricaded its entrance with a coffin containing the remains of one of the victims of the blast, Nigeria’s Vanguard reported.
The affected pipeline network carries fuels from the two refineries in Port Harcourt to the southeastern and northern parts of Nigeria. The refineries have a capacity of 210,000 bpd but are operating at run rates that are a lot lower than this capacity