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Rivers Community Decries Neglect After Gas Pipeline Explosion


Rivers Community Decries Neglect After Gas Pipeline Explosion

Nelson Chidiebere

Residents of Obagi community in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State have lamented neglect after a gas pipeline belonging to the Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) exploded and incinerated the surrounding.

The community noted that the explosion occurred on Wednesday evening and claimed no casualties, adding that the incident is coming less than a month after another explosion claimed 19 lives in Omoku West of the same LGA.

Residents of the community lamented what they described as neglect by NAOC who they accuse of not carrying out a proper Environmental Impact Assessment before setting a pipeline in the community.

The community also alleged that a Joint Investigation Visit(JIV) by neither Agip nor the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) has been carried out and none of them have released any statement in connection with the explosion.

The traditional ruler of the community, Eze Clinton Elemele explained that “The gas leak had been on since June 2023, we wrote to Agip and NLNG but after inspection, they both said the pipeline wasn’t theirs. Now it exploded and Agip has finally admitted that it’s their own.”

Confirming the incident, the Local Government Chairman of the Council, Vincent Job, said: “Yes, it happened at Obagi but thankfully no life was lost. I have gone there myself and during my interaction with the indigenes they feel it’s as a result of equipment failure, though oil and gas experts may have something else to add,” he said.

“We had a very dastardly crude oil explosion at Omoku West. Yesterday too, we also had another one in a different location, that is Obagi. For us who are novices in the oil field, you will find out that some of this equipment has lasted for more than 30, or 40 years which calls for removal.

“You will find out that the locals are there and they suffer a lot of this degradation. The Federal Government and the International Oil Companies (IOCs) should ensure that their pipelines, and facilities are up to date.”

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