Traumatised by the pipeline explosion disaster which hit Osisoma local government area of Abia State last Friday, the governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, has directed the Commissioner for Petroleum Resources, Hon. Chizurum Kanu, to immediately inaugurate a Commission of Inquiry to unravel the immediate and remote cause of the explosion.
The pipeline explosion affected two communities and claimed 24 lives, according to latest figures from the Police.
Ikpeazu gave the directive after visiting Umuaduru and Umuimo villages in Osisioma Ngwa where the tragic incident occurred.
Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Enyinnaya Appolos, said in a statement released in Umuahia that the Governor directed the Commissioner for Petroleum Resources, Hon. Chizurum Kanu, to immediately inaugurate a Commission of Inquiry to unravel the immediate and remote causes of the pipeline explosion.
Ikpeazu also directed the Commissioner for Heath, Dr. John Ahukannah, and the Chairman of Osisioma LGA, Chief Ihenyinna Mgbeahuru, to visit the surviving victims of the explosion at the various hospitals and ensure that government provided them with adequate medicare as well as pay their medical bills.
The Governor described the incident as disheartening and unfortunate and commiserated with the families of those who lost their lives as a result of the pipeline explosion, while praying God to give them the fortitude to bear the loss, according to the statement.
Commander of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Abia State, Dr Benito Eze, confirmed on Friday that 19 people lost their lives in the explosion but the Commissioner of Police, Anthony Ogbizi, told newsmen Saturday that the death toll has risen to 24. He disclosed this shortly after visiting the scenes of the explosion.
He said the explosion occurred due to spillage from a pipeline used to pump petrol from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) depot in Aba.
“According to the information from the NNPC Depot Manager in Aba, the spillage occurred from a pipeline that was undergoing maintenance.
“He said they were instructed to test run the pipeline to ascertain its level of functionality. When we visited the two communities, we were informed that 14 people were reported dead at Umuimo village, while 10 died at Umuduru community,” the Commissioner of Police said.