The Commissioner of Police, Abia State, Mr. Anthony Ogbizi, has said the death toll from Friday’s oil pipeline explosion in two communities in Osisioma Local Government Area of the state has risen to 24.
Briefing newsmen in Umuahia on Saturday after visiting the scene of the explosion, Ogbizi said: “When we visited the two communities on Saturday, we were informed that 14 people were reported dead at Umuimo village, while 10 died at Umuaduru.
“Some of the victims who sustained various degrees of burns were said to be asleep when the incident occurred.
“They were said to have been taken to nearby hospitals and traditional medicine homes for treatment.”
Mr. Benito Eze, the state Commander of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, had on Friday told newsmen that 19 persons, including a nursing mother, died on the spot.
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Ogbizi on Saturday said the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Aba depot blamed the explosion on a spillage from a pipeline that was undergoing maintenance.
He said: “According to the information we obtained from the NNPC depot in Aba, the spillage occurred on a pipeline that conveys product from Aba depot that was undergoing maintenance.”
The incident, he said, is being investigated by the command in conjunction with other security agencies in the state to determine the possible cause.
The explosions occurred a few minutes apart on Friday at about 2.47 a.m. and 3 a.m. at Umuaduru Village and Umuimo Village respectively both in Umueze Autonomous Community in Osisioma LGA.
Meanwhile, some victims who sustained severe burns are still receiving treatment in different hospitals in the area.
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