An explosion, which occurred at an oil facility, yesterday caused panic among residents of Evekwu, Rumuji, Rumuodogo and Ibaa communities, Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State.
It was gathered that the oil facility belongs to Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) in Rumuji town.
Although, no casualty was recorded, there were conflicting reports on the cause of the explosion.
Some sources claimed the incident was due to equipment failure, while others said it was an accident, dousing the fear that it was caused by suspected militants.
One of the sources, Chief Ndudirim Amadi, told journalists that the incident occurred at about 1.00pm adding that it was caused by much pressure on the pipeline.
Amadi said the pipeline exploded on its own due to high pressure, which could no longer be contained by the facility.
Amadi said: “I don’t know what caused it. But, I think the pressure was much on the pipe; that was why it exploded. It has caused fear in our community. The force from the crude coming out of the pipe, caused earthquake everywhere.”
Amadi added that the incident caused a lot of damage to the people of the area, stressing that farmlands and crops have been destroyed by the crude from the facility.
Another source, simply identified as Chikukere, said on phone that the incident was an accident, stressing that the danger mark of ‘keep off’, scared people from getting close to the pipelines.
He alleged that a company, Integrated Data Services Limited (IDSL), a subsidiary of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), was on operation around the facility before the incident occurred.
According to the source, IDSL, which uses explosives like dynamite and grenades in its operations, was at work around the area as at the time of the incident.
He pointed out that vibration from the explosion that was detonated by IDSL caused the accident, saying the crude product flowed uncontrollably.
Meanwhile, Commissioner for Environment, Prof. Roseline Konya, has confirmed the incident, saying the pipeline belonged to the NLNG.
Konya said the government was on top of the matter and NLNG had assured to respond to the incident swiftly, urging residents not to panic.