The blast happened on Friday evening at an illegal site between the oil states of Rivers and Imo, according to police and emergency services.
We learned that many bodies were in the surrounding bush and forestshe added, adding that several charred vehicles and jerry cans littered the oil-blackened ground.
Many people were also injured, with
severe burnsagain according to Mr. Nnaji.
Some of them later died in hospital..
Police confirmed the blast took place at the site of an illegal refinery where operators and their customers had gathered to engage in trafficking.
Several burnt bodies, unrecognizable, lie on the ground, while others, who tried to run away, hang from the branches of the treesalso testified Fyneface Dumnamene, director of the NGO Youths and Environmental Advocacy Center (YEAC).
Some local media have reported more than 100 killed, mostly young people, in this explosion which is the latest in a long series in Nigeria, where this type of tragedy is frequent.
Vandalism and oil theft
As Africa’s leading oil producer, Nigeria exports an average of two million barrels of crude per day, which accounts for 90% of the country’s export earnings.
According to formal sector sources, the country loses around 200,000 barrels of crude every day to vandalism and oil theft.
In the Niger Delta region, armed groups and residents of local communities regularly siphon crude from pipelines belonging to major oil companies, which they then refine on illegal sites and resell on the black market.
Despite the country’s immense wealth in hydrocarbons, most of the inhabitants live in great poverty and regularly accuse the big oil companies of having also contributed to the pollution of their region without participating in its development.
Decades of oil spills have devastated mangroves and entire villages, where fishing and agriculture once provided the main source of local income.
Nigeria’s worst pipeline explosion occurred in October 1998 in the southern town of Jesse, killing more than 1,000 residents.
The government has deployed the military to carry out sting operations and destroy illegal refineries in the Niger Delta, and attempt to end the looting of oil resources.
But the results of this crackdown have yielded meager results and hundreds of illegal refineries continue to operate in the swamps and near the rivers that cross the region.
An investigation has been launched to determine what caused the explosion which occurred on Friday, theAFP the head of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Idris Musa.
Investigations are ongoing and the fire that raged after the explosion has died downhe specified.