18 People Burnt Beyond Recognition as Explosion Ravages Illegal Oil Refining Site

At least 18 persons have been killed following an explosion in an illegal oil refining site in the Ibaa community in Emuoha Local Government Area of Rivers State.

It was gathered that the incident occurred late Sunday night when some people in the community were scooping petroleum products.

A source in the community said that the explosion occurred when one of the containers that was to be used to refine some quantity of crude oil into finished products caught fire.

He said the number of casualties could not be ascertained by the community, but it was believed that many people were at the site.

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) confirmed the incident on Tuesday, saying 18 people died in the incident.

In a statement, NSCDC spokesperson, Olufemi Ayodele, said the victims were burnt beyond recognition.

He stated that 25 others were rescued with injuries, adding that preliminary findings had revealed that the site was owned by one John Bodo who also sustained severe burns, while his son, Uche John Bodo, a fresh graduate died on the spot.

The NSCDC identified other victims as a pregnant woman and a young lady who was preparing for her marriage ceremony next month.

Oil theft is a major problem in Nigeria, an OPEC member and one of the continent’s largest petroleum producers.