Monday, April 25, 2022

Explosion at illegal oil refinery depot in Nigeria : At least 109 people have died



 More than 109 people were killed overnight in an explosion at an illegal oil refining depot on the border of Nigeria`s Rivers and Imo states, a local government official and an environmental group said.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said in a statement that he would intensify the clampdown on illegal refineries after what he described as a "catastrophe" and "national disaster".

Unemployment and poverty in the oil producing Niger Delta have made illegal refining attractive, but with often deadly consequences. Crude oil is tapped from a web of pipelines owned by major oil companies and refined in makeshift tanks.

The process has led to fatal accidents and polluted a region already blighted by oil spills in farmland, creeks and lagoons.

The Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre said several vehicles that were in a queue to buy illegal fuel were burnt.

At least 25 people, including some children, were killed in an explosion and fire at another illegal refinery in Rivers state in October.

In February, local authorities said they had started a crackdown on the refining of stolen crude, but with little apparent success.

Government officials estimate that Nigeria, Africa's biggest oil producer and exporter, loses an average of 200,000 barrels of oil per day, more than 10% of production, to illegal tapping or vandalising of pipelines.

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