By Ugochukwu Alaribe
ABA—IN an effort to avert further explosion and loss of lives in the pipeline host communities, Abia State government has urged the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to commence repair works on the 143 kilometre pipeline across the state.
This came as other leaking spots on the NNPC pipeline have been discovered at Umuinwere and Amaukwu villages, in Obokwe community, Ukwa West council.
Commissioner for Petroleum, Chizuru Kanu, who made the appeal in a statement, urged the NNPC to be proactive in their operations to avoid a repeat of the explosion which killed over 200 at Umuaduru and Umuimo , Osisioma Ngwa Council Area.
The Commissioner called on security agencies to cordon off the areas to prevent unauthorized activities at the leaking spots.
“There is another leaking spot on the NNPC pipeline between Umuinwere and Amaukwu villages in Obokwe community, Ukwa West LGA. The management of NNPC is further advised to mobilize necessary resources and execute remedial actions along the affected areas of the pipeline as well as the entire length of the 143km length of pipeline across the state.
“The NNPC is advised to be more proactive in their operations to ensure that the ugly incident recently witnessed along the Osisioma axis of the pipeline does not happen again in the state. The general public, particularly residents and visitors to Obokwe area of the state, are hereby advised to stay away from the affected pipeline right of way to avoid any disaster.”
Senate c’ttee shuns pipeline fire victims
Meantime, some families of the victims of the Osisioma Ngwa pipeline explosion have expressed dismay at the failure of the Senate Committee on Downstream Petroleum investigating the incident to visit them.
The Committee led by Senator Kabiru Marafa, had on Friday, inspected the scenes of the pipeline explosion at Umuaduru and Umuimo villages but failed to visit the families who were gathered at the council headquarters, Osisioma.
Speaking for the victims’ families in an interview with Vanguard, Mr. Okechukwu Oluikpe, whose son, Ifeanyi Ndubuisi Okechukwu died in the explosion, said it was unfair that the Senate committee did not visit the families of the victims who were waiting to receive them.
“These are families who lost over 200 of their members due to the negligence of the NNPC. Some of us lost our entire household; others lost two or three persons. One of the three pregnant women here has been left to cater for four children as her husband died in the fire. Now, we have also been neglected by the Senate committee who came to probe the incident. We are disappointed.”
Reacting to the Senate Committee’s failure to visit the victims’ families, Secretary of an NGO, the Easy Life Initiative for Rural Youths, Comrade Uche Emeku, said the Senator Marafa led committee, cannot conduct a thorough investigation of the incident without visiting the victims’ families and urged the Abia State government to ensure the quick disbursement of relief materials to reduce the sufferings of the families.