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11 Feared Missing after LNG Pipeline Explosion

Posted by The Port Harcourt Telegraph on 2005/09/01 | Views: 646 |

11 Feared Missing after LNG Pipeline Explosion


Eleven persons are feared missing and aquatic life completely destroyed following an explosion which occurred along a 28-inch gas pipeline allegedly belonging to the Liquefied Natural Gas company.

Eleven persons are feared missing and aquatic life completely destroyed following an explosion which occurred along a 28-inch gas pipeline allegedly belonging to the Liquefied Natural Gas company.

The incident, according to local sources, occurred at Kalakama, an Ogoloma fishing community in Okrika Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The explosion recorded at the weekend resulted in a wild inferno which engulfed an estimated 27 square kilometers of the once rich Kalakama mangrove, killing sea foods and cash crops.

So huge was the impact of the explosion that it was felt on the Okrika Island and the Borikiri area of Port Harcourt where, residents were forced into a stampede.

Problem started more than two months ago, when a minor gas leakage was noticed by inhabitants of the Kalakama Fishing Community, upon which a formal report was said to have been lodged with Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) by His Royal Majesty, Chief (Capt) Nemi Tamunoiyalla-Oputibeya, Amanyanabo of Koniama.

The leakage assumed a frightening dimension, last Monday, when a wild fire was first reported, before culminating into a major gas explosion.
It took NLNG fire fighters, using hi-tech helicopter services, more than 48 hours to put out the fire, but not before shutting down the NLNG gas plant at Rumuoji substation.

Rivers State Envrionment Commissioner, Dr. (Mrs) Roseline Konya on a visit to the area described the incident as a great disaster and blamed it on bureaucratic delays by companies in treating life threatening complaints. Dr. Konya who was accompanied on the inspection by a team of NLNG officials, among them Mrs. Emily Green-Nwodim, Mr. Daniel Edewor, Ms Ben Wari and Mr .Benedict Kuru later compared notes with a delegation of the Okrika Divisional council of Chiefs, also on hand, to assess the damage.

Leader of the Okrika delegation and chairman of the Okrika Divisional Council of Chiefs, Chief (Dr) Taribo Sekibo-Oduobaji blamed the incident on negligence on the part of NLNG.

Chief Oduobaji, who was a Second Republic Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and chaiffi1an of the Senate Committee on Petroleum and Gas Matters said it was unimaginable that a report involving gas leakage could be allowed to snow-ball into such huge disaster.

The chiefs' delegation which also included chairman of the Ogu/Bolo Council of Chiefs, Chief Anga, Chiefs E.B.A. Ikpuku and T .P .A. Adetumaro later visited the Kalakama community , which was half deserted.

Briefing the chiefs there, the community Head, Elder Iyengiyikabo Kaizer Fienemika said able-bodied youths were still searching for 11 persons feared missing during the weekend stampede, while, three elders were rushed to hospital, on Okrika Island after inhaling excessive gas.

Meanwhile, Chief (Dr) Oduobaji has called on the federal government and relevant disaster agencies to come to the rescue of the primary victims now denied a source of livelihood.

Leader of the NLNG delegation during the inspection, Mr. Daniel Edewor confirmed the incident but declined to comment on the two month long reported gas leakage, saying, "our mandate is to assess the extent of the damage".

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