An explosion at an illegal oil refinery operation in the Ohaji/Egbema region of Imo state has killed at least 100 persons, according to reports.
A fire broke out in Abaezi forest in the Ohaji/Egbema area after the incident, which started about 11 p.m. on Friday.
Speaking after the incident, Hope Uzodimma, governor of Imo, who was represented by Goodluck Opiah, commissioner for petroleum resources, said several youths were killed in the fire.
“The fire outbreak occurred at an illegal bunkering site and it affected over 100 people who were burnt beyond recognition,” he said.
“At the moment, I can’t really confirm the number of the deceased because many family members have removed the corpses of so many others.
“Apart from this calamity, the act has destroyed the aquatic life in the community. Our people before now are predominantly farmers and fishermen.
“Look around, you’ll find smoke coming from this illegal act. If this is not enough for any person to stop, I think the community is heading for what I can’t describe.
“Most of the people who are engaging in this act are from Rivers, Bayelsa and other neighbouring states and it is sabotage for our people to allow this illegal activity to continue.”
He expressed his sympathies to the families of the deceased and advised locals to refrain from indulging in such illegal activity.
“I wish to appeal to our youths to desist from making themselves available for this illegal act. This is a suicidal business they got themselves into,” he said.
“On behalf of the Imo state government, we condole with the bereaved families. The Imo state government prays that God will give the family of those who lost their lives the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”