The death toll from Sunday’s illegal refinery explosion in Abaeze town, Ohaji/Egbema Local Government of Imo, has risen to 110, according to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
Mr. Ifeanyi Nnaji, the agency’s acting Head of the Imo/Abia Operations Office, confirmed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday.
Nnaji stated that other victims were discovered in the Orashi River, near the location of the tragedy, on Sunday, while others died in several hospitals, bringing the overall casualty tally to a total of 110.
According to NAN, an illegal refinery in the Abaeze forest in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government detonated on Saturday, killing at least 100 persons.
Since the incident, emergency workers in Imo, led by Nnaji, have been on the ground carrying out rescue operations and evacuating deceased remains.
The NEMA chief also told NAN that plans were being made for mass burials of the deceased.
When asked about the cause of the tragedy, Nnaji stated, “We have yet to ascertain what caused the fire disaster.”
“Those who should tell the story and give insight to the incident are all dead,” he added. “we are still on the ground, we will soon come out with a report on the incident.”
Nnaji also urged the government to create an atmosphere conducive to legitimate business development in Imo’s oil-producing communities in order to deter youths from indulging in criminal enterprises.
He also urged oil companies in the area to help the government create jobs in their host communities.