At least 10 persons were killed as a pipeline exploded on Saturday in Komkom community, Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The deafening sound of the explosion at about 6.45am was said to have caused panic in the community as residents began to make enquiries about what happened.
While some sources within the area said the exploded pipeline belonged to Shell Petroleum Development Company, others said the facility was the property of the Petroleum Product Marketing Company.
SUNDAY PUNCH also gathered that the explosion occurred when some workers from an unidentified firm were working on one of the pipelines.
A resident of the area, who identified himself as Jude, stated that the loud sound of the explosion jolted most residents of the community, adding that 10 persons lost their lives in the incident.
He explained that people immediately began to panic when they heard the sound of the explosion.
Jude said, “It was around 8am when we heard a loud explosion. Most of the residents were still in their houses when the loud explosion occurred.
“I woke and gathered all my family members together before we moved out of the house. As we were moving out, I saw smoke coming out from the pipeline not very far from my house.
“It was later that I learnt that the explosion occurred in one of the pipelines.’’
The Chairman of Oyigbo LGA, Gerald Oforji, also confirmed that some persons died during the explosion, adding that corpses of the deceased were pulled out from the accident scene after the fire was put out.
Oforji said no house was destroyed during the incident.
But the State Police Public Relations Officer, Nnamdi Omoni, told SUNDAY PUNCH that though some persons lost their lives in the explosion, the number of casualty had not been established.
Omoni stated that investigation had begun with a view to unravelling the circumstance that led to the explosion.
When contacted, Spokesman for the SPDC, Bamidele Odugbesan, said there was no indication that any of its facilities exploded in Oyigbo.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday called for an investigation into the explosion.
Buhari, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, expressed sadness over the tragedy.
Shehu, quoting the President, said he was “deeply pained” by the tragedy and condoled with the government and people of Rivers State as well as the families of the victims.