NO fewer than four persons have been confirmed dead in the explosion that rocked a gas pipeline in Evekwu community, Odegu clan in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State, Tuesday.
The resident of the communities, Rumuji and Evekwu, who on Friday were counting their losses, stated that the incident also destroyed the economic life of the people of the area.
They accused the oil companies operating in the area of neglect, noting that the firms have not deemed it necessary to visit in order to find out the level of damage done to the area.
Speaking, Rev. Chris Idika, a leader in Evekwu community, disclosed that over four people died during the incident.
Idika narrated that the victims were farmers who had gone for their activities and were engulfed in the gas that was emitted from the facility, adding that they were buried in the forest based on their culture.
He said, “After the explosion, it was much later we heard cries from the farm and we heard that gas pipeline exploded at the farm side. We have two pipelines there.
“The companies operating there are aware because while the gas was emitted, there was a shutdown, which after about five hours the gas started going down till it stopped. If they are not aware, they would not have shut it down.
“We have lost three people to death and our tradition demands that anyone who dies in the bush because of any controversy should not buried at home neither do we keep them to avert further deaths.
“Anybody that is in doubt can come and see their graves at the evil forest very close. There is also another dead body we just discovered on Thursday evening in the bush and we have deposited it in the morgue.”
When contacted, the Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Nnamdi Omoni, said the police were not aware of any casualty in the incident, adding that there was no record of death.