A blazing fire tore through the Port Harcourt jetty of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) at Okirika, Rivers State on Sunday leaving about seven people dead, with scores of others with various degerees of burnt..
Reports indicate that the fire was set on when oil pipeline vandals were siphoning oil from pipelines belonging to NNPC at the jetty, near Okrika, in Okrika Local Government Area of Rivers State.
According to the NNPC, the incident has no immediate effect on its operations.
The corporation’s Executive Director (Services), Mr Ralph Ugwu, while admitting that there was, indeed, a fire incident, said nemesis caught up with the pipeline vandals, as their boat exploded and caught up in fire.
“The incident has no impact on our operations whatsoever and, on our own side as NNPC, there is no casualty and the incident has no impact on our refining operations or on our jetty operations,” he said.
Ugwu said there were, indeed, some casualties but he could not ascertain the exact number, stressing that none of the victims was on the staff of the corporation.
The state police command confirmed the fire explosion, attributing it to activities of oil pipeline vandals, even as it was disclosed that those who were burnt had be taken to an undisclosed hospital for treatment.
Also, Mr Umesi Emenike, the South-South zonal coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), confirmed the fire incident.
Emenike told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Port Harcourt on Sunday that the fire did not affect the main refinery before it was put out by fire service officers.