A gas pipeline explosion reportedly occurred in the Obagi community of the Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State on Wednesday evening. No casualties were recorded at the explosion of the pipeline said to be owned by the Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC).
Confirming the incident to Channels Television on Saturday, the local government chairman, Vincent Job, said residents suspected equipment failure for the explosion.
“Yes, it happened at Obagi, but thankfully, no life was lost. I’ve gone there myself, and during my interaction with the indigenes, they feel it’s as a result of equipment failure, though oil and gas experts may have something else to add.
“We had a very dastardly crude oil explosion at Omoku West. Yesterday too, we also had another one in a different location, that is Obagi. For us who are novices in the oil field, you will find out that some of this equipment has lasted for more than 30 or 40 years, which calls for removal,” he stated.
Mr Job, who lamented the degradation being suffered by residents, urged the federal government and the International Oil Companies (IOCs) to ensure facilities are up to date.
Also confirming the incident, the traditional ruler of the community, Eze Clinton Elemele, said, “The gas leak had been on since June of last year. We wrote to Agip and NLNG, but after inspection, they both said the pipeline wasn’t theirs. Now it exploded, and Agip have (sic) finally admitted that it’s their own.”
Residents accused the oil company of not conducting a proper environmental impact assessment before setting up a pipeline in the community.
The company’s spokesperson, Folu Olopade, did not immediately respond to calls and messages seeking comments about the incident.