Deadly blast at illegal oil refinery in Nigeria claims 37 lives, including pregnant women

Deadly blast at illegal oil refinery in Nigeria claims 37 lives, including pregnant women: Nigeria News
Photo: BBC

Tragedy struck in the early hours of Monday in the Ibaa community of Rivers State, , when an explosion at an illegal oil refinery claimed the lives of at least 37 people, including two pregnant women, according to local authorities.

Illegal oil refining is a widespread practice in Nigeria's oil-rich Delta region, where impoverished locals resort to tapping pipelines to produce fuel for sale.

This dangerous practice, which can involve crude oil processing in makeshift facilities, often leads to deadly incidents.

Rufus Welekem, the head of security in the Ibaa community, provided details of the incident, stating, “Thirty-five people were caught in the fire.

Two people who were lucky to escape also died this morning in the hospital.” He added that some of the victims had already been identified by their relatives and laid to rest.

Efforts to curtail illegal crude refineries in Nigeria have been met with limited success, partially due to the alleged involvement of influential politicians and security officials, as noted by local environmental groups.

Incidents such as crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism, and legal disputes related to oil spills have led major oil companies operating in Nigeria to divest from onshore and shallow water assets in favor of deep water operations.

  • Reporting by Tife Owolabi, writing by MacDonald Dzirutwe, Editing by Adewale Adejoke

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