The death toll from Friday’ s oil pipeline explosion in two Abia State communities in Osisioma Local Government Area has risen to 24 , the Commissioner of Police , Mr Anthony Ogbizi , has said .The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Mr Benito Eze , the State Commander of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps , confirmed to newsmen on Friday that 19 persons , including a nursing mother , died on the spot.
“ When we visited the two communities on Saturday , we were informed that 14 people were reported dead at Umuimo village , while 10 died at Umuaduru .
“ Some of the victims who sustained various degrees of burns were said to be asleep when the incident occurred .
“ They were said to have been taken to nearby hospitals and traditional medicine homes for treatment , ” he said .
The police boss said that management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation , Aba depot blamed the explosion on a spillage from a pipeline that was undergoing maintenance .
He said : “ According to the information we obtained from the NNPC depot in Aba , the spillage occurred on a pipeline that conveys product from Aba depot that was undergoing maintenance . ”
He said that the incident was being investigated by the command in conjunction with the other security agencies in the state to determine the possible cause .
NAN reports that the explosions occurred at 2 . 47 am and 3 am at the villages respectively both in Umueze Autonomous Community in Osisioma LGA .
The NSCDC boss had said that the Umuaduru incident happened when some youths in the area were scooping petroleum products from a vandalised pipeline .
He further said that Umuimo fire happened when a woman, identified as a food vendor, got up at about 3 am to start cooking for the day ’ s business .
He said that the petrol stored in the house was ignited by fire set for cooking by the woman .
Eze said that the woman and her husband escaped death but their building was razed down.
Meanwhile , an undisclosed number of victims , who sustained severe burns , were still receiving treatment in different hospitals in the area .
( NAN )
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