Dozens Die in Nigeria Pipeline Blast : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

The cause of the accident was unclear and
a government statement issued late Monday
said ``several lives'' were lost and ``a
vital petroleum products pipeline'' destroyed.


-- spider (, July 11, 2000


An oil products pipeline exploded in southern
Nigeria, killing about 250 villagers scooping
up gasoline with buckets, witnesses said on Tuesday.

-- spider (, July 11, 2000.

Wednesday, 12 July, 2000, 20:12 GMT 21:12 UK

Nigerian oil fire rages on

Firefighters are still working to put out the Nigerian oil pipeline fire that has left more than 250 people dead. Many more people have suffered serious injuries in the fire which broke out two days ago at Adeje village, near the town of Warri in the oil-rich Delta region.

The explosion happened while people were using buckets to collect petrol flowing from the pipeline after it had been punctured by thieves on Sunday night.

The BBC Nigeria correspondent, who has visited the scene says the air stinks of petrol and rotting flesh, and all around are shallow graves hurriedly dug by villagers.

A senior police officer told one news agency : "An exact toll is unlikely to be clear for some time but we know more than 250 people died."

"We have recovered a large number of bodies and more were burned to nothing," the officer said.

A woman flees as the pipeline continues to burn Eyewitness accounts say the explosion destroyed fields and buildings in a 2km (one mile) radius around the place where the pipe was broken open.

Some victims apparently fled for their lives, but were unable to outrun the rapidly-spreading flames.

Witnesses say some of the dead still clutched in their hands the containers they had been using to carry away fuel.

Red Cross workers have begun burying the dead, most of them in mass graves, to try to avoid the spread of disease.

Most of the wounded are seeking treatment from traditional doctors, becuase they fear arrest on suspicion of theft if they attend hospitals.

Unicef official Isaac Oladipo Aladeloye said that the agency was trying to find ways to provide them with drugs.

"We are here to assess the situation to enable us to take action. We want to locate the injured, especially women and children who are most vulnerable in this kind of situation, but we can't," he said.

'Avoidable accident'

President Olusegun Obasanjo's spokesman, Doyin Okupe, called the disaster an "avoidable tragedy" and blamed greedy business operators for encouraging dangerous pipeline vandalism.

"It is driven by poverty and greed. They know the risks," Mr Okupe said, and added it was difficult for the government to convince people to stop.

The explosion follows a series of fires in the Adeje area caused by the frequent vandalisation of a pipeline carrying vital fuel supplies to northern Nigeria.

A special police task force, set up to combat petrol thieves who steal from supply lines to sell on the black market, has been fighting an uphill battle.

Youths involved in the racket are increasingly well armed.

There are few other opportunities for them to gain a livelihood in the impoverished oil-producing parts of southern Nigeria.

The region was long neglected by former regimes despite its overwhelming contribution to central government revenues.

A recent nationwide fuel scarcity, meanwhile, has brought with it an upsurge in black market profiteering.

But a tragedy on the scale of what has happened at Adeje has only once occurred before - in 1998 when up to 1,000 people died in an explosion at the nearby village of Jesse.

-- Martin Thompson (, July 12, 2000.

Nigeria pipeline horror: company admits role in fuel thefts Agence France-Presse

July 14, 2000

LAGOS, July 14 (AFP) - Nigeria's state-run oil company Friday admitted rogue officials may be involved in the illegal siphoning off of fuel from pipelines, after a pipeline blaze in which more than 250 died.

"It is possible NNPC officials are involved in this vandalisation. That is not ruled out," said Ndu Ughamadu, group spokesman for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

"Our engineers have told us that vandalisation of oil pipelines takes a scientific process which ordinary villagers can't engage in," he said.

"There must be well-placed people that have links with this pipeline vandalisation. Where they have located a pipeline they will perforate holes and quietly they wil lay pipeline up to one kilometre where they siphon the fuel at will," he told reporters.

More than 250 people died when a pipeline fractured by fuel black marketeers outside the city of Warri in southern Nigeria's Delta State exploded into flames in the early hours of Monday.

Delta State Governor James Ibori on Wednesday charged that the pipeline operators, the NNPC wholly-owned fuel marketing subsidiary PPMC, had known for seven months that the pipeline had been fractured and said officials were involved.

"Much as the Delta State government would not want to apportion blame, there is reasonable evidence of either negligence or connivance on the part of those in charge of the supply lines," he charged.

The NNPC announced an internal inquiry Friday into the explosion in Warri. The government of President Olusegun Obasanjo has yet to react to the event.

COPYRIGHT 2000 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved. 0270-Nigeria-blast-NNPC....html

-- Martin Thompson (, July 14, 2000.

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