There is palpable panic in Oduoha Community in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State following a gas pipeline explosion incident in the area. It was learned that a gas pipeline that runs through the community to a terminal in Bonny exploded in the early hours on Tuesday, creating a heavy impact on the environment. It was gathered that two separate gas pipes operated by Nigeria Liquidify Natural Gas and Nigeria Agip Oil Company, NAOC, runs on the same line where the incident happened, making it difficult to ascertain who the operator of the affected line is, at press time. However, as at 12 pm, the vibration and leakage was still raging as the community panic over the development. Speaking, the Paramount Ruler of Oduoha, His Royal Highness, Chief Ferdinand Ogbuehi, noted that the explosion caused panic in the community, noting that many residents have already fled for safety. He said: “From 4 am till now the people have been living in fear. The vibration has sent many packing. We are not at rest at all. We have not seen this type of thing before. We want the Government to come and see what is happening.
“We have announced to the people that nobody should go there. We don’t want a fire outbreak from that place to destroy our community. We want the Government to come. We are afraid of going closer to the place.” Also, the Community Development Committee Chairman of Oduoha, Sir Napoleon Ewule, noted that the community has contacted the two companies whose facilities were on the line, adding that they have promised a visit to ascertain whose facilities were affected. He said: “About 4:12 am, we heard an explosion. We were thinking that aeroplane has crashed into our community. “I called on the youths and we went there to see what happened. As we got there we noticed the explosion. The effect is much. We came back and told our people to avoid the area. We called on NLNG to find out what is happening. “We have two pipelines there one for Agip and another for NLNG. When they come for inspection we will know who owns the one that exploded. “The effect is much in the community now. The smell and the pepperish heat. The Government should come in and stop the leakage.” Meanwhile, at press time, no official confirmation or statement has been issued by any of the relevant agency of the government in respect of the development.
By Davies Iheamnachor for Vanguard Nigeria.