At least 20 persons were reportedly killed when an illegal oil refinery complex went up in flames in the Egbema town in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State.
On Friday night, our correspondent learned of the occurrence.
A large number of persons were reported dead in the raging blaze, however the head of operations for the NEMA, Mr. Ifeanyi Nnaji, claimed that based on information he received from the scene, “the casualty total could not exceed 20.”
Also, six automobiles are alleged to have been destroyed in the fire.
Nigeria’s State Commissioner for Petroleum Resources Goodluck Opiah confirmed that Okenze Onyenwoke is the illicit refinery’s operator but is currently on the run.
However, he claimed that the police had issued a warrant for the operator’s arrest.
Mr. Okenya Theadus Mario, president of Egbema Youth, verified the event to our correspondent in Owerri on Saturday.
After visiting the area, he claimed to have seen the burnt corpses of the refinery’s employees and clients.
He claimed that a few of the burned bodies had decayed and been buried almost immediately afterward.
“Could only count roughly 20 people deceased at the spot,” said NEMA’s head of operations.
The Imo State Police Command Public Relations Officer, CSP Mike Abatham, has also confirmed the occurrence, characterising it as terrible.