The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has absolved itself from the recent pipeline explosion that killed scores of people in Osisioma Community in Abia State.
Spokesman of NNPC, Ndu Uwemadu in a press statement said the ugly incident was caused by suspected oil thieves who hacked into the pipeline network in attempt to intercept the flow of petroleum from Port Harcourt to Aba.
He said items such as jerricans at the scene of the explosion as revealed by preliminary report on the matter indicated that the activities of vandals ignited the flames.
The NNPC spokesman who was reacting to allegations making the rounds in some quarters that the explosion was caused by leakages from abandoned NNPC pipeline, faulted the claims.
He said the management of NNPC was doing everything possible to ensure that its pipeline facilities are put under proper check, to avoid fire outbreaks. He cautioned the public against plots to vandalise oil pipelines to scoop petroleum products, noting that such activities was responsible for the unfortunate incidence in Abia State.
It could be recalled that, a former Governor of Abia State, and presently a senator, Theodore Orji, had blamed the pipeline explosion on the negligence on the part of NNPC maintenance of its pipelines. Senator Orji also faulted security operatives, especially the police for their negligence of duty which he said led to the unfortunate disaster.
Earlier, a pipeline surveillance guard Chuks Uzoechi whose family house was razed down by the pipeline explosion was reported to have raised alarm over leakages at the old pipeline before the explosion occurred. The surveillance guard was said to have contacted the authorities in charge of the pipeline from Port Harcourt to Kaduna, but no prompt action was taken to avert the incident.
Stories by Taneh Beemene