The death toll from last Friday Osisioma fuel pipeline explosion has risen to 200, even as protesting youths from the host communities of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, depot, yesterday, shut operation at the facility over the incident.
The youths, numbering 2,000, who barricaded the gate of the depot with a coffin containing the corpse of one of the victims, lamented that the pipeline explosion was caused by NNPC’s negligence, by pumping fuel through a leaking pipeline which had been abandoned for over three years.
Vanguard reported that yesterday, additional 16 corpses were buried at Umuimo, while Okpokoroala village buried 10.
Some of the placards carried by the youths read: ‘The explosion was not as a result of vandalism,’ ‘NNPC should stop pumping fuel through abandoned pipelines,’ ‘Since Enugu depot is not functional, where was NNPC pumping fuel to?’ ‘What happened was planned mass killing of our people by NNPC,’ ‘Enough of these deaths caused by NNPC’s carelessness,’ ‘We have been rendered homeless by NNPC,’ among others.
A combined team of policemen and men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, struggled to prevent the youths from causing damage to the facility, even as they insisted that the Depot Manager must address them.