FG to Assist Victims of Imo Refinery Explosion with Relief Materials
The federal government yesterday revealed that it would assist victims of last Friday fire explosion at the site of an illegal refinery in Abaezi, Ohaji- Egbema local government area of Imo State.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, who said this, also condoled with the government and people of state over the inferno which led to the death of no fewer than 110 persons.
She also conveyed federal government’s condolences in Owerri, during a visit to access the scene of the explosion and ascertain the level of damage.
Umar-Farouq, represented by the Director, Relief and Rehabilitation of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr. Alhassan Nuhu, said the government would assist victims of the disaster with relief material after due assessment of its impact.
She described the incident as preventable and cautioned against illegal activities so as to avert possible future recurrence.
The minister called on operators of the refinery to approach appropriate authorities to seek legal means of refining crude oil.
She also called on stakeholders and security agencies to collaborate with regulatory bodies in the oil and gas sector to nip the ugly trend in the bud.
“This visit is to condole with Imo people and access the extent of damage so as to ascertain the volume of relief for the victims.
“We implore increased collaboration with NEMA and security agencies to crackdown on illegal refineries and oil bunkering activities,” she said.
Also speaking, the State Governor, Hope Uzodimma decried illegal bunkering activities in the area, saying that the incident affected both human and aquatic life.
The governor who was represented by Commissioner for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Goodluck Opiah, expressed worry that oil companies in the area have neglected their social responsibilities towards their host communities.
He said government has made efforts to stop the illegal bunkering in the area, adding that the incident was “a disaster waiting to explode.”
Uzodimma, however, thanked the federal government for showing concern and urged the delegates to help with relief materials to cushion the effects of the disaster.
In her remarks, Imo State Commissioner for Humanitarian
Affairs and Disaster Management, Rabi Ibrahim expressed reservation that some of those that dead in the inferno might not be oil bunkers but unfortunate victims.