The horrifying blast occurred in the southeast region of Nigeria between River State and Emo State on the night of April 22, 2022. Officials have stated that supposedly the cause was an outbreak of fire that claimed many lives. Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian president, described the fatal explosion as a national disaster.
Nigeria possesses crude oil, and the lack of strict and efficient regulations leads to more and more illegal operations of the stolen natural resource. The illegal facility is located in the Ohaji-Egbema forest, which is situated out of sight from the Nigerian regulatory agencies.
Resident Francis Obi told the Associated Press AP that the refinery site is often busy at night because consumers come from around Nigeria to purchase the product. There is little information on who owns the site as it is operated far into the forest, surrounded by palm trees and farmlands.
Hitherto, the death toll has been up to 110 unidentifiable bodies as stated by the Associated Press. The relatives of these unfortunate victims and state emergency workers searched through the wreckage to identify bodies, but that was deemed impossible. The site has been destroyed with irreversibly damaged cars and the footwear of some of the workers left behind.
Cyril Duru, the Commissioner for Environment in Emo State, said they’ve agreed with the “local government so they can do much better. They cannot identify their bodies because they are badly charred. The next thing would be to fumigate the area to stop any diseases, an outbreak of diseases around this vicinity.”
People have resulted in participating in the commerce of illegal oil refineries across the country due to the lack of education, poverty, and poor living standards. Although the national government is declaring it a national disaster, the civilians are pointing their fingers at the high offices of the country on all levels of government.
According to the BBC, Nigeria loses more than 10% of its oil production, which is about 200,000 barrels of crude oil lost to illegal refineries daily. However, it being the top producer of oil on the continent of Africa, the nation still suffers from oil shortages and could be the reason some of the cars caught on fire while their owners were in cue to buy gas.
The president of Nigeria has advised that more will get done to strictly regulate oil production and a crackdown on these illegal operations. Critics have undermined his statement, arguing that this specific site is not the first, nor will it be the last, because of the corrupt practices of some politicians and local governing bodies benefiting greatly from the refineries.
Nigerian civilians have taken to social media to express their deepest concerns and condemn the government. One Instagram by the name kilikina__ commented on a post made by Chakabars mentioning that the “government itself is responsible for every mishap in that country. The president does nothing but ‘express shock’.
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