Over 100 people lost their lives last weekend at an illegal crude oil bunkering site at the Abaezi forest, in the Ohaji-Egbema Local Government Area of Nigeria’s Imo state.
The illegal oil refining depot bordered Nigeria’s Rivers and Imo states and is one of many such sites operated across the Niger Delta by illegal refiners seeking to profit from the country’s oil reserves.
The explosion happened as the government has intensified its crack down on pipeline vandalism and crude theft – which many use to secure the feedstock required for their illegal refining activities. These remain carried out outside any supervision, sometimes with makeshift equipment that often causes fatal accidents and heavy pollution.
Several vehicles that were in a queue to buy illegal fuel were reportedly burnt by the fire outbreak that took the lives of over 100 people.