By Desmond Ejibas
An early morning pipeline explosion rocked the Oduoha community in Emohua local government area, Rivers state on Wednesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt that the pipeline, which supplies gas through the community to a terminal in Bonny Island, in Rivers, belongs to Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) and Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC).
Two separate gas pipes operated by NLNG and NAOC, ran on the same line where the incident occurred, making it difficult to ascertain who the exact operator of the affected line was, as at the time of filing this report.
It was further learnt that as at 12 p.m., the vibration and leakage from the gas pipeline were still raging, as residents of the community ran for safety.
The Paramount Ruler of Oduoha, HRH Chief Ferdinand Ogbuehi, said “since the incident happened by 4 a.m. people have been living in fear. The vibration from the explosion sent many packing.
“We are not at rest at all and have not seen this type of thing before. We want the government to come and see what is happening.
“We have announced to the people that nobody should go there (the scene of the explosion). We want the government to come, because we are afraid of going closer to the place,” Ogbuehi said.
Also commenting, Mr Napoleon Ewule, the Chairman of Oduoha Community Development Committee (CDC), said the community had already contacted both NLNG and NAOC, and they had promised to visit the scene to determine whose facility was affected.
The CDC chairman said the explosion, which occurred in the early hours of Wednesday, shook the community with many thinking that an aeroplane had crashed in the community.
“So, after I heard the explosion, I immediately called and mobilised youths of Oduoha to see what had happened. Later, when we discovered what had happened, we came back and informed our people to avoid the area.
“There are two pipelines running on the same line that belongs to NAOC and NLNG. We will know who owns the exploded pipeline when both companies come for inspection,” he said.
Ewule pleaded with the government to come in and stop the leakage, saying that the gas emitted from the damaged pipeline was endangering the lives and livelihoods of residents.
Officials of NLNG and NOAC were not immediately available for comment as at the time of filing this report.