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Residents flee as gas pipeline ruptures in Rivers

By Obinna Nwaoku, Port Harcourt
21 November 2023   |   4:44 am
A gas pipeline leakage in Omoku town, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Council of Rivers State has caused pandemonium in the area, forcing residents to flee their homes over fears of possible explosion.

A gas pipeline leakage in Omoku town, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Council of Rivers State has caused pandemonium in the area, forcing residents to flee their homes over fears of possible explosion.

  
The Guardian gathered that the leakage occurred on Saturday, beside Grace Orphanage Home, off Egbada Road in Omoku main town. It was alleged that the leakage was caused by equipment failure, installed by Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) in the early 1960s.
  
Confirming the incident, leader of Voice of Freedom, Evaristus Nicholas, said the ruptured gas pipeline was yet to be clamped by NAOC, who operates it, adding that residents around the area are now at risk of fire explosion.
  
Nicholas said the pipelines were old and obsolete and should be replaced immediately. He said: “The ruptured pipeline is yet to be clamped by Agip or Oando as we speak. Gas fumes are in the air. The pipeline explosion was caused by corrosion, no casualty has been recorded so far.
 
“These pipelines are old, they were laid in the early 1960s when Agip came to Onelga.
 
“Now that Oando Plc has acquired Agip, Oando should start thinking of replacing these obsolete pipelines with new ones, otherwise more explosions like these will be recorded.”
 
A resident of the area, Ambassador Bright Abali, called on NAOC and Oando Plc, to immediately fix the damaged pipeline, and avert a possible explosion and loss of lives in the area.
 
According to him, NAOC’s refusal to replace and maintain the pipelines had denied the youths of ONELGA the required employment such a project would be created for their host communities.
 
Abali said:  “Gas eruption is a regular occurrence along Agip pipelines, particularly inside the forest areas due to obsolete pipelines. The company has refused to change their old facilities used over decades.

“NAOC exploration impact has caused unquantifiable damages to the environment, health and general life of the people of Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni Local Council of Rivers State and these unfriendly exploration practices must stop.” At press time, the Nigerian Agip Oil Company was yet to respond to enquiries sent to them.