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Three killed as Agip pipeline explodes

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Three persons were killed on Sunday in a pipeline explosion at Olugboboro, near Olugbobiri, in Southern Ijaw Local Government of Bayelsa State.

The pipeline, it was learnt, belongs to the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC).

A security source, who spoke in confidence, said: “There was a rupture on Agip pipeline and welders were engaged to clamp it. In the process, the pipeline exploded and went into flames.”

The source blamed the incident on lack of precaution and alleged compromise of safety measures by the oil company.

He described the incident as one too many.

The source recalled that last July 9, a blast during a repair at Agip’s oil field in Azuzuama, also in Southern Ijaw, led to the death of 14 people.

A regulatory official of the Ministry of Environment and National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and 12 maintenance crew members were among the victims.

Also, a state Representative of the Environmental Rights Action (ERA) confirmed the report.

He said two of the deceased were from his maternal hometown in Brass, Brass Local Government Area.

The representative identified one of the victims as a professional welder and the other as the only son of his mother.

He said: “Another Agip pipeline explosion claimed three lives on Sunday. The pipeline is at Olugboboro, not far from Olugbobiri.

“Two persons from my maternal home town, Brass, are among the dead. One of them is a professional welder and the other is the only son of his mother.”

The representative said some repairs were being done on the pipeline when it exploded.

“Clamping or repairs were on when the incident happened. At least, that is the cause of the explosion, as per information at ERA’s disposition,” he said.

But NOSDRA said there was a blast at an oil field operated by Agip.

NOSDRA’s Director-General Dr. Peter Idabor said an employee of the agency escaped death.

Idabor said the survivor drew the attention of oil workers to an alleged breach of safety procedure and left the scene before the explosion occurred.

He added: “I received a report of the incident from our worker in Yenagoa (Bayelsa State capital) office. Luckily, one of our officers in the team survived. Because of the safety conditions of the place, after inspection, my staff left the place. He was not affected.

“I am going to report the matter officially to the minister of Environment today.”

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