Thousands of residents of Uvwie local government area in Nigeria’s Delta state were evacuated when a series of huge oil pipeline fires flared up.
The evacuation was carried out on Tuesday evening with soldiers helping in the exercise.
What triggered the fire has not been ascertained.
Panicked residents of the area were seen fleeing with their belongings for safe havens outside the locality.
Various sources say that the pipeline which conveys products from the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company to other parts of the country had ruptured several weeks ago.
Residents of the area said the owner of the facility, Pipelines and Product Marketing Company, which is a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), refused to take action until Tuesday when the fires erupted.
“The pipeline had been leaking products for weeks, maybe months, and the NNPC was fully aware but they did nothing about it,” a resident charged.
“About a week ago they cam and were cleaning the oil from the area but they left again.””
The lackadaisical attitude of the state-owned company to emergency situations has caused the nation untold hardship in the past.
Thousands of lives have been lost to pipeline fires in Jesse in Warri, and Alepo in Lagos.
Many of these fires were caused by leaking pipes which the company refused or delayed to fix.
Meanwhile, two persons were reported killed and five injured on Tuesday following a fierce gun battle between security operatives and pipeline vandals in Lagos.
The incident at Seventh Avenue, Festac Town, sent residents of the entire Amuwo Odofin local government area into panic.
Three soldiers sustained bullet wounds on their legs, while a vandal was killed and several others escaped with gunshot wounds.
Africa Review later learnt that a policeman was killed by the fleeing criminals.
SOURCE: AFRICA REVIEW