Eteo petrol tanker explosion victims families want proper investigation

Tanker on fire

Soibi Oruwari
Security operatives destroy di three tankers for allegedly carrying illegally refined diesel

Families of victims wey die from one set of tankers explosion inside southern Nigeria dey demand thorough investigation into di matter to give dia loved ones justice.

Di tanker explosion happun on Sunday 14 August, 2022 for Eteo Eleme Local goment area of Rivers Sate.  

Di total number of deaths from dis incident no dey clear, at dis time.

Tins turn bad afta security operatives bin arrest three tankers on suspicion say dem carry illegally refined diesel for Eteo, 28 kilometres away from di Port Harcourt Refinery.

Stephen Obolot loss three of im relatives for wen di tankers explode, in di process afta di arrest.

Im 25 year old younger brother Amejima Obolot,  im 42 year cousin Ofima Emmanuel Fenya and 46 year old Uncle.

Stephen Obolot tell BBC Pidgin say im relatives bin go find out wetin dey happen after dem see big flames of fire dey burn after di security operatives set di tankers on fire.

“Pipo go dia dey ask wetin dey happen for our community wen dem see di fire and di way diesel dey pour for ground. Di next tin one of di tankers explode kill pipo.”

E add say e don bury im brother and cousin while im Uncle still dey mortuary.

Spencer Osaronwite wey lose im 37 year old younger brother, Emmanuel Osaronwite to di disaster dey wonder why di security operatives come destroy di tankers for dia

E tell BBC Pidgin say im brother bin dey go drive pipo wey gada comot so dem no go go close to di fire wen di explosion happen and parts of di tanker hit am for im head and hand.

“As dem dey rush my brother go UPTH (University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital) na im e die on di road so dem bring am back.

“My brother get a wife and two children, who look after dem? E dey very painful.”

Tanker remnants

Spencer Osaronwite
Dem don bury some of di victims of di tanker explosion while some odas dey hospital

For Paul Chitte, e say im brother Late Maxwell Chitte bin go find out why dem set fire on di tankers for dia family land wia dem dey farm.

E say di death of im brother don devastate di family as e leave behind a wife and five children and since di incident happen, di wife never stop to cry.

“Why dem carry dat kain tin come our community? Before no be for inside di community dem dey burn di tankers wey dem impound.

So I want make Goment investigate dis matter well Nevis my brother kinsuppose die. E just go ask di security pipo why dem go come burn di tankers for our family land Wen di explosion happen and e die on di spot dia.”

‘Dis na avoidable death’

But Eleme Local goment Council wia di incident happen say dis na avoidable death wey happen so.

Chief Press Secretary to di Council boss Chinwi Ate explain to BBC Pidgin say wetin actually cause di explosion na some pipo wey come see as di tankers dey burn.

Dem try quench some parts of one of di tanker then go bring oxygen burner to cut di tank so dem fit collect di fuel, she add.

But unfortunately, e come explode kill pipo and injure odas.

E say di Council dey work with relevant bodies to make sure say dat kain tin no happen for di area again.

Burnt tanker

Spencer Osaronwite
Families of victims dey demand justice for dia loved ones wey die

‘Burning illegally refined products no get any gain’

Meanwhile, Rivers State Police Command say na only two pipo die for di incident and dem don begin investigation.

Environmental activists don condemn di way security operatives dey destroy illegally refined products as sometin wey no get any gain both to human beings and di environment.

Celestine Akpobari, wey be Environmental rights activist say dis incident for Eteo na one of many instances wey dem don condemn wetin becos dem fit put dis illegal refined product to better use.

Akpobari say  evri crude oil get e own imprint wey wen dem test am, dem fit trace am to di oil company wey dey refine am.

So dia advice be say instead dem go destroy such products wey dem seize, dem for either send am back to di company wey get di imprint or send am to refinery and not set am on fire wey dey further destroy di environment.

“Dis na wetin we don shout tay tay say make dis security operatives no dey destroy all dis products dem impound. 

“Evri time we say we no get enof petroleum products to service our local needs yet dem dey destroy di ones dem don see wey dem fit put to better use.”

“Besides, di effect of dis burning get longer time effect on di health of di pipo wey dey inhale dis smoke of di fire, as e dey build up over time inside dia body, one day you go hear say pesin just die.

“But di tin e dey breathe in don dey spoil im body for long. Also di smoke wey go up go come down as acid rain and so na sometim wey no good.

“E don reach time wey goment suppose take proactive steps to stop dis unnecessary destruction and put di products to good use and avoid tins like dis.” E tok