File photo: Scene of an explosion

By Ovie Okpare

There was palpable tension Otu-Jeremi Town in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State following an explosion which gutted the Abura Crude Trunkline operated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Sources told WARRI TODAY that the oil pipeline exploded at about 11: 45am on Friday, gushing volumes of crude oil into the surroundings in Otu-Jeremi, Headquarters of Ughelli South LGA.

Residents in the community, especially those living meters from the affected line are still running helter skelter in fear over the incident.

The affected line accommodates Oil Mining Lease (OML) 34 pipelines operated by ND Western jointly with the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), and that of Abura Line belonging to the NPDC.

It is not clear yet which of both lines have ruptured and WARRI TODAY digs further into the unfolding incident.

The incident had earlier led to the temporal closure of the weekly Otu-Jeremi market as traders and customers were seen scampering for safety.

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Our sources claimed that soldiers have cordoned off the scene and surroundings of the incident.

“Fire-fighting trucks have just arrived to prevent fire outbreak. People are still running as we speak. Soldiers are everywhere”, one of the sources said.

Meanwhile, normalcy has returned to the community after the management of NPDC successfully put off the trunkline on Friday evening.

No casualty was recorded during the incident except the spilled crude which destroyed farmland around the site of the ruptured pipeline.

However, the Delta State Police Command has confirmed the report of the incident.

The State Police Public Relations Officer, Onome Onowakpoyeya, confirmed it while speaking with this reporter via phone on Friday evening.

But efforts to speak with the spokesman of NNPC, Mr Ndu Ughamadu, proved abortive as he declined to pick repeated calls to his telephone line, and had yet respond to text message sent to him at the time of updating this report.

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