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Illegal Refinery: Many burnt beyond recognition in Imo as fire engulfs site

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Illegal Refinery: Many burnt beyond recognition in Imo as fire engulfs site

A fire engulfed an illegal crude oil refining site in the Abaezi forest, in the Ohaji-Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State, killing several persons.

Witnesses said the event occurred around 11 p.m. on Friday, but inhabitants of the area awoke on Saturday morning to witness massive flames.

The exact number of persons on the scene when it caught fire is unknown, however estimates from witnesses range from 50 to over 100.

People were initially unable to approach the bush due to the blazing fire and had to wait for the flames to calm down before approaching it, according to a source.

When they arrived on the site, they discovered that over a hundred people had been burned and that many more had suffered major burns.

Hours after the flames died out, videos of the scene of the illegal refinery show the magnitude of the horrific blaze’s impact—charred equipment, vehicles, and human remains littered the area.

Meanwhile, Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma has expressed his condolences to the victims’ families.

He went on to say that operating an illegal refinery in the area amounted to economic sabotage to the state and nation, as well as a criminal conduct that everyone should avoid.

Those currently operating illegal refineries in the state have been advised to halt immediately or face the wrath of the law, according to the governor.

In his words, “I have dispatched my Commissioner of Petroleum to visit the scene. This is what we have been crying for in the state.

“It is an economic sabotage to our country, where people steal our crude oil, refine illegally and – even without the guarantee of the quality of such products – sell to the people. And some people suffer engine failure and all sort of problems with their vehicles as a result of these illegal activities.

“So people must be law-abiding, must refrain from taking into any activity that will amount to economic sabotage, criminality and all that.

“That does not mean I’m not empathetic to the loss of lives associated with the incident. It’s unfortunate. And through that, I want to advise those who are still in that practice to desist from such acts.”

Illegal Refinery: Many burnt beyond recognition in Imo as fire engulfs site

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