More than 100 people were killed overnight in an explosion at an illegal oil refining depot on the border of Nigeria’s Rivers and Imo states, a local government official and an environmental group said on Saturday.
“The fire outbreak occurred at an illegal bunkering site and it affected over 100 people who were burnt beyond recognition,” the state commissioner for petroleum resources, Goodluck Opiah, said.
The bunkering site was in the Ohaji-Egbema local government area of Imo state in the Abaezi forest that straddles the border of the two states.
Unemployment and poverty in the oil-producing Niger Delta have made illegal crude refining an attractive business but with deadly consequences. Crude oil is tapped from a web of pipelines owned by major oil companies and refined into products in makeshift tanks.