The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) says it has no record of pipeline explosion in Nembe, Bayelsa, as being reported in some quarters.
Mr Ndu Ughamadu, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the corporation disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Abuja, on Saturday.
No fewer than 50 people were reported to be missing after a leaking oil pipeline exploded and caused stampede in Nembe Kingdom in Bayelsa, according to the spokesperson of the community’s council of chiefs, Mr Nengi James-Eriworii.
He said the blast which happened in the early hours of Friday caused massive oil spillage in the community.
” It is not our pipeline, it is Aiteo that was mentioned, which ordinarily they are supposed to be on joint venture with NNPC.
“I have cross-checked with our downstream unit that manages our pipeline and they said that they didn’t have such records,” he said.
But, Aiteo Exploration Ltd, operator of the 97 kilometres Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL), confirmed that there was an explosion at the creek which burned till Saturday.
Public Relations Manager of Aiteo, Mr Ndiana-Abasi Mathew, confirmed the incident to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in a phone message on Saturday.
“There is no official statement at the moment but I can gladly inform you that the fire has been contained and no lives were lost,” Mathew said.
Spokesperson of the Nembe Chiefs Council, Chief Nengi James–Eriworio, also confirming the incident, said the explosion caused massive destruction of the area with air and water heavily polluted.
“People have deserted the area and the company has refused to respond in spite of series of emergency calls to report the incident to them
“As at early morning of Saturday, the fire is still raging. And with gas and crude leak flowing freely, you can then imagine the fate of our people.
“The poor response of Aiteo to this incident is not acceptable and questionable. The people are traumatised and their health put at risk,” James-Eriworio said.
According to him, oil leak from the line has covered the surface of the nearby river, making it unsafe for navigation and artisanal fishing vocation of the people.
James-Eriworio also appealed to the Federal Government and oil industry regulatory agencies to intervene and investigate and respond to salvage the people.
“We are concerned that Aiteo, despite the clandestine acquisition of the asset from SPDC without due consultation with the people, has continued to undermine the economic rights of the people.
“We are worried about the poor response and attitude of the company towards the host communities in Nembe.
“They have abused the rights of the people. We are ready to drag the company before the National Assembly and the Presidency,” James-Eriworio said.