Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

A pipeline explosion which took place in Olugboboro, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, has left three persons dead and many others injured.

The three persons, who died immediately at the scene of a huge fire outbreak, were reportedly working for an oil service firm which was fixing a damaged pipeline operated by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC).

However, THISDAY gathered that basic safety measures might not have been observed during the operation, which involved clamping of the leaking crude oil pipeline.

The incident involving mainly welders happened barely nine months after a similar incident led to the roasting of 14 persons, following a blast at Agip’s oil field in Tebidaba-Clough creek line, Azuzuama, also in Southern Ijaw.

At the time, regulatory officials of the Bayelsa Ministry of Environment, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and a 12-member maintenance crew were among the victims.

In the latest incident, two of the deceased persons were said to have hailed from Brass Local Government Area of the state while the third was the only child of his parents.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr. Asinim Butswat, said he was not able to get the details of the incident, but NOSDRA confirmed to newsmen that there had been an explosion at the scene as the welders battled to fix a ruptured channel.

The Director-General, NOSDRA, Dr. Peter Idabor, said an employee of the agency escaped death by a whisker, just after noticing that safety standards had been compromised.
“I received a report of the incident from our staff in the Yenagoa office and luckily one of our officers on the team survived.

“Because of the safety conditions of the place, after inspection, my officer left the place and he was not affected. I am going to report the matter officially to the Minister of Environment today,” he said.