Imo State Government has explained that giving compensation to the families of the victims of the Abaezi illegal refinery explosion in Ohaji/ Egbema Local Council of the state is like encouraging a criminal or an armed robber killed in the process.
Also, the State Government has explained why the governor, Hope Uzodimma, has not visited the site of the incident since Friday night it occurred, maintaining that the governor has dispatched the Commissioners for Petroleum Resources, Chief Goodluck Opiah, and his counterpart in the Health Ministry, Dr. Prosper Ohayagha, among other officials, who identified, carried out a mass burial and fumigated the environment. The state government, therefore, questions why some people were confronting the governor with the question of his inability to visit the site, saying it was unnecessary until any time he so desires, insisting that Uzodimma cannot be stampeded into visiting there and celebrating illegality.
The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, who disclosed this, yesterday, in an Owerri-based privately owned radio station (Hot FM), insisted that if it was possible for charges of economic sabotage to be preferred against the dead, it would have been done for their alleged criminality.
According to him, the explosion occurred at a thick forest where there is no human settlement, stressing that anyone who was burnt in the inferno was there on illegal business against the laws of the land. He, also, informed that available facts from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), 110 persons died, out of which 50 unidentified burnt bodies, which have been given mass burial at the site there.
He, however, said the governor and the government were pained by the loss of human lives, hence, the Uzodimma condoled with the affected families, noting that the burial site will serve as a monument.
MEANWHILE, the death of over 110 Nigerians, caused by an explosion at an illegal refinery site in Abaezi community, Ohagi-Egbema Local Council of Imo State on Friday, April 22, 2022, became a matter that prompted a solemnity of sort as the Senate mourned their death.
The decision came after Rochas Okorocha, representing Imo West Senatorial District, raised a point of order. Okorocha, while relying on order 42 of the Senate Standing Order, 2022 as amended, informed his colleagues, during plenary, that the incident led to the death of 110 persons.
According to him, the tragic incident has thrown the state into mourning. He disclosed that the explosion was caused as a result of illegal refining.
The lawmaker called on the Federal Government to consider legislation to provide for local technology for artisanal and modular refinery considering the gap in Nigeria’s refining capacity.