A gas explosion from the Nembe Creek Trunk Line operated by the Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company has caused panic among indigenes of seven communities of Nembe in Nembe Local Government Area of the Bayelsa State.
The explosion, which occurred on Friday, affected the communities and many are reported missing, including women and children.
A source said the incident had shut down the Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL) for emergency repairs, after the detection of oil leakage.
The Nembe communities affected include Nembe Creek 1, 2 and 3, Jalungo, Fatuo and Kalablomi.
An indigene of the community identified as Patrick said the gas explosion has polluted the air and water in the area, and has adversely affected the fishing livelihood of the communities.
Contacted on the development, Chief Nengi James-Eriworio, spokesman of the Nembe Chiefs Council, confirmed the development, stating that it caused “massive destruction of the area with air and water heavily polluted”.
“People have deserted the area and the company has refused to respond, despite series of emergency calls. As at 6pm, the time you called, the fire is still raging. The incident is uncalled for and questionable. The people are afraid. Women and children are missing,” he said.
He continued: “This is a large-scale explosion. We are calling on the Federal Government agencies to investigate and respond to salvage the people. The incident has caused air and water pollution.
“We are concerned that the oil exploration company, despite the questionable acquisition of the company from SPDC without due consultation with the people, developed a poor attitude 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.”