Exclusive: Committee submits report on KomKom pipeline explosion which killed dozens

……..Indicts security agencies, U.T.M in Offshore, PPMC

The committee set up by the Oyigbo Local Government chairman, Gerald Oforji to unravel the cause of the pipeline explosion which killed over 50 persons in KomKom, has submitted its report.

The 7-man Committee led by Mr Ethel Michael in a document reviewed by theportcitynews cited negligence on the part of the U.T.M in Offshore, a private company responsible for the pipeline surveillance, security agencies in the area who aided vandals for the explosion.

After interviewing eye-witness, the committee discovered that the last maintenance work on the pipeline at km 15.5 was on the 10th of May, 2018 which was the last access to the spot by U.T.M in offshore.

It said that on Thursday the 20th of June 2019, at about 8 am, the P.P.M.C started pumping of P.M.S (fuel) to Enugu depot.

However, on Friday the 21st June 2019, at about 12:00hrs with the peculiar nature of the terrain as a swampy area, which is not easily accessible by foot, with intelligence gathering by men on duty from U.T.M surveillance crew, there was the smell of P.M.S (fuel) within the vicinity

“The search started throughout the night by U.T.M surveillance till 3:00 am when the men of Civil Defense (NCDC) came and joined in the search. Without traces to the spot, the maintenance team joined the search by 5 am, a canoe was hired to help access the swamp with about five (5) persons on board.

“Later on that same Friday, the spot was discovered with a lot of spills and bubblings. It was pegged without any measure to cordon the area or inform security agencies to help safeguard the place by U.T.M offshore pending when maintenance work will be carried out on the line.

“These resulted in the overall spillage of oil (P.M.S) on all the environments and the territorial waters. At about 7 pm in the dark, some unidentified persons were seen around within the swamp who were so aggressive on the U.T.M maintenance team and threatened to attack them if they venture to close the spot. All the teams on the ground ran out of the swamp2”, the reports said.

The reports explained that on Saturday the 22nd of June 2019, during the early hours of the day, based on the fact that P.M.S (fuel) is an essential commodity, other people were attracted to the product as means of economic survival, scooping the product with jerry cans and foam method.

This, it said, attracted the security agencies. A policeman from Afam Police Division by name Precious came with a rifle and had a challenge with one of the scoopers. He fired a shot in the air which ignited the flame, a large sound was heard, which was the explosion.

The reports said that 32 bodies were recovered in the morning of the explosion while 8 were recovered later in the day making a total sum of 40.

Two bodies were recovered on Sunday, two on Monday 24/6/2019, Two on Tuesday, another three were recovered on Wednesday and one on Friday.

The committee said that the total number of 48 corpses were taken by the deceased families and buried as they reported while it identified nine.

EFFORT TO REMEDY THE SITUATION BY U.T.M OFFSHORE AND P.P.M.C

The report said that in a bid to salvage the situation, water was introduced to the pipeline later on Saturday the 22nd of June, 2019 that reduced the flame, adding that when the pumping of water stopped later in the day, the fire resurfaced in the early hours of Sunday the 23rd of June, 2019.

“On Sunday 23rd June 2019, NNPC brought their fire control truck which was of no importance or remedy to the situation due to poor accessibility.

“Later in the day, another smaller water pumping machine was introduced with low-performance capability.
Foam compound was introduced by the U.T.M maintenance team that yielded no result.

“On Monday the 24th of June 2019, was the shutting down of the Imo River control valve but the fire was still much based on the fact that the pumping of water stopped.

“Tuesday the 25th of June, 2019 was when the fire was put off completely.

“Wednesday the 26th of June, 2019 – The immediate cause of the problem was discovered to a four (4”) inches valve been installed to the line by vandals for oil bunkering activities. A corpse was also recovered when the U.T.M maintenance team was able to access the swamp with a swamp-buggy machine.

INTERACTIONS WITH THE PEOPLE OF KOMKOM COMMUNITY CONCERNING THE PIPELINE EXPLOSION

“We were in our houses on Friday evening, the 21st of June 2019, when people started coming out with filled jerry cans of fuel which was (P.M.S)

“In the early hours of Saturday 22/6/2019, it was as if it was the gathering of birds with people moving to and fro with gallons of fuel (P.M.S) within the streets of the komkom community.

“In an effort to remedy the situation, the street chairman tried in gathering some of them together by talking to them about the dangers of scooping petroleum products which were adhered by some persons who returned to their respective houses unhurt.

“At about 7 am was when we heard a large sound and smoke started coming out which was later discovered to be the pipeline explosion.”

NAMES OF SOME OF THE CORPSES SO FAR RECOVERED AND BURIED FROM THE EXPLOSION WHILE OTHERS DECLINED GIVING THEIR IDENTITIES

  1. PETER MARTIN
    From: Ohafia L.G.A, Abia State
    Age: Youth
    House Address: Aruonwu Quarter
    Phone No: 08069487748

  2. THANKGOD LEDEE and HIS BROTHER From Eleme L.G.A, Rivers State
    Palm Wine Tappers,
    Age: Advanced
    Phone No: 08160702075

  3. MAXWELL IKPEAPUNULO from Orlu Njaba L.G.A, Imo State.
    Age: Youth
    House Address: Umuakpahu
    Phone No: 08062284499

  4. NNEJI KINGSLEY ABUCHI from Mbano L.G.A, Imo State
    Age: Youth
    House Address: Obinikpa, Komkom.
    Phone: 07069020179

  5. GODSPOWER ABRAHAM from Andoni L.G.A, Rivers State
    Age: Youth
    House Address: Obinikpa, Komkom
    Phone No: 07069020179

  6. JEREMIAH EKONG from Uyo L.G.A, Akwa Ibom State
    Palm wine tapper
    Age: Advanced
    House Address: No 2 Kings Close, Izuoma, Oyigbo, Rivers State.
    Phone No: 08132030328

  7. MONDAY UDO from Uyo L.G.A, Akwa Ibom State
    Palm Wine tapper
    Age: Advanced
    House Address: No 2 Kings Close, Izuoma, Oyigbo Rivers State
    Phone No: 07031142859

  8. IFIOK NSEABASI from Uyo L.G.A, Akwa Ibom State
    Palm Wine tapper
    Age: Advanced
    House Address: No 2 Kings Close, Izuoma, Oyigbo, Rivers State
    Phone No: 07031142859

  9. ISAAC JOHN from Uyo L.G.A, Akwa Ibom State
    Palm Wine tapper
    Age: Advanced
    House Address: No 2 Kings Close, Izuoma, Oyigbo, Rivers State.
    Phone No: 08132030328

  10. ANIETIE MICHAEL from Akwa Ibom State
    Age: 28
    Gender: M
    Family: Michael Williamson
    Phone No: 09068528700

  11. ISONGKE FRIDAY from Akwa Ibom State.
    Age: 23
    Gender: M
    Family: Friday Jimmy
    Phone No: 08056613441

  12. FIDELIS OKORO from Imo State
    Age: 45
    Gender: M
    Family: Nicholas Okoro
    Phone No: 07068684430

  13. RICHARD SAMUEL EDETH from Akwa Ibom State
    Age: 36
    Gender: M
    Family: Dr Okon Edeth
    Phone No: 08146610072

  14. DANIEL FRIDAY from Akwa Ibom State
    Age: 25
    Gender: M
    Family: Ebe Daniel Friday
    Phone No: 07035303291

  15. ENDURANCE OGONIKON – Buguma, Asari Toru L.G.A, Rivers State
    Age: 25
    Gender: M
    Family: Wasimeba Ogonikon

  16. JUNIOR OGONIKON
    From: Buguma, Asari Toru L.G.A, Rivers State
    Age: 22
    Gender: M
    Family: Wasimeba Ogonikon
    Phone No: 08058161157

    CONCLUSION
    The true nature of the pipeline explosion was linked to the following:

  17. The incapability of the surveillance team to access the swampy areas.
  18. Lack of supervision, regular checks and maintenance by both P.P.M.C and U.T.M off-shore.
  19. Economic sabotage by hoodlums involved in oil bunkering activities.
  20. The compromising attitude of the security officers-in-charge of the area.

In the course of carrying out this investigation, it is duly ascertained that the km 15.5 has been an economic centre and market for both oil bunkering activities with the aid of the security agents posted to the area for about four (4) years before now.

RECOMMENDATIONS:
The committee has looked into the pipeline explosion and came up with the following recommendations:
1. That the N.N.P.C should create direct access to km 15.5 oil pipeline
2. That the job of securing the km 15.5 pipeline should be contracted to a firm that is versatile in both water and upland services.
3. That a routine check be carried out at least quarterly on the pipeline to avert wear and tear.
4. That the services of the Nigerian Navy be added to the security since they remain the best in water operations.
5. That adequate compensations be made to the community, families of the deceased especially the palm wine tappers, fishermen and farmers.
6. That a remediation work be carried out by the N.N.P.C and P.P.M.C to restore the aquatic lives and properties within the geographical expanse of land.
7. That patrol boat or canoe be introduced for quick response, effective and optimal performance of the surveillance team.
8. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) should be conducted within the environment to ascertain the negative impact of the explosion on the populace whereas adequate compensations be made to cushion the adverse effect on the people hence, there was a total vibration of the ground during the explosion.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here