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Friday, December 25, 2015

hundred people killed in explosion in Nigeria

Nnewi is the second largest city in Anambra State in south-eastern Nigeria. This metropolitan city encompasses 4 local government areas, Nnewi North, Nnewi South, Ekwusigo and Ihiala Local Government. In Nnewi mythology, the 'ewi' (Igbo: bush rat) played a great role in saving the founders of Nnewi during wars. Throughout its history, Nnewi has used its military might to maintain its borders and because of this, the killing or eating of ewi in Nnewi is forbidden to the present day. Nnewi existed as an independent kingdom from the 15th century to 1904, when British colonial administration occupied the kingdom.

Nnewi is in news today, for totally wrong reasons as a  butane tanker truck ignited a huge explosion at a crowded industrial plant in Nigeria killing more than 100 people lining up to refill their cooking gas cylinders in time for Christmas. The disaster took place in Nnewi, a predominantly Christian city in south-east Nigeria. An Associated Press reporter counted more than 100 corpses after firefighters put out the last of the flames.  Some Press reports state that  the fire broke out at about 11am when a tanker truck that had finished discharging fresh gas at the Chikason Group Gas plant left without waiting to observe the prescribed cooling time.  That accident killed upto  100 people as  Nigerian gas plant exploded in ‘huge inferno’

On Christmas eve, the  fireball destroyed nearby buildings and left burned corpses littering the plant in Nnewi, according to witnesses. The blaze consumed victims who had been waiting in line to collect crude oil from the Inter Corp Oil Limited gas plant – a subsidiary of Nigerian conglomerate Chicason Group.  ‘The fire exploded like a bomb, and the whole gas station went up in thick, black smoke amidst an explosion from cooking gas cylinders,’  a witness is reported as saying.  Most of those killed had been in the station queuing all day to get their cylinders refilled.’

Further reports state that most of the bodies and the few badly injured victims were evacuated to the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital in Nnewi. ‘Many of them were burned beyond recognition, and I doubt if many family members of the dead victims would be able to identify the remains of their loved ones,’ it is stated.  Another report puts that the gas plant was completely destroyed and several houses around the scene damaged.

Sad that disaster struck when locals were queuing for their fuel for Christmas Day meals when the fire broke out.  Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer, deriving the bulk of its money through the commodity. But accidents are a frequent occurrence in the country, where pipelines are often damaged by people stealing crude oil. The country loses an estimated 300,000 barrels a day to gangs that syphon crude from pipelines in the oil-rich southern states, according to the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
25th Dec 2015 @ 5.30pm.

Photo credit : dailymail.co.uk

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