The Federal Government, on Thursday, condoled with the government and people of Imo over the bunkering site inferno, which led to the death of no fewer than 110 people.
The federal government’s condolences were conveyed by Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, in Owerri during an assessment visit to the scene of the explosion.
Umar-Farouq, represented by Director, Relief, and Rehabilitation of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr. Alhassan Nuhu, said that the federal government would assist the victims of the disaster with relief materials after assessing its impact.
The minister, who described the incident as preventable, cautioned against illegal activities to avert future occurrences.
She called on operators of the refinery to approach appropriate authorities to seek legal means of refining crude oil.
She also called on stakeholders and security agencies to collaborate with the regulatory bodies in the oil and gas sector to nip the ugly trend in the bud.
“This visit is to condole with Imo people and assess the extent of damage, so as to ascertain the volume of relief for the victims.
“We call for increased collaboration with NEMA and security agencies to crack down on illegal refineries and oil bunkering activities,” the minister said.
Also speaking, Gov. Hope Uzodimma decried illegal bunkering activities in the area, saying that the incident affected both human and aquatic lives.
The governor, represented by Commissioner for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Goodluck Opiah, decried what he called the neglect of social responsibilities by oil companies toward their host communities.
He said that his administration had made efforts to stop illegal bunkering in the area, adding that the incident was “a disaster waiting to explode.”
Uzodimma thanked the federal government for showing concern, even as he urged the minister and her team to help with relief materials that would cushion the effects of the disaster.