The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has attributed the Oct. 12 pipeline explosion in some communities in Osissioma Local Government Area of Abia, to lack of routine pipeline maintenance.

Mr Evans Ugoh, NEMA Coordinator Imo/Abia Operations Office, apportioned the blame in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Owerri on Monday after visiting the scene.

Ugoh who confirmed that 60 people died in the explosion also blamed the injured victims for not raising alarm when they noticed the pipeline leakage, but chose to scoop fuel from the ruptured pipeline.

He said that the rapture Nigeria National Population Corporation (NNPC)’s pipeline needed maintenance before the incident but that was not done.

NAN recalls that the explosion occurred on the NNPC pipeline in Umuimo and Umuaduru communities on Oct 12, living scores of people dead.

“My team has visited the scene of the explosion and we discovered that victims of the incident took advantage of the pipeline leakage and were scooping the oil before fire caught on them.

“I also blamed the victims who noticed the leakage but rather than raising alarm, decided to steal the fuel which eventually led to their death,” he said.

Ugoh said there should be a routine maintenance of all pipelines and also urged NNPC to beef up security in oil pipelines.

He suggested a uniform disaster management strategy by oil companies and NNPC and to come up with best practices on disaster management.

He said oil stakeholders should engage the services of professionals and to sponsor research for disaster management strategies for oil pipeline.

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