By Okechukwu Keshi Ukegbu
A sociocultural group, Nzuko Ohanaeze Ndi Ukwa Ngwa has insisted that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is culpable of the inferno caused by pipeline explosion that gutted some communities in Osisioma Ngwa Local Government Area of Abia State and therefore should pay adequate compensations to the surviving victims and families of the dead victims of the incident.
The group made this demand during a condolence visit to the chairman of the council, Hon Iheyirinna Mgbeahuru.
The Chairman of the group, Barr St.Moses said that the corporation washing off its hands of blames in the inferno is not only insulting the sensibilities of the families but that of the entire humankind.
“No level of propaganda can absolve NNPC of blames in the incident. It is very glaring that the incident was as a result of their negligence. We have it on good authority that the leakage was reported to them and rather than deploying men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, whose core mandate is to secure the pipelines, to the site of the leakage they deployed the military who aided the locals to scoop the product by collecting tolls from them ranging from N1,000 to N2,000”.
He continued: “NNPC blaming the incident on oil vandals is standing logic on the head. The begging demanding the urgent attention is” do the locals who were roasted along the roads of Umuimo oil thiefs? We are demanding nothing less from the corporation than adequate compensations of both the families of the dead victims and the surviving victims “.
Ogbonna further announced the donation of N500,000 to the relief funds initiated by Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu.
The chairman of the council, Hon. Mgbeahuru in his emotion-laden statement said that the people of the area are highly bereaved by the incident and called on well-meaning citizens to come to their rescue.
Responding to the position of NNPC on the incident, he said that the corporation has no defense and that their is merely designed to divert perspective on critical issues that involve human lives.
“It was not act of vandalism rather negligence on the part of NNPC. The corporation has no defence and any defence is not acceptable to us.
“I want to thank the state governor for identifying with us. He has set up a fund to relieve the victims of the incident. Donations have started dropping into the fund”.
Mgbeahuru decried the deplorable state of the Old-Aba road leading to the NNPC depot and charged the corporation to live up to the Corporate Social Responsibility by fixing to ease the plight of the people of the area.
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