Tension engulfed Osisioma axis of Aba, Abia State – yesterday – when the youths stormed the NNPC Aba depot in protest of their brethren who lost their lives following the early morning Friday, pipeline explosion that claimed the lives of over 60 persons.
ABACITYBLOG gathered that the protest was triggered by a radio announcement made by Mr. Joseph Dumaka, the NNPC Aba Depot Manager, who said that the explosion was caused by vandalism by the indigenous people of Osisioma Ngwa.
Irked by the accusations, Osisioma Ngwa Youth Congress staged a bizarre peaceful protest parading caskets containing corpses of their terribly burnt to death colleagues.
With placards with write ups like: Enough of these deaths caused by the carelessness of NNPC; NNPC wants to kill us all; the explosion was not as a result of Vandalism; we have been made homeless and orphans by NNPC and more others; the Youths trooped out in their numbers and shutdown activities at the depot.
Even the heavy police presence at NNPC Depot could not stop the angry youths who sang angry songs for more than three hours demanding that the Depot Manager comes out and explain what he meant by vandalism been the cause of the explosion.
Addressing the media, Emma Nduagu, Osisioma Ngwa Youth Congress president, said: “What happened is not any form of vandalism. It is a serious act of carelessness on the part of NNPC. It’s so much painful to hear the depot manager go on air to accuse us of vandalism.
“Why should NNPC move products from abandoned pipeline? Let me make it clear that most of our people died right inside their various houses without going anywhere. We want the depot manager to withdraw that statement and explain himself within 24 hours or face the music. We have lost over one hundred people to this incident and we are no longer happy.”
Also speaking, the chairman of Osisioma LGA, Benjamin Mgbeahuru, who tried to calm the youths down, said it is unacceptable for NNPC to stigmatize the youths of Osisioma Ngwa as vandals when on several occasions they have been invited to repair the abandoned pipeline and they failed to appear.
Said he, “Our people have died in a very disastrous way. We must not take laws into our hands no matter what, but I must state it clearly that we are very angry to hear how the depot management lied that the cause of the explosion is as a result of vandal activities.
“We want to say it that it is an act of carelessness on the part of Pipelines and Product Marketing Company limited, (PPMC). We have invited them several times, but they refused. Humans are very hard to control and there is no way such leakages will happen in this time of hardship and you control everybody. Please I beg you to take back the casket and we assure you that justice must be done.
Meanwhile, the youths who waited several hours for Mr. Joseph Dumaka, the Depot Manager, as he failed to appear to address them angrily dropped a casket containing the corpse of one of them and broke eggs at the NNPC entrance gates in Osisioma.
…This is a developing story
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