No fewer than 100 people were reportedly burnt to death at Abacheke Kpofire illegal bunkering/refining site at the oil bearing Egbema community of Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State.
There was fire outbreak in the area on Friday night.
The Egbema youth president, Mr. Okenya Theadus Mario who confirmed the incident on Saturday said that he has visited the scene where he discovered that uncountable number of persons were burnt beyond recognition.
An eyewitness, who identified himself as Mr EzeIkedi, who visited the scene, said that the incident happened around 11 pm on Friday.
The Imo State Police Command Public Relations Officer, CSP Michael Abatham, also confirmed the incident, describing it as unfortunate.
Meanwhile, the Imo State government has declared wanted Mr.OkenzeOnyenwoke, the alleged owner of the illegal refining site located at Abaezi forest in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State.
Governor Hope Uzodimma made the declaration Saturday through the Commissioner for Petroleum sources, Hon. GoodluckOpiah, when he visited the site.
The state Commissioner said: “at the moment, I can’t really confirm the number of the deceased because many family members have removed the corpses of so many others.”
He said that apart from being a tragedy, the occurrence has destroyed the aquatic life of the community adding that the people before now are predominantly farmers and fishermen.
He said: “Look around, you’ll find smoke coming from this illegal act. If this is not enough for any person to stop, I think the community is heading for what I can’t describe.”
He alleged that the perpetrators were from Rivers, Bayelsa and other neigbouring states, adding that it is sabotage for the people to allow the illegal act to continue.
He said: “I wish to appeal to our youths to desist from making themselves available for this illegal act. This is a sucidal business they got themselves into”.
On behalf of Imo State government, the governor condoles with the bereaved family while praying God to give the family of those who lost their lives the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.