President Muhammadu Buhari has instructed security agencies, particularly the intelligence arm, to track and arrest the sponsors of the illegal refinery, which led to the death of tens of Nigerians in Abaezi Forest, Ohaji-Egbema council area of Imo State on Friday.
No fewer than 108 people were killed on Friday night, while several vehicles were burnt after an illegal refinery exploded at Abaezi forest in the Ohaji-Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State.
The fires incident was caused by illegal refining activities at a border community between Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State and Ohaji Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State.
In his reaction to the bloody incident, President Buhari described the explosion and the resulting deaths as a national catastrophe, directing the armed forces, other security agencies, especially the secret service, to intensify the clampdown on illegal petroleum refining in the country.
According to a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the President said responsibility for the loss of lives and property lies squarely on the sponsors of the illegal refinery, “who must all be caught and made to face justice.”
“President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the nation’s armed forces, security and intelligence agencies to intensify the clampdown on illegal refineries following the reported deaths of tens of people Friday night after an illegal refinery exploded at Abaezi forest in the Ohaji-Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State”, the statement said.
In conveying “the condolences and the full depth and range of the nation’s shock and trauma” to the families of the victims, the Ohaji Egbema community and the government and people of Imo State, the President urged community leaders, the police, and the secret service to never allow the occurrence of the heart-breaking incident in any part of the country again.