NEMA begs Nigerians to stop vandalising public infrastructure
The Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mustapha Ahmed, has appealed to Nigerians to desist from illegal activities and vandalism of public infrastructure.
Mr Ahmed made the appeal on Friday, when he carried out an on-the-spot assessment of the impact of the January 30 explosion that occurred in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area (LGA) of Imo.
Although the police reported that five people died in the explosion, villagers claimed that more than 25 people lost their lives in the incident.
The explosion, which was allegedly caused by a rivalry clash among oil vandals, also destroyed an articulated vehicle and hectares of rubber plantation in the Obitti forest.
Mr Ahmed, who led a team from NEMA to the scene of the disaster at the Imo boundary with Rivers, said the explosion occurred in Rivers before the fire escalated into Imo.
“What we have seen is very disturbing.
“We can see and perceive the smell of dead bodies.
“People should be seriously warned: the damage that they do by siphoning oil affects both the lives and economy of the country.
“No one should tamper with government facilities, especially vandalism of oil pipelines,” he said.
Mr Ahmed said that after the assessment of the incident, the agency would provide support to the affected families, despite the cause of the incident.
He directed the NEMA Owerri operations office to work with the Imo State Emergency Management Agency and other stakeholders to conduct a detailed assessment of the incident and evacuate the charred corpses.
In an interview with journalists, the former minister of state for education, Goodluck Opia, who hails from the LGA, described the incident as a “sad development.
“Incidentally, incidents like this do not teach anyone a lesson.
“Even as this is happening, a lot of criminals are still perpetrating vandalism over and over again in the Niger Delta region,” he said.
Mr Opia, who commended President Bola Tinubu for providing the enabling environment for NEMA to function effectively, appealed for support for the victims of the incident.
“We definitely need your usual support and provision of succour for the affected families and entire community,” he said.
Also speaking, the executive secretary, Imo State Emergency Management Agency, Priscilla Onyeoka, who guided the NEMA team to the scene of the disaster, also commended Mr Ahmed and his team for the visit.
The immediate past chairman of Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area, Marcel Amadioha, told the NEMA officials that the explosion affected many persons and requested assistance from the agency.
NEMA team comprised the director, search and Rescue, Air Commodore Kennedy Mataluwo, and the director, Disaster Planning Research and Forecasting, Dr Onimode Bandele.
Others in the team were Idris Mohammed, the special assistant to the director-general, and staff members of NEMA Owerri operations office.
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