- 100 people died on Saturday, April 22, after an illegal refinery exploded at Abaezi forest in the Ohaji-Egbema local government area of Imo state
- Reacting to the explosion, President Muhammadu Buhari described the incident as a catastrophe and a national disaster
- Governor Imo state has joined the people of the area in mourning their loved ones, but warned against oil bunkering
Owerri - The governor of Imo, Senator Hope Uzodimma has expressed his condolences to the families that lost their loved ones on Saturday, April 23 after the ill-fated oil bunkering explosion at Ohaji/Egbema local government area of the state.
Governor Uzodimma expressed his sadness over the incident, describing it as an unfortunate occurrence which underscores the basis of his fight against crime and criminality as well as his visible stand against economic sabotage in Imo state.
In a statement sent to Legit.ng by Paul Ihunanya, DG Hope New Media Center, the governor expressed worry as to why people will continue to indulge in such a dangerous crimes knowing that the resultant effect could cost them their lives and called for a halt by those who are into it.
He also urged those considering going into the illegal venture to desist from it in order to save lives.
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Governor Hope Uzodimma warns criminal elements in Imo against oil bunkering
Governor Uzodimma reiterated that his administration, from inception has been waging war against illegal oil bunkering in the state and it has continued to yield positive results despite some criminal elements are still indulging in the illicit act.
He further warned that his administration will no longer take it lightly on those operating illegal refineries in the state as well as those patronizing them.
The governor instructed security operatives to comb the area to ensure that those operating in their hideouts are arrested and prosecuted to avert a reoccurrence.
In the meantime, Governor Uzodimma has directed the state commissioner for petroleum, Rt. Hon. Goodluck Nana Opiah to undertake an assessment of the level of damage caused by the explosion in the area and promised to implement all necessary measures to avert any further reoccurrence.
President Muhammadu Buhari reacts
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the nation’s armed forces, security and intelligence agencies to intensify the clampdown on illegal refineries following the explosion.
Buhari, in a statement issued by the presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, described the incident as a catastrophe and a national disaster.
He urged community leaders, the police, and the secret service to never allow the occurrence of such incident in any part of the country again.
Insecurity: Dialogue not violence remains the solution, says Hope Uzodimma
Recall that Governor Uzodimma recently said dialogue remains the solution to addressing insecurity in Imo and other states of the federation.
The Imo governor on Saturday, April 9, urged trouble makers in the southeast to jettison violence in support of dialogue as the 2023 elections draw near.
Uzodimma further stated that destroying assets in the southeast region will not add value to the Igbos.