Explosion shocks Nigeria: 37 lives lost in gruesome illegal refinery blast

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In a chilling catastrophe that jolted Nigeria, at least 37 individuals tragically perished in an explosion at an illicit oil refinery on Monday. Eyewitness accounts conveyed a harrowing scene, with victims, including two expectant mothers, engulfed in roaring flames. Some who managed to escape the immediate blaze succumbed to their injuries in hospitals. Devastated relatives have begun the grim task of identifying and laying their loved ones to rest.

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Conflicting Death Toll Reports

While Reuters reports 37 casualties, a conflicting account by AFP suggests a lower death toll of 18. The explosion’s ferocity was accentuated by the ignition of a neighboring oil reservoir, leaving several victims with horrific burns. Local spokesman Olufemi Ayodele presented a somber recount, detailing unrecognizable burn victims and emphasizing the youthfulness of many casualties, notably a bride-to-be.

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Niger Delta’s Burning Issue: Illegal Refineries

The Niger Delta, replete with oil, grapples with rampant illegal refining. Impoverished locals, seeking profit, perilously tap into pipelines, resorting to basic methods like boiling crude in drums to distill fuel. These endeavors frequently culminate in tragic endings. Nigeria, despite its significant standing in OPEC and its petroleum prowess in Africa, struggles to curb these illicit refineries. Observers point fingers at influential politicians and security officials for the persistent issue.

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Oil Majors Rethink Nigeria Strategy

The constant threats of crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism, and relentless legal wrangles over oil spills have prompted key oil players in Nigeria to recalibrate their strategies. Instead of onshore and shallow water ventures, they’re pivoting to deepwater operations.

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