President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered a thorough investigation to determine what was responsible for the gas pipeline tragedy in Kom Kom, Oyibo local government area of Rivers.
Buhari, in a statement by Malam Garba Shehu, his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, in Abuja on Saturday, however, condoled with the people and government of Rivers over the death of some workers in gas pipeline tragedy in the state.
He also condoled with the families of the victims over the reported fatalities.
The President said he was extremely pained by the loss of lives as a result of the incident.
TVC NEWS reported that about 72 persons were killed when the pipeline exploded.
The deafening sound of the explosion about 6.45 a.m. was said to have caused serious panic in the community as residents began to make enquiries about what happened.
While some sources within the area said the exploded pipeline belonged to Shell Petroleum Development Company, others expressed the belief that the facility was the property of the Petroleum Product Marketing Company.
It was also gathered that the explosion occurred when some workers from a yet to be identified firm were working on one of the pipelines.
A resident of the area, who identified himself as Jude, stated that the loud sound of the explosion jolted most residents of the community, even as he said that 10 persons lost their lives in the incident.
He explained that people immediately began to panic at the sound of the explosion.
“It was around 8am when we heard a loud explosion. Most of the residents were still in their houses when the loud explosion occurred.
“I woke and gathered all my family members together before we moved out of the house. As we were moving out, I saw smoke coming out of the pipeline not very far from my house.
“I saw many persons running out of their houses. I did not exactly know what was happening. We just heard a loud explosion, which was followed with billows of smoke.
“It was later that I learnt that the explosion occurred in one of the pipelines. I suspected it was fuel pipeline and that more than 10 persons lost their lives in the incident,” he said.