The Ebonyi Government on Tuesday sealed the Dipro Filling Station at Ezzamgbo for allegedly dispensing adulterated kerosene to consumers in the area.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that a resident of the area, Christiana Ibili, 34, reportedly purchased the commodity, which allegedly caused an explosion in a public residence on August 24.
The explosion, which killed two children in the building, allegedly occurred when one of the tenants attempted to light up their lantern after pouring the kerosene into it.
The inferno from the explosion reportedly engulfed the entire house, leaving five-year-old Joy Ituma and six-year-old Joshua Onwe dead.
The inferno also left Ibili and another tenant, 18-year-old Uchenna Ituma, with severe burns, while the building was razed.
Speaking on the incident to NAN, Bassey Chima, the Special Assistant to Governor David Umahi on Petroleum and Oil, said that the station was sealed to enable the government to carryout proper investigation into the incident.
Chima said: “We want to analyse the commodity to ascertain whether it was adulterated as widely suspected.
“We also want to ascertain its source of procurement and whether other petrol stations procured from the same source in order to avert a recurrence.”
Chima promised that the government would get to the root of the matter and warned the public to cease from patronising the station henceforth until further notice.
The Ebonyi Police Command Public Relations Officer, ASP. Loveth Odah, told NAN that the command had written to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation for expert sample analyses of the commodity.
Odah said that the director of the petrol station was on the run and that police were making frantic efforts to arrest him.
She said: “The station’s manager, Emmanuel Ominyi, and an attendant, identified simply as Anayo, are in our custody and assisting us with useful information.
“The petrol station’s manager curiously claimed not to know the director’s name and both he and the attendant claimed that the director solely handles the procurement of petroleum products.”
Odah said that police were still guarding the petrol station to prevent angry youths of the area from destroying it.
She said: “This measure is to prevent further loss of lives and property. We appeal to people of the area not to take the law into their hand.”
She said that the command had commenced full investigation into the incident.
Dr Emeka Ogah, the Chief Medical Director of the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, confirmed the death of the children to NAN.
Ogah also said that one of the survivors was still on admission in the hospital.
He said that the victim was responding to treatment but regretted that the hospital was in dire need of funds to be able to discharge its functions.
She added: “It appears that the victim’s relatives abandoned him, so we appeal to the government, well-meaning individuals and organisations to come to his rescue.”