No fewer than 109 persons were burnt to death or drowned at Abacheke Kpofire in Egbema community, Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State when an illegal oil refinery site went up in flame on Friday night.
This development was confirmed by the Head of Operations, National Emergency Management Agency, Ifeanyi Nnaji.
Nnaji, who had earlier put the death figure at not more than 20, said: “It was more serious than we envisaged.
“As at this evening (Saturday), we have counted 109 bodies on the ground, while countless others fell into the river and others died inside the refinery.”
The Imo State Commissioner for Petroleum Resources, Goodluck Opiah, said the operator of the illegal refinery has been identified.
Opiah gave his name as Okenze Onyenwoke, but said he is currently at large, adding that the Imo State Police Command had declared him wanted.