Security agents in Imo State have started combing bushes and forests in search of owners and operators of illegal refineries in the state.
This followed Friday night’s explosion at an illegal refinery at Abaezi Forest in the Ohaji-Egbema Local Government Area of the state, which killed over 100 people and razed many vehicles.
The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, who disclosed this in a statement on Monday also stated that the state governor, Hope Uzodimma, had ordered that the charred remains of the victims be evacuated from the accident scene.
The Commissioner also stated that the government would begin the fumigation of the scene once the victims had been buried en masse on Monday.
The statement read, “Imo State Government yesterday condoled with families of victims of last weekend’s illegal refinery fire disaster at Egbema.
“A statement on Monday, April 25th by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, said the government deeply regrets that more than 70 Nigerians lost their lives in the unfortunate incident, even when they were engaged in illegal activities, including sabotaging the nation’s economy.
“The statement said that Governor Hope Uzodimma has directed immediate evacuation of the charred remains of the victims for mass burial, while the area should be fumigated for environmental safety.
“It said the governor has also assured that Imo state government will do everything humanly possible to stamp out illegal bunkering and refinery in the state.
“According to the statement, both operators and patrons of illegal bunkering and refinery have been ordered to seize operation forthwith having realized that the consequences of their actions could lead to mass murder.
“The statement said the government has directed security agencies in the state to intensify their search for the owners of the illegal refineries and ensure their immediate arrest and trial.
“The statement further directed security operatives to comb all parts of the state to flush out illegal refinery operators and bunkers for the safety of citizens and economic growth of Nigeria.”