The Imo State Government on Tuesday gave a massive funeral to victims of an illegal explosion at an oil refinery that occurred Friday night in a forest in Abaezi community, Ohaji-Egbema Local Government Area.
The tragedy, which killed more than 100 people, destroyed all the vehicles at the illegal refinery site.
The mass burial which occurred at 5:05 pm saw the victims who were burnt beyond recognition lowered in three graves.
The victims were buried at the site of the explosion with few Community members present.
Though there were no family relatives of the victims who were around, the Interim Management Committee chairman of the LGA, Marcel Amadioha, told Journalists that he had the instruction of the state governor, Hope Uzodinma, to conduct a mass burial for the victims.
Assisted by the staff members of the Nigerian Red Cross Society and National Emergency Management Agency, the council boss said that his people were saddened by the development.
Apart from the mass burial, staff members of the Environmental Health at council Headquarters began the fumigation of the scene.
This, the LGA chairman said, was to forestall any outbreak of disease in the area.
Amadioha said, “We have the instruction of the governor of Imo state, Senator Hope Uzodiinma, to conduct a mass burial for the victims of the explosion. This is the least we can do for them because they were burnt beyond recognition. You can see there are no relatives of the victims who are here. This is because the victims were unidentifiable. This is the least we could do to avoid their bodies from decaying further.
” I believe this will serve as a deterrent to others. We are clamping down on all illegal refineries in this area. We can’t allow this economic sabotage to continue. We deserve better than this.
The governor has shown enough compassion by providing us with enough logistics to carry out this mass burial.”
One of the youth leaders, Ben Marcos, told our correspondent that the community was carrying out a sensitisation program against oil theft in the community.
He said youths from the community helped government officials to bury victims to ensure there was no outbreak of epidemics in the community.
The purification process was carried out before the mass burial. The funeral was attended by representatives of the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri.