News / Africa

Nearly 100 Killed in Nigeria Fuel Explosion, Fire

Heather Murdock
ABUJA, Nigeria — At least 100 people were killed Thursday in a vehicle crash involving a fuel tanker in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta region. Authorities say locals who rushed to gather fuel as it spilled from the tanker were killed in the fire that followed.  
 
Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency says the fuel tanker tipped over after swerving to avoid a collision with another vehicle. As the tanker began to leak, locals rushed to the scene to scoop up as much fuel as possible, only to be caught in the fire started by igniting fuel.

Anthony Chigbo, the CEO of Gallop Polls Nigeria Limited, says Niger Delta residents are aware of the dangers of oil fires. Chigbo says this did not stop the rush of people to the scene in Rivers State, just to make a few naira, Nigeria’s currency.

“Their desire to make that naira clouds the reality that that thing can ignite and kill them,” says Chigbo.

In 1998 a gas pipeline exploded in nearby Delta State, killing over a 1,000 people.  Many victims were collecting fuel from a massive leak when it exploded and their bodies were found with plastic cups or cans still in their hands. Locals say this kind of accident continues to happen once or twice every year.

Chigbo says accidents like this one demonstrate the level of desperation and deprivation in the region.

“It’s unfortunate that people will put their lives on the line for peanuts. It just shows the level of poverty,” says Chigbo.
 
In the Niger Delta, most people live on a few dollars per week while the government and international oil giants like Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron export 2.5 million barrels of oil a day.  
 
Niger Delta residents have long demanded a greater share of the oil wealth, and many tap illegally into oil pipelines to get it. Oil companies say they lose as much as $1 billion a month to oil theft.  
 
Illegal refiners say the black market fuel business now drives the economy of the Niger Delta, since oil spills and pollution from gas flaring has destroyed the fishing and farming industries.

Hilary Uguru contributed to this report.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 12, 2012 12:40 PM
This is a picture of suffering amongst Nigerians. President Jonathan has been paying lip service to poverty alleviation with little action and nothing but more impoverishment of the people to show for it. President Jonathan's govt has been one of regrets and more regrets for Nigerians who had the goodwill of voting a south-southerner for a change. If Jonathan's change is the change that the people were asking for, how will hell look like? Mishap after mishap, deprivation, insecurity, blood letting and kidnapping. Nigerians are yet to hear one good news from home that this admin has achieved. We are tired of these poverty prone accidents and it's time to tell Jonathan to drop off that office, he doesn't yet understand what it entails.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs