The Cross River Police Command has confirmed that nine people died in a fire outbreak that occurred at Linc Oil and Gas tank farm on Sunday morning.
Hafiz Inuwa, the State Commissioner of police, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria at the scene of the event, confirmed the figure.
Mr. Inuwa added that several other persons, who sustained injuries were currently being treated in one of the hospitals in Calabar.
According to him, the manager of the depot is yet to brief the police on what led to the explosion.
“Up until now, nobody has come out to tell us that this is what caused the fire outbreak.
“We have gone round, we have done what we can do but the investigation will later reveal what actually led to the explosion.
“For now, nine people are confirmed dead and many others who sustained different burns are currently receiving treatment in one of the hospitals around town,” he said.
NAN reports that officials from the Cross River State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, were on ground to assess the extent of damages caused by the explosion.
A NAN correspondent who went to the depot, reports that the fire outbreak also affected the high-tension cable which connected the depot’s electricity transformer, while two vehicles and other important equipment were also burnt to ashes.
The depot manager refused to speak with journalists, saying that he was not authorised to speak at the moment.
But, a staff of the depot, who spoke with NAN on the condition of anonymity, said that the fire outbreak occurred when the staff of the depot was discharging the old products in the tanks to fill in the new consignment.
“As we speak right now, the vessel that brought in our new product is just by the port here. Some of our staff were discharging the old product from the tank with a view to bringing in the new one when the fire outbreak occurred,” he said.
‘It is disingenuous to accuse everyone who calls for restructuring as trying to break up the county. History tells us that that kind of cheap blackmail will not work as long as the underlying reasons for the agitations persist.’
‘The biggest challenge seems to be that we seem to be allowing moderate voices on this issue to be drowned out by the reckless utterances of a few rabble rousers on all sides who may be tools in the hands of those who do not wish this country well. These are some of the people who arrogate to themselves the toga of spokespersons of our diverse groups.’
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