Several people killed in Nigeria Christmas Eve gas plant explosion

Several people killed in Nigeria Christmas Eve gas plant explosion

ONITSHA, Nigeria
Several people killed in Nigeria Christmas Eve gas plant explosion Tens of people were killed in an explosion at a gas plant in southern Nigeria, the presidency said on Dec. 25, with one journalist putting the death toll at 100. 

The blast occurred on Dec. 24 when a truck was discharging butane gas at the Inter Corp Oil Limited gas plant, a subsidiary of Nigerian conglomerate Chicason Group, in Nnewi town in Anambra state as a crowd of customers refilled gas bottles on Christmas Eve, residents said, according to Reuters. 

By the time firefighters doused the last flames, there were charred corpses on the ash-covered ground, according to local reports.  

President Muhammadu Buhari’s office said “tens of people” who had been looking forward to their Christmas celebrations had been killed, without giving a precise toll. 

One local journalist at the scene, David Onwuchekwa, said: “I saw around 100 charred corpses.” Most of the dead were customers at the plant or people who lived nearby, he added. 

Nigerian police, according to Agence France-Presse, said that a huge explosion at an industrial gas plant in southeastern Nigeria left several people charred beyond recognition.   

“It was a huge inferno,” police spokesman Ali Okechukwu told AFP.

“We have found six bodies outside the perimeter, two more bodies were found in the adjoining building, bringing the total number of casualties to eight,” Okechukwu said.  

“Six more persons were injured and referred to the hospital.” 

Okechukwu, who was en route to the blast scene, said an investigation into the explosion was under way.  

The gas-fuelled fire spread to a large surrounding area instantly, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) spokesman James Eze told AFP.

Carl Ofuonye, another local journalist, said the blast had been sparked when the truck exploded while discharging gas. 

“So many people were in the building, workers at the plant, people who came to buy gas,” he said. “A woman and a child in a nearby building died.” 

Many others were being treated for burns at nearby hospitals.