Akwa Ibom State police commissioner, Mr Murtala Mani and the chairman of Nsit Ibom local government council, Mr Victor Umondak have disagreed on the exact cause of NNPC pipeline explosion which occurred yesterday in one of the communities in the local government area.
While the council chairman maintained that the explosion was the handiwork of militants, the police chief said the burst oil pipeline was as a result of some technical faults.
Umondak told newsmen at Obotim Ikot Ekong village, where the NNPC oil pipelines got blown up, that he was alerted to the incident by 1.00am and that it was later discovered that some militants had connected wire from the gas pipeline to the road before blowing it up.
“When I received a call that my local government is burning, I wasn’t really sure of what happened. It wasn’t long another person called me that they have blown a pipeline at Obotim Ikot Ekong.
“I drove down at about 1.30am, but nobody could come near there; we stood about 200 metres because it was like hell fire,” Umondak said.
But, the police commissioner, Mani, had debunked any claims on militants attack on the pipeline and rather attributed it to technical faults, specifically, “rupture of oil pipes.
“The technical people confirmed that the pipelines are old and overdue for servicing, there is a technical problem with the gas pipeline. This is no militancy attack; our men are on ground and the fire service had put off the fire.
“We are waiting for the experts to give us their reports so we can write our reports, too, on the incident,” Mani said.
But, Chief Akponidung Ukpong, village head of Obotim Ikot Ekong, where the incident occurred, lamented the fear instilled in his subjects by the explosion, which he said had made many children flee into the bush.