More deaths have been recorded following the petroleum pipeline inferno at two villages in Osisioma Ngwa Local Government Area of Abia State.
Addressing journalists on Monday at his office in Umuahia, the state capital, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Anthony Ogbizi, said no fewer than 20 people died in the fire incident.
The police chief further disclosed that the Command has launched an investigation to ascertain why petroleum product was pumped into the pipeline which was said to be undergoing maintenance.
“We can’t give you an accurate number now. On the whole, for now, we can put the death doll at 24,” he said.
Mr Ogbizi urged families of the victims affected to remain calm and resist the temptation of taking the law into their hands, adding that measures were being put in place to mitigate the effect of the incident and prevent a reoccurrence.
A portion of the pipeline had exploded in Umueze community on Friday last week, killing more than 16 people in the process.
The fire reportedly broke out when some residents attempted to scoop fuel from a wrecked pipeline.