Six communities in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State have hit by a devastating gas explosion that have left scores of women and children missing. The affected communities are Nembe Creek 1, 2 and 3, Jalungo, Fatuo and Kalablomi.

Local sources say the incident  took place at Nembe Creek Trunk Line operated by the Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company. The development has caused panic among indigenes of the local government area.

The explosion was said to have occurred around 4am near Oil Well 7 on Friday. A local source said the incident had shut down the Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL) for emergency repairs, after the detection of oil leakage.

Environmental rights activists are already raising concerns that the gas explosion has polluted the air and water in the area, and has adversely affected the fishing livelihood of the communities.

Spokesman for Nembe Council of Chiefs and a front line community activist, Nengi James-Eriworio, who confirmed the incident, said that it has caused ‘’massive destruction of the area with air and water heavily polluted’’.

According to him, ‘’people have deserted the area and the company has refused to respond, despite series of emergency calls. As at 6pm, the time you called, the fire is still raging. The incident is uncalled for and questionable. The people are afraid. Women and children are missing.’’

While calling on the oil exploration company to be mindful of the welfare of indigenes, he added, ‘’this is a large-scale explosion. We are calling on the Federal Government agencies to investigate and respond to salvage the people. The incident has caused air and water pollution.

‘’We are concerned that the oil exploration company, despite the questionable acquisition of the company from Shell without due consultation with the people, developed a poor attitude towards the host communities in Nembe. They have abused the rights of the people. We are ready to drag the company before the Executive and Legislative arms of the Federal Government of Nigeria.’’