Reports have it that 30 persons died when an inferno from an explosion destroyed part of the Calabar Free Trade Zone, CFTZ, in the early hours of yesterday.
However, Police have said nine persons died in the incident, with others sustaining various degrees of burns. They added that the cause of the explosion was yet unknown.
The CFTZ in Esuk Utan community is host to several tank farms belonging to different companies, but yesterday’s fire incident reportedly came from LINC Oil and Gas’ tank farm as a result of what was termed sabotage and negligence by some of its staff.
Mr. Ikenga Uti, who was an eyewitness, disclosed that a worker, who was trying to siphon petrol from a vessel opened one of the valves, but unfortunately the gasket on the valve failed. So the pressure threw him off, with fuel flowing into the gutter. He said people started scooping it with various containers—drums, plastic and steel buckets.
“It was during the scooping of fuel from the gutter that the fire started and flowed back to LINC Oil and Gas and to Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, where it entered a vessel loaded with PMS. As I speak with you, we have brought out eight bodies from LINC Oil and Gas and about six people, who were scooping fuel outside the gate, also died”, he further added.