Nigerians warned against deadly oil thefts

Oct. 1, 2012 at 12:05 PM

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- At least 15 people were killed and more than 25 injured in southern Nigeria after a vandalized oil pipeline caught fire, government officials said.

The incident prompted authorities to warn hospitals to report anyone injured by breaking into pipelines and scooping out fuel, the Nigerian newspaper Leadership reported.

Chief Don Ubani, the country's petroleum commissioner, added local officials "should be prepared to identify such hoodlums for appropriate actions by the government or face the consequences of nonchalance."

Ubani said the latest incident occurred Sept. 23 in the village of Umueke in Abia State, in Nigeria's oil-producing region near the Atlantic coast.

Abia deputy governor Emeka Ananaba, who went to the site of the blaze to assess the damage, said pipeline vandalism has become a concern for the state government and causes both the loss of life and revenue.

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