Ejere creek in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State was, on Thursday, thrown into pandemonium by a gas explosion.
The terrific clangorous midnight blast, as gathered, drove residents of the Itsekiri community into the thick forests for safety.
A source told journalists that the explosion occurred at about 4:30 a.m. and that it emanated from a gas pipeline operated by the Nigerian Gas Company (NGC).
The source said the cause of the explosion could be as a result of a system malfunction.
But another source disclosed that the explosion, which occurred around the Ejere/Bennet Island, was probably the handiwork of oil thieves.
The blast, as gathered, shook houses in the community to their very foundations, but there was no record of casualty.
“People started jumping out of their beds to find escape routes because it was so massive.
“We even thought it was a militant attack until army people started coming in at about 6:00 a.m. and assured us that there was no cause for alarm,” a source from Ejere community disclosed.
Nigerian Tribune learnt that the trepidation that followed the explosion was heightened by the growing feud between Ijaw of Gbaramatu Kingdom and Itsekiri over the name of the location of the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko in Warri South West Local Government Area of the state.
The Itsekiri community thought there was an invasion from my their neighbour adversaries.
The Public Relations Officer of Egbokodo, an Itsekiri community, Hon. Mike Ewetan, told journalists that, “we sent out our boys into the creeks to ascertain where the explosion and flame emanate from and they have reported that it is not anywhere near their community. So our people are no longer in panic mood.
He added that the main supply line and valve from the Escravos end have been blocked and that the fire had been put out.
NGC’s spokesman in Warri, Violin Antaih, could not be reached for official comment as of press time.
The Commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Delta Safe (OPDS), Rear Admiral Suleiman Apochi, however, said he was still awaiting details of what transpired at the community.