ABUJA, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- The death from a pipeline explosion in Abia State in southern Nigeria has risen to 60, according to an official of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on Monday.
NEMA gave the figure after an on-the-spot assessment of the incident in Osisioma local government area of Abia on Oct. 12.
Evans Ugoh, coordinator of the relief agency in Abia and its neighboring Imo State, said a preliminary investigation proved that "the lack of routine pipeline maintenance caused the incident."
The pipeline, owned by Nigeria's national oil corporation, was left unmaintained for a long time, thus causing the leakage, Ugoh said.
He also excoriated victims for not raising alarm when they noticed the pipeline leakage.
The victims, mostly locals of Umuimo and Umuaduru communities in Abia, rather chose to scoop fuel from the ruptured pipeline, the official said.
The past few years had witnessed a string of pipeline explosions in Nigeria. Some of such incidents happened as locals tried to siphon fuel from the pipelines.
According to reports, at least 150 people were killed in a pipeline explosion on May 12, 2006, in a village to the east of Lagos, the country's economic hub, while locals were drilling into it.