Assistant Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, Chrisantus Longbit, said two of the victims were burnt beyond recognition, while the other two, who were rushed to Our Lady of Apostle Hospital, Jos, died shortly.
Longbit said when the five people went to siphon the petroleum, a misunderstanding ensued amongst them. One of them, who is presently at large, allegedly lit a match that led to the explosion.
He said: “The person who lit the match fled the area, but we have spoken to his family and they gave his name as Idi.
“We have warned the communities and the NSCDC Commandant, Vincent Bature, has on several occasion visited the village head on this issue of pipeline vandalism, but they have refused to listen.”
…another dies stealing fuel
Meantime, the decomposed body of a 25-old-man, Zayyanu Abubakar, has been evacuated from inside a petrol tanker compartment where he suffocated and died since Friday, October 4, while stealing petrol.
According to reports the deceased fell inside the tank of the vehicle with plate number, XA 640 TBW, parked along Sokoto Western bye-pass and loaded with 33,000 litres of petrol.
The deceased was alleged to have stolen 20 litres from the fuel compartment and had returned for more when he ended up inside the tank.
It took the combined efforts of the officers of the state fire service, the police from Kwanni Division, Sokoto, and some good Samaritans, four hours to bring out the decomposed body.
Yahaya Mohammed, a relative of the deceased, said: “He told his siblings about his earlier successful exploits and they warned him against going back into the vehicle.
“He had told them that he nearly suffocated in the first attempt, but unknown to them, he went back, got trapped and died.”
A fire serviceman, Zayyanu Jelani said: “We were here since around 8a.m., when we were alerted about the ugly development.
“This is the first time we are recording this type of unfortunate incident in Sokoto apart from fire incidents on fuel tankers.”
Spokesman of the state police command, DSP Al-Mustapha Sani, confirmed the story and added that the police would thoroughly investigate the incident.
The remains of the deceased had been deposited at the morgue of Uthmanu Danfodio University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto.
Information from Vanguard was used in this report.