There was panic in Ebekpi community of Esit Eket local government area of Akwa Ibom state following an eruption from a gas wellhead operated by one of the oil companies in the area.
It was gathered that the gas leakage which occurred on Saturday ran for almost five hours, causing panic in the community and its environment as the villagers scamper for safety.
Sources said though there was no fire outbreak as workers of the company including some white expatriates were seen around the scene of the incident while a fire service vehicle was seen stationed nearby.
The Village Head of Ebekpi, Ama Bassey Joseph lamented the environmental hazard caused by the eruption and called on relevant authorities to come to the community and ascertain the level of environmental damage for possible compensation.
The Village Council Chairman, Elder John Harrison also confirmed that the eruption shook the “entire community and caused panic as some residents ran as far as Ikot Odiong for safety”.
Also, a landlord Mr Sunday Jacob who has a building close to the scene of the incident, lamented that his building had witnessed cracks adding that during the period the eruption lasted, he suffered phycological trauma.
According to the source he was seen packing his household property from the building as the entire area was polluted with obnoxious gas released by the eruption.
This is as the youths irked by the leakage and its health implications blocked the company’s premises at Ebekpi calling on the management of the company to explain what happened.
A gas expert who craved anonymity said that the company was doing a wellhead test but that the company made the mistake of not informing its host communities of the impending test run.
Source: Punch Newspaper