The death toll from an explosion at an illegal oil refinery in southern Nigeria rose to 109, an official said on Sunday.
Ifeanyi Nnaji, an official from the National Emergency Management Agency, said the situation is more serious than anticipated.
“We have reached 109 bodies so far. Many bodies fell into the river while some people died at the refinery,” he said.
Garba Shehu, the Nigerian Presidency spokesperson, said President Muhammadu Buhari described the incident in the region as a national disaster.
Buhari expressed his condolences to the government and people, a speedy recovery to the injured, and God's mercy on those who lost their lives in the explosion.
Stressing that the responsibility for the explosion should be directly on the “sponsors of the illegal refinery,” he said they should all be caught and brought to justice.
Nigeria has a large number of illegal oil refineries in Africa.
According to the government, the country loses 200,000 barrels of crude oil per day due to oil theft and vandalism.
A total of 25 people were killed in an explosion at an illegal oil refinery in the Nigerian state of Rivers last October.