Nigerian officials have carried out a mass burial for the 110 people who died from the illegal refinery explosion in southeast Nigeria.
Some 70 people were earlier reported to have died in the refinery blast at Ohaji-Egbema local government area but the death toll rose since to 110.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) had disclosed that more bodies were recovered as the police mount search for suspects as part of investigations into the incident.
The Acting Head of Imo/Abia Operations Office of the agency, Ifeanyi Nnaji told newsmen that they recovered more dead bodies in Orashi River, near the scene of the incident on Sunday, while some died at various hospitals to increase the total casualty figure so far.
Most of the victims of the explosion were workers and people who had come to buy fuel at the illegal refinery.
Officials say some families had already taken charred corpses they assumed were those of their loved ones – for private burials.
The high death toll from the disaster has also affected the investigations into the incident.
When asked about the cause of the disaster, Mr Nnaji said “we are yet to ascertain what led to the fire disaster. “Those who should tell the story and give insight to the incident are all dead, we are still on ground, we will soon come out with a report on the incident”, he said.
Emergency workers in Imo led by Mr Nnaji had been on the ground since the incident to carry out rescue operations and evacuate dead bodies.
Nnaji called for enabling environment for genuine business to flourish in the oil-producing communities in Imo and to discourage youths from engaging in illegal activities.
He also urged oil companies in the area to help the government create jobs for their host communities.
In a statement issued on Sunday, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the country’s armed forces, security and intelligence agencies to intensify the clampdown on illegal refineries to safeguard the lives of citizens.