Over 100 people were killed in Nigeria today after a petrol tanker crashed on a road in the Niger Delta.

More than 85 people whose bodies were burned beyond recognition were given a mass burial at the disaster site, an official said.

After the tanker tipped over while trying to avoid oncoming vehicles, locals rushed to the scene to scoop up the fuel spilling out.

They ignored calls from soldiers to move away and were burned to death when the tanker and pools of oil caught fire.

"A mass burial occurred just a few minutes ago... These were bodies that were burned beyond recognition.

“They couldn't be moved," said Ibim Semenitari, the information commissioner for Rivers state.

She said more than 85 of the over 100 people killed were buried.

Kayode Olagunju, head of the Federal Road Safety Commission in Rivers, said 87 victims were buried, while the bodies of at least six others who could be identified were released to their families.

A local chief in the Ahoada area where the disaster occurred said heavy equipment was brought in to dig the grave.

"They used excavators to dig a big grave and they buried them and covered them with sand," Chief Geoffrey Ikogha told AFP.