The Federal Government is seeking measures to eliminate incessant gas pipeline accidents in the country.
The Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Mr Olukayode Popoola in line with the proposal has scheduled an emergency stakeholders meeting to seek a solution to the hazard of gas lines in the ongoing Lagos-Ibadan Expressway reconstruction/rehabilitation project.
Popoola said in Lagos at the weekend that the meeting was important for all stakeholders to rub minds on how to avert danger on the Right of Way (RoW) on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway project.
This followed panic on the highway on Wednesday when a gas pipe got ruptured; during construction works by Julius Berger on a section of the highway.
A similar gas leak had occurred on section one of the highway in 2019 during construction activities; which also made road users panic.
Section one of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway rehabilitation/reconstruction project spans from Ojota in Lagos to Sagamu Interchange.
Popoola stressed that there was an accepted depth for pipes to be buried deep into the ground; such that there should not be interactions between excavators and the pipes during construction works.
The federal controller harped on the need for the stakeholders to ascertain; if due diligence was followed in laying the pipelines.
He explained that the Federal Ministry of Works had a tradition of interacting with service providers from the oil and gas; telecommunication; power; and other industries to identify the exact location of facilities before construction works.
He also noted that only the Minister for Works and Housing had the powers to grant approval on the use of RoW for laying of pipes or any services after careful analysis.
Popoola explained that the minister usually liaises with the federal controllers of Works in states involved to crosscheck with engineers from its Planning and Development Departments to inspect the sites.
“The engineers will inspect and write their reports before the Honourable Minister will grant the approval. When it comes to execution like laying of the pipes; there is a minimum depth that pipes are supposed to be laid under.
“If all those technical things of minimum depths are observed; I am sure this problem we are having may not have occurred.
“Now you are saying maybe we are not working together with NNPC, ideally, they are the owners of the pipes; they are the custodian, they are supposed to tell us which alignment they have their pipes to guide us,’’ he said.
He explained that he only assumed office in 2020 and that the contractors were not aware of the existence of gas lines in its RoW, hence the incident of Wednesday along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
“The contractors were not aware of the existence of gap pipes there. Now that they know, they will be more careful in working on that corridor; such things will not happen again,’’ he assured.
He lamented new settlement encroaching on the Right of Way (RoW) of the project; and stressed the need for state governments to liaise with federal agencies when granting building permit approvals.
He explained that section one of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway which spans from Ojota in Lagos to Sagamu Interchange was about 56 per cent completed.