Gas Explosions: Senate Charge Regulatory Authorities To Review Safety Procedures 

…Investigates Lagos Explosion

Tunde Bakare

The Senate on Wednesday, October 14, demanded from regulatory authorities to come up with safety standards to guide establishment of gas stations in the country.

The Senate also directed its Committees on Petroleum Downstream and Gas Resources to investigate the remote, immediate causes of recent gas explosions in Lagos-West Senatorial District.

The explosion had resulted in the loss of lives and massive destruction of property.

It also directed the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to immediately send relief materials to affected victims.

The Senate urged NEMA and the ministry to also offset medical bills of hospitalised victims.

It urged regulatory and licensing authorities including Department of Petroleum Resources, (DPR), State Town Planning Authority, Fire Service, and the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, to review the modus operandi, safety procedures, and licensing regimes of the potentially combustible business and mode of transportation of gas in Nigeria.

The Senate resolutions was a sequel to the adoption of a motion at plenary on Wednesday on “Urgent Need to investigate Recent Gas explosion in Lagos- West Senatorial District that resulted in the loss of lives and massive destruction of properties.”

The motion was brought by Sen. Solomon Adeola (APC Lagos) under a matter of urgent public importance; having cited order 42 and 52 of Senate standing rules.

Adeola in his presentation said that on Sept. 24, a massive gas explosion occurred at Cele Bus Stop, Iju-Ishaga in Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government Area (LGA) of Lagos State.

He said that the explosion caused serious body injuries to no fewer than 44 persons while destroying 36 buildings including a church, an event centre, and a plank market.

According to him, 26 vehicles within a radius of 300 metres of the explosion were also destroyed.

He said that the explosion believed to have been caused by the burst tyre igniting a gas leak of a stuck 30 tonne Gas Tanker attempting to extricate itself from mud totally destroyed multi-billion naira properties and businesses of many citizens.

He explained that on October 10, a similar gas explosion occurred at Candos Road, Baruwa, Ipaja-Ayoba, Alimosho LGA when an LPG tanker in process of discharging gas at a gas plant exploded from sparks of a running power generator in the plant.

Adeola said in the second incident, 18 lives including a father and child were lost with scores sustaining injuries, while 25 houses and 16 lock-up shops filled with goods worth millions of naira were burnt.

He said facts revealed that the Tanker Owners Association in Nigeria estimated that over 80 per cent of all articulated vehicles; and the ones involved in incidents lacked safety protocol requisite to their operations and plying of public roads.

He noted that there have been recurrences of similar explosions in recent times in the same senatorial district.

He listed the previous incidents to include 2016; 2018 (Abule-Egba); 2019 (Abule – Egba); 2020 (Ijegun); 2020 (Ile-Epo, Oke-Odo); and also Abule Ado.

Adeola expressed concerns that Nigerians living and conducting legitimate businesses in the densely populated senatorial district now live in justifiable fear of not only losing their lives or those of their loved ones from these frequent explosive fire disasters but also their properties and investments.

He commended officers and men of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA); Lagos State and Federal Fire Services; Nigeria Police Force; Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps; as well as ordinary Nigerians on their prompt roles in putting out the inferno resulting from these explosions.

The Senate also observed a minute silence in honour of innocent Nigerians that lost their lives in the unfortunate national tragedy.

It also resolved to write a condolence letter to the People and Government of Lagos State; after mandating the committees to turn in the report of the investigation in two weeks to plenary.

The Senate also at plenary considered for first reading five Bills, which included the Institute of Environment Practitioners of Nigeria Establishment Bill, 2020 by Sen. Abdullahi Yayaya (APC Kebbi North); Foreign Exchange (Control and Monitoring) Act Repeal; and also re-enactment Bill, 2020 by Sen. Sani Uba (APC Kaduna Central).

Others are National Environmental Research and Training Institute Establishment Bill, 2020 by Sen. Ekpeyong Stephen (PDP Akwa Ibom North West.); Nigerian Bank for Commerce and Industry Act repeal Bill, 2020 by Sen. Ubah Ifeanyi (YPP Anambra South); and also Tertiary Education Trust Fund Act 2007 Amendment Bill, 2020 by Sen. Tofowomo Nicholas (APC Ondo South).

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