Senate moves to avert further deaths through gas explosions

To avert unwarranted deaths and destruction of properties caused by gas explosions, the Senate has urged regulatory and licensing authorities to review its licensing regimes.

The regulatory agencies include the Department of Petroleum Resources, (DPR), State Town Planning Authority, the Fire Service and the Federal Road Safety Corps, (FRSC).

The Senate is challenging the agencies to review the modus operandi, safety procedures and licensing regimes of this potentially combustible business and mode of transportation of gas in Nigeria.

The Senate also resolved to direct National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to immediately send relief materials to affected victims and offset medical bills of hospitalized victims.

It also directed the Senate Committees on Petroleum Downstream, Gas Resources to investigate the immediate causes of these explosions and recommend ways to prevent reoccurrence and report back to Senate in two weeks.

It resolved to write a condolence letter to the people and government of Lagos State.

These were sequel to a motion of urgent need to investigate recent gas explosions in Lagos West Senatorial District resulting in loss of lives and massive destruction of properties sponsored by Senator Solomon Adeola Olamilekan.

While presenting his motion, the Senator indicated that a massive gas explosion occurred at Cele Bus Stop, Iju-Ishaga in Ifako-Ijaiye LGA, Lagos State.

He said the explosion caused serious body injuries to about 44 persons while destroying 36 buildings including a church, an event centre and a plank market. It destroyed 26 vehicles within a radius of 300 metres of the explosion.

He expressed regrets that the explosion that was caused by a 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.

The senator said just about two weeks after on October 10, 2020, 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.

Olamilekan pointed out that in the second tragic incidence 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 the Tanker Owners Association in Nigeria have given an estimate that over 80% of all articulated vehicles involved in these incidents lack safety protocol required for their operations and plying of public roads.

He gave a list of similar explosions in recent times in the same senatorial district to including the incident in 2016, 2018 (Abule-Egba), 2019 (Abule – Egba) 2020 (Ijegun), 2020 (Ile-Epo, Oke-Odo) and Abule Ado.

“Nigerians living and conducting legitimate businesses in my densely-populated senatorial district now live in justifiable fear of not only losing their lives or those of love ones from these frequent explosive fire disasters but also their properties and investments,” Olamilekan said.

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

The Senate observed a minute silence in honour of innocent Nigerians that lost their lives in the explosions.

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