Bauchi communities disagree with DPR over siting of Gas plants in their areas

•Due process followed before approval ― DP

Controversy has continued to trail the siting of gas plants in Tirwun communities of Bauchi LGA in Bauchi State as leaders of the communities have disagreed with the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) submission that it is safe to site five Gas plants in the area.

A traditional title holder in Bauchi Emirate Council, Dr Hayyatu Mustapha who spoke on behalf of the communities challenged the position of the DPR on the issue at hand which he said posed dangers to the residents if allowed to stay.

Hayyatu Mustapha who holds the traditional title of Barden Kudun Bauchi said that “Our attention has been drawn to the unfounded press release by the DPR which is not only laughable but a clear case of compromise and deception.”

While speaking to Journalists, he said, “from the DPR Procedures and Guidelines, page 7, item D therein provides clearly that for an LPG facility to be situated, there must be a 50 metres distance from public facilities such as school, mosque, church, market, terminus etc.”

He stressed that “It becomes so worrisome, however, that in the case of Tirwun Jummaat Masjid and Eid ground, this provision is completely negated despite series of appeals from not only the residents but other well-meaning citizens.”

He added that “Since it has become a case of negation and defiance to laid down procedure, we are calling on the Executive Governor of Bauchi State to exercise the powers conferred on him by the constitution to intervene just the way the Kaduna State Governor did in a similar situation.”

It will be recalled that only recently, residents of Tirwun and ATBU Kari Estate Staff Quarters in Bauchi metropolis addressed a press conference at the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Bauchi and appealed to the concerned authorities to, as a matter of urgency, put a stop to the construction of a gas plant by a private energy company, Action Energy Nigeria Limited, in their area.

The residents, while addressing journalists, said that building the gas plants were not only hazardous but also dangerous.

The spokesperson of the residents, Muhammad Gurama, who was in the company of Muhammad Chiroma, Mubarak Hamza, and Abdulmalik Yalwa, said that the gas plant will be sharing the same premises with a fuel station.

Reacting to the concerns of the residents, the operations controller of the DPR, Abdullahi Iliyasu, told reporters in Bauchi that, “All the plants were established after rigorous assessment and evaluation of the safety of the environment and the people.”

Abdullahi Iliyasu added that “An Environmental Impact Assessment was carried out before the plants were approved. The DPR embarked on a sensitisation tour of filling stations and existing Liquefied Petroleum Gas plants (LPG) on strict adherence to safety measures.”

“We sensitised operators of filling stations, gas plants and the general public on the need for strict adherence and observance of safety measures in their stations,” he said.

He then urged consumers of LPG to always check the expiry date of their gas cylinder before purchase, buy gas from certified gas plants and follow safety rules while refilling their cylinders.

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