Clampdown illegal gas dealers, Senate urges DPR

The Senate on Tuesday urged the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to put up a system and structures that would facilitate the clampdown on the various illegal outlet of gas supply.

This was a sequel to the motion by Senator, Ibikunle Amosun representing Ogun Central, to curb the rising cases of gas-related fire incidences, explosions and deaths in Ogun state.

The Senate in its resolution said observed a minute silence for the dead from the explosion in May.

According to the resolution, the Senate urged the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to: put in place systems and structures for the enforcement of the Federal Government’s ban on consumer ownership of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders to enhance safety and deepen cooking gas penetration in the country.”

Accordingly, the Senate resolved that observe a minute silence in honour of all the victims of the unfortunate explosions and mandate the Senate Committees on Gas, and Industries to investigate the cause(s) of the recent cases of Gas explosions in Ogun State and in the 35 States of the Federation and the FCT, in order to find permanent and sustainable solutions that will save the lives of the people, and report back to the Senate.

It called on the Federal and State Fire Services to enforce the mandatory use of fire safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers and other safety equipment, in homes and places of work.

The Senate further urged the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and marketers of gas and highly inflammable products to embark on aggressive, consistent sensitization and awareness campaigns on safe ways of using gas cylinders and other inflammable materials to save lives.

The DPR was enjoined to step up the clamping down on illegal roadside retailers of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) who either operate without a valid license or who operate within residential areas, or licensed plants who lack basic and standard minimum requirements like fire extinguishers and detectors, water sprinkler, temperature gauge, pressure and volume measuring equipment, among others.

The motion did not also forget the responsibility of government to the people as Amosun demanded the Senate to charge the federal government to be alive to her role in the lives of her citizens.

The motion reads in part: “Further aware that in order to curb the domestic production and importation of substandard and fake gas cylinders, the then Director-General of Standards Organisation of Nigeria in 2014, assured Nigerians of the implementation of a new policy on the ownership of gas cylinders.

Disturbed that almost seven (7) years after the conception of the policy, the relevant Agencies are yet to commence the implementation of the new policy on ownership of cylinders in Nigeria while the production and importation of fake and substandard cylinders continue unabated, while lives have been lost to the same problem which the proposed policy would have solved.

Believes that in line with the provisions of Section 14(2) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), relevant Government Agencies need to take more appropriate steps to protect Nigerians from avoidable deaths by adopting relevant practices obtainable in other climes, especially in effectively monitoring the validity of LPG cylinders and the purity of the Gas being dispensed.

Notes that regulatory Agencies in the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) need to live up to their responsibilities to enforce standards, clampdown on the influx of sub-standard cylinders and retailers who dispense adulterated Gas, thereby, leading to an increase in the Gas explosion and associated deaths in Ogun State, and indeed throughout the 36 States and the FCT.

The motion was a sequel to a Gas explosion, the fifth of such incidences, which occurred at the yard of a construction company in the Onikoko area of Abeokuta, Ogun State, on Friday, 21st May, 2021 and left at least two persons seriously injured.

While another incident happened barely 24 hours after two persons were killed in a Gas explosion within the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) in Abeokuta, Ogun State, on Thursday, 20, May 2021. It was gathered that the explosion occurred when technicians were conducting routine servicing of the Air Conditioning (AC) units within the premises.

Ibikunle said the Senate was concerned that a similar incident took place at the Conference Hotel, Abeokuta, which is a short distance away from the Library on Tuesday, 18th May 2021, which also left two persons dead. The explosion was said to have occurred when technicians were working on a revolving door at the Hotel.

It also noted that on Wednesday 12th May 2021, three other persons, including an infant, were burnt to death in a gas explosion that occurred in Oke-Egunyan, along NTA Road in Abeokuta. A technician was refilling gas of a faulty refrigerator when the incident occurred.

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