The House of Representatives on Thursday unveiled plans to investigate the rising incidences of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) related explosions across the country.
The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Benjamin Kalu, which resulted into death of Nigerian citizens.
In his lead debate, Hon. Kalu called for serious action to be put into the required measures to curb the explosions that result in a sad waste of lives and properties in some states of the federation including Akwa Ibom, Kaduna and Lagos.
Hon. Kalu who called for the House intervention with the view to halting the recurring disaster expressed grave concern over the failure of regulatory agencies in the LPG value chain to enforce standards, clamp down on violators, prevent siting of gas stations and refill outlets in residential areas by regulatory bodies, including the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).
“The House is worried by accusations, counter-accusations and claims among regulatory agencies and stakeholders on the cause(s) of gas explosions nationwide, for instance, the DPR and Liquefied Petroleum Gas Retailers Association (LPGAR), a branch of NUPENG were at loggerheads over the cause(s) of the January 2020 explosion in Kaduna, a case where the DPR claimed that the explosion was as a result of decanting (transfer) of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) into another cylinder by operators of the facility, while LPGAR claimed that the disaster was as a result of acetylene and oxygen gases and not LPG, as widely circulated.
“The House again notes that the DPR, which is responsible for regulating gas activities and ensuring compliance with Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) standards in the sector, has consistently warned against citing gas stations in residential areas and unauthorized places, yet the number of unauthorized gas plants keeps increasing on an annual basis and as part of its enforcement procedures, the DPR sealed a total of 40 gas plants in December 2019 in Akwa Ibom State over unsafe practices.
“The House is cognizant that the SON established standards for gas cylinders in Nigeria (NIS587) which among others specifies a 15–year life cycle for gas cylinders and provides for every gas cylinder to go through mandatory requalification process every five years, but there are no facilities for requalification, certification and re-certification of gas cylinders in Nigeria.
“The House is also cognizant 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, Dr Joseph Odumodu, in 2014, assured Nigerians of the implementation of a new policy on the ownership of gas cylinders.
“The House is disturbed that six years after the conception of the policy, the Federal Government is 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.
“The House believes that in line with the provisions of Section 14(2b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the government needs 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,” he noted.
To this end, the House called on users of LPG, as part of safe ways of using same, to procure and install both active fire extinguishers and gas leakage detectors in their homes, and urge SON, DPR, National Orientation Agency (NOA) and marketers to embark on aggressive but consistent sensitization and awareness campaigns on safe ways of using gas cylinders to save lives.
To this end, the House mandated the joint Committees on Gas and Commerce to investigate the cause(s) of gas cylinders’ explosions at LPG plants in order to find permanent and sustainable solutions which will save lives while encouraging safe use of LPG, and report back within 6 weeks for further legislative action.
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