NASS to push for relocation of fuel depots from densely populated areas

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Hon Sergius Ogun, Chairman Ad-hoc Committee on Tank Farms

By Egufe Yafugborhi, Port-Harcourt

The National Assembly has indicated its intent to force the relocation of fuel tank farms sited in densely populated areas for the safety of lives and property.

The House of Representatives Adhoc Committee on Relocation of Tank Farms gave the indication Wednesday in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, over its monitoring of fuel storage and sundry facilities within Port Harcourt Zone of the Department of Petroleum Resource (DPR).

 

Sergius Ogun, Chairman of the House Committee, noted that though some of the depots visited existed before their location turned densely populated, one party must give way for the other in line with DPR operational safety guidelines.

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Ogun said, “Definitely, one can relocate. During the stakeholders meeting tomorrow, we’re going to have the urban and physical planning department of the state to make professional inputs on this.

“We did the same in Calabar, Lagos, and other zones. We will replicate the same here. Today, in one of the tank farms TSL in Markoba community, we noticed a relatively high population density. Yes, this is a very good facility but its location is not too good.

We heard this is an industrial area so it’s possible residents came in after the establishment of this facility. If relocation stands as the only solution to safety, it might be the industry that may relocate. This decision is going to form a major focus on our reports.”

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The lawmaker expressed displeasure over perceived poor synergy amongst regulatory agencies in the area, saying, “We have NIMASA, NPA, Federal Ministry of Environment, Federal Fire Service, but from our findings, there are issues we may necessarily not discuss here but at the stakeholders meeting. We will make recommendations”

Bassey Nkanga, Port Harcourt Zonal Operations Controller, DPR, said, “The depots are safe to operate though there are technical lapses observed. In DPR, we are not mere fault finders. All lapses have been identified during our audit and they shall be corrected.

“We’re in a close working relationship with all depot facilities here and all observation would be appropriately communicated to the operators while we give a time frame for which to ensure corrections.”

Vanguard

 

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