By DANIEL ETEGHE
The Federal Government Friday gave a forty-eight hours ultimatum to Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) along the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), access road to relocate their vehicles from the airport environment or face being sanctioned.
Disclosing this development during a stakeholders meeting at the conference room of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Regional Manager, South West, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. Edward Olarerin said the need to relocate the drivers became mandatory due to the dangers the present location poses to the airport community.
The meeting which comprises FAAN management team, the Nigerian Police Force, Air Force, Aviation Security, and Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), MMIA branch was held to find a lasting solution to the security threat posed by the location of the drivers.
Mr. Olarerin said the present location of the drivers which has tank farms and trucks parked close to the airport constitute the highest threat to the environment and communities around adding that it could become a ready tool in the hands of terrorists who might be planning to use it as a weapon of mass destruction.
He said that the Authority has provided another location for the drivers to relocate their trucks to adding that work to cordon off their present site will commence Monday next week.
He said: “When we went to Abuja, I am talking about the presidency now; we were given directive before the last meeting that we must move everybody out of that place.
“This is an instruction from Abuja and coupled with the transformation that is going on in all the airports now. We appreciate the fact that if the pipelines were working, there would have been no need for the tankers to be there in the first place but because you have to take aviation fuel directly from the depot to the airport, we had to allow them because we have to make sure that aviation fuel is available.
“That is why you have the tankers there. They are supposed to be very few, where you have six (6) marketers that could not require more than 6 vehicles at a particular time. We now have tankers that are not supposed to be here at all, that are not meant for the airport, that are not Jet A1 tankers coming to the airport.
“A lot of the tankers you see in that place are broken down and most of the trucks have been abandoned by the owners. Now we have transformation going on, airports are being remodeled and new car parks are being constructed. If you have all these facilities and the road to these facilities are bad, how would you feel?
The airport manager further stated that FAAN had already engaged the service of the Lagos State Transport Management Authority(LASTMA), to assist in relocating the trucks.
Responding, the Secretary General, NUPENG, MMIA branch, Mr. Tayo Aboyeji said the drivers are not against the relocation of their trucks from the present location, saying that they are ready to move provided that FAAN will assist in providing the necessary facilities to make their stay comfortable.