By Michael Eboh
The Federal Government, Wednesday, commenced clampdown on illegal roadside dealers of cooking gas, originally known as Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG.
The government had last month, said it has commenced a policy to remove ownership of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG, cylinders from consumers, while dealers would be barred from refilling gas cylinders by the roadside and other unauthorized places.
The policy, the government said, would require that the ownership of the cylinders rests solely with the dealers and distributors.
Officers of the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, in conjunction with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, flagged off the enforcement in Abuja and environs, with the operations aimed at curbing the illegal activities of LPG retailers and skid operators, and five illegal operators were arrested.
The areas visited by the team included Galadimawa, Lokogoma axis, particularly Sunny Vale estate and other surburbs within the city, where the team clamped down on illegal operators found dispensing gas in very dangerous circumstances without the necessary safety precautions.
Head of Gas of the DPR, Engr. Umar Gwandu, said most of the illegal outlets lacked basic and standard minimum requirements like fire extinguishers and detectors, water sprinkler, temperature gauge, pressure and volume gauge among others.
Speaking at one of the illegal outlet in Galadimawa, Gwandu said, “This place can easily explode if there is any spark, even with a very tiny leakage, once there is a spark, this place is gone. We have come here severally as you can see from our seal. This people are not ready to comply. If there is any spark here this place can go up in flames in seconds. Look at the immediate environment with gas.”
Also speaking, Zonal Operations Controller, DPR Abuja Zonal Office, Engr. Buba Abubakar, said, “We visited about 16 retail plants. We were able to seal about 14 that were operating illegally.
“The reason we went out today was to make sure everybody has permit to operate. If you do not have permit you should come to the office and with the necessary requirements you will get your permit.
“We are looking at the safety of the people, their lives and property. By the time you come to the office we will be able to tell you the things you need to have a retail outlet.
“But the way it is now, somebody just wakes up one day and before you know it, he has a retail outlet which is not acceptable. We are here to help every Nigerian.
“If you really want to have a retail outlet or LPG plant, you come to the office, we will tell you all the necessary requirements in terms of documentation and safety and by the time you get these things done we will process them for you before you are allowed to run a legal outlet.”
He noted that the clampdown was in line with the Federal Government’s policy to encourage LPG penetration, adding that the DPR is ensuring the licensing process was not cumbersome.
He said, “Yes, we want gas to be everywhere but let it be done legally. And in line with the Federal Government’s ease of doing business. That is why we tell them to come to the office, we are ready to assist any marketer that wants to establish any facility for LPG or retail outlet and make sure they get their permit very fast.”