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SON, stakeholders to re-qualify gas cylinders

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…Destroy 5000 sub-standard LPG cylinders worth over N51m

By Sebastine Obasi

The spate of gas cylinder explosion may be reduced to the barest minimum if the plan by the Standard Organisation of Nigeria, SON, to collaborate with gas plant owners and other relevant stakeholders in order to re-qualify gas cylinders is anything to go by.

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This is coming at a time SON stated that it has publicly destroyed 5,000 substandard gas cylinders worth N51.3 million.

Giving an insight into the re-qualification exercise, Director, Inspectorate and Compliance Directorate, SON, Mr. Obiora Manafa, stated that the essence is to ensure that a cylinder is not used beyond its expiration date.

Though he acknowledged that the exercise is a daunting one considering the challenge of replacing the cylinders after withdrawal, giving the fact that cylinders in Nigeria are owned by individuals, unlike other countries where they are owned by marketers. “In Nigeria, cylinders are owned by individuals, but owned by marketers in other climes and once the cylinders are due for recertification, it is easy for withdrawal, but difficult to get these cylinders from individuals to do requalification,”

“The only way it can work is if any consumer takes a cylinder to a filling plant to refill and the plant owner checks the cylinder and it is due for requalification, the plant owners should be given powers to seize the cylinder. These are some of the things we are working with other stakeholders in the industry to address,” he said

Manafa added: “The life span of a cylinder is 15 years and when using a brand new cylinder, you have to calculate another 15 years for the usage, but unscrupulous importers go outside the country to bring in these cylinders that have been discarded and have been used for over 30 years. These cylinders are not allowed in the Nigerian market because they are dead on arrival and they are not safe for anybody to use, they are expired and weak.”

Speaking on the destruction of 5,000 substandard gas cylinders worth N51.3 million, Manafa, explained that the cylinders were imported into the without SON’s conformity Assessment Programme certification and did not comply to specifications in line the Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS) 69.

He said,” Those are the sizes of cylinders allowed for camping. Using 12.5kg, you have to mouth the burner for camping the gas and when you are cooking, you are exposing a large number of gas to direct heat which is not allowed. It is a threat to safety.

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“We did not give any importer approval to bring in 12.5kg for camping, but approvals for 3kg, 5kg and 6.25kg for camping. In this case, the importer brought in cylinders of 12.5kg as camping and that is why we have seized it for destruction, because we cannot allow it into the market.”

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