By Boluwaji Obahopo – Lokoja
The Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR on Thursday moved heavily against persons dealing illegally in the sales of domestic gas in Kogi Stage, sealing off 15 retail gas outlets in the process.
The operators of the outlets were subsequently arrested and handed over to men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence, NSCDC who were part of the special committee set up to go round the Lokoja metropolis.
Speaking during the raid, the Chief operating officer, Idris Mohammed said that the raid became necessary in view of the proliferation of retail outlets sited in a residential areas, which run contrary to the safety rules laid down by the DPR.
He said that the affected outlets have refused to heed to the repeated calls on them to approach DPR to obtain necessary guidelines for operating retail outlets.
Mohammed described citing retail outlets in a residential area as a time bomb that can explode at any time if not urgently addressed.
“We have repeatedly called on the affected retailers to visit us to obtain necessary information and guidelines on what they need to do to qualify them to operate gas retail outlets but they have refused, we also have some cases of those outlets we have sealed off before but now operating in violation of the rules.
“This is a time bomb; any incidence in these residential and commercial areas will have an unbearable effect. We don’t want to wait for calamity to occurred.
“The sale of gas, NPG in residential areas like this will result in the poison of the environment. There is huge risks in the cylinder to cylinder sale of gas; it can cause inferno and those in the resident will be badly affected.”
The Chief operating officer said that the affected retailers have been handed over to the NSCDC for profiling and prosecution after investigation.
He however called on consumers to stop patronising that using cylinder – to -Cylinder sale; while urging the state government to provide a better environment that can become a cluster business site for those in the gas business to operate from.