By Simon Adewale
Members of the House of Representatives’ ad hoc committee on the Need to Relocate Tank Farms from Residential Areas, took a three-day tour to inspected tank farms in Apapa Jetty, Ibru Jetty, Kirikiri, Satellite Town, Ijegun areas, among others, oil facilities located in Lagos State, following complaints from the residents on their safety.
During the inspection tour, the committee, led by Princess Mariam Onuoha (Isiala Mbano/ Onuimo/ Okigwe Federal constituency) Imo State, expressed dissatisfaction on varying levels of infractions and non-compliance discovered in some facilities, tasked the owners of the tank farm on the need to operate in accordance with regulatory requirements and approvals.
Speaking at the stakeholders’ meeting organised by the Committee, Princess Onuoha stated that the purpose of their visit to Lagos was to investigate the regulatory compliance and safety implications of the location of tank farms in residential areas and make appropriate recommendations to the House of Representatives, Abuja.
At the meeting were managing directors/CEOs and representatives of tank farm owners, Nigerian Port Authority, Fire Service, NIMASA and environmental agency.
At the meeting, tank farm owners listed the challenges they face to include foreign exchange accessibility and roads among others, which the Committee promised to take back to the House for deliberation.
On what would be the fate of tank farm operators who failed to meet up with the safety codes and regulatory standards, Princess Onuoha said: ”I think about two or three tank farm owners, who have some infractions in their operations are not here.
“We have summoned them to appear before the committee in Abuja, in conformity with the mandate given to us on oversight for which we are here on an investigation. We want these companies to appear before our committee with full disclosure of their registrations and approvals to operate and other relevant regulatory requirements and certifications, which we did not see in their facilities.”
In the same vein, Oghene Egoh, member of the House of Representatives (Amuwo, Lagos), commended the large turn up at the stakeholders meeting, even as he sued for the cooperation between the owners and residents to promote harmony and effective security and safety of the area against fire disaster.
Egoh stated that as the representative of Amuwo-Odofin federal constituency, where most of the petroleum storage facilities are located, it became necessary for him to move the motion over the activities of tank farms owners, mostly in Kirikiri, Satellite Town and Ijegun communities among others.
He said his concern resulted in the setting up of the house ad hoc committee given the number of petitions from residents seeking for the relocation of the tank farms due to the high risk of fire outbreak.
Egoh expressed worry over the safety of the lives of the residents and said: “I represent the people and if there is an explosion, I don’t know what will happen.”
He noted that he moved the motion that all the farms and gas plants be removed following several petitions he received from the residents.
He added: “During the Committee’s tour of the tank farms, we saw the huge investments. But while you are doing your business, there is a need for you to implement modern safety standards and global best practices.
“This is for the effective protection of lives and property of residents. While going about your business, realise that the safety of human lives is paramount.”