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Ogun gas explosion: Gov Abiodun promises succour

…As Logistics company mourns dead staff, offers support to victims

 

Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun state has promised to assist those affected by last Saturday’s gas explosion at Ita Oshin area in Abeokuta, the state capital.

 

The Governor assured those whose properties were destroyed in the incident of adequate compensation on the part of his government while also taking over the cost of treatment of those in the hospital when he paid an on-the-spot assessment to the scene of the incident, on Sunday evening.

Abiodun further ordered the evacuation of the affected structures to  allow for integrity tests to be carried out.

The governor questioned the safety of trucks carrying Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) across the country, even as he noted that issues concerning regulations, and roadworthiness of the modes of transportation of the products should be looked into.

Abiodun said: “As a responsible state government, our emergency management team has taken stock of all those businesses, and residences that have been affected by this unfortunate incident.

“What has happened yesterday (Saturday) throws up a lot of questions, far-ranging questions. The issues around safety, issues around regulation, issues around road worthiness of the modes of transportation, and issues around the required regulatory oversight for the entire industry must be looked into.

“Are these issues happening at the same speed as the industry is progressing? This would allow us to better understand and answer those questions.

“I have directed that one or two buildings be evacuated until our regulatory agency that is in charge does the required integrity test on those buildings to ensure that they are safe for our people to continue to leave in there.

“All those affected will be compensated, all those who are in the hospital, we will take over their treatment,” he said.

The Governor further said that his administration would put in place the required legislation to provide the required oversight for the industry, adding that he has directed the Ministries of Environment and Transportation to ensure that the truck heads that are carrying petroleum products into the state are road worthy.

He said that a meeting of the state government with the Petroleum Tanker Drivers Association was called for Monday in his office to look at the issue of the safety of tankers plying roads in the state.

He averred that there was the need to now begin to look at the kind of policy frameworks and regulatory oversights that would ensure that such an accident does not happen again in the state.

Governor Abiodun charged the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) to be on top of the fast evolution of the industry, saying that they should as a matter of urgency ensure that the standards of the CNG tanks used by trucks meet the required standards.

“We must first ensure that the right regulatory framework to ensure that the truck heads that are carrying petroleum products into the state are road worthy.

“So, I have called for a meeting of the state government and the Petroleum Tanker Drivers Association tomorrow in my office so that we can investigate this situation and inform them of the steps that we will be taken immediately to ensure that trucks that are transporting such inflammable products are indeed road worthy and they do not now become dangerous, particularly to our citizens.

“From what we have seen, the CNG tanks that are providing fuel is what exploded and caused the inferno and from what we know, CNG is meant not to be as flammable as LPG or as petrol. Those tanks were meant to be constructed to certain safety standards.

“The question is this: Is the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) on top of the fast evolution of this industry? Can they adequately confirm to us that they have standards for the gas tanks that are being used for CNG, powering trucks, and vehicles? That also needs to be answered.

“Going forward, we need to now begin to look at what kind of policy framework, what type of regulatory oversight should be provided both at the state and federal level because we will not allow this unfortunate incident to become a clug in the wheel of the energy transition that is needed in the country,” he added.

Meanwhile, owners of the tanker truck which exploded, Gasco Marine Management, has expressed its condolences to the family of its deceased staff in the fire incident and offered to support other victims whose properties were destroyed.

In a statement signed by the Management of the Logistics company dated Sunday, April 28, 2024, it said the safety and wellbeing of employees and the communities in which it operates were of utmost priority.

“We regret to announce an unfortunate incident involving one of our gas delivery vehicles on Saturday, April 27, 2024, in the Ita-Oshin area of Abeokuta, Ogun State.

“The incident resulted in the untimely demise of an employee who was serving as a motor mate accompanying the driver. It also caused destruction of properties in the surrounding area. We are saddened by this unfortunate event.

“Our thoughts and condolences go out to the family of the deceased, and the affected individuals whose properties were affected. We are doing everything we can to support them during this difficult time. At Gasco Marine, the safety and wellbeing of employees and the communities we operate in are of utmost priority.

“We also take this opportunity to assure our stakeholders that we strictly adhere to all safety standards. We remain committed to continuously strengthening our health and safety policies to prevent such unfortunate incidents from occurring in the future,” it said.

Gasco Marine commended the emergency response teams, including personnel from the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Ogun State Traffic Compliance and Control Agency (TRACE), the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), and representatives of the Ogun State Government, who were promptly on-site to assist.

“We at Gasco Marine have also activated our emergency response protocols and are cooperating fully with relevant authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident.

“We will continue to update all stakeholders as the investigation progresses. Our focus remains on supporting the affected families and ensuring the highest levels of safety across our operations,” it added.

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