FG 'll compensate victims of Ogun gas explosion - Minister - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Wednesday, May 1, 2024

FG 'll compensate victims of Ogun gas explosion - Minister

By Demilade Michael

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas), Hon Ekperikpe Ekpo, on Wednesday said the federal government will do everything possible to compensate victims of last Saturday gas truck explosion at Ita-Oshin, Abeokuta, Ogun State.

The Minister, who disclosed this during an assessment tour of the accident scene in Abeokuta, called on stakeholders in the gas industry to prioritize issues of standards and safety, saying that the federal government would not allow the lives of its citizens to be endangered by any body or organization.

It would be recalled that a gas truck, belonging to Gascon Marine Ltd, Abeokuta, exploded on Saturday and claimed the life of the driver mate of the gas laden truck, while about six vehicles and two shops were burnt.

Ekpo, who was in company of the Authority Chief Executive of Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, (NMDPRA), Engr. Farouk Ahmed, said the federal government delegation was in the state to assess situation of things, as far as the accident was concerned and see how to forestall a reoccurrence.

The Minister's entourage together with Deputy Governor of the State, Engr. Noimot Salako-Oyedele visited the crash scene at Ita-Oshin, Abeokuta, the company which owned the CNG ill-fated truck, as well as where the wreckage of the truck and other vehicles trapped in the gas explosion were kept.

Speaking during the visit, the Ekpo said, the country is transiting to use of CNG as an alternative fuel, pointing out that anything that may want to hurt the confidence of the people or make them feel that CNG is not safe to use with the type of accident that happened in Abeokuta and Port Harcourt involving CNG trucks is really a source of concern, saying that "this is why every stakeholder must prioritize the issue of safety".

He said, "Nigeria gas resources is up to 208trillion cubic feet and we have to make use of it in the way that it should be, to drive the economy of this nation". 

"So, what we are emphasizing on is maintaining safety standards, because anything that falls beyond this won't be appreciated.  

"Like the Deputy Governor said when we visited where the cylinders were kept, we saw a crack on it, which may be it was substandard. Maybe that was why the force or friction on it made the cylinder to open and if this is not checked and we let our people installed this in their vehicles without ascertaining the standards, it will pose great danger to all involved". 

"So this is a wake up call to each of us, that we should rise to the challenge of the day. We must involve the Standard Organization of Nigeria and other regulators to ensure that whatever is used in our vehicles are up to standard so that we don't have a reoccurrence of this type of accident".

Ekpo said, the federal government is also trying to reduce the transportation of gas by road due to its volatility, saying that the success of the federal government with AKK gas project will help a lot to get this policy on board 

He said "I have directed the Authority Chief Executive of NMDPRA that for any further issuance of licence, the company should be competent enough to pipe the gas to their end-users so that we are not exposed to this kind of danger".

He said, while the government condoles with all those involved in the unfortunate incident, the federal government will liaise with relevant agencies of the government to compensate the victims and cushion their losses.

The Authority Chief Executive of Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, Engr Ahmed said the agency will continue to collaborate with other agencies of the government to ensure that operators in the oil and gas industry stick to standards.

Ahmed noted that, "the accident should not discourage us from embracing use of CNG, it is the way to go and we must all support the transition, accidents are bound to happen, but on our part as regulator, we are working hand in hand with Standard Organization of Nigeria to ensure safety and standards.

"We are equally partnering with road safety to ensure the drivers of these vehicles are not only trained, but also certified that their vehicles are in good shape and comply with standards. We shall continue to build on this partnership to ensure safety of all Nigerians".

The Managing Director of Gascon Marine Ltd, Mr Segun Ogunwunmi during the visit to his company said that the five year old company has never been involved in any mishaps, as it has always adhere to highest standards of safety 

Mr Ogunwunmi, however pleaded with the Minister and the state government to please be quick with their investigations and allow the company resume operations as many critical facilities like hospitals and industries that rely on gas supply from the company are in dire straits.

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