By Salisu Sani-Idris
Worried by the recurring incidents of fire outbreaks in filling stations, the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, has directed all filling stations to observe safety regulations or face sanctions.
Alhaji Abbas Idriss, Director-General, FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), made the disclosure during an emergency stakeholders meeting held on Wednesday in Abuja.
Idriss, represented by the agency’s Director, Forecasting Response Mitigation, Mrs Florence Wenegieme, said the minister ordered that any filling station that recorded a fire outbreak would be sanctioned.
The D-G said that no responsible government would fold its arms and allow loss of lives and property to be the order of the day.
Idriss said: “Sadly, while we recorded many successes in the aspect of flood management in the Federal Capital, the incidence of fire outbreaks especially in filling stations suddenly became a recurring issue of concern.
“This concern required extraordinary measures by all emergency stakeholders to tackle.
“This worrisome issue, as our findings reveal, is largely attributed to violations of safety regulations in loading, transportation and off-loading of petroleum products and other volatile substances.
“Also, there is a seeming lack of adequate knowledge of basic safety rules, absence of functional firefighting equipment and trained safety officers in most of our filling stations.”
Similarly, Idriss said that discharging petroleum products while the premises were already filled with vehicles and other customers awaiting was a very dangerous development.
He also frowned at the activities of black markers in and around the vicinities of the filling stations and highways.
Idriss added their activities were dangerous developments that needed to be addressed by all stakeholders to avoid catastrophic outcomes in the near future.
He added: “It is important at this juncture to inform stakeholders that our discussion today will be centred on such measures that could avert further escalation of fire outbreak within and outside the city of the territory.
“The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (Nimet), on Jan. 24, released its seasonal climate prediction which has implications on various sectors of our economy particularly, on agriculture, transportation, water, disaster management and other critical sectors.
“Therefore, we will also use this platform to review our performance in managing flood, fire, building collapse and other emergency incidents in the nation’s capital.
“This is necessary in order to further strengthen those areas where we delivered well and also improve on others where there were lapses.”
Earlier, Mr Justin Uwazuruonye, Head, Abuja Operations Office, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), reiterated the determination of the agency to mitigate and reduce the risk of disaster in Abuja and the nation at large.
He said: “NEMA is a national body that coordinates management in the country and our sister agencies at the state levels and the FCT are the State Emergency Management Agencies (SEMA) and FEMA.
“We are happy with FEMA because it always carries all the stakeholders along. We are also encouraging all stakeholders to ensure synergy among them.”
The New Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the stakeholders emergency meeting was attended by the representatives of the Nigerian Navy, Federal Capital Development Authority, Nimet, and other critical agencies in disaster management. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Abiemwense Moru/Bashir Rabe Mani