Gas Explosion: Abiodun orders evacuation of affected buildings, promises compensation for victims

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Gas Explosion: Abiodun orders evacuation of affected buildings, promises compensation for victims

Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has ordered that some of the buildings affected by Saturday’s gas explosion at Ita-Oshin in Abeokuta North Local Government area of the state be evacuated.

This is to allow for integrity tests to be carried out on the affected buildings.

Prince Abiodun made this known on Sunday during on-the-spot assessment of damage done to properties and businesses around the area.

Abiodun also promised that those whose properties were damaged or destroyed would be adequately compensated by his administration, while the state government would also take over the treatment of those in the hospital.

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

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

“What has happened yesterday 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 has been 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 interrogate 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 Organization 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.