By: Prudence Okonna
All filling stations in the Federal Capital Territory violating safety regulations in loading, transportation and off-loading of petroleum products should be heavily sanctioned to serve as deterrent.
Full enforcement of sanctions will drastically reduce the incidences of fire outbreaks across the 8,000 square kilometers of the Federal Capital Territory.
Emergency Stakeholders made this recommendation during a strategic meeting organized by the FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), on Wednesday, at the FCDA Conference Room, Central Business District, Abuja.
While brainstorming on the need to strengthen mitigation measures, the Stakeholders noted that sanctions will go a long way to alleviate cases of reoccurrence of such disasters in the nation’s capital.
The Emergency Stakeholders present at the meeting comprise of the FCT Fire Service, Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Department of Development Control (DDC), and security agencies among others, made unanimous recommendation to carry out enforcement.
In his opening remark, the Director-General (DG), FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Abbas Idriss, noted that the FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello, had directed that any filling station that records any fire outbreak be sanctioned; adding that no responsible government will fold its arms and allow continuous loss of lives and property.
The DG FEMA, who was represented at the meeting by the Director, Forecasting Response and Mitigation, Florence Wenegieme, lamented the seeming lack of adequate knowledge of basic rules, the absence of functional firefighting equipment, and trained safety officers in most filling stations.
Idriss decried the increasing fire outbreak and the need to make adequate preparations following the release of seasonal climate predictions by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET).
His words: “There is the urgent need for proactive and responsive discussion in order to avert future disasters across the nation’s capital.”
In his goodwill message, the Executive Secretary, FCDA, Shehu Hadi-Ahmad represented by a Deputy Director in Engineering Services Department, Engr. Richard Dauda, said that the deliberations were timely as it will help them prepare and provide the needed technical support as they have often done.
Also, the Senior Special Assistant to the Minister on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement, IKharo Attah, said the goal of the discussion is to mitigate disasters such as fire outbreaks at petrol stations, as well as flood incidences by following NiMET climate predictions; emphasizing that all hands must be on deck by adhering to the resolutions reached.