FEMA reads riot act to filling stations

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The Federal Capital Territory Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, on Sunday in Abuja vowed to permanently shut down any filling station which flouts the extant regulations on products discharge.

The Director-General of FEMA, Alhaji Abbas Idriss, issued the warning while reacting to the fire outbreak at the Conoil filling station at Garki Area 10, in the Federal Capital City, which occurred on Saturday.

The filling station was the third station to be gutted by fire within the last two weeks.

Idriss disclosed that a task force would be constituted by the FCT Administration and would soon commence strict enforcement of the regulations on content discharge, safety of lives and properties of the residents.

He blamed the fires at the three filling stations on non-adherence to the regulations on content discharge, cautioning  that flouting the rules endangers the lives and properties of the residents of the FCT.

Idriss said: “The incessant fire out breaks at filling stations in the FCT are becoming increasingly worrisome.

“The major cause of the fire is non-adherence to the given time of content discharge, which is preferably early morning or late evening periods.

“Some filling stations also lack adequate fire defence equipment that will serve as first aid before the responders turn up.

“Some do not have trained safety officers who are supposed to guide the operators at the filling stations.”

The D-G said that the infernos penultimate week were as a result of wrong timing of content discharge which could be termed as deliberate negligence which the FCT Administration would no longer tolerate.

He listed the ill-fated filling stations to include; A. A. RANO by Mpape Junction along Kubwa Expressway on December 1, Danmarna filling station at FHA, Lugbe, on December 7, and Conoil Filling station at Area 10, Garki on Saturday.

The FEMA boss also attributed the fire outbreaks to the lingering fuel scarcity, which compelled station managers to commence the discharge of content immediately the tanker arrived the stations.

Idriss also said that the FCT Administration would open up discussions with the relevant NNPC Departments, security agencies and other stakeholders to see how it could strengthen the regulations.

This, according to him, would ensure full compliance of the laws and regulations with the view to saving lives and properties.

He commended the prompt response of the fire fighters especially the team from the Nigerian Navy, the Nigerian Army and other stakeholders in fighting the Conoil Fire.

Idriss also appreciated the security agencies for doing a great job by providing the needed security in order to prevent hoodlums from taking over the scene.

He said: “No lives were lost to the fire which started around 4.00 p.m. on Saturday. Some vehicles parked within the premises of the station were however burnt along with the tanker discharging the fuel, as well as the station.

“No estimate of loss is done yet. FEMA is therefore calling on all petroleum industry stakeholders to always operate within the standard safety regulations in the discharge of all petroleum contents either in the morning or evening.

“And also to make adequate provision for functional fire defence equipment with adequately trained manpower to handle any unlikely situation.

“In case of any emergency, FEMA response team could be reached 24/7 by calling the National Toll Free Emergency Number 112 for prompt response.”

Source: NAN

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