Governor of Kaduna state, Nasir El-Rufai, has ordered the closure of all illegal gas retail outlets located in residential areas across the state with immediate effect.
The directive comes two days after an explosion occurred at an illegal gas retail shop in Sabon Tasha area of Chikun local government.
The incident resulted in the death of six people including the Director-General of the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission, Professor Simon Mallam.
Speaking to reporters after an on the spot assessment at the scene of the explosion on Monday, Governor El-Rufai appealed to residents to report such gas outlets to the government for immediate action.
While he described the incident as very unfortunate and avoidable, the governor emphasized that all gas refill stations should relocate to industrial layouts rather than being allowed to operate within residential areas thereby exposing the residents to imminent dangers.
He also announced that the state government will, through the state Urban Development Authority map out specific areas where the gas plant operators will be relocated to with all the necessary safety measures in place.
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has sealed 10 petrol stations and four Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) plants in Kaduna State for various offences.
DPR’s Zonal Operations Controller in the state, Isa Tafida, told reporters on Tuesday during a monitoring exercise that the facilities were sealed for pump under-delivery, products diversion, operating without licence and noncompliance to safety regulations.
Other offences he listed include non-conformity to standard operations, construction and operation without DPR licence, and installation of facilities without approval.
Tafida revealed that the agency inspected no fewer than 768 petrol stations and 38 gas stations within the last quarter of 2019.
He explained that the aim was to ensure compliance and to also make sure residents were not short-changed by unscrupulous marketers, especially during festive period.
The zonal operations controller who led other officials on the inspection tour said the DPR has intensified its operations within the state, in furtherance of its constitutional responsibilities.
He added that 38 LPG plants and 50 retailers were licensed in an effort to discourage desert encroachment and felling of trees, as well as reducing the associated risk of decanting LPG by unlicensed retailers.
Tafida insisted that the operation of illegal gas plants without licence and under unsafe condition was illegal and would not be allowed.
No fewer than five petroleum stations and nine pumps have been sealed and penalised by the Department of Petroleum Resources in Enugu State for upscaling their pumps beyond the negligible range of 0.2.
The clampdown was during a routine surveillance exercise by the agency within the Enugu metropolis to identify stations that hoard products and adjust their pump to shortchange the public.
According to the DPR, at every litre purchase in the sealed stations, customers lose close to 1 litre of paid product to the marketers.
They, therefore, called on citizens to report any suspicious act of cheating, reiterated that the era of products hoarding to create artificial scarcity and other forms of cheating the public will no longer be tolerated.
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has assured Nigerians that there wouldn’t be scarcity of petroleum products during the yuletide period.
Speaking during a stakeholders meeting in Niger on Friday, the DPR Area Controller, Engineer Abdullahi Jankara said the agency is working round the clock to monitor the distribution of products.
“You can go home and sleep with two of your eyes closed. We are not foreseeing any scarcity of petroleum products this December. And DPR is on top of its work to ensure that all the products that come to Niger State are monitored to the last point they ought to be.
“So the idea of somebody nursing an idea that there will be scarcity, sleep with your two eyes closed because there will be nothing like that,” he said.
“The new Director is a graduate of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and had his post-graduate studies at Bayero University, Kano, and PETRAD Norway, PetroSkill USA, among other institutions.
“Auwalu is Associate Member, Institute of Chemical Engineers, UK; Member, Society of Petroleum Engineers; Member, Nigerian Society of Engineers; and Council of Registered Engineers of Nigeria (COREN),” he added.
The Department of Petroleum Resources, Owerri, Imo State, has set up a laboratory for petroleum quality analysis.
According to the Zonal Controller Operations of the DPR in the state, Peter Ijeh, the setting up of the laboratory is part of efforts to identify and checkmate sales of adulterated petroleum products in the state.
While showing journalists around the new laboratory, Ijeh said the agency will soon commence operations and serious sanctions await any independent marketer or groups found guilty of selling adulterated products to the public.
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has sealed seven fuel stations in Taraba State for various infractions.
DPR’s Operational Field Controller at the department’s Jalingo Office, Mr Jeremiah Mashat, led a team of officials on a routine inspection of fuel stations in the northern zone of the state on Thursday.
The operation was conducted in collaboration with the Oil and Gas Unit of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Taraba State Command.
Mashat explained that the erring stations were sealed for various offences such as excess dispensing among others.
He, however, commended oil marketers in Taraba for the high level of compliance to set standards in the sector.
According to the DPR official, the general level of compliance from the fuel stations visited is commendable as most meters are in good condition and safety measures are sufficiently put in place.
He insisted that infractions would be properly sanctioned to serve as a deterrent to others and urged operators to imbibe best practices as well as ensure customers get value for their money and were not short-changed.
“For two days now, we have visited a number of fuel stations, especially in the northern zone of the state.
“We sealed a total of seven stations for various infractions that will be sanctioned appropriately. But I must say that the level of compliance is quite commendable. I will put it at 90 per cent and it is a great improvement from our last outing,” Mashat said.
He added, “Let me use this opportunity to urge operators to imbibe the best practices to avoid having issues.
“It is unfortunate that some operators desert their stations once they see our vehicles coming. This is a serious offence and is completely needless.”
The DPR official gave assurance that residents do not need to panic as there was enough supply of petroleum product to take care of the extra demand in the yuletide season.
Mr Salisu Bappa, who led NSCDC operatives, described the operation as a huge success and assured residents that the unit would continue to complement the efforts of the DPR.
He also said they would bring sanity into the oil and gas sector and ensure that operators do not indulge in sharp practices aimed at short-changing the consumers.
Addressing journalists in Yola, the capital, on Friday, Mohammed said some stations were not sealed because their activities conformed to the operational regulations of the DPR, and those caught will be penalised before they are reopened.
“So many stations were sealed, but some were not sealed. Those ones that were not sealed, the department is happy with their activities.
“Those that were sealed, most of them, the firefighting facilities are either inadequate or they are not there at all.
“Some of them also, their pumps were under dispensing with 10.5, meaning in every 10 litres dispensed to a customer, .5 litre is out. If a customer is buying 20 litres, he is sold 18 litres, of which the department cannot condone, so we have to seal and then show the marketers the TSA to pay the fines into the FG account before they are reopened,” he added.
Mr Mohammed warned that more surveillance exercise will be carried out and operational licences of defaulters will be withdrawn.