FG raises alarm over rising fire incidents in petro retail outlets
The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), has expressed concern over rising cases of fatalities and incidents at retail outlets across the country.
The Executive Director of NMDPRA, Dr Mustapha Lamorde raised the concern at his meeting with industry stakeholders in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
Represented by George Ene-Ita, NMDPRA Regional Coordinator, South South, Lamorde said the authority had adopted strategies to mitigate the fire incidents.
“So, due to this concern, we decided to engage stakeholders in the depots/jetties, retail outlets and transporters of petroleum products on Health, Safety, Environment and Community (HSEC).
“To avoid the negative incidences in the industry, operators must fully comply with relevant HSEC laws and regulations as stipulated in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
“They must also comply with statutory provisions to forestall the dangers and risks posed by unwholesome practices,” he said.
Lamorde said there was a need for industry operators to take the issues of safety seriously, to avoid loss of lives, assets and further damage to the environment.
“It will no longer be business as usual. It is now safety first in realisation and aspirations of the Federal Government’s passage of the PIA.
“The law provided in clear terms that in the case of negligence by any operator, such operator will be sanctioned accordingly.
“Although, our aim is not to sanction operators but rather to ensure that operations are run in a safe manner, to protect people, assets and the environment,” he said.
Team Lead of NMDPRA, HSEC, Chibuzo Chibuike said the authority recorded 412 fatalities in 244 reported incidents from 2018 to 2023.
He said of the 103 incidents in 2021, 173 fatalities were recorded; 48 fatalities from 41 incidents in 2022 and eight so far in 2023.
“Retail outlets recorded the highest number of incidents and fatalities over the years.
“There is great need for stakeholders in the midstream and downstream to install fire fighting equipment and smoke detectors to mitigate fire incidences,” he said.
Speaking on his behalf, Ene-Ita declared a one month deadline for stakeholders to approach NMDPRA to get their approvals fully regularised.
According to him, the authority will sanction defaulters at expiration of the grace period.