The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has inaugurated a Ministerial Task Force on the safe handling of petroleum products in the capital city, Abuja.
The Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr Olusade Adesola, while inaugurating the taskforce in Abuja on Thursday, said that the measure was to curtail incidences of fire outbreak in the nation’s capital.
Adesola said that fire outbreaks in the FCT in recent times had resulted in the loss of lives and destruction of property.
He vowed to sanction any fuel filling station within the territory that failed to observe the necessary safety measures as required by law.
“In 2022 alone, no fewer than four filling stations were reported to have been gutted by fire within the FCT.
“Improper handling of petroleum products, as well as non-compliance with safety measures as it concerns operational guidelines of managing filling stations have been largely responsible for several fire outbreaks,” he noted.
Adesola expressed optimism that the Ministerial Task Force would work assiduously to reduce occurrences of fire outbreak by ensuring that operators of filling stations adhered strictly to safety measures.
He explained that inaugurating the taskforce was a proactive step taken by the government to secure the lives and property of residents.
He said that part of the terms of reference of the taskforce was to monitor and ensure compliance to safe timing of uploading and offloading of volatile substances, including petrol and cooking gas.
He said that the task force was also expected to monitor and ensure that all filling stations had functional, basic and relevant equipment.
Adesola also said that the task force would ensure that filling stations had trained fire safety officers.
“They are also to monitor and ensure that volatile substances are not off-loaded with vehicles or customers already waiting within the premises of the filling stations.
“The task force is expected to clamp down on “black market” operators and the filling stations conniving with them.
“The task force will be expected to recommend the closure of filling stations violating basic fire safety rules and those found colluding with black market operators.
The members of the task force were drawn from the FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Development Control, FCTA Fire Service Department, and FCTA Department of Security Services.
Others, he said, were drawn from the Department of State Security Services, the Nigerian Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the National Union of Road Transport Workers.
The task force also has representatives from NNPC upstream and downstream sectors, major petroleum marketers’ association and independent marketers’ association.
Responding, Chairman of the Task Force, Dr Idriss Abbas, Director-General, FEMA, thanked the FCTA for finding the members capable of handling the assignment.
He assured the FCTA that the task force would work assiduously to deliver on the mandate. (NAN)