Residents of Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Area of Lagos State have been, for weeks, at loggerheads with some operators of retail gas stations since the explosion of a gas shop in Ajao Estate that killed four persons in July 28.
Their grouse is the proliferation of retail gas stations and illegal citing of filling stations amid fear of explosion from the highly inflammable substance.
The local government has recorded the highest number of gas explosions in the state in the last 12 months, which residents blame on ineffective policies of the government to curb the excesses of the gas retailers.
One of the landlords, Ewetunde Femi, told The Guardian plans were on by property owners to issue quit notice to retailers before the end of the year.
“There would have been an explosion here in June if not for the grace of God. That Sunday, the gas cylinder of the guy selling was leaking seriously while at the front of his shop was a woman frying bean cakes and fish with firewood. Thankfully, that Sunday, she did not show up; that was what saved us from an explosion, which would have destroyed our buildings. This is why we are sending them away,” he said.
Another landlord said he had discouraged the use of cooking gas in his house because it would be difficult to ensure safety and prevent negligence in his ‘face-me-I-face-you’ house. He added that many, if allowed, would not mind keeping their cooking gas close to their generating sets, which could increase the risk of an explosion.
He said: “Truly, this will not stop the explosion but precaution is better than cure, and if the government will not wake up to its responsibilities, we will from our own end.”
Also of concern to residents are the proliferation of petrol stations in the residential neighbourhood of Mafoluku, Oshodi. Three filling stations: Meritan, Rain Oil and General are sited in the densely populated areas of Mafoluku.
A resident, Ayodele, noted that considering the dangers associated with petroleum products as a highly inflammable material, its transportation, offloading, storing and dispensing posed a grave risk to residents.
He said: “In locating petrol stations, it is important to take some precautionary measures like locating them at a required distance from buildings; places of public assembly such as markets, hospitals and schools and areas of high traffic congestion and residential buildings. This should also be in accordance with the guidelines provided by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and fire service safety rules that the distance between two petrol stations should be 400 metres and between a petrol station to the nearest residential building should not be less than 50 metres, but many have flouted these rules.”
As part of efforts to broker peace, especially over the brouhaha that arose from the location of a gas station in the Oluyeye Street of Mafoluku, in the Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Area, at the weekend, resolved dispute between the community and the gas station owner at a meeting at the instance of the council chairman, Bolaji Ariyoh, in the office of the secretary to the local government, Taoheed Abiola, who represented him.
At the meeting, which also had members of the community and executives of Oluyeye Dosumu CDA, Kass Cooking Gas, said it had met the requirements under the law to commence operations. The council’s legal department also confirmed that the firm had presented its fire service certification, safety compliance certificate, environmental health service certificate, and comprehensive insurance policy.
Prior to the meeting, the community had demanded an insurance policy to cover the houses beside and back of the gas station, but the company had gone further to seek comprehensive insurance policy to cover not only buildings within the gas station but any injury or loss that may arise to any person or property as a result of the gas station’s ineptitude.
Mrs Akinsaya, who represented the CDA chairman, Elder Adeboye, thanked the local government authority for the peaceful resolution of the matter and urged the gas station to continue to maintain a peaceful relationship with the community through corporate social responsibility projects.