By John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Kaduna state governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, has ordered the closure of all gas refill stations located within residential areas in the state.
The directive came following Saturday’s explosion in a gas retail shop in Sabon Tasha area of the city.
Six people, including, Prof. Simon Mallam, Chairman of the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC), were killed in the explosion.
El-Rufai’s deputy, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, who visited the scene of the explosion on Sunday, had earlier hinted that government will be tough on gas stations located in residential areas.
Agency reports said el-Rufai gave the order on Monday and appealed to residents to report such gas outlets to the government for immediate action.
He said gas refill stations should be relocated at the industrial layouts.
The governor lamented that “It is most unfortunate that this incident has happened.”
He said, the explosion is further proof and evidence that gas is a high-risk activity that should not be allowed to be located in residential areas.
“We will relocate them, we will give them land in industrial areas where adequate precautions to prevent things like this will be put in place.
“But for now, we have to get all these gas refilling plants within the metropolis and towns relocated. “We are mapping all of them. For now, they are shut down,” the governor said.
He urged residents to report anyone found refilling gas within residential areas to the Kaduna Environmental Protection Agency (KASUPDA) so that measures can be taken to chase them out.
El-Rufai said that “While the person might be doing it for money, but you will be the victims.
“So report to KASUPDA or KEPA or write directly to me. It is my duty to ensure that everyone is safe”.
He stressed that gas refilling is a high-risk activity that should be undertaken only in industrial layouts where all the safety measures can be put in place.
He prayed for the souls of those who died and the quick recovery of those in hospitals.