The Northern Governors Forum is mourning the demise of the Chairman, Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC), Prof. Simon Mallam, who died in a gas explosion in Kaduna.
This is Governor Nasiru El-Rufai of Kaduna State has ordered the closure of all gas refill stations located within residential areas in the state.
The gas explosion killed both the professor and his son alongside three others on Saturday at Sabon Tasha area, Kaduna.
In his condolence message issued yesterday in Jos, the Chairman of the forum and Governor of Plateau, Simon Lalong, described the death as painful and unfortunate.
“This is a huge loss to the entire people of the Northern Region, the immediate family of the deceased and Nigeria, as we have lost one of our brightest minds.
“Prof. Mallam contributed enormously to the development of our people.
“We send our heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased and pray God to grant their souls eternal rest as well as give the family the strength to be comforted.
“The death of Prof. Mallam would cause a major setback to Nigeria’s quest for energy sufficiency given his vast knowledge and experience which he has been deploying as the Chairman of the commission,’’ Lalong said.
The forum, therefore, called for stringent supervision of gas handling in Nigeria to forestall future occurrences.
Meanwhile, Governor Nasiru El-Rufai of Kaduna State has ordered the closure of all gas refill stations located within residential areas in the state.
The governor, who gave the order yesterday appealed to residents to report such gas outlets to government for immediate action.
The governor who visited scene of Saturday’s gas explosion at Sabon Tasha, Kaduna said the gas refill stations should relocate to industrial layouts.
“It is most unfortunate that this incident has happened. It is further proof and evidence that this is highrisk 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,” he stressed.
The governor advised residents to report anyone found refilling gas within residential areas.
“You should report to Kaduna Environmental Protection Agency (KASUPDA) so that measures can be taken to chase them out.
“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 said.
He noted that gas refilling is a high-risk activity that should be undertaken only in industrial layouts where all the safety measure can be put in place.
“In residential areas like this, it is not acceptable to have this kind of facility, we have already given directives that all such outlet should be shut down,” he stressed.
The governor paid condolence visit to the family of Prof. Simon Mallam, erstwhile Chairman of the Nigerian Atomic Energy Commission who died in the incident and also visited victims of the gas explosion receiving treatment at St Gerald hospital, Kaduna.
He prayed for the souls of those who died and quick recovery of those in hospitals.