NAS Seeks Review of Environmental Laws to Protect Residents against Gas Explosion

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The National Association of Seadogs (NAS), also known as Pyrates Confraternity, has called on the Lagos State Government to review the relevant environmental protection laws to adequately protect residents against frequent gas explosions in the metropolis.

The association said it was concerned about the alarming rate of gas explosions in Lagos and other parts of the country that had claimed the lives of several persons and destroyed properties worth billions of naira.

Earlier on September 24, 2020, a gas truck exploded in the Ifako-Ijaiye axis of Lagos, injuring at least 15 people, incinerating several vehicles and razing a number of buildings.

Just last week on October 8, 2020, at least five persons were confirmed dead in the gas explosion that occurred at the Baruwa area of Alimosho local council of Lagos State, after a gas tanker explosion occurred when a LPG tanker was discharging at the Best Roof Plant Station in the area.

Responding to this latest explosion in Alimosho local area council which is covered together with Agege local council by Hawkins Deck of the Association, the leader of the chapter, Mr Hassan Aidorolo, said the need for the review of the extant environmental laws had become imperative to accommodate the evolving reality in population growth. In a press statement made available to THISDAY, Aidorolo stated that “Most of the unfortunate incidents of gas explosions and its attendant engulfing infernos have not been unconnected with regulatory failures and lack of compliance monitoring by the Environmental Protection Agency, the government and other supporting agencies saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that human and economic activities bear no harmful impact on the environment.”

He noted that the collateral damage from these incidences had become incessant that it could no longer be dismissed as a one off incidence considering the frequency of occurrence and resultant fatalities.

The association frowned on the current practice of location of gas plants within residential areas, without adequate safety measures to protect the residents.

The “Building of houses on gas pipelines. Vandals’ activities on pipelines, non-adherence to safety precautionary measures by gas truck drivers and gas plant owners and staff, and other inimical activities of humans due to negligence, now demand the urgent attention of government more than ever. Government and her agencies must step up in their cardinal responsibility of protecting lives and properties through proper orientation of truck drivers, gas plant owners, staff and customers on global best practices in Health, Safety and Environment precautionary measures,” the statement added.

As a panacea, the group called on the relevant agencies to step up enforcement of Environmental Protection Laws and Health Safety and Environment measures with the prescribed punishment for violators to serve as a deterrent to others.

The group also demanded the review of town layout plans to remove buildings infringing on gas pipelines layouts, while calling for a quicker response to emergencies.

The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, Act they noted, mandates all states of the federation to establish State Emergency Management Agencies while Local governments were to establish Local Emergency Management Committees.

The group, however, noted that most of the local government emergency management committees only existed on paper, and called for urgent and adequate equipping of these local first responders for disaster management.