The Senate has urged the Federal Government to invest more in fire safety equipment in all major markets across the country, to reduce the effect of fire incidents on the lives and property of citizens.
Sen. Ifeanyi Ubah (YPP – Anambra South) said this while speaking to newsmen after plenary, following a motion he sponsored on the “Tragic Fuel Tanker Fire Disaster in Onitsha, Anambra State” at the National Assembly, on Thursday in Abuja.
According to him, this motion is necessitated by the inferno that engulfed Onitsha Market on Oct. 16, 2019, claiming lives and property.
“We had a delay in response from firefighting services getting to the market after almost four hours, the tanker fell in a gully and there was a spill of petroleum products and the spill was moving and with the pace of the spill and fire and was consuming and burning shops with pace and speed.
“And looking at the firefighting services we are supposed to have firefighting equipment in the market because the market generates a lot of money for the state.
“So, I think on the part of the state government, on the part of Federal Government and on the part of every stakeholder, we need to look into it and make sure we provide this equipment in the market where a lot of revenue is being generated for the government both the federal and the state.
“We are hoping that we need to have it in all the major markets in Nigeria and that is also one of the resolutions we have passed today in the Senate that we should ask the Federal Government to provide firefighting equipment in all major markets in Nigeria’’.
Sen. Ubah attributed most of the tanker fire-related incidents to substandard materials used in the manufacturing of tankers and called for safety regulatory checks to mitigate a repeat of such incidences.
“On the issue of fire inferno, there are a lot of fire infernos; this is particular about tanker fire inferno.
“And I have a bill I have proposed, and I believe if that bill is passed it will help to curtail and reduce this kind of occurrences.
“ I have also said it before here, that some of these issues relate to inadequate equipment that is being used in constructing petrol tankers viz the manholes’, the discharge valves and also the steel plates, which sometimes doesn’t meet the requirement, the required standard.
“In this bill, we have been able to put all these investigations into a working position, so by the time the bill is passed we will start having a particular agency of government looking into these tanker drivers.
“Every depot that is going to load fuel to any tanker driver must make sure that the tanker coming into the depot meets all the required regulations or required approvals before allowing the petrol tanker to take fuel.”
According to him, the proposed bill has been thoroughly investigated and the result is a workable bill that will ensure an agency of government is assigned to monitor the activities of tankers.
The bill will make certain that all tankers meet required regulations and standards before loading at the depot and as they move from one state to another.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the motion was co-sponsored by Senators Stella Uduah (PDP – Anambra North) and Uche Ekwunife (PDP – Anambra Central).