Mr Sergius Ogun, Chairman, National Assembly ad-hoc Committee on Relocation of Tank Farms, says tank farms sited in high density areas may have to relocate to safeguard the lives and properties of the people.
Ogun said this on Wednesday in Port Harcourt during the committee’s tour of tank farms in the Port Harcourt zone of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
He conceded that although some of the depots had been in existence before the areas became densely populated, the truth remained that in the current situation, they had to be relocated, in line with the operational safety guidelines of the DPR.
“During the stakeholders’ meeting tomorrow, the urban and physical planning department of the state will make professional inputs on this.
“We did same in Calabar, Lagos and other zones, we will replicate same here. Today, in one of the tank farms — TSL in Markoba community — we noticed relatively high population density in the neighbourhood.
“Yes, it is a very good facility but its location is not too good; we learnt that the neighbourhood is an industrial area; so, it’s possible that the residents came in after the full establishment of this facility,” he said.
Ogun reiterated that if the tank farm’s relocation stands was the only solution to challenge facing the people’s safety, it might have to relocate.
“This decision is going to form a major focus of our reports,” he said.
The lawmaker, however, bemoaned the poor synergy among sister agencies.
“We have NIMASA, NPA, Federal Ministry of Environment, Federal Fire Service but from our findings in course of this tour, there are issues, which we may necessarily not discuss here, but at the stakeholders’ meeting.
“We look forward to working with these agencies, so that their input will assist our committee to review the situation and make recommendations,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Bassey Nkanga, Port Harcourt Zonal Controller of Operations of the DPR, has vouched for the safety of all tank farms in his jurisdiction.
“Today marked the end of the lawmakers’ oversight visit to tank farms in the Port Harcourt zone.
“But I can assure you that the depots here are safe to operate, even though there are some technical lapses which we have observed.
“Like I have always said, in DPR we are not mere faultfinders, the lapses have been identified during our audit and they shall be corrected.
“We’re in close working relationship with all depot facilities here and all observations will be appropriately communicated to the operators, while we give them a timeframe effect corrections,” he said.