URGENT! P/HARCOURT REFINERY NEEDS PARKING SPACE
The impassable road leading to the Nigerian Petroleum Refinery Company (NPRC), Alesa Eleme, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, due to indiscriminate parking of tankers, has remained worrisome to commuters and other road users.
The road has posed serious danger to members of the public with regular cases of accidents as drivers and commercial motorcyclists struggle daily to access the road. Even residents of the community decried the neglect of the ever-busy road by government and other relevant authorities.
A disturbing issue deserving explanation is why a portion of land, acquired several years ago by the Federal Government as parking space for trucks, is yet to be developed.
Recently, Belema Okpokiri, representing Okrika Local Government Area of the state, brought the matter to the floor of the House of Assembly: 'The frequent, unabated loss of lives and property on the Refinery Road, which incidentally is the only access by land that connects the people of Okrika Local Government Area to other parts of the state, has gradually, effortlessly, negated this basic concept of development.
'It will interest you to know that this road has become a lawless zone and a death trap. Tankers are parked indiscriminately, and in most cases depriving people of using this poorly constructed road that should have been a first class road due to the presence of the Refinery.
'Almost eight years ago, land was acquired by NPRC for the sole aim of construction at tanker park. The indifference paid to this project up to this moment, at the expense of lives, and properties wasting on this road due to parking of these tankers, has to be addressed.'
Also, private companies, unions and corporate organizations that operate with the locality demand urgent attention from the government. Managing director, Riquest Oil and Gas Ltd, Chinedu Okonkwo, stated that one of the policies of the government is that petroleum companies must have a tanker park. But, the case with Port Harcourt Refinery seems to be different.
He noted that absence of a parking space for the trucks was responsible for the nuisance experienced on daily basis on the road. He said it was unfortunate several pleas made by members of the Petroleum Tankers Drivers Union (PTDU) have not yielded any result:
'One of the policies of the government is that petroleum company must have a tanker park. Every depot must have a tanker park. We cannot find it here. That is why trucks are parked here and there.'
Chairman, National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Port Harcourt Refinery Unit, Comrade John Amajuoji, said lack of a parking space was the major challenge confronting the union. He lamented that it is only Port Harcourt Unit that has no park among other refineries in the country, stressing that urgent step should be taken by government to tackle it.