Fashola Warns Tank Farm Owners To Be Vigilant
Following an explosion at a tank farm in Apapa area of Lagos, western Nigeria, last week, Governor Babatunde Fashola on Tuesday met with operators of tank farms in Apapa and charged them to be more vigilant around their operational bases, while also promptly reporting vehicles that cannot be accounted for in their areas of operation to the police and security agencies.
Last week there were two explosions at the Folawiyo Tank Farm in Apapa, leading to the death of seven people. The police said it was a tanker that exploded. ly gathered that a female in hijab, with two men drove a car which was parked very close to the tank farm.
Governor Fashola during Tuesday's closed door meeting at the Lagos House, Alausa, urged the tank farm owners to ensure that no vehicle that could not be accounted for is allowed to park in their premises or make use of their facilities so as not to compromise the security of the state.
“You must have to put down your foot about vehicles parking around your premises. We have tried but many of you have insisted; we have been called anti-poor and anti-business, but it is only those who are alive that will do business.
“So around your tank farms, around your offices and around your storage facilities, there should be no vehicles that are parked there that could not be accounted for. Once there is such a vehicle that you cannot account for, let us know, call the Commissioner of Police or the Director of SSS. This is the way to win this war; it is not going to happen by wishes or getting sensational or hysterical,” he told the operators.
According to Fashola, he had met with various business operators at many levels, saying that “the game must change. We have met with hospitality facilities, we have met with health, we have met with the malls, the motor parks, we are taking every measure, we are not leaving anything to chance, every information that we get we check. But we need leaders in strategic places because we can't run your businesses and we need you now to take responsibility in this area and leave the rest to us.”
To those operators doing business in Apapa, Fashola called on them to flection on the negative impact of their operations on other businesses and the environment generally, saying that “you must spare a thought for those who do other businesses in Apapa. They are complaining to me about how tankers have taken over their businesses. And the people I see here are some of the most sophisticated people that our country has produced. I think we can do better.
“I think we can do business with some compassion and with some consideration. You know the irony is that we need the fuel but we don't want to lose our homes and our lives in the process of getting the fuel. I suggest, maybe some of you constitute yourselves into a team, go out on Saturdays, go out on Sundays to see what your operations are doing to some people; perhaps you would be as concerned as we are.”
Pointing out that property values were diminishing in the area as a result of the operation of tankers, the governor added: “But you know what is going to happen? The demand is going to transfer to the other side of town. So we are all going to pay for it. If I cannot live in Apapa again, the next thing I will do is ask, where else can I live?
“It is either I move to GRA Ikeja, or GRA Ikoyi or Victoria Island. So we will only come and put pressure on the rent in those places; that is what is going to happen. The people in Apapa are not going to evaporate, they are going to put pressure on those other parts of the city where you and I will live.” He added that that the result would be increase in rent in those places.
Noting that the Federal Government might not be expected to do anything about the problem, Fashola said “the question we will ask ourselves is: 'how sustainable is hauling of fuel going to be? It is diminishing the lifespan of our roads and we are continuing and we are heading to a point where we will no longer be able to travel by road again if we don't change quickly now.
“We built Funsho Williams Avenue, former Western Avenue, four years ago, I have gone back to maintain it twice. I am yet to know what part of the world that has happened; building a brand new road and coming to maintain it within 12 months. It is the tonnage that the roads are subjected to.
“If you go along Alaka and Barracks, you will see that almost all the street lights have been knocked down mainly by tankers and trailers. We don't come back to you to say you damaged public property come and repair it. But we should. Driving along Eko Bridge and Apongbon, just see the disjoints that are going on; they are not accidents, it is tonnage pressure.”
In attendance at the meeting were representatives all the major Tank Farm Operators and the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Aliyu Mohammed Manko; Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Engineer Taofeek Tijani; Director of the State Security Service (SSS), Mr. Ben Olayi and Commander, 9 Brigade Cantonment, Ikeja, Brigadier A.S. Maikoba.