…As Fire guts old market in Sokoto***
Mr Niyi Olowookere, the Head of Gas, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), says the organisation will continue to clamp down on illegal retail gas owners to ensure the safety of lives and property.
Olowookere stated this in Ibadan on Tuesday in an interview with the newsmen while reacting to the rumours making the rounds that retail gas owners were queuing at the DPR office for registration.
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, had on Jan. 9, while reacting to the Kaduna gas explosion, ordered the closure of all illegal retail gas outlets across the country.
Olowookere said that DPR had continued to inspect, monitor and clamp down on illegal retail gas owners in the state.
He also said that more than 80 retail gas owners applications were received for licence between November and December 2019.
“This is as a result of our continuous surveillance exercise, the applications are still undergoing processing for grant of operating licence.
“It is only those who meet up with the standards and complied with guidelines and regulations that would be licensed.
“Just last week, we closed two illegal retail gas outlets while monitoring retail gas owners in the state.
“It is a continuous exercise that we have been doing and we will continue to do it,” he said.
Mr Oluyemi Olaonipekun, the Operations Controller of Ibadan Field Office of DPR, said the organisation would continue to ensure safety in the handling of gas in the state.
“The minister’s directive will spur us to do more as we have been doing before.
“We went round in 2019 and inspected quite a number of retail gas outlets to make sure that those who have no licence do so and that the environment they operate in is safe.
” We also make sure that only those who complied with the laid down regulations and standards are the ones giving licence,”Olaonipekun said.
In the meantime, the Sokoto Fire Service has confirmed a fire outbreak which gutted part of the old market in Sokoto which destroyed about 20 shops.
Mr Mustapha Abubakar, the Head of Operations in Sokoto Fire Service, told the newsmen on Tuesday that the inferno started at about 11:00 p.m on Monday and lasted till about 2:00 a.m on Tuesday.
Abubakar said that the affected shops included those belonging to those selling cosmetics and cloths, adding that officials were at the scene investigating the cause of incident and the damages.
He said that accurate report would be issued on the incident.
Abubakar said that fire fighters made efforts to end the inferno throughout the night.
He commended members of the traders union and sister agencies for the support and prayed against recurrence.
The operation officer warned members of the public against reporting fire incidents late.
He also warned against blocking the movement of fire fighting engines during incidents.
Abubakar advised that people should not engage a fire before informing the agency, noting that the situation usually led to fire escalation before arrival of fire fighters.
Traders besieged the affected site, counting their losses and assisting victims on temporary arrangements to re-settle.
None of the traders responded to press inquiries as remnants were being evacuated.