The Senate has resolved to mandate the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) and the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) to commence certification of petrol tankers as a condition precedent to plying Nigerian roads with petroleum products or other inflammable substances.
This was sequel to a motion brought under matters of urgent public importance pursuant to Orders 41 and 51 Standing Orders of the Senate, 2015 by Senator Isah Jibrin (Kogi East) on Wednesday.
The motion was titled “urgent need for the intervention of the Federal Government of Nigeria to mitigate the pains of the victims of petrol tanker explosion at Olofu in Ofu LGA of Kogi state”.
The Senate noted that Olofu is a popular settlement along Lokoja-Anyigba road in Kogi state, providing access points to the South-South, South-East and other parts of the North-Central.
Senator Jibrin regreted that a fatal accident involving a petrol tanker occurred at Olofu on the 11″ day of November 2022, which resulted in the explosion of the tanker wherein the consequent inferno lasted for days.
“Saddened that about 30 persons were roasted, 76 others sustained serious injuries and severe burns while over 40 vehicles and several motorcycles were burnt by the tanker explosion, leaving innocent citizens in a state of mourning, agony, and economic helplessness.
“Concerned that tanker explosions have occasioned wanton destruction of lives and property, not only along Lokoja-Anyigba road, but across the country, resulting in unprecedented pains and grief to Nigerians.
“Further Concerned that majority of such petrol tanker explosions are caused by the poor quality of the tanks, which are fabricated and used without standard control to ensure they are of good quality.
“Worried that victims of these petrol tanker explosions are left without succour in most cases due to lack of insurance policies to cover such third-party damages, as owners concentrate on insurance covers for the tankers and their contents only.
“Further Worried that studies have it, that about 62 per cent of trucks involved in serious road mishaps that result in monumental disasters are of poor quality, with most resulting in fire outbreaks, as about 54 per cent of fuel spilling that lead: to fire outbreaks are due to negligence on the part of truck drivers and poor state of the vehicles.
“Alarmed that available data received from the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) show that between August 2021 and June 2022, 1,070 crashes involving 378 tankers and 792 trailers, occurred across the country.
“Further Alarmed that available statistics show that, within the same period, 111 vehicles were burnt, while 55 shops and 84 houses were burnt across some states.
“Convinced that if urgent steps are not taken to regulate the use of petrol tankers on Nigerian roads, the agony of wanton destruction of lives and property caused by explosions will continue unabated, and the government might not be able to cope with the consequences in the long run.
Supporting the motion, Senator Yakubu Oseni (Kogi Central) said Kogi state is bordered by 20 states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), adding that “coupled with the bad state of Federal roads, Kogi is worst hit”.
Oseni said “Kogi is very vulnerable” due to the reasons given above and therefore deserves Federal Government “intervention” since the state government alone cannot carry the burden”.
According to him, this type of incidence happens incessantly in Lokoja, Okene and other parts of the state.
Senators Sani Musa (Niger East), Sabi Abdullahi (Niger North) and others overwhelmingly supported the motion.
The Senate therefore resolved to urge the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to intervene in the plight of the victims of the petrol tanker explosion in Olofu, Ofu LGA, Kogi State through provision of palliatives to the victims.
“Urge the Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions to interface with relevant stakeholders to make it compulsory for petroleum tanker owners to take out insurance, covering damages from petrol tanker explosions to third parties in the event of losses to third parties.
The Senate finally observed a minute silence in honour of the departed souls in the Olofu petrol tanker explosion.