The Kaduna State Government on Monday banned gas retail shops from operating in residential areas across its metropolis with immediate effect in response to Saturday’s gas explosion at Sabon Tasha in Chikun Local Government Area of the state.
Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai announced the decision after inspecting the scene of a fatal gas explosion that occurred on Saturday.
Six lives were lost in the fire, including Simon Mallam, chief executive officer of Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission, NAEC, in the gas explosion which occurred on Saturday.
El – Rufai said gas refilling is a high-risk activity that should be undertaken only in industrial layouts where all the safety measures can be put in place.
“Gas refilling is a high-risk activity that should be undertaken in specified industrial layouts where all the necessary precautionary measures can be put in place. In a residential area like this, it is unacceptable to have such facilities.
— Abdallah Yunus Abdallah (@Abdool85) January 6, 2020
“I have already given a directive that all gas refill shops operating in residential areas should be shut down,” he said.
He promised to provide shops for gas retailers in industrial areas where they can do business without putting the lives of residents at risk.
“We will relocate them, we will give them land in industrial areas where adequate precautions to prevent things like this will be put in place.
“But for now, we have to get all these gas refilling plants within the metropolis and towns relocated. We are mapping all of them. For now, they are shut down,” he stated.
The governor urged residents to report anyone found refilling gas within residential areas.
“While the person might be doing it for money, but you will be the victims. So report to KASUPDA or KEPA or write directly to me. It is my duty to ensure that everyone is safe,” he said.
Similarly, he directed ministries and agencies concerned with public safety to review high-risk businesses in residential areas and come up with a relocation plan with immediate effect.
Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.