The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has given condition for the relocation of some tank farms and petroleum products depots from their present location.
The state oil giant specifically advised against a swift relocation of tank farms from their current locations along Ijegun, Kirikiri areas in Lagos and other parts of the country in order to avoid disruption in the supply and distribution chain of petroleum products across the country.
This was disclosed during NNPC’s submission during a hearing by the House of Representatives’ Ad-hoc Committee on Relocation of Tank Farms in Residential Areas of Ijegun and Kirikiri are made available to the public through a press release by the NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr. Kennie Obateru.
In the statement, Obateru quoted the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, as saying that NNPC was not averse to the relocation of the petroleum products tank farms and depots sited in residential areas but would advise that some time be allowed to achieve the full rehabilitation of the refineries and the completion of the Dangote Refinery to enable the nation move away from fuel importation before their relocation.
It would be recalled that in August last year, the residents of Satellite town, Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area, had during their protest to the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, demanded the immediate relocation of the tank farms in the residential area.
During the protest which lasted for hours, the residents which include retired civil servants, septuagenarians asked for the relocation of the tank farms and even the container terminals so as to prevent further loss of lives and property within the area which was designed as a residential area by the Federal Government.
The tank farms have disrupted the drainage system, damaged the roads within the community and even converting roads to parking lot by tankers.
The GMD who was represented by the corporation’s Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Umar Ajiya, told the committee that the tank farms and depots were a major artery for receiving and distributing imported petroleum products to all parts of the country and that their abrupt relocation could trigger a crisis not only in the Downstream Sector but also in the nation’s economy in general.
Kyari in his submission said, “We are not opposed to the yearnings of the communities or the relocation of the tank farms and depots, but we want it to be done in phases because of the huge financial commitments by the stakeholders. If they are relocated abruptly, even the banking sector would be affected because of the loans they granted for the establishment of the depots.’’
Speaking earlier while inaugurating the Committee, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajiabiamila, said the Ad-hoc Committee was set up to investigate the concerns expressed by the residents in order to have a fair assessment of the situation.
Hon. Gbajiabiamila who was represented by the House Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Tobi Okechukwu, acknowledged that tank farms and depots were a critical component of the Downstream Petroleum Sector and assured that the House would look at the issue holistically and take appropriate decision in the public interest.
The speaker expressed his disappointment at the inability of NNPC to distribute petroleum products through the pipelines due to incessant vandalism which has made product distribution by tankers over long distances a hazard to other road users and the society at large.
The committee which is Chaired by Hon Segun Ogun, was set up following petitions by the residents of Ijegun, Kirikiri and other areas in Lagos State on the dangers posed by the operations of depots and tank farms to their respective communities which are strictly residential areas.