By Onyekachi Eze
Irked by the recent explosion that erupted on Sunday at Abule- Ado in Lagos State which claimed many lives and properties, the member representing Nkwerre State constituency in Imo State House of Assembly, Hon Prince Obinna Okwara has moved a motion aimed at eradicating and checkmating illegal construction of fueling and gas stations across the State.
The motion was deliberated on Tuesday at the plenary session of the ninth House.
The house debated on the preventive measures against such cases, by summoning the Owerri Capital Development Authority, OCDA, and the sector director of Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, in the State for an interface.
Not only that the House summoned the OCDA and DPR, resolutions were reached urging the governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma to direct the OCDA in making sure that the master plan of Imo State is strictly maintained and to take the necessary actions against anyone that contravenes the master plan.
It was also resolved that the DPR be urged to ensure compliance to petroleum laws, regulations and guidelines by sitting fueling stations at most suitable places.
In its resolution also, the Speaker, Rt. Hon Collins Chiji set up a 9-man ad-hoc committee, and are to report back to the House in the next 14 days.
The committee was to be chaired by Hon. Obinna Okwara. Members include; Honourables; Kennedy Ibeh, Eddy Obinna, Michael Onyemaechi Njoku, Paschal Okolie, Uju Onwudiwe, Uche Ogbuagu, Anyadike Nwosu, and Okey Onyekanma.
Earlier in his presentation, the Chief mover of the motion, Hon Obinna Okwara representing Nkwerre State constituency termed it, ‘a motion of urgent public importance’.
The prayers of the motion read, “aware that tragic events like gas explosions can leave families devastated and family members who do not survive may require a life time of medical care, medication and procedure”
“Noting that most fueling stations and gas refilling plants in Owerri are closely located to residential homes as against the master plan of the State, for instance, at places like Douglas, Mbaise, Tetlow, Egbu, Royce, Ama JK roads”.
Okwara continued, “noting further that it can be said that Imo State does not have a functional fire service department giving that they hardly respond to calls when there are fire outbreaks”.
Prince Okwara also disclosed that in a place like Orji road with over 8 fueling stations, if there could be any collusion or such mishap, the news would not be palatable, hence the reason to take precautionary measures, other than sympathizing with victims.
The motion however received robust deliberation by the members who condemned compromise by the OCDA management and DPR representatives.
Hon Ngozi Obiefule said there should be sanity in the spate at which fueling stations are constructed. She added that the Owerri master plan has been bastardized, thereby giving room for shoddy jobs in the site of OCDA who collects money without minding what is been constructed.
Others, Michael Onyemaechi Njoku, Amara Chyna Iwuanyanwu, Uche Ogbuagu, Paschal Okolie, also suggested for functional fire extinguishers in all the stations.