Benjamin Babine, Abuja
To curb the incessant incidents of oil tanker explosions leading to loss of lives and property, the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) on Thursday met with the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) to discuss truck renewal project.
Speaking at the conference, the Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Ruqayyah Saraki, noted that tanker accidents caused more deaths in Nigeria than most deadly diseases and stressed that the meeting was timely to address the tanker explosion situation.
The Minister, who was represented by Mrs Angela Keyede, the Assistant Director of Mass Transit Administration, said: “It might shock you to know that road crashes is a serious “epidemic” in Nigeria that produces more deaths than HIV/AIDs and Tuberculosis (TB) put together annually. The Ministry through the Nigeria Shippers Council under Public Private Partnership arrangement has identified some locations for Truck Transit Parks in the Country.
“Some proposed locations are Lokoja in Kogi State, Obollo-Afor in Enugu, Illela in Sokoto, Ogere in Ogun, Mararaba in Kaduna, Jibiya in Katsina, Ore in Ondo and Aviele in Edo State. This is in consonance with the present administration’s Ease of doing business policy of 2017.”
Also speaking, the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Dr Boboye Oyeyemi, recalling the explosion which claimed over 30 lives on Wednesday in Kogi state, charged MOMAN and NARTO to do proper safety examination of drivers, trucks and tankers before allowing them to move on the roads.
He said: “We have been battling with the tankers that are falling and killing scores of people. We need to really address this unnecessary killings on our highways, just yesterday around 30 people died in the Kogi explosion and a whole family was claimed. And if you listen to the comments of President Buhari yesterday, you will notice he charged the relevant agencies and stakeholders to act. And I’m happy that MOMAN and NARTO are here today to address this.
“One critical area to address is the issue of safety valves, if the tanker that fell yesterday had safety valves installed it wouldn’t have spilled the fuel. We would have just looked for a crane to lift it and put it back on the road. The failure of vehicle and fleet owners to install safety valves is one of the major problems and we are going to look at that. Its will be part of the resolution with the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) which I have sealed for implementation that if there’s no safety valve, there’s no loading.”
The Managing Director of MOMAN, Mr Adetunji Oyebanji, said that 80 per cent of the trucks involved in hauling products from the south of the country to the north do not have the relevant safety equipments needed for preventing ghastly explosions. He said: “with about 10,000 trucks involved all over the country, hauling products mainly from the south to the north and about 80 per cent of these trucks not having appropriate anti-spill protection, anti-rollover, automatic breaking system, onboard cameras, etc that are required for safe transportation products by road.
“As part of our efforts in improving road transportation of petroleum, MOMAN and NARTO, have organized this conference to discuss fleet renewal. We want to ensure the replacement of trucks which do not meet with the safety requirements of trucks designated for transporting dangerous goods.”
In his remarks, the National President of NARTO, Yusuf Lawal Othman, urged his members to renew their fleets and solicited support from MOMAN in the purchasing of trucks. He said: “I will like to solicit the support and cooperation of the marketers to provide for us the opportunity to optimize the trucks to be purchased while also making prompt payment to the financiers. I also want to urge the financiers also to provide affordable and flexible financing for our members while also taking into cognizance the environment we are operating.”
Also in attendance were the representatives of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD), and other stakeholders in the oil and gas transportation industry.