Indications emerged at the weekend, that the country may witness more cooking gas explosions in the weeks ahead with uncontrolled influx of substandard imported cylinders from China into Nigerian market.
Some stakeholders who spoke to Daily Sun at the weekend, expressed concern that the development portends grave danger for lives and property if not checked promptly
They disclosed that the imported cylinders mostly from China have no brand name and batch number, making traceability difficult.
Confirming the development to Daily Sun, in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of a one-day safety training, Chairman, Lagos Liquified Petroleum Gas Retailers (LPGR) Branch of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Mr. David Okenwa, said the development has become a setback to the Federal Government’s effort to deepen the use of cooking gas in the country.
Okenwa, decried the influx of substandard cooking gas cylinders into Nigeria, saying the rampant cases of gas explosions could be attributed to this brand of cylinders now in circulation.
He said cooking gas retailers should not be held liable for the upsurge in gas explosions because they do not manufacture cylinders, but only buy from the market like any other consumer.
To reverse the trend, he said the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) should step up efforts towards riding the country of the imported substandard gas cylinders.
‘‘SON has a lot of job to do in the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) sector because the lack of effective monitoring of cooking gas cylinders importers, especially from China was responsible for the huge number of substandard cylinders in the market.
After certification of the first batch of imported cylinders from China, SON goes to sleep, such that, every other consignment coming later does not go through rigorous checks anymore.’’
In his reaction, National President of LPGR, Mr. Chika Umudu, said SON recently approved some cylinders for importation by some companies but that LPGAR has doubts about the quality of some of the approved cylinders.
We have information that some importers have been bringing in cylinders without SON approvals and it is often difficult to identify the importers of such unapproved cylinders. It is the height of irresponsibility for people to import cylinders without approvals and without identifiable trademarks.
He warned consumers against patronising locaaly fabricated cylinders, warning that, they time bombs.
Speaking in a telephone interview with Daily Sun, President of the Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers (NALPGAM), Mr. Nosa Ogieva-Okunbor, said the association was aware of this challenge and have been engaging relevant Government agencies to address it.
He said tracking of substandard cylinders should be at the point of entry and not in the market, warning that, such approach to fight sabotage was counterproductive.
He maintained that the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), has a lot of job on its hand to stop the influx of substandard cylinders which he said was a great setback for the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) industry.
‘‘SON should roll up its sleeve to tackle this monster. It will be uncharitable for anyone to accuse marketers of being behind this act of sabotage. We are in this business to grow it and cannot be the same set of people setting it back. SON should identify these unscrupulous businessmen who have no major stake and bring them to justice.’’
He said, though the SON had set up a committee which included NALPGAM members to look into the issues around substandard cylinders it was yet to come up with recommendations.