The House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee has called for peaceful co-existence between tank farm operators and residents of the Ijegun Egba area of Lagos.
The call was as a result of complaints received by the House on activities of tank farm owners in the host community. The lawmakers also reiterated the need for operators to adhere strictly to safety standards, adding that if anything happens to the Ijegun and Kirikiri tank farms today, the country would suffer 35 per cent cut in supply of petroleum products.
At a stakeholders’ forum between the House Committee and Ijegun Egba Tank farm host community, the Chairman, Sergius Ogun, stressed the need to address the existing issues between tank farm owners and residents in the communities.
He said: “There were obvious questions that we needed to put to the approving agencies. It is work in progress; the community wants more corporate social responsibility (CSR), and the operators have told us that they have done so much. We have told the operators to bring what they have done so far. We are also going to engage the Lagos State Government.
“The tank farm operators pay tax, so it is going to be collaboration between the State, Federal, operators and the community. If we all collaborate, the business can live side by side with human beings and that is why we are insisting on safety.”
The Commissioner for the Ministry of Energy & Mineral Resources, Olalere Odusote, said the tank farms in the Ijegun Egba and KiriKiri are extremely important to the Federal Government because 25 per cent of the products distributed in Nigeria come from the Ijegun Egba tank farms.
“They have invested about N450 billion, so we cannot wish them away. So we need to find a way to peacefully coexist with the residents of the area. The residents have a right to be there, so we have to find a way for them to coexist,” he said.
In his remarks, the Controller-General, Fire Service of Nigeria, Liman Ibrahim, canvassed the establishment of a central fire service station in Satellite Town, Kirikiri, and Ijegun-Egba communities, to ensure safety of lives and property.
Ibrahim, represented by the Assistant Controller-General, Abdulganiyu Jaji, said: “Tank farms operators should focus on training of personnel and infrastructure. There is a need for synergy between tank farm operators and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR). In Apapa axis, there are some tank farms that are very close to the residential areas, which the House of Representatives should consider critically.”
The Commissioner for Town Planning and Urban Development, Lagos State, Idris Salako, cautioned the operators be to more responsive and sensitive to the needs of the host communities.
“Most of the tank farms at Kirikiri do not have approval permits, but they have all started to regularize their documents with the Ministry. The infrastructure at Satellite Town has been run down by the activities of tank farms. Even if the tank farm operators relocate to Ibeju-Lekki without proper planning, the whole thing will be a failure,” he noted.
Similarly, the Deputy Director, Oil and Gas, Ministry of Environment, Nafiu Akinpelu, urged the tank farms to do an operating audit and upgrade their oil-water separating system, in addition to having a global Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on CSR with the host communities to guard against facilities’ sabotage.
However, the Alahun of Imoore and Apapa Kingdom, Oba Taofik Akeju-Awojo, said the people agitating for the relocation of the tank farms are those that do not want progress for the community.
He added: “Since, the tank farms started operations in the communities, crime rates have dropped, and employment opportunities have been created. If you move the tank farm away, there will be untold hardship and poverty.”
In his submission, the Chief Executive Officer, Emadeb Energy Services, Debo Olujimi, affirmed that the tank farms in Ijegun community have created 3,000 direct and indirect jobs, while promising that they would do more CSR activities.