JOE EFFIONG, UYO
Akwa Ibom state government has set up a committee to ensure safety and global best practices in the siting of petrol and gas stations in Uyo, the state capital.
The group known as Committee on Regularization of Building Plan Approvals for Petrol Stations Within Uyo Metropolis, was inaugurated on Thursday, in Government House, Uyo, with Mr Aniekan Akpan as chairman.
Inaugurating the committee on behalf of Governor Udom Emmanuel, Secretary to State Government, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem expressed confidence in the ability of members of the committee to deliver on the mandate expected of them both by government and Akwa Ibom people.
Dr Ekuwem commended the constitution of the committee with members carefully drawn from relevant ministries and agencies of government, noting that by their constitution into the committee, a serious responsibility is placed on them by government.
While regularizing the location of existing fuel stations in Uyo metropolis, the SSG tasked the committee to do well to ensure that proper standards are adhered to in citing of petrol stations going forward, to avert another occurrence of disastrous incidence in the state.
Presenting members of the committee for inauguration earlier, the Commissioner for Lands and Water Resources, Captain Iniobong Ekong (Rtd) said recently, the state’s fire department had to fight two fire incidents emanating from petrol stations that are sandwiched between residential areas, a situation which he said threatened the safety of residents.
“We are witnesses to certain untoward events that has bedeviled us as a people. In quick succession we have had two fire incidents within the residential areas of uyo metropolis occasioned by carelessness on the part of petroleum marketers and of course spiralled into residential accommodations that the petrol stations are sandwiched in between .
According to Captain Ekong, the constitution of the committee was an effort by the Udom Emmanuel administration being a responsible government, to ensure the safety of lives and property of both indigenes and residents while also ensuring conformity to international best practice in the running of businesses in the downstream petroleum operations.
“As a responsible government irrespective of status and regulations , in a growing economy like Akwa Ibom state it behoves on government to review from time to time, where necessary laws, approvals and procedures that may as development occur hamper on the livelihood of our people.
“It is in response to this call that His Excellency the Governor has duely mandated that we take a second look at the approvals that we had given earlier to fuel and gas stations who may found themselves sandwiched in between residential accommodations in Uyo Capital City by extension Akwa Ibom State .
“The committee is to also re-examine the terms, requirements and conditions obtainable for citing of petrol stations within Uyo Metropolis, make a comprehensive list of all approved and unapproved petrol stations within Uyo metropolis and make recommendations towards a well planned and pollution free neighborhood.
“In order to do this, we have to take cognizance of the fact that we have a responsibility to ensure that governance must be responsive to the protection of life and property and creation of enabling environment to assist governance and deliver dividends of democracy to our people”, Ekong stated.
In his responding, the chairman of the committee, Aniekan Akpan thanked Governor Udom Emmanuel on behalf of members of the committee, accepted the responsibility and pledged to work assiduously to deliver on the terms of reference spelt out for the committee and thereby justify the confidence reposed on them by government.
Other members of the committee are; Mr. Effiong Akpan, Mr. Ekwere Obot, Mr. Freddy Eshiet, Surveyor Emmanuel Asuquo, Barr Emma Udonsek as members, while Mr Iniese Iniese is to serve as Secretary.
As part of its terms of reference, the committee is to examine the authenticity of all building plans approvals granted to all petrol stations within Uyo Metropolis by the Uyo Capital City Development Authority, UCCDA and examine the suitability of the location of petrol stations with regards to their neighborhood. ENDS