By Stanley Onyekwere
To better manage emergency situations in Abuja, the nation’s capital, the FCT Administration will work very closely with the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), as part of collaborative effort to mitigate the dangers of oil and gas related disasters.
According to the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, who gave this assurance, collaborations between agencies is very essential for the effective prevention and management of disasters in the FCT.
Bello, who spoke when a delegation from NOSDRA, led by its Director General, Idris Musa, paid him a courtesy visit in his office, commended the very vital role that the Agency is playing in protecting the FCT environment and other parts of the country from oil spillage arising from activities in the upstream and downstream petroleum sector.
He also appreciated the support and cooperation of the agency and thanked the DG for making available the maps detailing the locations of petrol filling stations in the FCT for effective management and response to emergencies.
The Minister however, called for strict control and regulation of gas dispensing stations in the FCT to ensure that they are not located too close to residential areas.
According to him, “I think this is one area that we have to be very strict and firm. Even where gas plants would be located, they have to really be under the tightest control and regulations because as you know, the gas station do not require much land like a typical petrol station.
“And there is a tendency, if we are not careful, especially in the Area Councils and Satellite towns, they will just be squeezed into areas of high concentrations of people or within residential areas”.
Earlier in his remarks, the Director General of NOSDRA, explained that the Agency is a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Environment with responsibility to carry out environmental management in the petroleum sector, covering the upstream, midstream and the downstream.
8. He commended the Development Control Department of the FCTA as well as the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) for ensuring that petrol filling stations are established in line with the Abuja masterplan and in tandem with environmental regulations.
He revealed that NOSDRA has captured all the petrol and gas stations in the FCT and the Area Councils through its ICT and GIS programmes and has documented them in a map in its database for effective response during emergencies.
The DG also disclosed that the agency has successfully introduced world class methods of installing underground petrol storage tanks at filling stations in such a manner that would prevent the seeping of petrol into the water table, saying it is now serving as a guide for existing and future projects.