07 January 2015, Lagos – The Chicason propane gas explosion in Nnewi, Anambra State on December 24, 2015, which claimed lives of tens of people, could have been averted, if the federal government had put in place, proper measures to safeguard the lives of its citizens.
Hazardous Material Specialist at the New York City Fire Department, Captain Philip Nwabuoku, who made the assertion, blamed government for the aftermath of the gas explosion.
According to him, “A Nigerian newscaster attributed the cause of the incident to poor safety standards and lack of business knowledge. But the truth is that government has a sacred obligation to safeguard lives and properties of its citizens. With oversight and the required regulation, the government would have mitigated this catastrophe. In light of this incident, members of the national and state assemblies and authorities having jurisdiction over safety and environmental issues should enact and enforce new measures to avoid a reoccurrence anywhere in Nigeria in the future.”
He insisted that the deliberations that would lead to enacting the law, must be made public and that safety in work environments must be the focus. Labor employers must be mandated to educate their workers on the hazards of the job and keep the public out of harm’s way. Operating and handling vessels of hazardous materials must be included in the discussion and comply with stringent standards, Nwabuoku said.
He insisted that unlicensed contractors must never be allowed to sign off on major projects to avoid unsafe and dangerous conditions. This sector needs specialists to keep us safe as we navigate all areas of our emerging economy. It was only in 1958, that most states in the United States of America embraced safety requirements in the industry, but with new technology and globalisation, Nigeria can do better. The safety sector is capable of being self-sufficient much more than the customs services, police and road safety corps. Safety administration alone rakes in about 10-15 billion dollars annually to the United States economy and provides countless quality and pensionable job opportunities, and Nigerian can emulate this, Nwabuoku further explained.
He has however expressed his sincere sympathy to President Muhammadu Buhari, and the affected families who are suffering from what he described as the preventable tragedy in Nnewi that caused deaths, countless injuries and fatalities.
Describing the chemical reaction of the gas, Nwabuoku said: “Propane is a high hazard product and can be defined as a chemically unstable gas that is able to react explosively even in the absence of oxygen and reacts with air at 20°C/68°F at a standard pressure of 101.3 Kpa/14.69 PSI.”
He insisted that people must have required certification to handle 20 pounds cylinder of propane gas. 15 pounds is recommended with care for outdoor use only because of its violent nature and penchant for explosion, he added.
- This Day