Lagos — The Nigerian Port Consultative Council, NPCC, has raised alarm over unregulated operations of oil and gas companies on the Dockyard Road describing the development as a time bomb waiting to explode.
The Council also said the equally unregulated movement to and from the road has also become worrisome as the Dockyard is the only escape route from the Lagos port Complex, which has been taken over by tankers and their oil and gas operations.
Speaking at the quarterly meeting if the Port Operation and Event Committee of the Council in Lagos, Captain Ihenacho Ebubeogu said the Committee after a tour of the road, observed that the purpose of Having the Dockyard Road had been defeated adding that the development if not checked immediately, could have dire consequences.
Ebubeogu also said that Dockyard Road was originally meant to be an escape route for any emergency at Lagos Port Complex.
“If anything is happening at the other end of the Lagos Ports, the tendency is for people to run towards flourmills and come out through Dockyard Road, but the road is not playing that role right now.
“And I tell you my fears and why this Committee should take it serious. If you recall what happened at Ejigbo during the Ikeja bomb explosion, people drowned because everybody followed anybody who was in front of him thinking that the man in front of him was wiser or knew the way until people started finding themselves in swamps.
“Years back when I was Marine Superintendent in Dockyard, one day we closed from work, we were going home and the tanker in front of us that loaded Premium Motor Spirit, PMS was licking.
“The car in front of the tanker was accelerating while petrol was dropping, I had to jump out of my car dragged everybody out and moved them towards the port until the licking tanker was sorted out because as the car in front was accelerating, you are developing sparks and here is petrol and oxygen everywhere, so the triangle of fire is complete. The next thing is explosion.
More of my concern is that I do not see why we cannot have our next meeting at the NPA’s training facility on Dockyard Road.
“Just opposite Dockyard, are tank farms and tankers and our findings as a committee is that there is no sanity because most of those tank farms are owned by NUPENG members.
“So, because of that, their drivers do not adhere to instructions. When they started initially, they were not allowing parking on the road, they were actually carrying out a good call up system but now that has failed. We need to allow NPA to call a stakeholders’ meeting there in Dockyard so that when you are holding that meeting, you are showing people physically what the situation is.
“In fact, some people that will attend the meeting will encounter the problem so that when they come to discuss it, it will be easier.
“That place is a time bomb, and I am not comfortable with it, I have gone there twice in the course of the Committee’s work to look at how best to deal with the situation.”
The former ship Captain suggested that all the companies operating on that road should begin to create and open emergency gates in their facilities so that people can run literally and escape rather than have people running towards the water in case of any emergency.
He explained that these things may not happen for years to come, adding that there is the need to have such emergency procedures, and to make such measures known to people that utilise that route.
Follow us on twitter