The raging inferno in one of the huge petroleum tanks at a depot owned by OVH, a downstream company owned by Oando Plc, is till raging, SHIPS & PORTS can authoritatively reveal.
The 7.5 million litres tank, located on Gaskiya Road, Ijora Badia, in the Apapa area of Lagos State, went up in flames on Thursday afternoon.
The fire was still raging as at the early hours of this morning, sending thick black smoke into the atmosphere. The fire and thick smoke could be seen from several kilometres away.
However, an environmental expert, Babatunde Olorunda, told SHIPS & PORTS that the raging inferno constitutes danger to human health and to the environment.
He said, “That the fire could not be put out more than 24 hours after it started is dangerous. It shows our poor preparation and response to emergency.
“The impact of the fire human health and the environment cannot be quantified. This could lead to cancer among those living in that area and that must have been exposed to smoke through inhalation.
“The burning fuel could also contribute to the pollution of air, water, and soil in addition to reducing visibility.
“No effort must be spared to bring the fire under control,” Olorunda said.
However, the National Oil Spill Detection Response Agency (NOSDRA) has assured the general public that all about the tank farm which caught fire in Lagos on Thursday was under control.
The agency’s Director-General, Idris Musa, gave the assurance at a media briefing in Abuja on Friday.
Musa confirmed that the tank farm, which contained Premium Motor Spirit, caught fire on Thursday in Lagos.
“On Sunday the tank farm received PMS and on Thursday there was a sudden fire in the tank, which contained seven million litres of PMS at that time and that is a huge quantity.
“By way of responding to what is contained in the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan as a way of responding to national issues as we had yesterday, we are duty bound to inform the general public as to what has happened.
“This is also to let the public know what we are doing about it and to allay the fears of the general public, so that we do not give room to rumours and fake news.
“Immediately it happened the company informed us and our Lagos zonal office swung into action and we have informed our stakeholders.
“It was a huge problem and we still do not know the cause. But we thank God it is being contained, and that is the first step in preventing a disaster.”
Musa said the Oil Producers Trade Section of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry was contacted to assist to see how the fire could be contained.
He said this was to prevent it from spreading to the surrounding environment.
The NOSDRA director-general said all stakeholders have deployed their contingency plan to forestall a spread of the fire.
“What we did was to cool the body of the tank and to that extent a lot of water was deployed yesterday to reduce the heat because if it explodes it will be disastrous,” he said.
He said NOSDRA officers were still at the site to ensure that all that needed to be done would be done at the right time.
Musa said other companies not directly involved in the sector had also provided supplies to help contain the fire.
“So, all resources were pulled together to avert what would have been a national disaster,” he said.
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