Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCT), Muhammad Musa Bello has vowed to stem oil and gas disaster in the territory in partnership with the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA).
The Minister, who spoke when a delegation from NOSDRA, led by its Director General, Idris Musa, paid him a courtesy visit in his office, said collaborations between agencies is very essential for the effective prevention and management of disasters in the FCT.
He commended the vital role NOSDRA 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.
The minister 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.
Muhammad Musa Bello 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.
“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, the Director General of NOSDRA, Idris Musa commended the Development Control Department of the FCTA as well as the Abuja Environmental Protection Board for ensuring that petrol filling stations are established in line with the Abuja master plan and in tandem with environmental regulations.
He said 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 said 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.