The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabimila has inaugurated an ad hoc committee to facilitate the relocation of oil tank farms in residential areas.
Gbajabimila who inaugurated the committee on Wednesday in Abuja, charged the lawmaker to act fast to prevent any other disaster that could result from explosions.
He said that tank farms across the country serve an essential function as they are stores of economic value and a critical part of the energy distribution infrastructure in the country.
He, however, said that the country cannot continue to ignore the undeniable fact that the location of many of these tank farms in places of residence or close to areas of high traffic presents risk to the people that live and work in those places.
“Therefore, the House of Representatives has resolved to investigate how these tank farms came to be in these places, and more importantly, what needs to be done about them to prevent further disaster from occurring on our watch,” he said.
Gbajabimila said that the legislative function is often limited in the public mind to law-making, whereas, legislative advocacy in the public interest usually has a more immediate impact on the welfare of the people.
According to him, this is one of those instances where we have a responsibility first to speak, and then to follow through with substantive action to prevent further reoccurrence of catastrophic events.
Gbajabimila told the committee that the assignment required them to listen to the numerous and often conflicting views of a myriad of interests.
He urged the committee to forge from discord, a solution that solves the present problem without creating new ones.
“You are entering into an arena where the investments are enormous, the interests are entrenched and powerful, and where a failure to deliver on your mandate will have outsize consequences long after you have left office.
“I am confident in your ability to meet the demands of this moment, I assure you of the support of the House of Representatives, and I wish you Godspeed,” he added.
The Chairman of the committee, Rep. Sergius Ogun (PDP-Edo) said that the ad hoc committee was born out of the need to ensure safety of lives and properties which is one of the primary responsibilities on government.
He said that tank farms located in residential areas are big disaster waiting to happen and the committee has the task to adequately carry out the assignment in the best interest of the people and national development.
“The committee will commence an investigative hearing and I urged your all stakeholders to contribute with facts and figures to achieve this task
“We shall do our best to deliver on this mandate, we shall leave no stone unturned in the discharge of our duty.
“The oil sector is a huge source of income for our economy and it must be well coordinated and function without posing hazards to the people,” he said. (NAN)