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Ekweremadu condoles with Chicason Group, community over Nnewi fire




Association cautions gas investors on public, plant safety

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has commiserated with the people of Nnewi and Chicason Group of Companies over the recent fire incident that claimed some lives on Christmas Eve in the community.

The incident, which also resulted in the destruction of valuable properties, occurred in one of the group’s subsidiaries in Nnewi, Anambra State.

Ekweremadu described the ugly incident as a major setback to the economic development of Nnewi and the entire South East.

Senator Ekweremadu, who was on a sympathy visit to the Chairman of Chicason Group, Dr. A. C. Okafor, at the company’s office in Nnewi yesterday, also toured the scene of the incident where he expressed sadness over the fire disaster, especially for lives lost to the inferno.

He said: “We are here to sympathise with you, to sympathise with the people of Nnewi, the people of Anambra, Nnewi business community and all the families affected by this disaster.

“For me, this is also a major setback for the business development, not only in Nnewi but the South East and the nation in general. But our major concern is the families of those who lost their loved ones. I would like to use this opportunity to condole them and to pray that God grant the souls of the deceased peaceful repose.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers has cautioned investors in gas marketing to prioritise safety of the public and gas plants over profits.

The National President of the association, Mr Basil Ogbuanu, during the inspection of the scene of the Nnewi gas explosion, yesterday, described the incident as “unfortunate” and sympathized with the families of the victims and management of Inter Corp Oil Ltd, a subsidiary of Chikason Group of Companies.

Ogbuanu, who led a 7-man executive to the scene, said that investors must meet set standards for all equipment, including machines, pumps, hose and others, which would help to avert fire accidents in the country.

Noting that “You don’t compromise in gas”, he added the final assessment report would be made public after the association’s technical team in conjunction with the Department of Petroleum Resources concludes investigation on the incident.

He called on the fire service department across the country to consider the Nnewi incident as a wakeup call to duty, arguing that, “If the service had provided early intervention, the fire could have been put-off to reduce the effect of damage,” he said.

He also appealed to the Federal Government to improve the state of the roads in the country to minimize involvement of tankers on road mishaps.

On gas utilization in the country, the president argued that the high cost of importation of the product’s equipment accounted for why many Nigerians were not using domestic gas at homes.

He expressed concern that government is rather spending much foreign currency to subsidize kerosene when gas is in abundance in the country.

“Gas is abundant and available, cleaner, cheaper, safer and the most efficient cooking energy. One of the major problems of using domestic gas is the high cost at the entry points of obtaining cylinder, hose, regulator and cooker.

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