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After much hue and cry for its relocation due to its danger in Apapa and its environs, the Lagos State government has promised to relocate the Apapa tank farms to Lekki. Governor Babatunde Fashola said that his administration had concluded plans to relocate all tank farms in Apapa to a world-class industrial and petrochemical plant in Lekki.

Fashola explained that the relocation would make Apapa become the commercial, residential and industrial hub it used to be. The state government had said that tank farms in areas such as Apapa posed a danger to residents. “You do not need 3,000 tankers to come to Apapa and move fuel supply to the whole of Nigeria. We will be able to supply the country from the Lagos refinery that we have. Once the refinery in Lekki is built, we will move all the tank farms out to a world-class petrochemical plant that I have designed for you,” Fashola said.

The relocation of the tank farms has been a major concern to users of the Lagos Ports complex and residents of Apapa. Residents had earlier appealed to the federal and Lagos State governments to urgently relocate tank farms, currently sited within residential areas in the Apapa neighbourhood.

Before the intervention of the Lagos State government, Gbenga Egunjobi, the Manager of Beachland Estate, Apapa, had said that tank farms were not supposed to be located within residential areas. Most of the tank farms, he said, were built long after the construction of the estate and other residential buildings. He called for the immediate relocation of tank farms from residential and port areas, saying many people, including workers and residents had experienced explosions from the tank farms. “I advise government to relocate the tank farms from the residential areas because tank farms are supposed to be at least 25 kilometres away from where people are residing. It is only in Nigeria tank farms are situated within residential areas. They are too close for comfort and we want government to yield to our call,” he said.

A marine consultant, Alex Brain, said that there was need for tank farm operators to be extra vigilant, while upholding safety measures. Tank farm operators, he noted, ought to be security conscious because of the volatile nature of their environment. “The tank farms are a disaster; there is no security of lives and properties. Government should urgently relocate tank farms from residential areas so that we can have some measure of peace and security,” he said

Rasaq Fadipe, Director, Lagos State Fire Service, also joined the call for the relocation of the tank farms from Apapa to other parts of Lagos. Fadipe said that the tank farms were highly combustible, adding that any fire could snowball into a serious disaster. He said that the Apapa neighbourhood was choked, stressing the need to relocate tank farms in the area to fallow lands. “We have lands in the Ibeju-Lekki and Badagry axis. If the tank farms are relocated to such areas, it will open up development in those places,’’ he said.

Ms Gladys Timothy, a geologist condemned the location of tank farms around the ports. “I want to believe that our leaders who allowed that do visit other countries. If they are sincere, they will tell Nigerians the truth that tank farms are not located in densely populated areas,” she said.

She rejected the notion that there was no better alternative to the current location of the tank farms, saying that the Badagry waterways could accommodate the facility. “There are other places that are suitable for the tank farms. Whether the government has invested much in their current site or not; we are talking about the safety of Nigerians,” she concluded.

By Pita Ochai

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