Professional Fire Fighters Salvage Oando Petrol Tank Gutted By Fire As Jamoh And Others Commiserate With Hajia Usman Over Burnt Office Complex

By Stephen Ubanna

 Barely three weeks after the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and Lagos state Professional fire fighters did a marvelous job of putting  out the fire set at the agency Corporate Headquarters in Marina, by hoodlums in the guise of END SARS  protest, the duo agencies, fire- fighting personnel had  another   opportunity  of testing  their expertise  at  Oando tank farm, on Gaskiya road, Ijora- Badia area on Thursday, November 6, 2020.

The NPA fire fighters, particular, may have  been invited alongside the Lagos state Lagos state Fire and Rescue Service, LASFRS, including    the Lagos state  Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA,   to the oando depot to salvage the situation.  The  Authority  fire fighters may have been invited  as an alternative for fear that the Lagos state  government fire fighters might not respond quickly to their call.

 This is because of previous experiences of some other  Organisations which had invited the Lagos state Fire and Rescue Services   agency  when they  had a fire outbreak in their facility but were  disappointed. This is because the Lagos Fire- fighting agency  officials  would  always provide one excuse or the other to cover up  their gross inefficiency ranging from lack of   water in their tankers , short hose to inadequate manpower leading   to late arrival to the scene of the fire incident.

 The raging fire at the Oando depot   was said to be  very severe as it could been  in different parts of the  south west state, putting fear in the minds of the residents of the area that if something urgent was not quickly done to put out the fire , it may cause  much damage.  

Oando, Apapa Petrol Tank Fire Outbreak

The Value News learnt that no sooner had the Oando Authorities reached out to Hajia Hadiza Bala Usman, the NPA,  Managing  Director ,than she gave a matching order to  the Head of the agency fire fight unit to mobilise his men to the scene of the fire incident  at Ijora badia   to join   the downstream Company  fire fighters and Lagos state Fire and Rescue Service personnel  to put out the fire at the depot.

 When contacted on phone, Jatto Adams, a General Manager and the agency Head of Corporate and Strategic Communications confirmed that the Authority fire fighters were on ground at Ijora Badia to help in Combating the Oando  petrol  tank fire outbreak. The Magazine cited the Authority Fire fighters at the Ijora deport  helping  out in combating  the fire at the 7.5 million  litres  of petrol tank , which many believe  could be fully loaded into 22 trucks,   to prevent it from spreading to  other tanks in the tank farm.

 Olufemi Oke- Osanyintolu, Director General, LASEMA, had told those that cares to listen that the agency,  had responded to Oando invitation immediately they got the alert. Hear him: the agency activated   its emergency response plan  and all  the relevant stakeholders including NPA,   quickly Commenced appropriate  measures  to Combat the fire  and prevent secondary accidents.

In Combating the fire incident, the Onndo tank farm was said to have been condoned-  off  to prevent people from coming around to disrupt the operation of the fire fighters from the Lagos state  Fire and Rescue Services  and NPA including the  fire fighters from the downstream Company

,   the Professional  fire fighters were said to have climbed   on top of their water tanker  at the risk of their lives  very close to the burning  petrol tank  and stretched out their hose    to pump  out water into the petrol tank to put out the flames in order to prevent  its escalation to other tanks in the farm which may be very dangerous.

Eyewitness account disclosed that the   operation was well Coordinated by the  fire fighters from the LSFRS and NPA  which may have saved the nation from another embarrassment. ‘’We were able to localise the fire   to prevent it   from spreading  to any secondary sites  or adjoin locations, the LASEMA, Director General had said. Insider information had  said that  the fire had started  around 5.00pm at the Oando Petrol tank  but there had not been any clue as to the cause of the fire incident.

While the  LSFRS and NPA fire  fighters were busy  battling to quench the fire at the Ijora Badia petrol 7.5 million  petrol tank, OVH Energy , the Licencee  Company behind   the Oando  retail brand in Africa    had reported that  a fire outbreak  also broke out at  terminal 1, in Apapa area in the state.

The Company had reported that preliminary investigations of the Apapa fire incident shows that  it emanated   from a tank  within the terminal. The happiness of the OVH Energy  officials, was that they have   a team of Professional fire fighters  on ground to manage the situation  until the LASFRS and NPA , fire fighters arrived the  scene  to help out in Combating the raging fire. The god news was that there were no  casualties in  the Ondo petrol tanks that gutted fire at Ijora –Badi a and Apapa terminal 1 AS the Depot officials were said  to have been evacuated to a safe location to avoid endangering their lives.

Jamoh, DG, NIMASA And Other Maritime CEOs Inspect Burnt NPA Corporate Headquarters At Marina, Lagos

In a related development, Heads of the Federal ministry of Transportation agencies, Bashir Jamoh, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Bar. Hassan Bello, Nigerian Shippers Council, George Moghalu, Nigerian Inland Water Ways, NIWA , Sam Nwakohu, Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, CRFFN,  and Emmanuel Effedua, a rtd, Naval Commodore and Rector, Maritime Accademy , MAN, Oron, Akwa Ibom state, were said to have expressed shock  at the attack   and level of destruction  that took place at the NPA, Corporate headquarters at Marina, Lagos, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020,  which had been carried out by hoodlums in the guise of END SARS protest.

The Maritime agencies Chief Executive Officers, CEOs,  were said to have expressed  their concern on Friday, November 7, 2020,  when they paid a solidarity visit to Hajia Usman. They  noted that it was a surprise   that  the Authority could be singled out  of all the other government agencies along the marina road for attack  despite  its documented Community Relations Initiatives,  Corporate and Social  Responsibilit  which were ‘’tailoured to Youth development’’.

Moghalu, the NIWA boss had described ‘’the level of destruction of the NPA  Corporate headquarters as monumental and a huge loss the nation’s maritime Community’’. An aggrieved Moghalu had stated further  , ‘’this is a great loss to the entire  country’’, assuring the NPA Managing Director ‘’we are in solidarity with the Management team’’.

Nwakholu, ,Moghalu,, Hajia Usman and Jamoh, At NPA,Corporate Headquarters, Marina, Lagos,,

Jamoh, the NIMASA  Director General, averred that there was no basis for the attack on the NPA, office Complex at Marina  by the hoodlums, stating that ‘’port facilities  were critical national assets  that should be Collectively protected’’.

The NIMASA  boss who could hide his feelings  maintains that ‘’port facilities  are valuable  economic  assets   which are critical to the country’s economic development’’. He was said to have commended  the Kaduna state born Managing Director of the NPA, ‘’for providing Leadership to the agency  at this trying times’’. He feared that  the nation’s economy  would have suffered considerably  if the destruction had led  to suspension  of operations at the Lagos ports of Apapa and Tincan island as well as the south east  PortSs of PortHarcourt Area 2, Onne, Rivers port, Delta port and Calabar port. This is because Foreign shipping Companies may have seen it as an opportunity to abandon Nigerian ports on ground of safety and take the country bound cargoes and Container vessels to Cotonou port, Benin and Bollore port, both in Benin Republic, to discharge as transit cargoes.

‘’We are lucky that this did not  stop  shipping operations  as it could have negatively impacted  or crippled  the nation’s economy’’, Jamoh had said.

The NPA boss, may have   opened up when he saw his Counterparts from other agencies describing ‘’the attack on  the Authority  headquarters  at marina as an assault on the nation’s maritime industry’. According to her ‘’the level of destruction was incomprehensible’’.

Recall that NPA Board members led by Akin Rickets, the ChaiRMAN, National Assembly Lawmakers , Some selected Lagos based Journalists and Nasir El-rufai, governor of Kaduna state, north west Nigeria , had earlier  visted the burnt the NPA headquarters to see things themselves. 

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