The Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority has warned operators of illegal petrol outlets in Rivers State to regularise their operations or face sanctions.
The Regional Coordinator of NMDPRA, South-South, Mr George Ene-Ita, gave the warning in Port Harcourt, while speaking with top executives in the petroleum sector.
Ene-Ita said the authority had also directed depots across the region to implement the no-license-no-lifting of petroleum products policy.
He said, “Recently we have compiled the list of illegal outlets. All illegally constructed retail outlets have been given up to the end of this month (April) to approach the authority to try and regularise their establishments, following which dire consequences will be meted out.
“We have started sending these illegal or unlicensed filling stations to people and we are lumping up implementing the no-licence-no-lifting policy.
“We are going to start taking it very seriously. If you are not giving the regulatory space, how are we even sure that you are upholding basic protocols of the facility you are operating?”
He also announced the body’s plan to restart the technical safety audit of the operations of petrol retail outlets and other activities.
Ene-Ita said at least one death was recorded every four days in the course of products transportation, with 412 fatalities in 244 accidents recorded between 2018 and the first quarter of 2023.
He added, “The fire incidents up until now has been quite alarming. We have seen the statistics fatalities. Just this year alone I think is about 18. This is unacceptable.
“This is the reason why we need to re-engage stakeholders in the field and drive home the importance of upholding our safety procedures in our facilities. Every facility that engages business, employing human beings, it builds up to the Gross Domestic Product of this country. That is why we are here today.”
Rivers State Chairman of Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, Francis Dimkpa, commended the steps taken by the NMDPRA to reduce hazards in the sector.