Senate summons NNPC chiefs over refineries
Urges FRSC to regularly train tanker drivers
The Senate yesterday resolved to summon the management of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to give detailed information on the state of nation’s refineries.
The decision was reached during debate on a motion on fuel tanker tragedies on the nation’s highways. Sponsored by Senator Gbenga Ashafa of Lagos State, the Senate noted with serious concern, the spate of fuel tanker explosions on the highways.
In view of the ugly development, the Senate observed one minute silence in honour of those who lost their lives in various tanker tragedies across the country and urged the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) to hold regular training for tanker drivers as a way of installing necessary information and discipline in them.
In the lead debate, the Senate observed that if the refineries were functional, all the tankers in the country would not have business moving from one extreme part of the country to the other to lift fuel as they would have been lifting from the nearest refineries.
It also called on the federal government to continue the process of revamping existing refineries as well as encourage the establishment of private ones. Aware that the current road networks around Nigeria are grossly inadequate for the operations of trucks and tankers, the Senate expressed worries over what became of the rail-line project of past administrations as an alternative route to Nigerian highways.
It consequently urged the federal government to continue the process of revamping the rail system to ease the pressure on the road. According to the Upper chamber, it was high time government sought permanent solution to the problem rather than applying temporal palliatives.
For the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, deregulation of the petroleum downstream will encourage private sector’s involvement in the establishment and operation of private refineries.
He said: “The motion is very important as it addressed a lot of issues relating to petroleum products and associated challenges. While we expect the government to revamp existing refineries, it should also provide enabling environment for the private sector to come in and one of such steps is the deregulate of the downstream oil sector”.
Most of the lawmakers who contributed to the motion blamed the incessant fuel tanker tragedies on the recklessness of tanker drivers some of who lacked basic safety information.
Meanwhile, the Senate has also called on state and federal agencies saddled with the responsibility of managing rain flood to be on alert as rains intensify across the country. This was the resolution reached on a motion on the management of challenges of the rainy season, which was sponsored by Senator Andy Uba representing Anambra South Senatorial District.