The Edo State Government has said that it is stepping up regulatory standards for the operation of gas and petrol stations in the state, noting that it is set to embark on a recertification exercise for gas and petrol stations in the state for the next three months.
Commissioner for Physical Planning, Housing, Urban and Regional Development, Isoken Omo said this during a meeting in Government House, Benin City, held with petrol and gas stations owners and other stakeholders in the state’s oil and gas industry.
She noted that the exercise is in line with the implementation of the Benin City Masterplan and the State’s Regional Development Plan.
Isoken said there has been indiscriminate operation of oil and gas stations in the state, as a lot of operators are erecting their facilities in unauthorized locations, which is caused by professionals who fail to advise their clients properly.
According to her: “This is a stakeholders’ engagement to look at the master plan and ensure that professionals in the built environment understand their responsibilities. It is also to agree on the way forward regarding the proliferation of gas and petrol stations in Benin City.
“At the last count, we have over 700 petrol and gas stations in Benin City. The owners of gas and petrol stations in the city have been agitating for more approvals. We need to see what is on ground and agree on a way forward. We can not do it on our own. The master plan is dependent on our people accepting what we have put down and monitoring it to make sure it is well implemented.”
Noting that the government will be embarking on the recertification exercise, she said: “We would do a recertification of all the petrol and gas stations in Edo State and those that don't have approval will be treated separately. We would make progress with the cooperation of all these various bodies in the gas and petroleum business.”
Omo said the physical masterplan for Benin commenced in May 2021 and will be concluded in August, 2023, noting that it is intended to check the exponential and unplanned growth in Benin City, taking into cognizance the proliferation of petrol and gas stations with some built in residential areas and associated hazards.
“We would re-open the recertification of petrol and gas stations creating a window of three months to accommodate many people. We will work closely with the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), the Fire Service and other regulatory bodies on the way forward to ensure safety and sanity in the sector.”
Chairman, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Edo State Chapter, Alhaji Abdulhameed Baba-Saliu, commended the government for the move to bring sanity to the industry but appealed for compensation for those that will be affected by the exercise when it commences.