By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano state has directed the State Fire Service to prosecute owners of filling stations with no functional firefighting equipment.
According to a statement signed by the Director–General, Media and Public Relations, Government House, Kano, Ameen K. Yassar, he also directed the agency to seriously reprimanded those filling stations with faulty fire equipment, stressing that his administration would not allow fuel to be sold under hazardous circumstances.
The governor gave the directive late Sunday evening, during a visit to Al-Ihsan Filling Petroleum Company, Sharada, in the state capital, which erupted into flames on Saturday, while a tanker was offloading fuel at the station.
According to the governor “the State Fire Service must undertake routine inspection of filling stations to ensure that they complied with all safety standards, so that lives and property are not endangered”.
In the same vein, he ordered the agency to conduct regular seminars for employees of filing stations, to educate them on best practices in fuel management and fire prevention.
“What happened at this station is terrible but preventable. This could not have happened had the fuel attendant who mishandled the situation been educated on risk and safety at filling stations”, Governor Ganduje lamented.
On his part, the Director, Kano Stet Fire Service, Alhaji Hassan Ahamad Muhammad explained that his office received a distress call from the station on Saturday evening and responded appropriately.
“We quenched the fire within two hours but, sadly, a fuel attendant mistakenly opened a fuel compartment and instantly, there was an explosion with injured about 68 people”, he stated.
He said out of the 68 victims, eight were his men, including his deputy, who led fire fighters to the venue of the incident, adding that the victims, with various degrees of injury, including fractures, have all been hospitalized.
Subsequently, Governor Ganduje led members of the state Executive Council and religious scholars to Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital, where the victims were admitted.
“I have directed the Ministry of Health to ensure that all of you are treated free. This is very pathetic. I pray Allah to grant you all speedy recovery and prevent recurrence of such in Kano”, he remarked.