Following the recent tank farm fire disaster at the Calabar Free Trade Zone, the Nigerian Ports Authority on Wednesday called on community leaders to sensitise the people to the dangers of illegal oil bunkering to forestall ugly incidents along the shoreline.
At least 15 persons have so far died and several others injured after fire explosion hit the Dozy Oil Tank Farm in the CFTZ on July 16 following illegal activities in one of the tank farms.
The Executive Director, Marine and Operations, NPA, Dr. Sokonte Davies, who visited the scene of the incident and the adjourning host, Esuk-Utan community, described the extent of the fire disaster as shocking.
He added that the disaster would have been avoided if people realised the danger posed by illegal oil bunkering.
Davies said, “We plead with people, parents, husbands, wives and others to restrain their loved ones from doing this illegal business, no matter the amount of money involved, because when they die, you cannot get them back.
“Community leaders should drum it into their peoples’ ears, unfortunately some of the community leaders aid and abate these things. But we will continue to educate people on these dangerous activities, maybe one day it will stop.”
The director also advised people engaged in business within the EPZ to ensure that they engage the right people, adding that there was evidence of criminal intent in the whole incident.
He said, “I advise those doing business in this zone to engage the right people who would not compromise standards. Nigerian businessmen should learn to do their business in line with international best practices.
“This incident was actually avoidable; you can see that criminal intent was at the background of the whole thing.”
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