By FESTUS OKOROMADU, Abuja And CHIKA IZUORA, YUSUF BABALOLA, Lagos –
Four persons were feared dead in an inferno that rocked the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) jetty in Apapa, yesterday morning. A source at the scene said the inferno started around 3.00 am, when a petroleum-laden vessel was discharging fuels at the jetty.
The source further revealed that three of the affected persons were the loading masters for Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), while the fourth persons is yet to be unidentified as at press time.
“The fire, which rages for hours, has destroyed a larger portion of the jetty, but it was eventually put off with the intervention of the Nigerian Port Authority fire service and another vessel that was at berth at that time,” the source said.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC), has confirmed the incident but blamed the accident on activities of hoodlums scooping fuels spilled from ships discharging fuels at the loading jetty.
The Corporation has however assured consumers of petroleum products across the country that the incident will not disrupt availability of products, stressing that it will not affect supply of products nationwide.
A press statement signed by the Corporation’s spokesperson, Ndu Ughamadu said NNPC has already deployed a team of engineers to the jetty, assuring that the repair of the affected parts would commence immediately.
The statement further explained that the Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, has been fully briefed on the incident. He was quoted as having described the occurrence as unfortunate, assuring that NNPC has more than 1.6billion litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise called petrol, enough to last for 48 days.
Dr. Baru added that the Corporation also had in stock, sufficient quantity of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), also known as diesel, Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK), otherwise referred to as kerosene, as well as Aviation Turbine Kerosene (ATK) to serve the country.
Ndu has therefore advised motorists not to engage in panic paying, adding that they report any challenge they may have in the course of purchasing to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) which is statutorily empowered to deal with such issues.
The statement added that the government is working assiduously to arrive at an amicable resolution of outstanding issues with the industry unions.
Eyewitness said the entire manifold was engulfed in the inferno thereby halting further loading of products into the storage tanks.