NPA Dockyard Is Another ‘Ejigbo’ Disaster In  Waiting- Capt Iheanacho

NPA Dockyard Is Another 'Ejigbo' Disaster In   Waiting- Capt Iheanacho
Capt Iheanacho Ebubeogu

 

Unless urgent and pragmatic measures are taken to address the looming catastrophy on NPA Dockyard road,the nation might just witness another replication of the Ejigbo disaster,in which scores of people lost their lives,the Nigerian Ports Consultative Council ( NPCC) Security and Operations Committee has observed.

Capt.Iheanacho Ebubeogu, chairman of the committee,stated this while giving update of his Committee’s activities at the NPCC, meeting in Lagos, recently.

Presenting his Committee’s observations,regarding the Dockyard road ,Apapa,which they noted serves as an escape route for Lagos Port Complex, Ihenacho said, “The reason for this concern is that if there is anything happening at the other end of Lagos Port,the tendency is for people to run towards Flour Mills ,and come out of that exit,” he said.

He however noted that the dockyard road is not playing this role right now.

He said the reason why the committee should take the matter seriously is to avoid a replication of Ejigbo disaster where a lot of people lost their lives.

“If you recall what happened at Ejigbo ,when we had explosives,people drowned because everybody followed who was in front of him ,thinking that the man in front of him was wiser,nobody knows the way,until people started finding themselves in swamps” he said.

He recalled when he was a marine superintendent in dockyard,how they almost got engulfed along the dockyard road as a result of a fuel laden tanker that was dripping fuel.

” Years back when I was Marine superintendent in dockyard ,one day we just closed from work and we we’re going home. And the Tanker in front of us leaking .The owner of the car in front of that Tanker ,a Volvo car was accelerating ,while petrol was dropping.I had to jump out of my car,dragged everybody out,and asked everybody to go towards the port, until they sorted out the problem

Because when you are accelerating your car,you are releasing spark.And here is petrol.And oxygen is everywhere. The circle of fire was complete.The next thing is explosion” he said.

He therefore suggested that in order to show the seriousness and urgent attention the situation demands,the next Council meeting should be held at the dockyard training center,which he noted could take up to 600 people at a go.

He reported that the committee observed that just opposite dockyard are tank farms and tankers. He said their findings revealed that why there is no security in that place is that most of those tankers are owned by NUPENG members themselves- top chairmen and all that.

He noted that as a result of this,their drivers are not adhering to instructions.

He said that initially when they started, they maintained a good call up system,but now,that has failed.

He said there is need to alert NPA,and call a stakeholders meeting there in dockyard,” So that when you are holding that meeting ,you are showing people physically what you are talking about” he stated, stresding that some people that will attend the meeting will encounter the problem, so that when they come to discuss it,it will be easier.

He declared that the place is a time bomb waiting to explode, stressing that he is not comfortable with the situation.

He suggested that the companies on that road : NIPCO,LMC,etc,should as a matter of urgency,open an emergency exit gate, so that if there is anything ,people can run laterally and escape, rather than people running towards the water.

“We need to quickly do this,so that the issue of Ejigbo will not happen again” he warned.

He said while these things may not happen now,there is need to have an emergency procedure that would be known,and anyone who comes around that area would know that there is a house keeping information about these things, stressing that it is easier when there is an emergency for people to know how to run.

He noted that most of the trucks that carry these products are” Tukunbo”,and” we know our maintenance culture,” he noted.

He added that it is not enough for people walking along that area and doing the sign of the cross or holding their” tesbiu”,No! “We must do as human beings more than that he said.

He said that it is important for NPA, to do something about this dockyard road,noting that the road is in a sorry situation now.

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