Indiscriminate Siting of Petrol Stations in Lagos: The Akoka Allegation
In recent times, there has been a sustained increase in the number of Petrol Filling Stations (PFSs) established in different parts of Nigeria. As of 2018, the Nigerian Tribune newspaper reported that Nigeria had over 30,000 filling stations scattered all over.
Growth in population and the quest for development has brought great pressure on the environment. In June 2018, some residents of Akoka, in the Ilaje area, Bariga Lagos state, raised the alarm over alleged contamination of their water and land by Total Filling Station Akoka.
Mobile Punch once reported that the underground petrol storage tank of the filling station leaked sometime in August 2017. The tank was said to have spilt its entire content, contaminating the soil and groundwater of the communities. AkokaResidents also claimed that the spillage affected their health and disrupted their business activities.
Affected communities reported were: Abdullahi Street, Ayetoro Street and St. Finbarrs College Road, Oyenuga Street, Wulemotu Ajoke Street, Rickett’s Close, Shobande Street, and Sholanke Street.
In the same year, Premium Times Nigeria also reported how residents of affected communities struggled with the pollution. In the report, the Lagos State Government announced it was shutting down the petrol station to carry out what it called an Environmental Forensic Audit (EFA).
Residents also reported that the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency after conducting the EFA, concluded that the pollution was caused by ‘aliphatic hydrocarbons’ possibly from paints, grease from roadside mechanics, etc.
Mr. Olufunmilayo Osifuye, General Manager, Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning & Urban Development is the first to offer helpful comments during Morning Crossfire today. Sheriff Quadri, being the sole anchor for the show wants to know if there’s a masterplan for Lagos.
He says yes, Lagos does have a masterplan. Below it there is also what is known as Model City Plan or Development Guide Plan. But according to him, “the very indigenous masterplan which existed from 1980 to 2000, had about 20 percent of it implemented. There were also a lot of reviews made on it. One was done in 2002 and it was seen that Lagos was not developing at the same pace required, the introduction of model city plan came into being. This model city plan covers the densely populated areas of Lagos State.”
He says that the city plan covers mainland areas, Ikoyi, Surulere, Agege, and others. Epe, Ikorodu, Badagry are areas that are receiving attention now and are almost done by now, because ‘it’s at the final draft stage’.
“Lagos State Building Control Agency is responsible for making sure that the structure being built is in accordance with the permit given out. As stipulated, gas stations or filling stations are meant to be built in residential areas but the builders must follow some strict rules. For example, I don’t expect to put a gas station or filling station in a core residential area.
“It is better for things like these to be located along distributor roads. Another standard that must be adhered to is that the space between filling stations is about 400 metres. This especially applies if they are on the same stretch of the road. A filling station that is built around residential houses will maintain a land space of at least 1000 metres.”
He says many filling stations are not abiding by these rules. Osifuye agrees that there are many aberrations when it comes to siting filling stations in core residential areas in Lagos state.
Engineer Adeyombo, who lives around Chemist bus-stop area. Said that there is a suspected spill from a filling station situated on Saint Finburr’s Rd. he referred to the fact that the filling station lost some petrol about two years ago.
“The houses around the area of the filling station started smelling of petrol. People were looking at every other things not even thinking of the filling stations. One house decided to pump out the foul-smelling water that was coming out of their borehole and when it got to a point, they saw something milk-like. So, they directed the water to the ditches.
“Unfortunately, a coal from a woman selling bean cakes fell into the ditch and fire gulfed the ditch. They raised an alarm and the owner of the admitted they lost some quantity of petrol. They also made recommendations to solve the problem but they were not able.”
Chinenye also reports on what was done and what could have been done. “There was contamination of the pipes that ran through the building. Residents maintained it should be changed but that ought not be a solution for one house. It has to be holistic. More than that, clean source of water had to be provided. Children are exposed to the bad water and this could portend more danger to them.”
One question left for consideration:
What else do you wish should be done to salvage the damage in your affected areas? Masterplan for Oshodi and Kosofe are also receiving attention right now and will soon be done.
How do you monitor illegal siting of fuel stations?
Mr. Olufunmilayo Osifuye, General Manager, Lagos State Ministry Of Physical Planning And Urban Development
Ms. Chinenye Umeike and Engineer Adeyombo Adewale (Residents of the affected community)
Morning Crossfire with Wemimo Adewuni (@wemimospot) & Sheriff Quadry (@SheriffQuadry)
By Jude Chukwuemeka