By Niyi Olutunde, Akure
Commercial activities and free flow of traffic were disrupted for several hours on Saturday in parts of Akure when residents and traders of Ireakari and Temidire Estate at popular Roadblock area of Akure, the Ondo state capital staged a protest against indiscriminate location of gas stations in the area.
The protesters complained that there was an attempt by petrol dealers to locate another two gas stations near an existing one in the area, a step, they said could lead to fire incident that would consume the entire neighborhood.
A midnight inferno which occurred behind where a new gas station is being proposed at the roadblock area 24hours ago, triggered the protest.
An eyewitness who spoke with CityMirrorNews said that the inferno which started at night, gutted five rooms and shops with three big deep freezers, four big generators and others electronics worth millions of naira.
The Federal Government, had Wednesday, this week through officials of the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, in conjunction with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, started clamping down on illegal location of roadside dealers of cooking gas, originally known as Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG.
Consequently, two of the protesters, a youth leader, Abayomi Ajijola and a Trader Kazeem Jinadu, said residents would resist any attempt by the petrol dealers to induce officials of the Department of Petroleum resources (DPR) or that of the state government to approve such new gas stations at the Akure roadblock.
Ajijola said, “we are protesting because we don’t want another gas stations in our area, we have one already, that is okay, because of the fire incident that can consume our houses if another one is located here and for our safety, the one we have already is okay”.
The Youth leader threatened, “we (youths) will take unpleasant actions against the dealers of the proposed gas stations, we learnt one government’s agency (DPR) has given them license or permission to operate, we will not take it that, they should withdraw the licence now or else, we will make this area unpleasant for them.”
The Chairman of Temidire landlords, Mr Ibrahim Adeuyi called on the Ondo state government and the DPR to withdraw certificate of allocation or location of the new gas stations as plank shops in the areas would also be pruned to fire incident.
Another trader and one of the protesters, Mrs Jumoke Akinsele added that nobody would be safe again if new gas or filling stations were allowed to be located in the area.
Akinsele said, “we plank sellers here appeal to our baba (father) Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu to stop the location of another gas station beside a filling station and house that was on fire yesterday. Most of us are widows, this where we get money to feed our children and send them to school, we don’t want fire to consume our markets.”
Also, Mrs. Eunice Akeju said, “we discovered recently that another gas station is about to be located around us here, we are protesting against this. We have filling stations, we also have petrol stations there, and that is why we are saying that we don’t want another filling gas here because of our safety, they should go to another place now, is it only roadblock they can build their gas.”
The residents said they had written a petition to the state government and the DPR not to allow another gas station in the area again.
Meanwhile, One of the fire incident victims, Mrs Monisola Adewumi pleaded with the state government to come to her aid as she took loans to set up her business.
Mrs Adewumi who was crying profusely while speaking with journalists however, appealed to well meaning individuals to assist her and other victims of the fire incident.
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