As part of efforts to stop the recurring indiscriminate illegal parking along the Airport Road axis by tankers claiming to be distributing fuel into the airport, the Federal government is looking at revamping the fuel hydrant at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos as part of plans to stop the clear and present danger.
Speaking to reporters during the visit and familiarization tour of the Minister of Transport, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi and Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, the Managing director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Engineer Saleh Dunoma said the situation was a safety and security concern
According to him, talks are already on with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the National Security Adviser (NSA) to look into the issue and solve it once and for all.
Dunoma said,” We are looking at restoring the fuel hydrant at the airport and if that is done we will no longer need the trailers even if they were never authorised to be there in the first place. As you know the fuel hydrant system was stopped a while ago and about six weeks ago we saw the Group Managing Director NNPC to restore the lines but you know it has been a long time and so a few things need to be done to establish that the line is still okay.”
“We are also talking to the NSA as the parking is not only a safety and economic concern because of the gridlock it causes around that axis but for the security implication, we hope to resolve this very soon.”
Recall that FAAN had in August 2013 relocated the tanker drivers to a permanent site within the environment after years of causing havoc on the highways at the airport.
But, despite the relocation to a permanent site, the tanker drivers who hide under the guise of uplifting aviation fuel to airlines in the airport, line up their vehicles on the road and threatened to down tools whenever their action was challenged by the airport authorities.
Worse still is the fact that other tankers that supply Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) have taken advantage of the chaos caused by the Jet A1 tankers and have annexed the airport road from the Oshodi Apapa Express way.
Sometime in July 2014, an oil tanker conveying 33,000 litres of Jet A1, otherwise called aviation fuel, tumbled close to the access gate of the Murtala Mohammed Airport, MMA, Lagos 10a.m. causing untold hardship to travellers
The tanker which was filled to the brim with aviation fuel, was coming from Ikeja and going to the international wing of the airport before the accident occurred.
The tanker reportedly fell when the driver wanted to navigate a sharp bend around the airport, spilling its content on the road.
On the gridlock along the Oshodi Apapa Express way, the Minister while responding to reporters said that the solution would take an inter-governmental tripartite of the Federal Ministry of Works, Housing and Power, the Ministry of Transport and the Lagos State government to get to the route of the gridlock once and for all stating that all will be done to make Nigerian heave a sigh of relief.