The Akwa Ibom Chairman of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr Aniekeme Uwah, says four persons have lost their lives while 14 others are severely burnt in kerosene explosion in the last 15 weeks in the state. Uwah made this known on Friday in Uyo when he was speaking at stakeholders’ sensitisation meeting on kerosene fire incidence organised by the office of the Senior Special Assistant on Petroleum Matters to the Governor of Akwa Ibom.
The NMA boss said that within 15 weeks spanning from Sept. 22, 2016 to Jan. 7, 2017, a total of 18 kerosene explosion cases occurred in the state. He said that statistics available at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH) revealed that all the four dead persons were females and five of the injured were males. Uwah said that kerosene explosion often occurred through adulteration of the genuine products and wrongful use of the product in stoves and lanterns. He said that the explosion usually led to loss of skin, which according to him, “is our major protector against infection”. “Skin burn leads to loss of water and causes dehydration and lung infection resulting from inhalation of fume. Let stop this avoidable death,” Uwah advised. He commended Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom for the support given to the victims of kerosene explosion in the state through purchase of drugs and other consumables. Speaking in an opening remark, the Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Petroleum Matters, Obong Essien Esema, said that the meeting was targeted at surface tank dealers and peddlers of kerosene.
Esema told the stakeholders that part of the measures of preventing kerosene explosion caused by adulteration was to get all surface tank dealers and peddlers registered by his office. He advised the surface tank dealers and peddlers to get affiliated to well known filling stations for the supply of the product. “Henceforth, no more hawking of kerosene, only filling stations and surface tank dealers will sell kerosene in the state. “No surface tank dealer or peddler should buy kerosene from unknown source. If you don’t buy from them, they will have no market,” Esema said. He further advised the surface tank owners to paint their tanks blue with white stripes in the middle to show that they were kerosene dealers. Esema also urged the surface tank dealers to attach themselves to the independent petroleum marketers for mentorship. He announced that last year the state petroleum product monitoring committee under his office arrested 16 offenders on petroleum adulteration. “Any surface dealers flouting our directives would be arrested and his product would be destroyed. “We must guard against further loss of lives through kerosene explosion in this state,” Esema said. Highlights of the meeting included talks on safety measures on how to handle kerosene and other petroleum products to avoid explosion.