The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) says that safety remains paramount in its operations at its various filling stations across the country.

Dr. Kenny Obateru, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, disclosed this in a statement signed in Abuja, on Tuesday.

According to Obateru, Mr. Bill Okoye of Nigeria National Petroleum Retail Limited, an NNPC subsidiary, said this while reacting to the fire incident in one of its retail outlets on Monday in Lagos.

The Director-General, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr. Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, had said that the fire incident in Ifako-Ijaiye area claimed 30 vehicles.

He added that a tanker with 33,000 litres of diesel caught fire while discharging its contents into an underground tank at the NNPC filling station.

But according to the NNPC statement, “All stations under the brand name of NNPC Retail Limited operate under very high safety standards as endorsed by the Federal Fire Service and the Department of Petroleum Resources.”

Okoye  said that, as a policy, the management of the company ensured that all stations under his watch maintained required safety standards in order to curtail incidences of fire outbreaks as well as other health and safety hazards

He explained that preliminary information about the unfortunate fire accident at one of its affiliate stations in Lagos on Monday showed that the inferno emanated from an underground tank.

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He noted that the fire was swiftly extinguished without any mortality recorded.

Okoye said the NNPC Retail Management sympathised with Taibod Petroleum Ltd., the affiliate company, over the unfortunate incident

He, however, thanked the Federal Fire Service, NNPC firefighters from the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) and other well-meaning Nigerians that supported in putting out the fire.

Okoye dismissed the insinuation that the fire was caused by a truck that was discharging petroleum products at the scene of the incident.

He said that NNPC retail stations attendants were well briefed and trained on handling of trucks and products discharge procedures.

“In all our stations, safety is very important and we have our Health Safety teams that go round to ensure that these safety standards are adhered to strictly.

“These safety teams visit stations routinely to educate and enlighten these affiliate station owners on the need for them to uphold safety procedures.

” Every station must hold fire drills every month and all staff members of the stations are mandated to participate in these drills,” Okoye said.

He said that as the nation prepared for the relaxation of the Presidential lockdown directives from next week, the NNPC Retail stations had over 400 trucks laden with petroleum products waiting to discharge at various stations.