A committee investigating causes of unending petroleum tanker accidents in the state is set to open discussions with insurance firms with a view to fash- ioning a suitable insurance policy that would indemnify losses and restore victims to normal business life in the event of future occurrences.
It is, however, not clear in the immediate how the state government intends to drive this through, and which party would be responsible for the payment of premium for the policy if, eventually, the idea scales insurance hurdles and is embraced by the different interests involved.
Parties involved in col-laborating with the insur- ance industry to come up with the policy and fashion out modalities for its op- erations include Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD), Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NU- PENG), Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), etc.
A permanent secretary in the state public service and member of the com- mittee told BusinessDay, weekend, that the commit- tee would invite experts in the insurance business to a discussion in line with the mandate of the govern- ment.
The committee head- ed by Tunji Bello, secretary Nigeria’s gas sector Legacy debts reach N40bn Legacy to the state government (SSG), and former commis- sioner for the environment in the immediate past administration of Babatunde Fashola, had its first sitting last Thursday and would be meeting again this Thursday to deepen discourse on the way forward.
“Yes, in line with the mandate given to us by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, the committee would invite insurance experts for a discussion. The governor believes that something concrete must be done so that in the event of future occurrence; victims are not left to mourn their fate. If you consider the quantum of losses in the two major tanker fires at Iyana Ipaja and Idimu-Ejigbo, you will agree with the government that there is need for an insurance intervention. The whole idea to return busi- nesses destroyed to their normal form,” the permanent secretary said.
Also speaking with Busi- nessDay, Rasak Fadipe, director of Lagos State Fire and Safety Services, and a member of the committee, said “we have had our first meeting; we are meeting again on Wednesday or Thursday. All hands are on deck to deliver on the gov- ernor’s mandate.”
Five petroleum tanker accidents occurred within the first 10 days of Akin- wunmi Ambode, the new governor of Lagos, assump- tion of office, and had raised concern within and outside the government. Ambode was sworn in on May 29, and resumed in office of- ficially on June 1.
While the prompt interventions of the state fire service and other first-line responders helped to avert fire in three, two of the accidents, in Idimu and Iyana Ipaja, respectively, were disastrous as the tankers explodig in fire destroyed several houses, shops and vehicles, with the losses estimated at millions of naira.
By: Joshua Bassey