AlhassanTampuli, will have to resign or be fired as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), following yet another gas explosion rocking the country and leaving many people in life-threatening conditions, after sustaining severe injuries on his watch.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) led by John Pwamang, as its Acting Executive Director, also stands accused of allowing the Trinity Oil Gas station at Krofrom in the Kumasi Metropolis operate close to homes, schools and refuse dump, which constantly has naked flame burning on it.
At least, 10 people sustained severe bodily burns from the Krokrom gas explosion which occurred yesterday morning.
Several cars in and around the station, were also burnt to ashes, including the station, following the inferno that also spread to a nearby car fitting shop.
It is not clear yet, whether the station, had certificates of authorization from the NPA and EPA.
But the explosion at the Trinity Oil Gas station, comes a year plus a month, when the Atomic Junction Gas explosion occurred, leading to seven deaths, 132 others sustaining injuries and destruction of property running into millions of cedis on October 7, 2017.
It also comes almost two years, when Six persons, were burnt beyond recognition after the Louis Gas Station near the Zenith University College, behind the Trade Fair Centre at Labadi in Accra, exploded with at least 12 others left with severe permanent burns.
Mrs. Bridget Kyerematen-Darko, the Executive Director of Aid to Artisans Ghana, and sister of the Trade and Industry Minister, Kwadwo Alan Kyerematen, died 21 days, after she suffered severe burns from the explosion on December 22, 2016, behind the Trade Fair Centre, but it is obvious the country has not learnt any lesson.
There was a huge presence of policemen at the Krokrom gas explosion site yesterday. Fire service and officers of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) were there to help with rescue efforts.
The Director of Operations of the Ghana National Fire Service in the region, Francis Darko Korno, said the gas explosion was caused by a leakage, and as always, claimed that the fire service would conduct further investigation and make the report public.
Some residents, as well as fire personnel who were injured, are receiving medical treatments.
According to OTEC NEWS’ reporter, Nana Agyei Sikapa, who was at the scene, fire personnel arrived at the explosion scene following a distressed call.
To him the cause of the explosion at the premises of Trinity Gas station, was yet to be established, but it is believed it may be caused by a fire from a refuse dump site opposite the gas filling station.
The Ashanti Regional Director of the National Disaster and Management Organization (NADMO), Kwabena Nsenkyire, who arrived at the scene, said he was not surprised at the situation, because process were underway in closing down the station, which is sited among residential houses.
Other residents, said they saw the gas leak and alerted other residents to move out of their houses and stores.
“My mother alerted me that the gas was leaking. I called my sibling and we all ran out before the fire could start,” one resident recalled.
She continued: “We could feel the heat behind us when we were running, as the fire started, all the shops next to the station have been burnt down.”
A witness who spoke to Joy News said early intervention from some residents and fire service personnel prevented the fire from spreading to a school next to the station and other residential facilities.
“We deployed the service to Krofrom after we got a call at 7:50 am about an explosion,” Mr Kwabena Nsenkyire said.
He explained that, the gas station shares a wall with a school and a church putting lots of life in danger.
“Why would the assembly let someone build a house or school close to a fuel station,” Mr Nsenkyire quizzed when the EPA revealed they could not close the station, because it was there before many of the buildings.
“The EPA should explain their regulations for people to know what it entails to prevent others from putting up a fuel station in residential areas or residents putting up houses close to gas or fuel stations,” he stated.
Initial assessments from authorities, revealed that the damage was not huge or life-threatening, although some residents claimed that the fire got to their place.
Some residents pleaded with the government to implement laws to stop these situations from occurring.
Investigations are ongoing, Nsenkyire said.
At the time of the Atomic Gas explosion, former National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for the La Dadekotopon Constituency, Nii Amasah Namoale, called for the NPA boss to be sacked, accusing him of failure in its supervisory roles.
The massive explosion occurred at the MANSCO gas station at Atomic Junction near the University of Ghana (UG), sparking widespread panic in surrounding areas.
Speaking on Citi FM’s news analysis programme, The Big Issue, Mr Namoale, insisted that the NPA boss, must go.
“I was surprised the NPA boss was not sacked and no NPA person has been sacked. I was expecting him to be sacked. This is because [President] Nana Addo promised that he was going to be a very proactive and effective president. They [NPP government] said the Atomic Junction gas explosion was going to be the last one, but there was gas leakage at Mawarko in my constituency – everybody was running helter-skelter. If it had happened, will that be the last one? Let us not use kid gloves to solve this problem.”
The Government announced some measures after a crucial emergency meeting to deal with the menace of explosions at fuel stations.
The measures, include the closure of high-risk fuel stations which is ongoing, the cessation of the construction of new fuel stations to allow for proper safety audit, and the implementation of the cylinder re-circulation policy expected to happen within a year, however, most of the stations which we were under construction but closed had been completed and serving consumers.
But the former legislator, had noted if this had occurred in “advanced countries, the NPA boss would have resigned.”
“This is because when an LPG truck moves from Tema to go and discharge [gas] anywhere in the country, there are rules and regulations governing it. Who follows up to know whether the driver is doing what he’s supposed to do. So if I call for the head of NPA, I’m not calling because of politics,” Mr Namoale argued.
Ghana, has seen about eight major gas explosions in the last four years, apart from the major fire and flood disaster that killed some 150 people in 2015, when a gas petrol/diesel station went up in flames at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra.
The Atomic Junction explosion, also saw the Akufo-Addo government, indicating that it will it put its foot down and turn a deaf ear to arguments against proposed reforms, particularly in the sale of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).
The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, who went to the scene of the Atomic Junction in Accra, said a policy was in the offing to deal with the safety concerns once and for all.
He stressed that “it is in the interest of our country that we actually implement some new policy directions.”
Describing this explosion as “one too many”, Dr. Bawumia, acknowledged the cries and fears of Ghanaians, who feel threatened by the siting of fuel and gas stations in areas with high population density.
“…I think what Ghanaians want is solid policy to deal with this matter once and for all. We are going to move to deal with it. It’s not about committees and committees and nothing gets done. We owe it to the country, and government is going to take this very seriously. Discussions were being held last night about the way forward.”
“Some new policies are going to come in and those who are going to try to resist those policies, I don’t think they will be listened to because it is important for us to put the safety of our people above everything else,” the Vice President added.
“We are going to move quite quickly to do it. It’s not going to be one where you wait weeks for it to happen. It’s going to happen relatively quickly. We pretty much have an idea of what we are going to do in terms of policy.”
Dr. Bawumia, said the explosion marked a “very tragic” day for Ghana, and extended his wishes to those affected before beginning a tour of the hospital giving medical attention to the victims of the explosion.
“On behalf of the president, I would like to extend my condolences to all the bereaved families and also our sympathies to all those who have been injured and affected. In fact, all of Ghana has been affected. It is a major tragedy.”