Due to incessant cases of fuel tanker fire nationwide coupled with bad federal and state roads, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has risen from its slumber to dust out an existing statutory provision which only allowed tankers not larger than 33,000 litres capacity to handle product haulage nationwide.
The Department said henceforth, it would put an end to the loading and distribution of more than 33,000 litres by road tankers.
The concerns got to the zenith following last two weeks tanker fires reported across the federation with high level consequences including deaths of Nigerians and massive destruction of properties due to tanker fire.
According to the Lagos Zonal Operations Controller of DPR, Mr Wole Akinyosoye, who spoke at the zone’s 2019 Annual General Meeting in Lagos, “DPR would henceforth enforce the maximum limit of 33,000 litres as provided by law.”
“The pipelines built for the transportation of petroleum products had become inadequate and their integrity compromised, thus forcing majority of the products to be transported from Lagos to different parts of the country on roads.
“Many of the roads were constructed to have maximum carrying capacity of 30 tonnes (about 33,000 litres). The Nigerian law only allows for 33,000 litres to be loaded out of the depots. Today, we have 60,000 litres, 45,000 litres and sometimes 90,000 litres loaded out of the depots. “We admit that the DPR is culpable in these circumstances. But the department has taken a decision because of what has been happening in the last two to three months that we have to enforce the maximum limit, which is 33,000 litres, on our roads.”
Further checks showed that out of the four tanker fires that rattled parts of the country in the last two weeks with two of them in the commercial city of Onitsha, three were in excess of 33,000 litres.
Experts say even though it is possible for tankers to be constructed to carry well over 33,000 litres on road, the state of Nigerian roads in the last five years cannot stand the weight and driving difficulties.