Raymond Ozoji, Awka
The Federal Road Safety Corps has once again reiterated the need for petrol tanker drivers and other key players in the petroleum industry to comply with the COVID-19 protocols to stem the tide of spread of the novel coronavirus across the country, especially as federal government has lifted the ban on inter-state movements.
The need to adhere strictly to the protocols was one of the topical issues that formed the bedrock of the meeting that was convened at the FRSC base in Awka where various unions in the petroleum sector were adequately represented.
The state FRSC boss CC Andrew Ayodele Kumapayi used the platform of the interaction to intimate participants of government intention to create a tanker terminal for drivers where they could park in the interim and thereafter continue their journey to their respective destinations.
Although he identified fatigue as one of the remote reasons for petrol tanker related crashes he emphasized that with the establishment of such parks, tanker drivers would have moments of respite to recover from stress as well as ensure that their vehicles were fit enough to continue on the journey.
Kumapayi, who told executives of the South-South and South East Depot Community which comprises Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum Tanker Drivers, that the meeting was convened to intimate and enlighten the unions on compliance to the modalities for operation based on the guidelines of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and to also engage them on practical solutions to check the increasing rate of road traffic crashes involving tankers on the highways, in addition to other related road safety issues.
The sector commander stressed the need for compulsory and regular sanitization of all parks/terminals with emphasis on areas that people frequently come in contact with such as rails, grab handles and seats; and provision of hand washing equipment with soap and running water and sanitization points at the entrance to their parks/terminals. Notices to guide visitors and other park/terminal users on all the safety protocols should be conspicuously placed around the parks.
Provision of alcohol-based sanitizers for use at terminals and in-vehicles and provision of temperature readers to check the temperature of all persons gaining access to their premises while upholding the mandatory use of face masks by all.
Provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for drivers and motor boys and minimum of 70% alcohol-based hand sanitizers and they must enforce compliance on their usage.
Also ensuring that tankers are checked and serviced regularly, to avoid unnecessary breakdowns and avoidable road traffic crashes. Continuous use of foreign manifold to prevent spillage of petroleum product in the event of a crash.
Kumapayi however charged members of the Union and other road users to report any public transport operator who failed to comply with any of the guidelines to the Federal Road Safety Corp Command nearest to them for appropriate actions to be taken.
Responding, the chairman, IPMAN, Enugu Depot, Mr. Chinedu Anyaso thanked the Sector Commander for initiating the meeting and promised to ensure that his members complied with the COVID-19 protocols.
Anyaso however attributed the increase in road traffic crashes involving tankers to lack of tanker parks in the State. He said that the parks serve as a relaxation point for drivers who were embarking on long distance journeys, noting that most tanker drivers pass through Anambra State to other States, but do not stop to rest due to lack of parks and in most cases, fatigue becomes inevitable.
The Chairman Petrol Tanker Drivers Anambra State, Comrade Charles Ezeme, added that the parks would eliminate parking of trucks along the road which he said caused unnecessary obstructions. He said it would also reduce robbery attacks on the truck, including siphoning of the tanker content. According to him, tankers will also be re-checked and certified fit before leaving the parks and at the same time generate revenue for the government.