The Akwa Ibom Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr Aniekeme Uwah, has said that 18 people lost their lives in kerosene explosion incidents in the state during a 15-week period.
Speaking in Uyo at a stakeholders’ Sensitisation Meeting on Kerosene Fire Incidents’ organised by the governor’s office, Uwah said the period spanned between September 22, 2016 and January 7, 2017.
He said a total of 18 kerosene explosion cases were recorded during the period adding that 14 of the victims were burnt beyond recognition.
He said statistics available at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH) revealed that four of the dead persons were females while five males were injured during the incidents.
Uwah said kerosene explosion often occurred through adulteration of the genuine product and wrongful use of the product in stoves and lanterns.
He said the explosion usually leads to loss of skin, which according to him, “is our major protector against infection.”
“Skin burn leads to loss of water and causes dehydration and lung infection resulting from inhalation of fume. Let’s stop this avoidable death,” Uwah advised.
He commended the Akwa Ibom State governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel for the support given to the victims of kerosene explosion in the state through purchase of drugs and other consumables.
Earlier in his remarks, the senior special assistant to the governor on petroleum matters, Obong Essien Esema said the meeting was targeted at surface tank dealers and kerosene peddlers.
Esema told the stakeholders that part of the measures of preventing kerosene explosion caused by adulteration was to get all surface tank dealers and peddlers registered by his office.
He advised the surface tank dealers and peddlers to get affiliated to well known filling stations for the supply of the product.
“Henceforth, no more hawking of kerosene, only filling stations and surface tank dealers will sell kerosene in the state.
“No surface tank dealer or peddler should buy kerosene from unknown source. If you don’t buy from them, they will have no market,” said Esema.
He further advised the surface tank owners to paint their tanks blue with white stripes in the middle to show they are kerosene dealers.
Esema also urged the surface tank dealers to attach themselves to the independent petroleum marketers for mentorship.
He revealed that in 2016, the state petroleum product monitoring committee under his office arrested 16 offenders on petroleum adulteration.
“Any surface dealers flouting our directives would be arrested and his product would be destroyed.
“We must guard against further loss of lives through kerosene explosion in this state,” said Esema.