A joint team of technical and administrative heads in the Upper West Region has issued ultimatum to a number of fuel and gas stations in Wa to meet required safety standards or risk closure.
The team, headed by the Regional Minister, Alhaji Sulemana Alhassan, has consequently warned all fuel stations in the region to upgrade their safety standards in the shortest possible time if they want to be operational.
Stations with the most critical safety issues have up to two weeks to show evidence of full compliance .
Alhaji Alhassan issued the warning last Wednesday after he led the team to monitor conditions at various fuel and gas stations in the Wa municipality.
The measure, the minister said, was aimed at stopping the occurrence of the growing cases of fire and explosions at fuel and gas stations in the country.
“We had undertaken this exercise earlier, but we have to insist on compliance to avoid the kind of disasters that have become common lately,” he said.
The monitoring team included the Wa Municipal Chief Executive, Issahaku Moomin Tahiru; the regional head of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Seidu Issahaku Suleman; the regional fire officer, J.E. Quao, and the programmes officer at the regional Environmental Protection Agency, Fabian Aderinga.
The exercise was at the instance of the regional NADMO secretariat. According to the coordinator, his office adopted these proactive measures as demanded by the national NADMO office.
According to Mr Suleman, the exercise would be extended to all the 11 administrative districts in the region to ensure compliance with safety measures.
The exercise sought to inspect the EPA, building and business operation permits. The rest were fire, tank testing, calibration and insurance certificates, among other requirements.
He said while most of the stations had some documentations to cover their businesses, the team would also insist on compliance with specific and tangible safety standards.
The regional fire officer, Mr Quao, said one of such standards was to notify and ensure the presence of his outfit at a fuel or gas station before a consignment was discharged.
The Wa municipality currently has 23 fuel stations and seven gas stations, which is over 300 per cent increase from February 2009 when only nine fuel stations operated in the regional capital.
Eight major disasters related to fires and explosions from gas and fuel stations have rocked the country in recent years, killing over 200 people and maiming more than 500 in the process.
Wa also experienced a disaster in 2014 when fire gutted a fuel station in the town causing damage to vehicles, stalls and property in the neighbourhood.