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In Lagos Fuel station denies abandoning Akoka residents after oil contamination

The station's dealer said he has met all the conditions required by government agencies.

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Lagos fuel station denies abandoning residents after oil leak play

Total Filling Station attendant

(Gbooza)

The dealer of Total Filling Station, Akoka branch, Aleem Maruf, has dismissed complaints by residents of the Akoka area of Lagos that they have been abandoned to thir fate after a leakage on the station's premises in 2017 led to contamination of the soil in the area.

Maruf told The Punch that he has met every demand to alleviate the suffering of the victims of the spill amid reports by residents of the community who recently raised the alarm over the contamination of their land and water due to petrol leakage from the station's underground tank.

He further explained that he was the one who reported the leakage to the authorities when one of his six underground tanks wrecked havoc to the community in August 2017. He noted that damage on the environment had also been halted.

He said, "When the incident happened in August 2017, I immediately went to the Bariga Police Station to notify them and request their help to remove those selling fries by the roadside. It was one of my six underground tanks that leaked its content and we immediately started a stratification process.

"I also alerted officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency and the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency for a damage evaluation of the environment. Before the end of August, the flow had been stopped.

"LASEMA went round to assess the extent of the pollution by taking soil samples in the environment and it was seen that just seven houses were affected, including my station and a mechanic village.

"However, I was told to provide an alternative source of water for the affected houses while the remediation process was ongoing, which I did by providing 5,000-litre tanks for the affected houses and provided water for them three times a week.

"Medical evaluation can be carried out as soon as the residents are ready; boreholes have been drilled in four of the five houses affected and the fifth one is due for completion as soon as possible. I have replaced the water pipes, hoses and faucets."

He also told The Punch that some residents have resorted to using the incident as an opportunity to blackmail him for money. In reaction to claims made by one such resident, Ifeamaka Umeike, who claimed that she was supplied dirty water, Maruf said she's been instigating residents to make false accusations because he denied her a N5 million payout.

He said, "After I had provided her house with an alternate source of water, she said she could not come down to fetch water and I had to provide another tank for her upstairs, as well as a pumping machine and a steriliser.

"As if that was not enough, she requested that I changed her water pipes and washing machine, which I also did. I bought her a washing machine worth N250,000. I have the receipt.

"She went further to request a payoff of N5 million and I told her that I could not do that since I had done all that the government agencies requested of me. That was when she asked other residents to start making demands from me."

Maruf showed The Punch a stratification certificate of conformity, dated September 29, 2017, which showed that the leakage had been fixed.

Also, copies of water analyses reports issued by Searchgate Laboratories Limited revealed that petrol had progressively evaporated from the water in the affected area in the period under review (October 9, 2017, February 9, 2018 and June 11, 2018).

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