Profs, ex-commissioner lead protest against gas plant construction in Ibadan estate

Profs, ex-commissioner lead protest against gas plant construction in Ibadan estate

Homeowners and residents in the Aerodrome Government Residential Area in Ibadan, Oyo State, have called on Governor Seyi Makinde to stop the ongoing construction of a gas plant on the estate.

The residents, who stormed the construction site to stage a protest, were led by the Vice-Chairman, Homeowners and Residents of Aerodrome GRA, Prof. Omolola Atalabi, who is a Professor of Radiology at the University College Hospital, Ibadan; and a Molecular Biologist at the Redeemer’s University, Ede, Prof. Christian Happi. The residents, including a former Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Mukail Aborode; a retired civil servant, Dr Bolaji Yusuf; and an architect, Kole Babalola, said it was insensitive for anyone to approve the company to build a gas plant on a residential estate.

Atalabi said during the protest on Friday that homeowners and residents took the matter to the state government and the Department of Petroleum Resources when construction started in 2020.

She, however, expressed surprise that despite an order by the DPR for the company to stop work on the site, the owner resumed and no government agency contacted them.

She said, “We had taken necessary steps to make sure that the company did not put the lives of over 2000 people here at risk. But we were surprised to see that the company resumed and the rate at which they work shows that they want to complete the project very soon.

“Why will a government expose its citizens to such a danger? We all know the enormity of a gas explosion anytime it occurs. Should the government wait till we are all roasted here before stopping the project?

“We heard the company said it insured the gas plant with N1bn. We are not rats and our lives cannot be bought with any amount. What we want is that this project should stop. They can build a hotel, a shopping mall or anything, but not a gas plant. The kitchen of the next building to the plant is less than three metres. Is this not an invitation to a disaster?”

Another homeowner, Babalola, said residents were surprised to see that construction work resumed despite the DPR order to the company.

“We want immediate stoppage of the construction work. The gas plant poses a great danger to the lives of those of us here. I believe we should be protected. Government doesn’t need to wait for disasters to happen before acting,” he added.

The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Taiwo Adisa, did not answer phone calls by our correspondent.

He had also yet to reply chats sent to him on the matter as of press time.

However, an official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the gas plant was being built in the commercial section of the estate and not the residential area.

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