This report is dated the 7th of November,2020.
I decided to embark on this covert assignment on my own because of the public interest it has generated. Before joining the crowd to make any condemnation,I find it germane to do my own secret investigation into the issue surrounding the ownership and location of that Petrol station. Many of us who are young People tend to be too engulf in politics and undue sentimentality, that many a times we fail to investigate issues before making conclusion when it involves our political rivals.
A. THE OWNERSHIP
1. My investigation reveals that that Petrol filling station under construction is owned by one Andrew Momodu, who is also the owner of the Coin Oil along the same airport road,which is a franchise name. He is the Director of Andy Modu Oil and Gas Limited, and the company is duly incorporated with CAC and into the business of Oil and Gas.
2. The Andy Modu Petrol Limited branch under construction above is not owned by the current deputy Governor of Edo State. I did my searches at the CAC and could not find him as one of the Directors of the company.
4. That the said land where the Petrol Station under construction is located is not owned by the Government of Edo State. I had opportunity of seeing the documents of acquisition of that land and I discovered that it was bought from a private citizen.
B. LOCATION AND APPROVALS.
1. In my knowledge of Petroleum laws, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) is saddled with the responsibility of granting approval for the Construction and operation of Petrol filling stations ; The guidelines for approval are in line with the Petroleum ( Amendment decree no 37 of the 1977 Safety Rules and Regulations)Act
2. That in light of the above, the DPR can only approve a marketer’s application for construction of a petrol filling station after all the requirements have been met, these requirements in adumbration can be classified into two:
3. The suitability of the proposed location after inspection, which also includes DPR’S guided/supervised EIA study of the site by DPR accredited Consultants.
4. Presentation of all required documents of approval which includes:
i. A copy of fire report and certification
ii. A copy of approved building plan.
iii. A letter ministry of Land and Survey or any any other land regulatory agency in a State.
iv. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA Report)
5. That the DPR will not approve the construction of any petrol filling station in any location if it will create any inconveniences, safety risk or health herzard to the environment or the People living in that area.
6 I requested for a copy of the approval from the Engr on site who is constructing the petrol station and I discovered that, the DPR on the 6th of October, 2020 , approved the Construction of the petrol filling station in that location.
7. In furtherance to my investigation, I also discovered that the owner also applied to the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and an approval was given to him after proper inspection of the facility to be sure if it will not be of any danger to the Benin Airport in that area.
8. I am very much aware that the DPR will not approve the location of a Petrol filling Station anywhere in Nigeria if the owner did not comply with the necessary Town Planing approvals and Safety requirements.
9. One of the greatest argument of those who are against the Construction is that it is very close to the airport. I find so much curiosity in this argument to really know their intentions because Otopec Petrol station share the same boundary with the Benin Airport,if that Petrol station didn’t not create Safety risk to the Benin Airport,why should a petrol station far from the airport create safety risk? This actually got me pondering! In UK, Heartthrow airport shares the same perimeter with a petrol filling station.
10. While,I maybe forced to agree with the argument that the place will cause traffic congestion,but I also see hundreds of petrol station constructed and currently under construction in Benin City in a more traffic congested location and why did they single this out for attack and criticism?
11. I also took time to interview many of the critics and protesters,I also discovered that their actions were either based on lack of information, malice, speculation and hearsay. None was able to give me any evidence to back up their claims or show any law/ requirements of construction of petrol filling stations in Nigeria that was violated or omitted .
1. Those who are currently criticising the construction of that petrol station have every right to express themselves ,but they must try to get their facts and details correct so as not to make mockery to their activism.
2. That the protesters should channel any grievance or issue they have to the DPR who approved the Construction. The Nigeria Navy or Army surely have no business with the subject matter.
3. If they feel not satisfied by the explanation of DPR,they should approach the court for determination of the matter rather than embarking on social media attacks and protestation so as not to create the impression of malice, personal vendetta against the owner or being sponsored by other vested interest.
4. The owner of the petrol station under construction should do everything possible to ensure that place does not affect the free flow of traffic by employing a traffic control personal outside that petrol station.
There is so much unemployment in our State, our People must learn to encourage anybody who opens any legal business in Edo State which will employ our youths . We must also try to always differentiate politics from business, while propaganda and lies are best instrument used by many to achieve their aim in politics, it is not the best in the case of the latter. We must ensure we don’t create a toxic environment for private individuals for investment or drive away investors to other States. Everything should not always be political ,sometimes we must allow the humanity, honesty and patriotism in us prevail.
NB: I am not an apologist of the current deputy governor of Edo State neither do I have any personal relationship with the owner of that petrol station under construction. This is my honest report and anybody who has any any doubt may also embark on his or her own findings to contradict me.
For the avoidance of doubt, When Tony Kabaka’s hotel was demolished,I protested against it that it was wrong because I also did my own investigation surrounding the ownership of the said land he built the hotel just the way I did in this one and till today I am still of the view that the State Government erred seriously in that matter and were not fair to him and to Edo people who benefitted from the employment the hotel created.
Felix O. Isere,Esq.
This report is dated the 7th of November,2020.