The Lagos State Government has cautioned the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) against aiding Tank Farm and Fuel station owners to contravene the planning permit and other physical planning laws across the state.
It said that unsealing Tank Farms and fuel stations earlier shut by the state agency for going against physical planning laws amount to encouraging the owners to continuously violate the law, saying we will not tolerate any physical development without the owner securing a planning permit.
The Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Idris Salako, made the government stance known on Tuesday during a dialogue with some sections of the media at the ministry in Alausa Secretariat, Ikeja.
Salako, who argued that the ministry agencies were statutorily mandated to regulate all forms of physical developments across the state, stressed that the law mandated the state government to enforce the law.
While stating that the law was clear and did not leave any room for conflict of interest particularly between the apex and state governments, the commissioner noted that the Supreme Court Judgment earlier specifically placed responsibility on physical development within the confines of the state government.
Salako disclosed that when its agency, that was responsible for enforcing development activities, sealed several tank farms in Ijegun axis of the state yesterday for not having required approvals, the DPR unsealed them claiming they have the power to regularise the tank farms.
He added that the Lagos Building Control Agency (LABSCA), recently sealed 10 filling stations for not having approval, but that DPR went to unseal them claiming to also have the power to regulate siting of filling stations.
He decried a situation in which the DPR, a Federal Government agency, jumped the requirement for Planning Permit and went ahead to issue licenses to facilities whose constructions were not approved by the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPA) and which consequently did not have stage certification or certificate of completion.
Salako, while faulting the claim, said that his ministry determined locations of infrastructural facilities in any part of the state and that the DPR had no such power to determine locations for any of the petroleum dealer’s outlets across Lagos.
His words: ” It is even more worrisome that the State Government in the bid to ensure orderly, organised and sustainable development, would seal off illegal and unapproved Tank Farms and Filling Stations while the DPR would go behind to unseal such facilities.
“We urge the Federal Government Agency to desist from this untoward act and join us in encouraging promoters of these facilities to respect the law by ensuring that their structures have all necessary Physical Planning Approvals”, he said.
On the continued existence of Petroleum Tank Farms in Ijegun-Egba, the Commissioner said that no new approvals were being granted in the area, whilst the existing ones were being encouraged to cohabit with the host communities, where they were expected to inculcate corporate social responsibility measures for the development of the communities.
Salako further enjoined fresh applications for approval for Tank Farms to consider moving to the Lagos State Government approved locations in Ibeju Lekki Local Government Area.
Meanwhile, members of the Tank Farms host communities have exonerated the Lagos State Government from the proliferation of Petroleum Tank Farms in the Ijegun-Egba axis of the State.
While expressing confidence in the efforts of the Lagos State Government to sanitise the activities of the Task Farm Operators, the Chairman of Satellite Town Forum, Governor Emitini, who was present at the media dialogue with his members, implore the DPR to consider the health of their environment and cooperate with the Lagos State Government and the host communities to resolve pending issues.