The Fire Service in Enugu State has opened up on how it successfully put out the gas flare that erupted during a borehole drilling at the Federal Housing Estate in Ugwogo Nike.
The incident happened even as the state government warned against drilling of boreholes without the authorisation of the state’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change and other relevant government agencies.
The Eastern Updates reports that the gas flare occurred at about 10:30 p.m. on Saturday and continued till the early hours of Sunday, resulting in the rig operators and some residents scampering for safety.
When Mr. Ugwu visited the scene, he commended the firefighters—led by Chief Fire Officer Okwudiri Ohaa—for their rapid involvement. Mr. Ugwu was accompanied by Kingsley Nnaji, Special Adviser to the Governor on Energy and Mineral Resources.
Mr Ugwu asserts that the state had previously encountered gas flaring in the vicinity of Caritas University, making this most recent event the second of its kind.
‘The government is going to investigate the incident further because already we have environmental laws. They were supposed to have applied to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.
‘The ministry would come here to do an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) and then there would be a letter of commencement, which would be issued by the ministry.
‘So, I advise anybody going into the ground to do the proper thing to avoid this kind of experience we now have here. But for the prompt intervention of the State Fire Service, this could have caused a loss of lives and houses around this place.
‘But these gas eruptions have also further confirmed Governor Peter Mbah’s statement that we have both solid and liquid mineral resources in abundance in the Enugu State.’
The governor had said his administration was very much interested in harnessing them for the good of the people of Enugu and the nation.
Mr Ugwu added that Enugu could not be known as Coal City alone because it had gas, limestone, kaolin, gypsum, and other mineral resources in abundance.
“That is why the present government is very much interested in bringing local and foreign investors to come and invest in these mineral deposits,” Mr Ugwu stated.
Speaking on the incident, the state chief fire officer, Mr Ohaa said the experience garnered by the Fire Service during such accidental gas eruption around Caritas University, Nike, helped them in applying the right measure to stop the flare.
“What readily came to mind was the incident at Caritas University last year, around 24th May, to be precise. That Caritas University incident took us roughly three weeks to quench because we had never had such an experience before that.
“But with the support of the government that has continued to finance us for emergencies like this, we were able to put off this one in less than eight hours.”
He warned residents of the area to respect the cordon by the servicemen and also avoid coming close to the site with fire of any kind.
He, however, assured that his men would be on ground until the flow totally stopped.
A resident of the estate, Boniface Ogbueje, told reporters that the incident caused pandemonium, but commended the State Fire Service for saving the situation.