Louis Ibah, Lagos

The Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers (NALPGAM) has said the sale of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, also known as cooking gas, has not been banned in Lagos, Abuja, and Ogun following the lockdown order by the Federal and Lagos State Governments to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

NALPGAM made the clarification in a statement by its Executive Secretary, Mr Bassey Essien, urging members to open up their businesses to the public.

“President Buhari on March 29 with respect to the coronavirus pandemic announced the lockdown of Lagos and Ogun States and Abuja with restriction of movements, except for essential services.

“Same pronouncement has been adopted by state governors to restrict human and vehicular movements within their domains.

“For the avoidance of misinterpretation of the directive, NALPGAM had sought for a clarification with the Lagos State Ministry of Energy and Resources on the inclusion of gas plants and retailer outlets as essential services to the people, as a result of the place of Lagos State in the social-economical position of the country.

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“The fact that people have to stay indoors for two weeks in the first instance, entail that households must cook and eat for the stay at home order to be effective.

“While the directive listed petroleum products and petrol stations as essential services, the association needed a clarification on the status of gas filling plants and cooking gas retail outlets as cooking is essential to the survival of households,” his statement reads.

He said the clarification was also sought to avoid the overzealousness of security personnel in enforcing the order.

He said the Lagos State Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources granted the approval that gas plants and cooking gas retailers and their personnel were classified as essential service providers and their product essential in ensuring the sustainability of the people’s continued stay at home to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

“Therefore LPG plants are part of the essential services and are thus exempted from the lockdown and should thus be granted access to the smooth running of their facilities and operations, and also free movement of their personnel from their homes to the facilities.

“Gas filling plants are allowed to work within the period of the lockdown. However, they must maintain all safety and hygiene measures put in place to curtail the spread of the virus. Their personnel must have their identity cards for ease of identification,” Essien said.