What the hell is this noise about killer gas from Niger Republic? It is sheer nonsense”. This is the reaction of Femi Akinola, a Lagos based gas dealer, when told about the text messages branding the gas from Niger Republic as either substandard or explosive.
He fumed: “I have been in this gas business for the past 18 years and I am well informed to know that there is no substandard gas from Niger Republic.What the problem is, is the substandard and killer equipment we have around. Very aged equipment, hose, burner, regulators that could not support our gas specification.
Those bringing in refurbished equipment are behind this hoax. They are just trying to de-market those bringing in gas from that neighbouring country. I buy from a reputable gas plant that sells the gas from Niger Republic and it is of good quality and even better than those being paraded as the good ones”.
The Directorate of Petroleum Resources (DPR) had doused a growing fear in homes week when it debunked the claim of substandard or killer-domestic gas in circulation, saying all gas being sold across the country are in tandem with the standard speciified by the Standard Organization of Nigeria.
The clarification, made during a gas stakeholders meeting in Lagos, came in the wake of mounting fears that some dealers are selling gas that is below acceptable standard. The peddlers of the hoax even deployed the use of sms to frighten unsuspecting consumers. Those behind the falsehood advanced the reason of higher proportion of butane in the gas from Niger Republic than required locally.
Akinola, whose AF Gas collects gas from various sources and sells to corporate and individual end users, decried the hoax. “Ever since I have been buying the so called gas from Niger Republic, I have not received any complaint of explosion of injury on account of use of the gas. We have a network of distributors and we discuss issues affecting the industry, no one has come out to say the gas from Niger Republic is not good”, the dealer said.
“The origin of this claim is from the inability of the unscrupulous gas business men to create artificial scarcity to hike the price of gas. That is their usual tactic and, since we have the influx of gas especially from Niger, they are jittery and would go to any length to discredit the gas”. He pointed to a cabal in the sector who would always work against anyone trying to deny them the opportunity to exploit the people, noting that there is nothing like cancerous gas.
Another gas dealer, Collins Ugochukwu, who said he liked the gas from Niger Republic, described the situation as worrisome. He lamented that such rumour, if not checked, may kill the gas business because those using it would opt for kerosene.